Seven Deadly Zins

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

This series is one that I wasn't sure if I would enjoy but I've found it to be interesting.  I love Taylor's tours and the interesting information that comes with each book.

The book is well-written and I feel like Taylor has become a friend.  Although I wasn't a fan of the 'guru' angle, it did provide for an interesting break from the mystery. 

I'm looking forward to the next one in the series!
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In this second installment of Nancy J. Parra’s A Wine Country Mystery series, Seven Deadly Zins, we become reacquainted with Taylor O’Brian who owns Off the Beaten Path Wine Country Tours.  Taylor’s fledgling business seems to be taking off, that is until a body is discovered in a wine vat during one of her tours.  A rival uses this to her advantage and Taylor know that she must solve the murder to save her business.  A fun and engaging read!
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Taylor O'Brian is back, running her 'Off The Beaten Path' wine tours and helping her Aunt Jemma at her aunt's winery in Sonoma, California. In this book, Taylor is up against a rival tour guide, who somehow seems to have got the lock on all the best tourist bits in town, despite only having been up and running for a couple of months. Then there's the body that's found in her friend Tim's fermentation vat, and a second body in the form of a popular spiritual adviser who has been holding some talks in Sonoma. Oh, and then her Aunt Jemma gets kidnapped...Taylor involves herself in the investigation when her friend Tim is suspected of the first murder, a real estate developer who Tim's girlfriend, Mandy, worked part-time for. But what was he doing in the vat?

There's a lot of stuff going on in this book, and the three main themes don't really integrate with each other, although there are some light overlaps. But I struggled to fully connect with Taylor in this go around. I just...didn't like her much. And has Holly always been such a dimwit?

I felt like I was driving on square tires with respect to the dialogue, it felt that clunky. And I had a couple of questions: Aunt Jemma didn't attend the tour at Tim's winery where he said he stirred his fermentation tanks at 10AM and 10PM. So how does she know this when she says it to Taylor when Taylor gets back and tells her aunt about the first murder? Also, I felt it was really random/convenient to have Tim at the scene of the second murder, for all of about 2 minutes. Why was he there? Why WOULD he be there? He didn't believe in Mandy's spiritual adviser's gumphf in the first place, so for him to be at a talk, and particularly be backstage at it, simply doesn't make sense. So there's that.

Overall, I didn't dislike it, but I'm not sure it's a series I'll continue as it took me a few days to get through it, and I have others I enjoy far more.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts
Taylor O’Brian owns Off the Beaten Path Wine Country Tours. She offers unique outings for small groups to visit local wineries and other points of interest in Sonoma County. This time she has a group of investors and their first stop is a winery owned by her friend Tim Slade. Unfortunately when Tim demonstrates one of the key processes of winemaking he gets a terrible surprise. A body in one of the vats. Without an alibi, he is arrested. Tim can rub some folks the wrong way, but he is not a killer. Since this is not the first time Taylor has been involved in a murder investigation she knows the ropes. She knows she is going to have to come up with a least one alternate suspect. Strangely it is a visit to see a self-help guru that points Taylor in the right direction. Yes, she is there when another dead body is found, but it helps her to start to uncork this wine filled mystery.

There is a lot happening in this story and at times it gets to be a little chaotic. In addition to the main murder mystery, Taylor learns she has new competition in the wine tour realm. I must say the other woman seems far more organized and business savvy, she makes Taylor look like an amateur. Also, Dr. Adam Brinkman, a renowned self-help guru comes to town and crowds are lined up for his seminars. Aunt Jemma leads a “seance” when her psychic friend is unavailable and then that psychic takes over one of Taylor’s tours when Taylor has to handle a family crisis. It all blends together but not as smoothly as I would have liked. There is a really nice twist at the end that really saved this story for me.

Taylor has evolved a little bit since the first book, A Case of Syrah, Syrah, but I still find her frustrating. She is her own worst enemy. She pushes ahead without a clear plan of where she is headed or what she is trying to accomplish. She leads with her heart and not with her head, which can be endearing until it happens too often. I enjoyed her get-togethers with her friends and the relationship she has with her aunt. There are two potential love interests for her but she is indecisive about them as well.

The setting is wonderful. I could picture most of the places traveled very easily. I have always wanted to take a vacation to Sonoma and visit as many wineries as possible. The setting and the colorful covers are what really drew me to this series.

