THIEF OF SOULS by BRIAN KLINGBORG

Thief of Souls: An Inspector Lu Fei Mystery (Inspector Lu Fei Series Book 1)
An Inspector Lu Fei Mystery #1

“On the night the young woman’s corpse is discovered, hollowed out like a birchbark canoe, Inspector Lu Fei sits alone in the Red Louts bar, determined to get gloriously drunk.”

Lu Fei has all the credentials of a top-notch Inspector and yet he is living in a small town in the north of China,where life isn’t very exciting. At least until the day a young woman is found dead, organs gone and something stuck in her mouth.

Such a high-profile murder is big news even in Beijing where the CID is taking over the case. The head of the CID has aspirations to be more than a cop and in China where there is so much political and economic instability, a murder of a girl isn’t top priority.

With little help from the CID, Fei will be digging into this bizarre case alone it looks like. There was so much going on here. Communist Party bigwigs, Corrupt politicians and business owners. China is very corrupt it seems.

But digging too far may leave the inspector in a lot of danger.

I liked the idea of this story more than the story.

NetGalley/ Pub Date: 04 May 2021 St. Martin’s/Minotaur

BLOOD AND TREASURE DANIEL BOONE AND THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA’S FIRST FRONTIER by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier

The middle of the 1700’s were full of uncertainty for the thirteen colonies that Great Britain has founded so far. There are so many different battles going on it’s no wonder everyone was a little anxious.

Everyone wants to find a new frontier. And they are all willing to die for it. The Natives, the French, the Spanish and of course our mother country. The conflicts were gruesome and cruel. Everyone was lying. Someone’s word meant nothing. The Natives were rightly upset and everyone wanted a piece of the country.

And here is where we meet Daniel Boone. Well, actually my husband is a direct descendant of his sister, Elizabeth, so we thought we knew pretty much everything. We did not.

The name Daniel Boone brings me immediately to the song. First off, he wasn’t a big man. He wasn’t at all like the movie and cartoon versions. He was a man with a passion for finding out what lay beyond the Appalachians. He wasn’t a fighting man, but he did his part for the revolution. It’s always dangerous to turn people from the past into larger than life characters and that has been done with Boone.

It was a fast read and based on a lot of research. How did Boone become such a legend? He was seldom home, working as a trapper with a friend or his brother. They would be gone for long periods of time. He saw his fair share of suffering in his own household and they always seemed to be on the edge of financial ruin and yet Daniel did what he had to do to care for his family.

Here you can read his story as told from many different people. The history of America is in this book and I am better for having read it.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press



NOTHING BUNDT TROUBLE by ELLIE ALEXANDER *A BAKESHOP MYSTERY*

Nothing Bundt Trouble (A Bakeshop Mystery Book 11)

BAKESHOP MYSTERY #12

It is Springtime in Ashland, Oregon, and we are back at Torte with Jules and gang.

Juliet and staff are preparing for the Shakespeare Festival, Jules is moving back home and things are hectic in a good way.

But when Jules finds an old journal written by her father, she is suddenly thrust into an old murder from the ’80s and wondering what in the world her father was working on something called The Pastry Case?

With the help of the Professor, she learns more than she ever knew about her parents and her town. While the entire crew jumps in to try and solve the old case, they had better keep an eye out for the people who don’t want to dredge up old business.

Between the food and the hilarious antics of the characters, the author has skillfully put together a series that I am pretty sure will keep going.

This is one series I can not pass up because the characters are so great. I want to hang out with them.

NetGalley/ June 30th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

 

 

A BAD DAY FOR SUNSHINE by DARYNDA JONES

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)

Sunshine Vicram #1

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico. Hometown of Sunshine Vicram, the newly elected Sheriff who didn’t even know she was in the running. On her first day on the job, she sees a missing rooster report, a flasher, and an escaped inmate and a missing teenager. 

