Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Tour: The Fallen Angels Book Club (Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway!)

The Fallen Angels Book Club
by R Franklin James
on Tour June 1st - July 31st 2013

Title: The Fallen Angels Book Club
Author: R. Franklin James
Publisher: Camel Press
About the book:  The Fallen Angels Book Club has only two requirements: the members must love books and have a white-collar criminal record. Hollis Morgan fits the bill. Left holding the bag in an insurance fraud scheme concocted by her now ex-husband, she served her time and is trying to rebuild her life. All she wants is for the court to pardon her conviction so she can return to law school.

After one of her fellow members is murdered in a scenario straight out of a club selection, Hollis is once again the subject of police scrutiny. Refusing to get stuck with another bad rap, she sets out to investigate her fellow club members. Is one of them really blackmailing the others? As a second member dies in yet another book-inspired murder, Hollis realizes that time is running out. Everything rides on her finding the killer--not just her career aspirations. She must identify the killer before she herself becomes the next victim. Everyone is convinced she knows more than she lets on. But what is it, exactly, that is she supposed to know?

Purchase Links: 

My thoughts: Being a book lover, I thought it would be fun to read a book about a book club.  Even though once I started reading the book, I discovered that there wasn't a lot of time spent "with" the book club, it was still a really good book.

I liked Hollis right away.  The fact that she was set up to take a rap by her 'then' husband was horrible.  But I am sure that stuff like that happens far more often that what I would like to believe.  She has served her time and has been working really hard to recreate her life.  The book club was set in motion by her parole officer.  He is the one that put all of them together.  It was a way to try to make them feel like they fit in again.  Being in the book club though, they had all agreed that they would not ask questions about why they had served time or what their personal lives were like now.

That all changed, of course, the minute one of them was killed.  Hollis not only wanted to clear herself, but I think she wanted to make sure that the people she had been discussing books with weren't killers either.  Someone was sure making it look like it was one of them though.  Being a paralegal also helped Hollis to know what to look for and the means to start some surreptitious background checks on her fellow members.  She didn't really want to, but she also didn't want to be left in the dark.

The book moves along at a fast pace and Hollis finds herself wrapped up in a couple of different mysteries.  I started to have my suspicions about people, but hadn't quite wrapped it all up when the author started to spill the beans about how everything fit together.  I was quite surprised by some of the things I found out in the end,  about someone who was close to Hollis.  It was a nice surprise.  

This is the first book in a series featuring Hollis Morgan, and I will be happy to tell you I would definitely read another one!

~I received a complimentary ecopy of The Fallen Angels Book Club from Partners In Crime Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Read an excerpt:

Tonight it was my turn to come early and set up the space for our book club meeting. Our monthly gatherings were held in a small windowless conference room adjacent to the San Isidro Library’s main reading area. The Fallen Angels Book Club was an exclusive group, not only a love of books was required. You also had to be a white collar ex-felon.

I rubbed my hands together and peeled off gloves. My fingers felt like icicles. Thank goodness someone remembered to turn on the heat. The door opened and a gush of wind blew a cluster of leaves into the room along with Gene Donovan who tossed his hoodie and a small brown leather “man purse” onto one of the folding chairs.

“Hollis, let me help you with that.” His tousled blond hair was more askew than usual. Placing his book on the floor, he came over to where I struggled to roll out the meeting table.

“Appreciate it.” I straightened my back and allowed him to carry the bulk of the table’s weight. Fortunately, when I was with Gene, we didn’t have to speak. I caught a glance at his manicured nails and tucked mine into my palms. I liked Gene. He wasn’t afraid to show his feminine side.

We took special care not to drag the metal chair legs across the glowing veneer of the hardwood floor. Its beauty came from the handiwork of the night cleaning crew who waited for us to leave so they could begin their labor.

We settled into our chairs when Rory Norris strode in, let the door slam and dumped his books on the table. His hazel eyes did a sweep across the room as if expecting an ambush. A few more pounds had crept onto his already thickening frame.

Rory patted his black leather jacket as he laid it over the chair. “Hey, people, did you notice if they lock the gates to the parking lot? My Beemer just got detailed and I don’t want some neighborhood juvenile mistaking it for a marker board.”

“Nice touch, Norris, letting us know you got a new BMW.” Richard Kleh came in pulled off his knitted skull cap, revealing an emerging bald crown. He nodded toward the door. “Go check for yourself. Hey, Hollis, did you finish the read?”

“Of course. You’re the one who never finishes a book.”

“Well, I finished this one. It had me going until the end. The characters were realistic and…and…”

“Memorable?” I could tell from his frown he wasn't kidding.

About the author: R. Franklin James was born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay Area. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and completed the masters program in Public Policy at California State University East Bay. She has also received her paralegal certification.

She and her husband live in northern California with their English Springer Spaniel, Bailey.

Catch Up With Ms. James:

1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?

I randomly collect ideas and put them in a note book. They will later evolve into scenes. But before I begin writing I start out with an outline which sometimes takes weeks to complete. It gives me a roadmap that I don’t always follow and I rarely have writer’s block. The outline is subject to revision all the way to “The End”.

2. Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?

I work and have an active family, so I write whenever and wherever I can. I used to write by hand because I could pull out a pad of paper anywhere, but now I prefer the computer, even if it means I have to wait until I get home. However, if I get inspired in the dentist office, I always carry a pen and pad of paper to jot the idea down.

