Reviews: Something Witchy this way comes

hubbleHubble Bubble by Jane Lovering

Be careful what you wish for…
Holly Grey only joined the women’s group to keep her friend out of trouble – and now she’s knee-deep in hassle, in the form of apocalyptic weather, armed men, midwifery…and a sarcastic Welsh journalist.

Kai has been drawn to darkest Yorkshire by his desire to find out who he really is. What he hadn’t bargained on was getting caught up in amateur magic and dealing with a bunch of women who are trying really hard to make their dreams come true.

Together they realise that getting what you wish for is sometimes just a matter of knowing what it is you want… “

 

 

If you could cast a magic spell to get whatever you wanted. What would you wish for? I’d wish for a sequel to this book. What I really liked, is that the magic is based in reality. Was it magic? Or everything working out for the best. That is what I think real magic is, not having 100% proof but still believing. Not one over the top nose twitch here.

Kai is a wonderful three dimensional character full of angst and smouldering Welsh-ness. Holly is a strong modern heroine who doesn’t need saving; She lives by her own rules.

It was a lovely story full of redemption, friendship and love. I highly recommend this book, it is a fast paced, action filled, feel good story.

You won’t ever go wrong with a Jane Lovering book, each one is as good as the last one. Happy reading.

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A2Dark Moon by Leisl Leighton

“Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of. And the only attention she’s been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.

Jason claims to know things about Skye that can’t be true, and it’s obvious he’s hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can’t resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.

Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power. But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.

As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness? “

 

 

I always love a good paranormal yarn and this was no exception In Dark Moon- the Alpha Werewolf is looking for his pack Witch to break his packs curse. He finds Skye, who doesn’t even know if she is up for the job, as she has suppressed her magic.

I love how Werewolves and Witches are blended together to make this action packed story.

Jason and Skye have a lot of chemistry and there are moments of delicious sexual tension. Not to mention some very steamy romance.

Dark moon has a lot going on and it has a lot of personality.

If you love paranormal romance with plenty of action and attitude- then this is the book for you.

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discoveryA Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

“Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestsellling ALL SOULS trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels… “

I loved the premise of an American, descended from Salem Witches, in Oxford. Matthew the ancient vampire is just delicious..

This was such a fin read and I wish I lived in a house like Diane’s; one that anticipated your every need. In the first book in the series, the story focuses on acquiring a alchemical manuscript and warding off all the other supernatural baddies who want it as well.

Finally a paranormal tale for adults. A discovery of witches is a fast paced read that is hard to put down. This is a series you can really sink your teeth into.

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Kensington Gore’s Twisted Tales: #6 Seasoning of the Witch by Kensignton Gore and K.A. Hambly

“There is only room for one witch in this town, and a Halloween cookery competition might just be the perfect arena for these two lifelong adversaries to have their showdown.

Cauldron Cove is a small town in America. Where Selena, and Morrigan, bitter rivals since their college days at C.O.W, ‘College of Witches,’ enter a television Halloween baking competition, each determined to get one up on the other.

They discover they both have a crush on the show’s swarve narcissistic presenter, Daniel Glover. Trying to impress him with their culinary ability, they set about sabotaging each other’s recipes and chances of winning the baking competition. But, things don’t go as they had planned. Selena discovers that Morrigan has been harbouring a secret involving an old flame, and things in this bewitching twisted tale, from horror legend Kensington Gore and great young writer K.A. Hambly, turns spellbinding live on air. “

May the best witch win…

Seasoning of the Witch is a delightful surreal story about a Witch, Selina. Selina is a culinary witch that bakes up trouble and wacky situations. Morrigan is her nemesis and tries to thwart Selina’s every move.

As over the top as “Bewitched” was, Seasoning of the witch is just as hilarious. Cauldron Cove is the setting for a competitive bake off and duelling witches. This novella has so much personality of its own that I wished it was a full length novel.

Not since the late great Roald Dahl has there been such a variety of truly bizarre and glorious tales. This is book number six in the series, but each tale is a stand alone. You can either read in order or pick and choice which tale inspires you. I am starting from the beginning with what is soon to be my favourite series.

Feature: Sci-fi / Star Struck by Jane Lovering

starstruckStar Struck by Jane Lovering

“Our memories define us – don’t they?

And Skye Threppel lost most of hers in a car crash that stole the lives of her best friend and fiancé. It’s left scars, inside and out, which have destroyed her career and her confidence.

Skye hopes a trip to the wide dusty landscapes of Nevada – and a TV convention offering the chance to meet the actor she idolises – will help her heal. But she bumps into mysterious writer Jack Whitaker first. He’s a handsome contradiction – cool and intense, with a wild past.

Jack has enough problems already. He isn’t looking for a woman with self-esteem issues and a crush on one of his leading actors. Yet he’s drawn to Skye.

