Book Review : The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay

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REVIEW

I have always enjoyed Christina Courtenay’s books and this one was no exception. An adventure across continents, where different cultures meet, we follow Midori and Nico as they set sail from Japan to England.

Midori was a great character with mixed heritage, a Japanese father and an English mother, she could wield a sword as good as any man, if not better. She was fiercely independent and determined to deal honourably with the situation that forced her to escape from her beloved Japan and seek refuge with her English family in Plymouth.

Nico, captain of the ship that carried Midori to England, was simply delicious. A true leader, strong and well respected, fair and with a gentler side when needed. His meeting with Midori presented itself with all sorts of problems from the start and took him not only to physical places he had no intention of going, but to emotional places which he had long since buried.

Set in the 1600’s, with the English Civil War as a backdrop, there was lots of action and adventure in this book, together with a healthy dose of romance, I really enjoyed spending time with these characters.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

AUTHOR LINKS

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www.christinacourtenay.com

Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay

Publishers : ChocLitUK

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Book Review : No Such Thing As Immortality

I’m in love with … A VAMPIRE! 

NSTANever thought I’d say that, but Nathaniel Gray from Sarah Tranter’s novel ‘No Such Thing As … Immortality’ has stolen my heart. He is Mr Darcy with fangs.

‘I will protect you until the day I die … forever!’

A vampire does not have to feel any emotion not of his choosing. And Nathaniel Gray has spent two hundred years choosing not to feel. But when he accidentally runs Rowan Locke off the road, he is inexplicably flooded with everything she’s feeling, and that’s rage, and lots of it.

He is consumed with the need to protect Rowan at all costs including from himself. To Nate, what is happening is unthinkable and is pretty much as unbelievable as the existence of faeries. 

But you see, ‘There is no such thing as …immortality.’

My review

As you can probably tell from above, I absolutely adored Nathaniel Gray, the 250 year old vampire, from Derbyshire.

Quirky? Yes.

Humourous? Most definitely.

Intense? Oh yes.

Sexy? Hell, yes!

The supporting cast were great too, each with their own personality traits, Elizabeth was very sweet but had hidden depths and James’ dry sense of humour really made me laugh at times.

Nate and Rowan had a great relationship, very intense and the chemistry between the two sizzled right off the page.

Sarah Tranter has a very distinctive style of writing, one which I found refreshing and captivating. I’m not one for vampires, but I really bought into the whole idea. The plot was exciting and at times had me on the edge of my seat, I really didn’t know what was going to happen. This wasn’t just a love story, it had action and adventure in it too and a smattering of humour throughout.

A most excellent read and I am already looking forward to the next book in the series.

LINKS

sarah tranterSarah Tranter website

Twitter @sarah_tranter

Facebook : Sarah Tranter

Publishers ChocLit

AMAZON.CO.UK

An Audience with an Author … Christina Courtenay

I am delighted to have Award Winning ChocLit author, Christina Courtenay with me today. I’ve always loved Christina’s books and her latest The Gilded Fan was no exception. I asked Christina if she could talk about the Far East influence.

TheGILDED_FAN_frontThe Gilded Fan is the sequel to my novel The Scarlet Kimono (although it can be read as a stand-alone), and both these stories were inspired by the Far East in general and Japan in particular.  It’s a fascinating part of the world and whenever I’m lucky enough to go there, I fall in love with it all over again.

I can’t really explain why I like it so much and it wasn’t something that happened overnight.  In fact, the first time I went to Japan I cried for days because I didn’t want to be there!  That may sound crazy, but if you consider that I was a teenager at the time (just turned sixteen) and had left behind my very first serious boyfriend in order to move with my family halfway across the world, it might be more understandable.  As it happened, I soon forgot all about him.  The three years I lived in Tokyo turned out to be the best of my life!

Looking back, I think the Japanese culture slowly seeped into me and I began to appreciate all the great things about it.  Most of all, it’s a beautiful place steeped in history – not the skyscrapers perhaps, but the little traditional buildings squeezed in between them, the parks, the temples and the shops and markets.  Even food is always displayed in an attractive way, tempting you to eat far too much!

So this then is the country in which the heroine of The Gilded Fan, Midori, has grown up.  Imagine her feelings when she has to leave it behind and travel back to Europe (my journey in reverse, you might say).  It’s not something she wants to do, but she has no choice – it’s either leave Japan or die.  I totally empathised with her as I didn’t have much choice either, but I didn’t have to travel alone!  It’s lucky for Midori that she’s a lot more stoical than I was and that she meets a sea captain willing to protect her …

One thing this story doesn’t have is a dog – my characters usually always have one as I love them myself, but for this particular story it wasn’t practicable for various reasons.  We, on the other hand, were crazy enough to bring our dog along when we moved to Japan.  A big rough collie, he looked so much like Lassie that whenever we walked him we were stopped by people thinking he was the canine movie star.  He took it all in his stride (he probably thought he deserved all the adulation) and didn’t mind being called Lassie.  And I never let on either, as my grasp of the Japanese language wasn’t up to it.  So there may be people over there who think they’ve met an icon, who knows? 🙂

Many thanks for having me as your guest, Sue!

Blurb:-

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?

It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?

Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?

