Cover Image: A Pairing to Die For

A Pairing to Die For

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Member Reviews

We are back at Vino Valentine for book 2. Honestly, I couldn’t be more content. This cozy is charming. Parker and Reid are incredibly sweet and I love their entire story. 

Pairing the wine shop with quirky characters is chef’s kiss. Bottom line when I walk away from a cozy smiling and ready to take on a new food and wine pairing…it’s a win. 

The only thing I took points off is for the chemistry and wine dialogue.  That’s a personal opinion. 

Four stars. Start at the beginning with book one!
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A Pairing to Die For is book two in the “A Colorado Wine Mystery” series. Parker is spending most of her time coming up with new wine blends and keeping up with her new boyfriend, Reid. Unfortunately, his arrogant family comes to town, and chaos ensues, childhood mischief comes back to haunt Reid, and murder soon follows. 

Parker is a character who is consistent, loyal, and ready to help no matter the personal cost. When Reid is accused of killing another chef, Parker knows he is innocent and sets out to prove it. Reid’s family doesn’t seem to care, and they offer no help. The only person she can turn to is a friend and the lead detective on the case, who happens to be a former love interest. Things get weird quickly as the wine flows, and Parker finds to her horror that she has become the target of a possible killer. 

The suspects in this new book center mainly around Reid’s restaurant and his employees. Some have motives to have killed the victim, but none of them seem likely. Reid has secrets, and Parker has to uncover all of them to show that he isn’t a killer. Parkers wine and the winery, as well as Reid’s restaurant, are the primary locations throughout the story but the details and descriptions do not get bogged down or repetitive. 

This story revolves around family relationships, as we get a good idea of Reid’s childhood and how he was raised, and the dynamic between Parker and her mother comes more clearly into focus and allows their relationship to mature. Her mother is showing an interest in winemaking and helping Parker with her business, while Reid’s mother tries to convince him that Parker isn’t good enough for him. In the end, the killer is exposed but does not bring comfort to anyone involved. Both parent/child relationships are enhanced, and Parker and Reid are brought closer. My only problem with this book was that I do not like the present tense format of this book; it made it hard to read and stopped the flow. However, I recommend that readers grab their favorite food, a nice glass of wine, and settle in their favorite chair to enjoy A Pairing to Die For.
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Wine, a gorgeous mountain setting, wine, wonderful characters, a cute cat, and oh did I mention wine? This cozy series by Kate Lansing has the recipe of an absolute winner! This is book two in this young series and was just wonderful. Here we find our MC Parker Valentine's chef boyfriend Reid accused of murder. Reid's estranged and not particularly warm or kind family in town visiting when Reid's sous chef is found dead in the alley behind the restaurant. Parker is sure (isn't she?) that Reid is innocent...even though he's clearly keeping things from her. With the help of her best friend (who is an AWESOME, unique character) and her brother (a hapless sweetheart), Parker will go to any length to find out the true killer.

While she's not solving the latest murder in her life, Parker is trying to come up with new blends for her winery. I am no wine expert by any means, but I love wine and LOVED all the wine-making details in this book, and the connection with chemistry that leads to a little happy turn in Parker's relationship with her mom. I'm STILL not sure about Reid. Frankly, I think Parker can do better, and I happen to think better awaits her in her friend and local detective Liam. But we'll see! In the meantime, I sure enjoyed watching Parker solve this mystery and save Reid's bacon.

Highly recommend this delightful series! Cheers to another great installment, and I'm already anxiously awaiting the next book!
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele

A Pairing to Die For, the second Colorado Wine Mystery, is well executed with engaging characters and an interesting winemaking backdrop.  I have not read the series’ first entry Killer Chardonnay but easily jumped right into the action.  There are a few references to the prior book but nothing that would spoil the mystery.

