Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

HFVBook Tour for Susan Spann’s TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA with GIVEAWAY!

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I’m a big fan of this historical mystery series, set in the 1500’s in Japan. I feel like I learn so much while reading each of these books! Along the way, the characters continue to develop and things happen in their lives. This was a great installment in the series (which actually can all stand alone as well). Lots of potential suspects when Buddhist priests, isolated in a temple during a horrific winter storm, are methodically being murdered one by one. It felt a little like Agatha Christie!

Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!

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TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA BY SUSAN SPANN

Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Seventh Street Books
Paperback & eBook; 256 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Hiro Hattori, Book #6

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.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Praise for Trial on Mount Koya

“A page-turning and atmospheric historical mystery that beautifully melds fascinating Japanese history with a cleverly constructed mystery reminiscent of And Then There Were None—if the famous Agatha Christie mystery had been set in medieval Japan on a sacred mountaintop during a snowstorm.” —Gigi Pandian, USA Today–bestselling author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries

“Susan Spann is up front in saying that Trial on Mount Koya is an homage to Agatha Christie. Believe me, she does the great Dame Agatha proud. This excellent entry in Spann’s series of Hiro Hattori mysteries offers plenty of esoteric clues and red herrings that are fun to chase. Along the way, she even does Christie one better, giving readers a fascinating glimpse of life and religion in feudal Japan. This is a book sure to please Spann’s growing legion of fans as well as anyone who loves the work of Agatha Christie.” —William Kent Krueger, Edgar® Award–winning author of Sulfur Springs

About the Author

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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.

For more information, please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can find Susan on Facebook and Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to provide legal and business information for writers.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 3
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 4
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, July 5
Interview at T’s Stuff
Feature at The Bookworm

Friday, July 6
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Sunday, July 8
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Tuesday, July 10
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 11
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, July 12
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, July 13
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, July 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Tuesday, July 17
Guest Post at Writing the Renaissance

Wednesday, July 18
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, July 20
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, July 21
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, July 24
Feature at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, July 26
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 27
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, July 30
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, August 1
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Friday, August 3
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, August 5
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 6
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, August 8
Review at Reading the Past

Giveaway!

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 copies of Trial on Mount Koya! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Click below to enter:

https://gleam.io/KPAPn/trial-on-mount-koya

 

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HFVBTour for Susan Spann’s THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER

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I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for Susan Spann’s latest installment in her Hiro Hattori mysteries: THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER. I had recently read THE FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER and really enjoyed it. I love cozy series and this time and setting is unique for my reading: 1500’s Japan, with a Jesuit priest and his bodyguard Ninja master as the main characters. Susan Spann is a master at plotting and a fantastic writer. The mystery moved along at a solid pace, with lots of actions and twists, but what I love most is how much the culture and daily life of Japan in those long ago days are imbued in these books. I feel like I’m learning as I’m reading – which is why I love HF!

Here’s the overview from HFVBT:

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The Ninja’s Daughter: A Hiro Hattori Novel by Susan Spann

Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Seventh Street Books
eBook & Paperback; 230 Pages

Series: Hiro Hattori Novels/Shinobi Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

In The Ninja’s Daughter, Susan Spann’s poetic voice brilliantly captures the societal disparities, political intrigues, and martial conflicts of sixteenth-century Japan through the persevering efforts of ninja detective Hiro Hattori to solve a murder authorities consider of no consequence.” -JEFFREY SIGER, International Bestselling Author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iTunes | Indiebound | Kobo

About the Author

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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. 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, and raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, andGoodreads.

Follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 25
Review at The Readers Hollow
Review & Giveaway at Lampshade Reader

Tuesday, July 26
Review at Reading the Past

Wednesday, July 27
Review at Nerd in New York

Thursday, July 28
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, July 29
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, August 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Booklover Book Reviews

Wednesday, August 3
Guest Post at Diana’s Book Reviews

Friday, August 5
Spotlight at The Bookaholic Swede

Sunday, August 7
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, August 8
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 9
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, August 10
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, August 12
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests
Spotlight at Life of a Female Bibliophile

Monday, August 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, August 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, August 17
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Thursday, August 18
Review at Layered Pages

Friday, August 19
Spotlight at Christy’s Cozy Corners

Monday, August 22
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Tuesday, August 23
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, August 24
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, August 25
Spotlight at The Recipe Fairy

Friday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME PART OF THE TOUR AND FOR MY E-COPY TO REVIEW!

