Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (Rose Gardner #1) by Denise Grover Swank

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.


Just to show you how much of a book nerd I really am, I agreed to join a second book club, and this was the pick for the month. One thing that I really enjoy about being in a book club (or two) is that they often push you to read books that you would normally not consider. This book definitely falls into that category. Had I come across this book on my own, I confess that I might not have given it a read. The mystery genre is just not a genre that I tend to gravitate to on my own. Nothing against it, I’ve read some really good mysteries, it’s just not my first pick.

This is what I would call a "beach read" - one of those books that doesn't require a lot of thought, has a fairly predictable (but not boring) plot line, but is still enjoyable. I confess that if I found myself in the same situation as Rose, I would also probably make a "bucket list" of sorts (I'm too Type A not to!), although, I would hope that mine would be a bit more adventures than wear a lacy bra. At times, Rose's naivete was unrealistic and annoying, but for the most part, I found her to be an endearing character. I think I would have bought the whole "sheltered from the world" thing a little bit more is she was younger. I also wish Joe had a sexier name...I'm sorry, but "Joe" just doesn't do it for me.

The plot was fairly predictable, but written well. I had the book pretty much figured out about half way through. Nevertheless, it kept my attention and I was able to read it straight through in one day. There are several more books in this series and I do foresee myself checking them out eventually. If you are looking for an easy read to pass the afternoon with, this isn't a bad one to try.  

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