Wednesday, July 10, 2013

SUNNY: BLOG HOP STOP, REVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY "Fifth Grave Past the Light" by Darynda Jones

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Darynda Jones' latest installment of the Charley Davidson series, Fifth Grave Past the Light. Enjoy the review, and excerpt and enter for a chance to win your copy of the book!  

Never underestimate the power of a woman
on a double espresso with a mocha latte chaser high.

Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper.  She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire.  However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case.  Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason.  When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help.  Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.

Charley Davidson is at it again in Fifth Grave Past the Light, the sexy, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling series by Darynda Jones.

They're back, and it couldn't be a more welcome sight!  I hugged my Kindle when Fifth Grave Past the Light arrived.  Oh, to be back in the world of Charley Davidson!  Bliss!  

This book is the fifth installment in the world of Charley - aka. The Grim Reaper.  Back with her friends - Cookie, Uncle Bob, Gemma, Garrett, and the drool-worthy Reyes - Ms. Jones takes us along another zany, breath-taking ride.  Charley, like always, is juggling a lot situations: There is a serial killer on the loose, Gemma is keeping secrets, a loved one is scheduled to die, another loved one has been to Hell and back and is telling stories, Cookie literally shoots from the hip, and Amber falls in love and tries her hand at signing, and the "situation" with Reyes heats up (like a lot).  

I love Charley because despite the fact that she is the Grim Reaper, she is accessible.  She could be a superhero - but even with superhero powers, she is down to earth.  She is funny, snarky, and loyal to the bone. She is a true Girlfriend.  In high school, she would be voted "Most Desired to be Stranded on a Desert Island With" because she is so giving, supportive and entertaining. 

It's not all about the fun.  There are some difficult and heart-stopping moments as well.  Darynda Jones knows how to balance a story to keep it from becoming too silly or too serious.  It's this balance that keeps the narrative compelling and not-able-to-put-downable.  

IN A NUTSHELL:  This is one of the best in the series.  Bringing all that I love about Charley Davidson and putting a little cherry on top. (and that ending...I don't know how I'll manage until the next book)

 Buy the Book

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at

An autographed copy of Fifth Grave Past the Light for one lucky winner  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ask me about life after death.

—T-shirt often seen on Charley Davidson,

    a grim reaper with questionable morals

The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink.
Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d
dressed to the nines. Or, at the very least, the eight- and- a-halves.
But the truly disturbing part of my evening was the fact that my
mark, one Mr. Marvin Tidwell, blond real estate broker and suspected
adulterer, actually turned down the drink I’d tried to buy

Turned it down!

I felt violated.

I sat at the bar, sipping a margarita, lamenting the sad turn my life
had taken. Especially to night. This case was not going as planned.
Maybe I wasn’t Marv’s type. It happened. But I was oozing interest.
And I wore makeup. And I had cleavage. Even with all that going for
me, this investigation was firmly wedged between the cracks of no and
where. At least I could tell my client, aka Mrs. Marvin Tidwell, that it
would seem her husband was not cheating on her. Not randomly,
anyway. The fact that he could’ve been meeting someone in par tic ular
kept me glued to my barstool.

“C-come here often?”

I looked over at the dead guy. He’d finally worked up the courage
to approach and I got a better view of him. I figured him for the runt
of the litter. He wore round- rimmed glasses and a tattered baseball
cap that sat backwards on top of muddy brown hair. Add to that a
faded blue T-shirt and loosely ripped jeans and he could’ve been a
skater, a computer geek, or a backwoods moonshiner.

His cause of death was not immediately apparent. No stab wounds
or gaping holes. No missing limbs or tire tracks across his face. He
didn’t even look like a drug addict, so I couldn’t tell why he’d died at
such a young age. Taking into account the fact that his baby- faced
features would make him look younger than he probably was, I estimated
him to be somewhere around my age when he’d passed.

