Mostly cast as the villain, often without rhyme or reason as to why, witches have always seemed so mysterious. They are the opposite of damsels in distress, Sleeping Beautys, Cinderellas, Snow Whites. They are mistresses of their own fortunes. They have the power to change lives – their own and others’. They have magic.

Our Author Takeover this month is dedicated to everyone headed to university/college this autumn/fall! It comes from Brit authors Lucy and Tom, whose novel "Freshers" is all about that first transitional year. In particular, the benefits of fandom and clubs for finding your people.

Our Author Takeover for July comes from Aisha Bushby, a debut author and Potterhead whose short story "Marionette Girl" is published next month in "A Change Is Gonna Come" from Stripes. #ChangeBook is an anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change.

Our May Author Takeover is by Cat Clarke, whose latest YA novel, "Girlhood", is a darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief. Set in a boarding school in Scotland, the familiar halls are the perfect place for "Potter" fans to escape to in this compulsive, addictive read. Yet there are some sinister secrets that threaten to tear friendships apart.

Our April Author Takeover features Aliette de Bodard talking about something the "Potter" fandom knows all about: warring Houses. Join Aliette as she discusses her own House wars and the continuation of the beautiful "Dominion of the Fallen" series.

Our new Author Takeover comes from New York Times–bestselling author of "The Lunar Chronicles" Marissa Meyer, with her new novel, "Heartless". The "Potter" fandom knows all about characters with a predetermined fate, and we're well used to the idea of the Chosen One. In Marissa's "Heartless", we have a vision of Wonderland like none you've seen before.

When Mary Adams sees Millais’ depiction of the tragic Ophelia, a whole new world opens up for her. Determined to find out more about the beautiful girl in the painting, she hears the story of Lizzie Siddal – a girl from a modest background, not unlike her own, who has found fame and fortune against the odds. Mary sets out to become a Pre-Raphaelite muse, too, and reinvents herself as Persephone Lavelle.

The first of our March Author Takeovers comes from Gemma Fowler. Her new novel, "Moonlight", is an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller with a contemporary voice. Gemma would be pleased as punch to find herself on the highest tower of Hogwarts. Her soul is still and always will be 13 years old, and her characters embrace teenage rebellion and refusal to blindly comply with authority, much like our Golden Trio.

Our final February Author Takeover comes from Lisa Williamson, whose second novel, "All About Mia", is out now from David Fickling Books. In this standalone after her first book, "The Art of Being Normal", Lisa now turns to look at family dynamics and the structure of sibling personality types.

Just imagine: what would your year look like if you read only marginalized authors? What would the world look like if we all did the same? And how many books do you read each year, anyway? If it’s more than 30, I challenge you to pick up every one of these. I know you can do it!

Book Review: The Golden Ocean by Patrick O’Brian
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

The main characters in this book are two Irish youths who grew up together: parson's son Peter Palafox, now a midshipman on H.M.S. Centurion; and his servant Sean O'Mara, who starts out as a lowly fo'c'sle hand and works his way up to bosun's mate. To be sure, they are fictional characters, and their adventure on the high seas reads somewhat like a very promising preview of the later Aubrey-Maturin novels. But the adventure itse…

Book Review: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

I had this book on my shelf for several years before I got around to reading it. When one of my co-workers saw me reading it in the break room he said, "I've had that book on my shelf for years, but I've never gotten around to reading it." Now, I realize this doesn't constitute a scientific poll, but I reckon there are a lot of people who can say the same thing. If you've been tripping over The Forgotten Beasts of Eld while deci…

Book Review: Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

War is hell, but peace can be mighty inconvenient, too. Jack Aubrey feels this strongly as a Royal Navy post-captain near the top of the seniority list. Very soon he will reach the point where he may either hoist the blue flag of an admiral or be passed over for promotion: a terrible and irreversible disgrace, popularly described as being "yellowed." And now that Waterloo has come and gone, and Napoleon is out of the picture, an…

Book Review: Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Confession time: In my review of J. M. Barrie's book Peter Pan and Wendy, I got a few chronological details wrong. First of all, the character of "Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up" appeared first in a 1902 novel for adults (in a passage later excerpted and published as a standalone book called Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens), then in a 1904 play under the title set off in quotes above, and finally in the book I review…

Book Review: The Hundred Days by Patrick O’Brian
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

Here is Book 19 of the 20-volume novel of warfare, wildlife, society, and culture in the era of Napoleon, featuring a brilliant British frigate captain named Jack Aubrey and his medical officer, intelligence agent, musical partner, and longtime friend Stephen Maturin. And if book 18 (The Yellow Admiral) was a book of tragic forebodings, The Hundred Days is one in which the foreboding comes true.

Book Review: The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O’Brian
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

A critic's endorsement on the cover of this book compares Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, heroes of this long series of historical novels, to Holmes and Watson. What devoted readers of this series will find astonishing is not the aptness of the comparison, nor yet its flattery of O'Brian's characters, but frankly the paleness of Holmes and Watson over against Aubrey and Maturin.

Book Review: The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

It's the 13th century. Kublai Khan has conquered China, spreading the Mongolian empire from Ukraine to Korea. His epoch-making attempt to invade Japan is about to get underway—the one that will end with Kublai's army at the bottom of the Yellow Sea, thanks to a storm that will go down in Japanese memory as "Kamikaze" (divine wind). At that crucial point in history—to the Eastern world what the sinking of the Spanish Armada was t…

Book Review: The Commodore by Patrick O’Brian
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

This is the 17th book of 20 about the daring British naval captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, naturalist, physician, and intelligence agent Stephen Maturin. And although it takes its title from a development in Jack's career - being put in command of a squadron, which entitles him to dress like an admiral - I find the narrative increasingly tilting towards Stephen's point of view.

Book Review: The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O’Brian
Book Reviews / January 1, 2013

This sixteenth book of the Aubreyiad, featuring the exploits of Royal Navy Capt. Jack Aubrey and his physician-musician-naturalist-secret agent friend Stephen Maturin, opens with the British privateer frigate Surprise chasing an American ditto through the South Pacific.