Category: 16th Century

Book Review | “Betrayal at Iga” (Book No.5 Hiro Hattori novels) by Susan Spann (previously the Shinobi Mysteries) We get to find out more about Hiro’s family as well as the delightfully unexpected character of Tane who touched my heart!

Posted Friday, 29 December, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

Originally, I was meant to be a part of the blog tour for this release during [Summer 2017] however, the tour did not happen and I still had the blessing of receiving this novel for review. Despite my earnest attempts to read this between August and September, the lightning storms were not working in my favour; thereby, due to circumstances out of my control then and my health issues in the Autumn months, I postponed reading a fifth installment of a series I belove to await a moment where my heart could fully appreciate soaking into this world I love to re-visit.

I received a complimentary copy of “Betrayal at Iga” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On where we left Father Mateo, Hiro Hattori & Ana the housekeeper:

Series Overview: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo investigate crime in medieval Japan, from the palaces of the samurai to the colorful world of Kyoto’s theater district—and beyond. The series weaves fictional plotlines through one of the most exciting—and dangerous—times in Japanese history.

Oh, dear my! I love how wickedly Spann gives us something we’re not expecting and yet so very much want to see found in each of her stories! I have become quite attached and fond of Ana, Father Mateo and Hiro as well as Hiro’s cat Gato (that’s a riddle in of itself that will tickle your funnybone!) to such a level I eagerly appreciate finding them once more occupying the story’s central heart. I think the ending of this one was quite special indeed because it brought out things that might have been elusively just outside our knowledge in the previous installments but are now fully present and centred. These characters are a ragtag family of whom are precious and dear to each other, even if they don’t always sound like they love each others’ company! Now that their embarking on a new beginning, I long to see what will be waiting for them at their destination! What fun!

I love how in the end, the original title was fittingly well placed to alert you about a particular plot point that truly did come to pass! The title that is on the novel is well played, as it hints towards where the story ends up in the concluding chapters. The beauty of reading this installment is how the world in which Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori occupy is now expanding dimensionally wider in scope and thereby, the next story will carry us a bit further into the background of Hiro than we’ve ventured previously. I am full of awe at how with each new story, the mysteries grow in strength and in presence of place,…

Ms Spann has created a series for the historical reader at heart!

Ms Spann keeps you keenly invested in being aware of not only the current plot thickening before your eyes, but the concurrent story-lines which came prior to the one your reading! You have to keep observant and the wicked challenge is piecing all the lovely clues together which add into the depth of where the series is grounded. I love finding an author whose symmetry for carrying a series forward is never overshadowed by an installment but rather brightened by how all the stories within the series broaden the appeal of how far reaching the series has become! It’s a special treat, as you get to dig deeper into the background of where the Hiro Hattori novels are set and how everything is fused together properly through the characters who populate the series directly.

I fell in-step with this installment with the grace of remembering the previous stories, alongside the causal familiarity of the lead characters as even their personable quirks of manners or behaviour were easily observed now! I like reading serial fiction for the extension of spending time inside an author’s imagined world but the treat is finding authors like Ms Spann who make returning visits as lovely as this one has been for me! Even noting the guards at the bridges and gates in the city was a fixture of my memories, as one thing I learnt quickly is your mode of transportation is nearly always by foot but your freedom of movement is never a guarantee!

Spann etches in lessons of mortality and a fine line of ethics into her stories, which is one reason they appeal to me as much as they do. She doesn’t just want you to read a mystery for the sake of it, but to truly think about the complications each crime brings to the community or have one death can involve many different lives in ways that is not as easily to see from the offset. It is this attention to the details that grants you the joy in reading the Hiro Hattori novels – each story is a further glimpse into the evolving story where the fuller arc of the series begins to bloom forward into view.

-quoted from my review of The Ninja’s Daughter

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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 a blog tour that I 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 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 in recent years.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms 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, whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their series in sequence of publication.

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Book Review | “Betrayal at Iga” (Book No.5 Hiro Hattori novels) by Susan Spann (previously the Shinobi Mysteries) We get to find out more about Hiro’s family as well as the delightfully unexpected character of Tane who touched my heart!Betrayal at Iga
Subtitle: A Hiro Hattori Novel
by Susan Spann
Source: Direct from Publisher

Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.

With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781633882775

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

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


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 11th July, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 256

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Susan Spann

Susan Spann

Susan Spann is the author of three previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, and Flask of the Drunken Master The series is now known as the Hiro Hattori Novels through it's new publisher Seventh Street Books.

She has a degree in Asian Studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. When not writing, she works as a transactional attorney focusing on publishing and business law. She raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium. As well as hosting the inspiring Twitter series of informative publishing insight known as #PubLaw.