He stood waiting for an answer. I thought “Come here often?”
was rhetorical, but okay. Not wanting to be perceived as talking to
myself in a room full of people, I responded by lifting one shoulder
in a halfhearted shrug.

Sadly, I did. Come here often. This was my dad’s bar, and while I
never set up stings here for fear of someone I knew blowing my
cover, this just happened to be the very same bar Mr. Tidwell frequented.
At least if it came to a knockdown drag- out, I might have
some backup. I knew most of the regulars and all of the employees.

Dead Guy glanced toward the kitchen, seeming nervous before he
refocused on me. I glanced that way as well. Saw a door.

“Y-you’re very shiny,” he said, drawing my attention back to him.

He had a stutter. Few things were more adorable than a grown
man with boyish features and a stutter. I stirred my margarita and
pasted on a fake smile. I couldn’t talk to him in a room full of living,
breathing patrons. Especially when one was named Jessica Guinn, to
my utter mortification. I hadn’t seen her fiery red hair since high
school but there she sat, a few seats down from me, surrounded by a
group of chattering socialites who looked almost as fake as her boobs.
But that could be my bitterness rearing its ugly head.

Unfortunately, my forced smile only encouraged Dead Guy.

“Y-you are. You’re like the s-sun reflecting off the chrome bumper of
a f-fifty- seven Chevy.”

He splayed his fingers in the air to demonstrate, and my heart was
gone. Damn it. He was like all those lost puppies I tried to save as a
child to no avail because I had an evil stepmother who believed all
stray dogs were rabid and would try to rip out her jugular. A fact that
had nothing to do with my desire to bring them into the house.

“Yeah,” I said under my breath, doing my best ventriloquist impersonation,

“I’m D-Duff ,” he said.

“I’m Charley.” I kept my hands wrapped around my drink lest he
decide we needed to shake. Not many things looked stranger to the
living world than a grown woman shaking air. You know those kids
with invisible friends? Well, I was one of those. Only I wasn’t a kid,
and my friends weren’t invisible. Not to me, anyway. And I could see
them because I’d been born the grim reaper, which was not as bad as
it sounded. I was basically a portal to heaven, and whenever someone
was stuck on Earth, having chosen not to cross over immediately after
death, they could cross to the other side through me. I was like a giant
bug light, only what I lured was already dead.

I pulled at my extra- tight sweater. “Is it just me, or is it really
warm in here?”

His baby blues shot toward the kitchen again. “Hot is m-more
like it. S-so, I— I couldn’t help but notice you t-tried to buy that guy
over there a drink.”

I let my fake smile go. Freed it like a captured bird. If it came back
to me, it would be mine. If not, it never was. “And?”

“You’re b-barking up the wrong tree with that one.”

Surprised, I put my drink down— the one I bought myself— and
leaned in a little closer. “He’s gay?”

Duff snorted. “N-no. But he’s been in here a lot lately. He l-likes
his women a little . . . l-looser.”

“Dude, how much sluttier can I get?” I indicated my attire with a
sweep of my hand.

“N-no, I mean, well, you’re a l-little—” He let his gaze travel the
length of me. “—t-tight.”

I gasped. “I look anal?”

He drew in a deep breath and tried again. “H-he only hits on
women who are more s-substantial than you.”

Oh, that wasn’t offensive at all. “I have depth. I’ve read Proust.
No, wait, that was Pooh. Winnie- the- Pooh. My bad.”

He shifted his non ex is tent weight, cleared his throat, and tried
again. “More v-voluptuous.”

“I have curves,” I said through a clenched jaw. “Have you seen
my ass?”

“Heavier!” he blurted out.

“I weigh— Oh, you mean he likes bigger women.”

“E-exactly, while I on the other hand—”

Duff ’s words faded into the background like elevator music. So
Marv liked big women. A new plan formed in the darkest, most corrupt
corners of Barbara. My brain.

Cookie, otherwise known as my receptionist during regular business
hours and my best friend 24/7, was perfect. She was large and in
charge. Or well, large and kind of bossy. I picked up my cell phone
and called her.

