Blog Tour and Giveaway (Ended)- Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN / The Winemaker Detective

Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN

on Tour

November 23-December 23



winemaker omnibus1

The Winemaker Detective:
An Omnibus


Release date: December 5, 2015
at Le French Book

309 pages

ISBN: 9781939474568

Website | Goodreads


The ideal gift for mystery and wine lovers — An immersion in French countryside, gourmet attitude, and light-hearted mystery.

Two amateur sleuths gumshoe around French wine country, where money, deceit, jealousy, inheritance and greed are all the ingredients needed for crime. Master winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his sidekick Virgile Lanssien solve mysteries in vineyards with a dose of Epicurean enjoyment of fine food and beverage. Each story is a homage to wine and winemakers, as well as a mystery.

In Treachery in Bordeaux, barrels at the prestigious grand cru Moniales Haut-Brion wine estate in Bordeaux have been contaminated. Is it negligence or sabotage?

In Grand Cru Heist, Benjamin Cooker’s world gets turned upside down one night in Paris. He retreats to the region around Tours to recover. He and his assistant Virgile turn PI to solve two murders and a very particular heist.

In Nightmare in Burgundy, a dream wine tasting trip to Burgundy turns into a troubling nightmare when Cooker and his assistant stumble upon a mystery revolving around messages from another era.

This made-for-TV series is “difficult to forget and oddly addictive” (ForeWord Reviews).




Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen,
wine lover and music lover respectively,
came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series
while sharing a meal,
with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996,
a red wine from Cahors
with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.


Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.
Sally Pane studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado where she wrote Camus and the Americas: A Thematic Analysis of Three Works Based on His Journaux de Voyage. Her career includes more than twenty years of translating and teaching French and Italian at Berlitz and at University of Colorado Boulder. She has worked in scientific, legal and literary translation; her literary translations include Operatic Arias; Singers Edition, and Reality and the Untheorizable by Clément Rosset, along with a number of titles in the Winemaker Detective series. She also served as the interpreter for the government cabinet of Rwanda and translated for Dian Fossey’s Digit Fund. In addition to her passion for French, she has studied Italian at Colorado University, in Rome and in Siena. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.



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Global giveaway open internationally:
5 participants will each win a copy of this book.

Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
for more chances to win

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]



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Top Ten Tuesday – Thanksgiving Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s theme is anything Thanksgiving related. I’ve decided to share 10 bookish things that I am thankful for, and I hope you’ll leave me a comment to let me know what you are thankful for, book related or not!

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Audiobook Review – The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

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What Are You Reading Wednesday – The Maze Runner


What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by It’s A Reading Thing. To participate, open the book you are currently reading to page 34 (or 34% in your ebook) and answer these three questions.

The Questions are:
1. What’s the name of your current read?

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a complete sentence. (or two!)

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Now for my answers this week…

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner 
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

2. “Where are we going?”, Thomas asked, still feeling the weight of seeing those walls close, thinking about the maze, the confusion, the fear. He told himself to stop or he’d drive himself crazy.

3. No – don’t want to live there. I don’t even want to visit. I’m not that far into the book yet and not sure where (or even when) “the glade” is, but I am completely sure that I would not want to end up there.

Your turn! Leave a comment to tell us what you’re reading this week.

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s list is – Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So.  I have apparently read a lot of good books this last year, because I’m finding it hard to keep to just 10 quotes. Instead of agonizing over which to keep and which to get rid of, I’ll just make it an even dozen this week. 🙂 Please feel free to leave your favorite quotes in the comments, or a link to your own TTT post if you have one.

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What Are You Reading Wednesday – Station Eleven

What are you reading Wednesday – 11/11/15


What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by It’s A Reading Thing. To participate, open the book you are currently reading to page 34 (or 34% in your ebook) and answer these three questions.

The Questions are:
1. What’s the name of your current read?

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a complete sentence. (or two!)

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Now for my answers this week…I’ve been trying to write more than I’ve been reading this month, but I’m still listening to audio books during my commute. I’ve just finished Queen of the Tearling (and hope to get a review written soon), and now I’m listening to Station Eleven.

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (narrated by Kirsten Potter)
Station Eleven

2. Since I can’t find page 34 🙂 , I’m just going to give you a few quotes from the book…

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”
“Survival is insufficient.” (yes, it is originally from Star Trek!)
“What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”
“It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”

3. No, no, and a thousand times no!!! A devastating flu pandemic has wiped out more than 90% of the Earth’s population. Even if I survived, I’d rather just stay here…

Now tell me, what are you reading (or listening to) this week?

