All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie

Book Review: Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie

Today I’m excited to share my review for Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie. I was thrilled to be invited to read this novella in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, after falling in love with her non-fiction book Everyday Enchantments. The blurb promised a dark, unusual with a strong character and premise, scroll down to see if it was achieved.

Weep Woman Weep by Maria DeBlassie

Title: Weep, Woman, Weep

Author: Maria DeBlassie

Genre: Gothic fairytale

Release Date: 25th August 2021

Purchase:

Amazon UK

Blurb

A compelling gothic fairytale by bruja and award-winning writer Maria DeBlassie.

The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrow.  That’s La Llorona’s doing.  She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check.  That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.  

Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone.  She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself.  But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.

In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening.  What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.

CW: assault, domestic violence, racism, colorism

My Thoughts

Weep, Woman, Weep is a dark, creepy and atmospheric gothic novella following the life of Mercy, who lives in a town blighted for generations by the actions of the water witch, La Llorona. Set in New Mexico, the descriptions and tone immersed in the culture and scenery. My knowledge of the area and culture is limited; it was refreshing to be somewhere different, hear Mercy’s voice and come away with a longing to know more.

Told in first person, Mercy’s voice and voice leapt off the page and it often felt like she was sitting in the room with me recounting the story. With strong characterisation and sense of place, reading it was a highly visual and haunting experience that often sent shivers down my spine and I felt grateful I am far from any waterways. Mercy’s observations of her fellow neighbours and town folk highlighted the racial and gender prejudices and raised many questions about interactions between communities and family. Witchcraft and magic are threaded in throughout, but differently to any book I’ve read. Like many fairy tales, there are many layers that could be unpicked and discussed, making it a book you long others to read so you can have long and deep conversations. The constant threat of La Llorona and Mercy’s fight for survival against her magic made me keep turning the pages long after bedtime.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if like me you’re a fan of the unusual or gothic and haunting reads this is one to try. With a strong voice, atmospheric creepiness and powerful storytelling, it’s one to enjoy as the nights draw in and we head towards my one of my favourite times of year, Halloween.

The team at the The Enchanted Emporium would also recommend and know it will be a firm favourite with customers on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf. In fact, if Dr Marie DeBlassie visited England, Willow would invite her for a cup of tea and a chat about all things witchy and folklore.

Author Biography

Dr. Marie DeBlassie

Dr. Maria DeBlassie is a native New Mexican mestiza and award-winning writer and educator living in the Land of Enchantment. She writes about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and all things witchy. When she is not practicing brujeria, she’s teaching classes about bodice rippers, modern mystics, and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there. Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariadeblassie.com.

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Thank you Maria DeBlassie for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review and I look forward to reading more gothic tales in the future.

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Restless Dead by David J Gatward

Book Review: Restless Dead by David J Gatward

Restless Dead by David J Gatward

Title: Restless Dead

Author: David J. Gatward

Publisher: Indie

Genre: Crime

Release Date: 29th April 2021

Purchase: Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Restless-Harry-Grimm-David-Gatward/dp/B093RZGH5C/

ISBN: ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8742125907

Blurb

Be careful what you wish for.

When no nonsense retired Army Colonel James Fletcher starts seeing his recently deceased wife around the house again, his friends and family are more than a little worried.But when James turns up dead, and the accident that killed him is found to be anything but, DCI Harry Grimm and his team must uncover the grisly truth before anyone else falls prey.In a house torn in two by ghosts and betrayal, Harry may soon find that death isn’t always the end. Sometimes, it’s only the beginning . . .

Restless Dead is the fifth book in the DCI Harry Grimm crime thriller series, set in the Yorkshire Dales, and perfect for fans of L. J. Ross, J.R. Ellis, Margaret Mayhew, Jeanne M. Dams, J. M. Dalgliesh, Roger Silverwood, J. D. Kirk, Adam Croft, and Simon McCleave

Yorkshire Dales

My Thoughts

As a lover of all things spooky, the blurb and dark, foreboding cover caught my eye when I was invited to this tour. Though it’s not strictly a full-on ghost story, the creepy location of Black Moss House, a house split into two with a paranormal history gave this crime thriller a supernatural edge I enjoyed and the more I read, the more I fell in love with the characters and their world. Set in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, it mentions many places I fell in love in with a couple of years ago when I went on a writing retreat at Garsdale, adding to my enjoyment. David J Gatward brought the dramatic and atmospheric landscape to life, immersing me into the story which follows DCI Grimm and his team’s investigations into the sightings of a woman who died in a dreadful accident, and a grieving family in turmoil.

Highly visual, with a blend of warm, humorous banter within the team, realistic rural locations and thrilling crime investigations, I’m hoping my first meeting with DCI Grimm won’t be the last. Restless Dead is the fifth book in the series; I was aware many characters had a backstory I didn’t know but it was easy to catch up with their situations allowing it to be read as a standalone.

Would I recommend?

Yes. With a ragged and broody rural setting, this series is perfect for fans of George Gently, Vera and regional crime novels. Well written and littered with realistic banter among DCI Grimm colleagues while they investigate crimes, this is a series to follow and enjoy. It could easily be adapted to the screen.

With the eerie Black Moss House and its ghostly goings on, this novel will happily sit on The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf to be loved by all who visit The Enchanted Emporium.

Author Biography

David J Gatward

David J. Gatward lives in Somerset and is the award-winning author of the DCI Harry Grimm crime novels, and the Padre horror trilogy. He has also written numerous books for children, teenagers and young adults.

 You can find out more at facebook.com/davidjgatwardauthor

Twitter @davidgatward

Other blogs on this tour

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.

Take care and happy reading!

Love

Book review

Book Review: This Shining Life by Harriet Kline

Book Review: This Shining Life by Harriet Kline

Book Cover: This Shining Life by Harriet Kline

Title: This Shining Life

Author: Harriet Kline

Publisher: DoubleDay

Genre: general fiction

Release date: 3rd June 2021

Blurb

For Rich, life is golden.

He fizzes with happiness and love.

But Rich has an incurable brain tumour.

When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through.

At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it?

But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.


Wonderfully funny and achingly beautiful, this is a story about love in all its forms: absent, lost and, ultimately, regained.

My Thoughts

Behind the stunning, illustrated book cover that zings with life is a novel which shows the rawness and complexity of grief and love. The emotional story is told through the eyes of those who loved fun-loving and life-embracing Rich, and highlights the different ways grief affects people and how losing a key member of the family can shift the dynamics of relationships to reveal hidden traumas which need to be tackled before healing can begin.

 It’s beautifully written, with distinctive voices which is quite a feat when there are multiple points of view. It was Ollie and his grandmother, Angran, who stole the spotlight from the others, with Gerald, Rich’s father a close third. All were complex characters, troubled and often misunderstood. Ollie is neuro divergent and is used to his dad knowing the routine and what he likes so he is left floundering when he dies but Ollie is also the thread holding the family together and it is his unique way of seeing things and belief that he can make things right which offers the lighter moments once Rich’s voice ends. His dad may only have spoken for a few chapters, but the love the others have for him, makes his personality shine on every page.

Angran’s isolated run-down cottage near the rugged river nicknamed The Ravages is a clever location used to amplify the turmoil and darkness of grief and emotions the characters have.

Would I recommend?

This Shining Life deals with some hard hitting, and heart breaking topics such as death, dementia and depression with sensitivity, accuracy and tenderness. It’s not an easy read because of the subject matter, but has a powerful and uplifting message making it an unforgettable. It would make an ideal book for book clubs because there is a wealth of topics to discuss and characters to explore.

Author Biography

Harriet Kline author photo
Harriet Kline

HARRIET KLINE works part time registering births, deaths and marriages and writes for the rest of the week. Her story Ghost won the Hissac Short Story Competition and Chest of Drawers won The London Magazine Short Story Competition. Other short stories have been published online with LitroFor Books’ Sake, and ShortStorySunday, and on BBC Radio 4.

Image of magpie with the quote 'Treasuring. after all, was what life should be about'

Thank you Random Things Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing me with this gem of a book to give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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

Book Review: Whispers of the Runes by Christina Courtenay

Today, I’m excited to share my review for a romantic time-slip novel, Whispers of the Runes by Christina Courtenay. Firstly, I was attracted to this by the title as I love runes and wondered how they would be incorporated into a story and secondly the time slip to the times of the Vikings. Ever since, I visited York as a child I have been fascinated by the era.

Book Review: Whispers of Runes by Christina Courtenay

Whispers of the Runes by Christina Courtney

Title: Whispers of the Runes

Author: Christina Courtenay

Publisher: Headline

Genre: Time slip, romance

Release date: 24th June 2021

Blurb

Time is no barrier for a love that is destined to be.

She couldn’t be sure that she had travelled through time … but deep down she just knew.

And her only way back had just disappeared.

When jewellery designer Sara Mattsson is propelled back to the ninth century, after cutting herself on a Viking knife she uncovers at an archaeological dig, she is quick to accept what has happened to her. For this is not the first Sara has heard of time travel.

Although acutely aware of the danger she faces when she loses the knife – and with it her way to return to her own time – this is also the opportunity of a lifetime. What better way to add authenticity to the Viking and Anglo-Saxon motifs used in her designs?

