Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Witches

A charming romantic comedy about a hard-up single mum inheriting a stately home – and a host of headaches – The perfect novel for curling up with during the long winter nights.Sophy Winter is not your typical Lady of the Manor….When she unexpectedly inherits Winter’s End – a crumbling mansion in the beautiful Lancashire countryside – it seems like all Sophy’s prayers have been answered. She eagerly swaps life as an impoverished housekeeper in favour of her own team of staff.But Sophy quickly realises the challenge on her hands – the house is decrepit and its eccentric inhabitants are a nightmare. And once it is discovered that Winter’s End played host to a young Shakespeare, the entire village of Sticklepond becomes curious about Sophy’s plans, especially charming Jack Lewis. But is he really smitten by Sophy…or her newly-acquired cash?Meanwhile, Sophy’s gorgeous head gardener Seth is the strong and silent type. But does his passion bloom for anything beyond the horticultural?As Sophy gets to grips with squabbling relatives, collapsing buildings and the ghostly presence of one of her ancestors, she wonders if Winter’s End is not so much a gift from the gods as a mixed blessing…A charming romantic comedy! (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: I dated a guy like Jack Lewis once. Briefly. Very briefly. Reminds me of a quote from the play I saw the other night – Prince Charming talking to his princess ( in Into The Woods): “I was raised to be charming. Not sincere.” Just a slick-talking guy with shiny teeth and good hair. No substance.

Sissy: But almost leaves a slime trail behind him. Every time Sophy talked about being attracted to Jack, I wanted to scream, “No! NO! Step away from the slimeball!” Too many times in the past was I initially deceived by a pretty face.

Bubby: Mr. Sissy has a very pretty face.

Sissy: Yes, however there is gold on the inside of Mr. Sissy. Now this is not your usual fairytale where poor girl inherits a fortune and a mansion. Sophy’s inheritance comes with a lot of trouble attached and I admired how hard of a worker and how undeterred by problems she was.

Bubby: She got the mansion. Too bad there was no fortune to go along with. At least not in cash. There is, however, a legend that somewhere lost in the walls of Winter’s End is a treasure of immense proportions. And there is. But I can’t talk about it. Sissy would smack me for being a spoiler!

Sissy: I would never smack you! (Unless it was vitally necessary to your maturation process . . .) At the beginning of every chapter there is a quote from the journal of Alys Bezzard, Sophy’s ancestress. So as Sophy’s story unfolds, the last bit of Alys’ life is revealed as well, and it is full of intrigue and sadness.  A Winter’s Tale is a contemporary fiction/mystery/romance, but it is also salted with scrumptious bits of historic witchiness and magic.

Bubby: I am pretty sure I have achieved all the maturation that I’m going to get, Sissy. No smacking required. There’s nothing I like better than a little magic sprinkled in with a touch of romance. Makes me happy. I hadn’t read Trisha Ashley before and I was so happy to have discovered her. Sometimes when I find an author that is new to me I go on a bit of a buying binge and purchase two or three (or more) of their novels and read them all at once. I did this with Trisha Ashley and loved them all.

Sissy: So annoying when Bubby buys e-books that can’t be lent to me, so I always encourage her to buy the more expensive hard bound books. A win-win for me and the author! Now back to A Winter’s Tale. Sophy’s Great-Aunt Hebe is a curmudgeon, possibly because of her name. I would be a curmudgeon if my name was Hebe. My favorite quote of the book comes from her when she says,”What are you bellowing for? You sound like a cross between the Last Trump and a cow in labor!” I can’t wait to use that on one of my loved ones.

Bubby: Sounds like something you’d say. If you are looking for a light and fluffly dose of British-ness, A Winter’s Tale (or for that matter, any other book by Trisha Ashley) is the book for you. 4 bubbles.

Sissy: Seth, the head Gardener, is  hot and broody. Therefore, you should read this book. 4 bubbles from me as well.

Click HERE to buy A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley from Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


The Switch sisters, the only Chinese family in Ambrose, have always been considered a little odd by the townspeople–especially the mother.  People flock to her Chinese restaurant, but steer clear of her otherwise. But everything changes when beautiful Mara Switch, the eldest daughter, is accused of murder.  The family then must step into the spotlight to prove her innocence—all without revealing a dark family secret.

Bubby: I was just sitting at home, minding my own business when my phone dinged at me, signifying an incoming email message. It was from Sissy, telling me to read this book. I was gratified that she took the time to think of me whilst on vacation (she abandoned me and went to Disneyland last week) and read The Switch Sisters right away. What a lovely little gem of disturbing quirkiness! About 1/3 of the way in I was sure I knew the direction the plot was going to take. I had it all figured out. And then the bombshell dropped – and the plot went in a direction I had never even considered!

