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Review: Killer Chardonnay by Kate Lansing

Killer Chardonnay

Kate Lansing

A Colorado Wine Mystery, Book 1

Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2020 by Berkley Books

A young winery owner won’t let one sour grape ruin the bunch in the first installment of this exciting cozy mystery series.

Parker Valentine has always dreamed of opening her own winery in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. But she gets more than she bargained for when a food and wine critic unexpectedly shows up at Vino Valentine on opening day. A negative review could be fatal for her business, and not only does he seem to hate her chardonnay, he also collapses and dies shortly after drinking it.

Although Parker hoped that the attendees would put a cork in it, soon her winery is at the center of a social media firestorm. With #killerchardonnay trending online, Parker’s business is in danger of closing, and she has no choice but to investigate the murder herself.

To restore her reputation, catch a killer, and keep her struggling business open, Parker needs only one thing: some good proof.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

Parker Valentine is about to see her dream come true. Her winery Vino Valentine, is opening its door. The wine is ready to flow, allowing Parker’s talent shine through grapes and fruits she blends. Opening day is not quite what Parker envisioned when a local food and wine critic unexpectedly stumbles into Vino Valentine. Not being too found of Parker’s Chardonnay, Mr. Critic doesn’t manage to stumble his way back out of the winery when he ends up dead on the floor. Creating the hashtag #killerchardonnay. Parker is caught in the middle of a hot mess as she instantly goes from a new business owner to one trying to save her business.

Parker rocks! I love how she approached everything that was happening around her. She was smooth, just like her wines. She could’ve fallen apart at many points in time yet she held her head high and made it her mission to get to the bottom of it. The descriptions of the wines alone make me wanna run to my local vineyard and see if I can find something even remotely close. I could totally see myself hanging out at the Vino Valentine. The mystery is well written. The story flows easy and just when you think you have it figured out, nope. Kate Lansing throws that twist that changes the game. The story flows so easily and the characters entertain and intrigue before you know it you have become fully invested in Parker. Killer Chardonnay is a mystery, with a good deal of suspense and a great heaping of romance added in. We all know I love the romance, Ms. Lansing blended it perfectly making it an enjoyable part of the story.

Killer Chardonnay is an easy lighthearted enjoyable cozy mystery that is just the beginning to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic series.

The cat, Zin!!!! That cat, any cat owner will completely understand.

 

 

Review: Pumpkin Spice Peril by Jenn McKinlay

 

Pumpkin Spice Peril

Jenn McKinlay

A Cupcake Bakery Mystery, Book 12

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2020 by Berkley Books

In the twelfth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay, the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew follows the clever crumb trail of a killer who’s anything but cookie-cutter.

Life is all sugar and spice for the Fairy Tale Cupcake bakers–Melanie Cooper is engaged to the delectable Joe DeLaura, Angie Harper and her husband Tate are savoring married life, and the bakery is bustling with happy customers. Until one of their most valued cupcake connoisseurs ends up dead.

Local glass artist and cupcake lover Rene Fischer-Klein has always suffered from a wide variety of health issues. In an effort to cheer her up, her doting husband, Peter, brings her a four-pack of her favorite cupcakes every week. But when the police discover that Rene has been poisoned, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that the last things she ate were the bakery’s signature pumpkin spice cupcakes! With their lives and bakery at stake, it’s up to Mel and Angie to find out who poisoned their artist friend and why, before their future is frosted for good.

 

 

 

 

4 Stars

 

Pumpkin Spice Peril is an entertaining and light read that brings out the laughs.

Mel’s life is surrounded by sweetness on so many levels. She has a bakery that produces the best cupcakes in town, her best friend and business owner is happily married and Mel herself is riding the wave to the happiness that is wedded bliss. Life just may be on the verge of perfect for our lovely cupcake baker.

Mel’s cake goes flat when her good friend and client, Rene is in a state unlike she’s ever seen before and becomes a victim of murder. Now Who could think the delectable goodness that is cupcakes or their maker could be anyway responsible for this tragedy has lost her mind.
Mel and her gang at Fairy Tale Cupcakes bake up a few laughs while a few of them find themselves asking questions, causing questions or chasing after answers. Mel has once again found her way smack in the middle of a murder investigation and no lack of sweetness will slow her down to figure out the who and why.

Jenn McKinlay’s Pumpkin Spice Peril is like walking into your local neighborhood bakery and visiting with friends that you’ve known forever. Even if you’ve just met them. Ms. McKinlay gives readers wonderful characters blooming with personality and charm, in a fun, warm and welcome setting. Pumpkin Spice Peril is a light hearted read yet the plot is solid and will make you think. Not to mention if you don’t want a cupcake by chapter 3 you probably don’t like sweets. I have not read this entire series and the titles that I have read were in no sense of order whatsoever, Pumpkin Spice Peril is a treat for the new reader or those that have been following for a while.

 

 

Review: Al Dente’s Inferno by Stephanie Cole

Al Dente’s Inferno 
Stephanie Cole
 
Tuscan Cooking School Mystery, Book 1 
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Berkley Books

 

 

An American chef will have to serve up more than good eats if she wants to establish a successful farm-to-table cooking school in Tuscany, in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in Italy.

When Nell Valenti is offered a chance to move to Tuscany to help transform an aging villa into a farm-to-table cooking school, she eagerly accepts. After all, both her job and her love life in America have been feeling stale. Plus, she’ll get the chance to work under the acclaimed Italian Chef Claudio Orlandini.

But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. With only a day to go until the launch dinner for the cooking school, the villa is in shambles, and Chef O is blissfully oblivious of the work that needs to be done before a group of local dignitaries arrive, along with a filmmaker sent to showcase and advertise the new school. The situation only worsens when Nell discovers that the filmmaker is an ex-boyfriend, and he’s found murdered later that night. Even worse, Chef O has disappeared, and accusations of murder could shut the school down for good.

As tensions reach a boiling point at the villa, Nell must throw her chef’s hat into the ring, and investigate the murder herself. Because if she fails to solve the case, her career, or even her life, could be next on the chopping block

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Stars

 

Al Dente’s Inferno is the first book in Stephanie Cole’s new Tuscan Cooking School Mystery series.  Murder, mystery and a bit of romance are all lurking on the Tuscan countryside.

 

Chef Neil has found herself in a unique position of being able to help open a cooking school with her idol of a chef. Neil gets more than she bargained for while trying to start this farm to table is cooking school.  Neil is a hard worker with a deep sense of pride. She’s knowledgeable in what she does, and seems to handle stress better than most. But opening a cooking school and solving a murder are two completely different things.

 

Al Dente’s Inferno introduces readers to a beautiful setting within the Tuscan countryside. It was very easy to imagine the kitchen in which they were cooking and the olive fields outside of the house. I honestly could almost smell garlic if I tried hard enough.  Along with a colorful, charismatic and tight knit group of characters Neil uses her power of observation along with a little bit of nosiness to try to get to the bottom of the mystery.

 

Al Dente’s Inferno had the potential to be an exceptional read, however I found a few hiccups along the way. The amount of actual Italian used in the book made it very hard for me to read. Using a word or two here or there is not an issue but when you are using full phrases and several sentences at a time, anyone who does not have an understanding of the language is going to have a hard time. I do think the use of the Italian language to give the book a more authentic feel however for myself It was almost too much and began to take away from the entire feel and mood of the book.  I also felt that some of the characters were almost too much of a mystery. The characters that we got to know were very enjoyable but there is a cast we still know little about.  Neil, Pete and Chef were amazing and I felt like it was because we really got to know them. Stephanie Cole has a good foundation with the start of the series. I am hoping through the next book that we will actually get to know the characters a little more, the language barrier is not so high and the story will flow a little more evenly.