3. Do you have much say in the title or covers of you books?

I have great publisher, Coffeetown Press/Camel Press imprint. They always ask for my opinion and so far there hasn’t been an issue.

4. Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?

I’m a debut author so everything is a surprise. That said, I didn’t realize how much having the support and professional expertise of a publishing house meant to getting a book into the hands of readers.

5. Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?

I read quite a bit and I’m always recommending books depending on what the reader has in mind. I like mysteries and thrillers, so I recommend Harlen Coben, Brad Meltzer, Chris Pavone and Cara Black. There’s probably another 20 names I could come up with.

6. Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?

From my early childhood, I loved to read. I always wanted to find just the right words to form sentences and scenes. I can’t remember not wanting to write.

7. Do you have a job outside of being an author?

I work as manager for a government office.

8. What would you tell a beginning writer?

To never give up. Don’t let rejection define you. Write your story in your voice. Learn the craft of writing and…did I say, never give up?

9. What were your favorite books growing up?

The Secret Garden, Nancy Drew, Grimms Fairy Tales, 1001 Arabian Nights

10. Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?

I have books on the nightstand, next to the nightstand and on the chair across from the nightstand. I just finished Chris Pavone’s debut novel, The Expats. I’m currently reading The Litigators by Grisham and Terminated by Simon Wood. Oh, and one non-fiction book: Feng Shui for the Soul (Linn)

11. If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?

This is a tough one. I always enjoyed Nora Ephron’s writing. But I would also like to meet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

12. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be?

Agatha Christie

13. Do you have a favorite quote?

“Books aren't written, they're rewritten. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.”
- Michael Crichton

14. In one sentence, why should we read your book?

You will want to read The Fallen Angels Book Club to be greatly entertained and story bound to the very last page.

15. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I love to do needlepoint.

Good Answer! 

16. What do you come up with first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?

I created Hollis Morgan after coming up with a plot. But because she was a force of her own, the following stories in the series developed based on her personality and traits.

17. What do you do in your spare time?

Read, needlepoint and gardening.

18. What does a day in your life look like?

A weekday is feed the dog, go to work, read during lunch, go home and fix dinner, write, read, sleep. A weekend day is full of house chores and writing, reading and sleeping. I do needlepoint with the TV on and garden when I can.

19. What does a day look like in the life of your main character?

Hollis’ day is a lot like mine. Except she hasn’t let a pet into her life and instead of writing she’s got a mystery to solve.

20. How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

They are proud of me and they have read my book at various times, but they are pragmatic people and I’m never sure if they quite understand what it takes to create fiction.

21. Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know?

The Fallen Angels Book Club is the first in a three book series. Hollis grows in character and awareness as she deals with life. It is my hope that readers will want to know how she overcomes her personal demons as she overcomes the external challenges and villains.

I know I am looking forward to learning more about Hollis!

22. What time of day do you like to write?

Any time. It’s easiest for me in the morning.

23. Where/when do you brainstorm best?

My ideas come from anywhere. I could overhear a conversation, or glimpse a word in a newspaper, or see a person standing on the corner. I’m open to it all.

24. How long do you think about a story before starting to write the book?

Not long. When I’m focused on a story I pretty much see it from beginning to end—of course all subject to change.

25. What is the most you have written in one day?

3000 words or about 12 pages

26. What themes do you love to read or write about?

I like to write about: second chances and how truth will win out.

27. What book fairs or events do you attend?

I attend Left Coast Crime and Book Passage Writers Conferences

28. What is your favorite way to promote a book?

Talking to a group of readers

29. If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

Hollis would quote Carl Bard: Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.

30. What book would you like to read again?

Ayn Rand’s – Atlas Shrugged
F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
Brad Meltzer – The Tenth Justice

31. If your book was made into a TV series or movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters? Feel free to add pics.

I could see Anne Hathaway or Ashley Judd playing Hollis.

32. Favorite childhood memory

Sitting in the attic on the floor with my best girlfriend exchanging stories we had written that afternoon.

Silly questions –
1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would like to be able to fly.

2. Do you have any hidden talents?
I make very lovely needlepoint pillows.

3. Night owl or early bird?
Early bird

4. Favorite season?

5. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
A woman for all Seasons

6. Favorite sport?

7. Favorite music?
Jazz or Chamber Music

8. Talk or text?

9. Cat or dog?

10. Guilty pleasure tv show?

11. Sweet or salty snacks?

12. Coffee or tea?

13. Favorite holiday destination?

14. If you could live in a literary world - what world would that be and why?
New York in the 1920’s – the world of salons

15. Most embarrassing moment? 
When I had a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

16. Favorite gadget?

17. If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
I would go forward because I always want to learn more.

18. Ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
 Doesn’t matter I’ll read any format. I guess I would give print a slight edge.

The Fallen Angels Book Club
Genre: Mystery / Amateur Dective
Publisher/Publication Date: Camel Press, May 1, 2013
ISBN: 1603819177 / 978-1603819176
264 pages

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Tour Participants


CMash said...

Wow!! What a post!! Both the interview and review are fantastic. Thank you for sharing about this title.

R. Franklin James said...

Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed, and thank you for the meaningful review. Books Two and Three are in the works, Hollis and I hope to give you more great reads.


Teena in Toronto said...

I enjoyed this book.



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