This story missed the mark for me a little bit, but I have hope that Taylor will continue to evolve and I will grow to like her as much as I do the supporting cast.
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Seven Deadly Zins is the second book in the Sonoma Wine Country Mystery series! We meet up again with Taylor O’Brian who again stumbles upon another dead body and her good friend Tim is the number one suspect. Can Taylor clear his name?

I LOVED the first book in the series, and the second book was even better! Everything about it was outstanding—the characters were all still delightfully charming and the mystery left me in awe. It was so creative and twisty and just well-executed! It literally captured my attention and grasped me until I turned that last page. It was awesome! 

I can’t wait for the next book in the series! I’m excited to see what will happen between Taylor, Patrick and the Sheriff. Who will she choose? Ah, I can’t wait.
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There was definitely a lot happening in this second installment from Taylor finding out she's got wine tour competition to her neighbor who owns a winery being charged with two murders. Lots of secrets were being kept too, and it was a pretty exciting race to the finish towards the end of the book where there was an unexpected twist. The person I thought did it was completely innocent! 

I'm really glad that Chelsea, Holly and now Taylor's investigative reporter friend was back and helping them. We got to meet Sarah, Aunt Jemma's psychic friend who did contribute a little info about the first murder. Tim Slade was the neighboring winery owner who was charged with murder, not once but twice, and Taylor felt an obligation to him as a friend to investigate and see what she could do, after all, she caught the last killer. At the end of this, everyone was happy doing what they do best. 

Gotta admit, I was hoping that Taylor's rival would end up having to be closed down or be involved with the killings somehow-- the woman is just mean and snarky, lol But she's a go-getter, and just possibly Taylor will learn something about improving her own business by knowing she's got tough competition. Only the future books can tell for sure! I'm anxious to keep on reading this series!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley and my opinions are my own.
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“Seven Deadly Zins” earns 4/5 Glasses of Blood Red Zin…Clever and Entertaining!

Cheers! I was very eager to join Nancy J. Parra fans of her Wine Country Mystery, and although I started with the second book in the series, I never felt at a disadvantage because the references to background and character connections kept me engaged. Taylor O’Brian has moved to live with her aunt on her aunt’s Sonoma winery, and dreams of making her own way begins with starting her own business, Off the Beaten Path Wine Tours. But, she didn't expect coming “taste to taste” with a dead body in the vat at a friend’s winery. The mystery followed the traditional cozy formula I enjoy (happen upon a dead body, family or friends implicated, amateur investigation needed, and perp is caught), and delightfully colored with an interesting setting, unique business focus, quirky characters, additional murder, and easy-to-follow recipes. I enjoyed my reading experience hoping to see more with the competitive twist in Taylor’s business, romantic entanglements, and information on wine and the industry. I will go back to read book one and future books, but I see room for characters to develop more and dialogue to be less casual. I would like to see a more collaborative, rather than combative, relationship with law enforcement. All-in-all I recommend this book to cozy fans!
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Taylor O'Brian's wine touring company is taking a group to her wealthy friend Tim Slade's Sonoma winery. But things go awry when they find a body floating in a fermentation tank. The victim was real estate agent Jeffery Hoag who was also the boss of Tim's girlfriend Mandy. Tim is arrested for Hoag's murder and Taylor wants to help Tim by finding the real killer. Meanwhile, Taylor's best friend Holly and other Sonoma locals are eager to attend the lecture of celebrity healing guru Dr. Brinkman. Another murder occurs after Brinkman's lecture and Tim once again is the prime suspect. Taylor, her aunt Jemma and journalist friend Chelsea follow several leads and the trail leads to a senator and plans to develop a large compound to accommodate Brinkman's followers. Then someone kidnaps Aunt Jemma and demands that Taylor stop their investigations but feisty Taylor isn't willing to just sit back and let the Sheriff's department rescue Aunt Jemma. 

I received an eARC via Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book and provided this review.
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Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra has us traveling to Sonoma County, California.  Taylor O’Brian owns and runs Off the Beaten Path which features quirky wine tours.  Tim Slade, who owns Rock Paths Winery, asks Taylor to bring a tour by his winery and she is happy to accommodate him.  The following week, Taylor brings a group of entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in wineries by Tim’s winery.  Tim is demonstrating to the tour group how he stirs a vat of zin twice a day when a purple body floats to the top.  The victim is realtor, Jeffery Hoag who Tim had a public argument with recently.  When Tim is arrested for Jeffery’s murder, Taylor starts nosing around.  Dr. Adam Brinkman, offers seminars on spiritual healing, has arrived in town and he is causing quite a stir.  Mandy, Tim’s girlfriend, is gaga for the guru and gets Taylor into one of his seminars.  After the lecture, Mandy takes Taylor to meet Dr. Brinkman.  Taylor sees Tim who is currently out on bail exiting the man’s dressing room and find Dr. Brinkman dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of his chest.  Tim is once again arrested and this time he is denied bail.  Something smells off and Taylor intends to get to the bottom of this conundrum.  She is also dealing with a rival tour owner who is taking the area by storm.  Just when Taylor seems to be making headway on the case, Aunt Jemma is kidnapped.  Can Taylor get a bead on the killer before it is too late?

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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I was entertained by the quirky characters and funny situations that played into developing this solid mystery.  I found the multifaceted plot engaging, as it drew me from the role of curious bystander to unintentional sleuth. I appreciated the unexpected turn of events and surprise perpetrator. I love it when overlooked clues were right there in plain sight.
I voluntarily read an advanced review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley and I offer my honest opinion in response.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining mystery set in the Sonoma wine country. I found the characters to be engaging and with a good sense of humor. Plenty of twists left me guessing until the end. I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher and this is my honest opinion.
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Seven Deadly Zins is the second book in the A Wine Country Mystery series.

Taylor O’Brian has recently formed Off The Beaten Path and provides tours of the smaller wineries and walking tours of some of the beautiful spots in the area.  Her next group that will be touring is a group of investors looking to purchase or invest in local wineries.  Tim Slade, who owns a winery near Taylor’s Aunt Jemma asks when his winery will be one of the stops on her tours.  She agrees to include with this group.  As Tim is explaining the process of producing wine he finds a body in one the vats.  The will soon be identified as Realtor Jeffrey Hoag.  Tim’s girlfriend, Mandy, worked for Hoag in his real estate office.  Sheriff Hennessey feels he has enough evidence to charge Tim with the murder of Hoag.  Taylor’s friend, a lawyer, is able to get Tim released on bail.

Also going on in Sonoma, Dr. Brinkman, a meditation guru, has moved to town and is seeking new followers.  Mandy has arranged for free tickets to Taylor, Holly, Taylor’s best friend, and Chelsea, a friend and newspaper reporter.   Drinks are provided to everyone to “relax” the potential followers.  Taylor and Chelsea decide to abstain, but Holly drinks hers.  After the meeting, Holly wants to pursue the meditation ritual that Brinkman is backing.  Taylor and Chelsea feel that there was something mind-altering in the drink.  A couple of days later, Holly wants to go to another meeting and Taylor agrees to go along to make sure Holly doesn’t turn over savings to the group.  When they arrive, Mindy sees them and offers to take them backstage to meet Dr. Brinkham.  What they find is Tim looking over Brinkaham’s body and Tim has blood on his shirt.  Once again the police arrest him and bail will be denied.

Taylor can’t believe that Tim would ruin a vat of wine by putting a dead body in a vat and with the help of Chelsea and Holly they set out to find the killer.

In addition to being concerned about finding the killer, Taylor is also concerned about the new tour company that has just started operating.  The owner, Bridget, has a high-tech bus and Taylor is worried about Bridget taking away some of her business.

A wonderful addition this fun series which also has an interesting cast of characters.

Recipes are also included with the book.

