Blog Tour Review: The Hummingbird Dagger

Title: The Hummingbird Dagger
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.

Review:

I love Cindy Anstey’s books! They are set in the 19th century, which is my favourite time period to read about. However, the subject matter is something that couldn’t have been written about during that time. In this story, there is a kidnapping and murder.

The cast of older teenagers have to search out the answers as to who the young lady is that was involved in an accident. She lost her memory, so they have the difficult task of finding her identity. I loved the characters. They reminded me of Jane Austen characters. Their family friend, Mrs. Thompson, especially reminded me of Mrs. Bennet in the way that she was really clueless to the things that were going on around her.

The mystery of the story kept me guessing until the end. I loved the ending. This is a great historical, YA mystery!

What to read next:

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

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:

https://twitter.com/CindyAnstey
https://www.cindyanstey.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13795420.Cindy_Anstey
https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Anstey-1495828024028504/

Buy the book:

Amazon: https://books2read.com/u/b5xWN6?store=amazon
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-hummingbird-dagger-cindy-anstey/1128119401?ean=9781250174895#/
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-hummingbird-dagger/id1394085034?mt=11
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-hummingbird-dagger

Thank you to Expresso Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Have you read The Hummingbird Dagger? What did you think of it?

Review: The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce #10)

Title: The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce #10)
Author: Alan Bradley
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 22, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” 

Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger.

Review:

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, since it’s the 10th in a series and I haven’t read any of the others. It was so good! The Boston Globe described Flavia as Eloise meets Sherlock Holmes, and I think that’s a perfect description of her.

Flavia is a great character. She’s a twelve-year-old who loves chemistry and solving crime. Along with her family’s butler, Dogger, she sets out on solving murders. Though Flavia is mature since she is solving the crimes in her small English town, she is still a kid. She personifies her bicycle, called Gladys. That gives her an innocence and reinforces the fact that she’s still a little girl. Though she’s a child, the subject of this book is for adults, not kids.

The ending of the story was good. Some clues were left unsolved, however I think this makes it realistic rather than unfinished. In real life, not every clue will lead to the solution, so I think this is reflected in the end of this mystery.

I loved this book and I will definitely read more books in this series!

What to read next:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (Flavia de Luce #9) by Alan Bradley

Have you read The Golden Tresses of the Dead? What did you think of it?

Review: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories

Title: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories 
Author: P.D. James
Genre: Mystery, Short Stories
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

As the acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime’ P.D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the very best of these have been rescued from the archives and are published together for the first time. P.D. James’s sparkling prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at enforced family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide enjoyable puzzles to keep the reader guessing. 

From the title story about a strained country house gathering on Christmas Eve, another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, and two cases for James’s poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh — each treats the reader to James’s masterfully atmospheric story-telling, always with the lure of a mystery to be solved.

Review:

This is a festive collection of murder mysteries. This is the second collection of P.D. James stories that I’ve read, and I find her stories a little disappointing. I find that many of her stories don’t end in justice being served. That was the case in some of these stories.

I didn’t like the ending of The Mistletoe Murder, because I thought it was too obvious. The Boxdale Inheritance was very complicated, and I think it would have been better as a full novel because there were so many characters. The Twelve Clues of Christmas was anticlimactic, even though it was about an unusually, staged suicide on Christmas. I liked A Very Commonplace Murder the best because it was unpredictable, and I couldn’t guess the ending.

If you like P.D. James, I’m sure you will love this collection. However, it didn’t work for me.

What to read next:

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgliesh #1) by P.D. James

Have you read The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories? What did you think of it?

Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed—again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend—but nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

Review:

This is a unique mystery. It’s Groundhog Day meets Freaky Friday in an Agatha Christie novel.

I couldn’t put this book down for hours. There were loads of twists at the beginning so I had no idea where the story was heading.

I liked how the story ended. However, I didn’t like the explanation for how the main character entered the loop of living the day over and over to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder. I wish that background was either explored more in the story or simplified. It seemed like the start of a side story but it wasn’t detailed enough.

The title is confusing I’m not sure why sometimes it is the 7 deaths and other times it’s the 7 1/2 deaths. I understand what the deaths are, but not why there are two different numbers in the titles. If anyone knows, I’d love to hear it.

I loved this book! If you like a suspenseful thriller in the style of Agatha Christie, you’ll love this book.

What to read next:

  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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  • The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

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Have you read The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle? What did you think of it?

Review: Queen’s Progress (Kit Marlowe #9)

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Title: Queen’s Progress (Kit Marlow #9)
Author: M.J. Trow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

As advance guard for the Queen’s Progress, Christopher Marlowe tackles murder and intrigue within some of England’s grandest stately homes.May, 1591. When Queen Elizabeth decides to embark on a Royal Progress, visiting some of the grandest homes in England, her new spymaster, Sir Robert Cecil, sends Kit Marlowe on ahead, to ensure all goes smoothly. But Marlowe’s reconnaissance mission is dogged by disaster: at Farnham Hall, a body is hurled from the battlements; at Cowdray Castle, a mock tournament ends in near tragedy; at Petworth, a body is discovered in the master bedroom, shot dead.

