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Book Review: The Runes – Grounding in Northern Magic by James Flowerdew

My first introduction to runes was at the Jorvick centre in York as a child and they invoked a sense of mystery and magic, yet the pouch of runes I have had for the last 20 years have sat in my drawer unused. Unlike tarot cards which felt instinctive, I’ve never really connected with them and the booklet they came with was dry and hard to grasp. When I saw this book, I hoped it would allow me to learn about my runes in a constructive way. Scroll down to see if this was achieved.

Book Review: The Runes, Grounding in Northern Magic by James Flowerdew

Title: The Runes A Grounding in Northern Magic

Author: James Flowerdew

Publisher: The Magic Road

Genre: SPIRITUAL / MAGIC / MYTHOS

Release Date: 23rd September 2021

Purchase: Amazon

ISBN: 9780993227226 (PAPERBACK)
ISBN: 9781914090455 (EBOOK)

Blurb

The runes are more than an ancient alphabet. They are a key to the wisdom of the ancient peoples that used them in both language and magic.

THE RUNES, A Grounding in Northern Magic by James Flowerdew aims to help you on your first steps to divining with The Runes and using the magic of these ancient peoples. Actual practical success and failure is also shared candidly in the hope that the reader can learn in a safe and steady manner. All combined into a neat guide to Runic practices and the inner workings of this ancient alphabet.

Full of direct references to ancient texts, as well as ripping yarns and poignant anecdotes, this book demonstrates Rune magic and the underlying principles and culture that inform it, as well as some general magical practices.

This guide helps make sure that the reader’s first steps into Runic mysticism are on solid ground and allows everyone who wishes to work with The Runes to make intelligent choices of their own.

My Thoughts

First off, this book is beautiful with many illustrations which are a delight to look at and along with stories help make the information enclosed more accessible. The book goes beyond what each rune means, for very good reasons. Runes are complex items and not something to use lightly, as James Flowerdew discusses. He gives a balanced overview of the runes history, including their dark uses in the second world war and the far right, as well as where runes fit in magical systems and whether runes are right for you. There are then clear instructions on the runes’ uses and magic.

There is a lot of information to take in, but the tone and language takes a topic that from my experience can be dry and complicated into something understandable, interesting and highly readable. It has left me wanting to learn more.  

This book maybe titled The Runes, but it offers so much more, including discussions on the Pagan ideas surrounding the runes and the different gods. This book has left me feeling more positive and less daunted about using my runes, especially now I know instead of them being an elitist tool, runes were for the everyday person.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you are a beginner interested in runes and Northern magic or more experienced, this is a book to read. It went beyond my expectations and gave a balanced insight into not only the meanings of the runes but their history, connections to the gods, and their uses. With stunning illustrations, it was a joy to read and a book I know I’ll return to again and again.

With its connections to magic, the North and divination, this will be a hit with the visitors to The Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf.

Author Biography

James Flowerdew

Discovering the runes in his early teens, James is an avid folklorist and historian with a particular focus on ancient pagan cultures.
He is a practising neo-pagan with an emphasis on the Northern Tradition, but likes to see that as part of a larger global discourse that spans back to Neolithic times and hopefully distantly into the future.
Trained as an artist and illustrator, James Flowerdew currently writes and paints in Edinburgh.

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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.

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Book Review: Unravelling by Helen Forbes

Today I’m excited to share a book that made me glad I was a book blogger. There are so many books out there making it easy to miss some gems but because of the invite to the blog tour of Unravelling by Helen Forbes I found one.

Book Review: Unravelling by Helen Forbes

Book cover: Unravelling by Helen Forbes
Unravelling by Helen Forbes

Title: Unravelling

Author: Helen Forbes

Publisher: Scolpaig Press

Genre: Crime, Psychological thriller

Release Date: 15th July 2021

Purchase: UK https://amzn.to/3hDz8EJ / US https://amzn.to/2XqDZlU

Blurb

A forest of secrets 

Two bodies are found buried in a Highland forest, a place that haunts the dreams of Kate Sharp. Her mother, Ellen, died when Kate was a child. Does the forest hold the secret to her death? 

A secret journal 

Kate discovers her mother’s journal, and the tale of a tragic unravelling begins to unfold. Ellen’s story is one of fear and hope, love and loss, set against the imposing background of Craig Dunain, a psychiatric hospital where she should have been safe.  

Unravelling the truth 

Someone else from Ellen’s past is searching for answers, and he will stop at nothing to find them. Unaware of the danger stalking her, Kate continues her search. Will she find the answers? And can she save her own life?  

Beautifully written, cleverly plotted, and meticulously researched, Unravelling is a captivating tale of family secrets. 

My Thoughts

This is a book with depth and soul. While I was reading Kate’s story as she grieves for her grandmother, and discovers secrets from her mum’s past, I tried to pinpoint what the theme of this novel was. Was it a crime, thriller or family drama? When I began Ellen’s story it hit me, it’s all of those things but fundamentally it is the story of a mother and daughter and the bond that exists between them even when they are separated by grief and time.  

