Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – Dying on the Vine by Marla Cooper – Great Escapes Book Tour

Dying on the Vine: A Mystery (Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries)
Series: Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries (Book 2)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California

Publisher: Minotaur Books (April 4, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250072559



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.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We find wedding planner Kelsey McKenna helping out her photographer friend Brody at the Wine Country Wedding Faire.  She is surprised when a young couple approaches her about helping them with their wedding. It seems the father of the bride fired their wedding planner and their wedding is only a couple of weeks away. She has stepped in before for a one day commitment before and has room in her schedule so she quickly accepts. Then she learns the couple’s previous planner was none other than Babs Norton, the Queen of Wine Country Weddings.  Kelsey calls Babs and is amazed when Babs asks her to just stop by her office and pick up their file. But she is thunderstruck when she arrives to find Babs dead. Things get worse for Kelsey when Babs’ assistant points his finger at her as the killer. She needs to clear her name fast. She is worried she may be the killer’s next victim.

The setting for this book sounds absolutely outstanding. In the California wine country many vineyards have places to host events like weddings. The new couple Kelsey is working with has booked one of the most popular and posh of them. They even have special caves that can be booked for smaller gatherings. Kelsey is also working with the the owner of a more rustic site to start hosting events.

While the core characters of Kelsey, Brody, Laurel return from book one, Terror in Taffeta, the rest of the characters are new. The wedding party, Babs and her assistant, and the staff at the venues all bring their personalities to the story. They are introduced well and very developed. Laurel also takes on a greater role in this story. She, Kelsey and Brody make a great team. Laurel pushes Kelsey in all the right ways and Brody tries the best he can to reel her in when she starts to go too far. Notice I said “tries”. There are also a lot of funny moments with these three, such great dialogue, very true to life. 

The author gives us plenty of suspects to ponder. Brody even brings Kelsey a big dry erase board to create her “murder board” to keep everyone straight. She chases down several false leads and has many theories but when all the clues fall into place and she realizes the truth it makes perfect sense.

I loved the ending of the story but I didn’t want this story to end. These have become some of my favorite cozy literary characters. I am excited to see where the next wedding takes them.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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   Blog  Facebook     Twitter

Purchase Links 

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Praise for Dying on the Vine
by Marla Cooper

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

I really enjoyed the story and thought the author did an amazing job of developing her characters.
~Texas Book-aholic

I think she blew the cozy world away with this series.
~Bibliophile Reviews

The mystery is well plotted and quite complex; there’s no way I could have figured out the murderer’s identity.
~The Power of Words

This was a fun read over spring break – enough action, quick pace, yet light and easy to follow.
~Christa Reads and Writes

…all the elements were blended together with a hand worthy of the tastiest Napa vintage. So add this one to your wine cellar – and your bookshelf.
~Back Porchervations

This is a quick easy read, and the wine country setting was great fun to read about.
~Book Babble

I read book one and liked it very much. I have to say book 2 is even better then book 1…
~T’s Stuff

You won’t want to stop reading once you start. Add this one to your reading list, you will love it.
~Shelley’s Book Case

This is a refreshing read, to disconnect and enjoy a good time while the wedding of your dreams is prepared and guessing who could be the killer.

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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 – REVIEW, 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
April 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
April 6 – Varietats – REVIEW
April 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
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
April 10 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

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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 Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Marla Cooper – Author of Terror in Taffeta – #Review / #Giveaway

special guest blue

I am super excited to have Marla Cooper visit today!

marla cooper


Help me plan my next escape!
By Marla Cooper

I always knew I’d have fun writing a mystery series about a destination wedding planner. Sending my main character off to far-flung places with people she barely knew? All with the stress and drama that a wedding brings about? And everyone expects her to be able to fix things? I knew I’d found the perfect setup for chaos and mayhem.

TERROR IN TAFFETAWhat I didn’t realize is how much fun I’d have living vicariously through my main character’s travels. Each book is set in a different location, and so far, I’m loving our adventures together.

The first book, Terror in Taffeta, is set in San Miguel de Allende, a small and exceedingly romantic colonial village in central Mexico. (Think cobblestone streets, strolling mariachis, and a 17th-century church bordering the town square.)

