All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

My first book review of the year is a book I looked forward to ever since I knew it was written, The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman. This is book four and the conclusion of the Practical Magic series but with a witchy world full of wonderful characters with many backstories to explore a reader can always wish for more.

Book Review: The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Book cover for The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: A Book of Magic

Author: Alice Hoffman

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: fiction, fantasy, witchlit

Release Date: 6th Jan 2022

Blurb

‘Full of Hoffman’s bewitching and lucid prose and vivid characters, The Book of Magic is ultimately about the very human magic of family and love and actions that echo through generations… it casts a spell’  —Matt Haig

THE STUNNING, UNFORGETTABLE CONCLUSION TO THE BELOVED PRACTICAL MAGIC SERIES

For centuries, the Owens family has been cursed in matters of love. When beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the sound of the deathwatch beetle, she knows that it is a signal. She has finally discovered the secret to breaking the curse, but time is running out. She has only seven days to live.

Unaware of the family’s witchcraft lineage and all it entails, one of the young sisters of the new Owens generation has fallen in love. As the curse strikes once again, her love’s fate hangs in the balance, spurring three generations of Owens to venture back to where it all began and use their gifts to break the spell that has marked all their lives.

But doing so threatens to destroy everything the family has fought so hard to protect. How much will they give up for the greatest gift of all?

My Thoughts

I had high hopes for this book, and it didn’t let me down. From the moment Jet heard the death-watch beetle and begins a mission to stop the 300-year-old curse for good, I was hooked back into the world where reality is blended seamlessly with magic to discover whether this could be achieved.

The Rules of Magic, which follows the siblings Franny, Jet and Vincent, is my favourite novel in the series so I loved meeting them again, even if they were in their 80s. The journey to find a cure for the Owens’ curse brings the characters to Essex in England, and the descriptions and sense of place reignited my desire to visit there. It has been on my literary tour wishlist since I read Hiding from the Light by Barbara Erskine.

The strength of these books are the original characterisation, depth of magical world building and the lyrical prose that is littered with references to herbal references. This all adds to the central witchy theme.

It is a strong conclusion to a series about curses, forbidden love and redemption and this one in particular is an ode to books and libraries.

Though it could be read out of sequence, you will enjoy it more and be less confused with the multitude of characters if read in order. This could be done in order of the release dates  – Practical MagicThe Rules of MagicMagic LessonsThe Book of Magic – or chronologically –Magic LessonsThe Rules of MagicPractical MagicThe Book of Magic.

Would I recommend?

If like me and those at The Enchanted Emporium you love books about magic, witches and books, this is a series to read. With magical prose and storytelling, a unique collection of characters and immersive worldbuilding this novel gives a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful tale of revenge, love and redemption.

I look forward to having a physical copy on my forever bookshelf for rereads and I know as soon as a copy is put on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf, it will be on permanent loan by the witches of Whitby and beyond.

Thank you Simon and Schuster via NetGalley providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Have you read this series or watched the film Practical Magic starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock? Let me know in the comments below.

Trailer for Practical Magic

Happy reading!

Love

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

Book Review: Midnight in Everwood by M.A Kuznair

As we head towards Christmas and the traditional time of watching The Nutcracker at the theatre, now is the ideal time to review Midnight in Everwood by M.A Kuznair. Beneath this stunning book cover is a story loosely based on The Nutcracker, a ballet I discovered after reading this. Scroll down to see if the story lives up to the promise the delightful cover makes.

Title: Midnight in Everwood

Author: M.A Kuzniar

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 28th October 2021

Blurb

In the darkness of night, magic awaits…

Nottingham, 1906

Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but, as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered – she must marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But, when a mysterious toymaker, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in Marietta’s life.

After Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance on Christmas Eve, Marietta discovers it carries a magic all of its own – a magic darker than anyone could imagine. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself transported from her family’s ballroom to a frozen sugar palace, silent with secrets, in a forest of snow-topped fir trees. She must find a way to return home before she’s trapped in Everwood’s enchanting grip forever.

