Blog tour: ‘The Spell Tailors,’ by James Nicol, illustrations by Jenny Zemanek.

James’ Apprentice Witch series is one of my favourites so I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for him to release a new book. Am here it is! The Spell Tailors! Just as full of magic, but a long way away from the protective charms and spells being performed by Arianwyn…

Be sure to read my exclusive piece from James about some of his favourite bookshops and libraries. Do you have a local gem you’d like to share in the comments?

‘Hen dreams of becoming a spell tailor, stitching magic into clothing like his beloved Nana.

But thanks to new factories, spell tailors are struggling. His Uncle Bertie’s fancy shop has shut down, and when he, Aunt Lucia and stuck-up cousin Connie move in, it’s a disaster for all the family. 

Then Hen stumbles upon a new kind of stitch – one which causes Nana and Bertie to ban him from sewing.

What is the power of the stitch that can sew memories into clothes – and could it be the very thing to save them all?’


Favourite Book Spots – James Nicol

Favourite Bookshops

Now, I have to be careful: as an ex-bookseller, I shouldn’t have favourites! I LOVE bookshops, they are entirely my happy place and I’ve never met one that I didn’t like! I can spend hours just mooching about – much to my husbands’ utter bemusement!

We’re very lucky where we live in Yorkshire to have some really lovely independent bookshops that really click with their local communities. It’s just joyous to visit, work with and visit them. I have a soft spot for The Blue House Bookshop in York which is small but perfectly formed in a gorgeous historic building – and the stock is so beautifully and thoughtfully curated by Karen, the owner. It’s a real gem!

I’m also hugely fond of the wonderful Little Ripon Bookshop run by brilliant Gill and Simon. They know their community so well – if you wander through town with Gill, everyone knows her and the shop. And what a beautiful shop it is too – thoughtfully decorated and presented with such gorgeous collections for all ages and super quirky displays. I never fail to leave with a bag full of books!

Oh, and one more v quick shout out for Toppings in Ely. It’s the kind of bookshop that you imagine all bookshops used to be like: books from floor to ceiling, stacked on every possible surface over three floors, rickety staircases and bookcase ladders. You always leave with two books you definitely went in for and about six random ones you had no idea you needed! 

Favourite Libraries

I could get into even more serious trouble now as I do still work in a library part-time, but for the purposes of this blog I’m going to forge ahead! The first one has to be Leeds Central Library: it is such a stunning building and always with lots of activities and events going on too. The team there are all super friendly and welcoming and it’s always fun to visit! 

Now for a couple of personal picks. Gaywood and King’s Lynn libraries were my two local libraries growing up back in Norfolk. King’s Lynn is a traditional old Carnegie library and Gaywood opened when I was about twelve or thirteen and was just down the road from where I lived. These were the libraries that fuelled my childhood and teen reading andintroduced me to some of my all-time favourite books,including The Earthsea books by Ursual Le Guin (the book that made me want to be a writer)! These libraries pushed me to try different things thanks to the brilliant staff that worked there. They certainly made me want to work in a library too!

Thank you James for risking getting into trouble for sharing some of your favourite bookish places. Libraries and bookshops really do help form the heart of a community, which is why it’s so important to support your local independent if you’re lucky enough to have one.

The Spell Tailors is an enchanting read with magic woven into its very fabric. Readers will be absolutely delighted to discover they could purchase a jumper stitched in such a way that it will always keep you warm, or a raincoat that will always keep you dry. I can also imagine there will be lots of children trying to develop their own spell stitches!

A brilliant, twisty-turny mystery full of warmth, magic and shleep!

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Chicken House Books for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*

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