First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: I hadn’t heard of Darynda Jones before this book. She’s basically a Janet Evanovich clone with slightly naughtier scenes mixed in. And her writing quality might be slightly better Evanovich. This series is very Stephanie Plum.
Charley Davidson is a private investigator with supernatural abilities. She solves mysteries with the aid of ghosts. She’s got a mystery man hopping into her dreams. Excellent book junk food if you’re after entertainment. Nice and saucy.
Brighter than the Sun by Darynda Jones: a much shorter companion to First Grave on the Right told from the perspective of Charley Davidson’s male love interest.
This one is pretty brutal, but the story is decent. I don’t want to give away too much, but it tells the story of Reyes, who was raised by an abusive man. It runs through many of the events from First Grave on the Right as well as parts of Reyes’ life that didn’t involve Charley.
Do not read or listen to this before First Grave on the Right.
Oh, and the audiobooks are narrated by Lorelei King, the lady that narrates Evanovich books. She always does a great job with characters.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
This one is for 2 books in the Wayward Children series. The wayward children are kids that traveled into fantasy worlds and were subsequently booted from those worlds. They return to the normal world with a lot of damage.
Every Heart a Doorway follows a girl named Nancy as she adjusts to life at the home for wayward children. A murder mystery ensues. As the new arrival, she is first on everyone’s suspect list.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the story of twin girls named Jack and Jill. They enter their fantasy world through a trunk and find themselves in a world filled with danger.
Every Heart a Doorway is technically the first book. I listened to Down Among the Sticks and Bones before it, and I’m glad I did. The events of the 2nd book actually happen before the first, and I think the 1st book makes more sense when you have information from the 2nd.
I love McGuire’s writing style. It has this rhythmic fairytale quality that fits the subject matter of the books perfectly. The stories for both are both beautiful and violent. I did find the pacing a tad slow but not intolerable. The books are very short and definitely worth the read or listen.