In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…

My Thoughts

This book is everything I ever wished for and more. I love ballet, strong female characters and magic and this novel blends all of those elements perfectly. Highly visual, the scenes appear fully formed in the mind from the start with the introduction of strong willed and determined Marietta fighting against the social norms of the time to continue ballet lessons but they become technicolour when she arrives at Everwood. The words capture the musicality and gracefulness of the ballet, The Nutcracker, which is based but takes on a darker, haunting and thrilling form as secrets are revealed.

In reality, there is no way I can convey how much I love the wonder and world building in this book. It is one of those reads you wish you can wipe from your memory so you can have the childish delight of reading it fresh so you can discover it all over again. I first read a digital advanced copy but loved it so much I had to order a physical copy to own. And wow, what a treat the physical copies are with its distinctive illustrated dust jacket that hides the gorgeous blue cover embossed with a gold ballerina underneath. My only regret is I was too late to buy a Waterstone’s edition too with the added essay on The Nutcracker, but since my copy is personally signed, I can’t grumble at all.

Midnight in Everwood is an unforgettable story that deserves to be cherished.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Not only is Midnight in Everwood a fantastic read that will become a classic in the future, the cover adds to its elegance, making it an ideal gift for fantasy lovers or those who adore ballet and The Nutcracker. Full of strong characters, set in an extravagant and magical location, the danger and suspense underpinning the beauty makes you unable to put this book down until the end. The impact of the story and Marietta lingers long after the last page.

It is one for my foverever shelf and will be reread during the festive season but it is also sits proudly on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf.

Author Biography

M.A. Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world which inspired her children’s series The Ship of Shadows. Her adult debut novel Midnight in Everwood was inspired by her love of ballet and love of The Nutcracker. She lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as can and bookstagrams as @cosyreads.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

I have already read a few festive novels but they are primarily romances. This review is for a completely different seasonal read for those who love spookier and creepier novels on these cold and dark evenings – The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee.

Book Review: The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

Book cover for The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee
The Wildest Hunt by Jo Zebedee

Title: The Wildest Hunt

Author: Jo Zebedee

Publisher:  Inspired Quill 

Genre: Fantasy, thriller

Release Date: 27th November 2021

Blurb

A long-dead child.

An artist who paints the fae.

An ancient estate on a blood-filled land.

The commission was close to Amelia’s dream: a cosy cottage in Donegal over Christmas and the chance to paint the beautiful Glenveagh estate. But when the weather closes in and the country shuts down, a ritual begins – one that traps Amelia in its circles of magic. Stranded in a place where iron is power, her heart can no longer be trusted and the land itself is a weapon, Amelia’s survival depends on unravelling the truth of a decades-old death. Even if it draws the same ancient danger to herself.

My Thoughts

I knew I was in for a treat when the supernatural spookiness began in the first chapter with the arrival of the grey lady and the highly visual descriptions sent shivers down my spine. It lured me into Amelia’s life and set up the tension and malevolence for the rest of the story.

The tension and impending danger for Amelia doesn’t let up until the conclusion, making it a thrilling if very dark read. The Irish countryside and the Glenveagh estate are ideal locations for the sinister fae hunt and it reminded me of the menacing Overlook hotel grounds in The Shining. There are plenty of nooks and places for danger to lurk, and it has a character of its own.  

There are two points of view: Amelia, an artist who has the ability to draw the supernatural and Jean who longs to discover the truth about the death of her childhood friend. Both are intriguing and make you want to turn the page and, as the secrets were revealed, knowing both sides ramped up the fear factor and made me suspicious of everyone. It’s definitely a book that kept me reading long past bedtime.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you fancy a sinister, highly imaginative festive read. This blend of Irish folklore and a supernatural mystery set over the Christmas period is one that draws you in for an unnerving and thrilling journey and makes a refreshing change from the cinnamon and mistletoe laced romances that normally fill bookshelves in December.

