Lu Fei is a graduate of China’s top police college but he’s been assigned to a sleepy backwater town in northern China, where almost nothing happens and the theft of a few chickens represents a major crime wave. That is until a young woman is found dead, her organs removed, and joss paper stuffed in her mouth. The CID in Beijing—headed by a rising political star—is on the case but in an increasingly authoritarian China, prosperity and political stability are far more important than solving the murder of an insignificant village girl. As such, the CID head is interested in pinning the crime on the first available suspect rather than wading into uncomfortable truths, leaving Lu Fei on his own.

As Lu digs deeper into the gruesome murder, he finds himself facing old enemies and creating new ones in the form of local Communist Party bosses and corrupt business interests. Despite these rising obstacles, Lu remains determined to find the real killer, especially after he links the murder to other unsolved homicides. But the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he puts himself and his loved ones in danger.




As Lu pursues the clues and the potential serial killer in Thief of Souls, we are caught up in his processes and his ability to find the connections.

Early on, Lu is especially drawn to a young woman who runs a local bar, and while he is learning more about her, he begins to realize that she might also be in danger.

While he finds answers to one mystery after the other, he draws closer to the solution.

Like the trail of clues Lu follows, the reader begins to zero in on the guilty party, even as the danger intensifies. I was fascinated by the spiritual elements of the story. 4.5 stars.

My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley





Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  and Book Journey, for  Weekly Updates.

**Mailbox Monday is now hosted at the home site:  Mailbox Monday.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.





And Happy Labor Day to those who celebrate it!  For those who are going on the road, have safe, happy trips!

I plan to spend the weekend reading and watching movies/DVDs/Netflix.  Here’s one on my list:  Fading Gigolo.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Woody Allen in a movie that wasn’t directed and produced by him!







Sunday Potpourri:  Blissful Euphoria

Curl up with Books, Movies, & Our Routines

Out on a Limb with Intros/Teasers:  “An Italian Wife”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Contemplations

Creative Wednesday:  Waiting for “Ruth’s Journey”

My Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  An Unsettling Week

Thursday Potpourri:  Released!

From the Interior:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “The Home Place”

Creative Saturday:  Back to School!

A Darkness Hovers Overhead:  An Excerpt from “Interior Designs”

Weekend Potpourri:  Going outside my Comfort Zone

Review:  Falling Into Place, by Amy Zhang

Review:  The Silent Sister, by Diane Chamberlain

Review:  The House on Mermaid Point (e-book), by Wendy Wax



INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One lone book arrived in my mailbox…BUT I downloaded FIVE e-books to feed Sparky!


A Wedding and a Killing, by Lauren Carr (From the Author)


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00064]





The Next Time You See Me (e-book), by Holly Goddard Jones






A Long Time Gone (e-book), by Karen White





In the Woods (e-book), by Tana French






The Murderer’s Daughters (e-book), by Randy Susan Meyers





Silver Bay (e-book), by JoJo Moyes







WHAT’S UP NEXT? (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)


An Italian Wife, by Ann Hood (Amazon Vine Review)







The Home Place, by Carrie La Seur (Amazon Vine Review)






This Is Where I Leave You (e-book), by Jonathan Tropper (Movie coming soon!)






The Good Girl (e-book), by Mary Kubica









And, like the book listed above, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU…but we will be connecting throughout the week.  Enjoy the holiday, if you are celebrating it!







PicMonkey Collage-updates collage

Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  Book Dragon’s Lair, for Mailbox Monday, and Book Journey, for What Are You Reading?

This week was one of upended plans and serendipitous moments.  You know the kind…you’re planning one thing, and then it doesn’t work out, and you are on a road to rediscovering spontaneity.

One of my spontaneous events was a midweek showing at the movies.  I saw The Family, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert DeNiro:  A riveting story about a mob family hiding out in the Witness Protection program…and how they cannot quite stay hidden.


That shook up my week just enough that it felt as though I’d been on a little trip somewhere.


Monday Potpourri:  A Lovely Weekend, & Some Musings About Reading

Tuesday Sparks:  Intros/Teasers – The Thunderbird Conspiracy

Waiting on The Whole Golden World

Serendipitous Fridays:  Book Beginnings & The Friday 56 – Two Sisters

Creative Sparks:  Saturday Snapshots – Holiday Moments

Review:  Smoke Screen, by Sandra Brown (From Mt. TBR)

Review:  Children of the Fog (e-book), by Cheryl Kaye Tardif (From Mt. TBR)

Review:  W is for Wasted, by Sue Grafton

Review:  The Star Attraction (e-book), by Alison Sweeney

INCOMING BOOKS:  (All Titles/Covers Are Linked to Amazon)

Three review books arrived in the mailbox; I purchased one book at Barnes & Noble and downloaded another from Amazon.

