Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, California, Giveaway, mystery, Review on November 3, 2014




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.


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I believe this is a spin off of the Jillian Hillcrest mystery series. While I don’t think you have to read those to read this one, there is a tie-in with the characters and a crime that must have happened in one of the other books since there are quite a few references to it and it is the premise for this storyline.

I did enjoy the book and was suspicious of several characters just because they seemed sneaky or underhanded or something!  I do wonder if Brynn is actually going to make it to the new job, or if running the winery with her ex-husband, Liam, will change her mind.  It also seems that Brynn has issues expressing emotions to people and perhaps with everything that happens to her in this book, she is learning how to express how she feels in different situations.  I like when I see character growth in books, that is always a plus.

The book was easy to read and enjoyable…and it didn’t hurt that part of it was set at a winery!  I can imagine the sunsets as described in the book and it made me want to fly out to Sonoma and see it for myself.

We give this 4 paws up


About the Author

joyce-t-strand-1Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.

Her most recent novel, HILLTOP SUNSET, is the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s novels ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.

Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.

Strand lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.

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

Website * Blog * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter


Other books by Joyce


Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries 3-Book-Bundle-ebook for Kindle

Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries 3-Book-Bundle-ebook for Nook



There are 2 giveaways happening here!  One from the author and one from me.  The author kindly sent me 2 copies of the book, so I am giving away those copies to two different winners.  The second is a giveaway by the author.

Giveaway #1

2 print copies of Hilltop Sunset, open to US Residents only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2


1st prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card plus autographed copy of Hilltop Sunset

2nd prize: Autographed copy of Hilltop Sunset  

a Rafflecopter giveaway