Book Review: Death, Taxes and Green Tea Ice Cream (Tara Holloway #7)

Book Review

Death, Taxes and Green Tea Ice Cream

Diane Kelly

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 Stars – I like it)

Mystery, Comedy, Romance

Tara’s back and she’s getting her ass kicked. By who? By injustice. By selfishness and greed. By the very people she’s risked her life for over the past 6 novels. The IRS.

Say what?

Back in book 6, Tara and her companions take down a low-life scum bag operating out of a strip club and barely escape with their lives. Tara made one really big mistake. She shot the bad guy. She didn’t kill him, she just shot him. Then she waited, and shot him again. And waited, and shot him again. Apparently shooting to kill is fine, and self defense is fine, but coldly torturing the bad guys by repeatedly shooting them in cold blood is a tad unethical. Right?

Now, eager to boost his political career, an opportunistic investigator puts Tara right in his crosshairs and launches an investigation that gets her booted from her job and could mean years in prison, while taking away the best job she’s ever had and all she wants to do with her life. To top it off, the criminal she shot is alive and kicking and pressing a civil suit for $10 million. Tara’s life is falling apart. She looses her job, her friends, and now risks prison and losing the man she loves too.

Good thing Tara doesn’t stay out of trouble. Like, ever. And sometimes trouble can work for her. So maybe she’ll come out ok in the end. Meanwhile, she’s obsessed with green tea ice cream and sushi. I’m a fan of both, so I’m with her there.

Death, Taxes and Green Tea Ice Cream is another typically light, fun, witty book by Diane Kelly. Tara Holloway is a girl that other girls can laregely relate to, or at least empathize with, maybe even admire. If you enjoyed the other books in the series, you’ll enjoy this one too. If you didn’t enjoy the other books in the series, why the hell are you still reading them? Weirdo.

Written by a former CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant), the book’s mysteries and villains center around issues like corruption and tax evasion and financial crimes. It’s a nice change of pace from the typical murder mysteries. Yet there’s still action. Still plenty of bullets flying about. And how often do you see someone fall into a giant vat of liquid chocolate? Pretty sure most female readers were wishing they were in Tara’s shoe’s that day, eh?

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Book Review: Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson #7)

Book Review

Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson #7)

Darynda Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 Stars – I love it!)

Romance, Comedy, Supernatural, Mystery

Darynda Jones does it again. No, I don’t mean in bed. I don’t know who she’s doing in bed, if anyone, or how many times she’s doing it. I mean with her book, Seventh Grave and No Body. It’s another great Charley Davidson outting.

It’s got sex, drugs and rock and roll. Ok, maybe no drugs. And maybe not the rock and roll either. But there’s sex. Much more of it now. If you like that sort of thing. And yes, of course you do. But there’s also more coffee, sadly, it’s decaf, and we feel Charlotte’s pain. The sacrifices we make for motherhood. Well, not me. I’m a dude. Ha! Suck on that, girls. I can drink all the coffee I want while you’re carrying the mini me. Maybe even Irish it up a little.

No, I dislike whisky. Maybe I’ll caribbean it up. With rum. Yeah, better. It’s good to be me.

Not really sure what the title’s all about. There’s bodies galore. Oh, maybe it was about the…yeah. Exactly. You’ll figure it out. And is it just me or are the book covers totally cute? I love skulls. Especially mine. I’d hate to lose it. I think I’m also going to get mine covered in diamonds when I die. Then women will hoard it and fight over it. Probably a lot more than they fight over me now. Damn shallow, diamond-wanting women.

So, in book seven, Charley is still kicking ass. There’s a bun in the oven now, and I mean that metaphorically, because Charley can’t actually cook. The hounds of hell arrive and make a bloody splash. The series feels like it’s becoming a lot mroe about the supernatural now and less about the detecting side of things. But there’s still some good old-fashioned detecting going on. Totally didn’t see the main villain coming in this one. Except in retrospect, then you’re like, wow, I should have totally seen that coming. Although, not really, because I don’t know if all the clues were really there until the end. So I refuse to feel stupid, just this once.

