A new release from a favoured author (if you’re curious, the full list of my favourites is here) is an occasion to suspend everything and simply drown myself in the words, get lost in the story. Especially if the story is, like A Bad Day For Sunshine, a riveting mystery which includes many other intriguing elements, leaving the reader glued to the pages until the end.
This is how I met Sunshine Vicram, the newest heroine born from the pen of Darynda Jones. With her, I got to know her incredible daughter, Auri, but also her parents, her BFF and deputy, Quincy… and Levi, the man Sunshine has loved for most of her life, who is also a mystery of his own.
hitting us in the feels
Sunshine Vicram’s story is one of many layers, from her bizarre election as Del Sol’s sheriff to her life between her own abduction as a teenager and her return to her hometown. Then, on her very first day of work, another missing teenager leads her to relive many painful memories, to the point where I had to stop reading in order to gather my wits because it really, really hurt. A lot.
Sun’s past is one part of the novel that hits us in the feels, because of its horrible reality. Because there is another part of the book which will hurt many: that of Auri’s first days in her new school, where she became victim of the bullying of a group of fellow freshmen. Those who lived such a situation will find this part quite difficult, emotionally. I sure did hurt, reliving parts of my past that I would’ve liked to keep buried. On this, all the credit goes to Darynda, for depicting those parts of the story with an incredible reality.
This is also valid for the bulk of the story, the investigation in itself. On this, the author explained that she did ask questions to detectives, in order to have the whole situation realistic, which shows from the start, including in the abbreviations, which I sometimes had to search to make sure I understood. A masterful stroke by Jones.
Then there is Levi
Then comes the part related to Levi Ravinder: is he friend or foe? Is he something in between?
What we do know is that Sunshine Vicram loves him, has loved him for most of her life. And that he is hot (tall, dark, and devilishly hot). And that the chemistry between him and Sunny is burning the pages every time he is mentioned in relation to her.
On top of it, closing the book leaves us with many more questions, and hoping desperately for the next in the series, which Darynda has not started writing yet.
Friends, family, and charley references
There is Sunshine, her family, her friends. As in all of Darynda Jones’s books, female friendships play a predominant role, but there is also that of Sun and Quincy, a lifelong relationship reminiscent of that of two siblings.
Another aspect that has been in her books is the family relationships, and just like Charley and her father and her uncle Bob, or Defiance and her dads and her grandmother, the ties between Sun and her parents are an important part of the book, as well as a highly emotional one. Furthermore, the relationship between Sun and Auri is very similar to that between Cookie and Amber, insofar as they are both extremely close mother/teenage daughter relationships.
Then there is the relationship between Auri and Cruz, two teenagers that I would love to adopt. On top of being absolutely charming, both will remind the Charley Davidson readers of the teenage relationship between Amber and Quentin. Not that the two pairs are physically similar, but because they are two very clever and highly likeable teenagers whom we can’t help but ship in a parental sort of way, and there is the whole ASL part of it, too, with the boy already fluent in sign and the girl fascinated by it and learning it. Then again, those are only parallels, for both Auri and Amber, and Cruz and Quentin, have their own, very distinct personalities. Just as lovable.
Those who read the Charley Davidson series will also see a character whom they have met in the first couple of books of the series: Donnie, the hot Native American bartender who used to work in Charley’s father’s bar.
Cue my squeeing like an absolute fangirl!
The Charley references don’t stop there, as Sunny is also a big coffee addict, and she loves her a good mocha latte with extra whipped cream!
When an author’s universes collide, albeit indirectly, for the pleasure of her readers!
An absolute must-read
When all is said and blogged, A Bad Day For Sunshine is an absolute must-read, complete with action, emotion, mystery, and even a touch of romance.
With the way the book ends, it leaves me only waiting impatiently for the second book of the series, in order to have answers to the questions the story raised. And to see Sunshine & Co. again.
My Goodreads review
A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Oof!! That’s the only thing I can say following this read.
I’m used to Darynda Jones’s style of snarky humour, great female friendships, and action packed intrigue. But I was not prepared for how difficult the first book of her new series would be. Not in the wording or the plot. Difficult in the reality of the situations described, from bullying to teenager abduction.
However, there were many moments where I did burst out laughing quite a bit. And I couldn’t help but love the couple of Charley Davidson nods, which only those familiar with the Grim Reaper cum private investigator cum celestial being would catch. It doesn’t help that in Auri and Cruz, I saw a lot of Amber and Quentin, too. To my great pleasure, need I say. And Sunshine is quite the badass heroine! Impossible not to love her… or to mega crush on Levi!
A terrific read, which leaves me looking very much forward to the second book. Because I have questions…
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