Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Reading, Reviewing & Rating Policy

Despite having my blog for six months now, I never included what my policy on reading, reviewing and rating is. I now decided that it’s about time I did that so all my readers, any authors and publishers and all audience interested in my blog can have a point of reference.

Even though I do not generally limit myself to one genre only, there are certain books I prefer reading. If you are a publisher and would like me to review books published by your company, please consider the following so there are no mishaps and the risk of a negative review is significantly reduced.

Genres I prefer:
1. Historical Fiction, apart from the early 20th century including WWI & WWII.
2. Horror Fiction
3. Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, apart from legal thrillers.
4. Fantasy Fiction
5. Classics
6. Memoirs

Genres I tend to read less often:
1. Chick Lit
2. Romance Fiction
3. Young Adult
4. Non-Fiction
5. Biographies/Autobiographies
6. Urban Fantasy

Genres I definitely will not read:
1. Cookbooks
2. Art & Craft books
3. Diet/Weight loss books
4. Business books

There are many genres I did not mention, only the most important to point out. If you would like me to review a book published by your company, please contact me first with a description. If I receive books without prior notice and if I do not like them, I will post a negative review (if needed) without a courtesy of notifying a publisher who did not have the courtesy to give me a choice first.
Last but not least, simply because a writer is well known and his/her books are bestsellers, it does not guarantee my positive review. Rarely am I influenced by opinions of others and I consider myself nonconformist, therefore it may happen that I dislike books appreciated by the majority and enjoy books that others don’t.

Because I try to request books written only in the genre I prefer, I mostly like the books I read/review. Sometimes it does happen that I am either completely dismayed by a book or dislike parts of it. If I review books purchased by me, I post reviews in all honesty (negative or positive) as I do not feel obligated otherwise. If I review ARC’s, galleys and review copies sent to me by publishers, I remain honest in my posts, however, I give publishers the courtesy of choosing whether they want a negative review up on my blog or not. This particular part concerns only the books that in my opinion should never be published and I have nothing positive to say about them. I always post reviews of books which did not satisfy my intellectual tastes but may still be considered good reads for someone with different preferences and I can find positive sides to it. As far as the timeline goes, I need 2-3 months from the time I receive a review copy to read/review it. I love reading, I enjoy blogging and I appreciate the opportunity to work side by side with publishers and authors towards their success. Most importantly, reading and blogging, while treated very seriously and with utmost respect, are my enjoyable leisurely activities. I do not want it to become a job I dread with deadlines I can’t possibly meet. If you require a book to be read/reviewed immediately or within days of having received it, I am not your best choice.

This issue has been quite controversial of late. That’s why I decided to mention what my policy on it is. I do not rate books on my blog. I try to make my reviews clear enough for my readers to know what my feelings about a book are. It is my hope that my reviews are never vague and do not confound potential readers and my blog’s visitors. With that in mind, I believe that to give a rating on top of a review is redundant.

With sincere regards to all,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

BEA '09 - blessings and disappointments

Let me start with two huge, personal disappointments connected to my BEA experience. I planned on going to BEA two days in a row, Friday and Saturday. As it turned out, I only managed to go on Friday. Here’s why: being a mom of a ten-year-old, I always have to plan things around her. All the moms reading it will understand the mundane reality. This was mine. I could not take her with me and I also could not very well leave her with just anybody. Due to the nature of my profession (I am a translator who works from home, on the computer most of the time) I have never had the need for a stable, full-time babysitter. Today, it has come to bite me in the bum-bum. On Friday it was a little easier since she was at school and my mom agreed to stay with her afterwards. Today (Saturday) was supposed to be my daughter’s weekend with her father. You know what’s coming next. We both got stood up. I admit that my naiveté got the better of me as I really should have known better counting on an extremely unreliable and thoughtless person. There was a reason for our divorce after all.

Because my plans for today are ruined, I am very sad and disappointed. The biggest disappointment is that I will not get to meet all the wonderful bloggers I was so looking forward to meet. The BEA is a huge and very overwhelming event, especially for people like me, who find crowded spaces overpowering and stress inducing. Therefore it took me some time to find myself there, then to go to significant places and meet interesting writers and publisher and by the time it was over, it was too late for me to go and proactively search for the bloggers even though I tried to be on the lookout throughout the whole day. I simply had in mind that the whole Saturday would be dedicated to meeting with the girls and spending some time with them. As it turned out, I am not there. C’est La Vie!

Now, enough with the ramblings of the unquiet mind. I am still very happy and feel blessed that I was able to make it to BEA at all. Thankfully, I live close enough to New York City to just jump on the train and be there within an hour. It wasn’t awfully expensive and time consuming. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even dream of coming. I also met and got a chance to chat with some fantastic writers and publishers whom I will be spotlighting individually in the near future. They were very nice and approachable people, and it was a great pleasure to meet them. I have met with three publishers (well, I visited more than that) which are not as yet very well known but it is my great hope that they will be soon as the products they offer seem wonderful and deserve more notice. Over the next few weeks I will be posting reviews of the books, hopefully interviews with the authors and introductions to the new magazine and book publishers.

That’s that for now. I am sure that by the time you read all the posts about BEA ’09 you’ll get slightly sick of it, therefore I don’t intend on boring you to death in this first post.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

It’s no secret by now that I am a fan of Georgette Heyer, considering that I read, reviewed and enjoyed three books of hers in the past 20-something days. The previous ones were all mysteries set in the times contemporary to Heyer. I had a slight anxiety therefore when I started reading Cousin Kate which even though still a mystery, it’s also a historical fiction, romance and Gothic mystery. It turned out I needn’t have worried.

Kate Malvern is considered at 25 on the brink of old age by the Regency standards. Her prospects for the future are looking worse and worse by the minute. With no parents, no dowry to speak of and no real prospects for substantial income, Kate has only one person to turn to: her nurse Sarah Nidd. But Sarah has her own family and household to care for and as much as she loves Kate, it’s only a matter of time when Kate will become a nuisance and yet another mouth to feed. With the appearance of Kate’s aunt Minerva, the estranged half-sister of Kate’s father, it looks like the deliverance from all worries has finally arrived. Kate is overwhelmed by the kindness bestowed upon her by Minerva and wishes with all her heart to repay it any way she can. When taken to Staplewood, Minerva’s family estate, Kate discovers soon enough that what she’s expected to do in return for Minerva’s benevolent treatment may be more horrifying than she could ever imagine. The household has the gloomy atmosphere with uncle Timothy living in a separate wing, the moody and often unpredictable cousin Torquil living in another part and Minerva ruling the house with an iron fist. Soon, Kate finds herself entrapped in Staplewood with only one person, cousin Phillip willing to help.