Why do I keep reading these novels? The humour. It’s all about the sassy, wise-cracking, face-palming, dead-panning, ‘glorious’ sense of humour that fills each and every paragraph. I have no idea how she does it. It must have taken so much effort and imagination and smart-assness to do this for seven straight novels. And there are still five more to come!

So…big question. Is Charley gonna die and be replaced by her daughter in the series? I could totally see that. But Reyes will die first. That’ll set it up. Charley will be all fire and revengy at the loss of her true love and then she’ll die to, probably saving her daughter so her daughter can save the world. Hmm. Is Darynda that cold? Would she do that to her readers? Would she break that many hearts? You have to admit, fans would go crazy. And it would be a chance to reboot the series. Am I prophisizing? Has it already been done in the five books to come? Am I giving Darynda horrible ideas that are going to make people hate me in the future? I hope not. Unles they punish me by buying lots and lots of copies of my books and trying to drown me in movie deals. That would just be the worst, right?

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Book Review: Sixth Grave On the Edge (Charley Davidson #6)

Book Review

Sixth Grave On the Edge (Charley Davidson #6)

Darynda Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 Stars)

Mystery, Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

And it’s another good book. Charley Davidson is a solid series from Darynda Jones. Very solid. Not incorporreal at all. Though it may haunt you. Maybe get you to start thinking like Charley, talking like Charley, drinking coffee like Charley. This could get dangerous on so many levels.

Why wait to read the book? Let’s give you all the jaw-dropping, OMFG, climaxing spoilers that would have knocked your socks off – right now. Just kidding. I’m not that evil. But apparently Darynda Jones is as she teases out the series from one book to another – forever. Kidding. Once you’re addicted, you know you can never get enough.

You ever realize that, despite being this super great and powerful, potentially evil, baddest of the bad boys, Reyes is actually Charley’s bitch? I know he’s billed as this big deal, but really, isn’t he kind of whipped and sort of her personal pet/bodyguard/sex toy who does nothing to actually go out and save the day on his own, he just shows up to sever spinal cords, give her millions of dollars and the best orgasms ever?

Yeah, I basically like everything about the series except him. Or how he’s not really his own person at all, just a rich penis with a sword. But, as previously noted, maybe he’s just not my type. I’m sure a lot of girls would like to have the most beautiful, dangerous and sexy man in the universe at their beck and call with little to no will of his own, just a slavish desire to devote himself to her for all time. Wish fulfillment much? lol

I’m sure it’s the same way women have complained about the female who gets rescued in so many classic, male protagonist stories. Girls who are all boobs and no contribution to the plot. Ok, that’s not fair. Reyes is central to the plot. Lots of conflict around him. But I guess it would be easier to root for him if we experienced his own POV sometimes. Or if he didn’t lose total control of his emotions every time someone does anything at all. Or react to everything with rage. Do women seriously see us men that way? I hope not. Embarrassing if true.

But I love Charlotte. I don’t know if I’d date her in real life, cause she’s got a strong dorky side, and she gets herself and the people around her shot/maimed/dead on a regular basis, which would be a real damper on our sex life, cause your penis doesn’t work as well when you’re bleeding out, but man, her humour rocks. Ok, actually, I’d totally date her. From a distance.

The sixth book in the series, and can you believe I’m only getting to the plot this late in the review, and that maybe I didn’t even spell any of the plot out in the last review or two, anyway, where was I? Right, the plot. The Dealer is introduced, new potential bad guy but also potential good guy. Cookie’s dating life finally comes to life, and so does her daughter Amber’s, with explosive results. Well, less explosive for Amber; she’s only 12. There are plenty of dead people and they have problems and some endings are happy, others less so. A wall ‘mysteriously’ disappears.

There’s some sex. And coffee. They explore Reyes’ past and the family he had before his abusive kidnapper father. Ooh, a Mexican drug cartel drops by for a few laughs, then starts dropping other people. Turns out, not such a healthy thing, being dropped from a great height. The mystery of Charley’s dad deepens. And…the 12 Beasts of Hell are coming. That’s coming, not cumming. Because ew, messy. And bestiality is illegal.

