Today I’m back with Lone Star Book Blog Tours (yay) with a review of a much anticipated book (and a great giveaway.) I was first introduced to Kimberley Packard through another tour when I was blown away by her novel Vortex. Today, I’m bringing you her newest novel Dire’s Club, so read on to learn more about this captivating book and enter our giveaway!
I was provided a copy of the book for review purposes; all opinions are my own.
by Kimberly Packard
Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Pages: 326 Pages
Categories: Action & Adventure / Contemporary / Women’s Fiction
Scroll for Giveaway!
Dying isn’t just hard on the ones left behind, the regret of unfinished lives weighs heavily on the terminally ill. That’s where Dire’s Club steps in, a specialty travel agency that takes a small group of dying people on one final adventure-so they can be free of guilt, be more than a diagnosis, and find a way to confront life … and death.
Life Coach Charlotte Claybrooke built a successful second career guiding people out of grief, but the impending tenth anniversary of her own heart-wrenching tragedy sets her on a journey to find life among the dying.
Staring death in the face was Jimmy Dire’s business. He met it with a warm hug, a kind word, and a smile. Dire’s Club gave the terminally ill one final, bucket-list adventure before passing on, but dying was expensive. The bills, like Jimmy’s lies, were piling up. It’s only a matter of time before he’s forced to face a different type of death.
A rock god, a telenovela star, a grandmother living her life-long dream, and a young tech genius round out this group of strangers facing death together. But when tragedy strikes, their bond is shattered. Lies and fraud surface, forcing the dying to come together to save someone’s life.
Everybody dies. The lucky ones have fun doing it.
This SHOULD be a depressing book. Its main characters are dying, after all: cancer, brain tumor, liver failure, Alzheimer’s. But there is something a little magical about this story of what is really people reclaiming their lives, even for a moment, from the death sentence they’ve been given. I don’t think I’d given much consideration to what Jimmy Dire, who runs the Dire’s Club, refers to as “dier’s guilt”. The worry about those left behind, the things left undone, along with the pressure that the dying are under to console those around them – it has to be overwhelming, along with facing their own mortality. The premise is of his “club” a grand one – a trip to tick something big off of your bucket list while surrounding yourself by people going through the same thing.
Honestly, it’s kind of a wonderful idea.
But this isn’t just a book about death – it’s one about mental health, too. Charlotte is, after all, a self-help guru who works with grief – and she’s a self-proclaimed big fat fraud. Her teachings are meant to have come from her own process of working through a personal tragedy, but the fact of is is that a decade later, she hasn’t let go at all, and a decade’s worth of grief can have devastating effects on your mental health.
Packard took a book about death and mental health and made it both hopeful and gripping, atmospheric and fast-paced, and laced with a few twists and remarkable characters.
What I loved most about the book was the character development. (Without it, I don’t think it would work as well as it did.) The characters are fully developed, layered, lovely and broken. My favorite was the aging rock star who is passing through his last days as he likely did his hey days – teetering on the edge of intoxication. There is something about his character, though, as messy and flawed as he was.
Charlotte is a complicated character: caring, thoughtful, and absolutely wrecked. She’s built a very large house of cards – carefully composed social media, books, public speaking, all on dealing with grief. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to keep it all balanced when you’re not only suffering yourself but feeling the weight of the guilt, and I think that empathy for her character is what kept her from becoming the kind you want to shake. However, her story arc is one of reclaiming her life in a different way, and it is satisfying.
The hardest part about the book was the fact that most of the main characters ARE dying. The moment it hit me that there would be no “what’s next” for most of them was heartbreaking, but Packard delivers and ending that provides hope and a sign that life goes on.
I’m giving a big five stars for this touching, emotional, and ultimately hopeful book.
Trigger warning: suicidal thoughts
DIRE’S CLUB BOOK TRAILER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Find Kimberly Packard on:
2 Winners: Autographed Paperbacks
3 Winners: eBook copies
(US only. Ends midnight, CDT, 4/16/2021)
CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
|4/6/21||Book Trailer||Chapter Break Book Blog|
|4/6/21||Review||That’s What She’s Reading|
|4/6/21||BONUS Promo||LSBBT Blog|
|4/7/21||Review||Momma on the Rocks|
|4/7/21||BONUS Promo||Hall Ways Blog|
|4/8/21||Notable Quotable||The Page Unbound|
|4/9/21||Review||The Clueless Gent|
|4/11/21||Author Interview||Texas Book Lover|
|4/13/21||Review||It’s Not All Gravy|
|4/13/21||Playlist||All the Ups and Downs|
|4/14/21||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
|4/14/21||Deleted Scene||Book Fidelity|
|4/15/21||Review||Rainy Days with Amanda|