Book Review: Spellboda by JC Clarke

Today’s review is for Spellboda by JC Clarke that materialised on the bookshelf, thanks to Literally PR.

Spellboda by JC Clarke

Book Review: Spellboda by JC Clarke

Title: Spellboda

Author: J C Clarke

Publisher: The Book Guild

Genre: Middle grade, Children’s fiction, YA, Fantasy

Release Date: 23rd September 2021

Blurb

A journey to trust and self-belief… join Trevor in his adventure as he discovers his incredible gift. Share the magic of his journey as he learns we can achieve anything – when we really, really want to.

For fans of Piers Torday & CS Lewis

Trust, belief and a little magic… then maybe they could both fly free.

Since Trevor’s mum died his dad can barely look at him without yelling. Home is awful, school is worse. People just let you down, and Trevor only talks to Mrs. Bingo-Wings, his mum’s cat. But then he meets Midge, a peregrine falcon in danger, and finds out he has a gift that could change his life forever. Trevor is thrown into the heart of a magical adventure that could promise freedom – for Midge and for himself – but can he overcome his doubts and fears, and take on the destiny he’s only just discovered?

Thoughts From the Emporium

Amber read this first after being attracted by its simple but effective cover and blurb. As someone who has experienced an awful homelife after her mum died, she instantly connected to Trevor but it was the first chapter which captivated all at the emporium. The detailed, immersive description of flight set the story well and captured everyone’s imagination. It was an exquisite experience.

Watching the relationship between Midge, a peregrine falcon and Trevor deepen, and his self belief flourish was a joy to read and the ensuing magical adventure kept the pages turning. The author’s knowledge and passion for falconry and conservation shone on every page and added to the depth of this beautiful novel. It was refreshing to see a child with mutism take centre stage and have those around him accept his disability and make adaptations. The subject matter of grief was tackled sensitively and made Amber tear up on more than one occasion.

Beautifully written, about a child with a unique ability to understand birds and animals this novel will be a firm favourite on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf. Everyone is looking forward to seeing where Spellboda goes next and Rosa has started to read it to Alejo for bedtime reading.

Author biography

Photo of Jo Clarke, woman with long blonde hair wearing a black top

Previously a falconer, consultant and writer-presenter of CITV’s Wild World, JC Clarke is now loving the writer’s life and is also a script consultant and copywriter.
She’s been involved in falconry and conservation industries for over twenty years and is passionate about protecting wildlife. Having worked with children and young adults as a youth worker, JC Clarke hopes that her writing will help young people believe they are worth something and should aim for their dreams. An alumna of the Curtis Brown Creative Writing for Children Course, Jo was shortlisted for Best Opening Chapter for Spellboda at the 2019 Jericho Writers Festival of Writing. She lives in Ashford, Kent with her family – and a large number of animals!

Social media:

Website: https://www.jcclarkeauthor.com/

Twitter: Jo Clarke

Monday Merry Meet: Author Sharon Booth

It’s a new week and to help shift the Monday blues, we’re excited to host our first author visit at The Enchanted Emporium. Yes, it’s the Monday Merry Meet, and our visitor today is romance author, Sharon Booth.

Sharon has published twenty-three books, and is one of Rosa’s favourite romance authors — she’ll be here shortly I’m sure, when she has recovered from a fan girl moment – and is followed by Willow and Amber, thanks to her witchlit series based in the Yorkshire town of Castle Clair. With witch sisters and their familiars in a town where magic brews, they were hooked. With the upcoming release of her novel, it’s the perfect opportunity for a chat.

Photo of The Witches of Castle Clair series by Sharon Booth.
3 books each has a modern witch on it, 
Belle, Book and Candle is predominently purple
My Favourite Witch is orange
To Catch a Witch is blue
The Witches of Castle Clair series by Sharon Booth

Monday Merry Meet: Author Sharon Booth

Amber: Hi Sharon. Willow will be with you shortly. She’s just finishing brewing the novel dream time draught in the back. It’s a potion created by me but it has to be dealt with carefully, otherwise fumes will put you to sleep in minutes. It makes you dream about the latest book you’ve read. Ideal for romance readers who want to escape reality for a while and linger in communities where everyone pulls together, or explore lush landscapes. I mean, who wouldn’t want to linger in Castle Clair and visit the museum? It doesn’t work so well for those who enjoy psychological thrillers. I’ve had complaints about that one.

Do you want a drink? We have tea, coffee or something stronger. One of our customers brought us some homemade raspberry gin, Willow has hidden in her workroom.

Sharon: Thanks so much for inviting me to The Enchanted Emporium, Amber. All the times I’ve visited Whitby and I never knew it was here! How fabulous. I don’t suppose you have any raspberry lemonade? I’ve developed a bit of a passion for it lately. If not, coffee will be fine, thank you.

Photo of raspberry lemonade in a jug and glass. Garnished with fresh lemon slices

Amber: Sit down and don’t worry if you feel any cold patches on your back as we talk, it’s just Mrs Marley, our ghost. She adores romantic novels and will just be being nosy. It’s the ghost on the stairs you have to worry about.

Willow: Amber, stop scaring our guests.

Hi Sharon, glad you could make it and you have a drink. It’s lovely to catch up with you as we all adore your books. They are all set in Yorkshire, a place we all love. Was this a conscious decision?

Sharon: Hi, Willow. No, it wasn’t. In fact, initially, There Must Be an Angel, which was my first novel, was set in Glastonbury! But as the writing developed, I realised the voices I was hearing in my head all had Yorkshire accents, and since I’ve lived in East Yorkshire all my life (apart from those years we were in North Humberside which we don’t like to talk about as it’s still too traumatic) it made sense to set my books in a county I knew and loved. 

Willow: Both Amber and I love Castle Clair and would love to visit. How did you go about your world building to make it a vivid place for readers?

Sharon:  If I’m being really honest, I didn’t have to do a lot of world building to create Castle Clair. It was already there. It just needed a bit of tweaking! Castle Clair is based on the North Yorkshire market town of Knaresborough, quite near Harrogate, and it’s one of my favourite places. It really does have everything: ruined castle, cliffside shrine, legend of the prophetess, the beautiful river, the riverside walk, the market place, the museum in the castle grounds… There’s even an old chemist’s shop which was the inspiration for The Broom Closet. In real life it’s now a gift/sweet shop, and there really are steps in the shop leading up to The Lavender Tea Rooms, which I changed to The Rosemary Tea Rooms. All I had to do was create the legend of the St Clairs. Everything else was in place.   

Willow:  Tell us a bit about your new book.

Sharon: Will of the Witch is the fourth in The Witches of Castle Clair series. I only ever intended there to be three books, but they proved to be surprisingly popular, and I got lots of messages pleading for more. Since I loved writing them, I thought, why not? So in Will of the Witch you’ll meet three new St Clair sisters: Keely, Harley, and Romy. They never knew their Castle Clair cousins existed, and it’s a bit of a shock to them when they receive a mysterious invitation to Cornwall and discover Sirius, Star, Celeste, and Sky have all been invited too. There will be two more Castle Clair books after this one, so still lots to look forward to.  

Willow:  We can’t wait to read. What has your publication journey been like? If you did it again, would you change anything?

Sharon:  I’m a bit different to most of my writer friends, in that I started writing with indie publishing in mind. Finding a traditional publisher was never really on my radar. I was lucky enough to get scooped up by blogging group The Write Romantics and realised pretty quickly that most of them were looking for deals. I was too embarrassed to admit I wasn’t! Yes, I really was that person back then. So I subbed to about six publishers and got one request for the full manuscript, but by then my Write Romantic friend, Jo Bartlett, had decided to set up her own publishing company, Fabrian Books, and asked me to be her first signed author. I was delighted to accept, and Jo sent my book off to be edited and proofread, and I got to choose my cover, which was exciting. But Jo had a change of heart about running a publishing company, and after she and I, and another author, had a chat, we decided Fabrian Books should become an author collective instead. We would all indie publish our books under the Fabrian Books imprint. After a few years, I set up my own imprint, Green Ginger Publishing, and now I’m happily indie all the way. I’ve had two pocket novels, five large print books, and two audiobooks published by other publishers, but mostly it’s just me. What would I change? I’d stop dithering, thinking I really should be traditionally published to achieve anything, and realise that it’s perfectly possible to make a living and find fulfilment forging your own creative path.   