An instant rapport soon becomes intense attraction, but Jack fears they can’t have a future if Skye ever finds out about his past …

Will their memories tear them apart, or can they build new ones together?

 

From the first line, I thought – this is classic Jane Lovering. Her trademark wit leaps off the page and starts the book off with a smile.

Jack Whitaker is a jaded script writer who is dark, brooding, disobliging and a tiny bit curmudgeonly. He isn’t your first pick for a Romantic hero. As Jane Lovering often extols the virtues of the Beta-male; I agree. Gethryn is the Alpha-male of the story, but he is so slick and full of himself- my money would be on Jack any day of the week.

Skye in many ways is like a blank page and since her accident, she has become a new person. Skye has a wicked crush on greasy Gethryn, and takes her time to figure out who she should be with.

Jack is such a contradiction – on the outside he is stern and enigmatic; but on the inside he is full of insecurities and doubt. That is Jack’s appeal, he is cerebral, creative and very delicious.

Jack understands Skye- and they compliment each other like bookends. Their scars are both physical and emotional; and it is that combined empathy that draws them together. It is very touching how they deal with each other.

Underneath all the sarky comedy- there is a serious under current about loss and learning to forgive yourself. No one or nothing is as it seems- it is all about how you perceive things.

There is rather a few earth shattering twists towards the end that you will not see coming. I have to admit I was a bit shocked by them.

Star Struck is full of complex emotions. The genius of Jane Lovering is that one minute she can make you laugh and the next make you cry. This book is going on my list of favourite books of all times. I loved this book!

Make sure to visit Jane Lovering’s blog for musings and updates on new releases .

 

Next up is a man who to me is the real life embodiment of Jane Lovering’s Jack Whitaker; minus the chain-smoking but just as charming.

 

The Canterbury Tales by Luke Bellmasoncant

Every ten years each spacer pilot must make the pilgrimage to Vale, where the mighty and all powerful Federal Galactic Spaceflight Licensing Authority resides. From all corners of the nine galaxies they come, on ships such as the GSS Canterbury.

To pass the time over their three nights journeying through the void each traveller tells their story. Volume One features the tale of the Smuggler, the Merchant, the Assassin and the Knight. Join them to hear their tales of rivalry, revenge, piracy, insurrection, daring escapes and adventure in this all new re-imagining of the original Canterbury Tales.

This is what Geoffrey Chaucer might have written if he’d owned a ZX Spectrum when he was 12 and wasted his formative years playing video games through the 1980’s.

Luke Bellmason weaves a series of plot-lines worthy of a Cardassian enigma tale, with an emphasis on storytelling and characters. Explore the parts of all those video games universes that your computer could never show you and begin your journey…

 

The Canterbury Tales by Luke Bellmason is exactly what a Space Opera should be. It is in the style of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and follows his matrix, but this is not a re-telling of his book. This is a truly unique and original work. Each tale has its own voice and it is as different as the person telling the tale.

The writing style is innovative, with short dynamic sentences- highlighting the taut urgency of the situations involved. What I really loved about this book is the portmanteau feel of it; It reminded me of techniques used in many Monty Python films. Wherein, smaller stories are told, that tie into a bigger picture.

Each story is a vignette that packs a powerful punch. By being dropped into the middle of the action- you aren’t weighed down by space facts and details. Instead, you are shunted from one action scene to another in a roller coaster ride of excitement..

The only thing that disappointed me about the Canterbury tales was its length. It felt like as soon as I got into a story, it was over so quickly. I suppose that is the hallmark of a good author- always leaving you wanting more.

This isn’t your stodgy Science fiction of the 1970’s; this is a vibrant fresh Sci-fi for the new millennium. Even if you aren’t particularly a science fiction fan, there is plenty of action and intrigue to satisfy the most selective reader.

I highly recommend this fast paced, action packed novelette.

DSC_0131_3_2EPBR: What inspired you to write the Canterbury Tales?

LB: It’s rather a long and convoluted story, and if you buy the book you can read all about the development process in great detail. As unlikely as it sounds the idea began as a board game based on the 80s classic video game Elite.
There were six character types in the board game such as, miner, scout, trader, bounty hunter,
pirate, etc. Then I came up with a good and evil version of each, so the good pirate was the Knight, the bad miner became the Slaver, the bad trader became the Smuggler. Then I took a book of plots and assigned each character a plot and a commodity type and started writing a series of short stories.
The idea to string them all together somehow came much later, but when I discovered Chaucer’s original Canterbury Tales I was surprised to discover he’d also written a Knight’s Tale and a Merchant’s Tale. The linking of the stories has now become another story of itself and I’m developing that element in parallel with writing the other tales.

bellmason1EPBR: You’re releasing the Tales in three volumes. Why did you decide to do it this way, rather than writing the whole thing in one go?