Oh, and the book ends on a bang. Wait for it…

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Book Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)

Book Review

Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)

Darynda Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 Stars)

Mystery, Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

This is such a wickedly funny series. And each book just keeps getting better than the last. Better mystery, better suspense, better coffee. Ok, the coffee might not have originally come with the book. That might have soaked in when someone knocked over their cup at Starbucks. But hey, if a book’s gonna be scented, it’s hard to go wrong with aromatic notes of java beans and hazelnut.

I think that one of the things that makes these books so popular is how much personality the characters have. Sure, they can be one, may two or two and a half dimensional, at most, that personality is out there to be seen and felt and that’s why people can so readily identify with a character, and/or fall in love with them. Obviously, Charley Davidson is brimming over with personality the way a cup at the bottom of the ocean is overflowing with water, but so too is Cookie vividly portrayed. Uncle Bob and Garret are nice foils to Charlotte’s wit, Angel is great, and Reyes, well, I still hate Reyes. I don’t get him at all. But I have a penis. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it, maybe it doesn’t, but he still hasn’t grown on me. I guess I’m more partial to knights in shining armour as opposed to bad boys. But some people out there would rather date Joker than Batman.

There are multiple laugh-out-loud moments in this book. People are starting to look at me funny when I read in public. But I don’t care. Worth it. The Ozzy voice on the GPS nav system was awesome. I don’t know why anyone would want any other voice after reading that.

It wasn’t until partway through that I realized just how many different plots and subplots are all being juggled at the same time here. Impressive. Darynda Jone’s flow chart must look like a plate of spaghetti. And I mean her plot flow; that statement had nothing to do with her period, which I hope is far less complicated.

Can’t wait until the next book. Oh! I don’t have to. I have it sitting right here. Along with numbers 7, 8 and 9. (grin)

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Book Review: Death, Taxes and Peach Sangria (Tara Holloway #5)

Book Review

Death, Taxes and Peach Sangria (Tara Holloway #5)

Diane Kelly

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 Stars!)

Humour, Mystery, Romance

The Death & Taxes series features Tara Holloway, a kick-ass IRS agent cleaning the streets by putting tax-cheaters and bad guys behind bars. Along the way, there’s friendship, love and the occassional blunt-force trauma.

In Death, Taxes and Peach Sangria, heroine Tara Holloway tracks down a number of amusing litlte crooks while on the hunt for how criminals in America have been sending money overseas to support terrorism. The little crooks are hilarious. And the final solution was something I definitely didn’t see coming soon enough, but which I kicked myself for not seeing earlier. I guess that’s the measure of a good mystery, it keeps it a mystery until the end.

Death, Taxes and Peach Sangria, it must be said, is a fantastic title. And making the recipe for said peach sangria, which is printed in the book, is definitely on my to-do list. Right after: Read the rest of the series. I also gotta say, I’m loving the cover. The style, the colour – fantastic.

The book is well written, with a witty, dry sense of humour and a style that harkens back to classic private dick tone of voices. I was strongly reminded of the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones and Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst. All have heroines who are spunky, gutsy, brave, sometimes clumsy, sometimes kick-ass, trouble-making, heart-breaking and a lot of fun.

I had someone contact me recently about feedback on a novel he was writing. It was about a super rich billionaire who decided to play hero by helping other really rich people get their money back after they’d been screwed out of their money by ponzi schemes or other tricks. I wrote back and told him that maybe he should reconsider his premise. First, it was very unlikely that some super rich billionaire who was formerly the head of one of the world’s biggest companies was going to start a new company helping other rich people out. Second, there was absolutely no way readers were going to support the protagonist. Readers are averge or poor. Because rich people took their money. They’re not going to have any sympathy at all for some rich guy who was tricked out of his cash. They’re a lot more likely to say: fuck that guy, he got what he deserved.

I did sympathize with the author. The detective genre is a little stale; every book seems to be about murder. Money seems like a new angle, right? Unfortuntely, he went about it wrong. But Diane Kelly does it right. Her heroine and heroes are going after crooks who are screwing all of us, the readers, the good citizens, out of what they owe. Her protagnists are standing up for us, for the group, for the good. Real heroes. And I have to say, it’s a damn nice change that they aren’t just run-of-the-mill cops or private eyes. Well done, Diane!

And hey, anyone who can actually make you cheer for the IRS must be a wicked good author, right? 🙂

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