Returning to Del Sol also means facing her past and protecting her own teenaged daughter, Auri. Although new in town, Auri has spent summers with her grandparents there and knows a few people. But the one who befriended her first is Sybil. Only now Sybil is missing, another boy goes missing and a snowstorm is hindering everything.

With help from not one but two sizzling hot guys. One, a man from her past who still makes her insides gooey and one a hot U.S. Marshall.

There were so many side plots and things going on you couldn’t blink or you would miss a clue! This book was both heartbreaking and hilarious. Who can do that??? This new series is one to watch! I absolutely loved this story and look forward to more!

April 7th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press/ NetGalley

 

 

 

The New Husband by D.J.Palmer

The New Husband

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

From the author of Saving Meghan comes the new domestic suspense tale.

Nina’s husband disappeared 18 months ago. Is he dead or did he run off with a woman? No one really knows. She and their two children are not adjusting well when Simon, a middle school teacher enters their lives.

13-year-old Maggie hates Simon while Nina is letting him control her life.

I’m stopping right here. The 13-year-old and I figured out in Chapter One that this was another sociopathic person and a grown woman who is a social worker but couldn’t see what was right in front of her until her daughter almost dies.

Unfortunately, it was pretty much the standard template of domestic suspense without the suspense.

NetGalley/ April 14th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

THE FOUNDING FORTUNES: How The Wealthy Paid For and Profited From America’s Revolution by Tom Shachtman

The Founding Fortunes: How the Wealthy Paid for and Profited from America's Revolution

In The Founding Fortunes, historian Tom Shachtman reveals the ways in which a dozen notable Revolutionaries deeply affected the finances and birth of the new country while making and losing their fortunes.

In times of war, the rich usually do get richer and the poor are still poor, yet free. Somewhat.  This well-researched telling of the well known and not so well known who put their money into biting the very hand that was feeding them. In order to have control over what they grew and who they sold to this young country and its leaders were far from perfect and often put their own interests above the country.

The British wanted total control and the John Hancocks and George Washingtons of the time wanted the opposite. To control their own taxes, representations, to settle their own disputes and have free trade. We also meet a lot of people who were less well-known but never the less played significant roles in this time period.

Several things struck me reading this book. One, these guys did not have, as a rule, long lives. So what they accomplished as very young men was astounding. They were determined to define their own destiny in this new world. They had left England for a reason and that was the freedom to determine their own fate.

Excellent research and a much-needed history lesson for the times!

NetGalley/ January 21st, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey *BLOG TOUR*

The Glittering Hour

An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author

Set in London and covering a decade in the life of Selina Lennox, one of the bright young people whose life is one party after another without thought to consequences or propriety, and whose life is turned upside down by a chance meeting with Lawrence Weston. A painter who aspires to be a famous photographer.

Selina has a wild affair with the man but she understands that she must marry for money and not love. And she does. But she has a special gift from Lawrence that will forever change all of their lives.

There was a lot of truth in this beautiful and moving story of love, loss, and redemption. I am not ashamed to admit I cried more than a little. The characters were flawed and real, with a backdrop of one war over and another about to begin.

A truly beautiful story from a talented author!

NetGalley/ December 10th, 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books

Glittering Hour Blog Tour - Facebook v1

Iona Grey

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in the rural North West of England with her husband and three daughters. She is the award-winning author of Letters to the Lost, and her new book The Glittering Hour is on sale October 17, 2019 (UK) and December 10, 2019 (US)
She tweets @iona_grey and is on Instagram as @ionagrey

THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE by Stephanie Butland *BLOG TOUR*

CHAR Cover Image

When we first meet Ailsa Rae, she is dying. She has lived with a heart condition since her birth and is waiting for a transplant. She has a blog and has blogged about her experience as a patient on the organ registry. She has also had a best friend, boyfriend and a fellow patient in Lennox.

Just as Lennox dies, a heart becomes available for Ailsa. And this is the story of how she learned to live instead of existing.

Months later, she is doing well physically but not so much emotionally. It is going to take a bit of time to stop feeling fragile and stretch her limits. She has ups and downs and uses her blog to ask her followers advice in poll form. She’s missed out on so much and now she needs to learn to be healthy and alive.