The Lady Who Cried Murder, by Lauren Carr (Author Review Request)






The Night Guest, by Fiona McFarlane (Amazon Vine)






The Whole Golden World, by Kristina Riggle (Amazon Vine)






Summerland, by Elin Hilderbrand


Cartwheel (e-book), by Jennifer Dubois



UPCOMING WEEK ON THE BLOGS (Titles/Covers Link to Amazon)

The Thunderbird Conspiracy, by R. K. Price (Blog Tour Date:  10/25/13 – On Rainy Days and Mondays)


Amsterdam (e-book), by Ian McEwan  (From Mt. TBR)


Big Girl Panties, by Stephanie Evanovich (Amazon Vine)


Murder at Castle Rock (e-book), by Anne Marie Stoddard (Author Review Request)



Now I’m off to enjoy a brand new week!  October has brought us colors…and Halloween is just around the corner.




Welcome to another Booking Through Thursday, our bookish place to explore intriguing topics.

Today’s Pondering:

Inspired by a conversation with a coworker the other day:

It’s time for summer reading, so … today’s question? What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material? Sand in the bindings from the beach? Dropped into the pool? Covers smeared with sunscreen?

And, if you’ve never done actual summer-time damage … have you EVER damaged your book/magazine/paper? Dropped it in the bathtub? Used it to kill a bug? Spilled with coffee?


Ah, yes, the food and drink on the pages!  I am usually very careful, but unfortunately, sometimes spills happen.

Probably the worst one yet was one day when I was enjoying dinner and a glass of wine at Marie Callender’s, and also finishing up a book I was enjoying…well, I did fine.  Until it was time to pack up the carton with leftovers…and as I began, I clumsily hit the still half-full glass of wine and toppled it onto the book.  Thoroughly soaking the pages! 

I was distraught.  Not only because I was afraid the book was ruined—but that I appeared clumsy…and perhaps drunk?  But I swear I was just clumsy…lol.

Fortunately, the book dried and I was able to finish it.  But the pages are still stained.  A memento, if you will.

It was The Turnaround, by George Pelecanos:  click for review.


What is your worst tale?  Was it as embarrassing as mine?  No worries….just share.


coffee cupsunday salon logo

Good morning to all those who enter!  Sunday Salon is our weekly gathering place….and a kind of respite from the week behind us.  What lies ahead?  What happened before?  That’s what we’re here to discover.

And to chat….we do love our beverages, like coffee, tea, or even mimosas.

First of all, I hope everyone had a great week.  I’m so out of it that I thought last weekend was Mother’s Day…I feel as though I lost a week in there.  LOL

My blogging week included these posts, among others:

Tuesday Potpourri:  Lusting After Books

Author Interview:  Ruth Francisco

Thursday Potpourri:  Not Hump Day, and Not Yet Friday

Sweet Saturday Sample (Excerpt):  The Guardian Angel

And for next week, watch for my guest post from Author Lisa Ellis, along with a review of Finding Lily — at Rainy Days and Mondays, on May 30 and 31.

Reading:Click Titles/Covers for Reviews:

1.  Don’t Go (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline



2.  Some Are Sicker Than Others(e-book), by Andrew Seaward




3.  The K Street Affair (e-book), by Mari Passananti



And I’m currently reading Sweet Salt Air, by Barbara Delinsky.  This book feels like a vacation from reading, from blogging, and from everything.  Interestingly enough, the two MCs are writing a cookbook, and one of them is a blogger.  Fun?




Now…breakfast in bed, with movies!

breakfast in bed

Enjoy your day!  Come on by and let’s chat….


messy bookshelves-memeWelcome to Serendipitous Thursdays, and pull up a chair while we talk about bookish things in the Booking Through Thursday event.

Today’s Prompt:

What’s the last book that made you spring to your feet, eager to spread the word and tell everyone how much you enjoyed it?


Funny you should ask, as I just finished a book that I thought would be lovely, but which turned into something so much more.  There were secrets, a bit of a mystery, and a suspenseful journey through Europe to right a wrong.

The Summer of France (click link for my review) was that book, by Paulita Kincer (Blogger at An Accidental Blog).


I could not put it down!  I got my copy as an e-book….and Sparky traveled with me everywhere until I turned the last page.  It was true serendipity!


What was that book for you?






Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today I’m sharing from Messenger of Truth, by Jacqueline Winspear, my first foray into the Maisie Dobbs series.


Intro:  Romney Marsh, Kent, Tuesday, December 30th, 1930

The taxi-cab slowed down alongside the gates of Camden Abbey, a red brick former mansion that seemed even more like  a refuge as a bitter sleet swept across the gray, forbidding landscape.

“Is this the place, madam?”

“Yes, thank you.”

The driver parked in front of the main entrance and, almost as an afterthought, the woman respectfully covered her head with a silk scarf before leaving the motor car.

“I shan’t be long.”

“Right you are, madam.”

He watched the woman enter by the main door, which slammed shut behind her.

“Rather you than me, love,” he said to himself as he picked up a newspaper to while away the minutes until the woman returned again.

Ooh….what do you think?  I’m feeling a chill here…..