As luck has it, the first person Sara encounters is Rurik Eskilsson, a fellow silversmith, who is also no stranger to the concept of time travel. Agreeing that Sara can accompany him to Jorvik, they embark on a journey even more perilous than one through time. But Fate has brought these two kindred spirits together across the ages for a reason…

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whispers-Runes-enthralling-romantic-timeslip-ebook/dp/B08L6535FJ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Whispers-Runes-enthralling-romantic-timeslip-ebook/dp/B08L6535FJ/

My Thoughts

This is the first book I have read from Christina Courtenay, though I have others waiting patiently on my Kindle which I need to catch up on. I loved it and though it is the third in the Runes series; it works well as a standalone. This highly readable romantic novel follows a modern silversmith, Sara, when she slips into the 9th century thanks to an ancient sword. I quickly connected to her when she meets a shipwrecked Viking, Rurik. Unlike the traditional stereotypical Viking we all expect, he is chivalrous, kind and unphased by her time travelling because he has met a wanderer before in a previous book. I loved this twist because it meant Sara did not have to pretend to be someone she wasn’t, increasing the speed of the story. Rurik is also a silversmith, giving the characters a common thread to discuss and allow the chemistry between them build. He really is a Viking everyone could fall in love with.

As like all time travellers, Sara is faced with dangers from others but this tension is balanced with the everyday life of the Vikings. The highly detailed descriptions of this gave the novel depth and was able to transport me to the tents in the camps immersed in the smells and chat. Unlike some well researched historical fiction the details are perfectly blended with the storytelling and were never a distraction but made it a joy to read.

I can’t wait to be able to nudge the other books in the series up my TBR pile and catch up with the series.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a perfect summer read with the perfect gentle hero to fall in love with, set in interesting times and locations. Living on near the East Coast of Yorkshire, I can’t help love books even more if they are located in places nearby, this novel is no different and makes me long for when I can get to York again.

The magic in the Runes series may be subtle but with swords that allow time travel, this novel has a well-deserved place on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf and will be popular with many witchy and non-witchy customers of The Enchanted Emporium.

Author Biography

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014).  Whispers of the Runes (time travel published by Headline 24th June 2021) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.christinacourtenay.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinacourtenayauthor?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PiaCCourtenay

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ChristinaCourtenayAuthor/

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Whispers of the Runes plus a pair of silver Viking style earrings  (Open INT)*

Click here to enter

Giveaway prizes

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

Happy reading and good luck!

Love

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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

Book Review: Tapestries of Life by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

It’s the weekend and I plan to spend it reading and appreciating the garden which is coming into bloom. The last year made me appreciate it more than ever and having somewhere to connect with nature has been a godsend for my mental health while shielding during lockdown. Every time a new species of bird visited the feeder or butterfly appeared, I felt extremely lucky. Today’s book Tapestries of Life by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson discusses this and so much more.

Book Review: Tapestries of Life by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Title: Tapestries of Life

Author: Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Publisher: Mudlark

Genre: Non-fiction, Nature, Environmental

Release date: 15th April 2021

Blurb

The second book by the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects


Trees clean air and water; hoverflies and bees pollinate our crops; the kingfisher inspired the
construction of high-speed trains. In Tapestries of Life, bestselling author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
explains how closely we are all connected with the natural world, highlighting our indelible link with
nature’s finely knit system and our everyday lives.


In the heart of natural world is a life-support system like no other, a collective term that describes all
the goods and services we receive – food, fresh water, medicine, pollination, pollution control, carbon
sequestration, erosion prevention, recreation, spiritual health and so much more. In this utterly
captivating book, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson sets out to explore these wonderful, supportive elements
– taking the reader on a journey through the surprising characteristics of the natural world.

My Thoughts

OK confession time. I wanted to read this book purely for its cover. Like a bright flower to a bee, it drew me in and demanded to be held and read. It promised so much, and it delivered on every count. This book is superb, one of the best and most readable non-fiction books I have read about a complex topic that could have been dry under a different penmanship. It is educational without being preachy. Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson’s passion and knowledge of nature and its connectivity to us is outstanding and shines on the page. Part imparting facts, and part memoir it focuses on how nature and humans interact beyond what we see and how nature is the foundation of our lives and without the help it gives disaster looms. From water, bugs to pharmaceuticals it covers a lot of material. It’s a delight to read, and I reverted to the ten-year-old me who blurted out the random facts I learnt to members of the family when they walked by. It was also horrifying because we are pushing our planet to the limits, and we need to tip the balance in favour of protecting nature even those things we don’t see and help it flourish. This book made me more grateful for what I have and consider ways I can help nature further and also see nature in a different light especially those things like bugs I shy away from. I loved the poems threaded into the book too.

Would I recommend?

Yes! Everyone should read it and every person in the G7 summit also running this weekend should have a copy. Maybe it would convince them to take the issue seriously.

The stunning cover reflects the beautiful book inside. It’s beautifully written, enabling the reader to access knowledge about the connection between humans and nature easily and has changed my outlook for life. It is on my forever shelf and I know I will read it again and again. I look forward to reading her previous book Extraordinary Insects and people who know me will tell you, I usually hate creepy crawlies.

Author Biography

Photo of author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
A

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects. A professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences(NMBU) in Ås, Norway, she is also a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity.

Thank you Random Things Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing me with this gem of a book to give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy weekend and reading!

Love

The Enchanted Emporium bookshelf is for magic-orientated books only but I know it would make this an exception. Every witch should read this to boost their connection with the nature they already love.