It is grape harvest season, and even though winemaker Parker does not grow the fruit herself, she must be available at a moment’s notice to work the grapes. So time is limited to meet her chef boyfriend’s estranged family for dinner, which definitely does not go well, and she is stunned when Reid is arrested the next morning, charged with murdering his sous chef Oscar.  To make matters worse, Reid’s family has no interest in posting bail or helping him in any way leaving it up to Parker to put on her sleuthing cap and find the real killer.  But, things are not easy…there is an eye witness and Reid is secretive and not forthcoming.  Parker’s best friend Sage, a lawyer, steps up to represent Reid but cannot help Parker because of client privilege.  Parker does not give up and even faces danger to save Reid.

A Pairing to Die For is written in present tense, which is usually not my favorite to read, but I quickly adjusted to it and greatly enjoyed my time with Parker and her friends and family.  Parker is an engaging sleuth, loyal and determined.  Though she finds herself in a dire situation, she never comes across as “too stupid to live”.  I liked the other recurring characters, too, including Parker’s mother, brother, and assistant.  I look forward to seeing the evolution of Parker and her mother’s relationship.  As expected, Reid’s family is unlikable…judgmental, snobby, and overall unpleasant and reprehensible.  Readers will feel little sympathy for any of them and their eventual circumstances.

The winemaking backdrop is interesting, and I learned a bit about the process.  These scenes and information do not become too tedious or take away from the mystery.  The mystery is well thought out, but it is rather easy to figure out the killer’s identity.  The motive, however, kept me guessing for much of the book.  The pace of the book is brisk other than lagging a touch in the middle of the story. 

I liked A Pairing to Die For and will definitely seek out more books in the Colorado Wine Mystery Series.  Recommended for any cozy mystery fan.
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Another fun installment in the series, A Pairing To Die For was heavy on the mystery, this time around. Some of the same, lovable characters return, but there wasn’t as much focus on food and wine, which I feel like I missed. I wanted to spend more time in Parker’s winery. But overall an enjoyable read that was surprisingly fast paced!  Looking forward to the next one!
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A middle-of-the-road cozy mystery featuring Parker Valentine, owner of Vino Valentine in Boulder, Colorado, who must take on the daunting task of meeting the parents. Camilla Wallace, Reid's mother, already disapproves of her son’s choice of becoming a chef and restaurant owner when his two brothers, attorney Ben and physician Tristan, are accomplished in their respected fields.  When Reid is accused of murdering his sous chef Oscar Flores, a man the family knows and despises, the Wallace’s don’t bother to lift a finger to help their son.  If he can’t live up to their expectation then he must live his own life -- without their money.  

Parker can’t let this sit. With Reid in jail, and Parker unsure of their future, she enlists the help of her friends to investigate Oscar's murder.  Turns out that the clues point closer to home than anyone, including the intolerable Camilla, could have imagined.  

A Pairing to Die For is on par with a Killer Chardonnay, the first in the series.  There may be more winemaking technique and food paring than most readers want to read over and over, but once you get past that, the friendships and conflicts keep you engaged and cheering on this cast of sleuths.
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Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the digital advance reading copy of this book.

This was the second book in the A Colorado Wine Mystery series and it was just as fun as the first.  I had absolutely no idea who the killer was until the reveal.  Kate Lansing did a great job of misdirecting suspicion onto other characters.

I also love learning all about wine making and the science involved during fermentation and aging.  

Keep these books coming!
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Truly enjoy the Colorado Winery series.
I like wine and I love visiting Boulder, Colorado.
This cozy is the second in the series, but can be read as a standalone as the author provides some back story. 
Main characters are Parker Valentine, winery owner,  boyfriend Reid, owner of an upscale restaurant,  Parker's brother Liam, and best friend Sage.
Parker was able to start the winery with an inheritance from her aunt who died in a car accident.
In addition to having a good mystery plot, there is a lot of wine making information dispensed. 

5 stars from me and I look forward to more of the series.
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Huge fan of the first book in the series and not because I live 20 minutes from Boulder. It’s a well written book and series I hope to read more of soon. 
Parker is an interesting character with a lot of personality.
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4.5 stars

This is the second book in the Colorado Wine mystery series by Kate Lansing.