Converse via: #HiroHattoriNovels + #HistoricalMystery or #HistMyst

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 29 December, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 16th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Feudal Japan History, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, History, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity

Blog Book Tour | “The Semper Sonnet” by Seth Margolis

Posted Friday, 27 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The Semper Sonnet” direct from the author Seth Margolis in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title interested me to read:

I am not your typical reader for this particular type of Thriller as I shy away from the stories mentioned in being within the framework of similarity to this novel; so much so, I honestly surprised myself in wanting to read this one – except to say, I have a soft spot for Shakespeare – and a personal goal to read through his Sonnets and Plays whilst refuelling my participation in The Classics Club over the score of the new few years.

When I read one of the Sonnets themselves was the cipher key to this mystery, I was quite hooked! I love ciphers and codes – as much as I love a tautly written suspense novel! I decided to take a chance on this title and see if I could find my next favourite thriller author! I’d be curious what drew others to read this title and if they had known about the publisher Diversion Books prior to finding it?! I noticed they are publishing a lot of different kinds of stories – I am sure I will be reading more by them in the future.

This marks my first review past The Breedling and the City in the Garden (see also review) and You’re the Cream in my Coffee (see also review) as I am re-aligning myself back into blogging after my family’s medical emergency. Although, I had attempted to read this story in December – later than I had planned to post my review on the blog tour itself, I simply could not alight into the chapters nor focus on the narrative. Novels at that point in time were a struggle for me to find footing inside – which is why the novellas by ChocLit (see also #MidnightChocLit) helped heal my bookish heart and provided a way for me to reclaim my bookish life. Since then, I’ve been treading water – dipping my toes back into literature one story at at time; whilst being honest with myself about which stories I can alight inside and which ones I simply needed to ‘hold over’ until I could honestly enjoy reading them. This is one of those stories I knew I needed a bit longer to appreciate and am thankful I had the breathing space to read it – even off-tour, to where I could properly give the story a chance to resonate with me.

I’m starting to find my way back inside stories and finding the words to express what I’m reading – as you can denote from my anthology review of Gifts of the Magi (see also review) and the audiobook Halfway Dead (see also review); however, all things being equal it was a bit more of an uphill climb than I first thought possible. I appreciate everyone’s patience in me – as I had to re-shuffle my blog’s schedule this December by pushing reviews in January. In many ways, I’m past deadlines for several reviews whilst posting within the tours which are still running (i.e. Illusions of Magic (see also review) and Beyond Derrynane (see also review) this January. One review I postponed into January (The Egg & I) will be  posting in conjunction with my review of The Plague & I; two memoirs I’ve been listening to on audiobook. Each new post I’m featuring is a journey back to my blog and a lift of spirit for the girl who loves blogging inasmuch as she loves reading. Here’s to resuming where I left off and finding new stories to appreciate as well.

NOTE: The one blog tour I’m still working on amending with a review this January is Who Is To Blame? as this tour ran the week my Dad was in the hospital recovering from his stroke. Meanwhile, I hope everyone is had a merry December whilst enjoying Winter’s reprieve from Summer.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Semper Sonnet” by Seth MargolisThe Semper Sonnet
by Seth Margolis
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In this stunning thrill ride, perfect for fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry, a long-lost manuscript, written for Elizabeth I, holds the key to unlocking the past—and to eliminating the future.

Lee Nicholson is ready to take the academic world by storm, having discovered a sonnet she believes was written by William Shakespeare. When she reads the poem on the air, the words put her life in peril and trigger a violent chase, with stakes that reach far beyond the cloistered walls of academia.

Buried in the language of the sonnet, in its allusions and wordplay, are secrets that have been hidden since Elizabethan times, secrets known only to the queen and her trusted doctor, but guessed at by men who seek the crown and others who seek the world. If the riddles are solved, it could explode what the world knows of the great Elizabeth I. And it could release a pandemic more deadly than the world has ever imagined.

Lee’s quest for the answers buried in the sonnet keeps her one step ahead of an international hunt—from the police who want her for murder, to a group of men who will stop at nothing to end her quest, to a madman who pursues the answers for destructive reasons of his own.

As this intelligent thriller moves back and forth between Tudor England and the present day, Lee begins to piece together the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, carrying the story to its gasp-out-loud conclusion.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781682300558

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Thriller


Published by Diversion Books

on 19th April, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 374

Originally Published By: Diversion Books an imprint of Diversion Publishing Corp.
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic + #Thriller

About Seth Margolis

Seth Margolis

Seth Margolis is a writer whose most recent novel, THE SEMPER SONNET, was published on April 19. He is the author of six earlier novels, including LOSING ISAIAH, which was made into a film starring Halle Berry and Jessica Lange.

Seth lives with his wife, Carole, in New York City. They have two grown children, Maggie and Jack. Seth received a BA in English from the University of Rochester and an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration. When not writing fiction, he is a branding consultant for a wide range of companies, primarily in the financial services, technology and pharmaceutical industries. He has written articles for the New York Times and other publications on travel and entertainment.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 27 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 16th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Castles & Estates, Content Note, Crime Fiction, Elizabeth I, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Tudor Era, Vulgarity in Literature, William Shakespeare