Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Courtesan
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-02-06 06:55
Yukarism (manga, vol. 1) by Chika Shiomi, translated by John Werry
Yukarism, Vol. 1 - Chika Shiomi

At his birth, Yukari was declared to have retained memories of his past life. In the series' present, seventeen-year-old Yukari is a prolific author of books set in the Edo period. He doesn't particularly like writing and he never does any research, but his memories of his past life compel him to write.

His lackluster attitude towards writing dismays Mahoro, a student at Yukari's school who happens to be a huge fan of his work. Yukari feels a connection to Mahoro, which he immediately realizes is due to the fact that they knew each other in the past - Yukari's past self was cut down by a sword and died in a fire, and it seems that Mahoro's past self died right beside him.

It'd merely be an interesting discovery, except that Yukari suddenly finds himself drawn into the past and deposited into the body of his former self, Yumurasaki, a popular oiran (according to the translator's notes, a class of courtesan). For some unknown reason, Yukari keeps getting pulled backward and forward in time, meeting people in his present who are reincarnations of people he knew when he was Yumurasaki.

I didn't realize until I started looking up more info about the meaning of "oiran" that I had probably mistaken this series for Sakuran, another series starring an oiran. Whoops. Well, I can try to hunt that series down later.

Yukarism wasn't exactly bad, but it left me feeling very underwhelmed. Yukari's reaction to being transported into the body of his past self seemed extremely muted considering that 1) his past self was female, 2) sex was very likely to come up at some point, and 3) it was possible he could end up experiencing his past self's death. Oh, and he had no idea whether his actions in the past might have some effect on the future - although he inhabited the body of his past self, his mind was very much that of his current self.

In this first volume, Yukari met three people he knew in his past life: Mahoro, who was once Kazuma, Yumurasaki's (male) bodyguard; Emi, who was once Hitoha, Yumurasaki's apprentice; and a young man who once Takamura, a good-looking but menacing client of Yumurasaki's. Everyone seems to be at least a little affected by their past lives, even though most of them have no memories of their past selves. From the look of things, the series is going to be focused on the mystery of how Yumurasaki died, and whether history will end up repeating itself.

Since the series is only four volumes long, I plan on continuing on. I hope it improves, though. The premise is interesting enough, but the execution is a little weak. At least the artwork is decent.


  • A couple pages of translator's notes.
  • Author sidebars. Writing/illustrating a historical manga was very much outside the author's comfort zone.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-26 19:26
Out Nov 1, 2017
A Tangled Web: Mata Hari: Dancer, Courtesan, Spy - Mary W. Craig

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley


                Perhaps the first thing one learns about Mara Hari is that she was dancer and a slut.  Then, perhaps one learns she was a slut because she danced naked and slept with a great many men.  Then one hears that she was spy and was shot for it.  But the important thing that one is told is that she was very, very sexy.  In fact, she seems to be the spy that gets remembered not so much because of the doubt of her guilt, but because she was a sexpot.


                She also wasn’t a very good spy.  She got caught after all.


                Mary W. Craig’s new book tries to present a more nuanced picture of Mata Hari, or at least as much as one can giving the problem of sources.


                Margrethe Zell was born in the Netherlands, where she lived until her marriage took her to the Dutch East Indies.  Her early life, Craig points out, was nice until her father suffered a major loss in business.  What then followed as an unclear life plan and, what today, we would consider at the very least statutory rape – an affair with an instructor.   Craig’s details about Hari’s early life -  her struggles after the family bankruptcy and her time spent with relatives are related in a matter of a fact way.  There is pity in Craig’s writing, but Craig isn’t turning the biography into a more sinned against than sinning story.  Hari isn’t portrayed as a victim, but as a woman who took control of her life.


                Or if she is, she is doing it by taking a brutally honest about Mata Hari.


                Nowhere is this more obviously in the discussion of Zell’s marriage with MacLeod.  It is a marriage that produced two children, possibly infected Zell with an STD, and was abusive.  While not excusing MacLeod’s behavior, Craig also places the man in context, in particular with his treatment of Hari after separation and divorce, noting that MacLeod’s actions had more to do with protecting his daughter than anything else.


                Hari was no saint, and in addition to her sexual activities (less shocking today than when Hari lived), Craig does closely examine and places Hari’s dancing in the times.  The discussion of whether Hari was lying or promoting a fantasy with her “Eastern” dancing.  How much of her dancing was imply an illusion that everyone brought into, like the body stocking she wore?  Craig can’t give a definite answer but she does truly address the issue, even reading books about Hari that were published during the height of her popularity.


                Craig, in part, is hampered by the self-serving purpose of some her sources (and she is clear about this) as well as a lack of sources.  Yet, despite these drawbacks, Craig does paint an interesting, more revealing portrait of a woman who is usually known simply for sex.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-11 02:01
Once a Courtesan by Liana LeFey
Once a Courtesan (Once Wicked) - Liana LeFey

Second in the Once Wicked series, this story focuses on Jacqueline, the headmistress of a school that secretly takes in girls saved from brothels and helps create new lives for them. As the purpose of the school deals with sex and child exploitation, along with Jacqueline's abusive past, this story had more of a solemn tone. I have to say, the beginning of this and first half was very slow going. I would almost categorize this as fiction with some mystery instead of romance. The author calmly and steadily integrated us into Jacqueline's mission of running the school and Will's job of infiltrating the school and investigating it, but separately. Our main couple had met and deemed each other attractive but they didn't really intertwine until almost halfway through. The last 40% of the story picked up and things moved very quickly in regards to the mystery and danger from the villain. All in all, I felt the author stretched out and spent too much time on characters' inner musings while not connecting our hero and heroine sooner; a lot of the story was not what I came here for.

Full review can be read at: Reading Between the Wines book club

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-27 13:47
Once a Courtesan
Once a Courtesan (Once Wicked) - Liana LeFey

'Once a Courtesan' by Liana LeFey is book Two in the "Once Wicked"series.  This is the story of Jacqueline and Will.  I have read the previous book but feel this can be a standalone book.  Will is a  Constable that is going undercover at Jacqueline school after rumor had broke that something was going on there.  But what Will learned was the school was nothing that he thought it was.  Will finds Jacqueline to have more to her than just the Head Mistress title.  Jacqueline was forced into a physical and mentally abusive relationship that she is now out of but she is trying to save others.  She has settled in the knowledge that she will never marry or have children due to her forced past history and the physical scars that show.   Will is a honest man that starts to see that Jacqueline will do anything to help others.  Jacqueline slowly starts to realize that Will is someone that she can put her life in his hands.  
Right from the start this was going to be a different type of romance story with Jacqueline as our leading lady.  She wasn't innocent, she was strong, and just wanting to save young girls so they may have a better life.  "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."

Source: www.amazon.com/Once-Courtesan-Wicked-Liana-LeFey-ebook/dp/B06XG16QTF/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490549145&sr=8-1&keywords=Once+a+Courtesan
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-03-25 22:40
Reading Update: 50%
Once a Courtesan (Once Wicked) - Liana LeFey

Meeting her own eyes in the tiny mirror on the wall, she took a deep breath. “I am not my scars.”

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?