Cousin Kate is a completely different novel from the ones I’ve read but also the same talent Heyer’s for writing with style, humor and cleverness shines through. Kate is a very likable character, she’s independent, she knows what she wants, how to say what she wants and most importantly, how to stand up for herself and say no. I suspect she got it from her nurse Sarah, which I think I liked the most, even though she only appears at the beginning and end of the book. Talk about a no-nonsense woman. I like to imagine that Georgette Heyer used some of her own characteristics when creating Sarah. Also, I was happy to see that despite writing in a different genre, Heyer didn’t lose any of her wittiness, humor and a knack for truly bringing to life all her characters. There was one other new element introduced: mental illness. That just added more fun for me because I enjoy reading books with at least one person who suffers from some kind of mental impediment. Heyer never names what the illness is, but it really doesn’t matter because a name is not necessary when the portrayal is so excellent. Cousin Kate was simply another great performance by this wonderful writer and it only makes me elated to know that there are plenty more of her books to read.

Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.

Book Info
Title: Cousin Kate
Author: Georgette Heyer
Published in: 2009
By: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekly Geeks - Memorial Day

With Memorial Day in the U.S. this coming Monday (well, it already came and went), I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the military. Either share your favorite book on war or movie on war and why. Provide a clip from the movie if you'd like or a passage from the book that shows us why you it's your favorite book or movie. Or do both. OR choose your own military theme, for example, if you have a relative or friend in the military and you would like to send them a video or a message of thanks, do that on your blog. OR do all three. The book and movie also don't have to be "patriotic" necessarily. For example, one of my favorite fictional books on war is Johnny, Get Your Gun by Dalton Trumbo.

I have never read any war books (fiction or non-fiction) on wars following the WWII. I don’t know the precise reason for it but I prefer to read about events that are finished and done with and are left to judge by history itself. Don’t get me wrong though, I have tremendous respect for our military people, who in my eyes are true, selfless heroes willing to put their lives on the line for a person like myself, who they don’t know, never will know and will not get anything back (other than regard) from him/her. I in general am not a huge fan of any war books at all but the ones I did read have stuck in my memory ever since and I definitely recommend them to anyone.

I read this book six years ago and I am still under its spell. It is an alternative history novel about the world in which the Nazis did win WWII and now rule every part of Europe. It was an amazing read and I didn’t want it to end. A great example of “What if” scenario which I am glad is only that, a scenario that never came to fruition.

Publishers synopsis:

Bad papers. That's how Peter's nightmare began. Living in contemporary Europe under Nazi domination -- more than fifty years after the truce among the North American Union, the Third Reich, and the Soviet Union -- Peter has struggled to make sense of the reign of terror that governs his world. Now, arrested for bearing a false identity, he is pulled full-force into a battle against Nazi oppression. The crusade for freedom that belonged to generations past is now Peter's legacy -- and his future depends not on running away, but on fighting back.
Escaping a Nazi prison camp and joining the Underground Home Army, Peter dedicates himself to breaking down the system that betrayed him. But by facing the evil at the heart of the Nazi political machine, Peter falls deeper into a web of intrigue and adventure that risks everything he holds dear -- in this life and for the sake of future generations.

This one is talking about events much, much older than WWII but nonetheless very bloody and cruel. I read this novel only once, in junior high (some eighteen years ago) but I remember having been absolutely mesmerized by it. Every time I read about a scene where a woman or a girl reads something with blushed cheeks and spark of excitement in her eyes, I see myself sitting in my room, right before Christmas Eve dinner not being able to tear myself away from Queen Margot despite the nagging of my mom and my dad that it was time to leave the house. The murder of Hugenots is described in such a visual manner that, being a teenager, I was at once appalled and fascinated.

Publisher’s synopsis:

Alexandre Dumas' novel Queen Margot, centers on the beautiful, proud, and willful Marguerite Valois, whose mother Catherine de Medici arranged Marguerite's marriage to the Huguenot leader Henry of Navarre in 1572. It is a marriage that pleases no one except the Queen Mother. Marguerite's brothers, who nicknamed her Margot and prize her with a love that borders on incest, are outraged. Just six days after the wedding French Catholics slaughter over 30,000 Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's Day. Both pawn and participant in this epic struggle, Margot is torn between family honor, her Huguenot lover, and her apostate husband she can no longer respect.

There it is, not strictly ballistic literature but exciting and one that conveys the brutalities of any war excellently.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Do you have books that as soon as you finished reading them, you were sorry the story ended? Or maybe you would read the story slower than usual, savoring every phrase and paragraph as one would savor a favorite piece of candy, because you didn’t want to part with it too soon? I hope you do and you would because I think that such books are the grand reward for reading altogether. And My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier was such a book for me.

It is a typical gothic mystery but at its best. A distant cousin Rachel bewitches Mr. Ambrose Ashley during one of his winter stays in Italy. Ambrose leaves his beloved estate in Cornwall every year in winter due to health problems, leaving his cousin, Philip Ashley, to look after the household. Ambrose raised Philip from infancy and it is no wonder that a twenty-four-year old boy loves Ambrose as his father and mother both. It is further no wonder that Philip is shocked and jealous of the mysterious cousin Rachel who he thinks stole Ambrose from him. The quick marriage ends as abruptly and unpredictably as it started. Mr. Ashley dies suddenly in Italy without ever having returned to Cornwall with his new bride. And now, cousin Rachel appears at the doorsteps of the Ashley’s estate leaving Philip with no choice but to make her welcome as the widow of Mr. Ambrose Ashley. Philip’s attitude towards her and the amount of trust he is willing to place in her will ultimately decide whether she is a woman of virtue but a victim of unfortunate circumstances or a conniving person with evil purposes.

