Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

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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