During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…

Links for Christina Courtenay

'Promote Me!' portrait

Available in ebook and paperback format AMAZON UK link  and AMAZON.COM link

Website www.christinacourtenay.com

Facebook : christina.courtenay.9

Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay

Choclit Publishers

Up Close by Henriette Gyland

up closeToo close for comfort…

When Dr Lia Thompson’s grandmother dies unexpectedly, Lia is horrified to have to leave her life in America and return to a cold and creaky house in Norfolk. But as events unfold, she can’t help feeling that there is more to her grandmother’s death than meets the eye.

Aidan Morrell is surprised to see Lia, his teenage crush, back in town. But Aidan’s accident when serving in the navy has scarred him in more ways than one, and he has other secrets which must stay hidden at all costs, even from Lia.

As Lia comes closer to uncovering the truth, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew. In a world of increasing danger, is Aidan someone she can trust?

My Thoughts

Really enjoyed this book. A bit of suspense, a mystery and a romance too – all the things I love in a novel.

It took me a little while to warm to the main character, Lia, but as I got to know her better and understand her, I did feel a real empathy for her.  This was actually quite refreshing  as I felt Lia was a very realistic character – just like in real life, it takes time to get to know someone and not until you know them properly, can you form a balanced opinion of them.

Aidan had several layers to his character too and although I was sure I could trust him, the way the plot unravelled had me questioning his actions.

The plot revolved around military issues; the impact of going to war and the after effects which had obviously been well researched by the author.  There were other aspects woven into the plot too, which keeps the reader guessing and trying to put together the pieces to solve the mystery. The clues are there, some more subtle than others, together with a twist at the end.  I don’t want to say much more for fear of spoiling the plot but for those who enjoy romance and suspense, this is one I’d highly recommend and will certainly look out for future novels by this author.

Links for Henriette Gyland

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http://henriettegyland.wordpress.com/

ChocLit Publishing

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Got A #Kindle? Here Are My 5 Star Reviews This Year

Not sure what to download to your e-reader? Well, here are the books that got a 5 star review from me this year, together with a few I would highly recommend (click on the book cover for link to Amazon) …

My 5 Star Reviews of 2012

Never Coming Home

Never Coming Home

Sophie’s Turn

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Devils With Wings, Silk Drop

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Devils With Wings, Frozen Sun

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Shades of Appley Green

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Highly Recommend

The Silent Touch of Shadows

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Taking Charge

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Night Watcher

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The Wind Weeps

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Passenger 13 (a novella)

Passenger 13

How Do You Voodoo? (a novella)

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Thank you all for your support of my blog this year – much appreciated

Happy new year everyone and happy reading

The Choc Lit Selection Box

choc lit selectionA delicious selection of romantic short stories with sumptuous recipes to match, from the Choc Lit authors.

Perfect as a gift or an indulgent treat for yourself!

Authors include: Jane Lovering, Juliet Archer, Margaret James, Henriette Gyland, Christine Stovell, Liz Harris, Christina Courtenay, Sarah Tranter, Amanda James, LInda Mitchelmore, Kate Johnson and Sue Moorcroft.

My Thoughts

I’m imagining opening a selection box of luxury chocolates and all these wonderful authors in miniature size standing on a chocolate waving and calling ‘Pick me! Pick me!’  As I look at the leaflet inside, instead of telling me the flavour of the chocolate, it tells me the flavour of the short story.  They all sound so gorgeous, I just have to keep them all to myself.  And then there’s more; a second layer! A mouth watering recipe to go with each short story.  If short stories were yummy,  then these particular ones would be delicious. 

 

Amazon link for The Choc Lit Love Match Selection HERE

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Dream A Little Dream by Sue Moorcroft

What would you give to make your dreams come true?

Liza Reece has a dream. Working as a reflexologist for a troubled holistic centre isn’t enough. When the opportunity arises to take over the Centre she jumps at it. Problem is, she needs funds, and fast, as she’s not the only one interested.

Dominic Christy has dreams of his own. Diagnosed as suffering from a rare sleep disorder, disillusioned with his live-in girlfriend and discharged from the job he adored as an Air Traffic Controller, he’s single-minded in his aims. He has money, and plans for the Centre that don’t include Liza and her team.

But dreams have a way of shifting and changing and Dominic’s growing fascination with Liza threatens to reshape his. And then it’s time to wake up to the truth …

My Thoughts

As usual with Sue Moorcroft’s novels, you really get to know the characters, the hero sizzles from the word go and there is no end of conflict with the heroine but you find yourself really willing them on to sort things out.

I liked the fact that it was set in Middledip where I had ‘visited’ before with ‘Starting Over’ and ‘All That Mullarkey’ and was able to catch up with some of the earlier characters.

Getting to know Liza properly was a real treat. She comes across as a tough cookie, but underneath the bravado she’s just trying to protect herself and deal with the huge guilt trip she’s on.  Dominic Christy has problems of his own both medically and personally.  It was interesting to find out more about his sleep disorder – how this diagnosis had impacted on his life and how he struggled to come to terms with the physical and emotional effects.

The secondary characters and sub-plots add to the story line and weave in and out of the plot with ease.  There are some twists and turns along the way, with a great little surprise at the end.  I couldn’t finish without mentioning the fabulous Crosswind – what a great canine character he is!

Dream A Little Dream can be purchased through Amazon on Kindle and in paperback by clicking HERE

Links for Sue Moorcroft

Webpage : http://www.suemoorcroft.com/

Blog : http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/sue.moorcroft.3

Twitter : @suemoorcroft

Published by ChocLit Publishing who kindly sent me a copy to review