Sissy: I found this book on Amazon.com and was surprised, because of the title, that it was a book about Chinese immigrants. Switch is not exactly a common Chinese name but that is explained in the book. Anyway, I liked it alot because it was weird and different and that appeals to me.

Bubby: It appeals to you because you ARE weird and different. Normal is boring! We grew up in a little town similar to Ambrose and there were no Asians (or African-Americans for that matter) in our town at all. Even the people who ran the Chinese restaurant were not Asian – they were Hispanic. I can imagine that the arrival of a pregnant Chinese woman with 3 daughters and no husband would have created quite a stir. Throw in a spooky house and rumors of witchcraft and it’s easy to see why the Switch sisters had a hard time being accepted by their peers. One of my favorite lines is when Mara tells her mother that her upcoming wedding is “Our chance to prove we’re not what they think we are!” and her mother replies, “The problem is we are.” See, the rumors of witchcraft aren’t just rumors. The Switch girls are all witches – all five of them.

Sissy: Bubby’s secret desire is to be a writer of book synopsi (this is my made-up word for the plural of synopsis). That’s why she writes these interminably long spoilers in every review we do. I think she’s got things bottled up inside that need to come out! I appreciate you all reading this and being therapy for her.

Bubby: Oh, so many things I want to say. So many. Too many to choose from, therefore I will ignore Sissy’s rudeness and encourage her to GET BACK TO THE STORY!

Sissy: You know how in a small town everyone knows things about everyone else and there are rumors about this or that strange family and their secrets? That’s how these poor Switch sisters were talked about. They had to suppress their specialness so that everybody didn’t get crazy and run them out of town. This happens to me sometimes when I’m looking too beautiful and the neighbors get jealous.

Bubby: Sissy may have gotten a little too much sun on her vacation. The craziness is a little out of control today! I will try to see that she gets back on her medication before our next review. At the risk of more rudeness from my dear sister, I am going to wax philosophical for just a moment. Isn’t it interesting that this family had to conceal their awesomeness in order to fit in? Why do we feel the need to lower ourselves or dumb ourselves down to meet the lowest common denominator? Why can’t we just be fabulous and to heck with those that choose to feel inferior? Embrace your differentness! Diversity is a wonderful thing. Being special is good. We are NOT all the same so why should we act like we are?

Sissy: That’s why I’m not getting a tattoo. Everyone has a tattoo now and they are not special.

Bubby: I thought it was because you’re afraid that your butt cheek will get saggy and your rosebud tattoo will turn into a dead chrysanthemum.

Sissy: That too. I liked this tale of extraordinary Chinese witches and I liked that despite their very different personalities, the sisters joined their unique powers together and turned their story into a happy one.

Bubby: The Switch Sisters is a different sort of story than I had read before. It was unique. I like unique. I was voted “Most Unique” in high school, you know. Well worth a read. 4 bubbles.

Sissy:  Unique you are indeed, Bubby!  I will give The Switch Sisters  3.75 weirdly-shaped bubbles–waiting for more from Gwen Li.

Click HERE to buy The Switch Sisters by Gwen Li from amazon.com

©Bubblebathbooks 2013


Fairy Godmother Desiderata has died without doing any estate planning – leaving Princess Emberella at the mercy of the not so good and wise Godmother Lilith. Lilith is dead set on having a happy ending no matter what and she’ll stop anyone who tries to get in her way. Now a trio of witches from a neighboring land, Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg, must travel via broomstick to Genua and make sure that the age-old story of servant girl and prince ends differently this time. During the journey the witches face vampires, werewolves and even falling houses before they can battle it out with a power mad woman who is eerily familiar to one of their own.

Sissy: This book is not for people who take themselves too seriously. Terry Pratchett is a wickedly funny satirist and overly stuffed shirts might find him silly. But as I told my friend the other day, if you don’t take time for silliness in your life, your soul becomes constipated.

Bubby: Ooo, which friend? Can I guess? Never mind, I’ll be nice.

Sissy: In Witches Abroad, Pratchett revisits many familiar fairy tales. He teaches us about sensible magic and manages to crack me up on every page. Even the character names are hilarious. I tried to read funny bits out loud to my 17-year-old son today and he just looked at me like I was a blooming idiot.

Bubby: Yes! That’s the same reaction I get from my husband. I own almost everything Terry Pratchett has written and I often find his books so hooting funny that I laugh out loud. I try to share the funniness with my family but they are too closed-minded to appreciate dry British humor. That’s the disclaimer with these books. It seems that a reader will either find them side-splitting or just a pain in the side. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. If you appreciate old BBC television shows like “Fawlty Towers” or “Keeping Up Appearances” then you will enjoy Terry Pratchett. If not, well, just move on to the next review.

Sissy: Reading this book kind of reminded me of watching the movie Waking Ned Devine.  And if you don’t like that movie, then skip this book and read Tolstoy. Or something from Oprah’s book list. The three witches, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick and Granny Weatherwax (see, can you even say that without giggling?) have great adventures amongst the “furriners” on their travels to the city of Genua.

Bubby: And Greebo, the salacious cat who is deadlier than a troop of Green Berets – can’t forget him.

Sissy: Greebo, who had “skin that looked less like a fur than a piece of bread that had been left in a damp place for a fortnight (and who) would attempt to fight . . . anything up to and including a four-horse logging wagon.”

Bubby: We don’t usually use quotes straight from the book but Pratchett’s writing is too good.  One of my favorite things is Pratchett’s footnote explanations. For instance, he will mention “Bear Mountain”, which should have been called “Bare Mountain” (no trees, you see) and then put an asterisk at the end of the paragraph which links to a footnote on bad spelling, explaining all about when a badly educated deity cursed the seraph of Al-Yabi and how he was cursed to turn everything into Glod, who was a small dwarf from some mountain community thousands of miles away (instead of gold, you see) and now all the people in Al-Yabi are short and bad-tempered and it’s just so dang funny and, well, I can’t do it justice. Just go read the book already. I own it. You can borrow it.

Sissy: Unrestrained frivolity. Monty Python (but more literate and less crude) meets The Brothers Grimm meets Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Ha! Which brings me to my next point – why do we like books with magic and witches?

Bubby: We? As in us, sisters Bubby and Sissy? Or as in we, the human populace at large? Or we, imperially speaking, meaning you?

Sissy: What a frothing waste of words, Bubby. We (you and me, the Bubble Bath Bloggers) are not pagans who routinely light black candles and dance naked around the firepit.

Bubby: Well, except for last Thursday when –

Sissy: Shut up. I’m not done. We like books with magic and witches because they are good imaginative fiction. I don’t believe in magic because I believe that magic is simply science that I don’t yet understand. So all you uptight Harry Potter-book-burning, rioting peasants relax. We are not a coven.

Bubby: Because there’s only 2 of us and you need 3 for a proper coven, everyone knows that. No, seriously. No witchcraft practicing going on here.

Sissy: Okay. Now, back on topic. Read the witchy magic book. It’s good. 4 bubbles.

Bubby: Yep. Delightful. Be aware that not all Terry Pratchett books are created equally – if you’d like a list of which ones to read in which order, leave a comment or shoot us an email and I, Bubby, will share my knowledge.  4 1/2 bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett from Amazon.com

Click HERE to buy Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett from BookDepository.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2012


Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch, the daughter of a non-gifted mother and a warlock.  When she casts a spell at her high school prom and it goes horribly wrong , her father decides she will be punished by being exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. It just goes downhill from there for Sophie. By the end of her first day at Hex Hall she has made three powerful enemies, developed a crush on a hot warlock named Archer, and been assigned to a roommate who just happens to be the only vampire in the whole school. Just when Sophie thinks it can’t possibly get worse, she learns that someone, or something, has been attacking students and her new roommate is believed to be the culprit. As Sophie delves deeper into the mystery she uncovers the deadliest secret of all: an ancient society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Sissy: I had a love/hate relationship with this book and the subsequent two books in the series. It was one of those things where I HAD to know what happened and therefore had to buy the sequels but at times getting to the resolution made me feel fidgety and teeth-grindy.

Bubby: Pretty sure I bought all three of these and shared, but that’s not the point.

Sissy: Whatever. You know what I mean.  I liked this author’s magical spin on diversity, and I liked the various twists and turns that kept things fairly interesting.  The descriptions of Hex Hall and its matron were vivid and gave me anxiety, but in a good way.  Plus there were some new and creepy paranormal beings introduced that could give me nightmares if I were an overly emotional person like Bubby.

Bubby: Not even going to respond to that attack on my character. (I am tender hearted, that’s all!) I did think that there was an overdose of teenage angst. I tend to lose patience quickly with kickbutt girl characters that agonize over whether or not the hunky boy really likes them. On the other hand, I probably would have reacted the same way that Sophie did had I been in her situation. Cute boys still make me swoon!

Sissy: The teenage angst helps with the character development and story line, but sometimes I just want to tell them characters to shut up and own their “ness.”  I was conflicted about Archer and  the mysterious Groundskeeper boy.  I couldn’t decide which one I thought Sophie should love, or who looked more like Zac Efron and who looked more like Chris Hemsworth in my mind.

Bubby: Own their own “ness”? I think I need to buy you a dictionary for Christmas. You keep making up words!  Yes, there was too much emphasis on teenage romance issues. But I liked both boys too and overall it was a great book and a great series. It kept me interested all the way through and I can’t wait to read more by this author. 3 3/4 bubbles from me.

Sissy: I did like them. I did read them. I do recommend them. But, if there was a new episode of “Downton Abbey”, I would have watched that instead.  2 1/2 bubbles.

© Bubble Bath Books 2012