Best Books of 2022 and chat of things to come

Happy New Year from all at The Enchanted Emporium and we wish you a magical 2023 with plenty of happiness, good health and laughter. And books, lots of books and tea. If the current influx of books arriving on the enchanted bookshelf and in Rosa’s Box of Romance is anything to go by we’re in for a treat.

Have you seen the recent Guardian newspaper articles regarding the rise of witch lit or witcherature? We’ll link them here and here. We agree 2022 been the year of the witch as our favourite books will show and it looks like the trend will continue. Aren’t we lucky? Willow needs to conjure a pause time to read spell to read them all. Maybe, just maybe we will have exciting news to tell about our own story based in our shop written by writer, Kate Kenzie later this year but you know what some writers are like with deadlines and self doubt, it could be delayed again. You can follow her progress and give her a kick up the bum – sorry encouragement here.

Our blog is in its infancy, toddling about but we’ve had a ball chatting to authors in our Monday Merry Meets. They’ve brightened up our weeks and you can catch up with those you may have missed below. This year we’ll continue to fling our staff room doors and provide tea while we gossip with more writers and customers who stumble down Black Cat Alley. Our first guest is Yorkshire romance author, Jane Lovering. Why not press subscribe so you don’t miss any future chat?

Monday Merry Meets in 2022

Jeanna Louise Skinner

Alys West

Christina Courtenay

Kiley Dunbar

Kate Johnson

Kat Chant

J C Clarke

Elisabeth Hobbes

Lilian Brooks

Stephanie Hansen

Rachel Burge

Sharon Booth

Heidi Swain

Jessica Thorne

Emma Bradley

Photo of a floral cup and saucer

Enough rambling before our first cup of tea and the sun has risen over Whitby, here are our favourite books of 2022 from the bookshelf and Rosa’s Box of Romance in no particular order (that really is a ask too far). Are you ready?

Here goes

The Best Books of 2022 on the Enchanted Emporium’s Bookshelf

The Change by Kirsten Miller – One of the finest examples of witcherature and feminist writing we’ve seen. It kicks ass, has superb powerful characterisation and is unforgettable for its humour, darkness and immersive plot.

The Gifts by Liz Hyder – This was another immersive, breath stopping novel. Not witches this time but angels in the nineteenth century when misogyny and greed is rife. The cover is beautiful and with this unforgettable storyline, it deserves to sit on everyone’s bookshelf

The Hex Appeal by Kate Johnson – Full of humour, and with plenty of highly imaginative mayhem this witchy romcom made us chuckle out loud.

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marias – with a cast of six octogenarian witches, this novel captivated us and it highlights how commercial witch lit can be. The Moonshyne witches will be forever in out hearts.

Widdershins by Helen Steadman – Historical fiction based on the Newcastle witch trials in 1649. The detail and knowledge portrayed on the page brought the era and danger to live.

Demon by Matt Wesolowski. – From witches to a demon haunting a village in Yorkshire. The podcast format worked well for this horror novel and sent shivers down our spines.

The Ghost of Ivy Barn by Mark Stay – Another fun and immersive witchy novel in the Witches of Woodville series. It has humour, action and highly memorable, quirky characters. Once read you have to keep reading the series over and over.

The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore – The last book reviewed last year and with impressive world building, this retelling of the Baba Yaga folk tale is a must for witcherature fans.

What were your favourite reads last year? Drop us a line or comment we’d love to know.

Happy reading!

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Book Review: The Change by Kirsten Miller

No one could miss this book when it arrived on the bookshelf with its simple but effective bright orange and black cover. It promised to be a unique and refreshing read, just what Willow needed after a run in with a certain member of the community. Revenge would have been high on her agenda if there was no consequences so when the book followed her into the store, she suspected her anger would be released into the story.

Scroll down if it hit the spot.

Book Review: The Change by Kirsten Miller

Book cover for The Change by Kirsten Miller
Black background with stylised female face in bold orange and a bee under it.
The Change by Kirsten Miller

Title: The Change

Author: Kirsten Miller

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Feminist fiction, fantasy

Release Date: 18th August 2022

Narrator for the audio version: January LaVoy

Blurb

Nessa: The Seeker
Jo: The Protector
Harriett: The Punisher

With newfound powers the time has come to take matters into their own hands…

After Nessa is widowed and her daughters leave for college, she’s left alone in her house near the ocean. In the quiet hours, she hears voices belonging to the dead – who will only speak to her.

On the cusp of fifty Harriett’s marriage and career imploded, and she hasn’t left her house in months. But her life is far from over – in fact, she’s undergone a stunning metamorphosis.

Jo spent thirty years at war with her body. The rage that arrived with menopause felt like the last straw – until she discovers she’s able to channel it.

Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio discover the abandoned body of a teenage girl. The police have written off the victim. But the women have not. Their own investigations lead them to more bodies and a world of wealth where the rules don’t apply – and the realisation that laws are designed to protect villains, not the vulnerable.

So it’s up to these three women to avenge the innocent, and punish the guilty…

The time has come to embrace The Change.

* * *

‘Part crime thriller, part extended howl of pure rage, The Change takes a scalpel to the cancer of misogyny that infects every cell of western culture, with biting wit and a burning, righteous anger that never lets up. Powerful and original’ Tammy Cohen

‘A brilliant book. Thrilling, fast paced and original. I couldn’t stop reading’ Sarah Morgan

‘A revenge fantasy and feminist fist-pump – and a balm for trying times’ Grazia

Thoughts from the Emporium

Wow, fantastic and superb were the initial reactions by the witches and Rosa when they finished reading The Change. They’re concerned this review won’t do this novel justice. The three women and Kirsten Miller’s narrative are as powerful as the bold cover depicts.

Willow started reading this after a tiresome day involving clashes with several male customers and a run in with a certain estate agent. The first few chapter made her grin and nod in agreement. She was hooked. The three protagonists are all strong women whose personalities leap from the page and their backstories and story arcs are empowering, and equally immersive. When faced with multiple POVs, everyone agreed there is usually one character they preferred, but not in this case. They all have depth and charisma in different ways – Harriet with her purposeful jungle of a garden that Willow wishes to recreate, Jo with her ability to tap into her hot flushes and make people take note, and Nessa with her empathetic ghost hunting. This multi-layered thriller was impossible to put down.

Initially, Amber screwed her teenage nose up at the idea of reading about the menopause, but relented under the insistence of the others and the lure of the paranormal aspects of the novel. Within pages, she was also hooked. Even at 18, she recognised many of the situations the women found themselves in and especially related to Jo’s fight against her own body. Kirsten Miller has captured all the elements of being a woman at different stages of their lives and the keen, witty observations bring all the readers into the story ready to cheer Harriet, Nessa and Jo in their revenge against misogyny in all its forms.

Willow and Mrs Marley listened to the audio version. The narration by January LaVoy takes this already fantastic read to another level. She tackles each character and personality perfectly, breathing extra wit, power and tension into the thriller. With the amount of swearing, Willow had to convince prim Mrs Marley to continue listening but she soon connected with the women and snapped at Willow when she tried to switch it off at bedtime. Mrs Marley wished they had enlightening books like this in her day, when the change and men’s behaviour was something to whispered about or ignored, leaving her and friends suffering in silence and alone.  

Thanks to its unique premise, soul, emotion and thrilling mystery The Change is by far one of the best books this year. It has triggered refreshingly deep conversations about the menopause, female solidarity and misogyny amongst the Emporium’s customers and would be ideal for a book club. The emporium is recommending this to everyone but especially those ordering Willow’s menopausal tea.

Author Biography

Photo of Kirsten Miller. White women with blonde mid length hair, smiling. Wearing a blue shirt
Kirsten Miller

Kirsten Miller grew up in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. At seventeen, she hit the road and moved to New York City, where she lives to this day. Kirsten’s first adult novel, The Change, is a feel good feminist revenge fantasy–with witches. The Change is a Good Morning America Book Club pick for May 2022. Kirsten also the author of over a dozen middle grade and YA novels, including the acclaimed Kiki Strike books, which tell the tale of the delinquent girl geniuses who keep Manhattan safe, and How to Lead a Life of Crime. She is not the Kirsten Miller who wrote All That Is Left (which appears on the list of the books she’s written), but she assumes that Kirsten is lovely and talented.

A huge thank you to HQ providing an advanced copy on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf for honest and unbiased opinions.

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