Posted in Thoughts

Review – Of Merlot and Murder by Joni Folger

(A Tangled Vines Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
MIDNIGHT INK (September 8, 2014)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738740768
E-Book File Size: 2380 KB


Foul play at the festival

When her family’s winery becomes one of the sponsors at the Lost Pines Food and Wine Festival, Elise Beckett’s spirits soar at the chance to help with their booth. But as the festival gets underway, her cheerful mood turns sour when rival vintner Divia Larson is found dead.

With all clues pointing to her grandmother as the prime suspect, Elise and her deputy sheriff boyfriend team up to clear her name. But Divia’s murder is as complex as a fine wine, with a strong bouquet of suspicion, bitter notes of betrayal, and more than a hint of danger. Will Elise and Jackson be able to untangle the mess before another victim is corked?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Thank goodness Elise and Jax are a couple because any other law enforcement officer would lock her up for her investigating. Sometimes she crosses the line by a mile and it usually ends up with her needing him to come to her rescue. But it does make a great story for us readers to enjoy.

Elise Beckett is a very independent woman with a serious shoe shopping problem but with her grandmother at the top of the suspect list she is not going to sit idly by. She gets into trouble when she gets her family and friends involved in her inquires and they are not a subtle bunch plus they don’t have enough sense to realize the killer could come after them. I love the way they all band together to help but let’s face it they don’t know what they are doing. The dialogue is priceless and sometimes full of a humor but the predicaments they find themselves in may not end up being too funny.

Folger has created a wonderful cast full of great people readers will love and plenty of suspects who they will love to hate. I love the setting of the food and wine festival, it really uncorks a bottle full of people who could have reasons to want the woman dead. Divia did not have many friends but she had plenty of enemies. There is quite a tangled web of clues, secrets revealed and lies uncovered.

The author has blended a fine mystery that I really enjoyed. Like wine this series continues to get better with age. I liked book two even more than more one. I can’t wait to decant the next story in this series.

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To find out more about Joni Folger and her books visit her webpage here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway: Grapes of Death by Joni Folger

grapes of deathGrapes of Death
(A Tangled Vines Mystery)

New Series!
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Cover Illustration by Ken Joudrey
Cover Design by Kevin Brown
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738737522
E-Book File Size: 859 KB


Elise Beckett’s family owns a vineyard in River Bend, Texas. Her boyfriend, Stuart, lives and works in Dallas. About a 5 hour drive apart. They had met through his work for the Texas Organic Garden and Research Foundation. Elise is trying to develop a grapevine that can tolerate the Texas heat and droughts. They have been doing the long distance relationship thing for about 6 months with Elise doing most of the traveling. He has offered her a dream job in organic horticulture research, but her family is really counting on her to stay working in the family business. Since her dad died they need her more than ever. Her Uncle Edmond is no help, he was really upset when his brother left the whole vineyard to his wife and cut Edmund out completely. Every day Edmund comes up with a new plan to provoke the family.

Then Uncle Edmond’s body is found dead on vineyard land. At first it is thought it was an accidental drowning but the cause soon points to murder and every Beckett, even Elise, is a suspect. In fact there appears to be a long tangled vine of suspects. Elise just can’t leave things to her friend since childhood, Deputy Jackson (Jax) Landry. Hopefully she won’t become the murderer’s next victim.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
When I think of vineyards in the United States I think California, not Texas. I was excited to uncork this one and I was not disappointed. In fact I read it from start to finish in one sitting.

The first book in a new series is a huge undertaking because the author needs to not only introduce the characters and the setting but give readers an interesting mystery with plenty of twists and turns. Folger did that and more. The mystery was complicated and kept me guessing almost to the very end. My “aha moment” was just a bit before Elise’s.

Folger has laid a great foundation for the series to go forward and she gave us characters that we care about and want to see what direction they take. Plus she described the setting beautifully and even explained how hard it is to grow grapes in Texas.

All that being said we have just scratched the surface of these characters. The have plenty of room to grow from Elise and Jax, the main characters, to all the supporting characters of Elise’s family. I think this is going to be a very interesting series.

Pour yourself a nice glass of wine and curl up with this cozy as soon as you can.

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