I loved her mum. What a woman she is! And she has always been there for her only child. Now they both have to figure out what their new roles and lives will be.

Her new heart is strong and thumping along and it makes itself at home in her chest, she must learn to not only protect it but to listen to it and claim it as her own.

A good story. There were a few discrepancies, but all in all a good story.

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press  October 29th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin

EXCERPT:

6 October 2017
Hard to Bear
It’s 3 a.m. here in cardio-thoracic.
All I can do for now is doze, and think, and doze
again. My heart is getting weaker, my body bluer. People
I haven’t seen for a while are starting to drop in. (Good to
see you, Emily, Jacob, Christa. I’m looking forward to the
Martinis.) We all pretend we’re not getting ready to say
goodbye. It seems easiest. But my mother cries when
she thinks I’m sleeping, so maybe here, now, is time to
admit that I might really be on the way out.
I should be grateful. A baby born with Hypoplastic Left
Heart Syndrome a few years before I was would have
died within days. I’ve had twenty-eight years and I’ve
managed to do quite a lot of living in them. (Also, I’ve had
WAY more operations than you everyday folk. I totally win
on that.) OK, so I still live at home and I’ve never had a
job and I’m blue around the edges because there’s never
quite enough oxygen in my system. But –
Actually, but nothing. If you’re here tonight for the
usual BlueHeart cheerfulness-in-the-teeth-of-disaster,
you need to nd another blogger.
My heart is failing. I imagine I can feel it floundering
in my chest. Sometimes it’s as though I’m holding my
breath, waiting to see if another beat will come. I’ve been

3

in hospital for four months, almost non-stop, because
it’s no longer tenable for me to be at home. I’m on a drip
pumping electrolytes into my blood and I have an oxygen
tube taped to my face. I’m constantly cared for by peo-
ple who are trying to keep me well enough to receive
a transplanted heart if one shows up. I monitor every
icker and echo of pain or tiredness in my body and try
to work out if it means that things are getting worse. And
yes, I’m alive, and yes, I could still be saved, but tonight
it’s a struggle to think that being saved is possible.
Or even likely. And I’m not sure I have the energy to
keep waiting.
And I should be angrier, but there’s no room for anger
(remember, my heart is a chamber smaller than yours)
because, tonight, I’m scared.
It’s only a question of time until I get too weak to sur-
vive a transplant, and then it’s a waste of a heart to give
it to me. Someone a bit better, and who would get more
use from it, will bump me from the top of the list and
I’m into the Palliative Care Zone. (It’s not actually called
that. And it’s a good, kind, caring place, but it’s not where
I want to be. Maybe when I’m ninety-eight. To be honest,
tonight, I’d take forty-eight. Anything but twenty-eight.)
I hope I feel more optimistic when the sun comes
up. If it does. It’s Edinburgh. It’s October. The odds are
about the same as me getting a new heart.
My mother doesn’t worry about odds. She says, ‘We
only need one heart. Just the one.’ She says it in a
way that makes me think that when she leaves the ward
she’s away to carve one out of some poor stranger’s

3

body herself. And anyway, odds feel strange, because
even if my survival chances are, say, 20 percent, what-
ever happens to me will happen 100 percent. As in,
I could be 100 percent dead this time next week.
Night night,
BlueHeart xxx
P.S. I would really, really like for one of you to get your-
self a couple of goldsh, or kittens, or puppies, or even
horses, and call them Cardio and Thoracic. My prefer-
ence would be for puppies. Because I love the thought
that, if I don’t make it to Christmas, somewhere there
will be someone walking in the winter countryside, let-
ting their enthusiastic wee spaniels off the lead, and
then howling ‘Cardio! Thoracic!’ as they disappear over
the brow of a hill intent on catching some poor terried
sheep. That’s what I call a legacy.

From The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by
Stephanie Butland. Copyright © 2019 by
the author and reprinted by permission
of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

 

Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger Blog Tour with a Giveaway! And a Sneak Peek!

