Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Synopsis: 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 a 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, Sunshine’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 underneath 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 that seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunshine’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy. (Goodreads)
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I’ve been a fan of Darynda Jones since I read, First Grave on the Right (2011), and I know when I pick up one of her books I can always count on: captivating storytelling with characters I want to be friends with in real life, red hot romance, side splitting humor, and suspenseful mystery. A Good Day for Chardonnay is the second entry in her Sunshine Vicram series, and I think it just might be her best yet (which is really saying something)!
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Unlike the Charley Davidson series, there’s no supernatural woo-woo going on here. Instead, there are two main mysteries to be solved as well as the personal one involving Sunshine’s abduction. In less talented hands, multiple storylines as well as a large cast of characters could result in one hot mess, but Darynda Jones skillfully juggles all without breaking any eggs. The chapters alternate between Sunshine and her adorable teen daughter Aurora, who’s a mini version of her mom. I love their close bond and the teasing that goes on between them. In addition to the two separate mysteries, the relationships between Sunshine and her soulmate Levi, and Auri and her heartthrob, Cruz, progress further, and I have a difficult time saying which one I’m more invested in right now. Auri and Cruz are in the beginning stages of first love and it’s sweet without giving you a toothache. In contrast, the romance between Sunshine and Levi is definitely heating up and at times I had to check my Kindle to make sure it wasn’t smoking!
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Both central mysteries are interesting and twisty, and I can honestly say I was surprised at their resolutions. The revelations regarding what happened to Sunshine fifteen years earlier weren’t quite as surprising thanks to the bread crumbs that led to them, but it was nice having most of my suspicions confirmed. The pace of the story is extremely fast and the ending came all too soon. While I was laughing through most of the book, there were parts that were nail biting, and a couple that were downright heartbreaking. The two main mysteries were satisfactorily wrapped up, and more questions were answered about Sunshine’s abduction when she was seventeen, but there’s obviously more to come.
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Darynda Jones is one of my favorite authors and she never disappoints. I can sing her praises all day, but rather than give you all a headache, let me just say this: A Good Day for Chardonnay is rather like a box of your favorite chocolates, or in Sunshine’s case, pizza and coffee. Once you start, just try not to scarf the entire thing down in one sitting!