Meet the Author, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf, work in progress, Writing journey

Happy New Year: a look back and towards the future

Happy New Year and a huge thank you to my readers who’ve stayed with me last year to now. 2023 is galloping by as did 2022, my head is still a, whirlwind of last year’s events I’m hoping this one will be calmer.

Emotionally and physically 2022 was a year of ups and downs. Family life provided many challenges and my dystonia has fought back which had an impact on productivity with projects I wished to complete. They’re still holding on to their work in progress status. But thanks to the advice from Bestseller Experiment by writing a little most days progress has been made, the word count has increased and plots have been formed so I take that as a win.

Illustration of woman on laptop with arms in air.

Writing wise despite challenges, I’ve had some uplifting and encouraging news these last few months from positive feedback from possible agents, the Cheshire Prize writing competition, meeting a zoom writing buddy in person for the first time in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, to being shortlisted in the TLC mentorship. Also I received a big unexpected boost from a guardian angel which will be revealed later this year.

I’m seeing 2022 as a foundation year. My writing has changed, my confidence is more grounded and I’m able to battle the demon of self doubt easier thanks to the writing community around me. Support from fellow writers is invaluable. With thrilling news in the pipeline about their own work, 2023 promises to be littered with happy events and I can’t help feeling uplifted because of them.

Photo of bottle of love potions etc

The deadline to finish A Blend of Magic, a story of the Witches of Whitby may have been delayed but the characters, Willow Anderson, Amber and Rosa have taken fate into their own hands and started blogging and causing potential mayhem on social media. They share their love of books and catch up with authors at their Monday Merry Meets. Last year they caught up with Heidi Swain, Alys West and to name a few and there will more to come in the next few months. Subscribe to their blog so you don’t miss out.

I’ve read many good books and added more to my TBR pile thanks to recommendations, East Riding library service and Miranda Dickinson Chatty Things Facebook live. Her book chat and bookish community have helped the lows of life and boredom of still shielding. Books really are the ideal form of escape.

Enough rambles for now. More soon but you can keep updated on my writing journey on Instagram, Facebook and possibly Twitter – I really don’t know what’s happening there.

Take care, happy writing and/or reading!

All about Books, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

After a sweltering few days, I hope you are all well. I’m excited to share my review for The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans. My attraction to this book was two-fold, firstly I adore bees and if I had the space I’d love to learn beekeeping and secondly, I loved Jaimie Admans The Post box at the North Pole. If this book was half as enjoyable as that one, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Scroll down to see if this bee filled romance met my high expectations.

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

Book cover for  The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans. Title in yellow. 
Green meadow with bees in the foreground and a mansion in the background.  A woman in a red dress is walking towards two beehives.
The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

Title: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove

Author: Jaimie Admans

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 15th July 2022

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09Z757JFW

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Z757JFW

Blurb

Her new start is about to bee-gin!

Having moved into her mum’s spare room after a disastrous break-up, Kayleigh Harwood is desperate for a fresh start. When she sees an opening for a new beekeeper at the old manor house at Elderflower Grove she jumps at the chance – despite not knowing a thing about bees…

 The abandoned house holds a mystery of its own – the previous owner vanished years ago – and locals have been inventing stories about the manor ever since. Unable to resist the urge to look around, Kayleigh is shocked to find drop-dead-gorgeous gardener Carey living inside!

 Carey explains that the house and surrounding land is at risk of being demolished, endangering the bees, and he has been staying there to protect it.

 Convinced the secret of the house holds the key to saving Elderflower Grove’s bees, Kayleigh is prepared to do everything she can to help. But is she ready to find her own happy-ever-after too…?

My Thoughts

The Beekeeper in Elderflower Grove has the most original chuckle inducing openings I have read. The job interview conducted by a bee via zoom is one to remember and sets the tone of the book. It’s light-hearted, full of bee puns and offers the reader an escape from reality.

Kayleigh is down on her luck and needs a job at any cost even if she needs a dummy guide on beekeeping to do it. The location of Elderflower Grove is wonderful and has a fairy tale atmosphere about it which cast a spell on me just as much as the characters. Beautifully described, I could smell the flowers, taste the honey and hear the sound of nature, and I didn’t want to leave. The house has a huge personality of its own which made me long for it to be saved from developers.

Carey was someone I’d love to meet with his retro t-shirts which sent me down memory lane, and his humour and warmth despite a broken heart. Reading the developing friendship and chemistry between him and Kayleigh was like witnessing your best friends fall in love. It was a joy to watch.

The trials and twists to save the house and the bees made me keep turning the page so I read this in a day and night. Who needs sleep when a happy ever after is promised?

Would I recommend?

With more than a sprinkling of bee facts, this heart-warming novel is perfect for a summer’s read or when you need to escape from the world. This romance  is one for my forever shelf for a reread when I need some warmth and chuckles and with more than a few mentions of ghosts, it’ll be enjoyed by those visiting the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf too.

Author Biography

Photo of author Jaimie Admans, woman with dark long hair, glasses, smiling wearing a black top. The background is pink with white spots
Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 36-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots. She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of several romantic comedies for HarperCollins – The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea, Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm, The Little Bookshop of Love Stories, The Wishing Tree Beside the Shore, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane, The Post Box at the North Pole, and The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/be_the_spark

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

List of other blogs on the tour
15th July
Book Escapes with BabsW67
@wendyreadsbooks on Instagram
Being Anne

16th July
Peacock's Book Review
Portobello Book blog
Karenandherbooks

17th July
Splashes into Books
Tealeavesandbookleaves
The Comfy Chair

18th July
Jaffareadstoo
Karen's Reads
ramblingreads.com

19th July
BetweenTheLines
Broadbean's Books
Kirsty_Reviews_Books

20th July
Hearding Cats
Kate Kenzie Writes
Romance by The Book

21st July

htdk2002.reads
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Bookish Dreams

22nd July
Tizi's Book Review
Tea Party Princess
Stacey Hammond

23rd July
Little Miss Book Lover 87
Ceri's Little Blog
Captured on Film

24th July
Rae Reads
Bookish Jottings
This Hannah Reads
Other Blogs on this tour

Characters, NanoWriMo, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf, work in progress, Writing journey, Writing process

Hello July and Camp NaNoFinMo

Long time since we’ve had a catch up and it’s July already. I swear time is speeding up or is this normal once you get over 40? It feels like it should be in the depths of February not in the summer past Solstice.

So what’s been happening? Personally, a lot but writing wise not so much. I’m plodding on with my Silver Swan novel and looking for a home for my witches of Whitby novel, A Blend of Magic.

With the witches of Whitby in mind, they have their own book review blog and Instagram account. Amber and Willow became fed up of my procrastination at telling their stories so they’ve gone rogue. The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf will showcase their favourite books with a fantasy or paranormal leaning, give small insights into their lives and hopefully, share interviews from visiting authors, bloggers or anyone else they fancy talking to who stumble into Black Cat Alley.

Rosa, the only non-supernatural member of staff doesn’t want to be left out and as a fan of romance novels, she will periodically choose a book from her Rosa’s box of Romances to chat about.

All this can be found here –

Blog The Enchanted Emporium’s Bookshelf

Instagram – witch_of_Whitby

To give myself a final kick over the finish line of my second draft of the Silver Swans, I’ve joined Camp NanoWriMo or as the aim is to finish a novel NaNoFinMo. This is much needed as I have agents and publisher waiting for the finished product – maybe this is why procrastination is rife, once it’s out there the fear of rejection is unleashed. The high of wow someone in the industry want to read it crashes into full blown imposter syndrome.

I’ve just read Stop Worrying, Start Writing by Sarah Painter which has helped with facing my writing demons and self-doubt but it still creeps in when faced with an unformed chapter.

NaNoFinMo National Novel Finishing month image. A shark swimming in water
National Novel Finishing Month

Time to stop procrastinating and let the fun commence.

Happy writing

Love

All about Books, Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

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

With the mention of the Yorkshire Moors, one of my favourite places, I was excited to receive an invitation for this tour by Rachel’s Random Resources. Though I’ve never read a Jane Lovering novel, I’ve heard wonderful things about them and I devoured the How to Write a Rom Com book she wrote with Rhoda Baxter. With her expertise, I was expecting a great read.

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

 My Thoughts

I was not disappointed and can understand why so many readers love her books. While romance is a key element, this book is packed with mystery, ghost stories and personal growth making it an engaging read.

I was perplexed at the start with why Alice, when woken up by the police to be alerted to her husband’s disappearance, wasn’t overly upset but it soon became clear. As a character she has flaws I could relate to including crippling self-doubt and putting herself down and combined with her believable backstory this made her a rounded protagonist. It was a joy to see her discover the possibility of different future while she digs into the history of the creepy Fortune house, in an attempt to solve the mystery around Grant’s disappearance and get closer to Max.

The stunning beauty of the Moors leapt off the page with the descriptions and I could easily imagine being there, immersing me into the ghost story that Max is investigating. The novel is regularly interspersed with personal recollections from locals about their spooky experiences on the site. These kept the paranormal thread going and kept me hooked. I adore paranormal books.

Would I recommend?

Yes, with the brooding Yorkshire landscape, a ghostly mystery, and romance between two believable characters, this was a refreshing read. It is a fun, gripping read for a summer’s day but also perfect for those Autumn nights on the run up to Halloween.

With an eclectic back catalogue, I’m looking forward to reading more of Jane Loverings work.


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

Twitter https://twitter.com/janelovering

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/JaneLoveringNews

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

Other blogs on this tour.
22nd June - Book Escapes with BabsW67, Jaffareadstoo, The Hannah Reads
23rd June - Tea Party Princess, Portobello Book blog, Bookish dreams,
24th June Tizi's Book Review, Bookish Jottings, Kate Kenzie Writes
25th June Ceri's Little Blog, Stacey Hammond, Sharon beyond the books
26th June
Being Anne, jen_loves_reading, Over the rainbow book blog
27th June
Captivated reading, 27 Book St, Jane Hunt Writer
28th June
htd2002.reads, Captured on film, Romance by the book
Other blogs on this tour

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

All about Books, Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

Today’s review is for the gorgeous The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield, a magical novel based in the time running up to the French Revolution.

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.

My Thoughts

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 me need this book even before I became intrigued by the blurb. I love books with a magical twist but my European history is dire and my knowledge of Marie Antoinette is patchy so I did worry the plot would go over my head. I love historical fiction but with an attention span of a gnat, I have a tendency to get confused. There was no need for my concerns. With a list of main characters at the front and immersive plot I was thrown into the lives of Charlotte and Antoinette after they discover  an embroidered book of magic. The spectacular blend of magic, history and sense of place kept me 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 and it was a highly visual experience reading it and would make a wonderful tv series under the right director.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, The Embroidered Book is one to read, keep and treasure. It is as beautiful inside as out and though it’s a work of fiction it gave me a platform to build my knowledge of this era while I was immersed in magic. Full of imagination, magical world building overlaid by historical fact it is a must for fans of both history and fantasy.

It is a book for my forever shelf and will be popular for visitors to the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf.

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.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love