Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

ChocLitSaturdays Banner Created by Jorie in Canva.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and created #ChocLitSaturday (the chat via @ChocLitSaturday):

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Jade Lioness” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I am fascinated by this series:

You know almost immediately when you pick up a Courtenay Historical Rom, you’re going to be enchanted by what you find inside the page! She has a way of pulling you into the narrative quite quickly and endearing you to her characters; many of whom have emotional angst or something they need to prove to themselves. She also is one of my favourite historical authors for tying together loose ends, maintaining continuity or by giving us more information about secondary characters.

There were incredible layers of emotional angst percolating throughout the story but it’s how Courtenay made the keen choices to embrace those situations and to use them towards the gain for the reader to walk alongside her characters as they worked through everything together. It’s the strength of finding the courage to be oneself and to embrace differences even in one’s family to find the bridge to unite through forgiveness and patience. Truly this became an uplifting story to read due to how convincing the redemption was for Midori and the rest of her family.

And, of course, I especially was taken by the descriptive details which set this narrative to be illuminated by sweeping arcs of action sequences and the beauty of life on the high seas. I liked the nuances of Japanese culture and the way in which Courtenay infused Midori’s spiritual life into the backdrop of her character’s personality. Everything felt authentically realistic whilst anchouring the story between Japan and England. You could fully find yourself caught in the midst of the 17th Century where nothing was certain nor guaranteed to be right anytime soon. At the height of everything, blessedly there was still slivers of hope of how Midori would find not only true happiness but a passionate partner of whom accepted her unconditionally. A true honour of her upbringing and of finding her own way to unite her past with her present. Now it’s Temperance’s turn to take the spotlight in the series and I can’t wait to go back to Japan where the series began as she makes her mark on how her life is meant to play out.

-quoted from my review of The Gilded Fan

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

Three years ago, on the 26th of April, 2014, I created #ChocLitSaturday a weekly Rom chat to celebrate the novelists of ChocLitUK but also, to expand to include book bloggers, readers and writers of Romance who have a penchant for the genre as a whole. Ms Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the years, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul and dear friend, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturday the chat, kept in touch privately and having had previously read her time slip novels. 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 or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “The Jade Lioness” (Book Three of the Kumashiro Series) by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdaysThe Jade Lioness
by Christina Courtenay
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can an impossible love become possible?



Nagasaki, 1648

Temperance Marston longs to escape war-torn England and explore the exotic empire of Japan. When offered the chance to accompany her cousin and Captain Noordholt on a trading expedition to Nagasaki, she jumps at the opportunity. However, she soon finds the country’s strict laws for foreigners curtail her freedom.

On a dangerous and foolhardy venture she meets Kazuo, a ronin. Kazuo is fascinated by her blonde hair and blue eyes, but he has a mission to complete and he cannot be distracted. Long ago, his father was accused of a crime he didn’t commit – stealing a valuable ornament from the Shogun – and Kazuo must restore his family’s honour.

But when Temperance is kidnapped and sold as a concubine, he has to make a decision – can he save her and keep the promise he made to his father?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

ISBN: 978-1781892374

Also by this author: Guest Post about Time Slips, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Scarlet Kimono, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight Cover Reveal, Marry for Love, The Gilded Fan

Also in this series: The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 19th March, 2016

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 320

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLituk)

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

The Kumashiro series:

Book One: The Scarlet Kimono (see also Review)

Book Two: The Gilded Fan (see also Review)

Book Three: The Jade Lioness

Converse via: #KumashiroSeries + #HistRom or #ChocLit

About Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay

Christina lives near Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction. The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award. Highland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Historical Romantic Novel of the Year Award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Novels: Trade Winds, Highland Storms, Monsoon Mists, The Scarlet Kimono, The Gilded Fan, The Silent Touch of Shadows, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, The Soft Whisper of Dreams, The Jade Lioness, Marry in Haste, Once Bitten Twice Shy, Desperate Remedies and Never Too Late.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 6 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 17th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Domestic Violence, East India Company, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Martial Arts, Modern British Literature, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, World Religions

(Not quite a) Book Review | “The Smoke Hunter” by Jacquelyn Benson one reader’s struggle with how ‘dark’ fiction can become for #YALit

Posted Friday, 5 May, 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 new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints Grand Central Publishing, FaithWords & Center Street.

I initially received this ARC Autumn 2016, however, it was during a period of time where my computer died (in a fierce lightning storm), my migraines were frequently giving me grief and shortly thereafter, right as things felt they were going to calm down for a bit, my father had a moderate bilateral stroke (see also Post). Ergo, I had to table a lot of my readings which were in queue towards the end of 2016 and the start of 2017. I have been progressing towards resuming where I left off and finding a renewal of joy reading the stories I was not able to alight inside until now. I received this ARC for review consideration and I was wicked happy for the discovery of finding an author who set her story in Central America. My keen interest is also linked to my own adventures in the Mayan ruins of Mexico City and the Yucatan peninsula inasmuch as my former field of choice to study: Archaeology. (see also Review to a bit about why I love Mexico)

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Smoke Hunter” direct from the publisher Grand Central Publishing (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in consideration for an honest review. I was not obligated to post a review but I decided to share my thoughts for my own edification as much as broach the topic of discussion about how ‘dark’ fiction is becoming. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comI positively LOVE Action & Adventure stories yet finding stories with a healthy dose of Archaeological Intrigue is not always as easy to unearth.

My wanderings inside this niche of literature has it’s roots in the Graphic Novels based off of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the fictionalised novels of Indiana Jones. One in particular truly celebrated what I loved about finding inside stories like these which was Indiana and the Seven Veils. Finding stories which suit my interests with the archaeological angle and keep me on the edge of my chair whilst reading the adventure the lead character is undertaking is sometimes a bit hit or miss depending on how the story evolves.

In the recent past, I have become re-inspired to seek out these stories by my discoveries of the following stories:

  • the Cobbogoth series by Hannah L. Clark (see thread)
  • the Awesome Jones series by AshleyRose Sullivan (see thread)
  • the Jaya Jones series by Gigi Pandian (see thread)
  • the Space Opera series by Cindy Koepp (see thread)
  • the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series by Iain Reading (see thread)
  • The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk by Sally Malcolm (see also Review)
  • The Land of Look Behind by Aaron Blaylock (see also Review)
  • the first Ian Quicksilver novel, not the second (see also Review)
  • *if I said ‘see thread’ this denotes a series is still in-process

I was hoping this novel might be one I could appreciate in the similar vein of interest I had felt with Jaya Jones; as I truly do appreciate finding Lara Croft-esque characters who are wholly true to themselves but have a fierce passion for their fields of study. I love strong female leads who have a penchant for adventure and of uncovering the historical past in a way which will benefit humanity by the artifacts and discoveries they are making. I also loved The Mummy films starting Brendan Fraser where he was only one-half of the duo of archaeological explorers seeking to understand the lore and legacies of Ancient Egypt. So you can see, I have a healthy interest in reading these kinds of stories but it’s finding the stories which I can truly rally behind and say “I loved reading this!” which has become a quest of it’s own!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

(Not quite a) Book Review | “The Smoke Hunter” by Jacquelyn Benson one reader’s struggle with how ‘dark’ fiction can become for #YALitThe Smoke Hunter
Subtitle: Unlock an Ancient Mystery. Unleash an Earth-shattering secret.
by Jacquelyn Benson
Source: Direct from Publisher

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455569069

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Archaeological | Anthropological Historical Perspectives, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Grand Central Publishing

on 13th September, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 448

Published by: Grand Central Publishing (@GrandCentralPub)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks)

Formats Available: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #Historical + #YoungAdult or #YALit, #AdvFict, #HistFic and #TheSmokeHunter

About Jacquelyn Benson

Jacquelyn Benson Photo Credit: Jasmin Hunter

Jacquelyn Benson has always known who she wanted to be when she grew up: Indiana Jones. But since real archaeology involves far more cataloguing pot shards and digging through muck than diving out of airplanes and battling Nazis, she decided to devote herself to shamelessly making things up instead.

Jacquelyn studied anthropology in Belfast, Northern Ireland and married a man from Dublin, New Hampshire. She wrote a thesis on paranormal investigators and spent four years living in a museum. When not writing, you may find her turning flowers into wine, herding an unruly toddler, or hiding under a blanket devouring genre fiction.

Photo Credit: Jasmin Hunter

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Posted Friday, 5 May, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Grand Central Publishing, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Treasure Hunt

Blog Book Tour | “The Half Wives” by Stacia Pelletier

Posted Friday, 5 May, 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 Half Wives” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was interested in reading this story:

I am consistently looking for original voices in fiction. Of finding story-tellers who tell dramatic stories of characters moving through a period of their life where the journey towards their destination is as realistically convicting as the hours spent understanding their character’s sociological portrait. This felt like a psychologically charged dramatic historical about grief, loss and the difficulties which arise from trying to find a measure of solace out of the unthinkable. However, more to the point, it was when the premise presented a curious antidote on the characters’ behalf: how the cross-section of lives to intersect in one singular location (at a graveyard, no less) where the worsted and hidden secrets of their lives would not only become revealled but in so doing, their fragile state of mind might be awakened to more than the grief stilling their soul from carrying forward with the living.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Half Wives” by Stacia PelletierThe Half Wives
by Stacia Pelletier
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Over the course of one momentous day, two women who have built their lives around the same man find themselves moving toward an inevitable reckoning.

Former Lutheran minister Henry Plageman is a master secret keeper and a man wracked by grief. He and his wife, Marilyn, tragically lost their young son, Jack, many years ago. But he now has another child—a daughter, eight-year-old Blue—with Lucy, the woman he fell in love with after his marriage collapsed.

The Half Wives follows these interconnected characters on May 22, 1897, the anniversary of Jack’s birth. Marilyn distracts herself with charity work at an orphanage. Henry needs to wrangle his way out of the police station, where he has spent the night for disorderly conduct. Lucy must rescue and rein in the intrepid Blue, who has fallen in a saltwater well. But before long, these four will all be drawn on this day to the same destination: to the city cemetery on the outskirts of San Francisco, to the grave that means so much to all of them. The collision of lives and secrets that follows will leave no one unaltered.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9780547491165

Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 4th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 336

Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, (@HMHCo)
Available Formats: Hardback & E-Book

Converse via: #TheHalfWives + #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction

About Stacia Pelletier

Stacia Pelletier

Stacia Pelletier is the author of Accidents of Providence, which was short-listed for the Townsend Prize in Fiction, and the forthcoming The Half Wives. She earned graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University in Atlanta. A two-time fellow of the Hambidge Center, located in the mountains of North Georgia, she currently lives in Decatur, Georgia, and works at Emory University’s School of Medicine.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 5 May, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Vulgarity in Literature