Willow: Wise words. What is your writing routine?

Sharon:  I’m kind of an all or nothing person. I’m either up early, writing furiously for hours, then sorting admin and marketing etc before finally finishing work at 7pm. Or I’m pretty much faffing around doing bits here and there and achieving nothing. I’ve stopped beating myself up about it. I know they say you should write every day, but the truth is I don’t. I still get the work done, so I’ve stopped worrying that I’m “doing it wrong”.

Willow: We have several customers who wish to write. Do you have any advice for them?

Sharon: My only real advice for writers is not to worry about most of the advice you’ll be given. There are so many “rules”, and you’ll get told frequently that “this is the way you should do it”. You have to find your own way. We’re all different. Eventually you’ll figure out the best way for you.

Rosa: What are you working on currently? Can you say, or is it top secret?

Sharon: Right now I’m working on a Christmas book. I know! We’ve had a record-breaking heatwave, and I’m sitting here with an electric fan on full blast, trying to muster some festive feeling. It’s actually the 26th book I’ll have written but will be the 25th book to be published. It’s the first in my new Tuppenny Bridge series, set in a Yorkshire Dales market town. It’s also a follow-on from my How the Other Half Lives series and will give a couple of characters some closure at last — something that so many readers have requested — although it can be read as a standalone.

Rosa: 25 books published, I need to catch up with some I’ve missed.

Willow: The Enchanted Emporium sell a number of candles in The Wishing Spell range which promise to help your day go smoothly. Which would you choose?

A lit candle

Sharon: Ooh, that’s tricky. I think Luck. So much in life is down to luck, isn’t it? You can work your socks off, but if you don’t get lucky, it won’t make a jot of difference. Mind you, I’ll be honest and say I could do with all of those except the “help without asking” one. My kids have all left home, and my husband is an absolute star. I couldn’t do any of this without him.

Amber: One candle, when lit, invokes memories of your perfect holiday or day? Where would it take you?

Sharon: Oh, another tricky one! Maybe a holiday I had when I was little. We always had big family holidays in Primrose Valley near Filey on the North Yorkshire coast. There was me, my brother and sister, my mum and dad, grandparents, auntie, great aunts and uncles, half cousins… we were in caravans and bungalows, and we’d go to the beach together every day, visit the pub at night (peanuts and cola for us kids in a separate room, naturally) and walk along the sands to Filey for fish and chips. I remember going winkle picking on Filey Brigg with my nanna, great-aunt and sister. So many of those people are no longer with us, even my dad, so yes, I’d definitely like to invoke all those memories again.  

Image of a ghost reading a book

Amber: The Enchanted Emporium is plagued by ghosts and paranormal activity. Have you had any spooky experiences – has it influenced your writing?

Sharon: When I was little, I had a friend called David. He was a little boy, about my age, and he wore a blue dressing gown, and every evening he’d sit on the bottom stair waiting for me, and I’d float down to meet him. I can’t remember anything else about him, but I saw him so many times and told my parents about him. My mum still remembers me talking about him. I haven’t had any other really spooky experiences, but I do have the weirdest dreams. They’re fascinating, like mini movies, and some of them may feature in a future book.

Willow: Amber knows all about lucid dreams. If we could blend a potion to give you a superpower or special ability for 24 hours, what would it be and what would you do with it?