I will be watching for the next book in the series.
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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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Princess Fuzzypants here:  If I was visiting Sonoma, I would book one of Taylor’s Off the Beaten Track tours.  They sound like great fun.  It’s her side “hobby” of solving murders that leads her into dangerous waters.  It seems during a tour of a local winery, she is there when a body is pulled out of the fermenting vat.  Despite his noble effort at trying the revive the deceased, the owner of the vineyard is arrested for the murder of a local realtor.
Taylor must double down her effort when it turns out he is arrested once again, after he makes bail, for the murder of a self help guru.  Things are not looking good for him and take a decidedly dangerous turn for both Taylor and her aunt.  What is worse, it seems that every time she turns around, the bad guys know what is going on.
I must admit I suspected one of the villains from the outset but the secondary villain was a surprise.  
I give it four purrs and two paws up.
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My knowledge of wines is limited to white, red and champagne but this series is one I enjoy. The setting of Sonoma county and the characters of Taylor and her Aunt Jemma are the draws for me. Put a cat on the book cover and I'm ready to sit down and get lost in the mystery.
Taylor has come to live with her Aunt and to help her with her business but, at the same time, Taylor wants to strike out on her own. She sets herself up with a VW bus and gives small tours of local wineries. One of her tours is at the request of her friend, Tim. Too bad the tour hits a major snag when the local FDA inspector is found very dead in a vat of grapes. One murder leads to another and the police are even more convinced that Tim is the killer. It takes Taylor and her friends to figure out who the killer really is before Tim ends up wearing an orange jumpsuit in his new home behind bars.
This is the second in the series and it is as good as the first. No sophomore slump here. The mystery is full of the anticipated twists, turns and red herrings and I came away satisfied, ready to put the next one on my TBR list.
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A highly entertaining mystery with engaging characters and a great sense of humor.I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading her other series.
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The second in the A Wine Country Mystery series.
In this installment, Taylor now has competition on the wine touring circuit. She takes a tour to her friends Tim’s winery.  While showing the customers around, they discover a body floating in a vat.
If this isn’t enough, another body is found and linked to Tim. Taylor needs to find out who is committing the murders and trying to frame Tim.

What I did not like about this book:
The police are portrayed as idiots.
The dialogue is weak at best.
Taylor needs to develop her interpersonal skills.

What I did like:
The slow start quickly picked up.
Plenty of reasons for the crimes- good way to delay finding out for sure who did it.

I volunteered to read and review an ARC of this book provided by Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley. These are my unsolicited opinions.
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I had not read a cozy mystery since the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris, and that was before the term had even been coined, but was aware that it is a huge sub genre within crime fiction and felt that I was ready to give it another go. I was drawn to this because it has a cat and a bottle of wine on the cover, and liked the idea of the Californian wine country setting. It was certainly an easy read, but I don’t see me getting further into the cozy scene.

This is the second in a series about Taylor O’Brian, a friendly young woman who runs a wine tour business in the Sonoma Valley and lives with her aunt who runs a boutique winery. I tried to buy the first book in the series but it was not available for Kindle, and don’t feel that I missed any significant backstory. This is set a month on from that murder, which is referred to briefly but without any apparent spoilers.

Taylor has taken a tour group to visit her friend Tim’s small winery, when a body is discovered in the vat of grape juice. He is arrested for murder but Taylor is sure he is innocent so drafts her friends into solving it, including a journalist, a medium, and an art gallery assistant. Meanwhile a cult like group has moved into the town with a mysterious guru as it’s head, gathering followers and preaching peace and love - but requiring large cash investment from its followers, and only Taylor appears to see through them.

I quite enjoyed this, as Taylor is an amiable if slightly annoying heroine who means well but blunders in to matters she knows nothing about. There is a nice group of characters who are easily distracted from their investigation by girly catch-ups over wine and barbecued food. Taylor has two potential love interests but can’t seem to decide which to pick or what to do about them.
I found her habit of describing what every single character was wearing intensely irritating as it distracted from what was going on. I had hoped for a lot more information about wine and wine-making - I got to the end of the book and still have no clue as to what a Zinfandel tastes like, it’s not a variety we see here in NZ.

Ultimately if you like this genre, you will enjoy this book, but for me it has confirmed that I prefer darker mysteries that don’t treat death as an amusing puzzle. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Incidentally, this is my 100th NG review!
Seven Deadly Sins is released on the 8th of January.
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Seven Deadly Zins...what a great play on words! Parra’s latest mystery is a great and quick read. I was hooked from the start and found myself wanted to keep reading and live vicariously through the characters. The only criticism I can really give is the ending felt flat given all the build up. It was a little too tidy the summation and capturing of the villains. I also felt like there was a lot of loose threads that I can only hope will be taken up in following books.
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Seven Deadly Zins is a typical cozy mystery. It's a cute entertaining read that doesn't require a lot of thought. It's perfect for a relaxing day
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