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Rose Gardner Mystery Box Set by Denise Grover SwankRose Gardner Mystery Box Set by Denise Grover Swank. $ .99

From the Jacket Copy:

Box set of the first three books and novella in the USA Today bestselling Rose Gardner Mystery series.

When Rose Gardner decides she’s done frittering her days away at the DMV, she turns Henryetta, Arkansas upside down as she navigates life, love and the investigation of a murder every now and then.

TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES: When Rose sees a vision of her murder, she’s done frittering her life away and makes a list. Her sexy neighbor Joe offers to help yet refuses to cooperate with #15– do more with a man. But time’s running out and suddenly dying a virgin in the county jail becomes the least of her worries.–winner of the Write Touch Readers’ Award 2012

TWENTY-NINE AND A HALF REASONS: Rose thinks a jury summons means a morning off from work, until she sees a vision of the murderer in the men’s restroom: a huge problem since the murderer isn’t the one on trial. If that weren’t enough, Rose is caught between her sister Violet and her new boyfriend Joe. Henryetta, Arkansas just got messier. –USA Today Bestseller

THIRTY AND A HALF EXCUSES: While Rose and Violet open their nursery, an elderly woman on Rose’s street dies. The police rule her death from natural causes, but Rose and her cranky neighbor Mildred disagree.—iBooks Best of 2013

FALLING TO PIECES: (novella) Rose struggles with heartbreak with the support of her new friends while Joe gets support from someone in his past.

Swank is one of those indie authors quietly garnering a lot of sales. This series is a light-hearted mystery featuring a twenty-four year old Rose Gardner who works at the DMV. Currently this box set is number 1 at BN and quickly rising at Amazon. Swank also writes New Adult and Young Adult paranormals.

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The Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A dark, breathless, beautifully-written gothic thriller of murder, madness and a mysterious island…London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.Juliet is accompanied by the doctor’s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

This is a YA extension? retelling? fan fiction? of the Island of Dr. Moreau. School Library Journal says the ending was satisfying, pace was fast, and Juliet was simultaneously strong and beset with doubts.

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We the Animals by Justin TorresWe the Animals by Justin Torres. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

An exquisite, blistering debut novel

Three brothers tear their way through childhood— smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn—he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white—and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.

Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful.

Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.

This book is narrated by the youngest brother as he follows his folder two brothers in wreaking havoc around their small town in observing their parents no relationship. It received very positive marks from publishers weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. It’s a coming-of-age story about the youngest boy becoming a man. It’s rather short but the reviews say powerful.

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It's Complicated by Julia KentIt’s Complicated by Julia Kent. $ .99.

From the Jacket Copy:

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent:

Hot make-out session? Check. With the dreamy obstetrician? Check. While her best friend is in labor? Um…

It’s Complicated.

Josie Mendham never meant to have her own (radically different) set of gasps and moans a few doors down from where her best friend, Laura, was giving birth. And stealing away with the obstetrician who was consulting on Laura’s case certainly wasn’t part of any birth plan.

When Dr. Alex Derjian watched the foursome enter the labor ward he did a doubletake: two dads? That defied biology as he knew it. Even more intriguing was the woman with the birthing mother and the fathers: Josie, the nurse he’d been watching from afar for months. One elevator kiss led to an on-call room soiree and soon he was breaking every romantic rule in his playbook.

Finding his way into her pants wouldn’t be hard.

But into her heart? That would be a challenge.

As Josie’s niece, Darla (from the USA Today Bestseller Random Acts of Crazy) moves in and her best friend, Laura (from the Her Two Billionaires series), becomes consumed by motherhood, romantic comedy meets New Adult romance in this 130,000 word/514 page novel that asks whether people can get out of their own way and learn that love isn’t easy… but it’s always worth it

I don’t know? Having sex with the OB while the pregnant lady is in labor? That seems wrong somehow even though I think my OB attended all of about 10 minutes of my entire labor.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sitius
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 14:07:47

    “We the animals” was beautifully written, but if I remember correctly ending was very painful – just a warning.

  2. cleo
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 14:33:10

    I’m not sure why making out with an OB while your friend is in labor strikes me as less believable than having sex when while villains are shooting at you, but it does.

  3. Mzcue
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 14:45:55

    @cleo: I dunno. When I was in labor, I didn’t want to be watched every moment. The experience was a sort of private thing for the father and me, with the midwife(1st time)/OB (2nd child) there to check in along the way from time to time. I suppose I’d have been miffed if the doc wasn’t there for the delivery itself, but I’m guessing that’s not the case in the story. Both my attendings seemed like very busy women, but I wouldn’t have begrudged either a little snogging in another room.

  4. Melissa
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 16:38:16

    I have been eyeing the Rose Gardner books for a while, so a bundle for 99 cents worked for me. *Sigh* more books to feed the TBR monster. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Michelle
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 19:02:04

    Just bought the Rose Gardner series after reading the sample.

    Having a quickie while one of your patients is in labor in the hospital-yuck.

  6. Melissa
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 19:17:14

    The Rose Gardner set only contains the first two in the series. The picture on BN’s website shows 3 books and a novella, which is misleading. Just a heads up.

  7. Sirius
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 20:25:30

    @Melissa: Are you sure? I bought it too and just checked table of contents and all three books and novella are there.

  8. Melissa
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 01:32:35

    @Sirius: I opened up my download and only two show up. Several reviewers on the book’s BN page also had the same problem.

  9. Sirius
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 07:52:49

    Melissa, Ah, sorry! You did say BN initially – I bought from amazon and that was perfectly fine.

  10. Melissa
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 13:04:50

    @Sirius: That explains it and why I am switching to a kindle at the end of the year. Also I don’t think BN’s Nook will survive the year, so I am adding as much freebies/less than $3.00 books to the TBR so that when it does implode, I still have enough books to make the purchase price of the NOOK Simple Touch worth it. But once again, Amazon wins and BN looks worse for wear.

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