free hit counter code Center Stage - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Center Stage

Availability: Ready to download

First book in the Magnolia Steele Mystery series by the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Denise Grover Swank. Ten years ago, Magnolia Steele fled Franklin, Tennessee after an incident that left her with hazy memories and a horror of the place where she had been born and bred. Though her abrupt departure destroyed most of her treasured relationships, she vow First book in the Magnolia Steele Mystery series by the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Denise Grover Swank. Ten years ago, Magnolia Steele fled Franklin, Tennessee after an incident that left her with hazy memories and a horror of the place where she had been born and bred. Though her abrupt departure destroyed most of her treasured relationships, she vowed never to return . . . until she has no choice. When Magnolia’s breakout acting role in a Broadway musical ends in disgrace, there’s only one place she can go. She finds herself on her momma’s porch, suitcase in hand. Drama follows Magnolia around like a long lost friend. She reluctantly agrees to help her momma’s catering company at a party for a country music star, only to find herself face-to-face with a sleazy music agent from her past. After a very public spat, Magnolia not only finds him dead but herself center stage in the police’s investigation. Now she must scramble to prove her innocence, relying on the help of acquaintances old and new. But the longer Magnolia stays in Franklin, the more she remembers about the big bad incident that chased her away. The past might not be finished with her yet, and what she doesn’t remember could be her biggest danger.


Compare
Ads Banner

First book in the Magnolia Steele Mystery series by the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Denise Grover Swank. Ten years ago, Magnolia Steele fled Franklin, Tennessee after an incident that left her with hazy memories and a horror of the place where she had been born and bred. Though her abrupt departure destroyed most of her treasured relationships, she vow First book in the Magnolia Steele Mystery series by the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Denise Grover Swank. Ten years ago, Magnolia Steele fled Franklin, Tennessee after an incident that left her with hazy memories and a horror of the place where she had been born and bred. Though her abrupt departure destroyed most of her treasured relationships, she vowed never to return . . . until she has no choice. When Magnolia’s breakout acting role in a Broadway musical ends in disgrace, there’s only one place she can go. She finds herself on her momma’s porch, suitcase in hand. Drama follows Magnolia around like a long lost friend. She reluctantly agrees to help her momma’s catering company at a party for a country music star, only to find herself face-to-face with a sleazy music agent from her past. After a very public spat, Magnolia not only finds him dead but herself center stage in the police’s investigation. Now she must scramble to prove her innocence, relying on the help of acquaintances old and new. But the longer Magnolia stays in Franklin, the more she remembers about the big bad incident that chased her away. The past might not be finished with her yet, and what she doesn’t remember could be her biggest danger.

30 review for Center Stage

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tulay

    Wasn't exciting. This series definitely will make a good late night soap opera. Not much mystery, too much touchy feely stuff. Last soap opera type show I followed was Dallas. Given up TV long time ago.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Davis

    Sometimes the Spotlight is Deadly Magnolia Steele fled from her home in Franklin, Tennessee ten years ago, and whether it’s true or not when they say you can never go home again, she has nowhere else to go. Forced to humble herself, Magnolia returns to her childhood home and stumbles into trouble before she can even unpack her suitcase. The danger she ran from a decade ago still lurks, but she’s tired of running. Though she comes home friendless and lonely, she’s destined to find out there really Sometimes the Spotlight is Deadly Magnolia Steele fled from her home in Franklin, Tennessee ten years ago, and whether it’s true or not when they say you can never go home again, she has nowhere else to go. Forced to humble herself, Magnolia returns to her childhood home and stumbles into trouble before she can even unpack her suitcase. The danger she ran from a decade ago still lurks, but she’s tired of running. Though she comes home friendless and lonely, she’s destined to find out there really are good people in Franklin. Some books you read because you can’t sleep, but when a book by Denise Grover Swank is involved, you can’t sleep because you CAN’T. STOP. READING. This first book in the Magnolia Steele Mystery series is exactly that kind of book. The characters stay in your mind insisting you return to their story to see what happens next. You’ll fall head over heels for some and despise others, but without a doubt you’ll be dying for the next book to see what happens in Magnolia’s life. I was riveted from start to finish, and I can’t wait until the next book is released to find out about more of the mystery hanging over Magnolia’s life. Rest assured, no matter how badly Magnolia wants to disappear into the background, she’s destined to be center stage!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Magnolia Steele fled her home town of Franklin 10 years ago after an experience so traumatic her mind has blocked it out. All she has are glimpses of blood in her nightmares and a fear of basements. Now, after a scandal has ruined her career in New York and left her penniless the only place she has to go is back to the scene of that long buried trauma. She quickly discovers that small towns are filled with small minds and there are plenty of people lining up for their pound of flesh. Even worse, Magnolia Steele fled her home town of Franklin 10 years ago after an experience so traumatic her mind has blocked it out. All she has are glimpses of blood in her nightmares and a fear of basements. Now, after a scandal has ruined her career in New York and left her penniless the only place she has to go is back to the scene of that long buried trauma. She quickly discovers that small towns are filled with small minds and there are plenty of people lining up for their pound of flesh. Even worse, someone is watching her and sending veiled threats. A new series by Denise Grover Swank, Centre Stage is pretty damned awesome. Except for one thing. It ended without any real resolution. Presumably this book and the next will be companion books. It's good but I'm actually tempting to say don't read this until book two arrives, then read them both together.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trisha Leigh

