Book Review “A Wedding in Tuscany” by Sandy Barker



The Holiday Romance, Book 5

Pages 366

Publisher, One More Chapter


A Wedding in Tuscany

The Parsons sisters are all loved up.

Sarah is living in Sydney with Josh and their cat, Domino, but is anxious about her fast-approaching fortieth birthday.

And Cat is still living in London with her flatmate, Jane, but is in a long-distance relationship with Jean-Luc, her childhood sweetheart and recently re-discovered love.

One of the sisters receives a surprise wedding proposal – it’s a yes! – and everyone heads off to Tuscany for a destination wedding.

Reunite with favourite characters from the Holiday Romance series in one of the most beautiful locations yet for love, laughter, wedding vows, and just a smidge of sisterly mayhem

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The setting for this book is just idyllic and is written with beautiful detail that just draws you in completely. I have not read any of the series until now but it worked well and I thoroughly enjoyed every word. This is just a great read full of love and romance. A bit of pure escapism that takes you off to sunny climbs and beautiful people.

An unexpected proposal sends Cat into a spin of not only joy but panic over where on earth will they live, who will have to give up their home? A duel celebration of a wedding and 40th birthday celebration for Sarah set in a gorgeous Tuscan Castle brings old characters back to the fore. There are dilemmas a plenty and getting to know Sarah and Cat’s parents was a joy. I adored this book completely. Full of great and loving characters that just make you smile. What’s wrong with a bit of fabulous romance and fabulous castles? Nothing at all, that’s what I say. Bring it on. I urge anyone who just needs a pure treat of a book that lifts your heart to get themselves a copy of Sandy Baker’s book and indulge in a few hours of pure joy.

Author Bio – Sandy Barker

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.

Sandy lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.

The series continues in That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney and there are two more to come in 2022. Her standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and next up is The Dating Game, a laugh-out-loud romcom set in the world of Reality TV.

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With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ….

Rachel Gilbey

Sandy Barker

One More Chapter

Book Review “Little Sister” by Patricia MacDonald


Psychological Thriller

Stand Alone

Pages: 332



Two estranged sisters.
One obsessive boyfriend.
A dark secret that could destroy them all.

Beth has the perfect life. She’s the one who escaped her bleak hometown and now she’s got a successful business, a devoted boyfriend, and her dream home.

Then one phone call changes everything . . .

Her father is dead. And Beth must go home to Maine to take care of her fourteen-year-old little sister who she hasn’t seen in eight years.

Her little sister is dating a dangerous man. He’s too old for her. Obsessive and controlling.

And he’ll do anything to keep Beth’s little sister to himself.

An electrifying blend of high domestic suspense, heart-stopping tension  with a shattering final twist.


Little Sister is an intensely nerve jangling read. It begins relatively harmlessly with Beth having to return to her unhappy childhood home for her Father’s funeral. A father she didn’t have any feelings for and a little sister she hadn’t seen for 8 Years. what could go wrong? Well a fair bit actually!

Beth is rich and seemingly living the life. A good job, boyfriend, home with everything just so. Francie, her little sister is the polar opposite, living in a place that is only just catching up with the modern world. Francie is a bit of rebel and does as she pleases. Something will have to give? who or what will it be?

I was engrossed in this book from the off. It begins slowly and we learn a lot about two main characters. really getting into their psyche. Learning what makes them tick. Watching their relationship grow is fascinating. They crash about from misunderstanding to lies and deceit but never apparently getting to know each or even trying to get to know each other. Then throw in one lying, much older boyfriend , Andrew and disaster resonates throughout their relationship.

I was happily going along with getting to know Beth and Francie when all of a sudden things change and not for the better, although Beth and Francie are beginning to get to know each other there is something lurking in the background that is creepy and dangerous.

The last few chapters will have you page turning at a pace. It is thrilling and fast and you really find yourself truly involved in the unfolding events. I was scared and my heart rate increased so much I could feel it beating. The ending is utterly enthralling. I gave this book 5 stars (plus) as 5 stars just wasn’t enough. Grab yourself a copy and prepare for a great thrilling read.


With Thanks for The Advance Copy to ….


Patricia MacDonald

Book Review “Attracting Garden Pollinators” by Jean Vernon



Attracting Garden Pollinators is a friendly, accessible, information packed guide to gardening for and with pollinators. Pollinators are in trouble, but our gardens can help. Gardens represent a vast, varied ‘nature reserve’ packed with plants rich in nectar and pollen to sustain these delicate creatures. This book explores the role that pollinators play and how gardeners and people with gardens can do something to help attract and support them. From butterflies (and their caterpillars – with host plant information) to surprising pollinators (moths, wasps, beetles flies and hornets) and of course including honeybees, hoverflies and bumblebees, this book will offer an insight into their fragile existence, lifecycles and their vital role in the food chain and the natural cycle. Jean Vernon is the Best-Selling author of The Secret Lives of Garden Bees.


What an absolutely beautiful book and one that is so very important for the times we live in. In my other life I am a Garden writer and love love gardening, it is my sanctuary, where I need to go to wind down and just reset. This book is great to not only encourage the bees and other pollinators but also us, as gardeners. We do need to learn to share our space and not be quite so prim and proper about our gardens. I am proud to say that I have a wildlife friendly garden with a small pond, full of frogs and newts. Bees, butterflies, dragonflies and so many more are all welcome here. This book shows how we can all achieve this, even in a small space, a few plants in pots will soon be buzzing with pollinators.

Attracting Garden pollinators is a wonderful book to dip in and out of. The photographs are stunning and really draw you in. I love the way it is written, in an encouraging style without being patronising or demanding. I have shared this book with my 8 year old budding gardener Granddaughter. She is the proud owner of her first sunflower, grown from seed and her first strawberries. She absolutely loves this book. She found it very interesting and engaging and even took it into school to talk about and to show all her friends how to be pollinator attractors. These are the gardeners of tomorrow and this book really hit the spot for them.

The perfect book to get you started, with plant suggestions, bug habitats and houses you can put in your garden to encourage more pollinators. Stunning photos and just al round brilliant information.



Jean Vernon is an award-winning nature writer and the author of the best-selling – The Secret Lives of Garden Bees.

She writes about wildlife for the RHS Journal – The Garden. She is a contributor to the gardening section of The Daily Telegraph and has written many articles on bees, pollinators and the needs of garden bees. Fascinated by bees and the environment since a youngster, she is a tree and bee guardian and passionate about championing bees and pollinators and wildlife of all sorts. It is her mission to unravel, demystify and explain the intricate balance of nature in your garden and to introduce you to the familiar and unfamiliar bees and pollinators that live, breed and breathe within the garden habitat.

She writes in a friendly, accessible style to make facts interesting and understandable, bringing the fascinating complexities of insects and nature within reach of every reader, regardless of their age, level of interest and knowledge.

Jean studied botany at Nottingham University and has had a long and varied career writing about plants, gardens, pollinators and wildlife in the garden

With Thanks for the Advance copy to …

Pen and Sword

White Owl Books

Jean Vernon

Book review “Finding Ruby” by J A Higgins


A Nell Montague Mystery

Pages 254

Publisher Silverwood Books


Finding Ruby: A Nell Montague Mystery

On Halloween night thirteen year old Ruby disappears in the company of a masked figure. She is never seen again. The only witness is Nell Montague who is just seven years old.

Twenty three years later, Nell is trapped in an abusive relationship and still suffering from vivid nightmares of what she saw. When tragedy strikes she escapes and attempts to put her past behind her. Then thirteen year old Emily disappears.

Haunted by increasingly disturbing visions and helped by a reluctant psychic, Nell must unravel the mystery of what really happened that night because to save Emily she must first find Ruby.  But to do so she will question everything she thought she knew about her own childhood and soon discovers that nightmares don’t always end when you wake up.

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Gripping and pretty scary at times is the perfect opener for this review! What an absolutely wonderfully entertaining and engaging read. The plot is just awesome and thankfully the characters are entirely believe able and likeable. The whole story is packed full of intrigue and the pace is set at a good level, it keeps your interest throughout. I enjoyed the concept and as a reader you are definitely kept wondering what will happen in the next chapter. My only criticism is that is was over to quickly, I really was loving every page. I, for one will be looking out for the next instalment. There really isn’t much more for me to say, other than why are you still sitting there reading my review, get going and grab your copy. It is truly an accomplished read and the author writing is pure genius. Fabulous!

Author Bio –

Born and raised at Porton Down in Wiltshire, and currently working for the NHS in Salisbury, J A Higgins has always been fascinated by crime, history and the unexplained.  Finding Ruby is a Page Turner Awards 2021 winner, and the first in the Nell Montague mystery series which will examine how horrors from the past are still very relevant today.

