Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dying on the Vine
by Marla Cooper

Characters are great and glad to see them again in book 2.
~Babs Book Bistro

Dying on the Vine: A Mystery (Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries)
Series: Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries (Book 2)
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books (April 4, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250072559
E-Book ASIN: B01L7BD9VM

Synopsis

When wedding planner Kelsey McKenna goes to the Wine Country Wedding Faire, the last thing she expects to do is take on new clients. After all, she’s just there to help out her friend Brody and maybe score some free cupcakes. But when a young couple in a pinch asks for her help, she just can’t say no.
There’s only one problem: they’d been working with Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings—and things did not end well. Kelsey wants to make sure there are no hard feelings, but unfortunately she never gets the chance. When she goes to Babs’ office, she finds the wedding planner dead on the floor.
Babs’ high-strung assistant Stefan knows exactly who killed Babs: Kelsey. At least, that’s what he very publicly accuses her of at Babs’ funeral. When Kelsey decides to do a little sleuthing to clear her name, she uncovers a myriad of secrets and lies. And when a second wedding planner is attacked, Kelsey begins to wonder if she might be next.
Set against the stunning backdrop of California wine country, Marla Cooper’s Dying on the Vine is a mystery brimming with gossip, wine, and, of course…murder.
marla cooper

About The Author

As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
Author Links
Webpage – www.marla-cooper.com
Purchase Links 
Amazon  B&N


Review.jpg



I really enjoyed the story and thought the author did an amazing job of developing her characters. I loved the setting of a winery and it was easy to picture it  with the authors vivid description. What better place  to have a wedding then at a beautiful winery. The landscape is gorgeous, the main room is big and perfect for  large crowds. It makes a picturesque wedding  that any bride would love.

Kelsey is a wonderful wedding planner and has many clients. Of course in the wedding planning business there are many to choose from. Babs Norton seems to be the queen when it comes to being a wedding planner. She thinks she knows everything about Napa Valley and helps couples have the most exquisite weddings imaginable. Her assistant Stefan is kinda stuffy and I thought he was quite jealous of Babs. When Stefan accuses Kelsey of stealing clients the stage is set for disaster.

When Kelsey goes to see Babs at her office she is in for a shock. She finds Babs laying on the floor. With her quick thinking she calls 911. To me this is where the story really starts taking off. Of course the police suspect Kelsey and she is set to proof her innocence. I didn't care for the detectives at all. They seemed ready to throw Kelsey in jail and throw away the key.

The story has many twists that keep readers glued to the book. I loved Laurel who is Kelsey's assistant. She has spunk and is ready to play detective to help Kelsey out. The story takes us from wine country to quaint little Inns to a majestic house that  all play  an intricate part in the cleverly written story. I could actually feel my heart beating a little faster as more suspects and victims start to turn up. I love when an author is able to keep the identity of the killer hard to figure out. The book has lots of mystery and unsavory characters that take readers on a journey that lead to an exciting and unexpected  ending. I highly recommend you grab this book and get ready for a exhilarating look into the world of  wedding planners.

I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Book Tours. The review is my own opinion.

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Tour Participants
March 28 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
March 28 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
March 30 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 31 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
April 1 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
April 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – GUEST POST  
April 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
April 2 – Mystery Playground – GUEST POST
April 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 3 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
April 4 – Book Babble – REVIEW
April 4 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW
April 5 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
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April 7 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  
April 7 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 8 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
April 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
April 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
April 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017


DEATH BY CHOWDAH by DONNA WALO CLANCY

Oh my goodness this is an amazing start to a series that promises to be action packed. I am so in awe of the authors writing style. She is precise in descriptions that help readers visualize scenes with clarity. I have always loved lighthouses and even collect them. The author made me want to go visit one and just take in the history of the beautuful symbol of safety for ships.

Jeremy worked as a high powered lawyer in a very prestigious firm. When he does something unethical, he realizes he needs to leave. He returns to his hometown of Anchor Point on Cape Cod. I loved how the author gave a vivid account of the town and I was ready to pack my bags and move there. Jay as he goes by now has made a huge purchase that he hopes will bring many jobs to the people in town. He is now the proud owner of a haunted lighthouse and the land around it. The town is buzzing with excitement when they learn Jay is opening The Shipwreck Cafe. There is a lot of work and renovation to be done  and the author made me feel like I was right there watching workers as they hammered away. Will someone try to stop Jay from opening the cafe?

Robbie is a fun character. He is Jay's brother and seems to have an easy life. He surfs everyday and lives off his mother. Things sure do change when he is offered a job by Jay. I liked how they interacted with each other and felt their determination to make the cafe a success. The highlight of the menu is their moms famous chowder. The recipe is a guarded secret and no one has ever been able to duplicate the delicious dish.