Sharon: Wow, you really do ask tricky questions! You know, thinking about it, I’d like absolute confidence and self-belief for 24 hours, because I’d love to know how different that would make me, and if I could achieve more with that superpower. What must it feel like to be absolutely sure of yourself and your abilities? Yes, I’d love that potion.

Willow: What book would you add to The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf?

Sharon: There are sooo many books I could add. I absolutely adored Threadneedle by Cari Thomas, Deborah Harkness’s Discovery of Witches, Alys West’s Beltane and Storm Witch. I love The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper, and I also love The Whitby Witches series by Robin Jarvis. Can I really only add one book? You know what, I think I’ll go for The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis, because it’s the beginning of a cracking series. It’s supposed to be for children, but I read it in my early forties and loved it. And it’s set in Whitby, so very appropriate for your bookshelf.

Willow: Good choices. What would you add to Rosa’s box of Romance?

Sharon: Hmm. So many to choose from. I’d go for Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, so it’s clearly made a big impact on me. I love the character of Jane. She sets herself to high standards and lives by them, and even when society looks down on her, she holds her head high and knows her own worth. She’s wonderful.

Rosa: Jane Eyre is one of the best. Do you have a favourite place to write and read?

Sharon: I mostly write in my little writing office. It’s a small bedroom that’s completely mine, with a desk and chair, sideboard, and bookcase. There are magical canvas pictures up on one wall, along with Dr Who stuff, inspirational quotes, and gorgeous cards that my friends have sent me over the years. I find it really difficult to write anywhere else, although I can do other jobs like marketing and editing anywhere, funnily enough. I can’t seem to read for long in bed, as I always fall asleep, so I prefer to read on the sofa in the living room, with my dog snoozing on the rug in front of me.

Willow: That sounds perfect. Thanks so much for dropping by and good luck with your new book, Will of the Witch out 26th July.

Sharon: I’ve really enjoyed my trip to the Enchanted Emporium, and to glorious Whitby. I hope one day I’ll find my way here again. Thank you for inviting me, and kindest regards to Mrs Marley and the other ghosts for not spooking me!

Author Biography

Photo of author Sharon Booth. Smiling woman with long blond hair.
Author Sharon Booth

Sharon Booth writes about the lighter side of life, love, magic, and mystery. Her characters may be flawed, but whether they’re casting a spell, solving a mystery, or dealing with the ups and downs of family life or romance, they do it with kindness and humour.

Sharon is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. She has been a KDP All-Star Author on several occasions.

She likes reading, researching her family tree, and watching Doctor Who, and Cary Grant movies. She loves horses and hares and enjoys nothing more than strolling around harbours and old buildings. Take her to a castle, an abbey, or a stately home and she’ll be happy for hours. She admits to being shamefully prone to crushes on fictional heroes.

Her stories of love, community, family, and friendship are set in pretty villages and quirky market towns, by the sea or in the countryside, and a happy ending is guaranteed.
If you love heroes and heroines who do the best they can no matter what sort of challenges they face, beautiful locations, and warm, feelgood stories, you’ll love Sharon’s books.

You’ll find all my links here:

https://linktr.ee/sharonboothwriter

WILL OF THE WITCH (THE WITCHES OF CASTLE CLAIR 4)

https://getbook.at/cc4

Will of the Witch

Cover Reveal: Crestwood Falls by Emma-Louise Smith

This is a first for The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf – a cover reveal for an upcoming release of a debut novel called Crestwood Falls by Emma-Louise Smith. The bookshelf shimmered with excitement when it realised a new witchy novel was under progress, it can’t wait to have a copy on its shelf.

Here’s the details and blurb.

Blurb

Freya is a grieving Witch who refuses to use her magic. Leaving her home behind she seeks a mundane life free from all things supernatural.

Stumbling across the sleepy town of Crestwood Falls she uncovers a deeply buried family secret in the bookshop owned by resident Vampire, Valorian. Warned against keeping her magic locked up, things take a disastrous turn and put her new found friends at risk.

Can Freya overcome her grief and fear to save those she has come to care about?

A story of love and light in a time of loss and despair

How fantastic does this sound? It’s on the witches to be read list.

So now here it is, the gorgeous cover for

Crestwood Falls by Emma-Louise Smith

Crestwood Falls by Emma-Louise Smith

Author Biography

Emma-Louise lives on the wonderful North-East coast. With a passion for reading and writing she can often be found sat scribbling away at her desk or curled up in her favourite reading corner. Emma-Louise re-discovered her love for writing after a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease which caused severe health issues. Her hobbies include beach-combing with her children, going on walks, swimming and watercolour painting

Once published we will read Crestwood Falls and share our review.

Book Review: The Ghost in Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

The staff at the Enchanted Emporium were thrilled to discover an advanced copy of the third book in the Witches of Woodville series on the bookshelf, thanks to Random Things Tours. Arguments ensued about who would be the first to read The Ghost in the Ivy Barn but Willow won. There are advantages to being the boss.

Scroll down to see if this book matched the joy of the previous books, The Crow Folk and Babes in the Wood.

Book Review: The Ghost in Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

Book cover for The Ghost of Ivy Barn by Mark Stay. Predominately blue cover of a rural village landscape with a bright light coming from a barn.
The Ghost of Ivy Barn by Mark Stay

Title: The Ghost of Ivy Barn

Author: Mark Stay

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: YA, fantasy, witchlit

Release Date: 7th July 2022

Blurb

August, 1940.

 As the Battle of Britain rages overhead, a warlock leader from the Council of High Witches comes to Woodville with a ritual to repel the imminent Nazi invasion. The only catch is it involves full-frontal nudity on the White Cliffs of Dover. The Witches of Woodville are having none of it, but when more witches arrive they realise they might have a spy in their midst, and it’s up to Faye Bright to uncover the traitor.

But she’s got enough on her plate already with the ghost of a Polish Hurricane pilot who may hold the key to the truth.

Thoughts From The Emporium

The witches didn’t think this series could get better, but they were wrong. This is the best book yet – full of humour, magic, betrayal and murder, with a slight inkling of romance between Faye and Bertie.

Like the others in the series, there is a strong sense of place – not only in location but in time. The reader is immersed in the village life which continues despite the increased threat from the Nazis invasion and they feels the collective responsibility people had. Everyone was expected to do their bit for the war effort, witches included.

Amber was excited to read about Faye Bright’s evolving powers and the surprising effects it had on the others, while Willow was hoping the antics of the trio of Woodville witches wouldn’t give her own mentee ideas. Charlotte, Mrs Teach and Faye are witches and women to aspire to with their individual quirks, self-awareness and strong views. There is a witch for everyone.

The dialogue and bickering between the characters allowed their personalities to shine and the more you get to know the witches and the side characters, the more they are loved. The introduction of new witches, including the nudity loving Mrs Housego and formidable Vera Fivetrees added to this book’s charm.

The ghost in the barn and the surrounding mystery added to the tension. With highly visual and creepy scenes, Amber, Willow and Rosa kept reading to see how this thread fitted in with the rest of the story.

Though this novel could be read as a standalone, these events lead on from those in book 2, Babes in the Wood and readers would gain more enjoyment if they read the series from the beginning and watch the relationships and story develop.

This gripping book showcases superb word building and imaginative plot twists perfectly blended with humour and community of times past. Despite the dangers the characters face, this series provide an ideal escape from reality. The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf considers them to be some of the best examples of witchy literature and they appeal to a range of ages. Rosa can’t wait until her son, Alejo, is old enough to read them.

Mrs Marley (one of the Emporium’s resident ghosts) is currently listening to the audio version and is pleased it continues to be narrated by Candida Gubbins.

Just in case you need more tempting to try this series, watch this unique unboxing of the new books

The best unboxing video to tempt you to read 📚

Author Biography

Photo of author Mark Stay.
Mark Stay

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben
Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at markstaywrites.com.

A huge thank you to Random Thing Tours for inviting us to this tour and providing an advanced copy for the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf.

Other blogs on this tour
7th July Ramblingmads @ramblingmads
The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf @kakenzie101
8th July
Mai's Musings @maitaylor01
11th July
Hair Past A Freckle @karlou
No More Grumpy Bookseller @BeckyLeJeune
12th JUly prdg reads @prdg
13th July Jo's Book Blog @tiny_ickle_jo
14th July Bookshortie @Bookshortie1
Beyond The Books @ShazzieRimmel
15th July Over The Rainbow Book Blog @JoannaLouisePar Random Things Through My Letterbox @annecater
Other blogs on this tour

Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Hi all, Amber here. After the last review The Enchanted Emporium has been awash with chat about romance. Rosa came in with a fresh stash of books from one of the best bookshop’s ever – Whitby bookshop. A must place to visit if you come to our Yorkshire coastal town. I maybe biased – my mum took me there once but that’s another story and way too complicated to explain now but the shop has an adorable children’s section. Every book Rosa had chose had those pastel covers of nice places and a promise of a happy ever after. They give the reader a much needed escape and an emotional hug but I know they’re unrealistic. Happy endings don’t exist, otherwise Lucas Trent, the hunkiest guy in college wouldn’t have dumped me to go off and snog Geraldine Seymour. No, IMO the writers who are more likely to tell the truth about life are those who write horror.

And with a broken heart and hexing exes ban in place, horror books are the must read. Books like, Demon by Matt Wesolowski.

Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Book cover Demon by Matt Wesolowski.
Black cover with a pair of devil horns.
Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Title: Demon

Author: Matt Wesolowski

Publisher: Orenda books

Genre: Horror/Crime

Release Date: 20th Jan 2022

Blurb

Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series.

In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

Thoughts from the Emporium

Podcasts are my go to thing when I can’t sleep or travelling so this unique format suited me and this creepy tale well. Based in the depths of the Yorkshire Moors, the descriptions captured the brooding atmospheric location and added to the eeriness of the crime. This novel has a great sense of place. Setting plays a huge part in the narrative; the old kilns left over from when the village relied on the mining industry are the forbidden playground for the village children lured there by the warnings of danger and whispering of the presence of the devil. The murder of Sidney Parsons by the Demonic Duo adds to this lore.

Scott King’s podcast focuses on this horrific crime but the true horror is revealed when listening to the six people’s versions of the events. The deeper Scott digs the more immersive it becomes and creepier truths are revealed. The spotlight on the village inevitably has consequences and tensions rise when one of the murderers new names is set to be leaked. With twists I wasn’t expecting and superb storytelling, this was a chilling read where less is more and the reader is allowed to use their own imagination to terrify themselves. While some of the threads told can be explained with logic and other versions with supernatural leanings remain unexplained and it’s only when seen as a whole the true story is told.

Not only is this a fantastic horror/crime novel, it has a deeper message about society, prejudice and the increased influence of social media – see I told you horror writers tell the truth.

Demon is a well-crafted story in a clever format that adds to the atmospheric terror of the tale. It will give you nightmares. As the sixth novel in the Six Stories series so I’ve got some catching up to do.

If you want to keep updated on the most recent additions on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf and some old favourites remember to click follow or pop over to Instagram and follow witch_of_whitby

I’m sure Rosa will keep sharing books from her Box of Romances too.

Author Biography

Photo of author Matt Wesolowski.  Short haired man wearing a Lucifer black T-shirt with occult symbols on it
Matt Wesolowski

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit.

Book Review: The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering

The book chosen from the Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf today is The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering. It was recommended to the staff in the store by one of their regulars, Mrs Ramsey. Set in the Yorkshire Moors and the mention of a ghost hunting, she knew it would be liked. Was she right?

