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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Book review, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Moon Almanac by Judith Hurrell

Hello, December! I’m delighted to share my first review of this month with this unusual and delightful book The Moon Almanac by Judith Hurrell.

Book Review: Moon Almanac by Judith Hurrell

The Moon Almanac by Judith Hurrell

Title: The Moon Almanac

Author: Judith Hurrell

Publisher: Summersdale

Genre: Non-fiction, nature, lunar

Release Date: 23rd August 2021

Blurb

When can you spot the Hunter’s Moon, a Smiling Moon or a Pink Moon?
How can the phases of the moon help your garden grow?
What influence does the full moon have on hamsters, coral and skylarks?


Navigate the rhythms of the night sky with this evocative collection of poetry, prose and precious
wisdom. Illuminating the moon’s influence on the natural world and its depiction in folklore and the arts,
The Moon Almanac will open your eyes to the wonders of our brightest celestial neighbour.
Includes information on:


 History and folklore – learn about wolves howling at the moon and the stories behind the names
such as holiday moon, the old moon etc.
 Trivia – includes details of the Apollo missions, the first man on the moon, astronomy discoveries,
the tides, daylight moons, harvest moons and more.
 The moon in religion and mythology – gods and goddesses of the moon, religious beliefs about
the moon.
 The moon and biological rhythms – find out how you can align your body and your sleeping
patterns with the moon, and how important the moon is to your circadian rhythm.
 Words of wisdom and lunar quotes.

My Thoughts

First off, this book is beautiful and with its midnight blue cover and simple silver design, it begs to be held and read. Inside it is just as stunning with intricate illustrations using the same colour way. It feels as special as it reads.

Each section is divided into months of the year and includes information about the upcoming moon cycles, poems, folklore from all areas of the globe and snippets of literature related to the month’s moon. It is full of facts that range from scientific facts to the meanings behind moon related phrases. Who knew the phrase “over the moon” is over 500 years old. It’s one of those books that has to be seen in reality to see its true delight.

Inside The Moon Almanac

Would I recommend?

Yes, I adore this book and is a joy to read. It will be one I will refer to on a regular basis as the year progresses. I feel privileged to have this treasure on my bookcase and know it will also be popular and well loved by those visiting The Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf. It would make a wonderful Christmas or Yule gift for anyone who loves nature or the moon.

Author Biography

Judith Hurrell

Judith Hurrell is a freelance writer who lives in Buckinghamshire. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in nature, going on about the sky, the sea, the earth and the trees to her family and dogs. She was inspired to write this book after joining a women’s circle, which meets every month to mark and celebrate the 12 phases of the lunar cycle.

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, Book review

Book Review: The Nightmare Tree by Paul O’Neill

It’s been a while since I have read a horror book, but with Halloween galloping closer, I was excited to be invited to the blog tour for The Nightmare Tree by Paul O’Neill. With a tag line ‘ Somewhere between Iain Banks and Stephen King’, I had high expectations. Scroll down to see if it exceeded them.

Book Review: The Nightmare Tree by Paul O’Neill

The Nightmare Tree by Paul O’Neill

Title: The Nightmare Tree

Author: Paul O’Neill

Publisher:

Genre: Horror, short stories

Release Date: 10th September 2021

Purchase: Amazon

Blurb

‘Somewhere between Iain Banks and Stephen King’

The debut short story collection from a fresh new voice. Thirteen tales of horror and suspense. In the forgotten places of Scotland, terror awaits.

‘Intriguing and heartfelt’

Contains the chilling stories: The Great Slime Kings – Three’s a Crowd – The Summer Bullet – The Only Emperor – Down Below is Silence and Darkness – Guardians – In a Jar of Spiders – We the Dark Deniers – Blocks – Nightmare Soup – The Dumps – Once Upon a Flame – The Nightmare Tree (novella).

Dare you stand before the Nightmare Tree and make your wish?

‘Oh my God!’

‘Powerful

My Thoughts

I’m very glad this was a collection of short stories and not a full length novel – I do not think my nerves will have coped. Whoever quoted the tagline was not lying; while I haven’t read any Iain Banks novels this collection was very classic Stephen King-esque without the excess waffle. These compact stories make every word count and were on the edge of being too horrifying for me which is an excellent sign for horror writing especially when this wasn’t because of over the top violence or goriness.

The power of these stories is the ability to tap into the reader’s imagination and allow it to fill in the gaps of the unsaid. I found myself trapped in the scenarios and nightmares on the page.  Paul O’Neill has the ability to transform the ordinary into something disturbing and horrifying. From his descriptions of the swamp in The Great Slime Kings, snow drifts in The Only Emperor, and the leaves slamming on the window panes in The Nightmare Tree, the effects of these stories will linger and unnerve me for a long time to come. Especially on damp nights when I have to venture outside to bring Nigel, our Jack Russell, in when he finds a toad.

Would I recommend?

If you love horror, give it ago but be warned, it made me sleep with the light one and despite immersing myself into festive books, my nerves haven’t recovered. They hit the spot in tension, fear and lingering chills.

Author Biography

Photo of Paul O'Neill Author
Paul O’Neill

Paul is a short story writer from Scotland.

He is a PR / Internal Communications professional who tries not to let the horror of corporate-speak seep into his stories. |

His stories have appeared in Scare Street’s Night Terrors series, Purple Wall Stories, and Fae Corps Press’ Nightmare Whispers anthology, with an upcoming story in Eerie River Publishing’s It Calls from the Doors anthology.

You can find him sharing his love of short stories on twitter @PaulOn1984. 

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.

What are your favourite horror books? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

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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!

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All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Dream Weavers by Barbara Erskine

I follow some authors and order their books before I even read the blurb. You know from their backlist their new novel will provide you with hours of escapism and joy. Barbara Erskine is one of these with her unique ability of transporting you to the past with her supernatural time slip novels. I’m thrilled to share my review for new novel, The Dream Weavers.

Book Review: The Dream Weavers by Barbara Erskine

Book Cover: The Dream Weavers by Barbara Erskine

Title: The Dream Weavers

Author: Barbara Erskine

Publisher: Harper Collins UK

Release date: 15th April 2021

Genre: historical time slip

Blurb

The brand-new, gripping historical novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Lady of Hay!

‘Warmth, depth, mystery, magic and the supernatural … such a beautiful book!’ bestselling author Santa Montefiore

‘A dazzling roller-coaster of a book that will thrill, enchant and intrigue those who love history and the supernatural’ bestselling author Alison Weir

Mercia, 788 AD

In the grand Saxon halls of Mercia, King Offa rules with cold ambition. His youngest daughter Eadburh is destined for an arranged marriage, but with reckless spirit her heart is taken by a Welsh prince, a man she can never be matched with and who is quickly and cruelly taken from her.

Eadburh inherited her father’s ruthless ways but it’s the gifts passed down from her mother that are far more dangerous. She is determined to carve her own place in the world, yet her path could cause war.

Offa’s Dyke, 2021

In a cottage hidden amongst the misty Welsh hills of Offa’s Dyke, Bea Dalloway is called to help Simon Armstrong, who is searching for peace. Instead he finds himself disturbed by unsettling noises and visions.

It isn’t long before Bea is also swept up by haunting dreams. The past is whispering to them, calling out for the truth to be told at last.  And as dreams and reality weave closer together, Bea and Simon must be strong to resist the pull of the past – and its desire for revenge…

The Sunday Times bestselling author returns with a thrilling tale of lost love, betrayal and secrets that have lain buried over a thousand years…

My Thoughts

According to my Kindle, reading time for this book was 10 hours and 3 mins and what a wonderful 10 hours it was. This novel is pure book heaven and showcases Barbara Erskine’s superior storytelling skills and talent at blending history with fiction and the supernatural. She is still the Queen of time slip fiction. 

It is hard to review without revealing spoilers; part of the thrill of this book is discovering the twists and turns which are always unexpected. Both the contemporary and historical settings are brought to life by the descriptions which ignite the senses. I could smell the herbs in Nesta’s herb garden and imagine being in the halls with King Offa. While reading, I was in these locations and experiencing things with the characters. It made me long to visit Wales and Hereford cathedral. 

All the characters are well developed and I connected with Bea, a modern ghost hunter, for her beliefs and desire to make things better for the ghosts. Eadburh is a complex character and one I wanted to hate but struggled to the more I discovered her story. This novel made me question along with characters, how the traumas people experienced in the past affected their reactions and future events and what would they be like if they had access to the support we have today. 

My only quibble is the novel ended too soon and maybe the end was too tidy, but that could be my hidden revengeful side showing. 

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. Like always, Barbara Erskine has researched the factual stories and seamlessly blended fiction with fact to produce a fantastic read. With Welsh ancestors, reading some of the history about Offa’s Dyke and Prince of Powys, made me want to explore the Welsh history some more. This is one for my forever shelf, and I know will be a popular book on The Enchanted Emporium’s bookshelf. 

Thank you Harper Collins for my advanced copy to review and give my honest opinion. My audio version was downloaded this morning and can’t wait to hold my physical version too.

Have you read this? Let me know what you think in the comment below.

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