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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 4 star ratings
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3.8 out of 5
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    If you like wine...

    Taylor O’Brian, a tour guide in Sonoma County, takes small groups on wine country tours. Taylor decides to guide some investors to the winery owned by her friend Tim Slade. But when an FDA inspector is found floating face down in one of Tim’s vats of squished grapes, Taylor has to find the killer before Tim is sent up the river. This was a good whodunit filled with suspense, intrigue, and wine. Taylor was a very likeable character who loved to take control and figure out the truth. She did things that would get her in trouble, although it was always to help someone she loved. The plot was intricate, and there were many suspects and red herrings to keep a reader guessing. I think this book would be a fun read for cozy mystery readers who love wine. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher and am voluntarily reviewing it.
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    The beleaguered tour guide

    amateur-sleuth, women-sleuths, murder, wine, California, law-enforcement, lawyers Taylor appears to be a magnet for dead bodies, and this one is a shady realtor discovered in a vat of very desirable zinfandel. She has some very good friends and a dear aunt who aid and abet her in all things. From this basic start, add in the beleaguered vintner, a fascinating sheriff and similar lawyer, an iffy and expensive guru, and Taylor's rather neglected tour guide business just for interest, then let the sleuthing begin! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley.
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    Love me some wine country!

    Taylor O’Brian, owner and operator for Off The Beaten Path tours in Sonoma County, has a lot going on in this book. Her good friend Tim Slade is arrested for murder when he finds a body in a vat of wine during one of her tours, she’s got competition from a new, and rapidly rising tour operator whose business is booming, she’s attracted to two strong and attractive men, and her beloved Aunt Jemma is put at risk when it seems she and the gang are hot on he murderer’s trail. While there is a lot going on, the story lines all fit in together and you don’t feel like there a disconnected stories taking you all over. What you will find are a lot of suspects, some surprises along the way, and surprise ending that will keep you in suspense until the very end. I enjoyed the quirky aspects of the quirky tours, the committed friendships that Taylor has, and the wine country setting. I did find Taylor a tad flakey for someone who had such a successful career before heading to be with her Aunt Jemma. Hopefully she will evolve and bring her business acumen to the winery and her business over the next few books. Overall, this is a solid mystery that will have you wishing for more from this author and series.
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    The second A Wine Country Mystery

    Seven Deadly Zins is the second book in A Wine Country Mystery series and I did feel it can stand on its own. Taylor O’Brian was lured to Sonoma County by her Aunt Jemma from her job in advertising in San Francisco. Instead of working at Aunt Jemma’s winery, Taylor created Off the Beaten Path to provide tourists with unique wine tours. Unfortunately, Bridget Miller decided to do the same thing and her business has doubled since she began (with fancy pink buses too). It would help if Taylor networked and advertised her business (use social media too). The author started this storyline and then it disappeared. I wonder if she will pick it up again in the next book. Taylor is a slightly annoying main character who wants to help her friends when they need assistance which is how she gets herself mixed up in a second murder. Taylor enjoys spending time with her girlfriends eating barbecue and drinking wine (they do this frequently). There are two men who are potential love interests for Taylor and she waffles between them. I hope the author is not heading down the love triangle road. The mystery appears to be convoluted, but the solution can effortlessly be discerned. I was not a fan of how the police were portrayed (that they were not up to the task of solving the crime). Taylor believes she can solve the crime better than the professionals and believes she is always right. The author took the time to describe the female characters outfits (every single one of them) in detail. I wish the author had spent the time describing what zinfandel looks and tastes like instead (I reached the end of the book and still had no clue—you can tell that I do not drink wine). I also felt that Aunt Jemma’s fake séance was not needed in the book (really did not add anything). The story could have used more character development and depth along with stronger dialogue. Seven Deadly Zins is a slow starter, but it picks up as the story progresses. There are some loose ends at the end of the book plus there are missing details (Aunt Jemma’s last name and the name of her winery for example). I am giving Seven Deadly Zins 3 out of 5 stars. Seven Deadly Zins is an airy cozy mystery with recipes at the end.
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