Social Media Links –

Twitter – JAHiggins-Author

Instagram – higgins_author

With thanks for the Advance copy to….

Rachel Gilby

J A Higgins http://JAHiggins-Author

Silverwood Books Publisher

Book Review “Red Flags” by Lisa Black


A Locard Institute Thriller, Book 1

pages: 342

Publisher: Kensington Books


When D.C. crime scene analyst Dr. Ellie Carr is called to investigate the heartrending case of a missing baby, she’s shocked to discover that the child’s mother is her own cousin. Close during their impoverished childhoods, Ellie and Rebecca eventually drifted apart. Rebecca is now half of a Washington power couple, and she and her wealthy lobbyist husband, Hunter, have been living a charmed life in an opulent mansion—until their infant son is taken.

“Every contact leaves a trace.” That’s the basic principle of forensic science followed by pathologist Dr. Rachael Davies. A reluctant Ellie is teamed with Rachael, employed by Hunter to help with the investigation. Rachael is assistant dean at the prestigious Locard Forensic Institute, named in honor of the French criminologist who inspired the profession. But in this case, discovering where those traces lead quickly becomes a dangerous journey through a web of greed and deadly ambition.

At first antagonists, then allies, Ellie and Rachael race to find the baby alive and bring the kidnappers to justice. What seemed like a simple ransom grab reveals links to a lobbying effort to loosen regulations on a billion-dollar gaming empire. Unless they can piece together the evidence before the Senate hearing, Rebecca’s son—and others like him—will face an unthinkable fate . . .


Red Flags is a true thriller that gives you plenty of clues but you still end up not guessing whodunit! I loved this book. The writing style is descriptive but without unnecessary waffle. The fact that it is written predominantly from the crime scene analyst Ellie Carr’s point of view makes for a brilliant change to the usual, suspect/police point of view. I was drawn into Ellie’s life completely, feeling for her as she is drawn into a case that involves her family. She hates the fact that she might be being used as a inside spy to see if she can dig the dirt on them and hopefully get to the bottom of the babies disappearance. She feels very uncomfortable about the entire situation but also her need to find the baby alive drives her onwards.

The story is utterly compelling and although gets a little complicated at times I was just engrossed. A book that makes me think along the way is a fine book in my opinion. It becomes clear that this book has a big message to deliver, one of online safety of our children. It is delivered in an expert style that keeps the pace moving and holds your interest completely. I almost felt like I needed a pen a paper to write the clues down and figure it all out. Red Flags is a book that I would highly recommend if you like a great read that actually makes you think, has plenty of twists and leaves you knowing you’ve just read a great thriller.



Lisa Black’s books have reached the NYT bestsellers list, been translated into six languages and have been optioned for film. Perish was shortlisted for the inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial Award by Putnam and Mystery Writers of America. Lisa will be a Guest of Honor at 2021 Killer Nashville.

She is a certified crime scene analyst in Florida and a former forensic scientist for the Cleveland coroner’s office. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the International Association for Identification, and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts, and has testified in more than fifty homicide trials.

She still aspires to drive Nancy Drew’s convertible and marry Ellery Queen.

With Thanks for The Advance Copy to..

Kensington Books

Lisa Black

Book Review “Wolf of Mercia” by M J Porter


Historical Thriller

Book 2 The Eagle of Mercia Chronicles

346 pages

Publisher: Boldwood

Wolf of Mercia

Author Bio –

As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.

Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement of Londonia and its valuable mint.

King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.

In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.

His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced to join the enemy?

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I must admit that I am glad to be back in Mercia and the life of Icel. In book 2 we definitely get to know Icel in depth. He really would prefer to heal than fight, although he absolutely steps into his warrior shoes when he is called upon. Icel’s’ inner battle is huge. Can he honestly be a warrior and a healer at the same time?

Wolf of Mercia is full of dramatic events and the detail held within it’s pages is immense. I always feel that not only am I reading a superbly written book but i am learning along the way. An interesting read indeed. The story telling is truly compelling and you really get drawn into the lives of the characters.

