Review: A GOOD DAY FOR CHARDONNAY by Darynda Jones

Sometimes, you just know a book is going to be awesome. When it’s Darynda Jones… you just know. ❤ Both Amber and Crystal had thoughts to share, so we have another “Sisters’ Review” for you today…

Author: Darynda Jones
Sunshine Vicram, #2
Release Date:
July 27, 2021
Pages: 416
Review Copy:

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff—and even fuller-time coffee guzzler—Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo. 

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally. 

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy. 

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

Initial Thoughts/Expectations:
The Sisters are no strangers to Darynda Jones and her work.  Several years ago we were in a reading funk after finishing an amazing paranormal series and feeling as if nothing we picked up lived up to our expectations.  We saw Darynda Jones recommended multiple times in several reading groups and knew we had to give her a try.  Fans of her Charley Davidson series won’t be surprised to hear that we were immediately hooked, and thus our obsession with author Darynda Jones came to be.

What We Loved:
We loved the first book in the Sunshine Vicram series, A Bad Day for Sunshine, and were beyond excited for the chance to review A Good Day For Chardonnay. We dove into the second book in the series expecting plenty of action, laugh out loud small-town antics, and answers to bring Sunshine (and us) closer to figuring out what happened during her abduction all those years ago. The first book left us with a myriad of unanswered questions and there’s nothing the Sisters enjoy more than a good mystery to unravel!

There’s nothing better, in our metaphorical book, than a quirky small town – and Del Sol, with it’s over-the-top residents, fully fits the bill. All fictional cities should have a sweet old lady that confesses to every crime in town with one wild story after the next and a well-meaning neighbor that drops off cursed muffins.  They never let Sunshine have a break and certainly keep the story entertaining. We fell in love all over again with the large cast of eccentric characters that pop up, usually at the worst times.  Another interesting facet of the Sunshine Vicram series is how Darynda Jones takes the idyllic small-town theme and exposes the seedy underbelly, the behind-the-scenes of what really happens in these rural places when power and money attempt to supersede the law.  The juxtaposition of having the mostly harmless, cooky residents running around wreaking havoc, while those that pose the most real threat of harm were making quiet moves in the background was jarring and kept us on edge.  It’s all fun and games until it isn’t, and the threat to Sun and the gang just kept building. 

The banter between the characters in Del Sol is what brings the reader back and makes it hard to put the book down. Tangents are never not taken and no townsperson, including the mayor, is safe from becoming an innocent bystander in a Sunshine bit. If you are a fan of Gilmore Girls, you’ll be sure to find many phrases with the potential to knock “Oy with the poodles already” right out of first place! The book delivers the comfort of running gags and not-so-disguised innuendo that are returned to just when you let your guard down, along with some hilarious moments of discomfort – such as a relationship detour that leaves you simultaneously turned on and weirded out. Come for the banter and stay for the plethora of other plot points that occasionally get to be the center of attention.

One of the plot points that often fights to be front and center is the mystery that is at the very heart of everything. Darynda Jones is masterful at scripting a mystery that will have you begging for answers, knowing that for every one answer that is revealed, there will be many more questions and mysteries to arise. The mystery introduced in A Bad Day for Sunshine continues and a new, unrelated set of mysteries intertwines, to create one heck of a rollercoaster ride from page one to the very end. And this rollercoaster ends at the precipice of another coaster, leaving the reader holding their breath in anticipation for the drop that promises so much!

We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about some of the friendships/relationships that brought so much depth to this story, but seeing as how this is a series, we really can’t say too much without giving away spoilers.  As Sunshine/Levi ‘shippers, we were thrilled to see them forced to work together again!  Darynda does an amazing job of building in the tension and heat, always leaving you wanting more. 

What We Didn’t Love:
Let us preface this section by stating that we were thoroughly entertained by A Good Day For Chardonnay and Auri was one of our top favorite characters.  That being said, we wish someone had given that sweet precocious girl a time out so she’d stop adding to the chaos that was running rampant in Del Sol.  She’s the daughter of Sunshine Vicram, so we utterly understood her dogged persistence when it came to investigating if there had been a serial killer in their town all these years, but by the end of the book our nerves were frayed worrying about her! The kids being on their own side mission during the book was a great addition to the overall story, though, and just like every other adult Auri comes across, we just can’t seem to NOT love her.  

Final Thoughts:
: I have previously gotten my Darynda Jones fix solely through audio narration including A Bad Day for Sunshine. Lorelei King does an amazing job narrating both the Charley Davidson Series and the Sunshine Vicram series and it amazed me how much I heard her voice as I read this second book in the series. Having read this book before audio was an option, I learned that there is definitely a different experience reading it versus listening to it.  I had to put the book down so many times to regain my composure from laughing like a loon – I don’t know how Lorelei King makes it through some of those scenes while remaining in character. I aspire to be as witty as the characters in this book! I can’t wait for the next book. I wonder where Mrs. Jones will take us, but I have no doubt the ride will be wild and worth the wait!!!

Amber:  A Good Day for Chardonnay has everything I want and need in a book; Large cast and over the top characters, mysteries around every corner, and an unrequited romance theme that makes my heart ache and gives me hope all at the same time.  It’s rare for a book to make me sob like a baby as well as literally laugh out loud, but Darynda Jones’ will do It to me every time.  If you like a well-rounded story with heartfelt emotion, intense action scenes, and genuine humor you cannot go wrong with this series.   Make sure to start with A Bad Day for Sunshine and enjoy the ride!

 @SistersReviewingBooks Quote Corner 

“I think we need to investigate,”
“Really? Can we do that?”
“Sure. My mom does it every day. How hard can it be?” -Auri

 “Have you even met my mother? She knows about the Devil’s doorbell, Cruz.” – Auri   

“Do you really think you stand a chance against an assault rifle?”
“I do. Not a particularly great one, but yeah. I think I have a decent chance.” – Sun

“What if I was standing in front of you right now, naked as the day I was born? What would you do?”
Without missing a beat, without a hint of hesitation, he said, “Ask for consent.”

Darynda Jones Info
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