As you can tell from my opening paragraph, I genuinely enjoyed My Cousin Rachel. It is one of the classics that I know I will be returning to time and again. The language was poetic and captured my attention right at the beginning. Mind you, I am not a fan of poetry, but when such flawless tone and manner of writing as we find in classic poems is engaged in a novel, I instantly fall in love with it. That is the case with du Maurier. There aren’t, after all, many novels out there from which I want to commit to memory passages found in the first ten pages. One such quote jumped at me right when I started reading My Cousin Rachel. It’s short but beautiful and strangely reflective of my own character:
“Disliking our fellow men, we craved attention; but shyness kept impulse dormant until the heart was touched.”(p.6)

That’s only a small taste of what Ms. du Maurier could do but it portrays perfectly, in my opinion, how there really is no need for elaborate descriptions of character, to capture the essence. And here goes my next point. Du Maurier’s writing in My Cousin Rachel, as in her other books, is an exquisite example of the golden rule for authors to show and not tell. While the descriptions of Cornwall’s natural landscape are rich but never boring, I could probably count on my fingers the times that any adjectives were used to describe the characters in the novel. And I came to know them like my own family or at least next door neighbors. Not once were I confused or frustrated by such a thing as lack of depth and trust me, I don’t think that the word “one-dimensional” ever existed in du Maurier’s dictionary. I think you get my feelings about My Cousin Rachel by now. I enjoyed it so much that I already wish I could read it again for the first time.

Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.
Don’t forget to enter my “Happy Birthday Daphne!” giveaway, if you haven’t already! It ends on May 31st.

Book Info
Title: My Cousin Rachel
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Published in: 2009
By: Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

First of all, I am sending a big "Thank You" to the girls that were so nice to me by wishing me to feel better soon (look for the previous post). I am certainly feeling better, even if not all perky and ducky yet. There are times when I feel that I need quiet and peace in my surroundings and my life more than ever, otherwise I'll end up in a mental institution (okay, it's an exaggeration but I'm sure you know what I mean). That's why the quote today is I think quite fitting and expresses my thoughts exactly. I give you the words borrowed from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

And Silence,

like a poultice,

comes to heal the blows of


Friday, May 22, 2009

Profile picture change, mood swings and some such book unrelated issues

I cannot seem to make up my mind about mostly anything in my life and that includes my Profile Image. Since launching my blog, I have changed it three times and now it's time for the fourth. I am absolutely not certain whether it will be my last change (I hope so, but you just never know with me). So that covers the first part of the post.

Now, the mood swings. I hate to repeat myself or to come off as an unpardonable whiner but I have been dealt a life with mutliple mood disorders (or mental disorders, whichever you're more comfortable with, it makes no difference to me, all that matters is that they're here to stay). I have come to accept it as a fact of life therefore I do not feel sorry for myself in my moments of mental lucidity :-). I have also come to know when the change is coming therefore it's easier for me to warn others around me and to deal with it better. There will never be a magic pill that'll erase them all nor do I think I would want one. It makes me who I am (it's also possible that were there such a pill, I would be singing a different tune :O). Anyways, I have one of these horrible moods descending upon me and I will need to take a sabbatical from blogging, internet browsing and all computer related stuff for a few days, I've found that if I tune myself out for a while it helps. The main reason I am writing it all is to let you guys know that I am not ignoring any one of you or started neglecting my blog. Hopefully I will be in my top shape soon enough and will resume my overall internet activities with renewed strength. Till then...Cheers!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Two Brothers. One North, One South by David H. Jones

For a fan of historical fiction, I have surprisingly stayed away from books set in the times of the Civil War or any other American history. I truly have no answer as to why that is but I decided it was high time I added the history of United States to my repertoire of historical fiction. Therefore, it was only natural for me to use the opportunity to read and review Two Brothers. One North, One South by David H. Jones.

Two Brothers is a story of two men, William and Clifton Prentiss, brothers alienated by the Civil War and their personal beliefs. It starts with a famous literary figure, Walt Whitman attending to William Prentiss in Armory State Hospital in Washington D.C. William lost his leg at a battle four days before the Confederate Army capitulation and subsequent end of the war. The surgery turned out to be unsuccessful and William dies after a couple of weeks of struggle. During those weeks, Whitman is the only person who faithfully visits the younger Prentiss brother and listens with sadness and rapture to William’s history. William Prentiss was a Rebel soldier from Maryland. At the outbreak of war, he shunned the authority of his state and the Union and joined the secessionists in Virginia. His older brother, Clifton stayed loyal to President Lincoln and to the Union. This estrangement is a documented fact, not fiction as well as the brothers’ first and final reunion on the battlefield where they were both mortally wounded. Two Brothers is a form of compiled recollections of the wartime events as told by William to Whitman and by Clifton to Whitman and to his two remaining brothers, Melville and John who stayed at Clifton’s hospital bedside until the whole story was told.

I have many mixed feelings about this book. I give a lot credit to the author, Mr. Jones for writing an incredibly well documented detailed story. Not being a writer myself, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to write such a book that combines true events with fiction. However, even though Two Brothers wasn’t a bad novel, it wasn’t unfortunately a great historical epic either (I use the epic comparison because this book certainly had that potential). I must say that too many parts of the novel read like non-fiction rather than historical fiction, and because I was not prepared for that, I became a little put off by it. The author’s knowledge of the Civil War and events that took place in Maryland on the outset of it is evident. I learned a lot of interesting and useful facts of which I hadn’t known before, including the fact that Maryland was so greatly conflicted about its loyalties. Also, its unique position as one of the Border States where fathers were fighting against sons and brothers set against brothers, gave me a deeper understanding of how tragic the Civil War truly was. Subsequently, the way all this was conveyed on the pages of Two Brothers made me wonder whether Mr. Jones would have been better off just writing a non-fiction book.

There were also parts of the book that I did enjoy. I was surprised and glad to read about the Cary sisters, the role in aiding the Confederates agenda, and the gender shift that occurred in the South during the war. It was very captivating to read about the central role of women taking strong stands and fighting the war in the backyards of their households. I think that the story of Hetty Cary and other Confederate women would make a fine novel of its own. As a matter of fact, Hetty was portrayed in such a positive way that I just had to find out what she really looked like and whether she indeed was of breathtaking beauty to which no man was resistant. Here’s her photograph and I’ll let you judge for yourself.
All and all, if you are a fan of ballistic fiction with plenty of detailed descriptions of military events, you will most likely appreciate this novel a lot more than I did. Otherwise, it’s still an interesting book to read, it did encourage me to read more of the Civil War novels but because of dry descriptions of battles and maneuvers I kept losing focus and interest more often than I’d have liked.
Special Thanks to Paula K. from AME, Inc. for sending me a copy of this book.
Alsi, if you'd like to find out more about this book or its author visit the official site for Two Brothers that includes David H. Jones's blog.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blessed Are The Meek by Zofia Kossak

I haven’t been very active in the blogosphere for the past week and I am even two books behind with reading :o, but it’s all due to me having come down with a flu and you all know what that’s like: not much sleep, everything aches and your head hurts to even look at the letters of a book page. All and all, not a pleasant state to be in. Thankfully, I am coming out of it now so I should be “up and running” soon.

I did manage to finish one book this week. I decided to read Blessed Are the Meek by Zofia Kossak for three reasons. One, it’s a historical fiction book and I always enjoy this genre; two, its subtitle is A Novel About St. Francis of Assisi and I have always wanted to read more about this amazing (in my opinion) person; and three, it’s written by a Polish writer of whom I had not surprisingly heard before, despite the fact that spending the first 25 years of my life in Poland I should be well versed in Polish literature.

The action of this novel is set in the early 13th century, in the times of the fifth Crusade whose purpose was to take the Holy Land from the hands of Moslems. Pope Innocent III is ruling the Christendom and is obsessed with his people’s lack of enthusiasm and will to fight the Crusade to win back the Holy Sepulchre. Instead of mighty knights, little children are gathering to fight for Jerusalem. These little ones form the tragic in its consequences Children’s Crusade. At the same time, little known monk, Francis of Assisi comes to Rome with his band of brothers to ask the Pope for the permission to create an official Order. Despite all the odds against Francis, he gets the Pope’s approval and the Oder of brothers Minor is created. In the meantime, the French knight Jean de Brienne goes to Palestine and marries a young queen Marie to become the King of Jerusalem. However, he leaves behind Blanche, Countess of Champagne, who is the true love of his. The fifth Crusade is finally in full swing but instead of marching to the Holy Land, its action is directed towards Egypt and the ruling Sultan.

There is a lot going on in Blessed Are the Meek. And for that reason, I wasn’t particularly crazy about this book. I don’t mind many characters being introduced in a novel, I actually enjoy reading true sagas where many different characters take up the center stage at one point or another. However, this novel was not long enough to have so many events and so many people crammed into it. The effect was that instead of one major plot, there were a few and none of them were elaborated upon and left me disappointed and not truly absorbed in any of them. The most disappointing part was that Francis of Assisi is not the subject of this book. His story is fragmented and keeps disappearing from the pages to give way to other events and there is no continuity which made me feel very frustrated because his life and the way people listened to him with rapture and followed this poor, meek agent of Christ happened to be also the most engaging one. But as soon as my interest got spiked and I started to be engaged in the story, it would break off and the action would move on to the Pope or the happenings in Egypt. I don’t know whether it’s the fault of the translator or the author of the book. I can only speculate here as I didn’t read Blessed Are the Meek in its original language (one day I will, considering that it’s my native language). All I can say is that this book had a great potential that wasn’t fulfilled and instead, the plots seemed superficial and the reading was very slow and laborious. But who knows, maybe if I weren’t sick I would have been more positive towards it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

Last week I posted words about readers. Today I am posting about writers and artists in genereal. We all know that writing is a true art, just like music or painting. it takes a great talent to create a great novel. To illustrate how great a talent it takes I give you words borrowed from Honore de Balzac:

"The man who can but sketch his purpose beforehand in words is regarded as a wonder, and every artist and writer possesses that faculty. But gestation, fruition, the laborious rearing of the offspring, putting it to bed every night full fed with milk, embracing it anew every morning with the inexhaustible affection of a mother's heart, licking it clean, dressing it a hundred times in the richest garb only to be instantly destroyed; then never to be cast down at the convulsions of this headlong life till the living masterpiece is perfected which in sculpture speaks to every eye, in literature to every intellect, in painting to every memory, in music to every heart! --this is the task of execution. The hand must be ready at every moment to work in obedience to the mind. "

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Afraid giveaway and a free eBook Serial by Jack Kilborn & Blake Crouch

May seems to be a month of awesome giveaways on my blog. I am loving the fact that the books offered for giveaways happen to be also the books I personally enjoyed tremendously. Today it's a double whammy!

First of all, Brienne B. from Hachette Book Group has graciously offered a free eBook Serial written by the author of Afraid, Jack Kilborn and his partner in crime for this project Blake Crouch. Serial is a horror novella which, I guarantee you, will make you forget about even considering hitchhiking in your future (I humbly hope that none of my readers would want to contemplate such a behavior). This link will take you to the Hachette website page of Afraid and the download can be found under "Book Extras" in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

But that's not all. Ha! Hopefully, you're still with me. The very same Brienne offered five (5) copies of Afraid to be given away to five lucky winners (one each). If you haven't heard about Afraid yet, you are invited to read my review, but in the meantime let me just say that it's one scary story. If you love horrors but haven't been scared enough recently, this is the book.

And now the RULES (very simple really, you just have to read them :-) ):

1. Leave a comment letting me know that you'd like to be entered for this giveaway. Make sure you include your email address in the comment. No email address = No giveaway entry.

2. This giveaway is limited only to U.S. and Canada residents.

3. The giveaway ends on May 31st. I will draw the five winners on June 1st.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Daphne! Giveaway

Today would be 102nd birthday of Daphne du Maurier, author of famous Rebecca. I have recently been introduced to this wonderful writer and remain under her spell. To celebrate Daphne's birthday, Danielle from Sourcebooks offered two books to give away to two lucky winners (one each). Here are the books:

Frenchman's Creek : "Jaded by the numbing politeness of Restoration London, Lady Dona St. Columb revolts against high society. She rides into the countryside, guided only by her restlessness and her longing to escape. But when chance leads her to meet a French pirate, hidden within Cornwall's shadowy forests, Dona discovers that her pasions and thirst for adventure have never been more aroused. Together they embark upon a quest rife with danger and glory, one which bestows upon Dona the ultimate choice: sacrifice her lover to certain death or risk her own life to save him." You also can read my own review of this novel.

