"Chocolate Covered Death" By Gemma Halliday: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of A Sip Before Dying, the first book in the series, and a link to purchase the new book from Amazon.

A Vintage Delight!

The beautiful Sonoma wine country is home to Emmeline Oak and her family’s Oak Valley Vineyard. After her father’s passing and her mother entering a home, she is now the owner, well, she thinks of it as more like the caretaker, of the family winery, ten-acres of vines, a lovely Spanish-style estate, and a “cave” full of their best Pinot Noirs, Pinot Blancs, and Zinfandels. Emmy originally went to culinary school and worked as a personal chef in L.A., but running the vineyard and winery is in her DNA. Although the vineyard’s bottom line is a major concern and she doesn’t want to be the one under whom the vineyard is lost to big-corp takeovers, Emmy is trying everything to increase business by reaching out to local businesses and VIPs to entice them to book their events at the winery.

A Sip Before Dying (May)
Chocolate Covered Death (July)
Victim in the Vineyard (September)
Marriage, Merlot & Murder (January, 2020)

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Chocolate Covered Death earns 5/5 Glasses of Zin...Clever & Entertaining!

Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Emmy has teamed up with Leah Holcomb, owner of the Chocolate Bar bakery, for a Wine and Chocolate Tasting event to highlight Leah’s decadent delights paired with wines from the Oak Valley Winery. The event will highlight the best of both businesses and potentially garner new clients. As the VIPs begin to arrive, Leah is shocked to see in attendance Heather Atherton, her ex-husband’s new wife. Emmy apologizes for the uncomfortable situation; she was unaware of the connection and knew Mrs. Atherton only as a wine broker, and getting her attention could be very fortuitous for her own bottom line. Emmy had a hard time not sympathizing with Leah being disappointed herself by Heather’s elitist attitude along with her “snooty” posse making veiled negative comments about the wine and the event...enter Karma! Despite the posse’s lackluster interest, the rest of the guests were thrilled with the wine tasting and decadent treats. Emmy goes looking for Leah to coordinate the clean up, but instead finds a dead body. It’s the snooty wife, dead, and Leah with the perfect motive. This doesn’t look good!

Cheers! Gemma Halliday has a very enjoyable writing style laced with descriptive language and humor making this book two in her newest series a Top Ten favorite! She follows the traditional cozy formula beginning by revisiting basic background and providing an effective introduction to new characters. She immediately sets up conflicts, potential suspects, and a few motives to start any inner Sherlock on the right path. I greatly appreciate that she avoids extraneous falderal and gets right to the mystery. Not to say there aren’t delightful strays into the ins and outs of the winery, interesting conflicts with law enforcement, and interactions with good friends. Those make this book an entertaining read. She continues to revisit background and character connections to keep newbies engaged, but it’s the twists, turns, and dead ends that make this story intriguing: jealousies, reputations, and secrets! I enjoy Emmy Oak whom Gemma has painted realistically with everyday concerns, vulnerabilities, and quite the level head...occasionally. I highly recommend this book and the series...clever, wonderful characters (good and murderous), satisfying end perpetrated by karma, and wine! What else do you need...recipes, of course!

What better way to conclude one’s entertaining experience then with several marvelous recipes easy to follow with helpful shortcuts and suggestions for the perfect wine pairing! First, enjoy the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake directly from Leah’s Chocolate Bar. Then enjoy more decadent chocolate delights: Mexican Chocolate Scones, Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, and the delicious Chocolate-Hazelnut Coffee. Also included is my favorite Shrimp Scampi over Angel Hair Pasta, Lemon Artichoke Chicken, and directions to create the most satisfying Wine-Tasting Charcuterie Board. Ok, now my experience is totally satiated!

Be a Big Gemma Halliday Fan!

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Gemma Halliday pens other popular and entertaining series cozy fans will enjoy. My favorite series is this Wine & Dine Mysteries, but I greatly enjoy her other series that combine full-length books and some entertaining short stories. Check out her exciting cozy series: High Heels Mystery with #13 Suspect in High Heels due in October, Hollywood Headlines with #6 Hollywood Revenge out this year, Jamie Bond, Marty Hudson, and Tahoe Tessie Mysteries. Coming this year is her thriller Dead to Rights from her Anna Smith & Nick Dade series.

Like, Visit, Follow!
Facebook–Gemma Halliday
 Website–Gemma Halliday
Twitter @gemmahallidayca

To enter to win an ebook copy of A Sip Before Dying, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "sip before,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 17, 2019. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors!

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Wine and chocolate! Count me in!

  2. This looks great! Thank you for this chance to win. 1cow0993(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Sounds like a great read! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. I enjoy Gemma Halliday's books. Nice cover. Thank you for this chance! pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  5. New series to me. Would really like to read.

  6. Book sounds great. Would love to win. Kphans08@gmail.com


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