Top Ten Upcoming Book To Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s list is – Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To.  I usually end up missing the movies I want to see while they are in the theater and end up renting later, but I will probably see all of these at some point! If there are any other adaptations that you’re looking forward to, or if you have your own top ten post, please leave me a comment and / or a link!

Click the book covers to go to the book’s page on Goodreads for a description, or the image to be taken to IMDB for more info on the film.

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NaNoWriMo Tag

NaNoWriMo Tag

You may have noticed I’ve been somewhat absent this week…relying on pre-written book reviews, links, and blog tour posts to get me through. 🙂 Instead of blogging, I’ve been busy working on my NaNoWriMo novel. (For those of you who haven’t heard about it, November is National Novel Writing Month, and participants around the globe spend the month consuming large quantities of coffee and chocolate, and attempting to write a 50,000 word draft in 30 days.)

Fellow NaNoWriMo participant Trey Schnarr tagged me to do the NaNoWriMo tag, so I thought I’d take a break from my novel and give it a whirl. (Thanks Trey!) Be sure to go visit Trey, and if you’re doing NaNo this year, feel free to add me as a writing buddy.  This tag was created by Kristina Horner.

What was the name of the first novel you attempted with NaNo?
My first try (in 2013) was titled “When the Bough Breaks“. It was a ghost story.

Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you’re writing this year.
A young adult novel involving multiple-world theory as fact, and the ability of some individuals to pass between these worlds.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
This advice wasn’t actually given to me, but I relate to it completely. Sometimes the hardest part is just sitting still and starting. The only way to write is by DOING it, instead of thinking about it.

This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard. ~Neil Gaiman

Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why?
I haven’t – 2013 was my first try and I have participated each year since.

What’s your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write?
I keep a notebook with ideas in it and by the time November comes around, I usually have several to choose from. Last year, my novel was based on a dream I’d had a few weeks before. I don’t even know where this year’s idea came from – I’m sure I saw or heard something that triggered it, but characters just popped up in my head, along with a vague idea of where they were and what they were doing.

Read us the first sentence from one of your novels. Ok, I’m going to cheat a bit here and give you a paragraph. I’ve read the first sentence of each of them and realized that alone, they are not very exciting! 🙂 This is from this year’s novel.

I’m afraid of a lot of things. Mostly the same things everyone else is afraid of – spiders, rabid dogs, gypsy curses, cancer. I fear those things but I don’t dwell on them. What I’m most afraid of, what terrifies me every night while I’m lying alone in the dark trying to go to sleep, is the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs. And before you ask, no, I don’t live with some monster who beats me, no abusive step-father or evil uncle, no drunken mother coming to wake me so she can blame me for all of her own failings. My father died when I was just six, I barely remember him, and my mother is a kind, loving, normal (almost to the point of dullness) woman. It’s not who is on the stairs that I’m worried about. When I hear the footsteps, my mom is already in bed, asleep. I’ve heard the footsteps every night for almost two weeks now, and when I go into the hall to look, there is no one there.

Why do you love writing?
I love reading, and writing gives me the same kind of opportunity to enjoy a story, but while controlling the outcome.

I don’t know how many other NaNo participants might be reading this, but if you are one, then I tag you!


The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

Author: Jeff Strand

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Jeff Strand gives readers a sneak peek at his latest novel The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, and shares his five favorite zombie movies:

Jeff Strand’s Five Favorite Zombie Movies:

My five favorite zombie movies are very similar to many other people’s five favorite zombie movies. I could’ve gone the condescending click-bait route and written about “The Five Best Zombie Movies You’ve Never Seen!” but, no, I’m going with my five real favorites….

 #5: DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004 version). I was one of the many people bellowing, “You can’t remake DAWN OF THE DEAD! This is blasphemy! Blasphemy!!!” But somehow this remake to a sequel (but not a sequel to the remake) turned out to be awesome. Not quite as good as the original (SPOILER ALERT: That’s #3 on this list) but one of my all-time favorites. 

 #4: RE-ANIMATOR. I’ve now seen plenty of movies that are more over-the-top insane than RE-ANIMATOR, but this was the first movie where I simply couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was hard to believe that a movie so dark and gruesome could be so funny. 

