Book Review “The Poison Machine” by Robert J. Lloyd

BOOK REVIEW NO ~ 157

Historical Novel

Series Book 2

Length 463 pages

Publisher ~ Melville House

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

London, 1679 — A year has passed since the sensational attempt to murder King Charles II, but London is still a viper’s nest of rumored Catholic conspiracies, and of plots against them in turn. When Harry Hunt — estranged from his mentor Robert Hooke — is summoned to the remote and windswept marshes of Norfolk, he is at first relieved to get away from the place.

But in Norfolk, he finds that some Royal workers shoring up a riverbank have made a grim discovery — the skeleton of a dwarf. Harry is able to confirm that the skeleton is that of Captain Jeffrey Hudson, a prominent member of the court once famously given to the Queen in a pie. Except no one knew Hudson was dead, because another man had been impersonating him.

The hunt for the impersonator, clearly working as a spy, will take Harry to Paris, another city bedeviled by conspiracies and intrigues, and back, with encounters along the way with a flying man and a cross-dressing swordswoman — and to the uncovering of a plot to kill the Queen and all the Catholic members of her court. But where? When?

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 5 STARS

As the follow up to The Bloodless Boy I was really expecting to enjoy The Poison Machine and I absolutely wasn't disappointed. The perfect historical mystery that has a pace that holds your attention throughout. It is certainly a book that makes you think and I actually feel like I learn something when I read a Robert J Lloyd book. He clearly researches his facts and loves to then share with his readers through his creative writing. He brings his characters to life brilliantly. They are all believable, complex and fabulously thrilling. 
The atmospheric feeling that runs through the entire book really draws you in to the seedy underworld of London in contrast to the opulence of the Queens Court.. I loved it. I am a bit of an Historical Novel geek and I lapped up every single word. Harry is a unstoppable force and is determined to get at the truth no matter what. 
With intrigue and suspense a plenty I can honesty say if you are a lover of historical novels, ones that are spot on with the characterisations and with a plot line that is thrilling until the last page then Robert J. Lloyd is absolutely the author for you.

With thanks for the advance copy to ….

Nikki Griffiths @Melville Publishers

Robert J. Lloyd

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Book Review “How To Destroy Your Husband” by Jess Kitching

BOOK REVIEW NO; 156 (many more on my instagram @nikiprestonbookreviewer)

Psychological Thriller

Standalone

length : 359 pages

Publisher : Kingsley Publishers

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

I gulp as I stare at the stranger before me. Who is this man I had wanted to spend the rest of my life with?”

Cassie Edwards swore she’d never fall in love… then she met Jamie. He changed everything, and Cassie’s never been happier.

But with less than one month to go to her wedding, Cassie discovers Jamie is cheating on her with his colleague. Blinded by rage, Cassie makes it her mission to seek revenge on the pair.

When Cassie looks deeper into her fiancé’s life, she soon realises being faithful isn’t the only thing he’s lying about.

As her hunt for the truth takes her to some of the darkest corners of the internet, Cassie learns just how little she knows about the man she shares her life with. It leaves her wondering one thing – is Jamie someone she should destroy, or someone she should fear instead?

How far would you go to destroy your husband?

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 5 STARS PLUS (for when 5 just isn’t enough)

WOW WOW WOW! Jess Kitching has absolutely done it again with this, her second novel! Hard to believe it is only her second. She has developed her craft to a T and for me she is rapidly becoming one of the best Psychological Thriller writers out there.

The opening chapter is a blinder and totally sets the scene for the whole book. Jess’s characters are brilliantly written, each one has their own flaws and foibles that makes them completely believable, people you can invest in, that you begin to care about and worry about. I wanted to be there for Cassie as she begins to unravel the true levels of deceit her Fiancé has gone to. As she ploughs on with her plans, a chill slowly flowed over me as I worried for her more and more. Does she really know what she is doing? Is she playing with fire? Is she going to get burned? All questions that Jess answers with a creative twist that is just phenomenal.

I am not going to waffle on about the actual story, the synopsis is perfect and draws you in just that right amount to make you need to read this glorious book. Suffice it to say Jess has blown this genre into tiny pieces and totally made it her own, I LOVED IT ! There is nothing more to say other than grab a copy and dive into the dark and seedy world of Jamie and his ever loving Fiancée Cassie, or is she?

