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Center Stage: Magnolia Steele Mystery #1 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 398 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Being home brings back more memories of the terrifying experience that caused her to leave 10 years ago, and some anonymous communications warning Magnolia to essentially keep it buried leave you at the edge of your seat to find out what happened on that fateful night.
Seeing and interacting with people from her past leaves you feeling the guilt, sadness, and even anger that Magnolia is experiencing. I really enjoyed the fact that the new people that come into her circle give her a sense of happiness, belonging, and even possible romance.
While the murders seem to be resolved by the end of this installment, I am not so sure that's the end of it. There is certainly many things left to explore, especially the characters and what happened since she left, potential love interests, the mystery of the fateful night all those years ago, and I almost forgot her DAD...I am so excited to see how these things play out and what adventures Magnolia is sure to get in as the series evolves. I am already impatiently waiting for the next book!!
You're put directly into the shoes of Magnolia Steele who is the center of attention whether or not she wants it. She's bold, smart, and has a penchant for trouble. The more you follow her, the more you just have to root for her. While she's scared to the bone, she's not afraid to speak her mind. She's a strong heroine. A strong woman. As strong as steel ( wink emoticon cue the rim shot!) For all that she's been through, she's still level headed enough to see reason and that family is more important than a flashy Broadway career.
I felt a lot of emotions over the two days that I read this book. Chief among those emotions was both wonderment and terror. Wonderment because I MUST know more, and terror because the truth of what Magnolia has been through has only started to scratch at the surface. I not only felt pity for her, but I was afraid for her. Afraid for her family. Shocked by the callousness of Magnolia's brother, Ray. Endeared by the friendship of Belinda and Emily. Distrusting of both Colt and Brady (*yawn* at both of them!)
Center Stage is a FAST read. The pacing of the story will keep you glued. There's even a few "awww" worthy shout-outs that I'll leave you to discover for yourself. Hopefully you've read Denise's other works and that of Lyla Payne, Denise's good friend. September isn't so far away and you can bet that I'll be eagerly awaiting the release of the 2nd Magnolia Steele installment!
Maggie is a strong, independent woman with sass and attitude. Yet, underneath she is still a vulnerable, scared girl who just wants her Momma to love and comfort her. As always with Denise's books, the characters are well developed, the story intriguing and mysterious, yet full of wit and humor. You are pulled into the story and feel like you are one of the characters alongside Maggie.
I didn't want to put the book down. When I wasn't able to read, I found myself thinking about the book and even dreaming about it. So many questions went through my mind. What had happened that night? Who done it....then and now? Who can she trust?
While the Rose Gardner Mystery Series holds a special place in my heart and will always be my favorite series of Denise's, this new series is giving it a run for the money coming in at a very close second.
I received an ARC (advanced readers copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review.