To be honest there isn’t much more I can say as I really don’t want to give the game away and I never include spoilers. The synopsis is spot on with the story and it alone will make you feel like you need to get hold of a copy. I would however recommend you read the whole series. Although you can read Wolf of Mercia as a standalone it is much better if you learn about Icel from his childhood and his new battles and struggles as he enters manhood. There is plenty of action and the story flows well. A great read that deserves all the praise I am sure it will receive.


MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

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With Thanks for the Advance copy to ……

Rachel Gilby

M J Porter


Book Review “The Murder List” by Jackie Kabler


Psychological Domestic Thriller


350 Pages

Publisher: One More Chapter


The Murder List

When Mary receives a blank diary as a present, she thinks nothing of it. Until she opens the diary, and sees it’s not blank after all…


Is this some kind of sick joke? But…it’s the end of January now. And a woman named Lisa was murderedin Oxford on 1st January.

Does that mean there really is a killer out there, planning to commit a new murder on the first of each month? And is the Mary due to be killed on 1st April her?

The clock is ticking for Mary to uncover the truth, before she becomes the next victim on the killer’s list…

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UK –

US –


As Psychological thrillers are by far my favourite genre I really hoped that The Murder List would be right up there with my favourites. However it far far outstripped a lot of them! What an absolute corker of a book. This is one that really gets your grey matter working into overdrive. A proper edge of your seat page turner. I know I know those old clichés, said so many times in reviews but honestly they just sum up this beautifully crafted thriller to a tea.

There are a few red herrings thrown in to this uncommon take on police procedure. A case that sounds utterly impossible for them to crack. Only having the first name only to go by this really is a challenging case for the police. The case is very cleverly structured and the characters are certainly worth investing your reading time too. Your thought processes will go haywire trying to keep up with the twists and turns. It is totally compelling and you will find it hard (well I did) to put this one down. I loved it and I will be looking out for the Jackie Kabler, how have I not read her before? Totally engrossing and superbly written.

Author Bio –

Jackie Kabler is an internationally bestselling author of psychological thrillers including The Perfect Couple, Am I Guilty? and The Happy Family. She worked as a newspaper reporter and then in television news for twenty years, including nearly a decade on GMTV. She later appeared on BBC and ITV news, presented a property show for Sky, hosted sports shows on Setanta Sports News and worked as a media trainer for the Armed Forces. She now combines her crime writing with her job as a presenter on shopping channel QVC. Jackie lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.

Social Media Links –

Twitter @jackiekabler

Instagram @officialjackiekabler

With Thanks for the Advance copy to ….

Rachel Gilby

Jackie Kabler http://jackiekabler

One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK)

Book Review “The Secret Couple” by Jane Lark


Psychological Thriller



Publisher, One More Chapter, Harper Collins UK

The Secret Couple

Someone knows what they did…

A laugh.
A touch.
A lingering look.

A dead body.
An affair.
A crime years in the making.

Alison knows she’s in too deep. But behind closed doors, no one is who they seem…

Purchase Links

UK –

US –


The Secret Couple is an intense and at times dark read. I was drawn in completely and really did find it quite hard to stop reading. It is a slow burner but I love this in a book. You get to really know the characters well and the plot just gets stronger and stronger. I know many people don’t like to be told “the twist is totally unexpected” but trust me that has to be said and the twist is epic.

There are many secrets and untold lies running throughout and Alison, beginning a new relationship soon begins to wonder, is she really in to deep? Is Luke trouble or the answer to her prayers? The best thing in this book is that the characters have flaws, like us all. They are not likeable all the time, there is violence and temptation abounds and I enjoyed every single page. A proper thriller that has you gasping out loud and feeling somewhat drained by the events. If an author can evoke these strong feelings that you invest in the characters, then its a damn fine book. The suspense will keep you glued to The Secret Couple. Perfectly brilliant and unforgettable tension builder.

Author Bio –

Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction. 

Jane’s books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.

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With Thanks for the advance copy in return for my honest review to …..

