Source: Direct from Publisher

Blog Book Tour | “Once Upon A River” by Diane Setterfield a rather hauntingly gothic tale set against a historical era where lanterns & candlelight were commonplace as much as a river who could either bless or curse a man

Posted Tuesday, 11 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Over the Summer of [2018] I was approached about this Winter blog tour celebrating the new release by Ms Setterfield. The interesting bit is that this is an author I am familiar in name only as I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading one of her novels – as I will explain in a moment. When I read the premise and read a bit about the author’s style of narrative, it felt like the kind of story I would love to be reading. It is hard to imagine I knew about this book originally in August and had to wait til December to start talking about it! I was going to mention it sooner but decided to wait for the blog tour instead.

I received a complimentary copy of “Once Upon A River” direct from the publisher Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ‘Once Upon A River’ appealled to me:

What can I say? I’m memorised by this premise!! I know of the author – I picked up a copy of Bellman & Black last year but haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading it. She’s been on my #mustread list for a few years, as I’ve heard about her writing style and the eloquent way she pulls words together and illuminates her stories through the book bloggers I visit who have read her stories.

It is a rather curious plot – not just for the reasons behind why the identity of the girl remains hidden from both the characters in the story as much as the reader but the circumstances themselves.

This story has stirred my imagination! It reminds me of another story I read earlier in the year “House on the Forgotten Coast” by Ruth Coe Chambers – as when I read this one “Once Upon A River” stays with you long after you conclude the story – due to the themes and insights it explores, I felt, ooh I love stories like those! And, that brings back fond memories of ‘House on the Forgotten Coast’!!

As you can see, I went into reading ‘Once Upon A River’ as a new reader into Setterfield’s style of narrative whilst I had the joy of knowing ‘of her stories’ even if I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of joy ‘reading her stories’. It felt like the kind of story you wait to read and discover and then, feel wonderfully blessed for having been selected to read it ahead of publication!

I do enjoy haunting tales – where there is an element of the fantastical & the historical breaching into the background of the narrative itself. Where you are never quite certain as you move through its world – what is real, what is imagined & what is wondrously otherworldly?

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Blog Book Tour | “Once Upon A River” by Diane Setterfield a rather hauntingly gothic tale set against a historical era where lanterns & candlelight were commonplace as much as a river who could either bless or curse a manOnce Upon A River
by Diane Setterfield
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Juliet Stevenson

From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “eerie and fascinating” ( USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a richly imagined, powerful new novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious.

On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.

Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, the beginning of this novel will sweep you away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting you through worlds both real and imagined, to the triumphant conclusion whose depths will continue to give up their treasures long after the last page is turned.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780743298070

ASIN: B07FKSTRCJ

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Historical-Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Mythological Fantasy


Published by Atria Books

on 4th December, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 480

Length: 16 hours and 27 minutes (unabridged)

 Published By: Atria Books (@AtriaBooks)
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #OnceUponARiver
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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I, admit, I did listen to the audiobook sampler ahead of reading #OnceUponARiver – however, I discontinued listening to it, as instead of being an extract at the beginning of the story, I found myself on page eight (of the ARC) – thereby, I felt a bit in the dark about the placement of the extract and elected to read this at the beginning, as it was a rather ghoulish place to begin the sampler,…

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About Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield Photo Credit: Susie Barker

Diane Setterfield is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale, and a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She lives in Oxford, England.

Photo Credit: Susie Barker

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 11 December, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Content Note, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Historical Fiction, Horror-Lite, Literary Fiction, Modern British Author

#Sponsored by FaithWords (Publisher) | #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “Fatal Mistake” (Book One: White Knights series) by Susan Sleeman

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By: I am a 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 FaithWords & Center Street.

This book review was sponsored by Hachette Books who provided me with a complimentary copy of the book “Fatal Mistake” direct from their imprint FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All my posts and/or reviews since May 2018 I am featuring on behalf of Hachette Books now states this is ‘sponsored’ by the publisher. Kindly refer to my Review Policy where I disclosed the reasons why this new language of disclosure is being added to [jorielovesastory.com].

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When it comes to Romantic Suspense, I find myself pulled in by the writers who truly know how to knit out a story rooted fully into the Suspenseful arc but hug us close to the romantic overtures which might have to wait til there is a resolution.