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With huge thanks for inviting me onto this Blogtour to Kingsley Publishers and Jess Kitching

AUDIO Book Review “How to Kill Men and Get Away with it” by Katy Brent

BOOK REVIEW NO : 155 (more reviews on insta @nikiprestonbookreviewer)

Psychological Thriller

Audio, 9 hours and 25 mins

Publisher : HQ Digital (Harper Collins Audio)

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

Have you ever walked home at night, keys in hand, ready to throw a punch in self-defence?

That’s how it all started. The killing spree, I mean.

I sort of tripped into this role…. Literally. The first one was following me. That guy from the nightclub who wouldn’t leave me alone. I pushed him, he stumbled, and fell onto his own broken wine bottle. Oops. It was such a waste of a good house white.

But now I can’t seem to stop and nor do I want to…. I’ve got a taste for revenge and quite frankly,

I’m killing it.

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 5 STARS PLUS

OM actual G as the self entitled Chelsea socialite would post on her Insta. I loved this book right from the first word. Read in the first person from Kitty’s point of view. Her sense of humour is second to none, her ability to kill those she feels deserve it, also second to none. It was like listening to an episode of Made in Chelsea with a rather super amount of splendid murder thrown in. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments. I loved Kitty’s idea of an entrepreneur , I’ll leave you to come across that little gem. The darkness of this book slowly grows. It is both hilarious and accidently violent all at the same time. Kitty murders with a certain amount of Jodi Comer esq indifference as in Killing Eve. She murders without emotion, it is a necessity that these lowlife men die for the wicked deeds they have done. From ghosting to violent acts. In Kitty’s mind they all deserve the end the meet.
Victoria Morrison narrates this book wonderfully. She embodies the spirit of Kitty beautifully. She captures the dark side of her superbly well and drops in the humour exactly how and where it is needed. This books deserves to be heard. Its unique, funny, dark and suspenseful. LOVED IT.

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With Thanks to

Netgalley

Katy Brent

Harper Collins Audio (HG Digital)

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Book Review “Something Beyond the Pages: A World that is Hidden” by Rachael Shaw

BOOK REVIEW NO:154 (More to see on instagram @nikiprestonbookreviewer)

Contemporary Fantasy

First in series

Length : 167 pages

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

Adalyn is an average young girl seeking to escape an ordinary life. She gets handed a big responsibility and an adventure of a lifetime. This adventure is one that is hard to walk away from, especially when she forms a bond with an unusual character who is hiding a family secret.

Adalyn visits a place that holds magic and things beyond her imagination. Her dreams come true, but not always how she pictures them. Some make her want to turn and run for home.

Lies and revelations come to light and Adalyn experiences twists and turns before tears and blood are spilled. Good guys aren’t always good and bad guys aren’t always bad, you just have to work that one out for yourself.

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real, it could be right under your nose. Hidden in plain sight, a world that no one has seen.

REVIEW ~ 5 STARS

I was gifted this book by the author via twitter , not for any reason other than to read and see what I thought. So here goes …..

Flipping brilliant is how I am going to began. An utterly unique fantasy story that draws you right in from the first page. A story based around a young teenage girl, Adalyn, whose parents don’t really understand her and always think she’s up to something even though she actually isn’t. The creative writing style is brilliant and just holds you captivated throughout. If fantasy is your thing then this book will be right up your street. It is not your normal fantasy either, totally unique and enthralling. The plot fires your imagination and gets you involved with the characters completely. I was truly invested in Adalyn and just wanted her find that something, something beyond the pages.

I found it hard to put this book down. It is such a superbly descriptive story that I just had to keep reading to find out just what was going on, then it was over and I was sad it had ended. I can not wait for the next instalment.

With Thanks to Rachael Shaw for a copy of her awesome book.

Rachael Shaw http://@Rachiiieshaw

Book Review “Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary : Quest for Life” by Brendan James

BOOK REVIEW NO : 153

Humour/Comedy

Standalone

Length : 196 pages

Independently Published

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary: Quest for a Life

‘Could there be a world of interest and adventure beyond the Midlands? A world of confidence, sex and excitement? A better life – a better me?’ These are the questions Gerard Philey grapples with over New Year, 1995. Sitting in his rented Black Country room, reflecting on his thankless teaching job and miserable love life, he courageously decides to abandon his humdrum existence and embark on a quest for Euro-fulfilment, fun and fitness on the Continent.