    Denise Grover Swank fans are in for a treat! This new mystery series will entice fans of Rose Gardner and give them something fresh and unexpected in the cynical, traumatized Magnolia Steele. I can't wait to see where the series takes the heroine, OR to find out more about her mysterious past. Enjoy!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Shortly after Magnolia Steele, a flawed but likable protagonist, returns to her home town, a murder occurs and Magnolia is the top suspect. Denise Swank has penned a compelling murder mystery with a fascinating undercurrent of family drama. A smart, sassy heroine. Three-dimensional secondary characters. Intriguing plot. Delightful writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    This is a brand new series by Denise Grover Swank, and my believe is, it will be her best yet. Denise is a master at creating characters that you either want to love and hug or just plain slap. You fall for every emotion whilst reading her books and this one especially. Some tender moments between a mother and daughter is touching. There are a couple of central characters, but the main one being Magnolia Steele, a twenty-eighty year old woman returning home after fleeing ten years earlier. She ju This is a brand new series by Denise Grover Swank, and my believe is, it will be her best yet. Denise is a master at creating characters that you either want to love and hug or just plain slap. You fall for every emotion whilst reading her books and this one especially. Some tender moments between a mother and daughter is touching. There are a couple of central characters, but the main one being Magnolia Steele, a twenty-eighty year old woman returning home after fleeing ten years earlier. She just made her debut lead role on Broadway, in spectacular fashion, and runs to the only place she can, her Momma's. But her nightmare's are starting to feel all too real. Things happened ten years ago, that Magnolia can not remember but being back home is slowly bringing it all to light. And not everyone is happy to see that Magnolia has reappeared, one of them being her brother. I love the way that Denise can have a serious issue of murder but add enough humor into her writing that you will be giggling at times. Of course, you will feel for Magnolia on her quest to find the truth and to clear her name. Be warned, this is a series and not all answers will be revealed in the first book but I can assure you, you will get hooked in wanting to know what is next for Magnolia Steele.

  7. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    *sigh*. I absolutely love the writing style of Ms. Swank! It is warm, homey, the characters are engaging and the storylines are almost always ones that just can’t be put down. This book is no exception! Although I was frustrated with Magnolia throughout the book because she refused to confide in anyone about the truth of why she left and her actions at times, I still couldn’t stop reading. It really is a sit down to read before bed - only to glance up and realize it’s three in the morning kind of *sigh*. I absolutely love the writing style of Ms. Swank! It is warm, homey, the characters are engaging and the storylines are almost always ones that just can’t be put down. This book is no exception! Although I was frustrated with Magnolia throughout the book because she refused to confide in anyone about the truth of why she left and her actions at times, I still couldn’t stop reading. It really is a sit down to read before bed - only to glance up and realize it’s three in the morning kind of story!