Book two is set in the California Wine Country, with rolling hills covered in vineyards and beautiful wineries that include Victorian farmhouses, gothic mansions and regal chateaus. It’s a beautiful place to get married, and as an added bonus, I get to drink wine “for research.”

So now comes the fun part: choosing a destination for book three! Let’s take a moment to daydream together, shall we? So far, my nominees are:

Hawaii: White sand beach fringed by swaying palm trees. Remote waterfalls that can only be accessed by helicopter. Crystal-clear lagoons where sea turtles frolic in the water. And umbrella drinks! I think having my main character plan a beach wedding at some point is practically mandatory. The only question is, should it be Hawaii or someplace more exotic, like the Cayman Islands?

Reykjavik: I talked to a library group and the conversation turned to future destinations. One woman nominated Reykjavik, and I have to say, I’m intrigued! It seems like everyone is going there—but since I’ve never been, I’d have to go on a research trip before I even got to start writing. Of course the Northern Lights would play a part. Maybe someone disappears while everyone’s busy staring up at the sky?

Florida Keys: There are two places in the Florida Keys that would be great for a mystery novel because they’re so remote. One is the Dry Tortugas (terrible name, fascinating location) which is the United States’ most remote national park. The other is Little Palm Island, a super luxurious (and expensive!) resort that can only be reached by boat. Instead of a locked-room mystery, it would be an inescapable-island mystery!

Italy: Okay, maybe it’s just because I REALLY want an excuse to go back to Italy, but this one appeals to me a lot. If I were picking where in Italy I would like to go to a wedding… the Amalfi Coast comes to mind. (I was invited to a wedding there once and am still kicking myself that I didn’t go.) But from a mystery standpoint, I think Venice would be an amazing setting, what with the gondolas, the architecture, and the sublimely twisty streets. (You know there’s going to be a chase scene!)

Las Vegas: I think this could be a lot of fun, but there wouldn’t really be much for Kelsey to plan. Maybe someone elopes and she’s invited as a guest. I’m thinking novella here: quickie wedding, quickie book!

Okay, I want to hear what you think! Leave me a comment telling me your top pick—and if you have any more nominations, I’d love to hear them!

~Marla Cooper


Terror in Taffeta: A Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Mexico
Minotaur Books (March 22, 2016)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250072566
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Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.

Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kelsey McKenna is a wedding planner and is dealing with a “momzilla” of the bride. The couple decided on a destination wedding in Mexico much to the mom’s dismay and now she is trailing after Kelsey to make sure the wedding goes as planned. She even seems to blame Kelsey when one of the bridesmaids faints during the service. But the girl didn’t just faint, she died… as in murdered… and the police arrest the bride’s sister. Momzilla places the whole thing firmly on Kelsey’s shoulders, expecting her to get her daughter released, find a killer, and cater to every whim while they are detained in Mexico.

This was a wonderful mystery, Kelsey is a great protagonist. I was very impressed with the way she ran her business and truly tried to do everything that was demanded of her. In fact all the primary and supporting characters were so realistic as was their dialogue. Momzilla, Mrs. Abernathy, was an absolute nightmare as a client and her demands just had me shaking my head. The bride and groom were pretty laid back, sometimes this made Kelsey’s job harder. Wedding photographer, and best friend, Brody Marx, makes a good Watson to Kelsey’s Holmes. They worked so well together.

The story flows so well, there was always something happening. The plot is complex with several twists and surprises. It is also a story that is not short on humor.

San Miguel de Allende sounds like an ideal place for a wedding or vacation. The villa the family had rented came complete with chef, Fernando, and I could almost taste all the delicious treats he created. He was also a good ally for Kelsey.

I am surprised this is Marla Cooper’s first novel, she is definitely an author to watch. Terror in Taffeta is a perfect escape filled with fantastic characters. I am looking forward to Dying on the Vine which be will be released in March 2017.

perfect 2016

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Marla Cooper was astonished when, at the age of 18, she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting professor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter.

After moving to San Francisco, she became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and now she writes a little bit of everything, including travel writing, web copy, and even the occasional haiku. While ghostwriting a book on destination weddings, she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta—the first in a series about a destination wedding planner.

Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

To learn more, visit or visit her blog at She is also on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.

Marla is giving 1 copy of the book away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Marla for 5 Bonus Entries.  Leave me a comment telling me your top pick—and if you have any more nominations, I’d love to hear them!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 21, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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.”