My Cousin Rachel : "One of the world's great storytellers, Daphne du Maurier spins a dark gothic tale of passion and unswerving love that turns to suspicion and fear. Rachel, a woman of exquisite beauty, descends on the great Cornwall estate of Philip Ashley. Despite his aroused suspicions, she soon enchants him. In this tale of good and evil, Philip must decide whether the glorious Rachel, the recent mysterious widow of his beloved cosin, is out to destroy him or is the innocent victim of devious men with a tremendous longing to be loved. His fate and his future lie in the answer to this deadly question."

The Rules:

1. Leave a comment with your email address. Once again I remind you, if you do not leave your email, you will not be entered in the drawing.
2. The giveaway is restricted to U.S. and Canada only this time.

3. It ends May 31st so you have two weeks to enter.


A note to readers from me: I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely love Sourcebooks editions of these two books. I know it is said to not judge the book by its cover but in this instance the covers are great.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Shoot The Butler? by Georgette Heyer

It does not happen often that I discover an author I had not heard of before and become an instant fan of that author’s writing with the very first book. It does however happen, infrequent as it may be. And so was the case with Georgette Heyer. I have first heard of her Regency novels but have not yet had the chance to read any of them. I instead decided to try out her mysteries first. I fell under Heyer’s spell with Behold, Here’s Poison, I remained under that spell while reading The Unfinished Clue and now Why Shoot The Butler? confirmed my belief that Ms. Heyer is one of the most entertaining writers I have ever read.

Why Shoot The Butler? starts off a little differently than the two previous mysteries. The murder is committed right at the beginning and we know nothing of the character of the person that was murdered. Frank Ambereley, who is a barrister, is on his way to visit his uncle in the country side when he spots a car with a woman standing beside it. Being a curious person, Frank soon discovers that the car holds a dead body of an unidentified man and the lady claims to know nothing of the occurred death. Mr. Amberely soon finds out the identity of both the victim and the mysterious girl. As it turns out Frank had already been a tremendous help to the local police before and is now unofficially employed by them to help solve the mystery of the butler’s murder, as it is certain that he was murdered. Shirley Brown, the mysterious girl met on that first night, claims to be innocent even thought all the clues point toward her being the killer. Frank believes her innocence and actually goes as far as allowing himself to feel more than just the need to bring the real murderer to justice.

Having written that Why Shoot The Butler? was entertaining enough to keep my interest in reading more of Ms. Heyer’s work, I have to say that it was a little weaker than the other two books and if you are just thinking to try this author out, you’re probably better off putting this one away for a later time. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as her previous novels. I did. I loved the character of Frank Amberley. He is as arrogant and as outspoken as you can find them. His wordy sparring with the inspector and the sergeant of the local police is always hilarious. Frank does not waste a moment to let everyone around him know how truly superior he is and to expose all the vices of the small countryside residents. He enjoys annoying his uncle and stirring anger in the inspector but despite all that I couldn’t help but like the guy. I also liked that the romance element, which is always present in Heyer’s books, was much more developed in Why Shoot The Butler? and occupied a central stage right beside the mystery of the murder itself. All and all, the book was still a delightful and pleasant read with plenty of clever dialogue and witty humor, which are Heyer’s trademarks. I just think that action-wise it was on a slow side and if you are a fan of cozy mysteries but haven’t read any of Georgette Heyer’s yet, you will like Why Shoot The Butler? but there’s a danger that it will not make a die-hard fan of hers.


Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.

If you want to find out more, please visit The Definitive Fan Website.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

Since we all love reading and books, I think it is only fitting to post a quote on books from time to time. The one I am posting below describes my relationship with books perfectly. When I read it, I knew I had to bring it to the daylight. I also have a feeling that you'll read about yourselves in there as well. Today, I give you words borrowed from Christopher Morley:

"There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love, and like that colossal adventure it is an experience of great social import. Even as the tranced swain, the booklover yearns to tell others of his bliss. He writes letters about it, adds it to the postscript of all manner of communications, intrudes it into telephone messages, and insists on his friends writing down the title of the find. Like the simple-hearted betrothed, once certain of his conquest, “I want you to love her, too!” It is a jealous passion also. He feels a little indignant if he finds that any one else has discovered the book, too."

-Christopher Morley, “On Visiting Bookshops,” Pipefuls, Doubleday (1920)

Friday, May 8, 2009

I have a prayer that I might just try out.

I am not sure if it is a widely known fact but I am a spiritual person. In fact, this year I embarked on a kind of spiritual journey to try and improve the quality of my life and to find out more about myself. This resolution was behind creating Spiritually Speaking Challenge as well as my decision to read more Christian fiction and non-fiction and inspirational books. Therefore, it is no wonder that I also come upon inspirational, Christian and spiritual literature much more frequently than ever. Soon I will be writing about The 7 Great Prayers: For a Lifetime of Hope and Blessings by Paul & Tracey McManus, courtesy of Caitlin P. from FSB Associates, but today I will post another article by this couple which I think is very fitting and hopefully will help some of you (and help me too :-) )in these trying times.

7 Great Affirmations for the Unemployed With Practical Tips You Can Apply Today By Paul & Tracey McManus,Authors of The 7 Great Prayers: For a Lifetime of Hope and BlessingsLost jobs. Lost homes. Lost hope.

It's in the headlines, it's on the news, and it's in our day-to-day conversations with people we care about: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and people within our spiritual circles. When you're out of work, where do you turn when it seems nobody can help you or those you love?For Tracey and I, and the thousands of people who visit our website everyday, we turn to a power greater than ourselves and we use affirmative prayers.But what are affirmative prayers? How do you use them? And do they work?

The 7 Great Affirmations for the Unemployed.

The following is our suggestion of how to use our 7 Great Affirmations to overcome job loss. We use the term God to mean the higher power of your understanding. These seven affirmations are the ones we and thousands of others have used to overcome unemployment and the negative emotions surrounding it.

1. Change Your Focus Give praise. Take your mind off your life's challenges and shift your focus toward good thoughts and attaining a new job.
Affirmation: I love you God and welcome you into my heart. Thank you for blessing me with a new job. Tip: For many of your affirmations, affirm as though you have already been blessed with what you are asking for.

2. Put Yourself in a State of Gratitude. Take a moment and reflect on all the good things in your life and give thanks. Change your thinking from lack to thanks.
Affirmation: Thank you God, you give me power, comfort and strength while I find a new job. Tip: Affirmations without taking action are just wishes. Take steps forward every day to find a new job and give thanks for everything during the day. There is nothing too small to give thanks for. For example, thank God for the beautiful day, a smile, a kind word, not to mention your health, family, etc.

3. Connect with Your Higher Power -- From Whom all Blessings Flow. Feel God's presence and know that God is within you right now, and that you are connected with God.
Affirmation: God, you are within me right now and you are helping me through my job search and helping me find the perfect job for me. Tip: When using affirmations, don't beg. Instead, talk as though you are talking with your best friend. Talk and affirm positively, and know that you are loved.

4. It's Okay to Ask to Be Blessed with a New Job. God wants the very best for you . . . "whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive".
Affirmation: I am being led on the right path for me today for finding a new job, leaving all the details to God…I am blessed. Tip: Some people believe for some reason they don't deserve blessings -- throw this idea out once and for all! You are a good person. You are loved. You deserve to be blessed, so ask to be blessed in prayer, believe you'll be blessed, and you will receive blessings!

5. Be on the Lookout for "Messengers" and Blessings. Be alert to messengers and events that have been sent your way to help you receive the blessings you desire, which includes helping you through the entire process of your re-employment.
Affirmation: God, because I see you everywhere, I easily recognize it when you are reaching out to bless me. I take continuous action and leave no stone unturned. Tip: Set a goal. Have a clear picture of the job you want. Put your re-employment goals in writing. There are studies that report that those who put their goals in writing achieve dramatically better results than those who don't. So write down your re-employment affirmations in a journal along with your re-employment goals, and then take ACTION!

6. Bless and Love Others"Love your neighbor as you would love yourself". When you are out of a job it's easy to feel very alone and isolated in your negative situation. Again, it's crucial that you maintain a positive mental attitude, and an easy way to do this is to say short, loving affirmations, blessing others.
Affirmation: I love and bless my family and friends. I love and bless all those who are in need of love, comfort and strength. Tip: Decide to live in the now. Don't fret about the past, don't worry about the future. Don't go through your re-employment alone. Connect with family, friends, people you've worked with in the past, community services and your spiritual circle.

7. Use Your Talents. Whatever you put into the universe will come back to you ten-fold. You have special gifts. Reflect on these gifts and how they can help others. Be open to a completely different career; maybe a move to a new location. With every adversity there is the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
Affirmation: God, work through me now and help me do your good works. The more I help others, and do your good work, the more blessings I attract into my life. Tip: While looking for a new job, stay active. Volunteer. Help others. It's the right thing to do and your volunteer work may very well connect you to a person or event that will help you become re-employed.Tracey and I want to help you with your re-employment.

To download a free pocket-size prayer card designed to help you stay positive, take action and get a new job, please visit And please consider committing to the 21-day Prayer Challenge found on our website.

© 2009 Paul & Tracey McManus, author of The 7 Great Prayers: For a Lifetime of Hope and Blessings

Author Bio: Paul and Tracey McManus authors of The 7 Great Prayers: For a Lifetime of Hope and Blessings, originally created The 7 Great Prayers in response to their own financial and personal challenges. They have made it their mission to teach others how to live abundant and blessed lives by tapping into the power of God and the power of the mind through The 7 Great Prayers. They live in Connecticut with their three children.To learn more about The 7 Great Prayers: For a Lifetime of Hope and Blessings please visit

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I have been tagged.

Desert Rose from DeSeRtRoSe BoOkLoGuE tagged me with these questions and even though I don't usually like to divulge any details about myself but this was quite fun and safe, so I figured I'd do it.

1. What are your current obsessions?
My blog.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
I am actually always cold (really I am known to wear long sleeves in a 90 degree weather quite often) so most frequently I wear a lavender (color goes nicely with my eyes, I’m vain I know J)sweater with a loose turtleneck and jeans or warm sweatpants (usually dark because I’m a slob and get food stains quickly.

3. What's for dinner?
Believe it or not, I don’t cook. I don’t like to do it and I don’t know how to cook. So usually, whatever my mom next door fixes up is what’s for dinner at my house too.

4. Last thing you bought?
Gas and half-and-half for my coffee.

5. What are you listening to?
I don’t really listen to much music but I rediscovered Vivaldi and am enjoying it.

6. What are you watching now or the latest movie you watched?
I don’t watch TV almost at all (with the exception of Celebrity Apprentice and AI, both DVR-ed) and I don’t go to movies either.

7. Favourite holiday spots?
Las Vegas!

8. Reading right now?
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

9. What will you be reading next?
I have to finish Blessed Are The Meek by Zofia Kossak. I started it a month ago and then got sidetracked reading ARCs.

10. Four words to describe yourself.
Moody, introverted, sensitive, caring

11. Guilty pleasure?
Sleeping (I know some people say that we’ll sleep when we’re dead but I honestly enjoy sleeping almost as much as reading and could sleep anywhere, anytime).

12. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
There honestly aren’t very many things that could make me laugh (sad, I know) and when I do laugh it’s usually at things other people don’t find particularly funny.

13. Favourite spring thing to do?
Drive down the road and inhale the lushness of trees, bushes, flowers and blue sky.

14. Planning to travel to next?
No traveling for me for I don’t know how long.

15. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Nothing. I don’t put much importance on food other than to not be hungry.

16. When did you last get tipsy?
I don’t drink alcohol.

17. Favourite ever film?
The Piano.

18. Care to share some wisdom?
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it." W.C. Fields.

19. The craziest thing you’ve done?
Getting married in Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'The Unfinished Clue' by Georgette Heyer

As it appeared quite clear in my review of Behold, Here’s Poison, I have become a fan of Georgette Heyer. Now I know that it’s only one book but her writing talent shone through enough to convince me. As any respectable fan, I promptly proceeded to feed my Heyer bug with another one of her mystery books, The Unfinished Clue.

