Diners, Dives & Dead Ends (#1)
Last Diner Standing (#2)
Diner Impossible (#3)
Diner Knock Out (#4)
Terri L. Austin
Copies purchased via iBooks
Blurb (Diners, Dives & Dead Ends) courtesy Goodreads.com:
As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out. With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.
I mentioned in my April Reading Wrap Up that in May, I’ve done a lot of reading. A ridiculous amount actually. It’s basically all I’ve been doing. And it seems that my crack of choice has moved on from historical romance to cozy-type mysteries and I basically began buying anything I could find on iBooks or Goodreads lists that seemed like it might fit my needs. To be honest, I’m not sure how I found this series – I discovered Henery Press somewhere in my iBooks browsing. The first novel their series’ are often free or $1.99 and so I took a punt on a few. This was probably the 2nd or 3rd series I tried and it is one of my faves.
Rose is in her mid-20s and the daughter of a very wealthy and influential family. Five years ago Rose turned her back on all that wealth and privilege because she didn’t want to remain at the college her parents were paying for. They were unwilling to pay for another and cut her off so Rose got a job waiting tables in a breakfast cafe and takes a couple classes a semester, paying her own way through a local college. Her life is far removed from what it was growing up but Rose has her freedom and her independence. She’s created her own sort of family: her boss Ma, the elderly owner of the cafe she works at, Roxy, another waitress at the cafe and Axton, who is also exiled from his wealthy family.
In the first novel, Axton entrusts something to Rose and then vanishes. The cops don’t care, his brother doesn’t care. Rose knows that it’s up to her to find him. This means that she crosses path with a mysterious and sinister figure who demands Rose give up what Axton gave her if she ever wants to see him again. Rose has a feeling that if she gives back whatever Axton gave her, it isn’t going to just be that easy…and so she decides that the only way to get Axton back is to take him back….and win the battle.
It took me a ridiculously short amount of time to become obsessed with this series. I love Rose – she’s a lot of fun and she really doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Not her society Mama who tries to make her feel like rubbish and bully her into returning to the pretentious fold, not thugs who want to threaten her or mysterious, rich men who are used to getting what they want. She’s fiercely loyal – there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for the people she cares about, even put herself in danger. Even though her own family are ashamed of the menial job she now has and the fact that she’s 24 and her life consists of a beat up car, a studio apartment you can’t swing a cat in and barely enough money to eat, Rose isn’t ashamed of the life she’s chosen for herself. The most important thing to her seems to be having the luxury of making any and all choices for herself.
I ripped through the four novels currently available in about 2 days. Because I read these on my iPad I’m not sure how they compare with an average paperback but they never seem to take very long to read. In the next three, Rose finds herself involved in more mysteries and eventually begins working at a private investigation firm, learning (or….supposedly learning) to investigate in a methodical manner, instead of going in all guns blazing and stumbling around into death and destruction. However because it’s Rose….things never really go to plan.
Running throughout the books (2-4 really) there’s also a romance for Rose which won’t be everyone’s sort of thing but pushes all my buttons. When it comes to fiction, I tend to be a walk on the wild side girl. I’m a Ranger, not a Morelli. So those are the types of pairings I tend to ‘ship’ – which is a huge portion of the reason I enjoy this series. The author has pushed a few boundaries with Rose’s love interest (ok, probably more than a few) but I think it’s what works for Rose. She’s not going to marry a lawyer, a doctor or an accountant and settle down in the neighbourhood her parents live in and become her mother. That sort of life isn’t for her. There’s a lot of chemistry and Rose represents a weakness that her love interest wasn’t aware he had, very early on in their interactions but theirs is a volatile pairing – doubting, secrets, criminal activity…..lots of stuff going on. I love it! And I really, really want a fifth installment. Soon.
Book #s 104, 105, 106 & 107 of 2016