  8. 4 out of 5

    April

    4.5 stars I am intrigued. I also have ALL the questions. Who was this mysterious man in the abandoned house? Will we see Brady again? (I sure hope so!) Will Maddie and Magnolia reconnect? What else happened in those woods on that rainy night?! BUT MORE SO, WHEN WILL MAGNOLIA PUNCH ROY IN THE NOSE?! I need book #2 right now and I NEED THE ANSWERS, dang it! ;)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ann Reinhold

    Denise Grover Swank is a true story-teller in the highest form of the art! No matter what genre she is writing she always creates complex multi-layered characters and story lines that capture your interest and holds you there reading until the end. This is her newest series and Denise does not disappoint! At first meeting Magnolia Steel, you find yourself believing her to be the person everyone thinks she is but as the story develops so does this wonderful character and layer after layer you see Denise Grover Swank is a true story-teller in the highest form of the art! No matter what genre she is writing she always creates complex multi-layered characters and story lines that capture your interest and holds you there reading until the end. This is her newest series and Denise does not disappoint! At first meeting Magnolia Steel, you find yourself believing her to be the person everyone thinks she is but as the story develops so does this wonderful character and layer after layer you see the true person under the protective shell. Magnolia Steel comes home after fleeing the day after her high school graduation ten years ago. She never though she would be back but now that she is she finds herself under suspension and must clear her name of a murder she didn't commit and face the past that sent her running. This is one of those books you don't want to end....and now I can't wait for the next!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krystal Roe

    Friends wouldn’t let friends miss this book! The characters and mystery are introduced to us in exactly the right manner from the beginning – you find yourself emotionally invested without even knowing they’ve snuck in and have you at their mercy. There’s the perfect blend of foreboding, charm, potential, and conflict to get us gripped from the get go. Can’t decide more if I best enjoyed the banter between the old high school adversaries or between the new kids on the bock but either way I can’t Friends wouldn’t let friends miss this book! The characters and mystery are introduced to us in exactly the right manner from the beginning – you find yourself emotionally invested without even knowing they’ve snuck in and have you at their mercy. There’s the perfect blend of foreboding, charm, potential, and conflict to get us gripped from the get go. Can’t decide more if I best enjoyed the banter between the old high school adversaries or between the new kids on the bock but either way I can’t stop thinking of the characters and of the mysteries involving them. Who knows what? Who did what? What end is up??? Just when I think I know what’s going on I find myself rounding a new corner of suspense. Center Stage is a promising start to a wonderful new series and I you shouldn’t wait to get in the spotlight!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sinead

    It's safe to say that Denise Grover Swank is my go-to author when I just need a quality book. I purchase her books without even needing to look at the description anymore. She's just THAT good. Her Rose Gardner series reignited my love of reading, and I will be forever thankful for that! I have devoured and throughly enjoyed every single series she has written - I'm seriously addicted! - I expected a lot from this new book but what I got was even more! It's safe to say Center Stage is my favouri It's safe to say that Denise Grover Swank is my go-to author when I just need a quality book. I purchase her books without even needing to look at the description anymore. She's just THAT good. Her Rose Gardner series reignited my love of reading, and I will be forever thankful for that! I have devoured and throughly enjoyed every single series she has written - I'm seriously addicted! - I expected a lot from this new book but what I got was even more! It's safe to say Center Stage is my favourite book, and that was a tall order to fill. I can't wait for the new book! Denise you're worlds apart from others in your genre and I hope you get the recognition you deserve! Is it September yet? ;)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debby P.

    Denise Grover Swank has outdone herself with this new series, something I didn't think possible. Magnolia Steele returns home after leaving abruptly 10 years earlier, for reasons she can't remember, she's broke, humiliated and homeless. Coming back to Franklin, Tn. isn't easy and she no more than sets foot into town than she's involved in a mystery while trying to unravel what happened to make her leave 1o years ago. Center Stage is a well written story with strong, well thought out, characters Denise Grover Swank has outdone herself with this new series, something I didn't think possible. Magnolia Steele returns home after leaving abruptly 10 years earlier, for reasons she can't remember, she's broke, humiliated and homeless. Coming back to Franklin, Tn. isn't easy and she no more than sets foot into town than she's involved in a mystery while trying to unravel what happened to make her leave 1o years ago. Center Stage is a well written story with strong, well thought out, characters that leave you wanting more. I can't wait for the next book in the Magnolia Steele series. I recommend this highly to any and all.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vfc

