Tag: Betrayal at Iga

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

The Sunday Post | No.1 | An #unboxing, an intriguing dramatic #HistFic and a heap of lovely #bookmail surprises!

Posted Sunday, 16 July, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 10 Comments

The Sunday Post badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

My participation in this meme was directly inspired by my new bookish friends: Avalinah + Savanah via this post!

[Official Blurb] The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!

  • Enter your link on the post- Sundays beginning at 12:01 am (CST) (link will be open all week)
  • Link back to this post or this blog
  • Visit others who have linked up

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Hallo, Hallo, dear hearts!

Jorie takes on ‘The Sunday Post’!

There is a small back-story about this particular meme I never shared – it was one of the first memes all the wayy back in 2013 I considered participating in weekly, however, true to my nature – it was also one of the memes I felt (at the time) would be the hardest to write each week! Mostly as per my usual with these kinds of posts, I put a lot of thought into them and I take a heap of time just to sort out how I want to share what it is that I feel is pertinent to share in the hour of inspiration! Honestly, there are times where I wish I could be a tad bit more productive on the in-between posts (those which are not review or blog tour related) except to say, I put a lot into those posts as I have the tendency of blogging the heart out about the books I am reading whilst at times, finding reasons to have a hearty top anchour section attached to them or a spontaneous discussion involved with the book in question as well. Not always, but moreso than naught.

This year has become muddled quite a heap by my Spring allergies – of which  I am happy to declare are ‘over!’ thanks in part to a series of EXTREME lightning storms and thunderous monsoon downpours which has blessed me with air without the deadly pollen! Isn’t that something to cheer and shout about?! Yes, I do believe it is because I was ‘put under’ so often this Spring and early Summer (my allergies extended into June, sighs) I never thought I’d be free of them, to be honest! The new medicine my Dad fetched for me (of which I referenced on Twitter) was the best find of all – it helped me ride out the last bits of the season of pollen and allowed me a ‘breathier of a break’ to just get my health back into check!

Ironically or not, I did have a slight bout with the stomach flu this past week ahead of coming into the weekend – which left me knackered and fatigued. Hence why my readerly tweets are a bit on the limited side of the ledger for The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds – as I am so engrossed into the story-line but my mind is still a bit tired to where I’m focusing on the story moreso than I am on sharing my joy of reading it! Of course, this could also be said for my readings of the Kate Clifford series – wherein A Twisted Vengeance is going to be reviewed without blinking on Twitter ahead of time!

A note about the format I am using to journal #TheSundayPost: I am finding I like being able to give my readers who cannot visit my blog each time a new post, review or guest feature goes live a digest journal of what is happening on #JLASblog each week! If you are familiar with the style in which I journal my readerly adventures via #WWWednesdays (see also Archive) you’ll know why I like this journalled style for #TheSundayPost!

It’s a way of talking about what is bookishly on my mind whilst sharing where my travels in Fiction & Non-Fiction took me through the last seven days! Quite stellar – so very thankful I was encouraged to participate as I love being able to think about which stories settled into my heart and which of the stories I am most eager to see arrive by postal mail and/or via audiobook! It’s a bit of a lovely way to journal your bookish life and have a weekly reminder of the experiences of you’ve gathered and love to remember! In regards to getting back into the groove with #WWWeds – I’m either going to make the meme bi-monthly or monthly which I’ll decide within the next fortnight.

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The three stories which surprised me (from JUNE & JULY):

The Fortune Teller, Marion Hatley and Heartbeat of the Bitterroot bookmail. Book Photography Credit: Jorie of jorielovesastory.com. Photo edits and collage created in Canva.

The following stories were sent to me in exchange for an honest review by either the publisher or publicist.

NOTE: the quotes are taken from my reviews.

I truly felt it was magnetically guiding me to read it’s story when thinking back upon The Fortune Teller – as I personally adore stories which shift between one historical era and another! This one, took my breath because everything I loved within the author’s debut novel The Memory Painter had become elevated and heightened; in both depth and scope of where she could take her narrative further into the heart of where History and Time intersect with one another! I did not want to exit this world – I felt the characters were so well etched into being – you could nearly forsake they were alive! I love when stories give you such a welcoming depth to their world-building and their ability to allow you to suspend yourself out of your own timescape to enter into theirs! The best reasons for reading truly are to be able to time travel through the hidden experiences of where characters and writers enchant us to tread!

I am truly taken right now with Ionna + Semele; their dual timelines are wickedly drawn together and the duality of voice + strength of their heroism is wicked brilliant. They were each ahead of their time and wholly independent for their social conventions which did not affect their independence. 

As we move between Semele (in the present) and Ionna (in Alexandria) we are entreated to entreating inside Ionna’s journal; the book which was hidden from view and left for Semele to find by Marcel. Ionna is the librarian’s daughter from Alexandria and one which lived with a bit of spunk and rebellious spirit. She was the one who walked into sunken chambers locked by key and accessed by only a select few where she would find a treasure of uncertain value: a deck of tarot. You know what she’s discovered before she recognises their worth; as the flow of narrative is held eclipsed by what she understands and by what her translator-in-arms Ariston reveals to her by reading the words she is blind to understand (she only knows her native tongue).

This novel felt as if it had been written with me in mind as a reader who would not only be charmed by how the author wrote the story but of how it was told! This particular story pulls together a lot of different aspects of literature I love most to discover – the dual time-lines, the shifting POVs, the Epistolary inclusions but most of all – the way in which the historic past is beautifully brought back to life in a way which makes it feel tangible and inspiring despite the dramatic events which are upsetting the characters’ lives!

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When I first heard about Heartbeat of the Bitterroot, I was instantly captured by where it was set – in fact – if things had been equal and my allergies hadn’t derailed my plans, I would have been able to put together a guest feature to coincide with my review – as I truly wanted to bring the beauty of the Bitterroot Valley and the essence of it’s region to my readers in the form of a conversation between myself and the author. It’s still something I hope to do in the future – as the Bitterroot Valley is quite unique unto it’s own in the North-South region of NorthWestMontana!

Ms Mineer has a comfortable confidence in her writing – where you can tell she’s been perfecting her craft for quite awhile. I am unsure if the original manuscript differs from this newer version or if it even went under a revision (by adding or removing scenes, etc) but what impressed me most about this edition is how comfortable the author is writing the story. She allows the reader to warm into the story; to first understand her characters as they wish to tell their stories and then, enveloping us in this lovely setting and with a compelling plot which moves forward at a good pace. I even liked how she included the little nuances – such as how aggravating a cell can go off multiple times and everything (of course) has it’s own level of ‘importance’ of being answered in the moment of the first buzz alerting the call in the first place!

There is a warm sincerity threading throughout the context of the novel; you feel it almost immediately and as you move deeper into the story itself, it simply engulfs you. The nice bit about the novel is how compassionate it is written and how it hones in on the good of humanity. Whilst owning to the truths – not all of life is fun and games nor something to smile over as there are moments which test our resolve, courage and the will we have to see the goodness in our lives. Mineer touches on the harder issues of resolving past events and the emotional baggage of when the adverse times in one woman’s life are the hardest to forgive and move past.

As you can see, reading this novel was a complete joy and an unexpected one – as I wasn’t entirely sure what I would find inside the story itself. I knew it would be Contemporary Realistic Fiction – as you could gather it wasn’t  your typical Sweet Romance or Contemporary Drama; however, it’s how Ms Mineer told the story which charmed me the most! When it comes to Contemporary story-lines, I’m the hardest to convince when it boils down to how a story is written and how everything pulls together. I think it’s because we live in the Contemporary age – therefore, we have a much more stronghold of understanding this time-line in fiction vs a historical era, as those timescapes are a bit further afield from our present knowledge and area of experience.

We can endeavour to gain knowledge of the historic past (since I think this is why most of us read Historicals!) but as far as sorting out the nuance and the ready knowledge of what makes or breaks an era directly; I for one, give a bit of a liberal pass to Historicals; meaning, if I feel the story is authentic to it’s era, I’m not overly critical if writers take a few creative liberties here or there. I’m far more critical about Contemporaries – which is why I’m always presently surprised when I find one which I love reading due to how convicting the author wrote the story! Thus, this one is one of my favourites to talk about!

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Posted Sunday, 16 July, 2017 by jorielov in Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, The Sunday Post