Review: Love, Laughter, and Legends: Five First in Series Novels

Love, Laughter, and Legends: Five First in Series Novels
Love, Laughter, and Legends: Five First in Series Novels by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The perfect starting point for a DGS fiction addiciton!

If you’re at all uncertain about the magnificence of Denise Grover Swank, this is the perfect place to test the waters. Only the Curse Keepers is left out of this set. You get the first books in each of Denise’s other series. I have previously reviewed each of the titles in this compilation separately. They’re all pasted below! Please be aware that some of these reviews may contain spoilers. Don’t read it if spoilers offend you. You’ve been warned!

THE SUBSTITUTE (The Wedding Pact #1) has pacing similar to Denise’s Rose Gardner Mysteries. I will say that I initially had a tough time dealing with the point of view, but I eventually got over it. I had fun reading it from beginning to end!

I laughed A LOT. And cried (among other things, over a wedding dress… FOUR TIMES)! Seriously… I cried about Megan initially finding out her mom switched out her dress… then when she tried her original dress on… then when she found out the original dress was sold… then when she was delivered her original dress by her soon-to-be husband. That KILLED ME! Out of all the crazy things that happened, that had me in a puddle of tears.

I’m normally not a fan of “insta-love” stories, but this one just worked. Megan and Josh have a chemistry that’s just off the charts. They’re ADORABLE together! I love the fact that so many characters did not trust Josh from the start (and rightly so)! I have to say that when I finally met the real Jay, I hated him completely. He was mean in a cruel way, and in just a few short minutes was physically abusive with Megan. I wanted Josh and Kevin to do far worse damage to the jerk.

Megan’s grandmother is a scene stealer! She’s got a few screws loose, and is a total hoot! Megan’s besties, Libby and Blair, are a perfect complement to their friendship triangle!

I cannot suggest The Substitute (The Wedding Pact #1) by Denise Grover Swank enough! It’s such a great beginning to what I’m sure is going to be one heck of a series. ****I’m giving it 4.5 stars for the fun story, steamy romance, and all-around hilarity!****

AFTER MATH: Off the Subject #1 (Kindle Edition)
The aftermath of After Math.
I started out kind of hating this story. I may just be too critical as I’m not a big fan of contemporary romance. However, After Math won me over in the end!

Yes, it was a boy meets girl and they fall in and out and back into love type of story. I appreciated the fact that Scarlett and Tucker had dark histories and issues to confront. I did not appreciate that their relationship moved so fast, but that issue was covered within the plot of their tale. I found myself rooting for them to make their relationship work out.

Denise wrote a story that reels you in and sets you firmly in Scarlett’s shoes. I’d give After Math a 4.5, but this ratings doesn’t system work that way. Five stars.

TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES (Rose Gardner Mystery, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
So many wishes…so little time.
The whole reason I’m addicted to this series, and Denise’s work as a whole, is because of THIS book. I got the book free from Apple around the new year, and devoured the series over the duration of a rare vacation. I didn’t bother entering contests or trying to find out how I could get the rest of the series free. I dished the dough and I’m ever so happy that I did!

I immediately identified with Rose. I was over the moon when she stood up for herself, actually fist-pumping the air in response! I have an overbearing mother and we’ve had similar bouts on more than a few occasions. I’ve had a list of my own since I was a teen, and sadly very few of those items have been marked off. The whole story was a whirlwind roller coaster, a fun one at that. Rose is a right bad-a and while she tends to make questionable decisions about her safety, she’s totally lovable. We could be friends! I’d have some stories to share about “visions” and such (watch out, world!)

I had Joe “McAlister” and Daniel Crocker pegged from their first introduction, and it could not have been clearer as the story progressed. However, I’m fine with that because Denise’s ability to tell a story is fabulous. And I’m a critical thinker. So there.

This book may serve as a stand-alone if you don’t want to get involved with a series, but you’d be doing yourself a major disservice if you do not continue reading the Rose Gardner Mysteries. I LOVE this series and I hope you do too!

My MVP of this book (and the series) is Muffy. That little lady is a fierce animal. I admire her instant connection with Rose and her 100% dedication.

P.S. Mildred: mind your own business!

CHOSEN: Chosen #1 (The Chosen) (Kindle Edition)
Buckle up…Emma is a Nascar driver in her spare time!
This series is thrilling, to say the least! I came into the series well after it was completed, so I was able to binge read through all of it this past spring. I’ve since read the entire series again! Out of all of Denise’s books, my mind is always floating around in this universe the most.

The protagonists of this series are people who have got a lot of growth ahead of them. Emma Thompson, not to be confused with the actress, is such a strong woman, and her son, Jake, is an angel. (My best friend’s oldest child shares the same name, so I may be biased!) That kid is probably the WISEST character in the series. He’s so so so so young, and goes through so much, but somehow he stays strong and has wisdom well beyond his years. I immediately became invested in their well-being. From the start I did not trust Will Davenport, and with good reason. With that said, Will is NOT a bad guy. He’s fiercely protective. And plays a HUGE role in the series. Don’t ever count him out.

The story of Chosen is one about an epic fight of good versus evil. It really is that simple. You’ve got multiple players in a game who all want the same prize. At times in Chosen, just the first in the series, it’s not exactly clear WHY Emma and Jake are running, but you have to hang in there to learn it all. The journey is worth it and it’s a fun ride. By the end of this novel, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be begging for more! The good news is that there’s three more novels and three accompanying short stories. Happy reading! *****FIVE STARS*****

HERE (On the Otherside Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Here is something unexpected!
I love good science fiction. This book is fantastic science fiction! Putting the puzzle together wasn’t too difficult because Denise sprinkled little nuggets here and there throughout the first half. When the “twist” arrived I was happy I was correct, happy she went there, and even happier that I knew things were about to get crazy!

Here starts out like a very typical YA romance novel: girl bullied by other students while dealing with a personal drama that keeps her from being a social butterfly. Then girl meets boy and everything changes. When I say everything, I mean it!

Here takes a hard right turn into science fiction and does not look back. It was very unexpected! I. Loved. It. So much so that I couldn’t put the book down and read it one sitting. The drama that ensues is both dizzying and fascinating.

Here is very well thought out. Julia, our protagonist, is highly relatable. The others characters are, too! Pay close attention to the nuances. With this series you’re getting a little bit of Fringe, one of my favorite TV series of all time. And that makes me happy! Very happy!

Thank you, Denise, for another addictive series! Five out of five stars!

View all my reviews


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