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HFVBT Book Blast for DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST by Mary Lawrence

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I’m blasting it up today for a fun sounding read through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST.

Here’s what they have to say:

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DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST: A BIANCA GODDARD MYSTERY (BIANCA GODDARD MYSTERIES, BOOK 2)
BY MARY LAWRENCE

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

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In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.

Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND

Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley

“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper

About the Author

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Mary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series.

For more information please visit Mary’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I’ll be adding this one to my TBR pile! I love a good historical mystery with a strong female protagonist!

You can follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 7
Passages to the Past
Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, March 8
Book Nerd
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Wednesday, March 9
The Book Connection
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Thursday, March 10
Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, March 11
Rambling Reviews

Saturday, March 12
Time 2 Read

Sunday, March 13
Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, March 14
CelticLady’s Reviews
Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, March 15
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 16
A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 17
A Book Geek

Friday, March 18
The Lit Bitch
A Holland Reads

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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour – FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER by Susan Spann

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I’m happy today to take part in the historical fiction blog tour for Susan Spann’s FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER.

This is the first time that I’ve read a book in this cozy mystery series set in Japan in the 1500’s and I really enjoyed it!

Here’s what HFVBT has to say:

Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9781250027061
Pages: 304

Series: Shinobi Mysteries (Volume 3)
Genre: Historical Mystery

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August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro’s brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim’s spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro’s life is not the only one in danger.

Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro’s life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer?

Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann’s thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo.

Praise for Claws of the Cat

“Spann matches period detail with a well-developed whodunit plot in her promising debut, the first in a new series set in 16th-century Japan.”

Shinobi Mystery Series Titles

Book One: Claws of the Cat (Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month)
Book Two: Blade of the Samurai
Book Three: Flask of the Drunken Master

Flask of the Drunken Master Available at

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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Susan Spann acquired her love of books and reading during her preschool days in Santa Monica, California. As a child she 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. When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her highly distracting marine aquarium. Susan lives in Sacramento with her husband, son, three cats, one bird, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website and blog. You can also find her onFacebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Here I am again! This was a quick an engaging read for me. I loved learning about the shogun era and the life of a real ninja. It was so interesting to read about the culture of Japan at that time. I think the interaction and friendship between Father Mateo, a Jesuit, and Hiro, the ninja, was  really well-crafted and believable. The mystery was well-plotted, too, and I read through the story in just a few sittings. I would LOVE to see these books as a television series through the BBC!

I will look for more from this author and series. Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!

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HFVB Tour SPOTLIGHT on PHOENIX RISING: A NOVEL OF ANNE BOLEYN by Hunter S. Jones

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I’m excited to take part today in a shoutout for PHOENIX RISING by Hunter S. Jones. If you know me, you know I am a Tudor fan and I LOVE books about Henry’s wives. I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my tbr list!

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Here’s what HFVBT has to say:

About Phoenix Rising

Publication Date: May 19, 2015
MadeGlobal Publishing
eBook; ASIN: B00X806742Genre: Historical FictionAdd to GR Button

The last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life…

Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage.

A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.

Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.

Praise for Phoenix Rising

“Compelling, captivating and moving.” Claire Ridgway, The Anne Boleyn Files

“Thought provoking, esoteric and heart wrenching.” – R.J.Askew, blogger, reviewer, author and journalist

Phoenix Rising Available at

Amazon

About the Author

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Deb Hunter publishes as Hunter S. Jones. Her best-selling novel, “September Ends” won awards for Best Independently Published Novel and Best Romance, based on its unique blending of poetry and prose. Her story “The Fortune Series” received best-selling status on Amazon in the Cultural Heritage and Historical Fiction categories. She has been published by H3O Eco mag, LuxeCrush, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, and is now a freelance contributor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She has recently been accepted into the prestigious Rivendell Writers Colony. Her arts, music and culture blogs on ExpatsPost.com are filled with eclectic stories regarding music, writing, the arts and climate awareness. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband. Her undergrad degree is in History with an emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation.

For more information please visit Hunter S. Jones’ website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Follow the Tour!