It was Ellen’s story which focuses on her time in Craig Dunain, the psychiatric hospital that changed my view that this was a 4 star book; I would have to give it a 5. It captivated me with the characters, deep insight into Ellen’s mind when she suffers from episodes of schizophrenia and paranoia, and the atmosphere of the hospital. It felt real and made an emotional impact on me.

The tension increased as the secrets of the past were revealed and people from the past collide with the present.  I couldn’t put it down.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. Unravelling is an emotional, immersive and powerful thriller with an authentic voice that gives an insight into schizophrenia and life in an institute. Ellen and her world will forever be in my heart and influence how I see things in the future.

The topics of trauma, PTSD, and abuse are dealt with sensitively, but they are impactful so if you are a reader that these maybe a trigger I would avoid.

Author Biography

Author Helen Forbes
Helen Forbes

Crime fiction was not what lawyer, Helen Forbes, expected to write.  As a single parent and mature law student, she used her limited spare time to write contemporary and historical fiction.  It was a chance remark at a writing club that led her to develop a short story into her debut crime novel, In the Shadow of the Hill, featuring DS Joe Galbraith. The novel is set in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and it was described in one newspaper review as having ‘more twists and turns than the road to the isles, making it impossible to put down.’  The novel and characters proved popular with readers, leading to the publication of a second book in the DS Joe Galbraith series. Madness Lies is set in Inverness and North Uist.  Helen has now taken to crime with a passion, and has published two psychological thrillers. Unravelling is set in Inverness, against the background of a former psychiatric hospital. Deception is set in Edinburgh, and tackles the themes of domestic violence, prostitution and trafficking. Helen has also completed a further thriller set in Edinburgh, which she hopes to publish in 2022. Queen of Grime’s main character is a crime and trauma scene cleaner with a big secret. It is gritty and dark, but also funny and uplifting. Helen hopes to expand Queen of Grime into a series.

Social Media Links –

Facebook Author Page https://bit.ly/3mzghfD

Twitter https://twitter.com/foreva48

Website https://www.helenforbes.co.uk/

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.

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Book Review: A Plethora of Phantoms

Book Review: A Plethora of Phantoms

Book Cover for A Plethora of Phantoms
A Plethora of Phantoms by Penny Hampson

Title: A Plethora of Phantoms

Author: Penny Hampson

Publisher: Dark Stroke

Genre: Ghost, LGBTQA romance

Release Date: 20th December 2021

Purchase: http://mybook.to/plethoraofphantoms

Blurb

What makes Freddie shiver? Is it the spooky happenings in his family’s stately home? Or is it Marcus, the handsome antique dealer who Freddie thinks he can’t have?

Freddie Lanyon has it all: a loving family, a privileged background, and a stately home filled with antiques. What his family don’t know is that Freddie is desperately unhappy.

Troubled by spirits that only he can see, Freddie Lanyon, the heir to Lanyon Park, is also in denial about his sexuality. It takes a meeting with handsome and psychic antique dealer, Marcus Spender, to convince Freddie that he might need to change. 

When Freddie’s latest purchase of an antique dressing case triggers fresh poltergeist activity, he is awakened each night by an anguished spirit seeking help. Contacting the previous owner of the dressing case leads Freddie and Marcus on a journey to Cornwall, but what starts out as a straightforward quest soon turns into a challenge to their growing relationship.

Will Freddie’s restless spectral visitor be finally laid to rest? And will Freddie find the courage to be true to himself at last?

My Thoughts

I loved this paranormal romantic novel for the acceptance by the protagonist, Freddie, that ghosts are real. It gave the book an added authenticity and allowed the story to develop quickly without him having to overcome his disbelief that the strange goings on maybe of supernatural origin. I also enjoyed the main spectre having an obsession with tidiness rather than destruction. It was a refreshing change.

Freddie was a believable character and I could feel his distress at not only keeping his psychic ability secret but also not being comfortable coming out because of his title and aristocratic heritage. The friendship and chemistry between him and Marcus made me turn the page as they went on a quest to dig into the history of the dressing case. I’ve read The Unquiet Spirit, her previous book and liked the connection between Freddie and its characters. Overlapping characters always add depth to a novel and helps immerse the reader into the fictional the world. I’m looking forward to reading more novels in this series.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Discovering the history behind the ghost rich manor and chemistry between the two heroes is a joy to read and pure spooky romantic escapism. It’s ideal weekend reading or for evening after a stressful day.

It’s on for the bookshelf at The Enchanted Emporium and will be fought over by the ghosts and witches in the Witch’s Yard.

Author Biography

Author Penny Hampson
Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

Twitter: @penny_hampson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennyhampsonauthor

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.

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Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

From a delightful romance yesterday, I am excited to share a review for a horror novel, Demon by Matt Wesolowski. I love the paranormal and crime thrillers so when I saw the blurb for Demon, I needed to know more. Scroll down to see if this excitement was justified.