LB: It’s because I write extremely slowly. I simply couldn’t wait to put something out there and start getting feedback from readers. If I wanted to wait until it was all finished, I’d probably never get to the end. I think this is something that self-publishing allows that traditional publishing might not. Generally there isn’t much enthusiasm from publishers about short stories, which I think is a great shame.
Certainly, through writing the Tales, I’ve learned to appreciate what an art writing good short fiction is. When you start out, you tend to assume it’s going to take less time to write a short piece than a long one, but I soon learned that this wasn’t the case. The first four stories took about a year each! But, I am getting slightly quicker.

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EPBR :When can we expect more tales?

LB: At the moment, I’m working on Volume 2, which will feature the tales of the Miner, the Slaver, the Spy and the Scout. This will hopefully be out at the end of the year, but if you’re especially impatient to read more you can find the Miner’s Tale on my blog.

The plan is that Volume 3 will come along in 2015 and then you can expect a complete edition soon after.

EPBR: In Jane’s book Skye goes to a fallen skies convention in Las Vegas. What kind of convention would you like to go to.

LB: I’ve not been to many conventions, but favourites are always gaming related. GenCon used to be in my home town and I used to go every year until it was moved to London and then stopped entirely. I like how gaming conventions bring people who’ve never met together around a table. My perfect convention would be one where all the celebrity guests sit down and play board games with you. I know Wil Wheaton is a big boardgamer, so maybe this idea isn’t so far-fetched.
EPBR: Hob-Nobs or Custard Creams?

LB: I’m more of a pink wafer man myself, but in the unlikely scenario that you’re holding a gun to my head and forcing me to choose, I’d have to go with Custard Creams.

Visit Luke Bellmason’s blog for sneak peaks and great articles.

startrekshipStar Trekking-

Long ago in a galaxy far away….or as I call it 1986. I discovered something so wonderful, it changed my life- and this is how it started:

Sunday was always my day with my father. So often he had to work Saturdays, that I hardly had time to see him some weeks, but Sunday’s were sacred. We would wake up early and watch repeats of Doctor Who and Star Trek together. After breakfast we would go to a baseball card convention, if one was local. One day we saw signs advertising a special Star Trek convention; without a word being spoken between us, my father promptly bought two tickets.

The day that would change my life finally arrived; dressed in my home-made blue science officer shirt, we set out to the Pennsylvania hotel in Manhattan.

stquotesAfter we did the tour of the stalls, which mostly consisted of multi coloured knitted Tom Baker Doctor Who scarves; we were herded into the conference hall.

There were a few speakers, production assistants on The Terminator film and the like, but the crowd was getting restless. I have to admit it was quite boring and you felt like they were just babbling on to fill time.

Then the house lights went down, a few Movie trailers were shown and a few disappointed people started to leave. Then the familiar theme music started and every one froze. It was the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and for forty-three minutes- not a sound was made.

comicbook guy

The house lights went up as the credits started to roll and I felt like I had a religious experience. I scanned the crowd to see if anyone else was a moved as I was. I do have to mention, the audience was predominately made up of middle-aged men that looked like comic book guy in Spock ears. As I watched those grown men cry just from the sheer beauty of the show- my only thoughts were “These are my people” and “I am home”.

That day will always remain a very treasured memory of time spent with my father and I am so grateful that we shared such a pivotal movement in my life together.

From that day forward my fate was sealed as Trekkie and a geek. Boldly going…nowhere- but loving the journey.

Also by Jane Lovering:
hubble
Hubble Bubble by Jane Lovering
Hubble Bubble has as many twists, darkness and drama as you would expect from the title, but its true strengths lay in its quieter moments and its humour. Any true romantic will be put under its spell.
Be careful what you wish for…
Holly Grey only joined the women’s group to keep her friend out of trouble – and now she’s knee-deep in hassle, in the form of apocalyptic weather, armed men, midwifery…and a sarcastic Welsh journalist.Kai has been drawn to darkest Yorkshire by his desire to find out who he really is. What he hadn’t bargained on was getting caught up in amateur magic and dealing with a bunch of women who are trying really hard to make their dreams come true.Together they realise that getting what you wish for is sometimes just a matter of knowing what it is you want…

pleasePlease don’t stop the music by Jane Lovering

Winner of the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year & the Romantic Comedy award.The panel of judges described Jane’s voice as ‘fresh and new with an unexpected hero’, and included WH Smith’s Matt Bates, Foyles’ Jonathan Ruppin, Jane Mays from The Daily Mail and The Bookseller’s Sarah Broadhurst. Please Don’t Stop the Music was singled out by the judges for its ‘dark undertones’ and for engaging with ‘issues a lot of people recognise’.

How much can you hide?
Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail – until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade belt buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up, on all fronts.
But Ben has secrets too. When Jemima finds out he used to be the front man of hugely successful Indie rock band Willow Down, she wants to know more. Why did he desert the band on their US tour? Why is he now a semi-recluse?
And the curiosity is mutual – which means that her own secret is no longer safe …