Book Review: The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering

The book cover for The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering. 
In bright summery colours is a old farmhouse with the Moors in the background. Flowers and a hare is in the foreground.
The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering

Title: The Forgotten House on the Moor

Author: Jane Lovering

Publisher: Boldwood books

Genre: Psychological Romance with ghost hunting

Release Date: 22nd June 2022

Blurb

Mystery, mayhem, a manor house and a generous serving of romance…

When police knock on Alice Donaldson’s door at 4am, she knows the news won’t be good. There’s been an accident involving her ex-husband Grant, and as his existing next of kin, they need her help.

Grant is missing up on the North York moors, but the Grant Alice knew could barely be persuaded out on a walk around the block. What on earth possessed him to go on a hike in the middle of the night?

Alice soon finds herself working with Grant’s girlfriend Jenna and Jenna’s gorgeous ‘Lord of the family Manor’ brother Max, to find out what has happened, and what caused Grant’s accident at The Fortune House – the spooky house out on the moors.

The locals tell all manner of ghoulish stories about The Fortune House, which Alice is not minded to listen to. But before long, things take a turn for the strange and Max and Alice have a new mystery to solve. While all the while Alice can’t help hoping she might meet the requirements to be Max’s ‘Lady of the Manor’ at his country pile, Hatherleigh Hall.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3kJNJjd

Thoughts from the Emporium

Yes, Mrs Ramsey chose a good book to share. No one in the store had read a Jane Lovering novel before but it ticked all the boxes for Willow and Rosa.* For a romantic read it is packed with different threads to keep the reader entertained with mystery of Grant’s disappearance, ghost hunting, dealing with emotional turmoil of grief and personal growth.

The witches of the emporium are passionate about the Yorkshire countryside and the descriptions of the brooding moors captured them perfectly and gave an ideal setting for the spooky mystery around Fortune house. The personal recollections of passers-by experiences interspersed in the story was a clever addition and kept Willow and Rosa hooked.

As a romance entwined with a paranormal investigation, this novel could have been placed in either Rosa’s box of Romance or on the ghost and fantasy loving Enchanted Emporium bookshelf so for a while it hovered between the two in the courtyard.

Fed up of its impatience, Amber strolled to Whitby’s delightful bookshop for an extra copy. The new duplicating spell she’s working on may have worked equally well but wouldn’t have given royalties to the author. Currently all the staff are outraged with the Tiktok Amazon scam and she refuses to perform magical piracy. With books at least, chocolate is a different matter.

There will be arguments over the next Jane Lovering novel that arrives in down Black Cat alley especially looking at Jane’s back catalogue. How can any witch book addict resist a title like Hubble Bubble?

*Amber is still in the depths of heartbreak after a row with her now ex-boyfriend so couldn’t face a romantic read but she has added it to her TBR. A good horror is the way to soothe a bruised heart apparently.


Author Biography

Woman with short cropped hair smiling and leaning on a stash of books
Jane Lovering

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Jane-Lovering-Author-106404969412833

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Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jane-lovering

If you want to keep up with the witches and their book recommendations please follow them on Instagram – witch_of_whitby

Book Review: The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

The first ever review from the Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf is for the gorgeous The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield, a magical novel based in the time running up to the French Revolution. It doesn’t linger long on the bookshelf before it is borrowed by a passing witch.

Scroll down to discover why.

Book Review: The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

Book Cover for The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield
The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

Title: The Embroidered Book

Author: Kate Heartfield

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Genre: Fantasy, historical

Release Date: 17th February 2022

Blurb

‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all’

 1768. Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles they rename her Marie Antoinette.

The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless.

When they were only children, they discovered a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences. In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take control of their lives. But every spell requires a sacrifice.

 And as love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.

Thoughts from the Emporium

Harper Voyager excel at designing book covers that catch your eye and lure you in as if they are enchanted like many of the articles in this book. The cover made Willow desire this book even before she read the blurb.

After studying history at uni, she adores novels that blend magic with historical fact devoured this mighty tome in days. When Amber read it, she was concerned she’d be confused as her knowledge of Marie Antoinette was minimal but these were unfounded. As promised by Willow, she was immersed into lives of Charlotte and Antoinette after they discover an embroidered book of magic. The spectacular blend of magic, history and sense of place kept both witches enthralled.

