Don't Fear the Reaper

A review of Darynda Jones's Charley Davidson series by Guest Wench Natalie

Hello, Fellow Saucy Wenches! It’s January, and if you’re like me, that list of “To Be Read” is wicked long, almost to the point of ever growing and never ending. I mean really, what’s a Saucy Wench to do? Well, add to that list, of course! My TBR list is constantly being added to through various ways:

  1. Recommendations from my fellow Wenches (these are often the ones I like the most).
  2. The Goodreads recommendations section, based on books I’ve read. (If you don't have a Goodreads account, I highly recommend creating one and using it to track what you've read!)
  3. Let’s not forget about the next books to be released in series I follow. I mean, duh, why would I not want to know what is going to happen next to my favorite characters?
  4. Recommendations from fellow friends and family who are also “book pushers”.
  5. Other media, such as People magazine or ads about movies being adapted from books, etc.

I think you more than get the point! There many ways to increase your TBR list!

Now with recommendations from all these sources, there comes a time when a Wench doesn't know what to read next. Stuck between the couch and a pile of good books is where I tend to find myself a lot of the time! Because my TBR list is getting to be as long as the books I read tend to be. And because the list gets so long, I find that some books or series get pushed down the list, and others get pushed to the top. This is why my list is in pencil or electronic form, so I can keep the list in constant motion. (I am sure I’m not alone, am I Wenches?). But sometimes books get pushed out of sight without my realizing it, and I lose track of them.

This post is dedicated to one of those series that got pushed down my list accidentally, then quickly moved back up to the top and completed! And why I am now pushing it to — or practically shoving it at — other book fans. The Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones was on my radar, but really far away from what I thought I’d like to read. Was I ever wrong! Read what I thought of it after the jump!

Last year I completed a 100-book challenge on Goodreads. Whenever I completed a book, I would go back to my usual sources for my TBR list, but mostly source 2, where I would peruse the list of books recommended based on previously read books. For over a year, I saw First Grave on the Right (or what I affectionately referred to as the book with the woman with pretty feet on the cover). Each time I looked at recommendations, I saw that cover and thought, “Hmmm, what is it about?” Then I’d pull up the description and read it thinking, “Okay I might get to it eventually.” I kept hemming and hawing about when to read this series, thinking I wouldn't like it. I noticed that very few of my other Wenches had read or showed interest in the series. Stay with me, I don’t want lose you yet; I bring up the journey that got me to read the book only because I suspect a lot of you might be in a similar spot and need that extra push to read it.

I received a text from one of my girlfriends who lives just down the street from me: “Hey have you read the Charley Davidson series?” I knew I had not because the name of the series did not even sound like it was on my radar. She told me, “The first book is First Grave on the Right, and the series is by Darynda Jones. It’s so funny and it is right up your alley.” Since this friend of mine had been victim to my book pushing, I was like, “Okay I will check it out.” So while this conversation was going on and she was telling me about it, I went to to see what book she was talking about. And lo and behold, it was the series I was hemming and hawing about! So I made the mental choice to bump it up to the top of my list, even went as far as going directly to my library’s website and requesting the first 4 books. (You know, if you want others to read your recommendations, you have to from time to time read their recommendations! It is only fair in the book pushing world.)

New book to try?
So I had Goodreads pushing me to read the book and my girlfriend’s recommendation. I had the 2nd nudge I needed to read the series. So I got the first book in my hot little hands, and the first thing I noticed, before I even dived into this book, was that my favorite author, J. R. Ward, had written a review about it that was quoted on the cover: “The best debut novel I’ve read in years! Hilarious and heartfelt, sexy and surprising. An absolute must-read!” I tend to do things in 3s, and I had just been given my 3rd reason to read this book: 1) A reliable website recommending it. 2) A good friend loving it. 3) A favorite author giving it praise. So I got into my pajamas, as that is my reading uniform, crawled under the blanket on my couch, and started reading. As I was reading, I grabbed my cell phone to text my friend, “Seriously this is so funny and going down so smooth!” Followed by a quote from the book: “Don’t you think if I was bleeding internally, I’d know somewhere deep inside? Like, internally?”

In this series, Charley Davidson is HELLarious as the female lead. I say Hell because, well, she’s the Grim Reaper as well as a Private Investigator, who helps her uncle, Ubie, an Albuquerque, NM Police Department detective, solve crimes. If you've ever watched the television show Ghost Whisperer ... she’s kind of like that, but way cooler! If you know the show, Charley is more “Hells Angels” than an antique shop owner. I mean, come on, she names her breasts “Danger” and “Will Robinson”! Being the Grim Reaper and seeing the recently departed tends to get our beloved Charley in trouble. (See above quote about internal bleeding.) However, her sense of humor is always there, as long as her Mr. Coffee is running!

Steamy sexiness! We're in!
For Wenches who like a hot, steamy scene between the leading lady and a sexy, only-to-be-found-in-books love interest, she’s got one that will keep you guessing — and likely just as frustrated as Charley. However, her humor and her sidekicks make up for all the angst. I find that good books always have great side characters, and this one holds true to that rule. Side characters range from a pesky 11-year-old ghost whom Charley calls Satan’s Spawn, to a Personal Assistant named Cookie (who is a plus-size, single mother lusting after one of the detectives), to the occasional other male character whom you might root for Charley to be with: Rocket the ADHD/Beautiful Minds Ghost in the Asylum, Angel the 19-year-old gang banger ghost who is on her staff.... I mean the list of funny goes on, just like my TBR list!

Lots of laughs!

So Wenches, you might want to finish what you are currently reading and then make the Charley Davidson series (4 books out so far, with another one due out this year) the next on your TBR list. Your funny bone will thank you!

Note from the Head Wench: If you enjoyed Natalie's review, be sure and visit her sparkly new blog, Natalie's Book Pushing. Give her love and encouragement as she gets her blog up and running! Thanks for your contribution, Natalie! :*

So, dear readers, have any of you already discovered this series? Or heard good reviews? We hope you will share your comments with us below.


  1. Loved these books! What is everybody waiting for? Go read them!

  2. Thanks Nat, your post reminded me that this series is waiting on my TBR for some time now, I have the first book on my Kindle, so as soon as I finish my current series, I am going to get acquainted with Charley.

  3. Awww you make a girl blush! Thank you ladies for allowing me to do was a blast!

  4. Nat, awesome review. You did an amazing job. I have to read these.

  5. Loved this series too & read on the recommendation of a of my favourite reads for 2012. By some remarkable hand of fate book 5 gets released on my birthday . All kinds of joy !

  6. Awesome review Natalie! You are spot on with describing the humor - I loved this series - aren't you glad I recommended it? ;-) I figured it was my turn to pay you back for all of the fabulous reads you suggested for me! Thank you and keep up the good work with the blogging! Xoxo - HP

    1. Love you too HP! You were the friend who I mentioned in the article and you know it! Love the fact that we are able to catch up over great books after all these years!

  7. OMG I am SOOO adding these to my TBR list Natalie!!

  8. On my list already but always pushing them down. Well, I might reconsider that now. Thank you, Natalie!

  9. Nat, I've read the first one and I have to say your review was spot on. These books are awesome. Book 2 is at the library and I can't wait to get started on it.

  10. This is a fantastic series. Charley is so much fun. Thank you.

  11. I love this series! I got my mother hooked on it. She's almost all caught up.


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