Rated 4.08/5 based on 13 reviews
Winner 2012 Luminis Prize

"Could not put down once started"
"Twisty! Turny! Magical! Wonderful!"

The onmyouji Tsurugu has been engaged to protect the warlord's bride from the fox spirit rumored to be near. Tsurugu and the shadow-warrior Shishio Hitoshi face an impossible challenge in teasing out a shape-shifter -- if one even exists. But an onmyouji knows secrets even the shadows do not.... More
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About Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Laura VanArendonk Baugh KPA-CTP CPDT-KA was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame her childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth and unable to walk, and by the time she matured into a recognizable adult she had become a behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized and award-winning trainer, a costumer/cosplayer, a chocolate addict, and of course a writer.

Laura works in animal behavior by day and haunts Japanese culture and anime conventions by night.

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Kitsune-Tsuki book trailer
trailer for KITSUNE-TSUKI, 2012 Luminis Prize winner available wherever ebooks are sold

Also in Series: Kitsune Tales

Also by This Author


Tracey reviewed on Oct. 17, 2013

I won this novella through LibraryThing’s Member Giveaways.

As the synopsis says, Tsurugu no Kiyomori is a sort of magic-using private eye, hired to protect a warlord’s new bride from a kitsune (often malicious fox spirit) they believe is near, and threatening. Kitsune can and often do take human shape in order to work mischief (and worse), and it could be anyone – or no one. And – again, as the synopsis says – a PI in ancient Japan doesn’t have the leeway a classic American gumshoe would, since a mistaken accusation against, say, the bride herself could end in very ugly, very painful, possibly very fatal results.

Tsurugu is partnered – against his will – with a warrior named Shishio Hitoshi, who makes up in grit and determination what he lacks in magic. They become a good team, until they aren’t any longer, and that’s the problem I had with this story. I’ll come back to that. It was well done, with several factors that made it both a very good and a very bad followup to Yamada Monogatari – there were surprising similarities (which is why it was both good and bad). I’m not in any way suggesting anything hinky about either book – just surprise at a superficial resemblance. This is a quick tale (wouldn’t it be fun to write stories about kitsune in sets of three? Three tales? Geddit??) which encompasses a pair of mysterious twins, a dog hunt (which was, I felt, an unnecessarily ugly scene, but at least it was not graphic or detailed), and a beautiful bride who may not be what she is supposed to be.

The twist in the tail tale was very much a surprise, and so was effective in that way – but it was so very close toThe kitsune Kuzunoha. Note the shadow of a fox...the end of the novella that I think I was still thinking “What … just happened here?” when I hit the last sentence. With the fast pace of the story, it felt like flying along on a bobsled, hitting a wall, and continuing to fly along without the benefit of the sled for a while until I came to a spinning stop several yards away. (This would be one of those rare times I wish I knew where to find a gif that would illustrate that better.) Once I stopped blinking in surprise, I think I was just unhappy about the whole thing. It was clever – I just didn’t like it.

But, to end this at least on a positive note, I do love kitsune. I love that the fox-as-trickster trope is as strong in Japan as it is in Native American lore. I love that the creatures can be malice personified or merely mischievous, can fall in love with human and be willing to kill anyone else. They’re a fascinating class of being, and it’s fun to see them as much as I have lately. And they have three tails – how cool is that?
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Simon Purvis reviewed on Sep. 25, 2013

In Kitsune-Tsuki, Tsurugu no Kiyomori has been hired by the daimyou, Naka no Yoritomo, to protect his new bride from a Kitsune, a fox spirit. In Japanese folktales, a Kitsune like the coyote spirit in Native American myths; the fox spirit is a mischievous or a trickster. At the beginning of the story, Tsurugu appears to be a skeptic when dealing with the peasants in the story. The peasants are superstitious and beat a young girl who they believe is possessed by a fox spirit. This is one of a few red-herrings within the tale. Twists abound, the mystery deepens; is there really a kitsune plaguing the the daimyou’s household? Will Tsurugu and his partner find the Kitsune?
I really enjoyed this story. It is full of interesting characters and is set in an interesting country. I haven’t read a lot of stories set in Japan; therefore, I was not familiar with the Japanese terms and titles used in the story. As another reviewer has suggested, I would definitely recommend locating a good source to find the correct definitions of the terms such as daimyou. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for further stories written by the author, Laura Baugh.
(reviewed 12 months after purchase)
mirrani reviewed on March 3, 2013

Any time I find myself reaching the end of a book and thinking, "That's it? There's no more?" and frowning sadly in the absence of the characters, I figure I must have deeply enjoyed the time I spent reading. This book went by so fast for me that I find it very hard to believe that I spent any time reading at all. Suddenly the story seems to have become a part of my mind and that is an odd, yet wonderful feeling.

Kitsune-Tsuki is based on Japanese legend and it is written very well. I ended up feeling a deep sense of culture that came from the story with what seemed like very little effort on the part of the writer. Reading this book was like watching it all happen before my eyes, the visual power of the words quite easily whisking me away to Japan long ago. At the end of my reviewer's copy there is a mention of things to come in the future, based on some of the characters within these pages, and I certainly hope that comes to be. I would love to read more of this world from this author.

