Review: The Trouble With Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones

Reviewed by Jen

I am still positively reeling from the end of this book. Holy cow, folks, I tore through this book like the pages were on fire. Though I always generally enjoy this series, a few of the installments have been less thrilling for me than others (we won’t talk about that amnesia book.) But I think this is one of my absolute favorites in the series so far. Why? Because it was unpredictable. Because it moved the series arc. And because it was All About Reyes.

If you’re not up to date on the series, read no further, because spoilers from previous books are ahead. [Read more…]

Review: Eleventh Grave in the Moonlight by Darynda Jones

Reviewed by Jen

Somehow Darynda Jones manages to up the stakes with every single installment of this series. I will admit, there have been times that the shockers or cliffhangers frustrated me. But not this time. The end of this book left me hungry for more. I am already anxiously awaiting 12th Grave to see where the story goes next.

But I suppose I should back up and talk about what happened before the last few pages. This series lost a little something for me in the installment where Charley had amnesia. The book after that was an improvement and this one has all of the magic of my favorites in the series. Sometimes it takes me a minute to reacclimate to just how snarky and out there Charley’s internal dialogue is. But as I sink back into it, I really do enjoy her silliness and irreverence. That’s especially true now in juxtaposition to the power she has turned out to be. [Read more…]

Joint Review: Reapers Mate by Celia Aaron

reapers-mateReviewed by Joanna & Ronelle

Joanna – Here’s a short and sweet read of Grim Reapers and angels, just in time for Halloween. I’ve liked other work by Celia Aaron, so when this popped up on the request feed, I was excited to dive on in.

Ronelle – Unlike Jo, I’ve never read anything by this author before, and I also rarely read novellas. But the synopsis intrigued me. Plus, It’s October, so why not? Grim Reapers felt pretty appropriate.

Joanna – So, to the story. Annabelle’s a party planner in New Orleans. Her prestigious French Quarter Halloween event is in full swing when, amongst the guests dressed as sexy fairies or killer clowns, a seven-foot tall dark-haired hunk of lovin’ comes. [Read more…]

Review: The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

curse of tenth graveReviewed by Jen

After a disappointing ninth installment, I’m happy to say that the Charley Davidson series got a healthy dose of its shine back for me with this book. Everything I love about the series is back. Charley is still irreverent and funny. Reyes is sexy and broody. Cookie is charming. There are cases to solve and people to save. And the tone is light and engaging, without ever letting us forget the serious stakes that lie underneath. Add to all of that, the series arc is advancing. Lingering questions are answered. And the ending totally rocks. [Read more…]

Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

dirt on ninth graveReviewed by Jen

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I love this series. I love the characters. The wit. The charm. The sexy and smoldering Reyes Farrow. And you can find all of those things in this book. So on one hand, I enjoyed it. I laughed. And I quickly warmed to amnesiac Charley, who –despite her memory loss– is essentially the same loveable person she has been since book 1. The problem is that this book felt like total filler. Other than a couple of revelations at the very end, it’s essentially a prop to get us from the explosive ending of Eighth Grave to whatever is coming next. A fact which I found both disappointing and frustrating. [Read more…]

Review: Brighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones

brighter than the sunReviewed by Jen

Fans of the Charley Davidson series know that Reyes Farrow has not had an easy life.  We’ve seen little glimpses here and there over the course of the past eight books. But there is knowing, and there is knowing. This novella doesn’t wallow in his misery, but any story about Reyes and his life is going to be tough. And believe me, it is.

Basically, the story begins with Reyes as a child, as he remembers the first time he laid eyes on Charley. It follows him as he grows, juxtaposing the horrors of his real life, with the escape she brings him. It’s heartbreaking to see her as a fantasy in his eyes. A small slice of beauty that is so foreign to his existence that he is convinced he made her up. [Read more…]

Review: Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

eighth graveReviewed by Jen

So much happens in this book. So many question are answered. So many things we have been anxiously awaiting finally come to pass.  It’s got everything I’ve been waiting for… and some things I never expected.  It’s a great story with a fast pace, Charley’s trademark humor, and plenty of feels.  It also has an ending that is not only a cliffhanger, but could create some mixed feelings among fans. [Read more…]

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

seventh grave and no bodyReviewed by Jen

I worship at the altar of Darynda Jones. The Charley Davidson series is one that is guaranteed to make me laugh, keep me guessing, and light my fire, all at the same time. At a point when so may series would have faltered by now, gone stale, or jumped the shark, this seventh installment is just as irreverent, smart, sexy, and funny as ever.  Maybe even more so.  And it’s building toward something I never could have predicted back at the beginning. [Read more…]

Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones

sixth graveReviewed by Jen

I loved 99% of this book.  It’s funny and irreverent.  The world-building is awesome. The characters are engaging.  And the plot is completely entertaining.  It was a great book. But that one percent that didn’t work for me was pretty significant. (I’ll get to that in a minute.)

If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, stop here.  You need to start with First Grave on the Right.  This review will reference spoilers from the previous books. [Read more…]

Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light

Reviewed by Jen

Every time I return to this series after several months away, I am immediately sucked right back in to all the things I love about it.  It’s funny. So, so funny.  The plot is complex, but woven together so well it reads effortlessly.  The romance is smoking hot; the hero: sexy, powerful and loyal.  And Charley?  She is as amazing as ever… a fascinating mix of strength and vulnerability, wrapped in a goofy exterior, completely void of a filter.

This book picks up just a couple of weeks after the events of Fourth Grave.  Reyes is living next door to Charley, a constant source of temptation, but she is afraid he is the person setting fires to buildings around towns. After all, they are all places from his past.  And he isn’t helping her resolve, because he is making no secret of the fact that he wants her.

In the meantime, Charley is working a case.  This one seems pretty simple, catching a cheating husband in the act. But as with all the books in the series, Charley’s PI work is secondary to her job as the grim reaper. In that role, she is being swamped by dozens of dead blonde women who are too traumatized to speak. She needs to figure out who killed them, in the hopes that justice will help them find peace.

Meanwhile, fellow PI Swopes is working to unravel the mysteries of Charley’s (and Reyes’) existence. His trip to Hell may have been short, but it left a big impression. I love how Darynda Jones continues to reveal pieces of the bigger picture throughout the books.  Every installment, we learn more.

I loved how the plot all came together.  Darynda drops these little breadcrumbs along the way –and a red herring or two– always keeping you guessing.  Once you get to the end, you don’t see it coming, but it all makes so much sense, you’re kicking yourself for not seeing it sooner. Brilliant!

Of course, the romance is just as exciting as solving the mystery and the mountain of danger. The sexual dynamic between Charley and Reyes is completely off the charts.  The temperature in the room goes up every time they are together. And when they are in the bedroom… wow.  I was completely satisfied with the romantic element of the book.  Their relationship has so many facets to it, and even after five books, they are nowhere close to boring. It feels like the rug can come out from under them at any moment.

Speaking of which… my only complaint… there is a pretty big revelation about Charley and Reyes half way through the book.  One that I will absolutely not spoil. And I waited, terrified, to see how it all would play out.  Only, it doesn’t. The thread is completely dropped, seemingly to be continued in Sixth Grave.    You don’t just drop a bomb like that and then ignore it!!

PS — The last line of the book is a total jaw-dropper.  How am I going to wait until 2014?

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by St Martin’s Press

Click to purchase: Amazon
Fifth Grave Past the Light
by Darynda Jones
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: St Martin’s Press