Darynda Jones would pick up a pencil and paper and scribble nonsense on it even when she was a toddler, asking her mother to read her literary genius aloud. Soon after, she started writing plays for the neighborhood kids, making up stories for her brother, and creating age inappropriate fantastical stories for Barbie and Ken to enact. In high school she almost finished her first manuscript, and even then, was dabbling in romance and the paranormal.
Darynda took a break from actively writing for several years, wherein she got married, had a couple children, graduated Summa cum Laude from UNM and got a job as a teacher and sign language translator. She missed writing though, and started up again in 2002 with the goal of getting a publishing contract securely in her mind’s eye. After 3 complete manuscripts, she finally landed an agent, a three book deal, and won the 2009 Golden Heart award for Best Paranormal Romance in 2009.
Death and the Girl Next Door, Book #1 of the DARKLIGHT series
Author: Darynda Jones
Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.
High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:
*eARC received from the author
Tis the season for several of my favorite paranormal authors to take the plunge and dive into the Young Adult sub-genre.
I have been incredibly lucky and honored lately to be able to advance read and review these new endeavors, and for me personally, it's been no tricks, only treats thus far. And with nothing but love and the utmost respect for each and every one of those authors, I still have to say that this was my absolute favorite of them all!
Over the past few years there have been several YA series that I let go by the wayside because of changes in my reading preferences and sadly, yes, disappointment. There is only 1 YA series whose installments are on auto-buy for me, at least there WAS. Not anymore!! :)
Death and the Girl Next Door was a 'YA for the not so young adult' that hooked me 2 pages in and didn't let go. Darklight is a unique & exciting new series with amazing characters, solid world building and plot, beautiful romance and dialogue to die for.
Lorelei, our heroine, is quirky, fun, confident and yeah, a bit extraordinary. She's forever flanked by her two besties, Brooklyn & Glitch, who leap off the page in their own right and beg for more page time.
Our hero [OK hero #1], Jared, is kinda heavenly - he's sexy, strong, sensitive, and willing to fight for what he wants, consequences be damned. Seriously, I think I'm in love! ;-) To back up my claims of the incredible dialogue in this book and the swoon factor of Jared, I want to share 1 - of many - memorable quotes from the book (condensed for the use of this review): "Because you move like fire rushing across the floor"..."Like flames licking up a wall"...Your energy is liquid and hot. Even from a distance you burn, you scorch anyone who gets too close. You are wine on my tongue and honey in my veins, and I cannot get enough of you."..."You intoxicate me...You will be my downfall".** ((sigh))
Hero #2, Cameron, is the dark, mysterious, loner bad boy. He's much deeper than he likes people to believe though, and I found unraveling some of his mysteries to be enchanting. He's also got a snarky side that I absolutely loved, and a loyalty & sense of purpose I found endearing.
25 pages into this book I posted an update to GoodReads that said: "Darynda Jones is a genius; a master of the written word. Just sayin... I swear she could rewrite the phone book and I would read and enjoy it because of her instantaneously gripping & witty writing style. I may only be a handful of pages in, but I already know I'm going to love this book!" I stand by that statement, and would highly recommend it.
LITERAL ADDICTION gives Death and the Girl Next Door 5 Skulls and cannot wait for book #2. While there was a plethora of goodness in this book, Darynda ended it with a fabulous twist that opened it up for several more possible storylines and seriously had me jonesing for the next installment immediately. You really need to add this book and it's upcoming sequel(s) to your TBR and 1 Click Pre-Order ASAP.
**Reference: From page 206 of the .pdf version of Death and the Girl Next Door