By the time he reaches Chichester, Marlowe fears the worst. Are the incidents linked? Is there a conspiracy to sabotage the Queen’s Progress? Who is pulling the strings – and why? To uncover the truth, Marlowe must come up with a fiendishly clever plan.

Review:

This is the first book I’ve read in the Kit Marlow series, and I loved it. Even though I haven’t read the other books, I still understood everything. Some of the characters weren’t described in detail, because they were probably introduced in past novels, but it wasn’t a big problem.

I loved the mystery elements of the story. I had no idea what the solution would be. Each of the stops on the planned route of the Queen’s Progress had to be cancelled due to a commotion or death on the property. Each situation seemed so unique that I wondered how they could be connected. The mystery came together in a great ending.

Some of Christopher Marlow’s contemporaries were in the story. Robert Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, was an important character. Will “Shaxsper” also made a couple of appearances in the Rose theatre. I loved how he made up words when he spoke to other people, because he created many of the words that we use today.

I loved this story, and I will definitely look for more in this series in the future!

Have you read this book or the series? What did you think?

Review: A Study in Treason (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries #2)

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Title: A Study in Treason (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries #2)
Author: Leonard Goldberg
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A continuation of USA TODAY bestselling author Leonard Goldberg’s The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Treason is a new intriguing locked room mystery for Joanna and the Watsons to solve.

The following case has not previously been disclosed to the public due to the sensitive information on foreign affairs. All those involved were previously bound by the Official Secrets Act. With the passage of time and the onset of the Great War, these impediments have been removed and the story can now be safely told.

When an executed original of a secret treaty between England and France, known as the French Treaty, is stolen from the country estate of Lord Halifax, Scotland Yard asks Joanna, Dr. John Watson, Jr., and Dr. John Watson, Sr. to use their keen detective skills to participate in the hunt for the missing treaty. As the government becomes more restless to find the missing document and traditional investigative means fail to turn up the culprit, Joanna is forced to devise a clever plan to trap the thief and recover the missing treaty.

Told from the point of view of Dr. John Watson, Jr. in a style similar to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, A Study in Treason is based partly on facts in our world and partly on the facts left to us by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Full of excitement and intrigue, this mystery is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Sherlock Holmes as well as the works of Laurie R. King and Charles Finch.

Review:

I loved this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

This story follows the daughter of Holmes, who is now married to the son of Watson. Watson is also in this story, though he had a stroke so he isn’t able to do much physical work.

I really liked how this story followed the same style of the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The story was told by John Watson Jr. Though Joanna didn’t know her father, Sherlock, she inherited his talent for deduction. She also likes to study different areas of interest, like tobacco and languages, just like Sherlock.

The ending of the story was good too. The culprit was who I suspected. But it was a very clever mystery. It played out just like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, with very complex and hidden clues.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Development

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Title: The Development
Author: Jackie Kabler
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Accent Press
Source: Neverland Blog Tours
Release Date: May 10, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After a stressful week, TV reporter Cora Baxter is ready for a quiet weekend. What she isn’t counting on is witnessing the shocking death of a young woman on her way home.

Cora discovers that seventeen-year-old Leanne has been protesting against a new housing development, angering the powerful establishment. Leanne’s death is ruled a suicide but, when puzzling information comes to light, Cora decides to investigate further.

She might not know what an unscrupulous businessman, a suspended police officer and hate-mail sending neighbours have to do with the case – but she does know there is a news story there.

With her eccentric camera crew on hand to help, can Cora work out what happened in the days before Leanne’s death? And was it really suicide after all?

Review:

I enjoyed this mystery!

I felt a personal connection to this story because the main character lives near Gloucestershire, which is home to my university, University of Gloucestershire. I’m currently doing my Master’s remotely, but I will be going to Gloucester to graduate in the fall, so I loved reading about the town!

This story really kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t predict what the clues would reveal. I also liked that Cora worked as a news reporter. She had a perfect position to explore the case, while also being removed from it. She also was able to get permission to work on it for the news, which was a bonus. Most of the time in books when someone who isn’t on the police force wants to investigate something, they get in trouble, but Cora was lucky.

I really enjoyed this crime filled mystery!

About the Author:

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Jackie Kabler is a journalist, TV presenter and author. She spent twenty years as a TV news reporter for GMTV, ITV and BBC news, and now works as a presenter for shopping channel QVC and is author of the Cora Baxter Mysteries, a series of  murder mysteries set in a television newsroom. The Development is her third novel. Jackie lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, who is a GP.

Website jackiekabler.com

Twitter @jackiekabler

Facebook www.facebook.com/jackiekablerauthor

Instagram @officialjackiekabler

Thank you Neverland Blog Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.