This was especially true in July as I read stories by Laura Scott and Lenora Worth – two authors I championed as writers part of the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense imprint of Harlequin. Elizabeth Goddard is a favourite of my Mum’s I still intend to read before the close of the year and with this particular novel by Susan Sleeman I am starting to find out how much I am enjoying her approach to Suspense and Thrillers; even though I have a few of her Love Inspired Suspense novels which are also waiting my eager eyes to be read!

Rom Suspense for me works best when we are fully encased in the thrilling realities of the characters – of what went wrong and what led them to needing support of the law to help them overcome the situation(s) which have placed their lives in danger. I prefer to read the stories which are writ rather clean and despite having a heavy psychological suspenseful edge to them are not the kind of stories which would lead into having nightmares afterwards! I want to read the stories which at some point have an upturnt in how the resolution resolves in such a way as to make you feel uplifted rather than soul crushed!

I was hoping for the same kind of experience as I move through the White Knights series – the only thing which surprised me is when I visited Ms Sleeman’s website, the way it was eluding too about this particular series is that this is strictly a duology – rather than a full-on series?! I’m unsure how the whole series can evolve and resolve through two installments as more than the first half of Fatal Mistake felt like such a well-conceived world to be inclusive of ‘more stories’ than just the two – however, sometimes I know series are either cancelled or are strictly set as duologies. This one just felt ‘larger than’ the space it appears to occupy and I am curious if it really is a two book series or if there could be more installments lateron for the White Knights?

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Notation about the Cover Design: I personally love the cover art for the trade paperback edition vs the audiobook edition of this novel. As for me, I felt the characters were better captured on the paperback than on the audiobook. I am sure others might differ in their opinions but I felt the audiobook showed Cal Riggins quite a bit too rough and ready – whereas he really is a highly trained agent, there is also a softness to him – where he’s not all brawn! I felt the balance was better on the paperback for showing his likeness and how I found him to be within the print edition.

#Sponsored by FaithWords (Publisher) | #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “Fatal Mistake” (Book One: White Knights series) by Susan SleemanFatal Mistake
by Susan Sleeman
Source: Direct from Publisher

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel.

Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781455596461

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense


Published by FaithWords

on 9th May, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #RomSusp, #SusanSleeman, #Contemporary #Romance

About Susan Sleeman

Susan Sleeman

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Oregon, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a retired church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #20BooksOfAutumn 2018
  • #FraterfestRAT 2018
  • #SpooktasticReads 2018
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Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Near-Death Experience, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “George and Lizzie” by Nancy Pearl A refreshingly different kind of Contemporary from the ones you might be more readily familiar!

Posted Friday, 31 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Over the Summer of [2018] I had the opportunity select titles to review on behalf of Simon & Schuster’s imprint Touchstone – the selections were for new releases and/or upcoming titles from this lovely publisher. Keeping true to my roots, each of the stories (five in total) are a mixture of genres and literary styles (ie. Contemporary, Historical and Memoir) – each of them speaking to me for a different reason. My reviews are forthcoming throughout the months of Autumn and early Winter, with the fifth review arriving in December. I elected to read ‘George and Lizzie’ ahead of the two reviews I’ll be showcasing in September as it felt like the kind of Contemporary I have been craving to find and I had hoped might prove to be a wicked good read to have at the end of Summer!

I received a complimentary copy of “George and Lizzie” direct from the publisher Touchstone (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reason reading ‘George & Lizzie’ appealled to me:

In my personal quest to find Contemporary stories which nestle me into their folds, I happen to appreciate a slight bit of ‘quirky’ in my Contemporaries as well! There is something to be said for the ‘unexpected’ – this can take a variety of forms if I were to be truly honest and most likely, it is even something I could not verbally pin-point as being as particularly inclusive of what I’d hope to seek out either! There are certain stories which by their natures are ‘quirky’ by their own natures – the kinds of stories where they have the tendency to stand out amongst the others for there is something uniquely ‘different’ & alluring about their premise.

The two which come to mind rather immediately were my readings of ‘Two Across‘ & ‘Some Other Town‘ though I’d lament ‘The Kinship of Clover‘ befits this kind of reckoning of self-awareness within the realm of this topic due to the nature of how wickedly original it felt as I fell further inside its folds.

This particular title – struck me as a singular title which stands out from the pack due to how it is angled inside the life of George & Lizzie. A couple reaching the invisible line of where their marriage is either going to continue to reunite them together or something rather decidedly is going to cast them apart. Even the approach of the narrative is starkly different from most of the Contemporaries I regularly read as it inserts you right into the thought process of Lizzie as she reflectively looks back on how she first met George.

Interlayered into this ‘introduction’ are glimpses of the present – of what Lizzie & George think of each other even during this lens of retro-spectrum. Almost as if the reader is not yet imparted with all the pertinent details & the writer wants to ease them into an awareness of where things started to unknit themselves and how in time, the distances gathered girth and started to manifest a departure of their bond.

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Book Review | “George and Lizzie” by Nancy Pearl A refreshingly different kind of Contemporary from the ones you might be more readily familiar!George and Lizzie
by Nancy Pearl
Source: Direct from Publisher

George and Lizzie are a couple, meeting as college students and marrying soon after graduation, but no one would ever describe them of being soulmates. George grew up in a warm and loving family—his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom—while Lizzie was the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love.

After a decade of marriage, nothing has changed—George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. But when George discovers that Lizzie has been searching for the whereabouts of an old boyfriend, Lizzie is forced to decide what love means to her, what George means to her, and whether her life with George is the one she wants.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781501162909

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Dramedy, Literary Fiction, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Touchstone

on 17th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 304

 Published By: Touchstone
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #Contemporary & #Romance or #GeorgeAndLizzie
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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Listen to Nancy Pearl talk about her debut noveL:

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About Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl Photo Credit Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl is known as “America’s Librarian.” She speaks about the pleasures of reading at library conferences, to literacy organizations and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR’s Morning Edition. Born and raised in Detroit, she received her master’s degree in library science in 1967 from the University of Michigan. She also received an MA in history from Oklahoma State University in 1977. Among her many honors and awards are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. She also hosts a monthly television show, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. She lives in Seattle with her husband.

Photo Credit: Nancy Pearl

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Posted Friday, 31 August, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disillusionment in Marriage, Fly in the Ointment, Literary Fiction, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Soundcloud, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Trial at Mount Koya” (Book No.6 Hiro Hattori novels) by Susan Spann A beautifully atmospheric #HistoricalMystery atop a sacred mountain during a harrowing blizzard lends a suspenseful backdrop to evolving drama!

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2018 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.

I asked to join the blog tour for ‘Trial at Mount Koya’ as last Summer, I was meant to participate on the tour for IGA before it was cancelled. I love celebrating this series, as despite the fact I originally received both CLAWS & BLADE on a blog tour, I am never certain which story I tip my hat to read is going to become a ‘beloved series’ of mine. Each story which touches my heart is truly a special discovery as I am quite particular about what I read and the kind the stories I hold quite dear.

This Spring, when I received the book in the post, one thing happily surprised me! I was quoted on the Press Release for the first time in relation to my prior readings of the series itself! Talk about a moment where your brilliantly gobsmacked to see your quote and the words you used to fuse your thoughts to your blog in reference to how reading about Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori resonates with you directly! I was both humbled and excited knowing my words are reaching others as this lovely novel takes flight into the world and into new reader’s hearts!

I received a complimentary copy of “Trial at Mount Koya” 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. Whilst I am participating on the blog tour hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours of which I am an avid hostess as Historical Fiction and the eclectic route I take through the subgenres therein is a blissitude of its own!

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Why I personally love *devouring!* the Hiro Hattori Novels:

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.

Ms Spann has created a series for the historical reader at heart! A bit of a backstory about my ardent admiration for this portal into 16th Century Japan:

I still marvel at how I came to know of the series through the second release Blade of the Samurai whilst being blessed to have read the series from the beginning in Claws of the Cat. Each step along the way my heart has felt pulled into the drama and the suspense behind how the friendship Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori have shaped their lives – there is a lot going on in the series, from a historical perspective and from the world’s point of view of where Ms Spann has alighted us into her lovely 16th Century world. Her world-building is what makes this such a keen series to feel a part of as you nearly take for granted it’s not the 16th Century each time you place yourself in step with her characters!

