Book Review “A Notable Omission” by Isabella Muir


Historical Mystery. Set in the 70’s

Janie Juke Mystery Book 4

Length : 246

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Outset Publishing Ltd for historical crime and mysteries


A Notable Omission

A 1970s debate on equality is overshadowed by a deadly secret…

Spring 1970. Sussex University is hosting a debate about equality for women. But when one of the debating group goes missing, attention turns away from social injustice to something more sinister.

It seems every one of the group has something to hide, and when a second tragedy occurs, two of the delegates – amateur sleuth Janie Juke, and reporter Libby Frobisher – are prepared to make themselves unpopular to flush out the truth. Who is lying and why?

Alongside the police investigation, Janie and Libby are determined to prise answers from the tight-lipped group, as they find themselves in a race against time to stop another victim being targeted.

In A Notable Omission we meet Janie at the start of a new decade. When we left Janie at the end of The Invisible Case she was enjoying her new found skills and success as an amateur sleuth. Here we meet her a few months later, stealing a few days away from being a wife and mother, attending a local conference on women’s liberation to do some soul-searching…

Purchase Link

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The thing that drew me to A notable Omission was the fact that is was set in the 1970’s. I grew up in this decade and it was great reminiscing about the 70’s and ir reminded jus how much fun it was. Isabella Muir brought this decade to life superbly and it really came to life for me.

The characters are all great, each with their own agenda on this weekend in Sussex University discussing women’s’ equality. It absolutely makes you realise just how hard women had to fight for any level of equality. Clem, organiser has a very poor view of men and the establishment. She hates the police and all things relating to them. The two main characters Janie and Libby, I took to straight away. Especially Janie, she really shone out as a great mind who is trying to expand her life beyond being a mother and a wife.

Isabella Muir’s writing style is no nonsense and she has a fabulous way with words that easily recreates the situations so that you, the reader, feel like you are part of it all. You really feel invested in the plot and want to know what exactly has happened to one character and you hope that Janie and Libby can get to the bottom of everything before something else dastardly happens.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Notable Omission and am drawn to Janie Juke so much so that I will be looking out for more escapades with her.

Just a quick aside, this is book 4 of the series but it definitely works as a stand alone.

Author Bio –

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of family life in southern England in past decades – specifically those years from the Second World War through to the early 1970s. Researching all aspects of life back then has formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. It was during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing when Isabella rekindled her love of writing fiction and since then she has gone on to publish seven novels, six novellas and two short story collections.

This latest novel, A Notable Omission, is the fourth book in her successful Sussex Crime Mystery series, featuring young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. The early books in the series are set in the late 1960s in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, where we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. This latest novel in the series is set along the south coast in Brighton in early 1970, a time when young people were finding their voice and using it to rail against social injustice.

As well as four novels, there are six novellas in the series, set during the Second World War, exploring some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s love of Italy shines through all her work and, as she is half-Italian, she has enjoyed bringing all her crime novels to an Italian audience with Italian translations, which are very well received.

Isabella has also written a second series of Sussex Crimes, set in the sixties, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

Find out more about Isabella and her books by visiting her website at:

With Thanks for Advance copy to…..

Rachel Gilbey

Isabella Muir

Outset Publishing limted


Book Review “The Flame Tree” by Siobhan Daiko


The Hong Kong Collection



Length ; 307 pages

Publisher ; Asolando Books (Pub Date 19th Jan 23)


The Flame Tree

Based on a little-known true story, from award-winning author Siobhan Daiko comes a tale of love and survival against all the odds set in Hong Kong at the start of the Pacific War.

In the spring of 1939, dashing young William Burton and the beautiful Constance Han set sail from London on the same ocean liner to Hong Kong.

Romance blossoms while they enjoy games of deck quoits and spend sultry tropical evenings dancing under the stars. Connie is intrigued by Will’s talent for writing poetry, and she offers to give him Cantonese lessons to help him with his new job— a cadet in the colonial service.

But once in Hong Kong, Connie is constrained by filial duty towards her Eurasian parents, and their wish for her to marry someone from her own background. She can’t forget Will however and arranges to meet him in secret under the magnificent canopy of a flame of the forest tree—where she fulfils her promise to teach him to speak Chinese.

Before too long, trouble looms as Japanese forces gather on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. Will joins a commando group tasked with operating behind enemy lines, and Connie becomes involved in the fight against local fifth columnists.

When war breaks out, they find themselves drawn into a wider conflict than their battle against prejudice. Can they survive and achieve a future together? Or do forces beyond their control keep them forever apart?

Perfect for readers of Dinah Jefferies, Ann Bennett and Victoria Hislop.

Purchase Link –


Wow ! Just WOW! What a completely absorbing read The Flame Tree is. I absolutely lapped up every single word. The fact that it is based on a true story made this book all the more emotional for me. Siobhan Daiko really creates a picture in your minds eye so vivid you can almost feel, smell and live every character, situation and passion contained with in each page. I was totally lost in this epic book. I adored it, I can not say enough just how much I enjoyed The Flame Tree. It offers an insight into just how terrible the war was in Hong Kong. Something I really didn’t have much of idea on until now. I have a deeper understanding of how heart breaking it was. How strong the camaraderie was, how important friendships were and even more, how to live each day as it comes.

Have a read of the blurb as it really sets the scene much better than I can. All I can do is recommend and then recommend again. It is an utterly breath taking book of epic proportions. FABULOUS !

Author Bio –

Siobhan Daiko is a British historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and a rescued cat. Siobhan was born of English parents in Hong Kong, attended boarding school in Australia, and then moved to the UK—where she taught modern foreign languages in a Welsh comprehensive school. She now spends her time writing page-turners and enjoying her life near Venice. Her novels are compelling, poignant, and deeply moving, with strong characters and evocative settings, but always with romance at their heart.

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Amazon Author Page:



With Thanks for the Advance copy to ….

Rachel Gilbey

Siobhan Daiko See links above

Aslando Books

Book Review (YA) “Patches Through Time” by Sian Turner


Time Travel

Young Adult

Standalone Length : 278 Pages


Patches through Time

An unbelievably believable time travel escapade.

Casual antique dealer Jake Patch picks up an unusual object and can’t put it down. Literally. His find is a time travel device, and he hatches a bold plan to acquire objects from the past and sell them at modern day prices. But when the mysterious Infinity Glass leaves Patch stranded in a dangerous past, it falls to his teen daughter Cass to save him.

With hints of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Back to the Future and a smattering of LovejoyPatches through Time will send you spinning headlong into the past, then spit you back into the twenty-first century.

This book contains occasional profanities. Trigger warning: bereavement (parent, spouse).

Purchase Links

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US  –


Although Patches Through Time is classified as YA I actually believe anyone who loves a bit of fantasy, time travel and intrigue then absolutely give this wonderful fast read a go. Also a great introduction to the genre for the younger generation. I found this a nice easy read yet it had the perfect mix of pace and plot that keep you entertained throughout.

The main characters are Jake patch and his daughter Cass. Jake can a bit direct which can come across as a tad rude but for me this just added a level of reality to him. Cass however is calmer and I was more than sure she would succeed on her quest. You’ll have to read to find out what her quest is and does she actually succeed?

This is a glorious yet light hearted read that is definitely worth a read. The ending was brilliantly open ended and I can see another book to go with Patches Through Time. A beautifully written poignant story showing how far we as human beings, will go to try and save a loved one.

Author Bio –

Sian Turner was born in Wales, but lives in East Sussex. She has recently started learning Welsh (and can categorically testify that Welsh is difficult).

She works as a part-time volunteer in her local RSPCA cat re-homing centre, from where she keeps adopting new family members (only one or two at a time).

Sian enjoys reading and reviewing some of the many truly amazing novels by Independent Authors, and she is secretary of her local writers’ group, Shorelink Writers.

Social Media Links

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With Thanks for Advance copy to …..

Rachel Gilby

Sian Turner

Book review “New Neighbours for Coronation Street” by Lizzie Lane

Book review NO : 158

Historical Saga

length : 320

New Series

Publisher : Boldwood

Synopsis/Book Blurb

New Neighbours for Coronation Close

Bristol 1936

Jenny Crawford has resigned herself to a loveless marriage living hand to mouth with their two children. Like many others, husband Roy struggles to find work at the docks but a chance encounter turns his outlook and the family’s fortunes around.

Not only does he get regular work but they are also allocated a council house on Coronation Close on the outskirts of the city. Jenny and the children are overjoyed, this is the fresh start she could only ever dream of.

But trouble feels never too far away. With Roy spending more time away with Sir Oswald Mosely bullying black shirts, Jenny is left to her own devices and eager to fit in begins to make new friends.

Thankful of peace, Jenny has her head turned firstly by an old love and then by her knight in shining armour.

Does she allow herself to fall in love with either of these?

Whatever happens the consequences could be dire if Roy ever finds out.


Lizzie Lane is one of those writers that you know as soon as you open the book you’re in for a treat. She writes from the heart and creates characters that you love to love and even love to hate. She doesn’t hold back on telling us just how awful life could be for those living in the slums and indeed how much brighter life can be if you were lucky enough to get a new Council house on one of the brand new shiny Estates. It is a life that Jenny can only dream of. The drudgery of her marriage wears her down. No matter how hard she tries her truly awful husband Roy. (He definitely falls into the “Love to Hate” characters) always manages to ruin everything. He has a violent temper and Jenny tries so hard to protect her two girls as much as she can.

Suddenly things change. Roy is out more, he starts dressing in black and becomes more political in his new found gang headed by Sir Oswald Mosely. Jenny has no idea what he is up to, she is just grateful that he isn’t at home giving her grief.

Then wonder of wonders Jenny and Roy are offered a new council house and a new life is on the horizon. A new life that Jenny grabs with both hands. She makes friends and begins to feel that she has more control over her life. She finds love, or does she? should she? Is this a road to more heartbreak?

This is a gritty and heart felt book that leaves you feeling like you’ve just met a whole load of new friends. Lizzie writes in a style that just draws you in and your emotions are certainly challenged. From sad to happy, angry and even astonished. I truly loved every minute and I’m over the moon this is the start of a new Historical Saga that I know Lizzie will bring to life in every single book. BRILLIANT!


Lizzie Lane is the author of over 50 books, a number of which have been bestsellers.  She was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories.  This has inspired her saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls.

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With Thanks for the advance copy to……

Rachel Gilby

Lizzie Lane

Publisher : Boldwood

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


Historical Novel

Series Book 2

Length 463 pages

Publisher ~ Melville House


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?


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

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

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

Psychological Thriller


length : 359 pages

Publisher : Kingsley Publishers


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?


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)


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.


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.


With Thanks to


Katy Brent

Harper Collins Audio (HG Digital)


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


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.


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




Length : 196 pages

Independently Published


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 –


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 –

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Twitter @Brendan23015569

With Thanks for the Advance copy to ……..

Rachel Gilbey

Brendan James

Book Review “Buttercups in the Basement” by Jane Harvey


Book 2 of 3 in The Hummingbird House Series

Length : 233 pages

Publisher : Dreena Collins


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 –

US –


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 –

Twitter: @dreenac

With Thanks for the Advance Copy to ….

Rachel Gilby

Jane Harvey