Crikey! How Did That Happen? – Ian Strathcarron 

(The unauthorised Biography of Sir Bertram Wooster, KG)

I have not really read that many short stories, I am not sure why but this is slowly changing and I have started picking up short story books as it does suit when I need to juggle my children and wanting to read books. When I was offered Crikey! How Did That Happen, I simply could not refuse. 

We follow the story of Bertie Wooster from a young child. I got the impression that Bertie was an incredibly lonely young boy who was lost and I felt that he just wanted stability and love and I felt that he got that from his help, Jeeves. 

Throughout the novel we follow short stories of Bertie and to a degree Jeeves life and we get glimpses of what happens during the life and the ups and downs. 

I simply adored this book and found it to be refreshing take on Sir Bertram Wooster and his life challenges and the people who influenced and part of his life. This was a great read and I certainly was not disappointed. 

About the Book 

Up until now we have only known Bertie Wooster in his mid-twenties; this is his first whole life biography, told in ten short stories at seven year intervals. Thus we first meet Bertie aged seven, in 1907, at Malvern House prep school, then follow him to Eton aged fourteen and Oxford at twenty-one. We meet Jeeves when Bertie is twenty-eight and then they go their separate ways; Jeeves to the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace and Bertie to the French Riviera at its most glamourous, causing havoc with Somerset Maugham and Alfred Hitchcock, before being accidentally captured by the Italian fascists and spending Christmas Day 1942 with Mussolini. 

After WWII Bertie resumed his career in musical cabaret, headlining the Royal Variety Performance in 1949, before being pitched into the machinations of Hollywood at its prime in 1956. In 1963, Bertie, caught up in the zeitgeist, finds himself in the Himalayas with the Maharishi and then we say goodbye to a very much alive Sir Bertram in 1970 in Mustique, where he becomes involved in a murder mystery with many of the leading tax exiles and celebrities of the day. 

If you would like to purchase this book, please click here.

Crikey! How Did That Happen? book tour was arranged by Bookollective 



The Eleventh Trade – Alyssa Hollingsworth 

I am currently interested in reading YA books as I am saving the ones I like for my children when they are older – I know it is a bit over the top but I want to ensuring they do not miss out. I had a nice surprise when this fell through my letterbox. 

I will give you a brief overview, and of course once I have read this book, a full review will be on my blog. 

The world inside me expands. Even though my eyes are closed. I see my home. 

Back in Afghanistan, Sami’s grandfather was a famous musician. Even now in Boston, the sound of his instrument, the rebab, is the sound of home. 

Then the rebab is stolen and appears in a shop for $700. Sami has no money and nothing to sell. What he does have is something to trade. 

But there are two sides of every bargain, and Sam’s chance of success depends on the very last thing he wants – help. 

The Eleventh Trade is published by Piccadilly Press 

The Name Of The Rose – Umberto Eco 

I cannot remember who I saw reading this novel on social media but when I saw the cover I knew I had to purchase this book – I have not heard much about this novel but I am looking forward to reading it in due course. And, of course, I will be writing a full review of my views in due course. So, for a brief overview. 

The year is 1327. Brother William of Baskerville arrives at a wealthy Italian abbey on theological business. When his delicate mission is overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labryrinth of the abbey, where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night. 

The Name Of The Rose is published by Vintage 

Crocodile – Daniel Shand 

Crocodile is due to be published on 1 November 2018 via Sandstone Press 

It’s the summer before high school and Chloe is being sent away to live with her grandparents. All she wants is to get back to her mother and the life she knows. Then she falls in with a local gang of outsiders and begins to experience the world she has been missing. 

A full review of this novel will be on my blog in due course. 

The Madonna of the Pool – Helen Stancey 

When I saw The Madonna of the Pool on Fairlights website I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. A big thank you to Fairlights books for sending me a copy. 

The Madonna of the Pool is a collection of short stories which explore the triumphs, compromises and quiet disappointments of everyday life. Drawing on a wide array of characters, Helen Stancey shows how small events, insignificant to some, can resonate deeply in the lives of others.  

The Eyes That Look – Julia Grigg 

Initially, when I received this novel, I was not excited to pick it up, unfortunately, I did judge a book by its cover. However, once I started to read this book, my views were instantly transformed and I simply adored it. I am a massive fan of books about art or artists and from reading this novel, I could feel Julia’s own passion for art pouring out of the book and she managed to pick me up and transport me to the 16th century, I sensed Julia talking to me about the paintings as if she was a guide. 

Julia’s writing astonished me as I could see the colours she was describing and the depth of the art we were viewing. 

The story flowed and we follow a young man on a journey to discover more about his father and more about the artwork that he created. The story is told from many different perspectives and I felt that we got a well rounded story and were allowed glimpses of life stories. 

I just simply loved this book, and I am going to re-read again, because I feel that this is the type of book that I will learn something different then I did before. This is quite a rare thing, as I rarely re-read books, but I believe that this is in need for a second read. 

Julia is an amazing writer and she shares her passion for art and art history with me. I feel that a love of art is a personal thing and I want to thank Julia for sharing this with me as I certainly learnt a lot and I want to know more and her passion was certainly infectious. I am keeping my fingers crossed Julia writes more as I will be certainly front of the queue to purchase as this book did not disappoint. Don’t judge a book by its cover! 

About the Book 

Francesco Bassano wants to find out how and why an extraordinary painting was made; the story traces his quest to discover the secrets of the portrait’s past. Francesco’s journey, his coming of age, takes him and his questions to Venice, Verona, Maser and Florence. 

Encountering the High Renaissance’s masters Titian, Veronese and Vasari in the very act of creating and recording the era’s stuppendous art and architecture, he is witness to astonishing achievements. Enthralled, he learns of the determination needed for innovation and the sacrifices demanded of an artist if cherished ambition is to become reality. Little by little he unravels what lies behind the painting, gaining new understanding of love, truth and beauty, and of loyalty, devotion and the unbreakable bond between a master and his dogs. However in delving deeper, the past’s dark side reveals itself; cruelty, inhumanity and human frailty – and Francesco cannot avoid the experience of bitter betrayal. 

About the Author 

As a journalist,  Julia Grigg has written on fashion, food, travel and the arts, subjects in which she retains an abiding interest. Recruited as a writer by UNICEF, she worked for many years as an advocate for children’s issues in some of the world’s most demanding and complex countries. 

Dogs are a passion of Julia’s and she and her husband share their home with a pair of black and tan dachshunds. 

The Eyes That Look is published by Unicorn Publishing 

Chasing Ghosts – Madalyn Morgan 

In Chasing Ghosts we follow the story of Alain “Mitch” and Claire who are to others a happily married couple with their young daughter Aimee. Alain is struggling to come to terms with what happened to him during the war as he was a prisoner of war during the Nazi conflict when he was serving in the Royal Air Force. His time in the prison clearly continues to have an impact on his life and to an extent on his family and you at times feel the strain in the marriage with Claire trying to cope with Alain’s behaviour. 

Alain seeks help for shell shock, and is asked to go to Canada for further treatment, however, whilst there he goes missing and Claire wants answers to the many questions that she has and it is down to her and her friends / colleagues she made during the war to try and seek out the answers and find out what really happened to her husband. 

During this story, I really admired Claire I felt that she was an incredibly resilient lady who really knows her husband and what he was like as a character and as a person and no matter what just wants to seek out the truth not only for herself, but for her family. Claire uses her past experience when she was involved in the Resistance to investigate what has gone on and whether her husband is having an affair or is he on the run because of trechery. 

I just adored this story, it shows the incredible strength people have after the war and how strong friendships grow despite the conflict going on around them. This is a story with lots of twist and turns and a story that leads you down a path that I did not expect. I do not want to say too much as it will just spoil the story, but it is a book that I would highly recommend. Madalyn has a magic touch when it comes to writing about the aftermath of war and the impact this has on everyone within the community. She has a talent for leading you down a path that you do not expect. You can feel her passion for story telling within the pages and I am very grateful that Chasing Ghosts was sent to me because I just adored this novel and was not disappointed. 

About the Book 

1949 After receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire’s husband disappears. 

Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery?

Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistence. 

About the Author 

Madalyn has been an actress for more than thirty years. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. 

Madalyn was brought up in Lutterworth at the Fox Inn. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writing to live, as there were so many different characters to study and accents to learn. At twenty four, Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress. 

After living in London for thirty six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two windo boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. 

For more information on Madalyn’s books, please click here.

This blog tour was arranged by Rachels Random Resources 


Only To Sleep – Lawrence Osborne 

When I was recently contacted to see whether I wanted to review Only To Sleep I just could not refuse. I have not quite started to read this novel, but once I have there will of course be a full review. I wanted to give you a brief overview, to tempt you to purchase this novel. 

The Year is 1988. The place, Baja California. Private Investigator Philip Marlowe – now in his seventy-second year – has been living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed liked undertakers. With a case that his name written all over it. 

At last Marlowe is back where he belongs. His mission is to investigate Donald Zinn, supposedly drowned off his yacht, leaving a much younger and now very rich wife. Marlowe’s speciality. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils?  

The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night – Jen Campbell 

I am a massive fan of Jen Campbell,  she just knows her stuff about books and love hearing any good recommendation she has. Jen has opened my eyes to books that I would have never considered and I just could not refuse her offering. I could not resist making a start on The Beginning Of The World In The Middle Of The Night and so far I am pretty impressed. There will of course, be a full review on my blog in due course. 

Stories of family and magic, lost souls and superstition. Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows. 

Mermaids are on display at the local aquarium. A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island. And a couple are rewriting the history of the world in the middle of the night. 

If you would like to purchase this book, or any of Jens other books, please click here. 

Under The Wig – William Clegg QC 

Under The Wig is a real insight into the “gritty” criminal cases that go on within our court rooms. William Clegg QC provides a great insight into the life of a QC and how he managed to reach the dizzy heights of being not just a QC but also a part-time judge and it is a real eye opener. 

I knew I was going to love this book from the start as when I left college I was a case assistant at the Crown Court and provided assistance to criminal defence barristers. I certainly knew it was not like it shows on the television, there is a lot of paperwork, a lot of waiting around and there is a great deal of time cases do not get off the ground. But, it was the one job I loved and the passion the barristers have for ensuring fair justice. 

William is a great ambassador to the English legal system and does not necessarily show the positives which I felt gave a great insight to anyone wanting to become a Barrister and was honest about how the system has greatly changed, not necessarily for the best. 

William has represented some very interesting characters, and I did not feel any judgement he just went off the evidence provided by the prosection and the evidence provided by his client – even when his clients are alleged to have some of the worst crimes seen within the country, William just did his job and represented not only his client but the justice system which I found to be admirable. 

I am keeping everything crossed that William writes a second novel, as I adored his passion and charisma and just wanted to read more of his work. One of the things I used to admire about the Barristers I looked after was there presentation of the case, sometimes it was almost like they were acting and at times dare I say it entertaining. Williams is definately one that I would not mind popping in the public gallery to see his work. 

This is one book that should be on everyones reading list and maybe, just maybe may make you think differently about the English criminal justice system. 

About the Book 

How can you speak up for someone accused of a savage murder?

How do you sway a jury?

Or get a judge to drop a case?

Meet London’s top murder case lawyer as he meets his clients in prisons, confronts witnesses in packed courts- and frees innocent people jailed for decades. 

In Under The Wig, William Clegg QC revisits his most fascinating trials, from the acquittal of Colin Stagg to the murder of Jill Dando, to Britain’s first Nazi war criminal, to the woman accused of murdering her missing husband, and the man given life because of an earprint. 

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the nervous moments before a verdict – and how our right to a fair trial is now in great peril.

Under The Wig is published by Canbury Press

A big thank you to Emma Finnigan PR for sending me this amazing book