Monday, March 7, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Ripe for Murder

Ripe for Murder (Cypress Cove Mystery -  Book 2) by Carlene O'Neil

Publication Date: 03/01/2016
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Carlene O'Neil on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Cypress Cove Mystery

1. One Foot in the Grape
2. Ripe for Murder

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Ripe for Murder, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


From the author of One Foot in the Grape—a new full-bodied Cypress Cove mystery that is certain to delight, even if one wine lover is about to expire…

Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but to keep business growing, she needs to find a way to attract more guests. When she’s approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her intoxicating winery manager, Connor, hightail it to a lavish resort to hear the details. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal, is also there, swirling up trouble by flirting with the married investors—and with Connor too.   

When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Chantal may be a sour grape, but she’s no killer. So Penny, who’s become a sleuthing connoisseur, starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets...


Carlene O'Neil takes readers back to the California wine country in her latest Cypress Cove mystery, Ripe for Murder. Set against the backdrop of wineries, resorts and train lines, this mystery heats up quickly. O'Neil's great use of description brings this story to life. Readers who like a little wine with their reading will thoroughly enjoy this one. A good follow up to One Foot in the Grape (2015)! 

What I liked:

One of the things that has put this series on my go to reading list is the wonderful wine country setting. I live in Kentucky, it's more of a moonshine capital than wine per se, lol. I love living vicariously through the characters in this series. Enjoying wine tasting and all the benefits of such a great backdrop. When you add to that, Carlene O'Neil's amazing knack for description, you get a well written, detailed story. I found myself wondering what kind of wine I might like. It's good for your heart, you know! (wink)

Penny Lively is a very good heroine. I liked the fact that the author makes Penny a real person with real problems and plenty of family drama. She owns a winery, so does her cousin. One is prosperous and one is up and coming. I liked the way that Penny was able to put aside her differences with Chantel in this book to try to figure out how to keep her out of jail. Penny's style of investigating is interesting. She is laid back and doesn't get too ruffled, it's that wine country pace. I liked it and thought she was both believable and enjoyable to read about.

The mystery aspects of the story were well done. O'Neil gives the reader a large cast to choose from when it comes to the killer. There was certainly motive and the setting on the train was reminiscent of an Agatha Christie great, Murder on the Orient Express. It was a nod to one of the greats and I thought O'Neil's take on it was perfect. I was clueless for awhile with this one. I just couldn't put my finger on who the killer was. It really appeared to be Chantel. Wouldn't that have been a kicker? Very well done, plenty of clues, red herrings and just enough intrigue to hold my interest throughout.

What I didn't like:

I didn't read the first book in the series and sometimes that throws me off a little bit. I can't quite pick up the dynamics between the recurring characters. This one was somewhat easier than most. O'Neil did a good job of cluing the reader in to what had gone on before. But I couldn't help wondering if I was missing something here and there that I might have picked up on had I read the first book. Good rule of thumb... if you can get into a series at the beginning, that always helps.

Bottom Line:

Love the premise and the setting for this one. The family relationship between Penny and her cousin was also interesting an added  a lot to the story. Loved the train aspect of the mystery and the wonderful characters we meet on the train, especially Big Dave the car salesman... lol he was a hoot! This is definitely a series to keep an eye on. It's still close to the beginning on this one. Just buy them both... very good reading!

Ripe for Murder is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Carlene O’Neil is the national bestselling author of the Cypress Cove Mysteries, including Ripe for Murder and One Foot in the Grape. A former television writer, she is currently a commercial real estate broker in the Los Angeles market. She grew up in the heart of wine country in northern California, and is accredited by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Currently she lives in Valencia, California. The Cypress Cove Mysteries are set along the central California coast, and the similarities between the fictional town of Cypress Cove and the stunning town of Carmel are no accident.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Ripe for Murder by Carlene O'Neil.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, March 21st.

1. Please leave a comment about your favorite wine or drink (it can be soda).

2. Please fill out the FORM.


Anonymous said...

I love merlot, and peach wine. Also egg creams and chocolate ice cream sodas.

holdenj said...

I like a good cabernet and good gin and tonics!

Linda Kish said...

I am allergic to alcohol. I like light lemonade.

Anonymous said...

I cannot drink wine because I take medication, I drink diet coke and water.

Angela - Bookaunt said...

I prefer to drink decaf green iced tea but if I am having an alcoholic drink I drink Shmirnoff's wine cooler things or Arbor Mist blackberry wine - I am cheap wine drinker as that is what tastes good to me.

Unknown said...

My favorite drink is Chai tea. I love it iced but when the north wind blows I'll take a warm cup of Chai to thaw the bones. Thanks for the info on this series. I'm definitely going to check it out.

Robin Driscoll said...

My favorite drink is coffee. Mocha coffee.

Alicia said...

My favorite drink is coffee in the morning and a good glass of wine in the evening with water in between....

Charlotte said...

Coffee and more coffee.

Wendy Newcomb said...

My favorite drink, are you ready for it, it's WATER! Never drink alcohol, coffee or milk (unless it's chocolate, lol), rarely drink tea or pop/soda. I do drink the little 8 oz. cans of Coke if I have a migraine that won't go away for the caffeine.

wfnren at aol dot com

skkorman said...

My favorite drink is coffee and lots of it!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Joanne B said...

I don't drink much, just a wine cooler every now and then or even a Long Island Iced Tea on occasion. Usually it's just iced sweet tea.

NoraA said...

I'm a bit of an oenophile. I always have at least a dozen bottle of wine in the house. I enjoy dry reds but my wife loves sweet wines. To keep her happy I stock late harvest wines from California and French Whites from France for myself. Both are from Herzog Wineries.

Sue Farrell said...

I like a variety of winds---but Yellowtail white sangria is my favorite every-day wine.

Karen B said...

Coffee, tap water, caffeine free diet coke.

Rita Wray said...

Cabernet Sauvignon

ELF said...

My favorite drink is pineapple Crush soda, although it is difficult to find, so my default drink is Orange Sunkist! Lovely review, thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

I don't drink wine or soda. I do like Sparkling Ice water. My favorite flavors are kiwi strawberry, coconut pineapple and strawberry watermelon.

Grandma Cootie said...

Not much of a wine drinker but I live near the wine country and it's beautiful to visit even if not wine tasting. My favorite drink is coffee in the morning and iced tea w/lemon the rest of the time.

bn100 said...


traveler said...

I love Lemon Lime Sparkling water, Favorite drink. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Meg C. said...

I have actually never tasted wine. My special occasion drink is Big Red.

Debbie S said...

I prefer my wine on the sweet side, I do love Zinfadel and my brother makes a mean ice wine, and I love the chocolate wine that I have right now. Otherwise I'm a big sweet tea drinker.