A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hilltop Sunset book review and $50 #giveaway

Different.  Hilltop Sunset was unlike the other books I've been reviewing lately.  Not a spicy romance, and certainly not a sweet Amish story, this book is more suspense than anything else.

I had a hard time relating to the main character in the beginning of the story.  Brynn has the morals of an alley cat, sleeping with her married boss, her ex husband, a guy she meets at a conference... pretty much anybody.  By the end of the story, however, Brynn shows considerable personal growth.  I think being thrust into a non-threatening parenting role with teenager, Josh, helps her begin to heal from her own lousy childhood.

Unfortunately, this book has a "book two" vibe to it, leaving the reader wondering, "Who is this Isabel chick, and why did she attack Jillian and Brynn?" questions we can only assume were answered in author Joyce T. Strand's prior series, mentioned below.  Still, I found myself caught up enough in the storyline to wonder when the next book comes out.  I'd like to follow what happens with Brynn, Liam, and Josh.  Not to mention, there's a bit of a cliff-hanger we're left guessing about at the end.  

A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.

Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim.

Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-changing events.

Book available from....
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About Brynn Bancroft
Brynn Bancroft evolved from the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries where she served as Jillian’s manager while Chief Financial Officer of Harmonia Therapeutics in Silicon Valley. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, she had an affair with the CEO of the company. Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do. In the meantime, her husband, Liam—not unfamiliar with extramarital affairs himself but also understanding that Brynn grew up in an abusive household- grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif. Much like Jillian--who does appear in the Brynn Bancroft mysteries--Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.

Other Books Available

About the Author
Joyce Strand, much like her fictional character Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing articles and press releases and delivering presentations to publicize her companies.

Joyce has been a mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy stories as a teen-ager. She has always enjoyed the challenge of following clues to solve a mystery before it is revealed. Therefore Joyce relished the transition from writing press releases to writing fiction.

Joyce received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.   She lives with her two cats in Southern California near San Diego.

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


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  1. Oh I hope you won't have to wait to long for the next one :-)

    1. That sounds like a hint! :) I'm glad to hear it. How about the next Paradise story from D. Brown?? I'm just about done with Murder in Paradise.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review Hilltop Sunset. I plan to publish the second Brynn Bancroft mystery next November -- so stay tuned. And we'll see the new Brynn in that one! Thanks again.

    1. Looking forward to reading it, Joyce! :) Thanks for the opportunity to review for you. I grew up in Sonoma County, so I especially enjoyed the local color.