 #3: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978 version). Shameful confession: When I first saw this in high school I thought it was stupid and boring. Fortunately, I matured and accepted that it’s one of the high points of zombie cinema. It’s the reason I know to duck before walking toward spinning helicopter blades.

 #2: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Fast zombies long before 28 DAYS LATER! The first time zombies ate brains! It doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, but this is one of the most influential zombie movies ever.

#1: SHAUN OF THE DEAD. The greatest zombie comedy ever. The greatest zombie movie ever. The greatest MOVIE ever.


After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.

 With only one month to complete their movie, a script that can’t possibly get worse, and the hopes and dreams of Alicia on the line, Justin is feeling the pressure. Add to that a cast of uncooperative extras and incompetent production assistants, and Justin must face the sad, sad truth. He may actually be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever…

About Jeff Strand:

Jeff Strand has written more than twenty books, and is a four-time nominee (and four-time non-winner) of the Bram Stoker Award. Two of his young adult novels, A Bad Day For Voodoo and I Have A Bad Feeling About This, were Junior Library Guild picks. Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny.” He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Website | @JeffStrand

 Excerpt from The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:

The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.

“Don’t look at the camera,” said Justin Hollow, the director.

“I keep poking my lip on these things,” said Harold, spitting the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn’t been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.

“Cut!” shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. “C’mon, Harold. Stay in character. We’re three hours behind schedule.”

“I don’t care. I hate this. You promised that I’d get all the girls I wanted. So where are all of the girls I want?”

Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. “The movie has to come out first.”

“It’s not even a real movie.”

Justin bristled. It was a full body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn’t even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone, just in case.

Had this been one of Justin’s movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold’s eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause asked “What…did…you…just…say?”

His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was: “Huh?”

“I said it’s not a real movie.” Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn’t come off, and probably wouldn’t for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn’t bother. “Nobody’s ever going to see it. You probably won’t even finish it.”

“I finished my last three movies!” Justin insisted. “I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!”

That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use “hundred” in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been “This twelve year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise,” which really frustrated Justin since he was fifteen.

Harold shrugged. “This is a waste of time. I’ve got better things to do on a Friday night.”

“Nobody ever said this was going to be easy,” said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when luring Harold into the role. “You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?”

“I’m going to think, wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist.”

Harold walked off the set. It wasn’t an actual set, but rather a small park near Justin’s home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting “You’ll never work in this town again!” but, no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a bad thing.

“Fine!” Justin shouted. “But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-Ray, I’m going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn’t even keep track of them, and how they all found out about each other and had a great big awesome catfight in his front yard! And I’ll pronounce your name wrong!”

Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.


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Review – Blue Karma by J. K. Ullrich

Blue Karma by J. K. Ullrich

Blue KarmaDescription from Goodreads:

Water. It covers almost three-quarters of the planet, comprises more than half the human body, and has become the most coveted resource on Earth.

Amaya de los Santos survived the typhoon that left her an orphan. Now she scrapes by as an ice poacher, illegally harvesting fresh water for an always-thirsty market. But when she rescues an injured enemy soldier, she’s pulled into a storm of events more dangerous than any iceberg. After years of relying only on herself, she must learn to trust another…or risk losing all that’s left of her family…. 

Genre: Young Adult / SciFi
Rating: **** (4 of 5 stars)

Blue Karma is a young adult scifi story set in an arid future where water is scarce and most of the water supply for North America is controlled by a corporation called Nilak. Amaya is an engee, an environmental refugee, and works with ice pirates to support herself and her little sister, Sayuri. After Amaya finds an injured Nilak guard on an iceberg she is working, she finds herself embroiled in events that quickly escalate out of her control, and she has to fight to keep herself, her sister, and maybe even the world’s water supply safe from harm.

This is fast-moving novel, with a protagonist I could really root for. Amaya starts out bitter about the life she’s been given, but with reason. It takes her a while to warm up to and trust people, but she is fiercely loyal once she does. I couldn’t help but want the best for her and Sayuri. Young adult fans should enjoy this fun “cli-fi” story.

Note: I received a free review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:
J.K. UllrichJ.K. Ullrich likes to joke that she began writing environmental fiction at age six, when she won the local library’s Captain Planet essay contest. In the ensuing 20+ years, she earned a B.A. in English and pursued a successful career in analytical writing, although fiction remains her true passion. She published her first novel, Blue Karma, in 2015. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her running on a favorite trail, jamming with a local cover band, or yelling at her baseball team.

Connect with J.K. online: Blog | Twitter @trulyjk