Note: Though this book was a free gift from the author, the content of my review was in no way influenced by the gifting. The book speaks for itself and my review would have been worded just this way even if I'd gone out and bought it. I also give bonus points for Text To Speech enabling on Kindle format.... but that also wasn't a factor in the above review.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
Stephanie A. Cain reviewed on Dec. 19, 2012

I very much enjoyed this story, which read quickly and smoothly--too quickly, in fact! All too soon I was reaching the last page and wishing for a sequel.

I was quickly drawn in by the main character, who is observant but a quiet sort of man, the sort who doesn't tell all he sees or knows. I didn't have any difficulties with the Japanese terms. I felt nearly all of them were woven in so deftly the meaning was easily inferred, and on those occasions when I couldn't figure it out, I could just check the glossary. Admittedly, I've watched a fair bit of anime, so I'm familiar with some Japanese terms.

The descriptions in the story are evocative without being overdone. I loved seeing the main character grinding his ink or watching people dance in the moonlight.

The story itself was fascinating. I began to suspect early on that all was not as it seemed, but the twist I began anticipating was not quite the twist I got! Very well crafted, and the ending, while it wrapped up the story, also left me wanting more about these characters.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Erica Berglund reviewed on Dec. 16, 2012

This is an incredibly well told story that kept me guessing right up until the very end. Admittedly, I did not like the ending, but others have said they did enjoy that particular twist, so this is more my own personal tastes coming into play than anything inherently "wrong" with the story. (This is also the sole reason I did not give the book a full five stars; I wish I could give it 4.5!)

The book is steeped in Japanese folklore and mythology, and uses quite a few terms that English readers might not be familiar with, but the author weaves them in without fuss and provides enough context to discern their meaning without distracting from the story. I rather enjoyed learning something new!

In sum, highly recommended, but keep on your toes as you read! :)
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
Leesa Logic reviewed on Dec. 14, 2012

I received this book via LibraryThing's Member Giveaways.

I wanted to like this story a lot more than I did. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about Japanese folklore and I got lost with all the Japanese words so it was hard for me to get into the story.

Other than the language issue, this story is stylistically beautiful. I can see this translating into an animated short. I LOVE the cover.

One scene that sticks out that I particularly liked was when Tsurugu was practicing his calligraphy and the ritual we as Americans sometimes take for granted: the grinding of the ink stone, the concentration on perfecting the letters, the annoyance when interrupted and the ink splatters on the page...

The parts I understood I liked very much.
(reviewed 72 days after purchase)
Angie Lenkevich reviewed on Oct. 28, 2012

Tsurugu no Kiyomori is asked to protect the daimyou's new wife from harm by kitsune that has purportedly roaming the country side. Daimyou wishes that his new wife be protected thru Tsurugu's services as an onmyouji. He must work hand and hand with Kagemura no Shishio Hitoshi or as Ookami to provide protection at all costs. Kitsune-Tsuki is proving hard to catch and very little clues have been found as proof of it's existence either. Ookami is starting to suspect someone as the kitsune and tries to get Tsurugu to help him find the proof that is needed. Kitsune is blamed for a young village girl being possessed with fox spirit even if the accusation proven false. Daimyou's wife Kaede comes under suspicion as the kitsune with very little proof for such a claim. Will Ookami find the kitsune? Will the village girl go home? What is Tsuruga's plan? Your answers await you in Kitsune-Tsuki
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Denise Pappas reviewed on Oct. 26, 2012

Before reading this book I had not read any Japanese folklore, so this book was something completely new to me. I am really glad that I decided to try something new. Even though I had no knowledge of Japanese folklore or the Japanese language before reading this I still found this book to be really interesting and fairly easy to read. I did make sure to have a Japanese to English dictionary handy while reading this book but I don't think it is necessary in order to read the book (I just wanted to fully comprehend everything). The only problem I had with this book (which is really a short story) is that the ending felt a bit abrupt to me, I was so hooked in the story that when the ending came I was like "Wait, I want more!"

I would recommend this book to people interested in Japanese folklore, even if you haven't read any before.

(I received this book from a Librarything Member Giveaway, that does not affect the content of my review in any way.)
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Marni Greatrex reviewed on Oct. 25, 2012

I think that my lack of familiarity with japanese folklore and terminology distracted me from enjoying the story more....i did like the story but felt my lack of knowledge prevented me from getting the full image of what the author was presenting.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Georgia reviewed on Oct. 25, 2012

Kitsune-Tsuki is a short, interesting read by Laura V. Baugh. The main plot revolves around protecting the emperor from the kitsune (or fox spirit).
The characters are well written and we follow them through a very Japanese folklore spun tale.
I enjoyed reading this short story and was left wishing there was more. I think a collection of short stories by Laura Baugh would make a fantastic book.
The only criticism I have is with the use of Japanese words within the writing. A glossary at the back would easily fix this however, but I can see people becoming frustrated with not understanding certain words. I myself am very fond of the Japanese language, legends and culture, so I was able to figure out a few alone, and a couple words are translated in text, but it would be wise to do so to the rest.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in folklore, Japan or just has an hour to kill.

Disclaimer: This was sent to me by the author. I am not being paid and my opinions are 100% my own.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

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