    Family isn’t about blood. It’s about respect, loyalty, friendship, and trust. Magnolia, Lila and Roy are the embodiment of dysfunctional. Returning home after a ten year absence, a major career blunder; and a cloud of anger, resentment and secrets. Ten years ago she left mysteriously. Memory gaps of that night elude her and the longer she remains, the further she’s endangered by threatening texts, someone monitoring her movements. Her return is met with cold disdain, bitter and scathing remarks. Family isn’t about blood. It’s about respect, loyalty, friendship, and trust. Magnolia, Lila and Roy are the embodiment of dysfunctional. Returning home after a ten year absence, a major career blunder; and a cloud of anger, resentment and secrets. Ten years ago she left mysteriously. Memory gaps of that night elude her and the longer she remains, the further she’s endangered by threatening texts, someone monitoring her movements. Her return is met with cold disdain, bitter and scathing remarks. To earn her keep she works for her mother’s catering company and is caught in the crosshairs of Max Godwin’s murder investigation that night, having found his body. She seems to bring out very strong emotions in family and friends equally and resentment by many. A diverse cast of secondary characters and plot elements with a strong disconnect necessary to fuse the characters together. Emily to Magnolia::: “Why haven’t you come home before now? You left the day after we graduated. You had a scholarship to Southern University in Hillsdale, Tennessee. You and Tanner were supposed to go on a camping trip the week after graduation, although your mother thought you were going with Maddie. You disappeared in the middle of your own graduation party and showed up hours later, covered in mud and looking like a drowned rat. The very next afternoon you flew to New York City—which you had never, ever mentioned doing—and you never returned after that, not even for holidays, until now”. This underscores years of absence and reminders of being an outcast. The plot wanders as much as the characters do, and the first few chapters pages are slow...no one except Belinda and Colton appreciated her for her positive attributes and less for her faults. Her brother Roy was mercurial, treating her with disdain and hatred. I marched over to the table, Belinda saw me first. Her eyes lit up, but then she cast a glance at her husband and her excitement fell. He had finally caught sight of me, and there was nothing but anger in his eyes. “Magnolia.” “Roy. You’re a hard guy to reach.” “I’m a busy man. Some people have real jobs to occupy their time.” “Theatre is a real job, Roy.” “Then why aren’t you there doing it right now?” he asked, his voice cold. “You look good, Roy. All grown up.” “That happens as time passes, Magnolia. I know you didn’t go to college, but it seems like a simple concept . . . Then again, you were never the brightest star in the sky. Or should I say, the brightest star on the stage. I heard you got replaced.” “I had no idea you kept up with the latest Broadway news, Roy.” “I don’t. But my friends were all very eager to fill me in on things. I hear you’re also under investigation for murder.” “And here I thought you didn’t have any friends.” “You’re an embarrassment to this family, you need to go back to whatever hole you crawled out of and leave us the f-k alone.” “Your clients don’t like that your sister is a person of interest in a sleazeball’s murder?” “Go home, Magnolia, this is my home too, Roy. Just as much as it is yours.” “Are you here because you want money? I don’t have my checkbook with me, but come by my office on Monday and I’m sure we can reach some kind of agreement.” “What happened to you when we were little, Roy? What made you turn out this way?” She’s horrified by his demeanour. “You happened to me, Magnolia. Have you ever once in your entire pathetic, f-g life stopped to think about anyone other than yourself? Do you have any idea what it did to Mom? You ripped her heart out. I was f-g invisible in that house, living in the shadow of your absence. And now you’re f-g back? And since I seem to be the only one who knows you won’t stay, let’s just speed things along. I’m not sure why you’re here, but I can sure as hell make it worth your while to leave. How much will it take?” “Roy,” Belinda whispered, her face pale. “Stay out of this, Belinda. It doesn’t concern you”. “Don’t you talk to her like that.” “What the f**k is it to you? Do you even know who she is?” Belinda’s eyes widened in fear. She hadn’t told him. He had no idea she’d spent time with me. One more stab to my already hemorrhaging heart. “I know you got married and didn’t invite me.” “I told Mom not to tell you.” “In case you’ve forgotten, Mom gives us the orders and we do as she says. And for what it’s worth, I saw your wedding photo on the staircase wall in Mom’s house.” “You’ve never obeyed anyone or anything a day in your whole pathetic life,” he sneered. I leaned forward and slowly grabbed his tie and tugged. “And look which one of us is the uptight prick.” He slapped my wrist with more force than necessary. “Touch her again, Steele, and you’re a f-g dead man.” Roy’s hate-filled eyes narrowed in on Colt, and he released a short bark of laugher. “I think we should take this outside, Steele.” Roy laughed, but it was devoid of humor. “You touch me and I’ll have your ass in jail so fast you won’t have a chance to grab your hair gel, you p*ssy.” “I expect our discussion to remain between us. I’m sure you appreciate using discretion.” “You mean you don’t want me to tell Momma?” “I can assure you my account of this evening will be vastly different than yours. And which one of us do you think she’ll believe?” Roy is belligerent. A bully. An alcoholic. An abuser. She meets Detective Brady Bennett in Book One. Luke Powell 〰️ Amy’s boss (in love with him) and Belinda’s ex-roommate. Max Goodwin 〰️ Talent agent with contemptible ethics (murdered in Book 1); Early in Magnolia’s career he’d offered her representation—if she accompanied him back to his hotel room. She’d used her black camelback shoe to his crotch. Ultimately he’d been rushed to the hospital by ambulance for emergency treatment, his penis had been mutilated by her shoe heel. She found his body. Tina Schmidt 〰️ threatened Max in an altercation, a month ago. Neil Fulton 〰️ Luke’s Powell’s attorney and the most recent murder victim; represented by Max Goodwin when Paul Locke sued him to break his contract and lost . . . a month ago. Amy Danvers 〰️ found Neil’s body. High School characters Maddie Hoffman 〰️ her ex-best friend; now married to her cheating boyfriend from high school...with a baby. Emily 〰️ her nemesis and rival for Tanner is now best friends with Maddie. Ashley Pincher 〰️ gave Maddie’s boyfriend Blake a blowjob the night of her graduation party. Tanner McKee 〰️ she hadn’t seen him since the night of their graduation following an argument, the same night she’d lost her virginity to him. She meets him on her return along with his fiancée, Chelsea Coleman. Blake 〰️ the last person she remembered seeing before her memories of graduation night went blank. She’d tried regaining those two missing hours of suppressed memories. Reeling from aftershocks of that night . . . images that randomly resurfaced had faded, but the horror of them lingered in the back of my mind like white noise. This is a series of four books interconnected. Read in order (concurrently) will help the reader to appreciate the plot and past events.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abbie

    Dragged slightly in places for me, but an okay read overall.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    'Your made of steel Magnolia' I hope Magnolia always remembers her mothers words, I have a feeling she is going to need all of her inner and physical strength to solve this mystery and not land herself in jail for murder. Hmm so what busy first couple of days back home Maggie meets Colt, then bumps into Tanner then meets Luke and then Brady it sounds like it's raining gorgeous hot guys in Tennessee and Magnolia needs more guys in her life like a hole in her head especially after the scum bag dire 'Your made of steel Magnolia' I hope Magnolia always remembers her mothers words, I have a feeling she is going to need all of her inner and physical strength to solve this mystery and not land herself in jail for murder. Hmm so what busy first couple of days back home Maggie meets Colt, then bumps into Tanner then meets Luke and then Brady it sounds like it's raining gorgeous hot guys in Tennessee and Magnolia needs more guys in her life like a hole in her head especially after the scum bag director she left behind in New York and we will totally gloss over her asshole of a brother. And seriously if Maggie's life is confusing with the guy's just try sorting out the girls, start with Maggie's mum Lila she is such a card and loves to run her mouth of without knowing the facts which is what led Maggie to take off 10 yrs ago, then we have Lila's best friend Tilly she is Lila's support but she wants to be there for Maggie to so she is in a sticky spot...lol then we have Maggie's sister in law Belinda who is a force to be reckoned with underneath that sweet smile is a tornado just waiting to unleash, we then move on to Emily, Maggie's highschool nemesis who basically took over Maggie's life when she left town but I'm thinking she actually did that to stay close to everyone in Maggie's life because she wants to solve the mystery of what happened the night before Maggie took off and then we come to Maddie, Maggie's best friend from childhood who never gave Maggie the chance to explain after she left she just played the heart broken card took everyones sympathy and moved on with her life, honestly if she was a true friend she would have tracked Maggie down and demanded answers and now she gets to play the injured party I'm not sure I like Maddie at all. So we have an all star cast of characters in Center Stage and even though this is Maggie's story everyone has a part to play it will be interesting to see who is playing a part and who is real, who can Maggie trust, only time will tell.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    In Center Stage, the story focuses on Magnolia Steele's return home after 10 years. We get introduced to the life she had before, the people in that community, and how they reacted to her return. The most intriguing part of the story was the reason why Magnolia left in the first place. Everyone thought she just ran off out of selfish reasons and therefore, she wasn't treated kindly when she returned. However, as the story progresses, we realize that she went through something so horrific on the In Center Stage, the story focuses on Magnolia Steele's return home after 10 years. We get introduced to the life she had before, the people in that community, and how they reacted to her return. The most intriguing part of the story was the reason why Magnolia left in the first place. Everyone thought she just ran off out of selfish reasons and therefore, she wasn't treated kindly when she returned. However, as the story progresses, we realize that she went through something so horrific on the night of her graduation, that she blocked it out completely. The horror of that incident gave her panic attacks and nightmares for years. At the same time, the first night of Magnolia's return, people start dying and she becomes a person on interest in those murders. Center Stage was the best book in the entire series. The way it was written grips the readers and I assure you, you won't be able to put it down. It was mysterious, smart, light in many scenes, but dark in the right places! The characters in this book were all likable to be honest. They had depth and they were mysterious. Each character kept you wondering what really drives them. Why are they doing this? or why they choose to behave the way they did? Can they really be trusted? This series makes you wonder how much you truly know someone. Who is good and who is bad? I finished this book was a big smile on my face.. not because it ended with cliffhanger, but because I knew there were 3 other books in the series and I couldn't wait to buy them lol. Full Review: http://letters-on-canvas.com/2018/01/...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Morse Adams