The second book in this series starts off with a bang as  Parker is trying to connect to her boyfriend’s family who is there for an impromptu visit. Then one of the people working in the kitchen gets murdered with her boyfriend’s knife making him suspect number one. And his family could care less about his predicament.

This was quite a page turner. I think I was most interested in the mystery and seeing how Reid’s relationship with his family might change by the end. Definitely a great read. Loving this series already. It is a good one to check out, especially if you love wine. Kinda missing the whole “wine making atmosphere” like in book one but this really kept my attention throughout.

If you love a good cozy mystery, definitely check this one out.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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A Pairing to Die For:  A Colorado Wine Mystery
By Kate Lansing
Berkley
February 2021

Review by Cynthia Chow

Parker Valentine may have just survived the poisoning at her Vino Valentine winery that jeopardized both her business and her freedom, but she’s never faced a menace like this.  For the first time Parker will be meeting the estranged family of her boyfriend Reid Wallace, the talented chef of Spoons restaurant.  Reid himself hasn’t spoken to his parents or brothers in over a year, and their disapproval immediately overflows onto Parker.  Condescending and extremely judgmental, their opinions are unlikely to improve when disastrous meals begin coming out of the kitchen. Far worse than over-seasoned or improperly sauced dishes though is the discovery of Spoons’ line cook Oscar Flores dead, stabbed in the back by one of Reid’s knives.  A witness claiming to have seen the men fighting the night before leads to Reid’s quick arrest, with his family refusing to pay for his hefty bail.

Refusing to believe that Reid could have committed the murder, Parker pleads with the investigating Detective Eli Fuller to look for alternative suspects.  Their awkward “friend zone” status – implemented by Parker, not Eli – means that she doubts that the officials anything that would risk an easy conviction.  As a result, Parker not only investigates the tumultuous world of restaurants, she finds herself spending more time than she wants to with Reid’s unwelcoming family.  It doesn’t take long for Parker to discover that jealousy and rivalries abound within the high-pressure cooking arena.

This second in the series continues to expand upon the fascinating nuances and exacting details involved in boutique winemaking.  Old ways blend together with new science technologies, fortunate for Parker as she vents out her frustration and anger through old school stomping on grapes.  Parker sees the world through a veil of winemaking, observing how grapes that endure struggle, high altitudes, and extreme weather produce much more flavorful and robust wine.  It’s impossible for her to not compare that with Reid and his favored brothers, the latter whose much easier childhoods led to their becoming self-involved, self-centered adults.  It is Parker’s attention to details and meticulousness -  her custom blends are precisely recorded, accurately reproduced chemical experiments - that allows to put together clues before the police.  Colorado’s charm and the exploration of Parker’s winery ensure for an original and compelling setting, especially as readers are introduced to more of Parker’s friends and family members.  Cozy fans will be delighted by Parker’s cat Zinfandel, as well as recipes and wine pairings included at the end.  While many may know how to balance wine acidity and bitterness with certain foods, would they also know that a monscato d’Asti is the perfect pairing for a Cinnamon Apple Tart?  Readers entranced by this compelling world will have much to look forward to as Parker continues her success to build up her winery while protecting those she loves.
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Parker Valentine is turning her new winery business into a huge success, although it’s not always easy.  Her assistant, Felix, is a huge help.  Her mother is not all that happy with Parker’s new business, but she’s trying to come to terms with it.
 
Meanwhile, Parker’s relationship with Reid Wallace, a local restaurant owner and chef, is moving along smoothly.  When Reid’s family comes to town, Parker quickly learns to appreciates her own family.  To say Reid’s family is difficult to deal with would be putting it mildly.  Parker and the Wallace family get off to a very unpleasant start and it never gets any better.
 
