Monday, July 10, 2023

Review: A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

by Darynda Jones
Release Date: July 27, 2021
2021 St. Martin's Press
Kindle Edition; 416 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250233110
Audiobook: B089XV8SLF
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

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.
My Thoughts
A Good Day for Chardonnay is the second book in the Sunshine Vicram series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. There are a lot of quirky characters in this town which made for some entertaining moments, but there were also some cringe-worthy moments as well where it is hard not to roll your eyes.  I'm not really into all that romance, so I don't really care who ends up with who therefore, all of the pining for a certain set of abs sort of washes right over me, even if I can appreciate it.  
I don't mind Sunshine as a main character as she's both funny and sarcastic. Dealing with a variety of things from a small town can't be easy, everything from an escaped raccoon to the more serious drug laundering stuff, certainly keeps her hands full. A rebellious daughter also keeps her busy, but only in the sense that she keeps getting herself into trouble by checking into things herself rather than letting the police officers do the work, setting herself up for some serious shenanigans. I like Sunshine's daughter, but as smart as she is, she doesn't seem to learn from any of her mistakes and escapes far too easily from her grandparents' watch.  And there never seems to be consequences for her actions, something that does rub me the wrong way.
There was actually a lot going on in this book, but my biggest concern is the cavalier way with which most of it was dealt. You have mob affiliations, past murder, secret alliances, characters dealing with PTSD due to traumatic events in their past, characters who are not quite was they seem, people who were paid off, and the list goes on.   Personally, I didn't find it overwhelming or anything, but you certainly have to pay attention to the details.  I understand the story line is supposed to come across as lighter, but the lack of accountability rubbed me the wrong way throughout the book, I don't care how whimsical the plot.  Even humourous, cozy mysteries have consequences, and this one seemed to tread on the light side of that line.  

A Good Day for Chardonnay had some interesting moments, but it also some moments that I was questioning.  I'm not a fan of the whole abduction story line and the way it's being played out, but I would like to see how his Uncle Clay is taken out at some point.  And while I didn't mind the banter in the story, I did think it tried too hard to hit that lighthearted note, that it went a bit too far and didn't exact enough consequences for those who actually crossed the line.  So, while I did enjoy it, I'm not sure I will be rushing to read the next book in the series.