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On where we left Father Mateo & Hiro Hattori:

I loved seeing Father Mateo react to Hiro’s relatives – from his grandmother to his mother to his cousin – each in turn showed a different side to Hiro but they also revealled a bit about themselves. Such as when the priest realised he was amongst those who are emotionally removed from the crime committed here because they themselves are trained for such crimes as shinboi. They have such a different life compared to the kind of life a priest would accept or understand; something he finds difficult to process time to time such as now. As he gathers information about certain aspects of what transpired he is put into uncomfortable positions to overhear things which do shock him a bit to learn.

Finding Hiro’s grandmother Akiko had taken in an orphaned girl and named her Tane was an interesting twist to the main plot. Especially as Ms Spann showed how the girl could only communicate through Sigh Language – as it spoke to homegrown signs the girl devised herself and used to speak on her behalf to to the family she lost. It also pointed to the fact, those who are hard of hearing or are unable to speak were not limited to only occupying later centuries but were alive during previous generations as well. It was interesting to hear the reasons why these persons were kept from records and observations in regards to populations. Sadly this is still being practiced today – of removing marginalised persons from historical records in an ill-attempt to have them erased from our memory.

Poisons are a tricky beast – they are effectively one of my favourite devices used in mysteries because of how diverse the choice of poisons are to be found irregardless of the century a story is told. In this one, what was interesting is the layers – of how one crime led to another (a near miss) and how if you looked at these from a distance, there was a layering of how someone wished harm to some but not to others; as if there was a message being carried out in the delivery of the crimes.

This is how Ms Spann holds my attention – she makes me endeavour to sleuth a bit ahead of her characters – daring me to seek out the hidden threads of how everything connects giving me an intellectually robust mystery I readily find enjoyment in engaging inside. I love seeing how her mind ferrets out her secondary story-lines – of how all the pieces of each character’s tapestry is finely orchestrated to be revealled bit by bit and even then, there are surprises for us – either in their character’s heart or the will of how their perspective might change as they live through different experiences.

She holds a particular attention towards detailed continuity and of evoking an enlarged sense of the wider world in which feudal Japan existed; of how all the branches of individual lives were being affected by the rise of power and of the augmentation of shifting tides of alliances therein. There is a hefty potboiler of dramatic revelation and exploration of what makes a country tick from the inside out whilst not to be overshadowed by the pursuit of a humbled priest who takes his personal mission deeply seriously as his soul’s intended journey for this life he’s led. As we weave in and out of the series, we see the landscape of Japan shifting, of how lives are being affected by the shogun currently in reign and of how even the shinobi themselves were not immune to the growing changes within their world.

-quoted from my review of Betrayal at Iga

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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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Blog Book Tour | “Trial at Mount Koya” (Book No.6 Hiro Hattori novels) by Susan Spann A beautifully atmospheric #HistoricalMystery atop a sacred mountain during a harrowing blizzard lends a suspenseful backdrop to evolving drama!Trial on Mount Koya
Subtitle: A Hiro Hattori Novel : A Shinobi Mystery
by Susan Spann
Source: Direct from Publisher

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781633884151

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), Betrayal at Iga

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


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 3rd July, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 256

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Ms Susan Spann

Susan Spann

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

In 2018, whilst under contract with Prometheus Books, Ms Spann is travelling throughout Japan to climb the #100Summits. She blogs her mountaineering adventures, shares her photography on both Instagram and Twitter and is writing the book which will debut in 2020 under the tentative title: 100 Summits.

Converse via: #HiroHattoriNovels + #HistoricalMystery or #HistMyst

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 13 July, 2018 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

Book Review | “Sugar and Spice” by Angela Britnell #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 30 June, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#ChocLitSaturdays banner created in Canva by Jorie.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and I feature Romance & Women’s Fiction authors during @SatBookChat:

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 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 to 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 “Sugar and Spice” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

Why I was excited about reading more stories by Ms Britnell:

The best way to describe my thoughts about wanting to read another story by Ms Britnell is simply to re-share my thoughts on behalf of her novella You’re the One that I Want – as I had such a wicked blast reading it as it was the first #PocketChocLit I read whilst kicking off a mini-series of novella reviews featuring the first batch of ChocLit novellas which went into print a few years ago during Christmastime!