My favorite character is none other than Roland. He is the resident ghost of the lighthouse and only a very few have seen him. I can't imagine seeing a ghost. I would scream and run as fast as I could. Jay is shocked when Roland starts talking to him. I have to say the author did an extraordinary job of making Roland so vivid. I would love to have him around to warn me of danger. Can Roland keep Jay and his family safe?

The story is surrounded in mystery and murder. There is a rumor of buried treasure and someone is willing to kill to find it. I was shocked when the first person was murdered. I didn't see it coming and it was a little sad . I won't give away the story, but I can say without a doubt this is one story you will not be able to put down. We have ghosts, pirates, buried treasure , sinister people and murders that start stacking up. The action never ends and with the gifted writing I was unable to figure out who the killer was. I love when I'm surprised at the end of a book and this one did not disappoint. The author brilliantly takes readers on a journey of deceit, danger, and a ghost who still protects the sea. Thank you for a story that captivated my attention and left me anxiously awaiting the next book.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


THE MEMORY OF YOU by CATHERINE WEST

The authors writing reminds me of a classical music piece. The words flow at a nice pace and  makes you feel good as you get attached to the characters. It  feels like a well done crescendo , gradually building  itself into a masterpiece filled with intrigue, memories  tears and love.

Natalie is a very interesting character and I instantly liked her. She has come to the family's winery to hopefully save it. Her grandfather has fallen ill and Natalie wants to make sure he is ok. As she sees the winery , memories rush back to her. There was a great loss in the family years ago and Natalie is still haunted by it. Can she face her nightmares and find peace and pick up the pieces of her shattered life? She has her hands full trying to keep on top of all the daily chores of running the winery. Her grandfather is thankful to see Natalie and hopefully with her help, the family business can be profitable again.

Tanner has been running the winery and when he discovers that Natalie is there, he is not sure if he should be happy to see her or start looking for another job. I loved how the author described how wine is made and how detailed she was . I could smell the wine as it was being processed and envisioned the delicate taste as the wine poured slowly into a glass. It is not easy running the place, but Tanner is hopeful that Natalie has an open mind. Tanner has some personal issues he needs to face and it is getting harder for him to ignore it.

When Natalie has a problem while driving one evening, she turns to Tanner to help her. It is hard for Natalie to explain why she had to pull over on the road. When she tells Tanner that she has PTSD, I felt his heart soften a bit. She is not the same person he use to know and wants to help her get past her bad memories. Is Natalie ready to face the past ?

 I loved the relationship between Natalie and her grandfather. She came to take care of him, but he wants to help her with her past. His sincere compassion for her is heartwarming and I have  to say I had tears in my eyes. The love he has for his granddaughter is beautiful and makes me miss my own grandfather. Natalie and Tanner are both struggling with their faith. They each must find a way back to God, learn to forgive and let go of the past. Will they be able to do it? Will Natalie close the family business? As I turned each page, I could feel the turmoil and pain the characters were going through. This  book is one I will never forget. It showed me how to let go of my past, trust again, forgive myself and soak in His presence .

'And forgiveness fell like sweet rain upon the thirsty ground of her soul."

I received a copy of this book from the author. The review is my own opinion.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

RETREAT TO SHELTER CREEK by LEE CARVER

Oh how I love the way this author writes.   She blends wonderful characters into a story that has intrigue , family values and the importance of helping others. The author is very gifted and keeps readers interested with realistic problems and solutions found through faith.

Ashley has come to take care of her grandmother that is quite ill. I loved the care Ashley showed and the unconditional love she has for her grandmother. Mama Lou is one tough lady and doesn't slow down even though she is going through a hard illness. I loved her giving heart and how much she loved the pig Beulah.  Beulah is a special pig and I loved how special she was to Ashley and Mama Lou. Ashley has more than she can handle when her husband leaves her, drains all the accounts and springs a shocking surprise on her. I was very impressed with how strong Ashley was and handled her problems with faith . She has a special relationship with her grandmother that I adored.

Austin is a wonderful character who has a lot on his shoulders. He is trying to keep the ranch going, raising his son and running a roofing business. When Austin comes to redo Mama  Lou's roof subtle sparks start flying between him and Ashley. I loved how the author brought them together and slowly developed their relationship. Things start looking up for Ashley and her grandmother until a tragedy strikes. I loved  how unexpected the story turned and brought intense drama and intrigue. I didn't see it coming but it sure was an exciting ride.

Will Ashley be able to trust her soon to be ex-husband? He seems desperate for her to sign papers. I wonder what devious scheme he has? Can Austin protect Ashley when her life is in danger? I loved how the community came together to help Ashley and Mama Lou. It was refreshing to see how much people care for one another and are willing to help at a moments notice. You don't want to miss this heart pounding story as danger draws close and faith holds people together.

I received a copy of this book from the author and The BookClub Network. The review is my own opinion.