All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Coven by Lizzie Fry

I am thrilled to share my review for this wonderful book that is one of Amber’s favourites on the Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf, The Coven by Lizzie Fry. Scroll down to found out why.

Book Review: The Coven by Lizzie Fry

The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Title: The Coven

Author: Lizzie Fry

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Genre: Fantasy, witchlit and thrillers

Release date: 25th Feb 2021

Blurb

‘A compelling, prescient tale of an alternate world with far too many scary similarities to our own.’ Angela Clarke

Let me repeat myself, so we can be very clear. Women are not the enemy. We must protect them from themselves, just as much as we must protect ourselves.

Imagine a world in which witchcraft is real. In which mothers hand down power to their daughters, power that is used harmlessly and peacefully.

Then imagine that the US President is a populist demagogue who decides that all witches must be imprisoned for their own safety, as well as the safety of those around them – creating a world in which to be female is one step away from being criminal…

As witches across the world are rounded up, one young woman discovers a power she did not know she had. It’s a dangerous force and it puts her top of the list in a global witch hunt.

But she – and the women around her – won’t give in easily. Not while all of women’s power is under threat.

The Coven is a dazzling global thriller that pays homage to the power and potential of women everywhere.

My Thoughts

I consumed this book in a day, but if I hadn’t got other things going on, I would have read it within hours. Full of magical action, fear and twists, I did not want to put it down. This dystopian novel set in our time has the feel of the Handmaid’s Tale but with the added element of witchcraft. Misogyny goes a step further and sees all women as evil, and potentially part of terrorist group if they have dealings with magic, tarot and crystals, etc. There are three types of witches – kitchen witches who can denounce their magic, crystal witches who can only perform magic when boosted by crystals so are contained in specialist camps in caves and the most feared, the Elementals. As someone who is fascinated by magic, owns several packs of tarot cards and is known to casting a good luck spell now and then, this book was disturbing. It made me feel vulnerable reading it.

It follows Chloe, an Elemental who comes into her magic with devastating results and Adalita, a crystal witch who escapes jail with the help of a rogue Sentinel, as they try to evade capture. It is an international thriller but the primary setting is one of my favourite places, Boscastle in Cornwall. It made me long to visit and when I do, knowing the connection to this story will make it more special. It is a story of friendship, and it highlights the power of women when fighting towards a common cause. The chemistry between the characters was a joy to read.

Would I recommend?

Yes! With magical explosions, conspiracy theories, twists and high tension, this highly visual novel is a thrill to read. The recent political events only adds to the tension, and it shows how political spin and control can divide families, communities and countries with horrifying results. It is a must if you love witchy books or a dystopian novel with a twist. I can’t wait to have a physical copy on my own forever shelf. Thank you Little Brown Books for my advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

The Coven by Lizzie Fry

Happy reading and take care!

Love

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

Book Review: The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Today I’m reviewing a book and audiobook recommended to me by the lovely Julie at A Little Book Problem, The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell. While I love reading words from the page I have come to love the audio experience especially for books of the supernatural type. Audiobooks in conjunction with a physical copy are a perfect combination because you can read yourself but also take advantage of the story when busy or late at night in the dark.

Book Review: The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Title: The Shape of Darkness

Author: Laura Purcell

Narrator: Sophie Aldred

Publisher: Bloomsbury UK Audio Raven Books

Genre: General fiction, paranormal thriller, historical fiction

Pub Date 21 Jan 2021

Blurb

‘Dripping with atmosphere with a corkscrew plot, Laura Purcell just gets better and better’ STACEY HALLS

‘It truly kept me guessing to the very last page’ SONIA VELTON

Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness…

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead – and to try and identify their killers – in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another…

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?

My Thoughts

This novel took me to the 1850s where Agnes has a business producing shades, silhouettes made with paper and scissors, an occupation I knew nothing about but is as fascinating as the premise of the book. Blended with history of early spiritualism, I was captivated by both POVs, Agnes with her household comprising her Mum and nephew Cedric and Pearl with Myrtle and her dad. I enjoyed the suspense, description of the past and the pure spookiness of this tale. With the details of the seances and the murders following Agnes customers, I was hooked into the mystery. I needed to know who was behind the crimes and the secrets all the characters were hiding. There were many twists and turns – some I guessed, but others were completely unexpected and emotional. Pearl was so young to be in the career of a medium, I felt maternal over here and wished I could reach in to comfort her.

This dark and eerie Gothic novel gave me goosebumps because it sits on the right side of believability, if that’s a word. Books involving the supernatural are always scarier if it could happen. Listening to a ghost story adds another dimension to the fear factor, similar to having it told to you around the campfire on a winter’s night. Sophie Aldred is well matched to narrate this tale with the correct tone and pace, adds depth to the story and brings the characters to life making it an enjoyable, thrilling experience.

Would I recommend?

Yes, in all editions. The audiobook gave this eerie novel an extra dimension but the story is a fantastic read if you love historical fiction or the supernatural. It is one for my forever bookshelf and a firm favourite on The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf too. It is highly recommended by Old Percy who remembers when silhouette artists were all the rage during his lifetime.