The stories were such a balm to my worried soul back then, as it was only a handful of weeks prior to Christmas that year when my Dad had had his stroke. ChocLit stories were the stories which pulled me through that December and even into the New Year of 2017. Sometimes focusing on stories helps our spirits when life turns especially adverse to where we need an outlet to redirect our thoughts off our worries and fears. One lovely thing though – each month Dad recovered more of himself and each new month thereafter the stroke felt farther away from having happened. Being able to care for my Dad all those months and still watching over him today, is one reason I am thankful I had the chance to remain close to home.

reflecting on my forethought’s

& afterthoughts:

Being in a position to reflect upon a story ahead of reading it has become a newfound joy of mine – where I get to suspend myself in the wonderful vortex of ‘could be or might be’ whilst never really knowing until I get the proper chance to read the story if I were hitting the target on the story’s heart or failing to pick up the threads of it’s narrative core.  In respect to You’re the One that I Want, I had an initial strong motivation to read the text as I simply find myself attracted to these kinds of stories quite often!

Remember when I said this:

The premise reminds me of “Under the Tuscan Sun” but with a built-in boyfriend and potential husband. The bit that reminded me the most is the touring bus & the holiday elsewhere from home, whilst life unexpectedly takes you by a surprise and gives you a new route to entertain experiencing. Love those types of stories!

There is something about being swept away on a holiday, never thinking your going to randomly meet-up with someone who could be your equal, your partner and your match. I love the folly behind the match, too! How they are playing that ‘should they or shouldn’t they’ stay together gambit, whilst sorting through their emotions. The funny thing is that for every Rom-Com (esp in movies on television) that sets up a couple in this fashion – where they are faking a relationship, inevitably they realise their error and remain together.

And, how do I feel now after reading this lovely novella twice (once for the live tweeting & re-reading for this review) about what I expressed within this paragraph:

The best bit for me is seeing how they come to this realisation – what was the impetus of changing their minds!? How did they realise that this ‘random something’ was worth taking a risk of a chance on and turning it into a romantic forevermore? I love seeing how they put it all together – weigh the odds and somehow realise that life affords us a lot choices, but sometimes the hardest thing to influence your choice is the one thing that ‘feels right’ in the moment where your life surprises you with something you hadn’t expected to find. At least not in the timing it’s being presented. There is an allure of that beautiful reverie of romance inching itself forward into your life when your focus is on everything *except!* falling in love! Laughs. Of course, that’s *exactly!* when love walks in through the door you never realised you left open!

I must say, Ms Britnell managed to woo me into her comedic Contemporary, where humour plays a big role in alleviating some rather adverse life moments (or rather side-stepping a few!) whilst honing in on the realities of dating before marriage and after divorce. She found a way to fine tune the realities of a workaholic businessman who hadn’t quite considered himself doing anything more than what he projected himself to accomplish in the business world whilst finding a singleton from England who was a bit jaded more then he was on the whole dating situation!

My initial musings were quite bang-on to what I found inside the novella – it surprised me a bit because I hadn’t realised I had tapped into the heart of the story-line as well as I had until I was reading how it all unfolded. The best part truly though was getting the joy of meeting a #newtomeauthor and reading a small slice out of her ongoing series set in Nashville! I loved the charm of the story but also the unexpected ways in which Ms Britnell surprised you – you might think you understand all the ins/outs of what could happen between Sarah and Matt, but that’s where you get a curveball of something wickedly unexpected!

-quoted from my review of You’re the One that I Want (Pocket ChocLit)

The only thing I’m unsure about though is if Sugar and Spice is the first novel in the Nashville series or simply a one-off non-connected to the series at hand, as Lily is from Nashville. The author’s website infers its not connected and thereby, I didn’t mention a connection on this review. The novella I read during December 2016 truly was the best way to become ‘introduced’ to Ms Britnell’s style as she put a lot of her comedy inside the story but also, showed the heart of what you can find inside Sugar and Spice as well.

Ms Britnell happily commented below this review & announced ‘Sugar and Spice’ does begin the #NashvilleConnections series! Isn’t that rather grand!?

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

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Posted Saturday, 30 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Divorce & Martial Strife, England, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature