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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

What’s New This Week?

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week.

Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday, is currently ‘on tour’ and being hosted by a different blogger each month.

Your host for August 2012 is: Jennifer@5Minutes For Books

So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for Jennifer, after all, we all like to receive them!

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I have quite a number of author review requests at this time, so I am finding that to avoid confusing myself too much, I am only effecting the download when I can see a slot in my reading schedule.

Hence, whilst authors may have sent me a download link some time ago, I am only counting them into my ‘mailbox‘ when I effect the download to my Kindle or PC.


First up …. ‘The Hapless Valet’ by Lenhardt Stevens

In this offbeat mystery, Draper Burns, the titular valet and, chiefly, troubleshooter for a global media mogul is dispatched to Portland, Oregon where the movie–The Vengeful Forest–is being filmed by a studio recently acquired by his boss. After the screenwriter’s apparent suicide, Burns, sometimes artfully, often clumsily and neurotically, delves into the on-location movie world and underbelly of Portland where intrigues overlap, frustrate his assignment and put his and others’ lives in danger. Movie people, hoodlums, federal agents and Portland characters combine with clever plot twists in a Pacific Northwest setting to make The Hapless Valet a most entertaining read.

You can find out more about the author here..


Next … ‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’ by Grace Mattioli

Imagine you are asked to plan a gathering for a feuding family of six that has not been gathered together in over six years. Add to this the fact that the parents of this family are newly separated and that your own life is falling apart. This is the challenge that befalls twenty-three year old Silvia Greco when she is drafted into helping her mother plan a party for her younger brother’s high school graduation. She takes it on, and in doing so, must negotiate with each member of her family, appealing to their individual needs and interests, in order to get them to go. Through this process, she learns that peace is not something that is easily achieved or freely existing. It is something that needs to be created, cultivated and nurtured. In other words, she learns that “olive branches don’t grow on trees.”

This story is filled with insight, humor and lovable, quirky characters. The father, Frank, works as a judge in a local courthouse, and spends his spare time drinking, cooking food that no one eats and maintaining the most perfectly manicured yard in town. The mother, Donna, is a college professor, and is giving single life a go after spending almost all of her adult life with Frank. Angie, the eldest child, married rich and devastated her father by moving from south Jersey to north Jersey, which as far as Frank is concerned, might as well be another planet. Silvia’s older brother, Cosmo, is brilliant and great at everything he does, but is also a classic underachiever. Her younger brother, Vince, is bursting with energy and is on his way to save the world. And then there is Silvia: Energetic, idealistic, and young, striving to bring her family together, while also struggling to settle down and find a career in which she may utilize her artistic talents. She is extremely independent as she can drive across the country and move from place to place alone. She is highly adaptable and does whatever she has to do to get by, whether that be working as a nude model for art schools or a candy store manager at a mall. Last but not least is Grandma Tucci, who Silvia loves fiercely. She has passed away years ago, but remains with Silvia in spirit, almost as if guiding her through her adventures in the lessons of life, love and peace.

Grace has already kindly taken part in a question and answer session, so for all the ‘need to know stuff’, click here ..


Both of these great sounding and diverse stories, were gifted as  kindle downloads by their respective authors, in return for honest and constructive reviews, and as such were both free of charge.

This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the books, in any blog articles I may post. Any thoughts or comments will be my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.


I hope that you all received some great new finds this week … and ‘Happy Reading’ everyone!


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • The Hapless Valet sound like a lot of fun. Unusual sort of mystery, might look into that one.

    Hope all is well with you? Haven’t been around for a while, the Olympics distracted me, then I was unwell for a few days, last week. On Monday we’re off to Cardiff for a few days. Hoping to get back to blogging properly when I get back as I have actually read four bnooks this month!

    I like the new look of your blog!

    • Hi Cath,

      ‘The Hapless Valet’ does indeed sound good, although it is still some way down my reading list. I have only just discovered that I enjoy books witha generous helping of humour in the mix, I really didn’t think that it would be my thing, but I was pleasantly surprised.

      The idea of trying to sort out a feuding family, to bring them together for a civilised event, is one that I can totally relate to. I shall be very interested to see just how Grace explores the family dynamics in ‘Olive Branches …’, hopefully with just the right amount of levity and humour, to balance the tantrums which are sure to ensue.

      Thanks for commenting about the new look blog. I had been thinking about trying to update the look and feel for some time now, but hubbie has just been too busy before and to be honest, the template I found has had to be so heavily modified (I am a fussy so and so!), that I think he got a bit fed up with me.

      Great to hear from you and I hope that the trip to Cardiff improves both your health and the ‘square eye’ syndrome you must have developed!

    • Hi Diane,

      Both of my books this week, are debut books, from new authors.

      I have received many review requests from new authors just lately and have found some great hidden gems amongst their offerings, so I am really looking forward to reading both of these books.

      Thanks for stopping by, your visits are always appreciated.

    • Hi Jessica,

      I am really backed up at the moment also, but I find it so hard to say no, especially to new auhors, who really deserve a break.

      I do try to make it very clear that there is going to be quite a delay in the final review being posted, at which point they always have the option to decide not to send me the copy, without offence being taken.

      I have read so many debut books which have taken me out of my comfort zone, but there have been some real gems amongst them, so I am hoping that ‘Olive Branches …’ is going to keep me enthralled.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, I hope that your TBR pile reverts to manageable proportions very soon!

    • Hi Kathy,

      I particularly like the quirky cover of ‘The Hapless Valet’. I have only just discovered this particular brand of humorous mystery writing, so I am very much hoping that Lenhardt Stevens, as a new author, carries off this great genre as proficiently as other authors I have read.

      I particularly like the title of ‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’, a great play on words.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this post, it is appreciated,

    • Hi Kaye,

      My books this week are both debut novels, from new authors.

      I have had several ‘conversations’ with them both and both sound like great people, keen to engage with their audience and promote their work wherever appropriate, so I am really looking forward to reading their books.

      Thanks for the comments and good wishes, which are reciprocated, naturally.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      The synopsis alone sounds great for this book, but after interviewing Grace, I discovered that there were personal motives and experiences brought to bear on the storyline, which make it even more of an intriguing story …


      “The idea for writing my novel first came to me when I was at a writing workshop and one participant of this workshop discussed her desire to write about her experience of finding romantic love as a young Muslim woman. She had a desire to shed a different light on this particular community, and this made me think about my own desire to shed a different light on another particular community- Italian-Americans. I believe that this group of people are usually shown in a bad light, and that there are several negative stereotypical conceptions of this population and I wanted to show them in a more positive light.”

      Now I really need to know more about this community.

      Thanks for stopping by, your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.

    • Hi Irene,

      Thanks for hooking up with Fiction Books today, it is always good to ‘meet’ new bloggers, I am always ready for a chat about anything, book related or not!

      These two new authors do sound as though they have started their respective careers off well, with these two books.

      I really enjoy mixing up the genres I read, so I am hoping to enjoy them both equally.

      Thanks for the comments, I always appreciate them.

    • Hi,

      I like the titles of both these books and the storylines are so different, that I am sure to enjoy them both.

      There will be a lot more chances to encounter ‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’, so maybe you will decide to give it a try for yourself …

      Thanks for stopping by, it is always good to chat with you and your comments are always appreciated.

    • Hi Nancy,

      ‘Olive branches’ … seemed like quite a straightforward synopsis at first glance, but then, when I interviewed its author Grace Mattioli, the response to one particular question I asked, made me realise just how personal the whole story really was.

      You can read the complete interview here:


      Thanks for stopping by and leaving comment, it is much appreciated.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      I have discovered some great new authors and books since I have begun blogging, it has been such fun and so enlightening to come across such talent.

      I am sure that I shall enjoy both these great title, thanks for the thought and for taking the time to stop by.

    • Hi Gautami,

      Some authors really do have such good imaginations. I would never be able to come up with two such great titles, that match the synopses so appropriately.

      I also have to admire the cover artists, who never fail to amaze me with some of their offerings. I just wish I was half as competent, but I’m afraid that even the simplest of sketches is far outside of my ability.

      Thanks for stopping by with your comments, it is always good to talk with you

    • Hi Beth,

      I agree that both books have great covers, excellent synopses, written by two new and enthusiastic authors.

      A winning combination and I can’t wait to start reading.

      Thanks for taking the time to check out the post, your comments are always welcome.

  • Hi Linda,

    I thought it was about time that I ‘cleaned up’ the site, it was just a bit too busy and ‘twee’ looking. I was pleased with the job that my ‘in house’ techie did to it, it certainly wouldn’t have happened if it had been left to me!

    ‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’, sounds like a great read, especially as the author can relate so personally to the storyline. Grace is so full of enthusiasm and energy about her writing, that I am certain her career is only heading one way.

    It is great to hear from you and thank you for the generous comments, they are always appreciated.

Written by Yvonne