Blog Book Tour | “Flask of the Drunken Master” No.3 of the #ShinobiMysteries by Susan Spann

Posted Monday, 10 August, 2015 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By:

I was offered the chance to be a tour stop on the “Flask of the Drunken Master” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours as I toured with them last year for the second release “Blade of the Samauri”, wherein I was able to receive “Claws of the Cat” in order to best understand the foundation of the Shinobi mystery series. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the “Flask of the Drunken Master” direct from the author Susan Spann, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On my connection to Susan Spann:

I started visiting the chats hosted by @LitChat in the latter months of 2013, as it was around the time of the conference at The Betsy in which I started to cross paths with regular chatters, amongst whom were Natalia Sylvester (début novelist of “Chasing the Sun”) and Susan Spann. I am unsure which month I first started to notice Ms. Spann as a friendly presence who always reminded me of myself — someone who provided cheerful commentary, engaging questions for each visiting guest author, and a wicked knowledge base on a variety of topics. Generally speaking, I always click-over to read a person’s Twitter profile, but whilst engaged in those #LitChat(s) I felt like it was this magical rendezvous for the bookish and those who are attuned to bookish culture.

In this way, it wasn’t until I learnt of Blade of the Samurai was going on tour through TLC Book Tours that I had decided to discover a bit more about her! In so doing, I learnt who she was ‘behind the curtain’ so to speak! I always considered her one of my ‘friends in the twitterverse’ but I never disclosed this to her until I was on the (Blade of the Samurai) blog tour in September 2014! Such serendipity as the tour has brought us a bit closer and I am grateful that Twitter is a social-positive method of reaching past our distances in geography to connect to people who share a passion for the written word. We have continued to remain in touch although we do not get to ‘meet-up’ on Twitter as often as we once did due to our schedules.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Spann through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst attending #LitChat or in private convos. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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Blog Book Tour | “Flask of the Drunken Master” No.3 of the #ShinobiMysteries by Susan SpannFlask of the Drunken Master
by Susan Spann
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Also by this author: Author Q&A : Susan Spann (on behalf of her Shinobi mysteries), Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, Interview with Susan Spann (FLASK), The Ninja's Daughter, Author Interview (Hiro Hattori Novels), Betrayal at Iga

Series: Shinobi Mystery, Hiro Hattori


Also in this series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, The Ninja's Daughter, Betrayal at Iga, Trial on Mount Koya, (Interview) Trial on Mount Koya


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction


Published by A Thomas Donne Book

Format: Hardcover Edition

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Minotaur Books (@MinotaurBooks), (a Thomas Donne book)
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

Converse via: #ShinobiMystery#ShinobiMysteries OR #FlaskOfTheDrunkenMaster

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Susan SpannSusan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Her début novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013), was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. Susan has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University, where she studied Chinese and Japanese language, history, and culture. Her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses.

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Returning to the Shinobi Mysteries:

It never fails to surprise me how easily I can dip back inside this world, Ms Spann has created for us to find because between my readings a full year has transitioned forward, and despite my yearnings to re-read through Claws of the Cat and Blade of the Samurai it speaks very highly of the author whose beautiful continuity in shifting us forward into her next installment of Shinobi mysteries can be done with such a deft of grace and honesty; time hasn’t passed at all! The beauty for me truly is seeing how the characters resonate with my mind’s memory of them, and how those transitions back onto the page are bridged so well, as if I truly hadn’t spent any hour apart from where their last adventure together left off!

My Review of Flask of the Drunken Master:

There is a quirkiness to Father Mateo and Hiro; a knowing acceptance of their own personal quirks and the cheeky humour which they share amongst each other, whilst attempting to keep up appearances for the persona in which they are both hiding their true selves from most of Kyoto. Hiro has more to hide than Father Mateo, but it is the priest who makes me chuckle openingly due to his cleverness in never letting on more than he knows around anyone except Hiro! Finding these two caught by a guard at the city’s gates was priceless; it felt natural, and of course, how Hiro reacts to the guard is quite ‘classic’ all by itself! This is how Ms Spann celebrates her readers by introducing this new installment by such a familiar sight as how Hiro will get Father Mateo past the city gates! My smile lasted well into the proceeding chapters!

Before too long, they stumbled across a commotion which led to a revelation of a crime; despite their best efforts, I think Father Mateo and Hiro simply love to sleuth – they like the challenge of solving crimes but they also like living outside the structure of society. You can tell with the ease in which they settle into their roles as investigators as they find ways to noodle out how to step around the orders of protocol and find truth where lies and omission have overtaken reason. Hiro bless him, has put himself in a bit of a pickle as like always or so it would appear, he likes to live life on the edge. He is typically found in places at certain hours of relevance lateron where Father Mateo questions the logic of his honesty; yet at the root of whom Hiro is a man who is torn between his past duties as a shinobi and his current ones protecting the priest. He’s a risk taker and a gambler of fate, who has a keen mind and a sensitive heart for the misunderstood or accused.

Yoshiko returns as I had a certain respect for her previously when she asserted her right to become a samurai; to carve out an independent path during an era where women were meant to obey tradition her choice of careers was a daring one to embrace! I like finding strong female characters in historical fiction – especially akin to the ones Spann likes to knit into her novels because she takes you by surprise quite a bit by choices she makes to bring women forward into focus. Even the dead man’s wife is a willing adversary at times as like most families in Kyoto at this period of time, they try to evade persistent questions in order to shroud the truth.

The joy of reading the Shinobi mysteries is seeing how the lies start to unravel and how the truth starts to bind the guilty in such a way as to illuminate the entire crime to Father Mateo and Hiro. They were having to go between sake breweries this time around, whilst sorting out a crime that had very little physical evidence to yield except for the brutality of the crime itself. Not that either man would give up a mystery so easily if evidence was amiss, but it did prove a bit trickier to root out whom to suspect and of which way to follow the small clues they were receiving from the few who would talk to them without caution.

Why I am positively overjoyed with each new installment of this series:

Each new installment of the Shinobi mysteries adds more layers to the relationship between Hiro and Father Mateo; a deepening awareness of who each of these men are at the core of their being, as well as how their connected lives have an after effect on their surrounding environment. They are becoming quite well know for finding truth where others would prefer to believe accusational lies whilst solving crimes too horrid to imagine possible.

Crime in the 16th century is expertly brought to life by Ms Spann – as she has taken the balance of her research and the clear definitive passion for her characters to a fullest of life on the written pages of her novels! Stepping inside her Shinobi mysteries is to take entrance into a new world of wonderment, rituals, and tradition steeped with history in a country known for it’s honoured past. She gives full merit to each of her characters (both major and minor) allowing us the full measure of finding ourselves carted into a new set of circumstances where Hiro and Father Mateo can thrive best as they solve the impossible within such a strict code of propriety.

I’m beyond eager to read Mask of the Fallen
and continue my journey with Hiro and Father Mateo!

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This blog tour is courtesy of: TLC Book Tours

{ click-through to follow the tour & find more reader’s impressions! }

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Stay tuned!

My interview with Ms Spann via HFVBTs is coming up next, where I asked the author questions pertaining to the Shinobi mysteries wherein I had the pleasure of getting to know a bit more about the depth of where the series is heading next inasmuch as a bit more of a personal insight into the writer herself!

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Reader Interactive Question:

What do you love about historical fiction set in Japan which introduces you to the mysterious art of the samauri’s and ninjas?

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Flask of the Drunken Master”, book synopsis, author photograph of Susan Spann and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read:

{ share if inspired }

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 10 August, 2015 by jorielov in 16th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Mystery, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, TLC Book Tours




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