Posted in Blog Tour, Suspense

The Fallen Persimmon Gigi Karagoz 4* #Review @gigi_karagoz @lovebooksgroup #Suspense #Japan #HistFic #1980s #lovebookstours #TheFallenPersimmon


Japan 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience.
A page-turning suspense novel…

Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.

Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.

But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.

If you like a novel that builds suspense, is set in an exotic location, has a strong female lead, and a pinch of romance; then this book is for you.

AmazonUK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

You get a definite sense of time and place in this story. The descriptions are detailed and vivid and immerse the reader into Mari and Kate’s world. Two young women travel to Japan to teach English, Mari is running from her secrets, but they form a friendship and become flatmates. Not everything is as it seems, and the suspense builds as they try to escape their predicament.

The gently paced story written in a literary rather than commercial fiction style engages the readers’ senses with its vibrant imagery and relatable characters. The plot has surprises, and the impactful ending resonates.

Gigi has spent most of her life living and working in countries all over the world. Her big passion is travel, especially in Asia, and India is a favourite destination. Giving up a career in tourism, she qualified as a holistic therapist and worked in yoga retreats in the Mediterranean for twelve years. Currently, Gigi lives in Wiltshire with Isabella, the cat she rescued from the streets of Fethiye, in southern Turkey.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel, Travel Blogging

The Little Teashop in Tokyo Julie Caplin 5*#Review @JulieCaplin @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticEscapes @rararesources #Tokyo #Teashop #Romance #Travel #HolidayRomance #BlogTour #BookReview @Juleswake #RachelsRandomResources

Grab your passport and escape to a land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, bustling Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, can Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Travel blogger Fiona wins a trip to Japan to take photographs and be mentored by a professional photographer. Sounds good, except that arrogant talented Gabe is someone from her past. She’s still attracted but won’t risk making a fool of herself again. Fiona has confidence issues about her appearance and her talents, but she takes a risk because she loves new experiences and wants to enjoy everything about her trip.

Gabe is jaded with life and love, Fiona’s enthusiasm and naivety grates initially until she makes him see things differently. The road to romance is conflicted as a former lover doesn’t want to let go. Gabe’s blinkered attitude is annoying and threatens his happiness with Fiona.

This is a journey of self-discovery for Fiona, as she grows into her true self, she is less accommodating and grows in confidence.

The Japanese setting and traditions are integral to the story and make this something special.

The romance is gentle and the ending positive and uplifting.

Julie Caplin

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands, taking journalists on press trips to awful places like Turin, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and occasionally losing the odd member of the press in an airport. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to eat amazing food, drink free alcohol, hone her writing skills on press releases and to research European cities for her books.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter.

Under her pen name, Julie Caplin, her thirteenth novel, The Little Teashop in Tokyo will be published in ebook and paperback this June.

Twitter @Juleswake Facebook

Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Travel

Before The Coffee Gets Cold 5* #Review Toshikazu Kawaguchi Translator Geoffrey Trousselot @picadorbooks #Toshikazu Kawaguchi #timetravel #timeslip #LiteraryFiction #Japan #CoffeeShop #Tokyo #BeforeTheCoffeeGetsCold #BookReview

#BeforeTheCoffeeGetsCold

What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early-onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Pan MacMillan – Picador Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, in a nondescript coffee shop in Tokyo. This story has only a few characters. Everyone in the coffee shop has a story, and this follows four individuals as they travel back in time, not to change the present, but to understand someone they care about better. Or, to make themselves understood. The time travel has many rules, but for those who follow them, there are surprisingly positive results.

This story is beautifully translated, and the ambience and culture come through the characters and the setting. This is an emotional, quirky tale of discord, misunderstanding, loss and love. The time travellers are ordinary people, they want the opportunity to do something different, in the past. This makes them authentic and relatable, and the story engaging.

The rules of the unexpected time travel are fixed, and give a sense of reality, in a fantasy situation. I understood this world, and therefore enjoyed the story.

Enchanting and original, but strangely believable, because of the authentic characters and the contemporary urban setting.

Posted in Book Review

If Cats Disappeared from the World-Genki Kawamura Eric Selland(Translator)- 4* Review

My Thoughts…

‘If Cats Disappeared from the World’ makes the reader think, what would I do in these circumstances. If death is imminent would I make a deal with the devil? What would I give up so I could live longer? Do I believe in the devil?

The main protagonist is a postman in Japan, only thirty with a diagnosis that makes death Imminent, Does he see’the devil?’ Or is this perhaps a delusional state caused by his illness. You decide, but the protagonist believes what he sees is real and that by giving up something important to him up he can cheat death of another day.

The saying is ‘you only regret the things you don’t do’. The postman’s consideration of what to banish from the world makes him look at his past life choices. He revisits his first love, his relationship with his dead mother and his estrangement from his still living father. The postman realises bartering his life for another living creature’s life is not as easy as losing things he considers essential.

A poignant, quirky tale, which on the surface is humorous and self-depreciating but dig a little deeper and you find out what our postman truly values in life. The author questions whether all the material things we consider vital are making us forget that it is other humans and living creature that enrich our lives and need protecting.

I received a copy of this book from Pan McMillan – Picador via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – Jackie Copleton – 5*Review

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Poppy - Blurb

Amaterasu Takahashi has spent her life grieving for her daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo, who were victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

Now a widow living in America, she believes that one man was responsible for her loss; a local doctor who caused an irreparable rift between mother and daughter.

When a man claiming to be Hideo arrives on her doorstep, she is forced to revisit the past; the hurt and humiliation of her early life, the intoxication of a first romance and the realisation that if she had loved her daughter in a different way, she might still be alive today.

Flowers - Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Flowers - My Review

A Dictionary of Mutual UnderstandingI knew I would find reading this book upsetting. The cataclysmic event, which is one of its major themes, made me sure about that, but the sense of loss and marred lives it portrays makes it almost unbearably poignant. The authors knowledge of Japanese culture and society define this story making it authentic and original. The plot is simple but has the necessary twists to keep you turning the pages. It is essentially a story of family.
A legacy of despair and guilt destroys The Takahashi family. Cleverly revealed through letter and journal entries, the reasons for this are deeper than the tragic event of Nagasaki in 1945.
There are dictionary definitions are the start of each chapter, which make what follows easier to understand and enrich the storytelling. Despite the powerful themes of this story it is easy to read and you will want to read every page carefully, to ensure you don’t miss anything.
There is a message of hope and completion in this story which makes it worthwhile reading.
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK Cornerstone via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

Jackie Copleton

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