Teaser:  Stratton allowed a few seconds to elapse, seconds in which Maisie was sure he was composing a response that would have been acceptable to his superiors, had he been called to account for his actions.


Amazon Description:  London, 1931. On the night before the opening of his new and much-anticipated exhibition at a famed Mayfair gallery, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police declare it an accident, but the dead man’s twin sister, Georgina, isn’t convinced. When the authorities refuse to conduct further investigations, Georgina takes matters into her own hands, seeking out a fellow graduate from Girton College: Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.

The case soon takes Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, as well as the sinister underbelly of the city’s art world. She again uncovers the dark legacy of the Great War in a society struggling to recollect itself in difficult times. But to solve the mystery of the artist’s death, she will have to remain steady as the forces behind his death come out of the shadows to silence her.


Now I’m eager to make the rounds and see what the rest of you are sharing…come on by and chat!



Good morning…and welcome to another bookish event:  Booking Through Thursday.  We share our thoughts about books, reading, and those things in life that affect our reading.

Today’s Thoughts to Ponder:

Clocks change this weekend here in the US, which means one less hour to read … does anybody else begrudge that hour like I do? Wish the Powers That Be would just pick a time-frame and stick to it instead of inflicting clock-driven jet lag on an innocent public twice a year?

(Yeah, so not a question so much about reading … except, of course, you do need to use your electric light to be able to read, so the hour it gets dark IS relevant!)


Oh, yes, I do wish they would pick a time-frame and stick to it!  In fact, I do recall a time way back in the day when they didn’t switch…something to do with saving energy.

That didn’t last, though.  And here we are again…It seems like we just changed the time!

There are some additional reasons why I don’t like the time changing:  my numerous clocks!

Clocks over the Mantle
Clocks over the Mantle


Coca Cola Clock in the Dining Room
Coca Cola Clock in the Dining Room

Then there are other clocks…in the office, in the bedroom, and the phone clocks.  A clock on the VCR…yes, I still have one, in addition to my DVD player…lol

Office Clock
Office Clock


I especially don’t enjoy changing the collectible ones, because I have to take them all down, change the time, and reposition them on the wall.  Using a ladder!

But aside from that….I do like having more light at the end of the day.  So my vote would be to have daylight savings time all year long!

What about the rest of you?  How do you roll on this issue?






teacups for teaser tuesdays

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today I’m excerpting from an ARC from the Amazon Vine program:  The Accursed, by Joyce Carol Oates.


Intro:  (Prologue):

It is an afternoon in autumn, near dusk.  The western sky is a spider’s web of translucent gold.  I am being brought by carriage—two horses—muted thunder of their hooves—along narrow country roads between hilly fields touched with the sun’s slanted rays, to the village of Princeton, New Jersey.  The urgent pace of the horses has a dreamlike air, like the rocking motion of the carriage; and whoever is driving the horses his face I cannot see, only his back—stiff, straight, in a tight-fitting dark coat.

I’m not sure about this opener…but I will keep reading.


Teaser:  He didn’t like the tremulous way in which Wilson was staring at him, or the twitching motions of Wilson’s lips, that appeared caked at the corner with a powdery white substance.  p. 213


Amazon Description:  This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel ‘The Jungle’, has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community – elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated – until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared. ‘The Accursed’ marks new territory for the masterful Joyce Carol Oates – narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling fantastical elements to stunning effect.


Now I’m eager to see what the rest of you are offering.


Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s spotlight shines on Slightly Cracked, by Susan Whitfield.

Intro:  “I’m fixin’ to take him out.  I promise you Clayton’s mincemeat!”  Mackie Sue Beanblossom snatched her towel off the Butt Buster handle at The Second Wind Gym, flipped off her tortoise shell spectacles, and buried her pudgy sweaty face in it.

“Now, Sugar Babe, you need to calm down.”

“Don’t call me that, not ever again.”  Mackie Sue put both hands on her hips—never a good sign.

“Why not?  I’ve called you Sugar Babe most of your life,” came the Southern drawl from her best friend, Daisy, also overweight and patting sweat from a spill of cinnamon freckles across her cheeks and over the bridge of her nose.

“How dare him!  The very idea that Clayton would cheat on me.  And I’m exercising every day after work trying to keep my thighs and posterior tight so he can bonk a forty-something.”  Mackie Sue picked at a dark tufted mole on her chin and huffed up beside Daisy, who shook her head in bewilderment.


I’m very sure this is going to get funny, as well as dramatic, before long.  What do you think?


Teaser:  “My terminally white belly looks like a fanny pack since gravity got hold of it.  I’m built like a coffee mug with a large handle.”


Amazon Description:  Sugar Babe Beanblossom and Daisy Marie Hazelhurst are lifelong friends, sharing happy and sad times, enjoying outrageous antics, and enduring hot flashes. When Daisy gets sick, Sugar Babe encourages and protects her friend, and DRIVING MISS DAISY takes on a whole new meaning.


Now I’m off to check out your excerpts!