No clover, no heather, no cross, no wonder, I'm lucky

Getting in at the start has been an absolute pleasure

I have, I will admit, been very lucky with the books that I’ve been asked to review. All the ones I’ve been sent (in one form or another) to review, I’ve read and reviewed and haven’t skipped any. I feel that’s the least I can do, if someone is prepared to contact me and in many cases, stump up for the postage out to here in Denmark.

Nick sent me number four, perhaps knowing I’d have to go buy the others. How right he was!

The people who have contacted me – marketing departments, agents, but mostly the author(s) themselves – have, it would seem from their comments, all checked out this blog and/or the Facebook Page for Speesh Reads, and determined that, based on the books I’ve read and reviewed here , I might be willing to read and review their book(s). Let’s face it, that’s what I would do, were I responsible for the marketing of a book. You want to send a book to the people who are going to be most like their target market. I mean, you’re not going to send a reporter from Horse and Hounds to interview a Hollywood actress, are you?

One of the best freebies ever! Certainly probably, possibly, my favourite book of 1066
See how nice the ‘advanced uncorrected proof’ wording looks in the middle there. This was sent because they added me to their Ambassador Programme. I represent Europe, apparently.

I’ve not bothered with NetGalley or the like, as I buy enough books and have enough ‘in stock’ to last me a year or two as things stand. I don’t need to be getting anything for free, to be honest. In several cases where an author or agent has sent me a book, I’ve gone on to buy all the books in the series myself. In other cases, I’ve been asked if I could be sent a book that I’ve already got on order! So I don’t feel like I’m robbing them of anything. Don’t get me wrong, an ARC (‘Advanced Reader/Review Copy’) is an interesting, even cool, thing to have. But it’s not like the real thing, a first edition hardback. It’s generally a hardback-sized glorified paperback. There will often be a load of information to the (proper) reviewer, of release dates and what promotion there will be for the book. All very interesting, but very soon (depending of course on when you get it!) out of date. And it’s not like they go for a million notes on eBay, either. Not that you really should sell them, not if you want to get any more perks, I guess. I wouldn’t sell them, mainly because I’ve been asked not to, and I can’t figure eBay out enough to sell anything!

It’s possible I had pre-ordered this one when James got hold of me and asked.

So…in effect, what I’m saying is, in defending me getting stuff for nowt and giving a decent review, is that the way I see it, when the person has checked me out, decided I would be the type of reader who might give their book a decent hearing (several people I’ve been in contact with from the Publishing World have said they appreciate my honesty, warts an all) contacted me and sent a book (often I get them as the dreaded eBooks (can’t stand those)), I figure I’m already half way towards liking the book. See? I’m figuring that’s already a 2 1/2 review. It’d have to go some really to get less than that. New subjects, different to what I usually read, those are up to me, I’m not gonna start reading about scandalous needle-working courtiers in Tudor times when someone is asking for a review. If I accidentally buy one myself, then that’s another story…

SPEESH READS FACT DEPT. I have two books that were sent to me on the go at the moment. They are:
Inauguration Day by Peter G. Pollak
I was, as I remember, contacted by an agent, or manager. Anyway, the book is out 1st November, my review has to be done for then. The reading part is going pretty well so far.


White Water Black Death by Shaun Ebelthite
Here, I’ve been contacted by Mr Shaun directly.
It’s in the old iBooks awaiting the ending of The Third Reich In Power…so, what (looks at StoryTel) 6 hours away?


I’ve a feeling there might be an ARC on the way as well, but as that’s supposedly coming from the USA, I don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

The books I buy, I’m pretty sure I will like before I buy them. I sometimes take a chance – and you can judge a book by its cover, I find – but it’s often because I can half remember reading something about it somewhere from someone and it sounds like something I might like. Non-Fiction-wise, I tend to pursue subjects that crop up while reading other books, or even while seeing a film. While watching The Last of the Mohicans, I thought the forts Arthur and George looked like they’d been there a while before all the trouble started (and yes, I know it was a film set, but still…), so I decided to see if I could track down something on the early British exploration of thew Americas. As you do. And I did.

I can promise you here and now, that all the reviews I write are the product of reading the book thoroughly, making notes while reading, thinking about it for a week or so, then writing the review  – usually without re-reading the notes (!) in one go. They are my ideas, what popped into my head while reading, my impressions and anything else I figure might be interesting. I always try to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. My honest opinion, not based on me wanting to get future books and Tweet about them before all you plebs. I did once promise not to mention one particular blog who is afraid of giving bad reviews for precisely those reasons. After reading sycophantic and very similar posts from the one who asked me not to diss the blog, I’ve decided to tear up the arrangement. I won’t mention either blog here and now, but I am disappointed in the person(s), very, and will be having a go at both in the future.

OK; I did manage to get hold of an ARC for this through unorthadox sources, as I could not wait until it came out for proper.

If you’ve read this so far, thank you and I hope you find my reviews interesting. How helpful they are to you, that’s another matter. Probably best to use the A to Z lists, the Historical Fiction timeline, and buy anything with 4 and above.

If you ever want to leave comments, that would be more than interesting. I’ll reply to anything you want to say. If you’re an author or agent, you can get me at speeshreads @


*The headline is from Joan Armatrading‘s song I’m Lucky.

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