Book Review: The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

************

Title: The Hummingbird Dagger
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult

************

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks // Amazon // Indiebound

************

The Hummingbird Dagger
Cindy Anstey
Swoon Reads, April 2019
ISBN 978-1-250-17489-5
Hardcover

From the publisher—

From the author of Suitors and Sabotage comes a suspenseful and enthralling new Regency novel, perfect for readers who like their Jane Austen classics with a side of mystery and murder.

1833. A near-fatal carriage accident has deposited an unconscious young woman on the doorstep of Hardwick Manor and into the care of young Lord James Ellerby. But when she finally awakens, it is with no memory of who she is or where she came from.

Beth, as she calls herself, has no identity; the only clue to her circumstances is a recurring nightmare of a hummingbird, blood dripping from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth tries to solve the mystery of her own identity and the appalling events that brought her to their door. But nothing could prepare her for the escalating dangers that threaten her and the Ellerby clan. From the hazardous cliffs of Dorset to the hostile streets of London, Beth will fight to reclaim her past, hunted by a secretive foe with murderous intentions.

Years ago, when I was a mere whippersnapper 😉 , I was really into the Regency era and read voraciously, both fiction and nonfiction. While the Regency Period historically lasted only from 1811 to 1820, the accepted definition of Regency Period literature is broader, generally from just after the French Revolution to about 1830 or so, just before the Victorian era. As time went on, I drifted away from the period and, as often happens with readers, my tastes changed and my interest moved on to other times.

Then, not long ago, I began to read a bit again in the period and Cindy Anstey was one of the authors who pulled me back in. This time, the setting is just a little beyond the Regency era but it’s close enough to not matter and I continue to regain my appreciation of the time, thanks at least in part to The Hummingbird Dagger. Ms. Anstey has created a nice blend of mystery, dark happenings and romance with a dash of mayhem, making this a fun book to read, although I do think the plotting left something to be desired.

What should be (based on the particulars) a crafty and intriguing mystery dragged somewhat and it took too long to begin unraveling things and, while I liked the characters, I didn’t think their behavior rang true to the period. Still, I wanted to know what had happened to Beth (did real people of the time use nicknames such as “Beth”?) and how the Ellerbys and Beth would figure things out. As the clues began to add up and a murder occurred, I became more invested in Beth’s past and what might still be endangering her and those around her.

The characters need more chemistry and the plot could use less—MUCH less—talking and more action but, all in all, this was a pleasant read and I’ll check out more of Ms. Anstey’s books.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

About the Author

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

Author links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Advertisements

Book Review: Tarnished Remains by Paty Jager

************

Title: Tarnished Remains
Series: Shandra Higheagle Mysteries, Book 2
Author: Paty Jager
Narrator: Ann M. Thompson
Publication Date: April 14, 2017

************

Tarnished Remains
Shandra Higheagle Mysteries, Book 2
Paty Jager
Narrated by Ann M. Thompson
Patricia Jager, April 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Murder…deceit…greed….

Shandra Higheagle is digging up clay for her renowned pottery when she scoops up a boot attached to a skeleton. She calls in Weippe County detective Ryan Greer. The body is decades old and discovered to be Shandra’s employee’s old flame.

Ryan immediately pegs Shandra’s employee for the murderer, but Shandra knows in her heart that the woman everyone calls Crazy Lil couldn’t have killed anyone, let alone a man she loved.

Digging up the woman’s past takes them down a road of greed, miscommunication, and deceit. Will they be able to prove Crazy Lil innocent before the true murderer strikes again?

When Shandra digs up the boot with a bone in it, the discovery naturally leads to an entire body and its identity doesn’t take too long. What’s surprising is Lil’s response to the news and her attitude is what leads the county’s detective, Ryan, to suspect that she may have killed the man for very personal and emotional reasons. That’s when Shandra feels the need to step in because she just doesn’t believe that her ranch hand is either guilty or crazy.

Fortunately for all three, Ryan doesn’t mind—although he has a few qualms—Shandra inserting herself into the investigation. He knows from a previous experience that Shandra is unusually intuitive and thoughtful and, in fact, he respects the dreams she receives through her deceased Nez Perce grandmother. It also doesn’t hurt that Ryan and Shandra are engaging in a bit of a romantic connection.

As pieces of the truth behind the cowboy’s death come to light, the attention points in an entirely different direction that has a lot to do with very dysfunctional family issues as well as Lil’s love for the late lamented Johnny. Along the way, light is shed on the reasons behind Lil being called “Crazy Lil”.

Ann M. Thompson does a fine job with the narration, using distinctive voices for various characters, and her tone is appropriately nuanced to emphasize stress and emotion. Occasionally, I heard a little hiccup, for lack of a better word, in the narration but certainly not enough to bother me much.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

************

About the Author

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 35 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Pinterest

************

About the Narrator

Audiobook narrator and voice over artist Ann Thompson continues to work in radio and TV news broadcasting as she has done for the past 25 years. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. A-P has named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology. Once she even rode the “Vomit Comet” to simulate zero gravity in a KC-135. Thompson has reported from India, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Belgium as part of fellowships from the East-West Center and RIAS. She values author partnerships like the one with Paty Jager for the Shandra Higheagle series.

Website

************

Play an excerpt here.

************

************

Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Enter here.

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Cover Reveal: Cold Falling White by Gabrielle Prendergast

************
Today Gabrielle Prendergast and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing
the cover for COLD FALLING WHITE, the sequel to her Sci-Fi Book
ZERO REPEAT FOREVER which releases November 19, 2019!
Check out the awesome cover and enter the giveaway!
************
On to the reveal! 
 
 
About The Book:
Title: COLD FALLING WHITE (The Nahx Invasions #2)
Author: G.S. Prendergast
Pub. Date: November 19, 2019
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 352
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle,
AudibleB&NiBooksKoboTBD
************
The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast in this
fast-paced and heart-stopping follow-up to Zero Repeat Forever,
which VOYA called “an edge-of-your-seat page-turner.”

Xander Liu survived the end of the world—just barely. For more than
a year he has outsmarted, hidden from, and otherwise avoided the
ruthless alien invaders, the Nahx, dodging the deadly darts that have
claimed so many of his friends. When the murder of his friend Raven
leaves him in the protective company ofAugust, a rebellious
Nahx soldier, Xander is finally able to make his way back
to human controlled territory and relative safety.

But safety amongst the humans is not what
it seems. Nothing is anymore.

Raven remembers dying in the arms of August. She remembers
the pain, and the way he cried as she faded away. But months
later when she wakes up on a wide expanse of snowy sand dunes,
shackled to a boy she thought was dead too, she has a lot of
questions. What has happened to her and the other reanimated
humans gathered on the dunes? What is the meaning of the
Nahx ships that hover ominously above them? And most
pressing of all, where is August, who promised to keep her safe?

In the shadow of an unforgiving Canadian winter, Xander and
Raven find themselves on opposite sides of an alien war neither
of them signed up for. Left with little choice about their roles
in the great battle that now seems inevitable, they search for
answers and allies, all while feeling inexorably drawn back
the place it seems their respective fates were determined, and
to the one who determined them: August.
************
 
 
Title: ZERO REPEAT FOREVER (The Nahx Invasions #1)
Author: G.S. Prendergast
Pub. Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 496
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle,
AudibleB&NiBooksKoboTBD
************
The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast in this
fast-paced and heart-stopping novel about an
invasion of murderous creatures and one girl
fighting for her life at the end of the world.
He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the
details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying
armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of
the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have
only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven
doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and
Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is
injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes
to depend on trusting each other… 
************
ZERO REPEAT FOREVER Book Trailer:
 
************
************
About Gabrielle:

Gabrielle is a writer, teacher and designer living in Vancouver, Canada. You can read about her books
here. She is represented by Barbara
Poelle at the 
Irene Goodman Literary Agency. In 2014 she was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. In 2015 she was
nominated for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. In 2017 Gabrielle took part in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week Tour. She has also been nominated for the
White Pine Award and the CLA Award.
 
Gabrielle won the Westchester Award for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You Proud
to be Canadian.
A poem from Capricious was chosen for the 2014 Poetry in Transit Program. Pandas on the East Side was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for Junior Fiction in 2016. It was also nominated/shortlisted for the Chocolate Lily Award, The Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow Award and the Myrca Award.
************
Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed Zero Repeat Forever
hardcover, USA and Canada Only.

Spotlight on Double Duplicity by Paty Jager

************

Title: Double Duplicity
Series: Shandra Higheagle Mysteries, Book 1
Author: Paty Jager
Narrator: Ann M. Thompson
Publication Date: February 7, 2017

************

Synopsis

On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene is just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever, but just as determined to discover the truth.

Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her.

Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?

See my earlier review here.

************

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

************

About the Author

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 35 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Pinterest

************

About the Narrator

Audiobook narrator and voice over artist Ann Thompson continues to work in radio and TV news broadcasting as she has done for the past 25 years. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. A-P has named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology. Once she even rode the “Vomit Comet” to simulate zero gravity in a KC-135. Thompson has reported from India, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Belgium as part of fellowships from the East-West Center and RIAS. She values author partnerships like the one with Paty Jager for the Shandra Higheagle series.

Website

************

Play an excerpt here.

************

************

Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Enter here.

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Book Blitz: Extinction of All Children by L. J. Epps

************

Title: Extinction of All Children
Series: Extinction of All Children #1
Author: L. J. Epps
Publication Date: June 4, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult

************

Synopsis

A young adult, fantasy novel about a teenager who is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory. There will never be another child; every baby born after her has been taken away. Everyone wonders why she survived.

Emma Whisperer was born in 2080, in the small futuristic world of Craigluy. President Esther, in charge for the last twenty-two years, has divided their world into three territories, separated by classes—the rich, the working class, and the poor—because she believes the poor should not mingle with the others. And, the poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.

Any babies born, accidentally or willfully, are killed. Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate.

During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma doesn’t like the rules; she doesn’t believe in them. So, she feels she must rebel against them. Her family doesn’t agree with her rebellion, since they are hiding a big secret.

If this secret gets out, it will be disastrous, and deadly, for her family.

During Emma’s journey, she meets—and becomes friends with—Eric. He is one of the guards for the president. She also befriends Samuel, another guard for the president, who is summoned to watch over her. As Emma meets new people, she doesn’t know who she can trust. Yet, she finds herself falling for a guy, something which has never happened before.

After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger.

In the end, she must make one gut-wrenching decision, a decision that may be disastrous for them all.

************

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Amazon

************

An Excerpt from Extinction of All Children

Today the wind is colder—sharper—and it whips right through my bones. Even so, I continue to run as fast as I can through the wooded area. It smells damp like rain, and mud sticks to my shoes. The air feels thick like sand is choking me. At times, it is hard to breathe; but I continue on. I have to make it back home before dark. If I’m found on the streets after dark, it means I’m not following orders. And my family might not receive our daily supplies; supplies we need to make it in this land.

Even though I make this trip through the woods at least three times a week, today I feel weaker, more sluggish, as if it is my first time. But it isn’t the first time, and it will not be the last, since I’m the one my family counts on.

No, I’m not the boy of the family. Boys are considered stronger, but my brother Theodore—we call him T, for short—is nineteen and not a fast runner; so, he couldn’t make the trip that I have to. That isn’t the real reason. The real reason is that they say they need his talents for other things, and he can’t get hurt.

I have to pace myself. The trees seem thicker and wider, which is odd, since they should be thinning out. This time of year, the leaves should be falling toward the ground, but they aren’t. This land is different, and the seasons aren’t exactly on point. Sometimes, it is hard to even tell what time of year it is. Ever since our world was taken over and broken into territories, everything seems to blend together.

I know I’m tiring because my thoughts jumble. Why didn’t I wear my hair in a ponytail? It is long and thick and reaches beyond my shoulders. I usually know to put it up, out of the way, on days like this. The wind slaps me in my face, obstructing my view. Maybe I should put my hood up; but, it won’t stay on, and there is no time to fight with it.

The pack on my back that I used to carry to school starts to feel heavy, as if lead weighs me down. But, I can’t soften. I’m almost there, and, not only am I bringing what my mother asked for, but I’ve also made the most important part of the trip. The part of the trip my mother will ask me about first. She always does; it is always the same.

I need to hurry. It will be dark soon. Normally, I make the trip early, before dusk arrives. But today, I spent more time at the market, looking for what mother asked for. I groan. I don’t know how many more times I can make this trip; especially, once winter is upon us.

Not to get food but the other thing, the thing we aren’t supposed to talk about, the thing we aren’t supposed to mention until we are within the four walls of our small home.

************

About the Author

L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.

Author links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

************

Cover Reveal: Her Crown of Fire by Renee April

************
Her Crown of Fire
by Renee April
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: November 1st 2019
Write Plan
************
Summary:
In the dull, everyday world, seventeen-year-old Rose Evermore
struggles to plan beyond her final year of high school. But when
fire suddenly obeys her every command and her dreams predict
the future, she becomes hungry for more of this strange power. 

Under her dreams’ guidance, Rose lands in the fantasy realm of
Lotheria–with a tagalong. Tyson, her best friend since childhood,
winds up there with her, just as confused and a hell of a lot
more vulnerable. In Lotheria, Rose is welcomed and celebrated as a
fire mage at the Academy, while the very un-magical Tyson is forced
into hiding under threat of death from the masters of Rose’s new school. 

As Rose’s talent in fire magic draws unwanted attention and Tyson
struggles to transition from high school student to blacksmith, Rose
must find a way to return Tyson to their own world before the
masters discover and execute him–no matter the cost. 

************ 

 
Pre-Order Links:

************


************

About the Author

Renee April is the author of the young adult fantasy novel, Her Crown of Fire. 

In addition to being an avid reader and writer, she streams games badly on Twitch and acts as dungeon master for her D&D group. As a result, she spends far too much time in fantasy realms.

She can be found on various writing sites such as Wattpad and Goodreads, but usually lurks on Twitter to hand out bad advice and genuine sympathies.

Author Links:

 



************

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Book Review: Finding Life on Mars by Jason Dias

************

Title: Finding Life on Mars
Author: Jason Dias
Narrators: Jennifer Jill Araya
Publication Date: February 11, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

************

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

************

************

Finding Life on Mars
A Novel of Isolation
Jason Dias
Narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya
Jason Dias, February 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

When the last man on Earth reveals he has a nuclear weapon pointed at the tiny Martian colony, the colonists can only survive by working together. Jaye, a Trueborn Child of Mars, isn’t like her father, Merlin. Like all the Trueborn, she is cursed with perfect memory and deep sensitivity. But not even the knowledge that Merlin killed her mother can change the fact: They need each other for more than survival.

Generally speaking, post-apocalyptic tales are dark and tense and any sense of attachment comes from the people trying to survive against all odds. That’s certainly true of Finding Life on Mars but the friction between the original colonists from Earth and the generation that was born on Mars brings a whole new level of anxiety.

Earth has essentially died and, while that was expected, the colonists didn’t realize just how bad things were and that they would be the only ones to survive. They’ve made a life for themselves on Mars and have raised families but the Landers will die out before much longer. The Trueborns, those born on Mars, are of a different sort all together with  somewhat rigid personalities and little empathy. Will these two groups be able to come together in the common cause of stopping a madman bent on destroying everything or will this be their last chance to understand and love each other in spite of their differences?

Narrator Jennifer Jill Araya is new to me but I was impressed with her ability to make Jaye more personable than she really is and it was her performance that kept me engaged with the story, despite her having to maintain a nearly robotic monotone. While I enjoyed the tale, I think I would have had more difficulty connecting with Jaye if I had read this visually. Still, Mr. Dias has left me thinking about the importance of the human personality and the need for emotional connections.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

About the Author

Jason Dias is a neurodivergent existential psychologist and author. He lives, loves and works in Colorado Springs, Colorado and keeps largely to himself.

Website

Twitter

Amazon

 

************

About the Narrator

Jennifer Jill Araya has been listening to audiobooks since she was a young child, and the fact that she now gets to narrate audiobooks for a living is a dream come true. Jennifer’s training as an opera singer and orchestral cellist lend a musicality and depth of understanding to her narration that help bring her authors’ stories to life. She loves nothing more than giving life and breath to the printed word.

When she’s not narrating, Jennifer can be found hiking, biking, running, or generally exploring her home city of Cincinnati with her husband Arturo (aka “Partner in Crime”) and their two children.

Website // Twitter // Facebook

************

************

Follow the tour here.

************