December 17, 2012

Book Review: Second Grave To the Left/In the Spotlight w/: Darynda Jones Part 1 of 3

at 12/17/2012 09:32:00 PM
~*~Theme Song of the Day: All Those Pretty Lights by Andrew Belle~*~

'Ello peeps! So to kick off my new segment, "In the Spotlight with [NAME HERE]", I will start with one of my favorites, Darynda Jones, author of the Charley Davidson series. Mrs. Jones is, as some of you may know, the Most Awesomesauce of All Awesomesauces; FACT. I have had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Jones twice this year, which is quite an accomplishment when it comes to meeting published authors. She is a very down to Earth kind person with witty humor to spare. So, today I will be reviewing Second Grave to the Left, the second book of the Charley Davidson series.
Tomorrow I will be reviewing Third Grave Dead Ahead and the day after that it will be Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. And of course to celebrate Darynda's ingenuity and lovable characters, I will be posting a giveaway with [BLANK] as a prize. :D So let's get started!

            When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.
            Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

And there you have it. I fell in love with the Charley Davidson series and was pining for more! Grim reapers always have such a negative connotation  because they're....well, they're involed in the grim business of soul taking and bearer (yes, it's spelled like that) of Death. What I liked most about Darynda's take on grim reapers is that it was something completely new and different. Granted her grim reaper, Ms. Charlotte "Charley" Jean Davidson, still occasionally deals with death, but for the most part she uses her extraordinary powers to help the souls that are not yet ready to cross over into the light.

The second book starts off with Charley in blissful sleep and being promptly disturbed by Cookie, her best friend and receptionist. She and Charley head to the rendezvous meet up spot that the friend told Cookie to go to and didn't find any evidence of Mimi. A coded message is left on a bathroom wall and this sparks a wild hunt for Cookie's friend, all the while, Reyes keeps popping up and distracting our girl from thinking straight. Reyes is still on the run and has left his body to be ravaged by demons who are hell bent (hahaha) on getting the portal to Heaven, which in this case, happens to be Charley. On another note, Charley discovered a Mistress Marigold on the interwebs that wanted a grim reaper to contacr her. Another interesting subplot. :]

I swear Darynda Jones has the potential to type out at least 10 more books to this series and it would not lose its original shine and quality of humor (no pressure though ;]). Her characters are engaging, strong of heart and totally likable. Charley is a snarky, sassy, and tough, but that doesn't mean she can't be hurt by words or actions like anybody else. Despite her best efforts to put up a sarcastic wall to minimized any emotional hits from others, she still forms relationships with some people who could be called friends. In book one, as she reminisced about the Bianca Johnson incident  Emotional trauma like that, especially at a young age, would put anybody through an emotionally wringer, but Charley marches on and uses her powers to help the dead. 

Anyways, about book 2, I loved it; FACT!  They say that the sequel sometimes falls a little short, but not with Darynda. Second Grave to the left absolutely measured up to First Grace, if not more. The main case is about Cookie's missing friend. All that's left is a message scrawled on a bathroom wall at a diner. Also, the different subplots were interesting enough to be intertwined with the main plot line. Like what you say? Take Reyes Farrow for example. Dude just woke up from his coma at the end of book 1 and is on the run. He continues his dream visits with Charley as his physical body is being slashed and tortured. Charley races against the clock to find Reyes' body and find Cookie's missing friend, all while dodging bullets, knives and an assortment of weapons aimed to kill.

In another subplot which leads to betrayal, anguish and a familial reconcile. I have to admit I did cry a little at the near end of this book. The emotions that are embedded into every context and scene could be felt. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it just shows how good Darynda's writing is. Charley Davidson is a fictional character, but in Darynda's writings, she's a real person with feelings and weaknesses like the rest of us. I have been a fan of Darynda since book 1 and would forever stay a fan. I give this book 5 stars and definitely recommend anyone who likes paranormal romance/mystery/humor, to read the Charley Davidson series.

As promised for this post of 3, I will be giving away a hardcover copy of Second Grave to the Left. This giveaway ends in a month; just to give everyone a good chance of entering the giveaway. Good luck and join me tomorrow for Part 2 of a 3 part series of In the Spotlight. :D

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Unknown on December 18, 2012 at 5:34 AM said...

:) Great stuff and I agree 110% that Darynda Jones is Awesomesauce! I fell in love with the series even before I was finished with the first chapter of First Grave. I too was a bit worried about book #2 not measuring up but I need not to have feared because it WAS just as great. Thank you for sharing this, it's always fun reading something from another person who loves Darynda Jones just as much as me! Can't wait for part 2.

Marie's Tempting Reads on December 18, 2012 at 8:53 AM said...

I cant honestly say what my favorite scene was bc i enjoyed the WHOLE book! There isn't many series that i can say i enjoy ALL the books and the WHOLE books and nothing but the books..oh wait, sorry got off track there *goofy smile* I am looking forward to the next installment to the Charley Davidson series.

Unknown on January 9, 2013 at 12:14 AM said...

I finished this book in under a day...then went back to read them both again while I waited for book 3 to get delivered. Love Darynda and Charlie <3


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