Book Jacket.Seven Letters

As soon as I read the first letter I knew I was going to love this story. And oh I did!

This isn’t a traditional romance story in beautiful Ireland. It is a deep, soulful, character-driven story of love, loss, brokenness, sin, and redemption. Kate is Irish through and through. Her dream of seeing the Blasket Islands and finishing her dissertation is finally coming around. She will be able to live by the sea and finish her research regarding the islands and how even her own family had been evacuated.

But life is never as tidy as that. When Ozzie comes along, it’s as if their souls knew each other at once. There was a palpable feeling of connection in the way the author told this story. The descriptions of the sea, the saltiness you could almost taste, the wild beauty of the islands and the warmth of the people. Ozzie and Kate are an island in a vast sea of people.

I don’t want to give anything away with this review. Just read it. And now I shall make myself a nice cup of tea and read it slower and savor all of the feels it has to offer.

Brilliant Work!

NetGalley/ October 8th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin  Here is a Sneak Peek and a Giveaway! Comment below and we will draw on Friday!

PROLOGUE

The Irish tell a story of a man who fell in love with a fairy woman
and went with her to live on an island lost to time and trouble.
They lived in a thatched cottage overlooking the sea with
nothing but donkeys and gulls and white chickens to keep
them company. They lived in the dream of all lovers, apart
from the world, entire to themselves, their bed an island to
be rediscovered each night. In all seasons, they slept near a
large round window and the ocean wind found them and
played gently with their hair and carried the scent of open
water to their nostrils. Each night he tucked himself around
her and she, in turn, moved closer into his arms, and the seals
sang and their songs fell to the bottom of the sea where the
shells held their voices and relinquished them only in violent
storms.
One day the man went away, mortal as he was; he could not
resist his longing to see the loved ones he had left behind. She
warned him that he would grow old the moment his foot
touched the soil of the Irish mainland, so he begged her for
one of the donkeys to ride back to his home for a single
glance at what he had left behind. Though she knew the risk,
she loved him too much to deny his wish, and so he left on a
quiet night, his promise to come back to her cutting her ears
with salt and bitterness. She watched him depart on a land
bridge that arced to the mainland and then turned back to
her cottage, knowing his fate, knowing that love must always
have its own island. She raised up

2 J. P. Monninger

the fog from the ocean and she extinguished all light from the
island and the chickens went mute and the donkeys brayed
into the chimney smoke and the gulls called out her
anguish.
After many days of travel, and through no fault of his own,
he touched ground and became an old man in one breath. Even
as age claimed him upon the instant of his foot striking the soil,
he called to her to save him, but she could not help him any
longer. In the seasons afterward, on certain full moon nights,
she permitted the island to rise from the mist and to appear to
him, or to any broken-hearted lover, the boil of the sea stilled
for an unbearable glimpse of what had been lost so
thoughtlessly. To his great age he lived for the moments
when he might hear her voice rising above the sea, the call of
their bed and their nights and their love, the call of his heart,
the call of the gulls that held all the pain of the world. He
answered on each occasion that he was here, waiting, his
heart true and never wavering, his days filled with regret for
breaking their spell and leaving the island. He asked her to
forgive him the restlessness, which is the curse of men and the
blood they cannot still, but whether she did or not, he could
not say.

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM

1

I had misgivings: it was a tourist bus. As much as I didn’t
want to admit it, I had booked a passage on a tourist bus. It
wasn’t even a
good kind of tourist bus if there is such a thing. It was a
massive, absurd mountain of a machine, blue and white,
with a front grill the size of a baseball backstop. When the tour
director—a competent, harried woman named
Rosie—pointed me toward it with the corner of her
clipboard, I tried to imagine there was some mistake. The
idea that the place I had studied for years, the Blas- ket Islands
off Ireland’s southwest coast, could be approached by such a
vehicle, seemed sacrilegious. The fierce Irish women in my
dissertation would not have known what to say about a bus
with televisions, tinted windows, air-conditioning,
bathrooms, and a soundtrack playing a loop of sentimental
Irish music featuring “Galway Bay” and “Danny Boy.”
Especially “Danny Boy.” It was like driving through the
Louvre on a motor scooter. It didn’t even seem possible that

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM
the bus could fit the small, twisty roads of Dingle.
I took a deep breath and climbed aboard. My backpack
whacked against the door.
Immediately I experienced that bus moment. Anyone who
has ever taken a bus has experienced it. You step up and look
around and you are searching for seats, but most of them are
taken, and the bus is somewhat dimmer than the outside light,
and the seatbacks cover almost everything except the eyes
and

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM

8 J. P. Monninger

foreheads of the seated passengers. Most of them try to avoid
your eyes because they don’t want you sitting next to them, but
they are aware, also, that there are only so many seats, so if they
are going to surrender the place next to them they would prefer
it be to someone who looks at least marginally sane.
Meanwhile, I tried to see over the seatbacks to vacant places,
also assessing who might be a decent, more or less silent
traveling companion, while also determining who seemed
too eager to have me beside her or him. I wanted to avoid that
person at all costs.
That bus moment.

I also felt exhausted. I was exhausted from the Boston–Limerick
flight, tired in the way only airports and plane air can make you
feel. Like old, stale bread. Like bread left out to dry itself into
turkey stuffing.
I felt, too, a little like crying.
Not now, I told myself. Then I started forward.
The passengers were old. My best friend, Milly, would have
said that it wasn’t a polite thing to say or think, but I couldn’t
help it. With only their heads extending above the seatbacks,
they looked like a field of dandelion puffs. They smiled and
made small talk with one another, clearly happy to be on
vacation, and often they looked up and nodded to me. I could
have been their granddaughter and that was okay with them.
They liked “Danny Boy.” They liked coming to Ireland;
many of them had relatives here, I was certain. This was a
homecoming of sorts and I couldn’t be crabby about that, so I
braced myself going down the aisle, my eyes doing the bus
scan, which meant looking without staring, hoping without
wishing.
Halfway down the bus, I came to an empty seat. Two empty
seats. It didn’t seem possible. I stopped and tried not to swing
around and hit anyone with my backpack. Rosie hadn’t
boarded the bus; I could see the driver standing outside, a
cup of coffee

053-78528_ch01_6P.indd 3 8/15/19 3:03 AM

Seven Letters 9

in one hand, a cigarette in the other. Two empty seats? It felt like
a trap. It felt too good to be true.
“Back here, dear,” an older man called to me. “There’s a spot
here. That seat is reserved. I don’t think you can sit there. At
least no one has.”
I considered trying my luck, plunking down and waiting
for whatever might happen. Then again, that could land me
in an even more horrible situation. The older gentleman who
called to me looked sane and reasonably groomed. I could
do worse. I smiled and hoisted my backpack and clunked
down the aisle, hammering both sides until people raised
their hands to fend me away.
“Here, I’ll just store this above us,” said the old man who
had offered me a seat. He had the bin open above our spot. He
shoved a mushroom-colored raincoat inside it. He smiled at
me. He had a mustache as wide as a Band-Aid across his
top lip.
I inched my way down the aisle until I stood beside him.
“Gerry,” he said, holding out his hand. “What luck for me.
I get to sit next to a beautiful, red-haired colleen. What’s your
name?”
“Kate,” I said.
“That’s a good Irish name. Are you Irish?”
“American, but yes. Irish ancestry.”
“So am I. I believe everyone on the bus has some connection
to the old sod. I’d put money on it.”
He won a point for the first mention of the old sod that I
had heard since landing in Ireland four hours before.
He helped me swing my bag up into the bin. Then I remem-
bered I needed my books and I had to swing the backpack down
again. As I dug through the bag, Gerry beside me, I felt the miles
of traveling clinging to me. How strange to wake up in Boston
and end up on a bus going to Dingle, the most beautiful penin-
sula in the world.