Phoenix Rising Blog Tour

Tuesday, May 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, May 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Anne Boleyn Files
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, May 21
Review at Book Drunkard

Friday, May 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Saturday, May 23
Spotlight at Curling up by the Fire

Monday, May 25
Review at JulzReads
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 26
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, May 27
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at The Readers Hollow

Thursday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, May 29
Review at The Reading Queen

Saturday, May 30
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Sunday, May 31
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at Unshelfish

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Review: THE TAPESTRY by Nancy Bilyeau

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I recently received a review copy of THE TAPESTRY through Touchstone Publicity and Simon and Schuster. This is the third novel in a trilogy, centering on tapestry seamstress Joanna Stafford in the time of King Henry VIII. I chose this title because, if you know me you know this already, I LOVE Tudor stories and that time in British history!

Joanna Stafford is a fascinating heroine: former novice, highly intelligent, left at the altar, gifted creator of tapestries, target of a plot to kill her. Joanna is called to the court of King Henry VIII to create some tapestries for him and she has barely arrived when someone tries to kill her. Throughout her time at court – actually all throughout this book – someone is following her, watching her, trying to take her down. She and the man sent to guard her try to figure it out (in time!). Meanwhile, her very close friend is none other than Katherine Howard. The story starts with Henry being married to Anne of Cleves, but I think most of us know what is going to happen. Joanna tries to protect her friend and keep her from getting entangled with this most powerful man and ruler.

All is all, this was a great book. The writing is superb and the story moves along – in some spots faster than others – it kept my interest throughout.

This title can be read as a stand alone – though I will admit to wanting to get the first two novels, too, as I enjoyed this one so much.

Thank you again for my copy!

You can find this book online or in stores near you.

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HFVB Tour of THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT by Colin Falconer

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So happy today to be part of THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT blog tour to review Colin Falconer’s first book in the “William Shakespeare Detective Agency” series.

William Shakespeare is not that William Shakespeare; he is his cousin from the countryside, come to London to visit cousin Will and find something worthwhile to do as he escapes drudgery as a glovemaker. William has a bit of penchant for attracting trouble and he is hardly in town long before he’s disgruntled his cousin (with whom he is staying) and been requested to find a lovely young woman’s missing husband. Peril exists at every corner and William must use his strengths (both physical and mental) to figure out the mystery and set things right.

I really enjoyed this book – the start of a series. William has a dry wit and makes little asides to the reader throughout that are quite humorous – I particularly like his takes on the people and conditions of London back in the day.

Mr. Falconer is a fairly prolific historical fiction author. Here’s some info on him from HFVB tours:

Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

He currently lives in Barcelona.

I look forward to reading the next installment in this series. Thank you for my review copy!

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See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The School of Night

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REVIEWING: Two middle grade novels by Mary Casanova

I recently received some books to review from UMP (University of Minnesota Press) Marketing and two were by Mary Casanova (author of FROZEN, another great book I reviewed here: https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/quick-review-frozen-by-mary-casanova-releasing-9-7-12/).

RIOT, which is based on true events, follows the story of Bryan Grant, a sixth-grader, whose father gets involved in some violent occurrences when non-union workers are brought in to work at his father’s work, leaving his dad unemployed. Bryan befriends a young girl in his class, but then discovers that her father is one of the non-union “rats”. Meanwhile, tensions escalate and violence breaks out. Ultimately, Bryan needs to decide if he will do the right thing.

Casanova does a great job, as always, in creating realistic characters and situations. Bryan is a likable and sympathetic character, and one ends the book asking, “What would I do?” I think this would be a great choice for a classroom discussion, and it would also engage reluctant readers.

The other book by Casanova that I received was CURSE OF A WINTER MOON. This takes places in the 1500’s in France. Twelve-year-old Marius tries to protect his little brother who villagers are scared could be a werewolf (because he was born on Christmas Eve). There is a strong subtheme in this book of going against the establishment, and Marius’ father is accused of being a heretic as he reads the Bible and has sympathies for Martin Luther. There’s lots to discuss in this book, which can be read on several different levels. My ten-year-old is enjoying it now as an exciting adventure, but I would also use it with middle schoolers to discuss life in 1500’s Europe and the events leading to the Reformation.

You can see both of these books on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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I have one more to read from Univ. of Minnesota Press, but thank you for sending me these two!

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