The premise of The Unfinished Clue is the murder of Sir Arthur Billington-Smith in his country house. The book starts off with a promising, friendly weekend with quite a few people attending. Apparently, Sir Arthur is a highly disliked figure by all of the guests and members of the family living nearby. He is abusive towards his young wife Fay, he hates his son Geoffrey, whom he ends up disinheriting for being engaged to Miss Silva, a Spanish dancer with questionable character for a proper English lady, and besides Mrs. Camilla Halliday, Sir Arthur has something negative to say about pretty much everyone around him. No wonder they all hate him. One of these people hates him enough to kill him. And with the violent death of Sir Arthur the fun begins. Obviously everyone has a reason to murder him and not even the persons with alibis are beyond suspicion. Inspector Harding from Scotland Yard makes sure that this difficult case will get solved.

I have to say that for me it’s just impossible to not like Heyer’s writing. I don’t even put so much importance on the murder mystery as on the dialogue and the characterization. I loved the ladies’ snappy and quite often cruel remarks always disguised as polite, so as not to step outside of the decorum. It was really very witty and funny. All the characters, including the secondary ones, have so much depth surprisingly, and are so vividly portrayed that I can just imagine myself sitting amongst them all and forming opinions of who would be my friend, who I would cross words with and so forth. This is not to say that the plot was of no interest to me. I was absolutely and completely engaged in trying to solve this murder mystery ahead of Inspector Harding, and not surprisingly, I failed. The ending was quite unexpected and that’s what made The Unfinished Clue all the more delicious. This delightful book is, in my humble opinion, a perfect remedy for a gloomy mood and a thing to enjoy on a summer day at the beach (just make sure you put a lot of SPF on, as there’s a danger you might forget all about it as you start reading).


Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

'Frenchman's Creek' by Daphne DuMaurier

I always am hesitant when it comes to reviewing or writing about classic literature. It’s not because I don’t like it but quite the opposite. Classic writers had the true talent for creating art but it is very often very difficult for me to pinpoint exactly why I loved a certain classic. The overall quality rather, the ability to transport me to the world seen through the eyes of its creator, the feel of the novel and how it leaves me in the end are the signs of true talent and not a learned skill. And so is the case with Daphne Du Maurier and Frenchman’s Creek.

Lady Dona St. Columb suffers from what one might call a mid-life crisis. It’s the age of Restoration in England and as she approaches her thirtieth birthday, Dona feels fed up with London, with her husband, and with herself. To remedy that, she escapes the life of boredom and aimless living by going with her two children to her husband’s country estate in Cornwall. She only seeks internal peace and to find her true self, away from the demands of high court and the phoniness of those around her. She finds peace at Navron House but not for long, because she also finds a French pirate and his crew moored in the creek near the house. And with the Frenchman’s appearance her true sense of adventure awakes. But the quest she embarks upon has its consequences which sooner or later Dona will have to face.

I thoroughly enjoyed Frenchman’s Creek. The opening of the novel seems quite different from other historical fiction. It starts with a description of the creek and Navron House in contemporary settings (contemporary to Du Maurier) and from there a reader is transported to a different time and thrown into the lives of people, who are now forgotten but who once occupied this place. I love how the nature is an omnipresent element throughout the novel. It seems to be a part of Dona, of her other self she wasn’t aware of while living in London but that she found in the country. The descriptions of the birds’ songs, of grass leaves swaying in the summer breeze, and the ominous views of the river and the creek were all very evocative and really aroused my imagination as I didn’t think they could. I found it really wonderful how Du Maurier, through her writing, managed to impose on me the changing atmosphere of Dona’s life. The first part of the book made me feel as if everything stood still, just like I imagined Dona felt about her life, bored, disenchanted and lazy, with no purpose and no goal ahead. However, as she meets the pirate and a wonderful craving for change and adventure rises within Dona, I felt my own excitement growing. I actually think that only a chosen few writers have managed to influence my mood and my manner of reading as the story progressed to such extent. Add to it the romance, the mischief and quite a few thrills, and you have a great book. Dona’s character was naturally my favorite one. This woman’s longing for change, escaping mundane life, refusing to accept that this is it, the end of the road for her speak of great courage for those times. She wants to find her own, true self and will not escape from it once it’s found. I really liked Frenchman’s Creek, it reminded me why classics are classics, endured for many generations and will be read by countless others.


Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Monday and it's time for...Borrowed Words

Today I am posting something that many people are very familiar with. But some might not be and I think it's important to concentrate on what makes a true winner in life. At least it is to me, especially when there are days when one might go one thinking how we failed at something or didn't quite get he results we'd like. In such circumstances it is wise to be reminded by people better than us that we're not failures at all as long as we try. I give you words borrowed from Theodore Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

April Reads

I honestly cannot believe that it’s already May and another month just flew by. This unnoticed passage of time might be due to having read quite an amount of books. For me, 15 books in one month would have seemed a lunacy just a year ago. But since I started my blog I have noticed that I read more and more. I honestly don’t know why that is other than perhaps a bigger motivation. And I must say that April was quite fruitful in good reads department.

1. Bone Man's Daughters by Ted Dekker (Dekker has always been an author I liked and I wasn’t disappointed this time either).

2. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant (This one was my first book reviewed on a new site The Girls On Books. The lovely ladies running it graciously agreed to take me in. The book was also my biggest disappointment).

3. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (This is a non-fiction book about a Hmong family living in United States and their struggles with our health system. A very touching book which I read thanks to my book club and I am embarrassed to say, I would never have reached for it otherwise. But I’m glad I did).

4. Elijah's Coin by Steve O'Brien (A very inspiring story and an engaging read).

5. Afraid by Jack Kilborn (The only horror book I read this month, which is surprising considering I love horror fiction).

6. Shame Lifter by Marilyn Hontz (A Christian non-fiction book, very uplifting. There will be a review coming up shortly).

7. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (A historical fiction book which I reviewed on The Girls On Books site).

8. Finding Grace by Donna VanLiere (A wonderful memoir which I think I identified with the most this month).

9. A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal (Another memoir, but quite different from the previous one and just as moving. it was also quite fitting for the Days of Remembrance celebrated in April).

10. The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis (I love Kalogridis. This book is probably the best one so far in the line of historical fiction written by Jeanne).

11. Follow Me by Joanna Scott (This book convinced me to give contemporary American fiction another try. I was quite taken with the story).

12. Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick (A great historical fiction with concentrating on classical music. The review is coming up tomorrow on The Girls On Books site).

13. The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar (Even though self-help books are not normally what I read, this one I liked).

14. Angel of Wrath by Bill Myers (A Christian thriller, which I thoroughly enjoyed).

15. Behold, Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer (Well, what can I say? It’s Heyer. I adored this book!)


1. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (I have to say that I was actually a little disappointed with it. I normally like Lamb and this book had all the trademarks of the author but it just seemed to be dragging too much. Maybe if I read it, instead of listening to it, I would have liked it better).

2. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Now I know what all the noise was about. It was a great Faery story , the narrator did an awesome job and I already am listening to Ink Exchange, the sequel).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

'I Have Been Naturalized' Giveaway!

On Monday, April 27th, 2009 I officially became a citizen of the United States of America! I am obviously extremely happy because of that and to share my happiness I decided to give away 5 books, one for each winner with the exception of the first choice which has two books that come together. This giveaway will go on until May 31st, so you have a whole month to decide which book you would like.

1. For Women Only & For Men Only pack. Personally I wasn't very crazy about these two but it's due to my tastes and personal attitudes more than anything. However, it might appeal to some of you. That's why I decided to give it away to somebody who will appreciate them more than I did.

For Women Only back cover description: "In a woman-to-woman conversation you'll never forget, Shaunti Feldhahn takes you beneath the surface into the inner lives of men. This book is about the things we just don't 'get' about guys. With findings from a groundbreaking national survey and personal interviews of over one thousand men, For Women Only is full of eye-opening revelations you need to not only understand the man in your life, but to support and love him in the way he needs to be loved. Grounded in biblical hope, you will discover how to love your man for who he really is - not who you think he is."

For Men Only back cover description: "The bestselling author of For Women Only teams with her husband to offer men the key to unlocking the mysterious ways of women. Through Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn's national scientific survey and hundreds of interviews, For Men Only reveals what you can do today to improve your relationship. And believ it or not, as Jeff assures men, 'It's not splitting the atom.' What makes her tick? What is she really asking? Take the guesswork out of trying to please your wife or girlfriend and begin loving her in the way she needs."

2. Elijah's Coin by Steve O'Brien. Publisher's synopsis: "In every heart there exists the potential for good and evil. The question is which we'll choose. That question is at the heart of Elijah's Coin, a thoughtful fable about one young man's descent into a life of crime...until he discovers an unlikely mentor, who begins to teach him a new philosophy of life. The point is not to state what you believe but to become what you believe."

3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Publisher's synopsis: "In Nineteenth century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or 'old same', in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she has written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their sirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart."

4. Shame Lifter by Marilyn Hontz. Publisher's synopsis: " Not good enough...Is that how you see yourself? maybe you constantly put yourself down or work harder and harder trying to measure up. You may even battle an eating disorder or other serious addiction, or suffer from a history of abuse. Marilyn Hontz knows these feelings all too well. While her life has been marked by many outward successes, a series of devastating losses early in life left her feeling insecure and inadequate...This sensitive yet powerful book will help you let go of the unhealthy shame holding you back and embrace the God-given truth about yourself instead.

The rules are simple and very few:

1. Leave me a comment saying which book you'd like to win.

2. You must leave me your email address, as it speeds up the selection and notification process. If I don't have your email, you will not be entered in the drawing.

3. Make sure you comment on this post by May 31st. The drawing of the winner will be on June 1st.

And that's that. Now, let's celebrate!

Friday, May 1, 2009

'Behold, Here's Poison' by Georgette Heyer

Am I the only person on Earth who up until yesterday didn’t know what Georgette Heyer had been capable of producing with her writing talent? I had surely felt like that for quite some time before I actually picked up Behold, Here’s Poison to see what the ruckus was all about. And I have to say that the fact I had not heard about Ms. Heyer seems now to be verging on abomination.

Behold, Here’s Poison is one of mystery books written by Heyer and yes, there are more genres that this author was very skilled at writing. It is what one might call a cozy mystery. The action of the book revolves around the murder of George Matthews, a master of the Poplars where he lived with his sister, Miss Matthews, his sister-in-law, Mrs. Matthews, and her two children, Stella and Guy. Mr. Matthews is found dead one morning in his bed and upon closer examination it turns out that the cause of his death was poison and not his high blood pressure. Of course no one in the house accepts this fact easily even though everyone seems quite glad that the master is dead, including family members living outside the Poplars, Mrs. Lupton and a new head of the family, Randall Matthews. And everyone, as it turns out, may have benefited from his untimely death. That’s when Inspector Hannasyde steps in to try and untangle the web of secrets and find the murderer.

Hats off to Georgette Heyer! She is now my most favorite author and I am only glad that I have so many more books of her waiting for me to delight in. This book got me hooked from the first pages and I was laughing out loud by page 10. The Matthews family is absolutely hilarious with Miss Matthews and Mrs. Lupton leading the way. It’s amazing how witty and clever the dialogue is and quite refreshing after many books where all you read is slang and cursing. The way the whole book is written just gave me this feeling of unadulterated pleasure and I am positive that when I wasn’t laughing I had a grin on my face all the while reading. Yes, it is a classic whodunit where everyone has a motive and no one has a solid alibi. But above all the elements that are necessary to create a perfect murder mystery, Ms. Heyer also created wonderful characters, some quite simple, some outrageously funny and others very unlikable, but none of them boring. The fact that the author made me start accusing people from one character to another and then back to the original, until I just gave up trying to guess, was simply icing on my favorite cake. All I have to say to the ones who have not yet read any of Heyer’s books (if indeed there are such unfortunates), don’t despair and waste your time looking for a perfect book. Instead delve right into the world of Behold, Here’s Poison.


Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.