Thank you Bloomsbury UK audio for the advanced copy so I could review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Do you listen to audiobooks too? What’s your favourite ghost story?

Love

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

Book Review: Sleep Tight by C.S Green

It seems ages since I have read a crime novel series but the tagline of Sleep Tight by C.S Green and the cover drew me in. The blurb made me want to read, scroll down to see if my high expectations were met.

Book Review: Sleep Tight by C.S Green

Book Cover Sleep Tight by C.S Green

Title: Sleep Tight

Author: C.S Green

Publisher: Harper Fiction

Release date: 4th March 2021

Blurb

The nightmare is only just beginning…

When DC Rose Gifford is called to investigate the death of a young woman suffocated in her bed, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the crime than meets the eye.

It looks like a straightforward crime scene – but the police can’t find the killer. Enter DS Moony – an eccentric older detective who runs UCIT, a secret department of the Met set up to solve supernatural crimes. Moony wants Rose to help her out – but Rose doesn’t believe in any of that.

Does she?

As the killer prepares to strike again, Rose must pick a side – before a second woman dies.

Twisty, original and compelling, SLEEP TIGHT is perfect for fans of Alex North and Cara Hunter.

My Thoughts

Usually if a book gives me a chill, I’d say it made me leave the light on all night, but with this one it was a case of drinking vast quantities of coffee before bed to prevent sleep. Not only so I could binge read it to the end, but because I did not want to witness the nightmares of the victims. They were horrifying and the emotions believable, making it worse.

The combination of a classic crime procedural novel and the paranormal gave this an unusual twist and allowed C. S Green to experiment with the method and motivation for a locked room murder. It’s clever, well written, and the suspense kept me turning the pages, as did the wonderful characterisation of DC Rose Gifford and Mack. Haunted by the past and the secret she holds, Rose is determined to keep that side of her away from her job as a police officer, but the weird nature of the murders means things get out of her control. Her battle with her desire to keep her life grounded in the rational and the need to face the illogical to solve the crime was a joy to read.

As the first book in the series, there were plenty of threads and hints of backstory to latch on to which make me want to read on beyond this one. As much as I wanted to know who had done it, I didn’t want Sleep Tight to end.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is an original and creepy crime thriller blended perfectly with the supernatural. C. S Green is an author to watch, and I now face the frustrating wait to read the next one. I can’t wait to catch up with Rose Gifford again and see where this series takes me.

Author Biography

Author C.S Green

C.S Green is the pseudonym for Sunday Times and ebook bestseller Cass Green. Her debut adult novel The Woman Next Door was a No.1 e-book bestseller and her second, In A Cottage, In A Wood was a Sunday Times top ten and USA Today bestseller. Don’t You Cry was her third standalone thriller. She is the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School and teaches crime fiction at City University and children’s fiction for Writers and Artist’s Yearbook.

Social media:

Twitter: @carolinesgreen

Website: carolinegreenwriter.co.uk

Facebook: Caroline Green Author

Instagram: carolinegreen70

Once you have read this book you will understand why it is one of Amber’s favourites and recommended from The Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf

Thank you Harper Fiction for the advanced copy so I could review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and take care!

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

Last year, I reviewed Mariëlle S. Smith gratitude journal here so was thrilled to be asked by Rachel’s Random Resources to review her latest journal, 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II

BOOK REVIEW: 52 WEEKS OF WRITING AUTHOR JOURNAL AND PLANNER, VOL. II BY MARIËLLE S. SMITH

52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

Title: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II

Author: Mariëlle S. Smith

Publisher: Indie

Genre: Writing Self-help

Release date: 21st Nov 2021

BLURB

‘With this book by your side, anything feels possible.’ Jacqueline Brown

Tired of not having a sustainable writing practice? You, too, can get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be!

52 Weeks of Writing:

  • makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
  • helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
  • keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.

With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

A printable PDF is available through: https://payhip.com/b/0YgJ Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.

MY THOUGHTS

I’m in love with this journal and even though I’m only a few of weeks in, as long as I can keep reminding my grasshopper brain to keep filling it in, I know it will help keep me focused on my long-term goals of being a writer and encouraged to keep going. It will also help me explore and dig deeper into my writing and the reasons for doing it.

The journal’s objectives are clearly explained in the introduction and Mariëlle S. Smith is encouraging and friendly, making it feel you have someone on your side. I was excited to begin. I have the pdf version which can be printed out, but a physical copy is also available. The layout of the journal is clear and being purple, which is my favourite colour, it felt personal even before my stickers and coloured pens came out to personalise it some more.

As the title suggests, it covers 52 weeks and each week begins with a writing quote to motivate you and ends with optional writing prompts and exercises. Recently, I was introduced to general journaling and was amazed at how liberating and revealing it was to free write on topics. This is a superb extension of that. Some prompts will push my boundaries not only in respects to my writing but my emotions around it. For example, the second week deals with fear. Fear is a large part of why I procrastinate, but exploring this helped put it in perspective, silence my inner critic and move forward even if I will need to be reminded about it again and again.