“This better be good,” she said.

“It is. I need your assistance.”

“I’m watching the first season of Prison Break.

“Cookie, you’re my assistant. I need assistance. With a case. You
know those things we take on to make money?”

Prison. Break. It’s about these brothers who—”

“I know what Prison Break is.”

“Then have you ever actually seen these boys? If you had, you
would not expect me to abandon them in their time of need. I think
there’s a shower scene coming up.”

“Do these brothers sign your paycheck?”

“No, but technically neither do you.”

Damn. She was right. It was much easier to just have her forge my

“I need you to come flirt with my mark.”

“Oh, okay. I can do that.”

Nice. The F-word always worked with her. I filled her in and told
her the deal with Tidwell, then ordered her to hurry over.

“And dress sexy,” I said right before hanging up. But I regretted
the sexy part instantly. The last time I told Cookie to dress sexy for a
much- needed girls’ night out on the town, she wore a lace- up corset,
fishnet stockings, and a feather boa. She looked like a dominatrix. I’d
never been the same.


  1. I LOVE 5th Grave so far! I wish I could have stayed home to read today...I guess I'll have to make due with a brief visit at lunch and then ignore everything else once I get home :)

  2. I absolutely LOVE the Charley Davidson series! Darynda Jones is the best! :)

  3. I totally skipped your review....I'm only 1/2 through book 4 and don't want any spoilers :)

    I'm here to show you support!


    1. Thanks, Saph. I tried to avoid spoilers, but it's difficult especially when the book is THIS GOOD! I hope you are enjoying the read!

  4. I LOVED 5th Grave, the only bad part was that it ended and now I have the excruciating wait for the next one.

  5. Finished Fifth Grave in about a day. Loved it!!!

  6. I like to snack on grapes--and I LOVE to read Charlie Davidson books! :)

  7. Nope, I don't snack while I read because I don't want to get food on my book or kindle.

  8. I am using this time. I don't snack when I "read". I get all my housework done:) love fifth so far!!

    1. I am so much more productive now that I have audio books. I even volunteer to do the dishes!

  9. pretzels, animal crackers, chips...

  10. Read the book in one day, so sad to see it end. It was great !!

  11. I never snack when Im reading for fear of getting stuff on my kindle, Nook, or paperback (whichever one Im reading from) But if I do get hungry while Im reading, I put my book down and usually get something chocolatey to munch on. Great Review.

  12. I love this series and I am now waiting for book 6. I'm never satisfied lol

  13. Nope, I don't snack while I read because I want to be totally concentrated on what I read :)

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  14. Great review Sunny! This was my favorite of the series so far. I can't wait for book 6!

    1. Totally agree with you. My favorite so far too.

  15. No snacks, no stains! White glove treatment ;)

  16. love this series and I had some ice cream this go round.

  17. Popcorn is my go to when reading! Love this series!

  18. My favorite author! String cheese is what I snack on, otherwise, it could get out of hand!

  19. Ahh! I loved this too. Yes I wouldn't mind being stranded on a desert island with Charley because I know it would be entertaining. A lot going on in this one as usual and that ending!!

  20. I will try again! I am a determined Grimlet!! Darynda is a fave! I loved Fifth Grave! I eat Baked Lays! :)

  21. Thanks for having me and for this awesome review!!!! Yay!

  22. Thanks for the awesome interview, and yes, I constantly snack as I read. So bad or me. I try to snack on fruit. Try being the main word there.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. I am not a big snacker while I read because I am just a little picky (some might call it anal) about my books - NO FOOD STAINS!! That goes along with the no broken backs and no folded down pages rules.....not anything unreasonable!

  25. Love this series. Darynda writes with soooo much humor and sass. Congratulations...BTW...Reyes *sigh*

    As for snacking..yes I snack when I read and have noticed that the weight gain seems to coincide with a really good book!!!!!!!

  26. I love Duff! I also loved 5th Grave! I enjoy everything Darynda writes! :)