Monday, July 6, 2015

Mailbox Monday - 7/6/15

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.
Every week Mailbox Monday will have a new linky posted for our Mailbox Monday links at Marcia's Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s a shout out to the new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree 
Vicki of I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit 

THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.
I hope you had a good mailbox.

Another lean week, but that is good.
On Wednesday, July 1, I received:

1. THE BOOK OF LOST AND FOUND by Lucy Foley, courtesy of Shelf Awareness and Little, Brown, and Company.

 How about your mailbox?   

Any titles in your mailbox that you were excited about seeing?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Book Beginnings - 7/3/15

*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page. 

My book beginnings is taken from MAUD'S LINE by Margaret Verble.

My full review will go live on my blog on July 14.

MAUD'S LINE is set on a Cherokee allotment in Oklahoma.

It is well written, and I enjoyed the characters even though some of them did crazy things at times. 

I am enjoying the book.  The cover pulled me in, and then the storyline did the rest.  :)
I finished these three books over the past two weeks and thoroughly enjoyed them.

A NECESSARY END by Holly Brown.  Review is in the book's title.

I couldn't put it down.

It is a psychological thriller.
Giveaway FROM 
June 30 to July 7
Click on the title for the review and giveaway link. 

A PARIS APARTMENT by Michelle Gable.

I enjoyed the book....terrific research.
I LOVED DOLLBABY.  Review is in the book's title.

What are you reading or what have you read?

Book Blogger Hop - 7/3 - 7/9

 Question of the Week:

Do you lend your books out to friends and family?

My Answer:

Of course I do.

Why keep all these good books to myself?  :)

When you lend them out, you have someone to discuss the book with and to share the joy of reading with.

I do have a "lending library" system, though, to keep track of who has what book.  :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Necessary End by Holly Brown

A pregnant teenager, a couple who can't conceive, and a deal Gabe and Adrianne can't pass up. Or was it really such a good deal?

Adrianne was so desperate to have a baby that she and Gabe signed up for a birth mother site that would give them access to unwed mothers who wanted to put their baby up for adoption.  They got burned on the first mother and Leah sounded too good to be true so they took the “deal.”​  Leah arrived at their home within 24 hours with her flight paid for and with her own secret agenda.​

I was apprehensive about their decision ​and about Leah ​the second I read about it.  Leah was going to have the baby, stay with them for a year, be paid $400 a month ​with all medical expenses covered but ​with the stipulation that she could still decide to keep the baby.

A NECESSARY END kept me on the edge of my seat as the characters interacted and as Leah continued to show her true colors​ and carry out her plan.  Ms. Brown addressed a social situation that could escalate to this height.

Ms. Brown does a superb job of keeping the tension of the book's situation very high.

​A NECESSARY END is a gripping psychological thriller with characters that were well developed but ones that I wanted to shake and tell to wake up and see what actually was going on.  There was a good deal of betrayal as well as manipulation.

If you enjoy books with characters you d​on't trust from the start and a gut feeling that all isn't as it really seems A NECESSARY END is a book you won't want to miss.  The ending revelations and the ending itself are definitely a surprise and not what I expected.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review and GIVEAWAY of A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable


Paris in the late 1800's​ during the Belle Epoque​, antique furniture and paintings, and journals from an apartment's original inhabitant.  All of these things made A PARIS APARTMENT a book that will keep you glued to the pages.

Who wouldn't want to go to Paris?  April was an art history major and an auctioneer. When her boss told her she would be going to Paris to put value on an apartment's contents that had been closed up for 70 years, she couldn't pass up the chance even though her marriage was a bit rocky.

When April found the journals of Marthe de Florian, they made the apartment’s contents even more valuable and the book quite enticing. The journals told about Marthe de Florian's life and her connection and relationships with artists and other famous people.

Famous people such as Victor Hugo and Giovanni Boldini were part of the book's intrigue.  Marthe de Florian had quite a colorful life.
A PARIS APARTMENT was a bit rough getting started, but once the journals were found, they and the Parisian atmosphere ​drew you into the era and its living style.

​A PARIS APARTMENT is based on a real apartment and a real person.  Ms. Gable
did a great deal of research and weaves the story so masterfully that you don't even know it is history, but it definitely revealed a wonderful hidden part of Paris.

For a debut novel, the writing ​and storyline were marvelous.  A PARIS APARTMENT has beautiful, descriptive writing, and the journals made it oh so good.  

April’s rocky marriage seemed to be a side story, but the apartment, its contents, and the journals are historical aspects that I thoroughly enjoyed and what kept me reading.  

The ending was marvelous as April met an eighty-seven-year-old family member of Marthe de Florian who fills in the gaps of Marthe’s life.  

ENJOY, and don't give up too early.  :) 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an  honest review.




June 30 to July 7


Author Spotlight and Giveaway of The Judge's Story, Kindle Fire, and Amazon Gift Cards

About the Judge's Story
This book sounds WONDERFUL, and the giveaway is AMAZING!!

Thank you, Ms. Strand

A Superior Court Judge with a passion for social justice as well as the law strives to discover the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in 1939.

When the Judge hears testimony against a 14-year-old teenager, he realizes that the boy participated in a robbery-murder. 

However, the accused did not actually pull the trigger. But unless the boy identifies his partner, the Judge must sentence him as a murderer, which would result in prolonged jail time.

The Judge’s investigator, along with the precocious 16-year-old girl who identified the boy as one of the thieves, explore different approaches to uncover the murderer. 

In the backdrop of escalating war in Europe, the financial scarcities of the Great Depression, and the Judge’s caseload, their attempts to find justice for the accused boy and unmask the killer lure the Judge and his friends into sordid criminal activities.

About Joyce Strand

Mystery author Joyce T. 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. Rather, she focused on publicizing her companies and their products. She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE and the Brynn Bancroft mystery HILLTOP SUNSET. 

Strand received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. 

She currently lives in Southern California with her two cats, a collection of cow statuary and art, and her muse, the roadrunner.

About The Giveaway

1st Prize:  Kindle Fire HD7 or Kindle Paperwhite
2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Judge’s Story

3rd Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of The Judge’s Story

from June 30 until July 5

About The Reason For The Book

Inspiration or Opportunity?
Joyce T. Strand

“We discovered my grandfather’s memoir in his attic. Before becoming a Superior Court Judge, he was a law partner of Erle Stanley Gardner – maybe you’ve heard of him? He wrote the Perry Mason series. Gardner thought my grandfather should write his story because he had such an interesting life.”—Lou Drapeau, grandson of Superior Court Judge Louis Drapeau, the inspiration for The Judge’s Story.

Do you know that feeling when you’ve just received an opportunity to do something significant? Well, that’s how I felt when my friend told me about his grandfather’s memoir at lunch one day. I did try to keep the excitement out of my voice when I asked if I could have a copy, but was delighted when he agreed to send it to me.

I read the memoir several times. (For those interested: Louis C. Drapeau, Senior; Autobiography of a Country Lawyer; 1941; available at the Museum of Ventura County/Library, 100 E. Main St., Ventura CA 93001).

What stopped me from proceeding with my own story about this distinguished judge was that I couldn’t think of any way to improve on the memoir. He chronicles his life and tells of a teenager basically disowned by a stepfather and his biological father who managed to support himself doing odd jobs as a cowboy, muleskinner, Borax 20 mule team driver and dockhand.

Eventually he met and worked for a Senator, earned a law degree from Georgetown Law School, settled in Ventura, Calif., practiced law, and became a Superior Court Judge by the late 1930s. A compelling story in its own right!

Besides not immediately envisioning a unique story, I was also busy writing and publishing my current-day mysteries. So I put off telling the judge’s story, but he stayed somewhere in my mind percolating. What could I write about a judge who lived in the mid-20th century that would be distinctive but capture this interesting person?

Well, I reminded me that I’m a mystery writer. So I could write a mystery. But how could I integrate a judge from the first half of the 20th century into an intriguing mystery for today’s readers?

The answer came to me from the judge’s memoir. First, he clearly told me who he was—his values, beliefs, emotional makeup, and ethics. So I developed my fictional Judge Grover Roswell Akers using attributes of the actual judge.

Next, the actual judge discussed the issues that were important in the legal system in the 1930s—the growing prevalence of rehabilitation as part of the penal system. He also expressed opinions on how to keep boys from becoming criminals and had an avid interest in helping juveniles.

Ah, ha! Surely I could produce a mystery based on juvenile crime and debate over how to deal with these young criminals.  Although the case in my mystery is fictional, the actual judge’s statements about the impact of the times sparked the idea for it, i.e., the Great Depression, on juvenile crime.

Finally, the memoir offered the judge’s opinions on a variety of subjects, such as, the value of history, perspective on WWII, and reflections on reading and education—all attributes I could explore to enhance my characters. I did supplement the back-story with additional research into the events in 1939 in Ventura, Calif., but, again, the judge’s actual statements motivated the mosaic pieces that enabled me to build the fictional characters.

I concluded that the real judge was a bit of a hero. As an attorney, he defended Mexican-Americans who he believed were not treated fairly—often without compensation for representing them. He also worked to create fairer laws. For example, he believed that the punishment in Ventura County for killing cattle was far too severe and did not match the crime. And he admonished those who would become attorneys to be careful of the type of people they defended, for they would become associated with their clients. He also feared for a system of justice that relied on people like him to be a judge, but, in the end, if the evidence or the law was not clear, he did what he believed was right.

Yes, I wrote a fictional mystery, because that’s what I do. However, I also intended that the story about this fictional judge should pay tribute to the actual judge who inspired it. 



About The Social Links

Blog:                Http://
Twitter:           @joycetstrand


About Where to Purchase

The Judge’s Story Paperback and Kindle Editions – June 23, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave Review and GIVEAWAY

Did you know it takes eight hundred grapes to make one bottle of wine?

That ​apparently is the best-kept secret of wine makers just like there were a lot of secrets the Ford family and other characters were not revealing.

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES was an easy, enjoyable read.  I liked the information about vineyards because we have a grape arbor, but nothing that would turn our grapes into wine.  ​:)​

Georgia the main character was a bit wishy washy for an attorney, but you couldn't blame her when she found out the secret her fiance was keeping from her.

Her brothers were ​unusual, and I didn't like them.  Georgia's parents and what was going on with her mother was quite strange.

As the book continued, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES moved from one family drama to another, but the book did keep my interest.  I actually was more interested in seeing what was going to happen to the winery than ​what was going to happen to all the relationship upheavals.

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES will appeal to women's fiction fans.  The writing was breezy and fun, but the plot was a bit predictable.

I would recommend EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES for a quick, summer beach read.  ​4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.​
Giveaway of Book and Mug

June 29 - July 6


Enter Here

Good Luck!!