With magic, supernatural abilities and fae, this will be a popular read with those witches who enjoy a darker novels from the Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf.

Author Biography

Author Jo Zebedee

Listed as one of The Guardian’s Top 10 Irish Sci-Fi authors, Jo writes stories based both in her native Northern Ireland and her fictional world of Abendau.

Social media:

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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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All about Books

Promo Post: The New Land by Daisy Bourne

Today I’m highlighting another book I wish I’d had time to review The New Land by Daisy Bourne. This is the first one in a series about the tales of Avalon. I’ve always loved the legends around Merlin and I’m sure the smaller witches visiting The Enchanted Bookshelf would love to read these.

The New Land by Daisy Bourne

The New Land by Daisy Bourne

Title: The New Land

Author: Daisy Bourne

Genre: Children’s fantasy, YA

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Land-Tales-Avalon-Book-ebook/dp/B077PQPV3T/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/New-Land-Tales-Avalon-Book-ebook/dp/B077PQPV3T/

Blurb

What happened to Arthur, King of the Britons, after he was allegedly killed on the battlefield? Legend has it that Merlin, the mighty sorcerer, put the king’s body in a boat and set it sail for a mysterious place called Avalon. However, many Britons refuse to accept that Arthur was really dead. Instead they believe that Merlin had taken the king to a place of safety. There have been many theories as to the whereabouts of Avalon, but none proven to be accurate. The New Land is the first book in the Tales of Avalon series. It tells the story of how Arthur, magical beings, and other Britons, fearing for their lives, seek refuge in a far-off land. They hope their new home will be a place where magical beings and humans can live together in peace and harmony. Will the travelers find the new life they so desire? The Avalonians soon find that they have to form new and unusual alliances in order to protect themselves against an unexpected enemy. If you like stories about witches, wizards, fairies, elves, giants, and unicorns, you will enjoy this book. DAISY BOURNE http://www.TalesOfAvalon.co.uk THE TALES OF AVALON – BOOK 1 9 781999 902902

The New Land is a magical tale readers will love.  Bourne describes the fictional land so vividly, readers will think the setting is real. The descriptions of the lush greenery and mountains are expertly paired with a map of Avalon at the beginning of the novel.

The New Land would be best for fans of fantasy novels like Harry Potter and other novels about magical powers. The Merlin and King Arthur references in the novel would also appeal to fans of medieval fantasy. The book would be great for readers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy or other Tolkien-esque novels about journeys. Though the novel may appeal most to young adult readers, The New Land can appeal to readers of all ages.

Daisy Bourne has written a book that will have readers clamoring [SIC] for more. The New Land will have readers eager to return to Avalon

–Pacific Book Review

‘The New Land’ was chosen as one of Pacific Book Review’s five Books of the Month in January 2017. 

Tales of King Arthur and Merlin will probably always be told and re-told for new generations, but it’s up to the author to keep the stories fresh. This particular presentation does just that for the younger audience.

Bourne does an admirable job of building this into a believable new world and populating it with an assortment of interesting characters.

–US Review of Books

Author Biography

Photo of Daisy Bourne
Author Daisy Bourne

About the Author Daisy Bourne was born in England, in 1917. Nothing much is known about her real parents, except that their lives were changed dramatically by the First World War. At the age of six, Daisy was unofficially adopted by a farmer and his wife. They changed her name and took her to Canada. There are several similarities between the real Daisy Bourne and her namesake in this book. To a small child, Canada, with its heavy snowfalls, huge forests, and grizzly bears, must indeed have seemed like some kind of new world. Although Daisy loved Canada and the farm on which she lived, she was not happy and ran away. She returned to England at the age of 16. In later life, she took up farming again. She also enjoyed her garden and preserving much of its produce. This is where the similarities between the real Daisy and the character in this book end. I am proud to use my mother’s birth name as a pseudonym when writing the Tales of Avalon series. My ambition is to one day write the story of the real Daisy Bourne. In the meantime, I shall work to complete the other seven books in the Tales of Avalon series

Social Media Links –

http://www.talesofavalon.co.uk/

(20+) Daisy Bourne | Facebook

https://twitter.com/RoseGriffin14

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour.

Happy reading!

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

I’m excited to share my review for Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey that first appeared in my other blog From under the Duvet but it deserves another shout out. This novel’s blurb made me jump up and down with excitement as it sounded different and I wondered how the author would tackle a potential complicated premise. Books like these make me feel privileged to be a book blogger and able to discover new authors regularly. Scroll down to see if this novel met my expectations.

BOOK REVIEW: MEET ME IN ANOTHER LIFE BY CATRIONA SILVEY

Book Cover: Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

BLURB:

Joyful, devastating, and profound, Meet Me in Another Life is a story of love and connection in every possible form

 Thora and Santi have met before…

Under the clocktower in central Cologne, with nothing but the stars above and their futures ahead. They will meet again…

They don’t know it yet, but they’ll meet again: in numerous lives they will become friends, colleagues, lovers, enemies – meeting over and over for the first time, every time; each coming to know every version of the other. But as they’re endlessly drawn together and the lines between their different lives begin to blur, they are faced with one question: why?

They must discover the truth of their strange attachment before this, and all their lives, are lost forever.

Title: Meet Me in Another Life

Author: Catriona Silvey

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Genre: General fiction, fantasy, sci fi

Release date: 8th July 2021

MY THOUGHTS

This novel wasn’t what I expecting but it was breathtakingly beautiful and exceeded my expectations by miles. With an unimaginable and unforgettable ending, this has to be one of the most original reads I’ve read for a long time. I think I’d have to go back to Barbara Erskine’s Lady of Hay for its uniqueness when time slip novels weren’t a genre of its own thirty years ago.

The novel offers snapshots of Thora’s and Santi’s lifes; each one set in Cologne where a broken clock tower watches over them. Sometimes they’re lovers, other times they are friends or child and teacher; the novel shows endless relationship possibilities but both characters know things they shouldn’t, and see constellations that are out of sync with the ones they see in the sky. Each lifetime reveals something more about the characters and are captivating with the emotions conveyed. The small cast of characters were cleverly weaved into each life and though different, they never lost the true personality and essence of themselves. They made me keep turning the page as did the mystery connecting the Thora and Santi together. Was it fate as gentle Santi believed? Or all about choice as spiky Thora believed? When I finished the last page, I longed to begin the story again to hunt for all the clues leading to the ending I never anticipated but found so satisfying.

The limited location of Cologne worked well and as I got to know Thora and Santi through their lives, I also felt connected to the place. It has made me add Cologne to the places I want to visit. 

WOULD I RECOMMEND?

Yes. Read a copy, absorb it and then find some fellow bookworms to chat to about it because it’s too great to keep to yourself, and the themes and plot needs unpicking and discussing. It’s a highly imaginative, captivating and emotional read with many threads to discuss making it perfect for book clubs or dark, wintry evenings when you need a novel with depth, and uniqueness that gets your neurons zinging with joy and intrigue.

This is one for my forever shelf and one I’m sure will be popular with those who visit the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Author: Catriona Silvey

Catriona Silvey was born in Glasgow and grew up in Perthshire and Derbyshire, which left her with a strange accent and a distrust of flat places. She overcame the latter to do a BA in English at Cambridge, and spent the next few years there working in scientific publishing. After that she did a PhD in language evolution, in the hope of finding out where all these words came from in the first place. Following stints in Edinburgh and Chicago, she returned to Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and a very peculiar cat. When she’s not working as a researcher studying meaning in language, she writes. Her short stories have been performed at the Edinburgh Literary Festival and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

Thank you Random Things Tour for the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love