Rachel Gilby

Jane Lark

Harper Collins UK , One More Chapter

Book Review “Jingle Bells in June” by Rosie Green


Holiday Romance , comedy

Book 21 of 23 Little Duck Pond Café

202 Pages


Jingle Bells in June, Little Duck Pond Café

Mackenzie Morris, newest recruit at the Little Duck Pond Café, is the perfect addition to the team. But beneath her smiles, Kenzie is hiding a dark secret. It’s the reason she fled to Sunnybrook, desperate for a fresh start that would help to lay the ghosts that haunt her.
The challenge of turning her hobby into a business is a welcome distraction, and to her relief, she finds that her range of quirky pottery mugs and vases appear to be in demand. Alone and scared when she arrived, she’s slowly making friends and starting to feel as if she belongs. Meeting a lovely guy called Aidan seems to confirm this and it looks as if love might be on the horizon.
But then Kenzie makes a devastating discovery that threatens to crush her new-found happiness. Aidan is the one person she yearns to confide in. He’s also the one person who can never know the truth . . .

Purchase Link –


As this is my first journey in this series I found it did actually work as a standalone too, although the whole series does look great and if you’re looking for a cosy series with plenty of books then go for this whole series. It won’t let you down. having said it’s a cosy read don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all hearts and flowers and great love stories, oh no it covers difficult and tricky subjects that tip over into darker situations. Mackenzie’s back story is revealed in full and for me I just felt I had to keep reading until the end. As a relatively short book it’s certainly readable (is that a word?) in one sitting of roughly 2 hours. Making it a great holiday read, in fact take a few right from the beginning and you’re holiday reads are sorted.

One thing to know is that this is not in any way a Christmas book, despite the title. All becomes clear as you start reading and it becomes apparent that the title is very apt. I really enjoyed the style that the author writes with. Difficult and emotional topics are dealt with in a very caring, empathic way which just brings the wonderful characters and their stories to life. Get your tissues at the ready, pull up a chair and indulge yourself for a couple of hours.

Author Bio –

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake’, a sunshine-filled drama full of fun and mystery, out in June 2022 and including the return of character favourites, Ruby and Hudson.

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With Thanks for the Advance copy in return for my honest review to …….

Rachel Gilby

Rosie Green

Book Review “The Twist of a Knife” by Anthony Horowitz


Locked Room Mystery

Book 4 of 4, Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery

400 Pages

Publisher, random House UK Cornerstone

Publish Date, 18 August 2022


‘Our deal is over.’ That’s what reluctant author Anthony Horowitz tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne in an awkward meeting. The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.

His new play, Mindgame, is about to open in London’s Vaudeville theatre. Not surprisingly Hawthorne declines a ticket.

On opening night, Sunday Times critic Harriet Throsby gives the play a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing.

The next morning she is found dead, stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which, it turns out, belongs to Anthony and which has his finger prints all over it.

Anthony is arrested, charged with Throsby’s murder, thrown into prison and interrogated. Alone and increasingly desperate, he realises only one man can help him.

But will Hawthorne take his call?


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I write this review with a certain level of trepidation, looking over my shoulder and hoping I don’t go the way of Harriet Throsby after she wrote a particularly scathing review. Death is not the outcome I desire. Fear not however this review holds nothing but praise, I am safe.

When you pick up an Anthony Horowitz Mystery you know it’s going to be well rounded and entertaining. Always strong characters that are not overly described until you just don’t want to read anymore. Horowitz really is the master of his craft and putting himself at the heart of this book is brilliant. I lapped up every page. At times I felt like I was walking behind him and Hawthorne with my little note book, jotting down clues and theories, of course I was wrong. Not totally, I think I was almost on the same page as Hawthorne but my reasons weren’t quite sharp enough. Even I began to think Horowitz had killed Throsby. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as though I were inside the mind of Horowitz, his thought process and his fear that he might actually be framed. An utterly brilliant book that is full of humour, intrigue and immensely entertaining.

The ending is genius, gathering everyone together in an “I put it to you” scenario. Each suspect is told how they may have done the deed with the “How dare you” responses we are used to reading in a Poirot Mystery. As Hawthorne interviews each person through out the book I half expected him to turn round just as he was leaving in a Columboesque style with the ever present line “Oh just one more thing”

A brilliant book that I would highly recommend to Mystery lovers but if you review it just remember what happened to the savage critic Harriet Thorsby, you have been warned.



Bestselling author Anthony Horowitz has written two highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty; two James Bond novels, Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day; three Detective Hawthorne novels, The Word is MurderThe Sentence is Death and the forthcoming A Line To Kill, and the acclaimed bestselling mystery novels Magpie Murders and Moonflower Murders.

He is also the author of the teen spy Alex Rider series, and responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most loved and successful TV series, including Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War. In January 2022 he was awarded a CBE for his services to literature.