    I love Denise Grover Swank and read all of her Rose Gardner mysteries, but this book didn't do it for me. I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what it was. I think there was just too much going on. The main case was resolved too easily and there was too much focus on things that will be (I think) solved in later books. I actually like cliffhangers, but this was more than a cliffhanger. There was no climax. No satisfying resolution. That said, the characters were well-drawn and it was an easy and enjoya I love Denise Grover Swank and read all of her Rose Gardner mysteries, but this book didn't do it for me. I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what it was. I think there was just too much going on. The main case was resolved too easily and there was too much focus on things that will be (I think) solved in later books. I actually like cliffhangers, but this was more than a cliffhanger. There was no climax. No satisfying resolution. That said, the characters were well-drawn and it was an easy and enjoyable read. I'll probably read the next book in the series just because I love DGS so much!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kandy

    I am so excited about this series by Denise! Magnolia has been through a few years of pain, struggles, and hard work that doesn't pay off; putting her back on her mamas front porch. Ten years is a long time to not be home. The things that have the capability to show up in this series is beyond my wildest dreams and I am sure it will not disappoint!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    April

    3.75 stars. I am intrigued. I also have ALL the questions. Who was this mysterious man in the abandoned house? Will we see Brady again? (I sure hope so!) Will Maddie and Magnolia reconnect? What else happened in those woods on that rainy night?! BUT MORE SO, WHEN WILL MAGNOLIA PUNCH ROY IN THE NOSE?! I need book #2 right now and I NEED THE ANSWERS, dang it! ;)

