Book Review: Thirty and a Half Excuses by Denise Grover Swank

September 21, 2017 5 Exclamations!!!, Author Interviews, Cozy Mystery, Fall 0

Book Review: Thirty and a Half Excuses by Denise Grover SwankThirty and a Half Excuses (Rose Gardner Mystery #3) by Denise Grover Swank
Published by CreateSpace on September 10th 2013
Genres: Mystery, Romance
Pages: 352
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Life in Henryetta, Arkansas is turned upside down with the arrival of a televangelist, but it’s the death of a little old lady on Rose’s street that catches her attention. The Henryetta police deem her death natural causes, but Rose suspects foul play and so does an unlikely supporter–-the president of the Busy Body Club, her eighty-two year old neighbor Mildred.

But Rose is in the middle of opening her nursery with her sister Violet, who’s separated from her husband Mike, as well as stalling her boyfriend Joe’s family, rich socialites who are determined to meet her. Along with her multiple encounters with Fenton County’s new assistant DA, Mason Deveraux III, it’s just another day in the life of Rose Gardner–-chaos.


Interview with Rose Gardner:

I love, love, love these books, so I jumped at the chance to give Rose Gardner an interview and I have to say, she delivered. I love talking to this gal as much as I love reading about her… Now, Rose, it’s time to keep yourself out of trouble. At least for a little while!

Hey Rose! I’m so glad to have you at! I’ve been wanting to sit down with you for a while. If you don’t mind I’m going to pick your brain a little.

Thank you for inviting me! Although I’m not sure why you’d want to talk to me. I lead a pretty simple life.

First off, can you tell us a little about yourself. But let’s do this the fun way, instead of the norm, what are three quirky things that nobody knows about you?
Um, this is hard. I guess the first is that I wish I had prettier toes. Is that weird? Momma always made me wear my big sister Violet’s hand-me-downs, clothes and shoes included and Violet has smaller feet than I do. Now I have some awful hammer toes.
Second, hmm… I’ve never traveled more than two hours from home, which happens to be Henryetta, Arkansas. I’d love to go to Italy, but Joe is talking about taking me somewhere this winter after Violet and I get our new nursery up and running.
And the third thing I don’t tell people, and I can’t believe I’m telling you is that I have visions. Just short snippets of something about someone next to me. I see it from their eyes. It’s usually boring stuff. Like finding a lost cell phone or getting a good deal on a TV, but lately I’ve been seeing more important things. Like my own murder.

How does having visions affect your life?
It’s embarrassing because whatever I see just pops out of my mouth. Sometimes I tell people things they don’t want to hear. Like last week I told Samantha Jo Wheaton that she gained five pounds. As you can imagine, that didn’t go very well. I was thankful she didn’t set my hair on fire like she did her husband’s when she caught him cheating.
But most of the time, they are a nuisance. Most people just think I’m weird.

If you couldn’t be psychic, would you rather have another gift?
Gift? Goodness, girl. This isn’t a gift. It’s a curse. *looks around* Did my best friend Neely Kate set me up for this? She’s forever going on and on about how it’s a gift. I wish I could just gift it to her. She’d do anything to have the sight. So if I could get rid of this gift, I wouldn’t want another. I just want to be normal.

What is your most treasured possession?
Joe, although he’s not an actual possession. I never thought it was possible to love someone so much.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing Joe. He’s the first person who really saw me for me. He didn’t think I was weird and accepted me even after he found out about my visions. He’s encouraged me to try new things and believes in me even when I don’t believe myself. I worry that one day he’ll wake up and see that he’s from a rich family in El Dorado and realize he has nothing in common with little Rose Gardner from Henryetta, Arkansas. But Joe seem more worried he’ll lose me which I suspect has something to do with his deep dark secret, so I probably have nothing to be worried about.

What is(are) the quality you most like in a man?
I never gave much thought about what I was looking for in a man before I met Joe. I like when he’s loving and supportive. I want to be able to trust him. I want a man who wants a family and kids.

And do you think Joe has these qualities?
Joe is very loving, but he has trouble accepting all the trouble I get into. When I was a juror on Bruce Wayne Decker’s trail and realized from a vision that Bruce Wayne was innocent, Joe had a hard time accepting me wanting to help him. But I understand why. He was worried about me and couldn’t be there for me since he lived two hours away in Little Rock. I know he wants to get married one day and have kids, but we’re still working on some trust issues. He’s got his big secret that he can’t bring himself to tell me. I’ m waiting until he’s ready, but it’s getting harder to wait. But I trust that he loves me and would never do anything to hurt me.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Well, my visions for one, but that seems too obvious. I guess that I was normal and that I had more friends and people didn’t whisper about the “weird Gardner sister” whenever I walked by.

What is your motto?
Oh, wow. I’m not sure I have one. Let me think… I guess since I’ve added Joe and Neely Kate and even Mason, the assistant district attorney, to my life, it would be that family and friends are more important than things.

Favorite place ever…
In bed with Joe. *blushes**looks around* I can’t believe I said that.

What’s your favorite dessert?
French silk pie. Yum. Since Momma died, I can’t bear to even look at an apple pie.

Do you have any more wishes to add to the first Twenty-Eight?
Yeah. I want to marry Joe and have a family. I’ve never wanted anything more in my life. I know I’m opening a new business and I’m excited about it (The Gardner Sisters Nursery, come check out our fall flowers!) it’s just a thing. I can replace it. I can’t replace family.

I’ve had such a reading slump! I was so sad but hoping that Denise Grover Swank would work her magic and get me out of this dismal reading depression.

And of course, she did!

Rose Gardner is up to all of her old tricks, spying on people, asking questions, seeing murders where there aren’t any… Or are there? I love this girl! She totally wins my heart in each of her stories. And what’s great about this is that Denise has managed to add in just enough that if you haven’t read the first two, although I totally recommend them, then you will understand what is going on. However, the first two books really give you a sense of who Rose and Joe are. Also, I haven’t read these in a while and I thought I may have to re-read them to do this review, but again, Denise was able to jog enough of my memory to help me move right along in book three.

The sad thing is the people around Rose are just vicious. She has to deal with such unloving people! Even her sister Violet, was really getting on my nerves. That girl needs to chill out! Sometimes I just don’t know who the villain really is. And I didn’t peg the villain, although I did not in any way LIKE the person who wound up being the villain, but I had absolutely no clue. Another reason to LOVE Denise’s writing. She throws you hints but you have to be very good to pick out the villain.

Now, about Joe… I was on the fence with him before and this book just solidified everything I felt. He’s a pain in the ass and although I understand why Rose loves him, I just want her to boot his ass from her life. I mean, Mason Deveareaux is right there! And he sounds like a real winner! But we all make our choices so, I’m just saying, Joe is not my favorite at all.

And the ending… oh, I’m soooo glad that it says that there will be a book four, actually coming out on Jan. 9, 2014. Which just happens to be my birthday!!! <3 And I really needed to know that because this ending will leave you in tears. Seriously, break out the tissues gals, you’re going to need them.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

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