After a shaky start in Brussels, events manoeuvre him to Amsterdam where chance encounters shift his world well and truly into fifth gear. He samples the trials and tribulations of new relationships, alongside managing a sex shop in the city’s Red Light Area – on top of the challenges of fat-free living and international travel!

Through his bittersweet diary, we see how Gerard steers a laugh-out-loud course through farcical episodes and fanciful characters…and how entanglements from past and present draw him unwittingly into a criminal underworld where events ultimately take their toll.

Purchase Link –  https://amzn.to/3spEKZ9

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 4 STARS

In all honesty I really wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary. A diary entry style that had me thinking if I was actually going to enjoy it. Well that’ll teach me to be all judgy about a book before I’ve read it! I laughed so much I didn’t want it to finish. I loved following Gerard’s journey from his very boring, uneventful life to finding himself in the much more promiscuous lifestyle of running a sex shop in Amsterdam! This could not be more removed from his old life if he tried and I adored every single entry.

This book is written with a passion that just brings the brilliant characters to life. some of the situations that Gerard finds himself in are truly outrageous but equally hilarious, it really is one of those books that you think, “Ok I’ll give it a go” and then end up thinking “I am telling everyone about this book” Everyone needs a good laugh every now and then and Gerard and his escapades will indulge you with laughs in spades. Loved It!

Author Bio – 

Brendan James is the author of the new comedy novel, “Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary: Quest for a Life”. Though this is his first novel, he has a large number of non-fiction publications (under the name Brendan Bartram) as a former university lecturer and researcher. A passionate linguist and Europhile, he spent a number of years working in the Netherlands, France and Germany. He lives in the West Midlands with his husband.

Social Media Links –

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/450811.Brendan_James

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brendan-james-4343a8237/

Twitter @Brendan23015569

With Thanks for the Advance copy to ……..

Rachel Gilbey

Brendan James

Book Review “Buttercups in the Basement” by Jane Harvey

BOOK REVIEW : 152

Book 2 of 3 in The Hummingbird House Series

Length : 233 pages

Publisher : Dreena Collins

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

Buttercups in the Basement

1967: the summer of love and the year Betty moves into her first home.

Independent. Open. Inexperienced. She is excited to be living with her new husband, William, and committed to returning Hummingbird House to its former glory.

But when she invites captivating new tenants into her home and settles into married life, her world begins to transform in ways she could never have imagined.

She thought she was on a journey toward domesticity and devotion – but her experiences that summer prove to be anything but traditional.

Alternating between the1960s and the present day, Buttercups in the Basement is a delightful exploration of personal awakening, friendships – and what it means to be happy.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Buttercups-Basement-Book-Hummingbird-House-ebook/dp/B09SF7VVG2/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Buttercups-Basement-Book-Hummingbird-House-ebook/dp/B09SF7VVG2/

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 4 STARS

I always love to find a book that resonates with me. Buttercups in the Basement did just that. The complex issues are dealt with in a sensitive manner and only goes to highlight that some issues from way back in the 60’s still exist today! which in itself is quite shocking. We think we have come far but actually in some areas we just haven’t. (I can’t go into detail as that would involve spoilers, not doing that) On top of all that is also told across two very different eras, the 60’s and present day. One of my favourite genres.

This is the second book in a series of 3 but having not read book 1 I didn’t feel like I had missed out to much, although I am now planning to go back and read the first one to get a more rounded read.

Betty has a beautiful soul. She is quite naïve and hopes her new life as a married woman will be satisfying and she will be fulfilled however she quickly finds out it is far from her expectations. Que Sandra, her tenant who opens Betty’s eyes in more ways than one. She sort of becomes her saviour. I loved how their relationship blossoms.

I found Jane Harvey’s writing style thoroughly captivating. It flowed well and you, as a reader just don’t want it to end. I highly recommend Book 2 in this series.

Author Bio –

Social Media Links –

Instagram.com/jane_harvey_novelist

Facebook.com/janeharveynovelist

Twitter: @dreenac

With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ….

Rachel Gilby

Jane Harvey

Book Review “Together under a Snowy Skye” by Lisa Hobman

BOOK REVIEW : 151

Romance

Standalone

Length : 310 pages

Publisher : Boldwood

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

Together Under a Snowy Skye

After the heartbreak of a secret unrequited love, Millie Treadaway has finally found someone to spend her life with.

Harry Rose is handsome, successful and treats her like a princess. That is until Millie presents her fiancé with a surprise birthday gift, and their future is suddenly doomed.

Eight months later Millie returns to Glentorrin on the Isle of Skye for her best friend Jules’ Christmas wedding. Heartbroken, single and heavily pregnant.

Staying in Lifeboat Cottage with Jules’ brother, kindhearted Dexter, she’s given up on love and resigned herself to be the best single Mum ever.

But a shock phone call from Harry leaves her reeling and doubting herself and her decisions.

Do second chances work? Or is Dexter, right? That she deserves much more?

Can the festive spirit in Glentorrin, and a little stray Jack Russell terrier, heal her heart?

Or is she fated to remain a member of the lonely-hearts club forever?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3O28t2B

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 4 STARS

Having lived in remote parts of Scotland I absolutely love finding a great book that brings back some fabulous memories and Together under a Snowy Skye really did that for me. A pure peace of escapism that makes you feel all dreamy and cosy, ready for the winter. I was involved with this beautiful story right from the beginning. Hooked and then some. A wonderful story of love and loyalty in beautiful surroundings described to a T. To top it all there is the gorgeous Nigel! (a dog) to finish off the story. What more could a story need? Lisa Hobman has hit the proverbial nail on the head with this marvellous book.

If your looking for a great cosy feel good book then this it absolutely THE book for you. I loved it and I’m more than sure you will to. The synopsis tells you just enough the whet the appetite so off you pop and grab a copy. Great for those early evenings, it will leave you with a lovely fuzzy feeling.

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Author Bio –

Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories.

Social Media Links –  

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/LisaJHobmanAuth

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

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/LisaHobmannews 

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisa-hobman

With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ……

Rachel Gilbey

Lisa Hobman

Boldwood Books

Book Review “A Wartime Welcome at Rookery House” by Rosie Hendry

BOOK REVIEW NO : 150

Wartime Fiction

Saga series

Length : 304

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

A Wartime Welcome at Rookery House

Follow the much-loved characters from the award winning MOTHER’S DAY CLUB in a brand-new World War Two saga series.

October 1940

When VAD nurse Evie narrowly avoids being killed in an air raid during the Blitz, it propels her to make a life-changing decision to break free of her troubled and unhappy life. She escapes to the Norfolk countryside to start afresh, with a job at the newly opened Great Plumstead Hall hospital, and a wonderful new home at Rookery House.

The community of Great Plumstead welcomes more evacuees to the village – mothers and children bombed out of their London homes. Sisters Prue and Thea, along with members of The Mother’s Day Club, help the new arrivals settle in, while continuing their work for the war effort by holding knitting bees, socials and doing WVS work.

Evie is happy in her new life – she loves living at Rookery House and enjoys her job at the hospital, despite working for the difficult Matron Reed. But when a patient arrives who knew her in her former life, Evie’s new-found freedom and happiness is in danger. Will the secrets of Evie’s past be revealed, and the problems from her old life return to trouble her once more?

Purchase Links – https://amazon.co.uk/dp/B09R2KB6NV

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 4 STARS

Another great story from Rosie Hendry. She writes with a beautiful flare that brings her characters to life brilliantly well. I am always drawn into her books as she creates emotional situations with an honesty that at times you can really feel it within yourself. Whether its laughter or sadness it all becomes so real. Definitely my kind of book. One that leaves you thinking about it for quite some time after you’ve finished reading.

An enthralling Wartime saga that tackles some heart breaking and difficult issues. Evacuated children, losing loved ones to the war, heart break, love, friendship and secrets. I never reveal spoilers in a review, so all that is left to say is I would highly recommend A Wartime Welcome at Rookery House if you enjoy good strong female characters , a strong sense of community and an all round great read, this is one for you.

Author Bio –

Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in North Norfolk with her husband and children. She writes uplifting, heart-warming historical fiction based on true events from our social history. Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked her interest in this period and she loves researching further, seeking out gems of real-life stories which inspire her writing.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/RosieHendrybooks

https://www.instagram.com/rosiehendryauthor/

With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ….

Rachel Gilbey

Rosie Hendry

Book Review “The Hub” by Nicola May

BOOK REVIEW no :149

Romance/Mystery

Standalone

Length : 318 pages

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

The Hub

ONE TURKEY FARM, FIVE WILD COLLEAGUES AND A BARN FULL OF MYSTERY

When jilted crime writer August Saunders returns from London to her roots in rural Wiltshire, she feels lost and lacking in inspiration. Determined to reignite her writing mojo, she responds to an advert for a shared workspace in a converted barn.

At the Hub, with its ill-equipped gym, inedible catering and motley array of fellow users, including a matchmaker more interested in her own conquests and a TikToker with a dodgy nocturnal sideline, August is confronted with a real-life mystery to solve.

Why is Max Ronson, the handsome but volatile owner of the Hub, so evasive about his past? And who or what is he hiding on the premises? She is determined to find out – but will her curiosity snuff out the spark of romance?

Nicola May mixes mischief with mystery in a fast-paced rural romp which will make Futtingbrook Farm as beloved a location as Ferry Lane Market or Cockleberry Bay.

Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary, Sarah Morgan, Jill Mansell and Cathy Bramley.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hub-uplifting-laugh-out-loud-romance-mystery-ebook/dp/B0B4PYPFWC/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Hub-uplifting-laugh-out-loud-romance-mystery-ebook/dp/B0B4PYPFWC/

REVIEW ~ NIKI PRESTON ~ 4 STARS

What a great and enjoyable read The Hub is. A fabulous piece of escapist romance with a good splash of mystery to keep you wondering just what is going on at The Hub on the turkey farm? The humour flows off almost every page and the relationship between August and Max is brilliantly written, the back and forth banter is so funny at times, I had many laugh out loud moments. Nicola May has a creative brilliance for the Rom Com genre that she is right up there with the best of them. She doesn’t make it all about hearts and flowers and rippling muscles, although never fear there is some of that too.

The Hub is a great holiday read, well actually it’s a great anywhere read. Relax with a coffee or whatever your preferred drink may be, curl up and lose yourself it a perfect romance with a few twisty bits along the way.

Author Bio –

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of sixteen romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Her books are translated into fourteen languages. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year. Described by Winifred Robinson of BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours as ‘the invisible bestselling author’, Nicola campaigned successfully for the introduction of ebook charts in the publishing trade press.

Social Media Links –

T: https://twitter.com/nicolamay1

W: www.nicolamay.com

Nicola May – Home | Facebook

i: https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

Book Review “Hidden in the Mists” by Christina Courtaney

BOOK REVIEW NO : 148

Timeslip novel

standalone

length : 336 pages

Publisher: Headline Review

SYNOPSIS/BOOK BLURB

Hidden In The Mists

A love forged in fire lives on through the ages

She stared at the man again. Was he real? Her mind returned to the ghostly figure by the shore and to her strange dream. No, he was not a figment of her imagination.

Skye Logan has been struggling to run her remote farm on Scotland’s west coast alone ever since her marriage fell apart. When a handsome stranger turns up looking for work, it seems that her wish for help has been granted.

Rafe Carlisle is searching for peace and somewhere he can forget about the last few years. But echoes of the distant past won’t leave Skye and Rafe alone, and they begin to experience vivid dreams which appear to be linked to the Viking jewellery they each wear.

It seems that the ghosts of the past have secrets . . . and they have something that they want Skye and Rafe to know.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Mists-sweepingly-romantic-dual-time-ebook/dp/B09KZMP8B2

US – https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Mists-sweepingly-romantic-dual-time-ebook/dp/B09KZMP8B2

REVIEW ~NIKI PRESTON ~ 5 STARS

I absolutely love a good timeslip novel and this one is way beyond good. It is truly captivating story that is so emotive I cried and had warm fuzzy feelings all at the same time. If that’s even possible? It is a gentle story that just flows naturally , that’s not to say there isn’t some truly awful outcomes and some violent actions that make you want to warn those involved to run and hide. I found the similarities between the past and present really brought the two worlds alive.

The characters of Ottaar (Viking) and Rafe (present day) and Asta (Viking) and Skye (present day) are so incredibly written that I was drawn to them all. It felt as though Rafe and Skye were actually reincarnated versions of Ottaar and Asta. I was utterly taken in by them all and their stories that brought them together. Its not all plain sailing for any of them but through love and patience and persistence they find a way to live in their worlds together. I highly highly recommend this book to lovers of timeslip, the Viking era, romance and a bit of scary thrown in.

Author Bio –

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) and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the Runes.  Hidden in the Mists (timeslip/dual time romance published by Headline Review 18th August 2022) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Social Media Links –

http://www.christinacourtenay.com

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

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

With Thanks for the advance copy to…..

Rachel Gilby

Christina Courtaney

Headline Review