Then, Reid’s sous chef is found dead and the police turn right in Reid’s direction.  They are convinced he is the killer and arrest him.  Devastated, Parker vows to prove his innocence. His family is absolutely no help.  She begins an investigation and doesn’t care where it leads as long as she gets Reid out of jail.  Parker has no idea what sort of secrets have been buried and she would soon uncover.
 
I loved the first book in this series and I loved this one even more. The author has done a very good job at developing the characters.  With each page readers learn more about Parker and Reid.  Their characters take shape and come to life.  So does their relationship.  
 
The storyline is fast-paced with many twists and turns along the way.  I wasn’t expecting the direction the author took to solving the mystery, but it all made sense in the end.  It made for an exciting finale.
 
I’m looking forward to another visit to Boulder, Colorado and more delightful mysteries for Parker to solve.
 
Warning:  You may start craving wine once you start this series.  I know I did.

 



 
FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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I really enjoyed this sequel in the Colorado Wine Mystery series. Perfect setting, great character development and a captivating storyline made this quite a cozy read. 

It’s no secret that I love Colorado and long to live near the mountains. Glimpses of Fall descending on Boulder throughout this book was just good for my soul. I could easily picture the Flatirons and imagine the hiking trails. I love the fact that the main character is a rock climber and we get to see her describe and enjoy her hobby in each book. I also love learning a few tidbits about the process of making wine and appreciate the connection of chemistry to this part of the culinary world. Don’t laugh, but ever since I saw A Walk in the Cloud (hello, young Keanu), I’ve wanted to stomp grapes. I would easily sign up for this new event at Vino Valentine and sighed through those scenes. 

The author has done a fantastic job of already developing the central cast. I even liked Liam’s role in this book as they learn to navigate rejection, yet remain friends. I also enjoyed seeing Parker’s mom show interest in her daughter’s profession. Brace yourself for meeting Reid’s family. Goodness, what a crew!!! How the sweet chef if related to them is a mystery in and of itself. 

With Reid being wrongfully accused for murder, this mystery is full of action, shocking twists and plenty of red herrings. I gasped and definitely had the wrong culprit picked out so the last few chapters were extra captivating. 

The book concludes with a few recipes!
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This is another great addition to this series. Though the books often have a focus on wines you do not have to be a drinker to enjoy the books. There are occasionally a few too many explanations of the wines if you don't care for them but I think they are interesting. I enjoyed the main characters in this book just as much as I did in the first, though this book introduced Reid's family and they were awful (on purpose). I know they were pretty much supposed to be sucky people and I understood why but I did think it brought down the tone of the book a bit so I took off a star for that. Other than that though the book was fantastic. The mystery was well done, the writing flowed and I loved the main character. I am looking forward to the next book!
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I had not read the first book in this series, but I was just fine to pick up this second book. It was a fun quick read, perfect for a time you can get some wine and just get lost in this cozy mystery. 

Parker owns her own Wine making business and is happy with her boyfriend. When she has to clear his name after being accused of murder, she is on the case to make sure her love is not taken away to jail. I thought this was a cute cozy. Parker has to solve the crime since Reid does not seem to have a family who cares about his innocence. 

What I have noticed abut cozy mysteries is they all follow a pattern.... a woman who owns a business and then has to solve all of the murders in town. There is usually a love triangle as well. I got some Joanna Fluke vibes, just like Hannah Swensen with her bakery and love triangle. I have fun with these books, but it would be cool to see something less formualic. 

A solid cozy mystery that is easy to finish in a day. I think the series has some big potential. 