In the first week long-term goals for ten years, five, down to 3 months are set. This made me focus on where I want to be and gave me a boost to get cracking. The journal checks in on these goals every three months for you to reflect on them and see if you are on track or need to adapt. The empathise is that these goals are fluid, which helps relieve some pressure I know as a writer I can put on myself which can end up being of being counterproductive. One failure at hitting a goal can snowball into nothing getting done because of guilt and emotion. The aim of this journal is to keep things realistic.

WOULD I RECOMMEND?

Yes, if you want something to keep your goals, thoughts and plans in place while being urged to explore your writing more. It would suit writers who love journaling. It provides a helping hand to keep things grounded and prevents you being overwhelmed.

Reading Mariëlle S. Smith also has a book on the use of tarot, I need to explore her back catalogue some more.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Mariëlle S. Smith

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

Social Media Links –

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mswordsmith

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

YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnYOpjmj83mvMM2L348F1w

Have you used a writing journal? How do you find them, let me know below.

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

Happy writing!

Love

This review also appears on From Under the Duvet.

The Woman and the Witch revi
All about Books, Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Woman and the Witch by Amanda Larkman

One of the most popular books borrowed from The Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf is The Woman and the Witch by Amanda Larkman so I am pleased to share my review. Scroll down to see why it is so popular.

Book Review: The Woman and the Witch by Amanda Larkman

Book cover for The Woman and the Witch by Amanda Larkman

Title: The Woman and the Witch

Author: Amanda Larkman

Genre: Women’s fiction, fantasy

Publisher: Indie

Release date: 30th March 2020

Blurb

‘I see the wood first. A knitted shawl of green and black tossed across the shoulders of the ancient hills. I take a great gulp of breath, my lungs no longer compressed by cages of contorted bone. I want to drink the cool air like water, scented as it is with earth and starlight.But as I drift close to the house, I falter. Something is wrong. I will myself on, ignoring the whispers of pain beginning to curl up from my bed-ridden body. A ball of dread is growing in my stomach; it is so terribly black and heavy it slows me down. My hands shake. The light is gone.’Nothing ever changes in the village of Witchford until the day a hundred year old, bad-tempered witch falls and breaks her hip, and a fifty year old cleaner decides her life is over. Both are haunted by ghosts, but can Frieda help Angie to find out what her long dead father is trying to tell her? And can Angie help Frieda fight off the wolf who circles ever closer?

Purchase links

The Woman and the Witch https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B086K184T8

Airy Cages and Other Stories https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KRJYZZT

My Thoughts

I discovered this book when it popped up on my Facebook newsfeed and the title drew me in. As many of you know, I cannot resist witch related fiction, and this book did not disappoint. Behind the quiet cover hides a powerful book with strong characters who jumped off the page into my heart. The protagonists, Frieda and Angie are polar opposites, and unlike some dual point of view books, I loved them both dearly and wanted to read both of their stories rather than favour one. This added to the enjoyment of the novel.

 Frieda is a hundred-year-old witch who is feeling her age and the darkness that is forcing its way in. Her waspish demeanour reminded me of a lady I cared for and loved when I worked in the nursing home. She did not suffer fools gladly, and you felt privileged if she let it slip she liked you. I could easily imagine she would have cast spells in revenge of maltreatment or a bad cup of tea if she could, which added to my enjoyment of Frieda’s antics. It was refreshing not to read about nice, sweet old ladies often depicted in fiction. The novel slips into the past to show her use of power to manipulate, her love of partying in the highly visual era just after the war, and her run in with evil. She is a character I secretly would like to be when I age.

Angie’s life is not happening how she planned and is limping from day to day in her 30-year-old marriage, but this is turned on its head when she meets Frieda and her house. The house is a character of its own and a place I’d like to explore. The combination of the chemistry between unlikely duo, the imaginative magic threaded throughout and the increased tension when Frieda’s past gets closer made this an emotional and thrill to read.

Would I recommend?

This novel has everything I want in a book – witches, ghosts, love and suspense and is one for my forever shelf. I can see why it is highly recommended by Willow and the Enchanted Emporium. I can’t wait to read Amanda Larkman’s other book of short stories and what she releases next.

Watch this space for my chat with Amanda Larkman later this week.

Author Biography

Author Amanda Larkman

Amanda Larkman was born in a hospital as it was being bombed during a revolution. The rest of her upbringing, in the countryside of Kent, has been relatively peaceful.

She graduated with an English degree and has taught English for over twenty years. ‘The Woman and the Witch’ is her first novel.

Hobbies include trying to find the perfect way to make popcorn, watching her mad labradoodle run like a galloping horse, and reading brilliant novels that make her feel bitter and jealous.

She has a husband and two teenage children, all of whom are far nicer than the characters in her book.

Social Media links

Twitter https://twitter.com/MiddleageWar

Website https://middle-agedwarrior.com/

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

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MiddleageWar/

Have you read Amanda’s book? I would love to know your thoughts below.

Take care and stay safe.

Love