  20. 4 out of 5

    JMV

    3 1/2 stars. A lot like Rose Garner mysteries which I enjoyed!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    One thing for sure I can always count on Denise Grover Swank to deliver a fabulous read and “Center Stage” is no exception. Murder, mayhem and family drama has never been so delicious! Magnolia Steele left Home after graduating high school in a rush and without explanation to anyone . An event occurred that left her shaken to the core and vowing never to return but when she is fired by her lover from her starry role on Broadway she runs back to Tennessee and smack dab into a world of bitterness a One thing for sure I can always count on Denise Grover Swank to deliver a fabulous read and “Center Stage” is no exception. Murder, mayhem and family drama has never been so delicious! Magnolia Steele left Home after graduating high school in a rush and without explanation to anyone . An event occurred that left her shaken to the core and vowing never to return but when she is fired by her lover from her starry role on Broadway she runs back to Tennessee and smack dab into a world of bitterness and resentment. Magnolia aka Maggie hasn’t been home two minutes before her mother coerces her into assisting with a major catering event. No matter the protests she must go and she had no clue that the sleazy agent, Max, who tried to jump her bones two years prior would be there with all of his nasty vitriol. After a major and very public confrontation Max is found dead with Maggie leaning over his body she becomes prime suspect number one. With photos of her bare breast’s showing up on YouTube and most of the residents ready to run her out of town with pitchforks life just became complicated. There is plenty of action and subterfuge in this little gem. I never knew a character could be loathed by so many. I’m a pretty tough cookie but even I would have been tempted to punch out the lights of a couple of these jerks. This read was also heart wrenching and I found myself on the edge of my seat from page one to the very last one. Way to go Ms. Swank. I am so hooked and looking forward to book two.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    Another great mystery form Denise Man Denise really writes good books. I really liked this story it was mysterious and sweet. Magnolia was really something. I really felt for her not only did she just up and leave after a tragic event that she could not remember 10 yrs ago she was now considered a suspect to a murder she did not commit. I like how she's trying so hard to prove she's innocent but I hate, how she feels so alone at times. I just wish there was someone that she really felt she could Another great mystery form Denise Man Denise really writes good books. I really liked this story it was mysterious and sweet. Magnolia was really something. I really felt for her not only did she just up and leave after a tragic event that she could not remember 10 yrs ago she was now considered a suspect to a murder she did not commit. I like how she's trying so hard to prove she's innocent but I hate, how she feels so alone at times. I just wish there was someone that she really felt she could trust to go to about that one night before she left. Even though Magnolia's mostly trying to clear herself from the situation she's now in, I wish she could have found out more about the night that had her running and who's threatening her. I guess and hope more of that will come out in the next book. When Magnolia returns home her mother is shocked and almost speechless at first. She's even tough to handle at times, and is definitely a strong woman but at the same time you can tell that deep down she does really care and love her daughter even though she's a hard one lol. “Don’t be so dramatic, Magnolia. So you flashed your tits to the world. At least you’re still young and they look good. Just imagine if I showed my drooping bowling balls. I could have started a world war. Or at least instigated a minor economic depression.” One thing I also really liked, is the love that Tilly her moms best friend has for her and how Belinda, her brother Roy's wife cares so much in helping her even though she's never meet her till now. I thought Belinda was really, a true and sweet person. I took a step back. “Belinda, I’m perfectly capable of getting into a car by myself.” “You had more than a few glasses of sangria yourself, and since at least a dozen pairs of eyes are on you at the moment, I thought it best that you not fall on your keister.” “Keister?” The only thing bad for her was that she was married to Magnolia's jerk of a brother. Gosh I couldn't stand him, he really is an ass. Just like Magnolia, I wonder and worry about how he even treats his wife. I think there's more to Roy's story than you see but I'm sure that will come out more in the next book too. Then there's also Colt and Brady who both obviously seem to like Magnolia, and had me on the fence. I liked both their characters and it was hard to choose one, if I had to for Magnolia. First you meet, Colt who helps out and works for Magnolia's mom and Tilly. He seems like he could be really sweet but there was a slight mystery to him to. I don't know what it is, and I don't think it's something bad, I'm just not sure yet what it is, but like I said he does seem to like Magnolia a bit. He pulled out his phone. “What’s your phone number?” I rolled my eyes in disgust. “Now is not the time to try to pick me up, Colt.” He shook his head, but a smirk ghosted across his face. “I never said I was trying to pick you up, Maggie Mae. I’m offering to be your friend if you need one. So what’s your number?” I rattled it off, feeling like a jerk. “Sorry. I’m just a bit shaken.” He grinned. “Why? Because you thought I was trying to pick you up? That was at the top of my agenda until you talked to me like I was a naughty schoolboy. Now it’s been moved to second place.” Then there's Brady who also seems really sweet and nice. Brady turns out to be a detective for the department, and really likes Magnolia. Of course he doesn't hold it back in showing it or letting her know, but with everything, Magnolia is constantly on edge and doesn't even want think about where things could go between them. Another thing is that Brady, is also constantly trying to push Magnolia, into talking to him and letting him help her, saying he's there for her if she needs anything. “I ran into a door.” “That is the oldest fucking line in the book. Try again.” So I guess will see more of Colt in the next book to and for sure Brady. I just can't wait to see more of the mysteries that are still hanging out their unanswered for Magnolia, reveled next. I think this was a good book to read and really like the awesome mysteries that Denise seems to come up with, I don't know how she does it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    After being disgraced at her Broadway debut, Magnolia comes home to Tennessee. Old memories surface that had been suppressed, a murder happens, and Magnolia is the #1 suspect. She and her sister in law Belinda vow to clear her name. I gave this book 3 stars because it was well written, and I thought the character development was great. I could not go beyond 3 stars because the book is a cliff-hanger. There are many unresolved issues, we are in doubt as to the murderer (even though it seems cut an After being disgraced at her Broadway debut, Magnolia comes home to Tennessee. Old memories surface that had been suppressed, a murder happens, and Magnolia is the #1 suspect. She and her sister in law Belinda vow to clear her name. I gave this book 3 stars because it was well written, and I thought the character development was great. I could not go beyond 3 stars because the book is a cliff-hanger. There are many unresolved issues, we are in doubt as to the murderer (even though it seems cut and dried), and there is the old issue about why Magnolia left in the first place without even saying goodbye. I do not mind books where there is a hint of what is to come in the sequel, but in this case it feels unfinished. Had there been more resolution in the book, I would probably have gone 4 stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cris

    OMG! THIS was a surprise... I started reading and by almost a 1/3 I was ready to called quits, I just couldn’t stand Maggie at all, to me she felt like all over the place, sometimes she was a hard ass woman and later she was this wet puppy ready to be kicked. But later on you get to understand what is happening, why is she acting like that. And Brady? At first I thought he was shady character, but then he just kept giving me all the feels! I can’t wait to read the next one!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    Denise Grover Swanks creates scrappy, strong female characters that are quirky. Always a fun read, this books main character is also tortured by a dark past. Worth reading the series in order to find out how she deals with the past, and with her budding romance with (Detective )Brady. Mystery, romance,deep dark secrets. This is a fun easy read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Merrill

    I love everything by Denise Grover Swank, this book included! My heart really went out to Magnolia, I instantly felt like I could relate to her. The mystery of her life really has me hooked, I found myself thinking about this book even when I wasn’t reading! I love the depth of the characters and the fact that I could put this book down. The mystery is great, the cliffhanger is there and my eagerness to read the next book is high!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Maines

    Great book Such a good book, cannot wait to read the follow up. Will Magnolia sort out her nightmares. Will she go back to NY. Will she go out with the hunky detective. Let's hope all is revieled.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Astrid Arditi

    Fantastic series! Jumping right onto the second book! Love it!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ana Marks

    The plot is good but the characters piss me off. The cops seem like shitheads, Magnolia seems like a dumb bimbo, Lila as selfish heartless woman, Emily a downright bitch , Roy some kind of psychopath and Luke as a pussy. Honestly it seems like a waste to have a nice plot and screwed up characters. And there are moments in the book where i want to reach through thw screen and slap Magnolias dumb arse for her stupidity. That's all.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karie Mathiesen

    I had never heard of this book until someone brought it to my attention a few weeks ago. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I love Denise Grover Swank but this type of book is not my typical go to read. I loved the main character! She wasn't spineless which is a must for me. I found myself laughing at parts of the book and I felt tears prickling my eyes at times as well. I enjoy a book that gets me that involved. I now have to read the 2nd book. No choice at all. I highly recommend t I had never heard of this book until someone brought it to my attention a few weeks ago. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I love Denise Grover Swank but this type of book is not my typical go to read. I loved the main character! She wasn't spineless which is a must for me. I found myself laughing at parts of the book and I felt tears prickling my eyes at times as well. I enjoy a book that gets me that involved. I now have to read the 2nd book. No choice at all. I highly recommend this book. You won't be disappointed.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.