Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hump Day Hello - Darynda Jones style

Hello again - greetings and salutations. So here we are again - oddly enough, stuck between the day of uber bad luck (Ides of March, so not a good day for Julius Caesar!) and the day of uber good luck (kiss that Blarney Stone lads and lassies for good ole St. Paddy's day!) and what's a girl to do? Well, if you are me - you have a really crappy day at work, drink a few tasty adult beverages and then get down to some serious reading. This week's delish treat features an author new to me and the gals of the GI book club, Darynda Jones' First Grave on the Right. By now, you may or may not know, but I am a really tough customer when it comes to first books in series - I either love it or hate it - very little in between. Fortunately, Ms. Jones knocked it out of the park! As homage to her hot, hot, hot hero, Reyes Farrow, allow me to first give you my interpretation of Satan's son, eye candy style...... Mmmmmmmmm

First Grave on the Right, Darynda Jones, St Marten's Press, February, 2011

A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

Let me first say that Darynda Jones' needs to stay out of my head....and I mean that lovingly! This book could totally be my journal, if I saw dead people, and were the Grim Reaper, and had even a 1/10th the sex appeal of hot mess Charley Davidson. Ok, maybe not completely my journal, but the snarkatude, sassy heroine and ever present coffee mug amongst friends is totally me! There are so many little tiny details that I adore in this book that I cannot begin to name them all...but the chapter headings (from bumper stickers and rude t-shirts) are case in point!

There are those of us who will gush about the story line - and it has so many tangled twists and turns that it makes for thrilling, fast paced reading. How can you not love a story that manages to feel and read like urban fantasy - witty, gritty, and full of snarky good humor but tastes like a classic paranormal romance (Mmmmm - alpha male who kisses one into syncopal episode all while in coma-like state - wowie kazowie!) Filled with mystery, intrigue, and even a few good fight scenes, First Grave on the Right, sets quite the bar for future stories in this series.

There are other's of us who will gush about the characters - the heroine, Charley Davidson, who is part bionic woman (better, faster, stronger, heals quicker!) and part hot mess (constantly falling, fighting, leading with her mouth at all times) charms the reader so quickly. And BFF/Asst Cookie with her ever present coffee mug holds the ability to roll with the punches as figuratively as Charley does literally. How can you not love a character than means to do the right thing and realistically rarely succeeds? Jones' talent lies in creating a madcap cast of characters that somehow feel like folks we all know, situations that "might happen" and mixes in crazy with the sane. Secondary characters are every bit as crucial to the plot as main and through them, the real truths about Charley and Reyes leak out. Furthermore, any writer that can make an insubstantial "smoke-like" hero rank up there with the all time hotties of paranormal romance has got some bad-assed writing skills! For those of you who doubt, get to Charley's shower scene and tell me that urban fantasy/paranormal romance doesn't capture sexy in a whole new way!

Well crafted story, snappy dialogue, sexy characters makes for this first in a series well on it's way to being a "keeper" on this reader's shelf. The only sad note is the wait until August of 2011 for Second Grave on the Left, it's sequel!

Most deserving of all five of the chocolate dipped strawberries this week - Ms. Jones has given me something to indulge in and enjoy!
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