Thank you NetGalley and Berkeley for sharing a review copy with me. All thoughts and opinion are solely my own.
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This has become one of my favorite cozy series. I adore the Colorado setting and learning about wine. The protagonist is relatable, and I had a lot of fun with the love triangle. The mystery was well paced and well written.
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Second in the series but first rate read!! A fast pacedfun fun filled read that keeps you on your toes. The food and wine descriptions will make your mouth water! I highly recommend this book!!
#netgalley  #Berkley In exchange for a honest review I received a digital copy of this book.
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Reid Wallace’s estranged family has come for a visit to Boulder, Colorado, and Parker Valentine is hoping to make a good impression on her boyfriend’s family.  However, things aren’t going well as Reid’s family is constantly judging everything she says as not being up to their standards.  Never mind their opinions of her wine.  The visit is interrupted when Reid is arrested for murder.  Oscar, the sous chef at Reid’s restaurant and his long-time friend, was murder behind the restaurant, and the police are certain that Reid did it.  Parker doesn’t believe that Reid is capable of murder and sets out to figure out what really happened.  Can she free her boyfriend from jail?

The first in this series was one of my favorite books from 2020, so I had high hopes for this one.  I’m pleased to say I enjoyed it.  There is plenty of conflict in this book to keep us hooked.  I did think the pacing started to slow in the middle, but about the time I thought that, it picked up again and kept going until we reached the end.  The characters are still rich, and I appreciated the growth in their relationships, while the new characters fit perfectly into Parker’s world.  For those interested because of the wine theme, there are plenty of scenes in Parker’s winery.  I’d forgotten that this series is written in the present tense, which I don’t mind once my brain adjusts.  There are three delicious sounding recipes with suggested wine pairings at the end of the book.  If you haven’t started this series, you need to fix that.  If you’ve read the first, this book will please you.
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Parker Valentine, owner of Vino Valentine, and Reid Wallace, owner and head chef of recently opened Spoons, have not only created a business collaboration pairing their food and wine, they’ve been dating for four months.

When Reid’s estranged family visits Boulder, Parker joins them for a celebratory dinner at Spoons. Not only does something go awry in the kitchen making Reid’s carefully planned dishes less than delectable, his family is openly hostile to Parker despite her efforts to make a positive impression.

Even worse, the next day, she learn that Reid’s sous chef, Oscar, was killed in the alley behind the restaurant. Reid’s distinctive chef’s knife is found at the scene, and an eyewitness identifies him as the murderer. Reid is quickly arrested, and refuses all help from his family, so Parker’s best friend, Sage, volunteers as his legal counsel. With such strong evidence against Reid, though, Parker knows finding the real killer will give him his best chance at freedom. 

As Parker investigates, she is warned off the case by Detective Eli Fuller, especially when she starts receiving threats. Knowing this means she’s getting closer to the truth, she only redoubles her efforts despite the danger.

𝘈 𝘗𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘋𝘪𝘦 𝘍𝘰𝘳 by Kate Lansing is a quick, cute cozy mystery with a determined and plucky protagonist as well as a feline sidekick, Zin. Like the first book in the series, 𝘈 𝘗𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘋𝘪𝘦 𝘍𝘰𝘳 includes insight into winemaking—and a barrel full of wine metaphors. The characters and their relationships have developed, and the book touches on social issues such as the high costs of health care.

The depiction of the murder victim humanized him, and that, as well as the jeopardy facing Reid, gave the case high emotional impact and significant stakes, and I thought it played out well. I also appreciate a cozy mystery without a love triangle!
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This series is quickly becoming one of my favorites! There's a polish to this author's work that is really rare for a new author. The plot is so intricately woven, the setting so idyllic, and the characters so empathetically crafted that this book pulls you in by the collar and doesn't want to let go!

The book begins with Parker suffering through a dinner with her boyfriend Reid's haughty parents and two brothers. As rough as the meal is it's a cakewalk compared to how the evening ends, with Reid's sous chef and friend Oscar stabbed to death in the alley behind Reid's new restaurant and Reid hauled off to jail for the crime. Of course we all know Reid isn't capable of killing anyone, let alone someone he cares about as much as Oscar, but the Boulder Police Department, specifically Detective Eli, don't seem to agree. It's up to Parker to find enough evidence to get Reid off the hook.

This is a series I think you don't have to read in order. Book 1 is only referred to twice that I specifically remember and it's inconsequential both times so I think it's safe to read these out of order.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC.
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