Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thursday Thoughts ~ Books from the Backlog

Happy Thursday . . .  aka Happy Almost Friday!!

It's time for Books from the Backlog, hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books.  It's a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks . . . or on your eReader.


This week's neglected book is . . . 

Songs of Willow Frost 
Release Date:  September 10, 2013
Publisher:  Ballantine Books

From Goodreads:  Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.

Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.

Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s,
Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

Why I selected it: I loved Ford's debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and have been meaning to set aside time to read his sophomore novel.  As the days turn cooler here, I'm hoping to devote more time to indoor activities like reading.

This Thursday Thoughts ~ Books from the Backlog post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings which spotlights and discusses forthcoming books that bloggers are looking forward to reading. Generally it's about books that haven't been released yet. This meme is based on Waiting on Wednesday, formerly hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

There are so many exciting new books on the horizon, so without further adieu, this week's Can't Wait For book is . . .  

Daughter of Moloka'i (Moloka'i #2) 
Release Date:  February 19, 2019
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

From Goodreads:  DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA′I is the highly anticipated sequel to Alan Brennert’s acclaimed book club favorite, and national bestseller, MOLOKA′I. It’s a companion tale that tells the story of Ruth, the daughter that Rachel Kalama—quarantined for most of her life at the isolated leprosy settlement of Kalaupapa—was forced to give up at birth.

The book follows young Ruth from her arrival at the Kapi'olani Home for Girls in Honolulu, to her adoption by a Japanese couple who raise her on a farm in California, her marriage and unjust internment at Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II—and then, after the war, to the life-altering day when she receives a letter from a woman who says she is Ruth’s birth mother, Rachel.
DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA′I expands upon Ruth and Rachel’s 22-year relationship, only hinted at in MOLOKA′I. It’s a richly emotional tale of two women—different in some ways, similar in others—who never expected to meet, much less come to love, one another. And for Ruth it is a story of discovery, the unfolding of a past she knew nothing about. In prose that conjures up the beauty and history of both Hawaiian and Japanese cultures, it’s the powerful and poignant tale that readers of MOLOKA′I have been awaiting for fifteen years.
My thoughts:  One of the best pieces of information that was shared at the 2018 Tri-State Book Buzz for Librarians that I attended last week was during the Macmillan Library Adult Titles presentation.  That's when I learned there will be a long-awaited sequel to the much-loved book, Moloka'i.  Early next year, fans of the novel will have the chance to return to the continuation of this story set in Hawai'i. 
This Can't Wait Wednesday post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph

It's Tuesday . . . time for . . . 


First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, now hosted by Vicki at I'd Rather Be At The Beach, where bloggers post the first paragraph(s) of a book they are currently reading or planning to read sometime soon.   

Today I'm featuring the book I just finished for a blog tour, The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn.  The excerpt shared is from the electronic version I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  


Chapter 1
"Commence the murder!" Everything went dark, a shot rang out, and something crashed to the ground.  

I held my breath, unable to move. 

What do you think?  Would you continue reading?
I did continue to read this humorous cozy mystery set on a college campus in Colorado, where English professor Lila Maclean finds herself serving as the assistant director of the play, Puzzled: The Musical, an outlandish post-modern mystery.  The play seems doomed from the start, as mishap after mishap unfolds.

If you'd like to know more about this book, click here, to read my review.  If you do click the link, be sure to enter the giveaway also. 

This First Chapter ~ First Paragraph post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated. 

Great Escapes Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn


Today I'm participating in the The Spirit in Question Blog Tour.  In this post you will find book and author information along with my review.

About the book . . .
The Spirit in Question (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Henery Press (October 2, 2018)
Trade Paperback | 252 pages
ISBN 9781635114065, 1635114063
Digital ASIN: B07FDL54HG
Synopsis . . .
English professor Lila Maclean knew drama would be involved when she agreed to consult on Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical.

But she didn’t expect to find herself cast into such chaos: the incomprehensible play is a disaster, the crumbling theater appears to be haunted, and, before long, murder takes center stage.

The show must go on—yet as they speed toward opening night, it becomes clear that other members of the company may be targeted as well. Lila searches for answers while contending with a tenacious historical society, an eccentric playwright, an unsettling psychic, an enigmatic apparition, and a paranormal search squad.

With all of this in play, will she be able to identify who killed her colleague…or will it soon be curtains for Lila too?

My review . . . Competing forces and agendas collide over the staging of a play at the Stonedale Opera House, the historic college theater in Stonedale, Colorado. On one side is the college faculty led by the outspoken Jean Claude Lestronge, the visiting professor directing the musical written by another professor.  On the other side are members of the Stonedale Historical Society represented by its equally outspoken president, Mrs. Clara Worthingham.  The Society fears the fragile facility will be further compromised by going forward with the play and seems willing to stop it by any means.  And there is another interested party: developer Chip Turner who has offered to purchase the aging theater from the college, with plans to replace it with a state-of-the-art performance space.

With such a backdrop, is it any wonder that Puzzled: The Musical, a post-modern murder mystery featuring iconic sleuths and their authors seems doomed from the start?  A series of accidents and mishaps ensue during its production, most troubling of which is the onstage death of the play's director during a rehearsal.

Who killed Jean Claude?  Professor Lila Maclean, the play's assistant director and Detective Lex Archer are determined to find out.  There are plenty of people with motive and opportunity.  Is someone with evil intent in their midst, or are otherworldly forces responsible?  Some believe the theater is haunted by the ghost of a former professor who died there years before.  Instances of flickering lights, unexplained noises, and moved objects during rehearsals lend credence to such a theory.  As Lila and Lex concentrate on credible facts, a psychic and a paranormal team pursue the supernatural aspect.

Beyond their search for the killer,  Lila and Lex also come closer to unravelling a mystery from the past that has significance to several of Stonedale's citizens, and deepen their own relationship as well.

In The Spirit in Question, author Cynthia Kuhn has woven an eccentric cast of characters and humorous scenes into an entertaining madcap read.  The story's insider look at the larger-than-life egos, creativity, and passions involved in staging a play made this reader feel a part of the production.

The book is the third entry in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery Series, but can be read as a stand alone.  I find Lila's adventures in academia intriguing, and will now immerse myself in the series' previous novels -- The Semester of Our Discontent, winner of an Agatha Award for Best New Novel in 2016, and The Art of Vanishing, Lefty Award Nominee for Best Humorous Novel in 2017 -- while awaiting the next installment.

Giveaway . . . Enter the The Spirit in Question giveaway by clicking on this link.  

About the author . . . 
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series: The Semester of Our Discontent, an Agatha Award recipient for Best First Novel; The Art of Vanishing, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery; and The Spirit in Question. She teaches in Denver, serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado, and blogs with Chicks on the Case. For more information, please visit

Author links . . .

Twitter: @cynthiakuhn

Purchase links . . .

Amazon   B&N     Kobo  BookBub 


Tour participants . . .
October 8 – Island Confidential – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 8 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
October 8 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 9 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 11 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
October 12 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
October 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 15 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
October 16 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
October 16 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 17 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 17 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
October 18 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
October 18 – A Cozy Experience– REVIEW
October 19 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 19 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 20 – Jane Reads

Note . . . I received a complimentary copy of The Spirit in Question from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Sharing this original post on Twitter, Google+ and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated.