Tag: Susan Spann

#TopTenTuesday No.8 | Top Twelve Authors Who Deserve More Recommendation (feat. their characters I loved discovering!)

Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

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[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

[ Topic of 8th October, 2019:
Character Traits I Love;
Personality Traits I Love to See In Book Characters:
Things That Make Me Love a Character ]

Which works brilliantly into a Top Ten Tuesday post
I originally wrote to coincide with the Topic of 2nd July, 2019:

We needed to discuss *characters!* with an OPEN THEME/CHOICE:

Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recommendation
(and their characters I loved discovering!)

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Today’s entry was inspiring to me for the following reasons:

As avid readers, we meet so many dearly incredible characters throughout our bookish journeys – it would make sense, somewhere over the score of time – we are going to come across authors & characters who leave imprinted impressions on our bookish hearts which not just effect us through time and space but they leave such a distinction of presence on our readerly lives. Sometimes they never quite leave us – as there is a part of them inside us still – all these hours after they’ve left our thoughts, because for each character we’ve met in a story, their life and their experiences have bled into our own; their memories are now our memories as for each story we read, there is a potential there to live another life, through another person’s shoes irregardless of their gender; their essence affects us because we’ve breathed in their life.

It is hard to even speculate which characters in the *six years!* I’ve blogged have staid with me the longest and which stories I ache the most to re-read and re-visit alongside – those are goals and dreams I have for Winters long spent by fireside cosy nooks of space where knitting needles, hot tea and scones await me as cats linger in dreamscapes and snow gently falls outside frozen windows. Until then, when I’m granted the joy of a seasonal experience outside of volcanic Summers and blink-you-missed-it Winters, I happily appreciate the hours I have to spend with the characters as their stories ‘greet’ me on the pages their writers left me to find.

As a genre dancer – it is even harder to pin down the characters I regularly interact with as they could be a fantastical creature, a science fiction adventurer, a Magical Realism time bender or they’re living Contemporary or Historical lives – they could be young, old, or somewhere between; sorting out their lives or re-defining a second career or tackling adversity inasmuch as they are giving love a second chance. I love stories and for all the lovelies I regularly read there are still so many more horizons out there in the literary realms I desire to explore further, read harder and read particularly closer to the eras of time I love exploring most.

Whilst at the same time, if I can disappear into my favourite eras such as the Victorian, Regency & Edwardian periods of England – the Highlands of Scotland and criss-cross through a time portal which skips round the historical past from Ancient times to present-day on all the continents of curiosity and interest; wells, you can see where the well of possibilities deepens greatly!

Narrowing down this list of choices was a bit of a curiously serendipitous experience – I went with the inspiration at the moment and as this was originally composed in July, I dearly had to break the 11 references into 12 as – oh, my dear sweet bookish heavens – those Spinsters have left me hungering for more of their stories! I cannot wait to re-invest into their lives as I move into the second novel having consumed (er, devoured?) the first and fourth!

It goes without saying but I will remind you: brew your favourite cuppa & get comfy as this is a seriously long post about the stories and authors I hope might encourage a few new choices on your TBR Lists!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

DUE NOTE: all the books featured on this Top Ten Tuesday post were complimentary books sent to me for review consideration and/or were sent in exchange for an honest review at some point or another over the past few years. I received them from publishers, publicists, authors and/or blog touring companies. I was not obligated to feature them on this Top Ten Tuesday post but wanted to feature them due to how incredibly attached I became to their narratives, characters and the immersive experience I felt as I read their stories.

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Posted Tuesday, 8 October, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday

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

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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

#TopTenTuesday No.6 | Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018

Posted Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

[Topic #370 originally shared on 26th December, 2017] *elected to rewind, rather than stay OT

I shared this post for today’s topic linky – as I wasn’t sure if the original blogger who hosted this was going to archive their blog now that they have stepped down from blogging. (see List)

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Today’s entry was inspiring to me for the following reasons:

I’ve wanted to sort out which stories I want to read per each new year for *decades!* However, despite all the bookish feeds I read, consume and try to digest per annum, I am the girl who is constantly and consistently *surprise!* by which stories are published per year! Try as I might, I either get wholly consumed by #currentreads to notice #newreleases and/or I’m distracted by life itself – as all of us live full lives outside our reading queues!

This year, however, I was a bit ahead of the curve! I knew about several releases I was wicked itching to read! What fun, eh!? I also found a few new ones before January – somehow, the one thread of literature I source every year the easiest are the stories within the realms of *Historical Fiction* as let’s be honest – Jorie loves travelling through the historic past! (smiles) If there were a story out there set during a timeline of History I haven’t yet visited, there is a strong variable of interest for me to dig inside it and take the journey!

The two veins of interest I am most under-read are Science Fiction & Fantasy as well as INSPY Fiction (see my 70 Authors Challenge, which resumes this 2018!). Slowly but surely I shall re-inspire myself to bring these stories back into my life with the same gusto I have for #HistFic! It’s just when it comes to the past, of stories which are set elsewhere in time – I’m as giddy a girl watching a hot air balloon ascend into the heavens to see what the world looks like from above! #HistoricalFiction allows us to re-align our world-view, of re-examining History and of setting ourselves into the footsteps of characters who re-theorise the lives of those who lived prior to us. This is why it’s addictive to consume and why my heart flutters it’s joy every year I find myself happily alighted ‘somewhere’ in the timelines of History!

In regards to #MGLit (Middle Grade) and #YALit (Young Adult) – truthfully, I get so distracted throughout the year, I forget to *read them!* as they come into the library! I quite literally always put these novels on ‘hold’ to be in queue or I am one of the ones happily queuing them into a purchase request status – either way you slice it, when it comes to Children’s Lit, I’m falling dearly behind on my mission to #readDEEPER into these realms!

Ergo, this List is mostly aligned for releases within the first months of the year – with some extensions into Summer; though, I haven’t taken a critical eye to notice ALL the stories which will publish this year,… generally speaking, this is one reason I made my presence on Twitter my sole haunt online outside of my blog. I love being caught up in the netherspheres of conversations wherein the bookish and readerly spirits alight – everyone is happily chattering about ‘this or that and why this has to be seen to be believed or why this one touched their bookish soul in such a wicked sweet way, etc, etc’. To be in the timeline of #readers and #bookbloggers whilst interacting with #writers who are #amwriting our #nextreads whilst celebrating their #currentlypublished tomes of joy – this is where I like to spend my hours whilst I’m not #amreading my own #currentreads or #amblogging my readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story!

In other words,… you’ll see me gush like the chattastically joyful tweeter I am throughout the year when I spy a #mustread I simply MUST find a copy of in which to disappear! Generally this means I will be sourcing through my local #Library though on occasion, I do purchase hardbacks and paperbacks which are a few years out of Pub (on discount) or I find backlist lovelies at local bookshelves (think: Little Free Libraries movement) or I am gifted a book from my Mum and Dad which grants me invaluable joy for their knowledge of how bookishly inclined I am!

I do wonder – how do you approach a NEW YEAR of STORIES?

I love to JUMP and DIVE into a New Year — with some stories in my mind to seek out, leaving the vast majority to be the unexpectedly blissful journey which unfolds before me,..

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Posted Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday