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review 2017-12-16 08:42
"Slouch Witch - The Lazy Girl's Guide To Magic #" by Helen Harper - tremendous fun
Slouch Witch - Helen Harper

I knew Helen Harper could write original, compelling, dark, angst-ridden Urban Fantasy, her Bo Blackman series proved that.

 

I didn't know that she could also write light, witty, laugh-out-loud, ever-so-slightly-RomCom Urban Fantasy.

 

I know it now.

 

"Slouch Witch" is a delightful piece of comedy that twists and tickles Urban Fantasy, odd-couple buddy movies and RomCom tropes until they collapse in a fit of giggles, while still managing to build a credible magical universe and deliver a satisfying whodunnit plot.

 

This is clever stuff that Helen Harper makes look completely effortless.

 

Ivy Wilde drives a taxi in Oxford, but it would be a mistake to think of her as a taxi driver. She's a witch. True, she's not in the Order like other witches, at least not anymore and her favourite occupation is watching "Enchantment" from the comfort of her sofa while eating food that has been delivered to her door, but she's still a witch who knows a thing or two.

 

A misunderstanding compels her to work with a senior witch in the investigative arm of the Order. He is everything Ivy is not. Although he is many things Ivy finds attractive.

As the two of them track down wrong-doers within the order, sparks fly, spells are cast, karaoke is performed and a great time is had by all (well, not the bad guys of course, but everybody else).

 

This is escapist fun at its best. I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Tanya Eby. She's a talented narrator and does a great job but I'm puzzled as to why Ivy seems to have an American accent when the story is set in Oxford, is laced with English vernacular and where the other characters are given some form of English accent. I forgave this after a while because Tanya Eby's comic timing is perfect. I'm happy to listen to her perform the next two books in the series.

 

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review 2017-12-08 16:43
"The Bette Davis Club" by Jane Lotter - a fun, original road-trip novel with surprising emotional depth.
The Bette Davis Club - Jane Lotter

"The Bette Davis Club" is a larger than life comedy, structured around a chaotic road-trip in a classic 1938 MG that careens from Malibu to Manhattan by way of Chicago.

 

Margo Just, the main character, is a single woman in her fifties whose life is slowly falling apart. She's been a fully paid-up member of the Bette Davis Club for many years (I'm not going to spoil things by telling you what that means but I'm sure most of you will have met a member or two) and can't find a way to move on.

 

A New Yorker from the age of nineteen, Margo attends her niece's wedding in her childhood home inMalibu more for the free accommodation, food and drink than out of any sense of family connection.

 

When the bride jilts the groom and makes a run for it, Margo's financially straitened circumstances, combined with the impact of the several vodka martinis and the promise of the use of her dead father's classic little red sports car, lead to her accept a mission from her half-sister bring the runaway bride home. Ony after she accepts the mission does she discover that the jilted groom will be her driver and that her sister is as concerned to retrieve some things the bride took with her as she is to have her daughter return.

 

What follows is a riotous journey with some classic scenes, including a crazed attack on the highway and Margo, who is straight, doing the samba in a lesbian dance competition.

 

As a backdrop to all this, we learn Margo's backstory and how she came to join the Betty Davis Club. It's the backstory that adds emotional weight to what could have been just another light comedy. When we finally see Margo in her entirety, we meet a woman on the cusp of confronting who she is and what she's going to do with the rest of her life.

 

I'd expected the "The Bette Davis Club" to be a fast fun read. It met those expectations and then exceeded them by constantly surprising me and engaging me more and more deeply with Margo's story.

 

jane lotterSadly, there are no more books by Jane Lotter. She self-published "The Bette Davis Club" just before she died of cancer. She then wrote her own obituary. You can read it here.

 

It seems to me that Jane Lotter was an extraordinary woman who gifted us with one extraordinary book.

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url 2017-12-04 20:22
Giveaway for my new book, The Fatness
The Fatness - Mark A. Rayner

There's three copies up for grabs -- enter to win a paperback version of The Fatness, a satire about concentration camps for fat people and bureaucracy gone mad. (A love story.)

 

 

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review 2017-11-28 18:54
Snowbound by KreweOfImp
Snowbound - KreweOfImp

This is a long long fic, I think it got away from the author somewhat. Some nice writing though, KreweOfImp voices Dean beautifully. Cas, Dean and Sam are snowed in the bunker. Cas and Dean attempt to practise their bdsm lifestyle but, to their horror, Sam catches them at play (over and over).

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/5706808
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photo 2017-11-10 16:01

My new book is live! It's a satire about concentration camps for fat people and bureaucracy gone mad. (Don't worry, it's a love story.)

 

You can find it on Amazon and other bookstores now!

 

If you're interested in hearing me read from it, here I am reading the first and fourth chapters now.

 

I did chapter two here.

Source: markarayner.com/the-fatness
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