Monday, July 18, 2016

Once Upon A Wine - Cute Dog Alert!

TITLE: Once Upon a Wine (Black Dog Bay #4)
AUTHOR: Beth Kendrick
PUBLISHING DATE: July 26, 2016

FROM GOODREADS:  Cammie Breyer needs a big glass of cabernet—her restaurant failed and her chef boyfriend left for a hotter kitchen. Just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, her Aunt Ginger calls with a surprise. She’s bought a vineyard—in Delaware. At Ginger’s command, Cammie returns to Black Dog Bay, the seaside town where she spent her childhood summers with her aunt and her cousin, Kat.

The three women reunite, determined to succeed. There’s only one little problem: None of them knows the first thing about wine making. And it turns out, owning a vineyard isn’t all wine and roses. It’s dirt, sweat, and desperation. Every day brings financial pitfalls, unruly tourists, romantic dilemmas, and second thoughts.  But even as they struggle, they cultivate hidden talents and new passions. While the grapes ripen under the summer sun, Cammie discovers that love, like wine, is layered, complex, delicious, and worth waiting for…

I don't usually read a lot of contemporaries, but I read one by Beth Kendrick last year that I absolutely loved, and this is a companion book set in the same town, so I couldn't resist picking it up. Plus, isn't summer the best time to read these type of books?

Once Upon a Wine is the 4th Black Dog Bay book. You really don't need to read them in order, as only some characters make minor appearances later on in them. In fact, I still haven't read books 1 and 2 although this one seals the deal and I'm putting them on reserve at the library as soon as I can. Cammie lives in LA, but her life is drastically going downhill - her restaurant tanked after her chef/boyfriend jumped ship, and she lost her job as a waitress. Cammie gets a call from her cousin Kat advising the her Aunt Ginger just bought a vineyard in Black Dog Bay. None of them know much about what they are doing, but since Ginger raised Cammie after her parents died, she returns to Deleware to help figure the winery business out. Add in Kat's marriage is on the rocks and Cammie's ex-boyfried/farmer still lives in the area and you have a great family-centered novel with enough romance to keep you interested, but not enough to make you queasy.

Kendrick has really created quite a town in Black Dog Bay. It's a beach-side location where people come to mend their heartbreaks and often end up finding new loves. There is also a mysterious ghost of a black dog that is sometimes seen in town and is a harbinger of good things to come. This book has the right amount of humor and drama and once I started, I couldn't really put it down.

Now, the real reason for the 5/5 rating. I really did love the book and it would have definitely have gotten 4/5, but enter Jacques - see the cute dog on the cover? In the book Kat's husband buys her Jacques as a gift because she always wanted a dog and he just "makes" the book. He is a retired show-dog, who thinks he is a farm dog, who ends up being the hero of Black Dog Vineyard. He is so cute and the author/publisher gets extra points because the dog on the cover looks like the dog described in the book (a major pet peeve of mine).

So if you like contemporary books and are looking for a light summer read with some substance, you should give Kendrick a try. As I mentioned, I plan on reading books 1 and 2 and learn more about this little hidden town in Deleware.

I received an ARC of this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.


BOOKER T'S THOUGHTS:  I really enjoyed meeting Jacques.  Can you believe he was retired from being a show dog after 4 years because of a snaggle tooth???? How doggy rude is that?  I have to admire Jacques because he is clearly suffering from a identity crisis after his retirement and now thinks he is a farm/working dog, yet he manages to become the star of Black Dog Vineyard.  I told Mom I clearly needed a vineyard now but I heard "But Booker T. you already have a farm to run!"  Geesh!


  1. Oh super cute dog alert, I need to read this series! :)

  2. Ooh. This book sounds super cute! Going to have to check out the series.

  3. Ohh the dog on this cover is really cute I heard great things about it and I am really intrigued and very curious about this book. I am not a huge contemporary reader either but I do love reading them during the summer time. This one looks and sounds absolutely fantastic to read this summer. Thank you for your awesome review and post.