#Review by Lou of Toksvig’s Almanac by Sandi Toksvig @sanditoksvig @HatchetteBooks @TrapezeBooks #HatchetteAudio

Toksvig’s Almanac
By Sandi Toksvig

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Interesting, fun and purely wonderful in style, Tolksvig’s Almanac is the book that will entertain and take you to corners of facts that you may never come across otherwise. Written and narrated in her own unique style, it’s all fascinating for the brain. If you like QI or Chain of Curiosity, or humour within your history, this is one to check out, in fact a Must Have to add to your collection. Wit, Substance and Facts are all brought to the page in an absolutely marvellous, unique, eclectic, quirky style. It will have you intrigued and have you laughing too as you meander through each month. It is perfect for either listening to all at once or to dip in and out of. It’s such a joy to listen to and it would be to read as well. It is all pitched perfectly. This is one of those  times I’ll say this is a Must Have Book or Audiobook for your shelves.

I’ve read most of Sandi Toksvig’s books – fiction and non-fiction and they never cease to amaze and I have adored her fiction and non-fiction books, ever since Whistling For The Elephant’s was published and read many more since, so I was curious and I loved this too. Thank you so much to Hatchette, Trapeze, Orion Books for accepting my request to review the audiobook version.

The book is available now and I have a link after the rest of my review below…

Toksvigs Almanac Cover


Toksvig’s Almanac is intended merely as a starting point for your own discoveries. Find a fabulous (or infamous) woman mentioned and, please, go looking for more of her story. The names mentioned are merely temptations. Amuse-bouches for the mind, if you like. How I would have loved to have written out in detail each tale there is to be told, but then this book would have been too heavy to lift.’

Let Sandi Toksvig guide you on an eclectic meander through the calendar, illuminating neglected corners of history to tell tales of the fascinating figures you didn’t learn about at school.

From revolutionary women to serial killers, pirate nuns to pioneering civil rights activists, doctors to dancing girls, artists to astronauts, these pages commemorate women from all around the world who were pushed to the margins of historical record. Amuse your bouche with:

Belle Star, American Bandit Queen
Lady Murasaki, author of the world’s first novel
Madame Ching, the most successful pirate of all time
Maud Wagner, the first female tattoo artist
Begum Samru, Indian dancer and ruler who led an army of mercenaries    Inês de Castro, crowned Queen Consort of Portugal six years after her death
Ida B. Wells, activist, suffragist, journalist and co-founder of the NAACP   
Eleanor G. Holm, disqualified from the 1936 Berlin Olympics for drinking too much champagne

These stories are interspersed with helpful tips for the year, such as the month in which one is most likely to be eaten by a wolf, and the best time to sharpen your sickle. Explore a host of annual events worth travelling for, from the Olney Pancake Race in Wiltshire to the Danish Herring Festival, or who would want to miss Serbia’s World Testicle Cooking Championship?

As witty and entertaining as it is instructive, Toksvig’s Almanac is an essential companion to each day of the year.


Toksvigs Almanac CoverSandi Toksvig takes you through many facts, philosophies and into corners you may not realise existed before as she meanders through each month of the year. Sure, you’d have heard of the main themes, but she delves into areas, rarely talked about. Sounds serious, but fear not, this is historical fact and humour spun together and also relates back to present times too.
There is much to learn and is well researched, written and (narrated for audiobook, which I listened to), in her own wonderful style that is unique to her and thank goodness for that! Sandi Toksvig makes everything sound very interesting and hooks you in. She adds a bit of her own personal analogies, thoughts and tips that readers/listeners may never have thought of otherwise…

She talks of extraordinary women, some who have achieved many great things, but also those who have committed crimes. There are so many different accounts that is interesting to dip and out of. She encourages people to use this as a starting point and then go off and perhaps look up more info yourself. Sandi Toksvig’s curiosity is also infectious. Her thirst for knowledge is impressive as is her research. All perfectly pitched, it is a Must Have on your reading or listening to lists.

Buy Link: Waterstones   Amazon



#BookReview of One Eye Open By Paul Finch of a fast-paced, excellent #CrimeFiction #Thriller book. @paulfinchauthor @orionbooks @gigicroft @LeanneOliver1

One Eye Open
By Paul Finch
Rated: 5 stars *****

Incredibly gritty and fast-paced! Prepare to be plunged into a world of high-speed, fancy cars, a mysterious road-traffic incident; which all leads deep into the underworld of crime. It’s a thriller you won’t want to miss! See more about the author, the blurb and full review below.
Thanks to the publisher, Orion and Paul Finch for allowing me to review this book.

About the Author

Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist now turned best-selling crime and thriller writer, and is the author of the very popular DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg and DC Lucy Clayburn novels.

 Paul first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, The Bill, and has written extensively in horror, fantasy and science-fiction, including for Dr Who.

 However, he is probably best known for his crime/thriller novels, specifically the Heckenburg police-actioners, of which there are seven to date, and the Clayburn procedurals, of which there are two. The first three books in the Heck line achieved official best-seller status, the second being the fastest pre-ordered title in HarperCollins history, while the first Lucy Clayburn novel made the Sunday Times Top 10 list. The Heck series alone has accrued over 2,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Paul is a native of Wigan, Lancashire, where he still lives with his wife and business partner, Cathy.

One Eye Open cover


A high-speed crash leaves a man and woman clinging to life.
Neither of them carries ID. Their car has fake number plates.
In their luggage: a huge amount of cash.
Who are they? What are they hiding?
And what were they running from?

DS Lynda Hagen, once a brilliant detective, gave it all up to raise her family.
But something about this case reignites a spark in her…

What begins as an investigation soon becomes an obsession.
And it will lead her to a secret so dangerous that soon there will be nowhere left to hide.


One Eye Open cover


With a By-line of “If The Lies Don’t Kill You. The Truth Will”. It already is attention grabbing.
One Eye Open is vivid and bold from the first word in this stand-alone book. No hanging around, the action begins within the first 4 sentences. It’s a fast-paced, immersive and gritty read. It shows that the lines can be blurred and nothing is as black and white as it may first seem.

It begins on Monday, 6th January. It is as far removed from any Monday I know. It isn’t a Monday anyone would wish to have at all. Blood isn’t what Alan anticipated when he started his day. All he wanted to do was set off with the dog he didn’t see too much. The opening chapter would get any reader sitting up and taking notice.

Lynda, is a police officer with Essex Police in CID,  isn’t having the best Monday morning either, but better and more normal than Alan’s. Her children don’t want to start school again (let’s face it, staff don’t always want to either), for the spring term. It also isn’t good news on the traffic reports, which then gets her involved in a case with Detective Constable Clive Atkins, as Chief Superintendent Templeton looks on and applies the pressure to get traffic and the case moving alone from the mysterious incident, which leads onto a bigger crime scene than was anticipated and readers are plunged into a very gritty and gripping plot.

The book goes between January, with the case and December where readers meet Elliot Wade and the atmosphere feels darker as he is introduced to Ray Lonegon and some pretty fancy, expensive cars, which Elliot test drives. If you fancy burning some rubber in fast cars, these parts would definitely interest you. It isn’t all about posh cars though, there is the crime that and the family side in what unfolds to be very slick writing indeed, that takes readers also into quite the underworld. It is well-written, going between what the police are doing and the criminals. The tone also changes accordingly as everything builds up to create the bigger picture as it is a case of quite some magnitude that needs to be solved, which excites and intrigues as it takes you in deeper into this criminal world, which is masterfully written from beginning to end.

The domestic and work life are all intertwined to some extent, which works so well. It gives a deeper understanding of the characters. Don and Lynda have a stormy time in their marriage, over the effects of that work/life balance, something I am sure many people can understand. As the book unfolds, there is a realism to it all that does make it relatable. The way domestic and professional lives connect is done expertly, making it such a full dimensional story.

I highly recommend this book. It’s an incredibly good and impressively captivating and vivid stand-alone book.