It is an epic read of 656 pages where the two sisters have to journey through the complex politics of these turbulent times while balancing family and societal expectations when their central reason is to do anything is to do the best for their respective countries. It’s told with empathy and made me consider questions about power, class and influence.

The palaces and characters were brought to life, making reading it a highly visual experience. Both witches and many customers who’ve also read it agree, it would make a wonderful tv series under the right director.

Why is it on the Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf?

The Embroidered Book is as beautiful inside as out and though it’s a work of fiction it gives many of the store’s readers a platform to build their knowledge of this era on while they are immersed in magic and spells. Full of imagination, the spectacular magical world building overlays historical fact making it a must for fans of both history and fantasy.

The bookshelf has witnessed the downfall of many who have taken a book of spells to the detriment of themselves and those around them. It hopes those witches who read The Embroidered Book will heed its warning.

Author Biography

Photo of Kate Heartfield
Kate Heartfield

Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel out in February 2022. Her debut novel won Canada’s Aurora Award, and her novellas, stories and games have been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, Sunburst and Aurora awards. A former journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.

Introducing The Enchanted Emporium and the Witches of Whitby

Welcome to The Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf where the witches of Whitby and residents of the store are delighted to share their passion for books they love. Many of these are gathered on the magical bookcase. These can be old favourites and new.

If you love books with a supernatural twist in all it’s forms or have a keen interest in witchy literature, you’re in the right place. So grab a cuppa and discover some new books for your to be read pile.

If magic is not your thing but you adore happy ever afters, Rosa will be sharing her favourites too.

Each person working in the emporium have their particular interests, let’s introduce them.

The Enchanted Emporium

Sketch like image of a back street in Whitby image credited to Mary Grobchenko
Rambling street of Whitby image credited Mary Grobchenko

In the atmospheric coastal town of Whitby, North Yorkshire – famed for its inspiration for Dracula, and the bustling Goth Weekends – is The Enchanted Emporium, a small specialist tea suppliers which also specialises in lotions, potions and witchcraft. It sits hidden down a snicket away from the crowds, on the site of an old apothecary dating back centuries, many people pass it by but once visited it’s never forgotten. Let’s meet the team who work there.

Painting of an old fashioned shop called The Enchanted Emporium. Blue frontage with witches broom and selection of tea and herbs in the window by Jess Titcombe
The Enchanted Emporium by Jess Titcombe

Meet the team and book reviewers:

Willow Anderson – proprietor of The Enchanted Emporium, she practises the art of witchcraft through the teas she blends and handmade cosmetics – The Wishing Spell range. Her favourite books are ancient grimoires full of herbal remedies, witchy romances, spooky tales that make her tingle with trepidation or original ideas that make her think. She is also a keen reader of psychological thrillers with a paranormal twist.

Amber – apprentice and daughter of Willow’s best friend, Louise only recently discovered her witch heritage and powers. Attracted to the darker side, she loves horror, gothic tales, YA witch stories so she feels less of a freak and the grimoires Willow has locked away. She can feel their power and is convinced they are meant for her.

The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf was her idea to share the knowledge she is gaining under Willows care with other witches but it has evolved into something more.

Rosa – the only non-magic member of staff though she is adamant she saw a ghost once. She enjoys some supernatural novels but her heart is with romance novels of all kinds. As a single mum, she’s not given up on a happy ever after so while she waits for Mr Right, she escapes into books full of romance, magical or not. Many books she adores are rejected by the bookshelf for lacking magic so has created her own share and swop box – Rosa’s Box of Romance.

Photo of Whitby Abbey, St Mary's church and beach credited to Zeyu Jiang
Whitby – image credited to Zeyu Jiang

They all have a passion for books and wish to share their favourites with you. Which book from the bookshelf will they review first?

An open book with the illustration leading to a magical place in woods and a girl on a swing from a pink blossom tree
image credited to Darkmoon_Art