Saturday, February 1, 2014

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: Rose Gardner mysteries are sweet – and funny

As a huge fan of the cozy mystery, I’m not sure how I haven’t stumbled on the Rose Gardner mysteries until now – but I feel like a better person now that I have.

Denise Grover Swank has created a hilarious “fish bowl” world here, all revolving around Rose Gardner, a 24-year-old woman who has done absolutely nothing of note over the duration of her life.

In the first book, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, we’re introduced to Rose as a struggling DMV worker, who still lives with her emotionally abusive mother and has never kissed a man – let alone do anything else with him.

There is one other thing to know about Rose: She has visions of the future. And, when she has these visions, she immediately blurts them out of her mouth. Often the visions are innoculous, a dog getting out of a yard, a flower girl getting chicken pox, etc. Unfortunately for Rose, when the book opens, she gets a vision of the man at her counter killing her.

Rose is thrown for a loop, so she leaves work early and has a run-in with her mother. You see, sweet little Rose has never stood up to her mother – but seeing her own bloody death has changed a few things, and an annoyed Rose storms out of the house and leaves her mother to her own devices for an entire day.

When Rose returns home, unfortunately, she finds the vision has happened, but not to her. It’s her mother dead on the couch. Rose goes across the road to use her new neighbor’s phone, which is where she meets Joe – and the story really kicks off.

Rose is an interesting protagonist. She’s been overprotected her whole life, by a mother she thought
despised her and a sister that wants to protect her but goes about it like a gorilla bear. Once Rose’s mother is gone, she’s considered a suspect, and everyone in the very small town where she resides starts to turn on her. Her only ally seems to be Joe – who shows interest in her but has a few shady things going on in his life, too.

As something of a loudmouth and extrovert, I don’t relate to a lot of things that Rose has gone through in her life. I’ve never just shut up to make someone happy. I do get blurting things out without meaning to say them, though, and that’s really the source of Rose’s charm.

I have finished the first two books in this series and am about to start the third tome. I can’t say enough about the country charm in these stories. The dialogue flows from a realistic place and, even though I figured out the truth about Joe relatively early in the first book, getting to the end was still ridiculously fun.

The second book delves into Rose’s evolving life and growing independence – but the strength in the book is really the relationships between Rose and her sister, Violet – and Rose and not one but two love interests (one of whom isn’t introduced until the second book).

Not every book has to be War and Peace or Pride and Prejudice. Sometimes books can just be heart-warming, cozy reads – and that’s exactly what the Rose Gardner mysteries are.

The first book, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, is available for free on Kindle – so you can give it a shot without risking any money. If you want to be charmed – I suggest doing it right away.


Blogger Keya Crusan said...

Love this author! Read all of this series... Is it June yet? That is when the next book comes out :)

February 1, 2014 at 3:38 PM 
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May 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM 

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