Third Grave Dead Ahead  - Darynda Jones The UF genre needs more series like Charley Davidson, and more heroines like Charley. Series like this are the reason I became obsessed with the genre in the first place. Series that make me seriously entertain the thought of an alternate world out there, one where the Son of Satan grim reapers, werewolves, vampires, angels, and the whole lot run free. I've always considered a healthy belief in "What if's" to be essential for one's mental growth, so no, I'm not at all concerned about my sanity after writing that.

Third Grave Dead Ahead focuses more on the relationship between Charley and Reyes than the previous books. There's more on Charley's background and her "powers" here as well. Another love interest is also introduced, converting the love triangle to a harem instead (not that I'm complaining, mind you. Charley deserves all the love.)

Speaking of, Charley is my role model. I aspire to be as lively, witty, strong, and brilliant as her. I have half a mind to simply quote all the passages I loved, present them as evidence for why Charley is the funniest UF heroine in creation, and leave it at that. But since I never miss the chance to gush about her, I'll add a "few" words. This book took a dramatic turn towards the end, and I'm amazed at how well Charley dealt with it. She convincingly proved that not only is she humorous, she can also be clever and mature when the situation calls for it. It's remarkable how she can manage to be so funny without seeming like an airhead in the least.

So after all that praise, why is this still a 4-star book? Only because of one simply rule I have when it comes to giving 5 stars: if I have to take out the time to think about whether or not I loved a book enough to give it that rating, I won't. Because that thinking part alone means there was something missing, some sort of epic factor found in the other books I've rated 5 stars, that wasn't present here. Maybe I can't pinpoint it at the moment, but it usually comes to me the next time I give that high rating.

Nonetheless, I LOVE this series. I feel the need to strongly emphasize this point again, especially after the previous paragraph. Charley Davidson (the series, not the character) is refreshing, exciting, original, and thoroughly engaging. It takes immense talent to turn everything into a joke at one moment and to reveal something serious or tragic the next. This is a light and funny book for the most part, but it has these great heart-wrenching, thought-provoking moments that do more for the series than all the jokes combined. And I think that, more than anything else, is what makes Dyranda Jones's writing style stand out against all the other UF authors out there.

My love letter to Reyes (SPOILERS AHEAD!):

Because of the way Third Grave ended, I composed a very friendly letter to Reyes and mailed it to his address within the depths of Hell. Here's a copy:
Smexy Reyes,

You know how much I love you, how I positively swoon every time you appear, and how I would even give up chocolate if it meant we could be together. But sweetie, you have got to stop playing these mind games with Charley, putting her in danger, keeping secrets from her, and hitting her. I'm sure you have your reasons, but until you put an end to this infuriating habit of yours...let me just remind you that she will always come first for me, even if you're hotter, and the next time you mess with her, I'll lock her up with Donovan and/or Garrett in a secluded bedroom and let lust run its natural course. How would you like that? My thoughts precisely. Now get your act together, and grovel at my Charley's feet, or I will execute this brilliant plan of mine.


Some of my favorite quotes:
Puppy love was a powerful elixir. I should know. The things I did for Tim La Croix, my senior-year crush. Unfortunately, I’d been in kindergarten at the time, otherwise he might have taken note.

When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Reyes hit me! He’d actually hit me! It didn’t matter that hitting me wasn’t really like hitting a regular girl and I’d be completely healed in a matter of hours. I was still a freaking girl, and he damned well knew it. I’d just have to hit him back. With a lead pipe. Or an eighteen-wheeler.

“The top five things you never want to say to a grim reaper: I’m dead tired. You’re killing me. I’m dying to try that. This relationship will be the death of me.
The number one thing you don’t want to say to the grim reaper is…Till death do us part.”

4.5/5 stars

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