Book Review: Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Book cover Demon by Matt Wesolowski
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…

My Thoughts

I’m a lover of podcasts 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.

Would I recommend?

Yes, Demon is a well-crafted story in a clever format that adds to the atmospheric terror of the tale. This is the sixth novel in the Six Stories series so I’m happy to have more books to add to my TBR. With its supernatural leanings, Demon is a horrifying addition to The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf that will give some nightmares.

Author Biography

Photo of author Matt Wesolowski
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.

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.

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Book Review: The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

It’s only a week until the book I’m reviewing is released and I can’t wait any longer especially when I’ve seen on social media the unique signed copies that are available at Tea leaves and Reads and Bert’s books. If you like the sound of The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson and need to treat yourself, you may want to pop over to pre-order soon. Scroll down to see why I’m excited about this romantic novel.

Photo of quirky signed copies of The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Book Review: The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Book cover The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson
The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Title: The Start of Something

Author: Miranda Dickinson

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 3rd February 2021

Spotify playlist: https://t.co/S79z2ICdAP

Purchase:

Tea Leaves and Reads – March book box

Bert’s Books – signed copy

Amazon – Kindle

Blurb

Lachlan Wallace is stuck at home after a car accident stalled his army career. With months of physiotherapy still to endure and only his rescue dog and cat for company, he’s taken to gazing out of the window, watching the world spin on without him. And then he notices a vase of flowers on the windowsill of the apartment opposite his. Drawn to their hope and colour, he decides to reach out and sticks a message in his window…

Bethan Gwynne is a stranger in a new town. Bringing up her son Noah by herself, she is slowly rebuilding her life, but loneliness is one obstacle she has yet to overcome. She’s intrigued by a glimpse of her neighbour in the apartment across from hers – and then, one evening, she sees a message in his window just for her:

WHAT ARE THOSE FLOWERS CALLED?

And so begins a love story of two people reaching out, daring to trust a stranger…

My Thoughts

I discovered this book by chance when I came across Miranda’s Chatty Night on Facebook and she was discussing it.* I was excited to be accepted for an advanced copy and had high expectations for it and I wasn’t disappointed. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

As someone who has been shielding throughout the pandemic, this novel hit a nerve; the loneliness of being in four walls is gripping despite having had years of being used to living in a reduced environment and this book captured the feelings well. Simple things like seeing flowers in the window or a surprise letter can make a huge difference to the day. They add excitement and a sense of belonging. As soon as Lachlan and Bethan began communicating via letters in the window I was invested in their relationship.

Bethan and her flowers brought light and sunshine to the novel despite her challenges, but it was Lachlan I connected with. His emotions around his accident and situation took me back to the early days of my illness and disability. His feelings were captured well.

There are many memorable characters but one who stood out is Noah. With his stone collecting dragons, he shone. Life and books are always better with dragons.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Bethan and Lachlan grow but I did have to stop reading midway as my heart ached too much.  I could see what may happen and I didn’t want either of them to be hurt.

Would I recommend?

Yes,  Miranda Dickinson has the ability to tap into the characters and bring them alive so they connect to the reader. The Start of Something is an uplifting story of loneliness and hope and reminds you small changes and reaching out to others can make a big difference. Loneliness is crippling for many, and has been heightened in the last couple of years, so Bethan and Lachlan’s tale shows a way forward; It is possible to improve people’s lives and communities with simple gestures and love.

I loved this book for its message, the characters who will be forever in my heart and on my bookshelf when I receive my physical copy. The Start of Something may not be accepted on the Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf but it will be the first book in the upcoming Rosa’s Box of Romance so the customers of The Enchanted Emporium can enjoy and spread the word.

 *If you ever need an hour of fun and bookish chat and community, pop over to Miranda’s Facebook page on Weds night – it’s a uplifting treat.

Author Biography

Photo of Miranda Dickinson holding The Start of Something
Miranda Dickinson

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in Wolverhampton, in The Black Country, West Midlands, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library… Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks – making it the world’s first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.

Miranda is a six-times Sunday Times Bestseller, with Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now, I’ll Take New York, A Parcel for Anna Browne and Searching for a Silver Lining, a Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is a festive treat and prequel to her ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. The Day We Meet Again has won critical acclaim and is much loved by readers, most recently publishing in the US and Canada, taking her words Stateside for the first time.

Miranda is an international bestseller in four countries and her books have been translated into sixteen languages. To date, she has sold one million books worldwide. Her latest book is Our Story, out now.

Miranda is the founder of WriteFoxy – resources, vlogs and inspiration writing days for writers of all ages and abilities. Her popular vlogs feature her own publishing journey for each new novel, together with advice for authors and lots and lots of hats!

Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.

Social media

WEB: www.miranda-dickinson.com
MUSIC: www.soundcloud.com/mirandadickinson FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/MirandaDickinsonAuthor INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/wurdsmyth
BLOG: www.coffeeandroses.blogspot.com
STORIES: www.septembers-cafe.blogspot.com
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/wurdsmyth

Thank you HQ Stories providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

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