May 26, 2017

Book Review Unseen Motives by Joan Hall

Blurb

Stephanie Harris is no stranger to mystery and suspense. The author of several best-selling thrillers returns to her hometown of Driscoll Lake twenty years after her father’s suicide when her great-aunt Helen dies.

She hopes to settle Helen’s affairs as quickly as possible and leave behind the place where she suffered so much heartache. Soon after her arrival, Stephanie stumbles upon information that leads her to believe that all is not as it seems.

When she digs deeper into secrets long buried, she begins to receive warning notes and mysterious phone calls. The threats soon escalate into deliberate attempts to harm her. Stephanie soon finds herself caught in a web of deceit and danger.

Who doesn’t want her to stay? And why? What are they afraid she’ll learn?

Undaunted, Stephanie searches for clues about the scandal surrounding her father’s death. But discovering the truth places her in the path of a cold-blooded killer.
 


My Review



Unseen Motives is one of those whodunit stories that keep you glued to the virtual pages. The story flows easily, at a good pace. The characters Stephanie and Matt are likeable and well-drawn and easily to relate to.
They  have depth, with all their flaws and good parts.  A story with twists and turns, many chapters ending in cliffhangers that increased my curiosity to know what follows next. Frustrating at times since when you think you have figured things out, bam another surprise. But that is what makes Joan Hall's book such am awesome read.
Stephanie returns to her native town after twenty years. Beside settling the estate of her deceased aunt, she is faced with a puzzle that she has to solve as it regards a tragedy in her family. Not everyone is happy with her presence and she gets threatening notes. Not everyone in the story is who they seem to be at first. So many lies impact so many lives. The atmosphere of a small town, with its secrets, that everyone knows, with its gossip that everyone enjoys to share, is perfectly depicted by Joan Hall.
Unseen Motives is well written and unfolds in a manner that will keep you flipping pages on your Kindle well into the night. This is a wonderful story and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. If you're a fan of mystery stories, grab this one, make sure you have plenty of time and enjoy this really excellent book. Highly recommended!

May 24, 2017

I am a Guest today

I am thrilled to let you all know that Sally Cronin from 
                  Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

 https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/smorgasbord-poetry-self-portrait-by-carmen-stefanescu/
selected one of my poems and showcased it today. 
Above is the link to the post, if you'd like to read it. It so well fits my present day state of mind.
I hope you will visit the post and let me know what you think about it.
Thank you, in advance!

May 18, 2017

Bizarre facts about Vlad III Basarab, nicknamed, Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), or Dracula.



1. Bram Stoker didn’t make up the word Dracula for his book. DRACULA in Walachian language means DEVIL.  His father, Vlad II Basarab, was a member of a secret society known as the Order of the Dragon, which fought the Ottoman Empire. He was so proud to be a member that he had his name changed to “Dracul,” Romanian for “Dragon.”  Vlad III also got involved in the Order, which prompted him to change his own name to Dracula.
2. The name Tepes is the Romanian for “the Impaler.” It was a title given to him posthumously. Vlad III earned his “Impaler” nickname by killing thousands of Turks and others by the grisly method that he learned during his teens, when he was a political hostage of the Ottoman Empire in Egrigoz.
3. When Vlad’s father was called to a diplomatic meeting in 1442 with Sultan Murad II, he brought his young sons Vlad III and Radu along, having no idea that they fell in a trap. All three were arrested and held hostage. The elder Vlad was released but he had to leave his sons behind.
4.  It was during his hostage years that Vlad witnessed the impalement of his Ottomans' enemies. According to historical accounts, Vlad suffered much at the hands of the Ottomans. He was tortured for part of that time, and was locked up in an underground prison.  However, his younger brother, Radu, caught the eye of the sultan's son. Radu was released and converted to Islam, and he was allowed into the Ottoman royal court.
5.  In the 1400s, the region of Wallachia was under constant threat from its neighbors, the Turks. Vlad III sent an army to push the Turks out of his land. Eventually, though the Turks forced Vlad into a retreat—he was not done. As he retreated, he burned down his own villages along the way so that the Turkish army would have nowhere to rest. He even went so far as poisoning his own wells just so that the incoming Turkish army wouldn’t have the satisfaction.
6. When Ottoman diplomatic envoys had an audience with Vlad in 1459, the diplomats declined to remove their hats, citing a religious custom. Commending them on their religious devotion, Vlad ensured that their hats would forever remain on their heads by having the hats nailed to the diplomats' skulls.
7. Vlad tested whether his technique for dissuading theft or dishonesty worked.  He had a valuable gold bowl placed near a river crossing. The rule was that anybody could drink out of it, but it could not leave the square under any circumstances.  The bowl stayed put! It’s believed that during this time about 60,000 people lived in the town—yet during his entire reign, the priceless cup was never touched.  
8. Reports state that Dracula’s body was buried at a cemetery in the Snagov Monastery, outside Bucharest, where one of his brothers was a monk. But there are conflicting reports - some that his body was never actually found there, while others say that his possible remains were indeed found, but then disappeared. It is believed that the archaeologists searching in Snagov, (a commune outside Bucharest), in 1931, found Dracula’s remains. The contents were transferred to the History Museum in Bucharest, but they later disappeared without a trace, leaving the mysteries of the real Prince Dracula unanswered.
 It’s pretty likely that his body was just robbed at some point; as royalty, he would likely have been buried with treasure, making his grave a good target for grave robbers. And then there’s the other theory about why his body was never found: because he’s Dracula.

                            Dracula’s Mistress






                    
Publisher – City Lights Press
Genre – Paranormal historical/light romance

Blurb


From the day that the powerful, brave and merciless Vlad III Basarab, a descendant of the Draculesti family—better known to most people as the infamous vampire Dracula—ascends the throne, he knows only battles, betrayal and intrigue.

Evil grips the town of Targoviste, capital residence of Walachia. The secrets behind the stone walls of the palace are as dark and violent as a winter’s night, as terrifying as the prince’s deeds. Dead bodies, drained of blood and missing their little finger keep appearing in the streets at night.

Lovely, smart, determined, Angela Oltenescu ignores all the aggressive rumors and her mother’s warning regarding Vlad. Will she suffer the consequences of falling in love with a man nicknamed Dracula by his enemies—an infamous creature of the night?

Rich, sly, treacherous,  Marin Craioveanu, a powerful landlord, craves the same woman loved by Vlad. Marin's hatred toward the prince will make him an ally to Handsome Radu, Vlad’s brother and Sultan’s friend, ready to sell the country to the Ottomans to get rid of his rival.

Dracula’s Mistress will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction

Buy link   Only 0.99$  Amazon.com
 




Other books by Carmen: Till-Life-Do-Us-Part
                                        Dracula's Prodigy