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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Thirty and a Half Excuses

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol [Goodreads Addict]

    The first two books in this series were hilarious. They centered on the chaos that seemed to be Rose Gardner's life. But this book is entirely different. While Rose still can't seem to keep out of trouble, we are allowed a much deeper view into the emotions of the characters. We knew that before Rose's Mother died, she treated Rose horribly. Rose's self esteem has suffered from her Mother's constant ridicule and from her sister's smothering. Rose has come so far in becoming an independent woman The first two books in this series were hilarious. They centered on the chaos that seemed to be Rose Gardner's life. But this book is entirely different. While Rose still can't seem to keep out of trouble, we are allowed a much deeper view into the emotions of the characters. We knew that before Rose's Mother died, she treated Rose horribly. Rose's self esteem has suffered from her Mother's constant ridicule and from her sister's smothering. Rose has come so far in becoming an independent woman but has not fully dealt with her past. Everyone is this book has a secret. Joe, Mason, who I love by the way, Jonah and Violet. And at one point or another, all are forced to bring their secrets out in the open and deal with them. Reverend Jonah Pruitt has come to town and is making quite an impression. The residents of Henryetta are loving his unusual approach to preaching. But at the same time of his arrival, two women die. Did they die of natural causes or were they murdered? And, of course, no matter how hard she tries to stay out of it, Rose finds herself right in the middle of it. At the same time, she and her sister Violet are opening their plant nursery together. Rose is also trying to make her long distance relationship with Joe work. There were so many times in this book that I wanted to reach into the pages and just hug Rose. The one character that I fell in love with, Mason Deveraux, is there for her every time she needs him. Violet really got on my nerves. She is hurtful and jealous but how does Rose deal with her? With love and forgiveness. And then there is Joe. Where once I might have felt he was Rose's strength, now he is just really annoying. I felt he was whiny, jealous, and weak. Since this is the third book in the series, by now I am fully invested into the lives of these characters. I was not prepared, though, for the emotional turmoil I would experience. As in the other books, it is also a great who-done-it and I was completely shocked at the ending. Denise Grover Swank has done a great job of blending humor with turmoil and mystery. I felt Rose was more real to me in this book then in any of the others. So I can't wait for the next book to see what Rose Gardner gets herself into next.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debbie "Buried in Her TBR Pile"

    3.5 stars Own in: Rose Gardner Mystery Box Set This book in the series is hard to read with the changes in Rose's life. Joe finally shows his true self - the weak-willed jerk who can't stand up to his parents or his on again-off again ex, Hilary - who is an evil cow IMHO. My heart broke along with Rose's. And her sister Violet shows a side that is abhorrent. Well, I was becoming Team Mason. So hopefully, when Rose is ready, he will be there. 3.5 stars Own in: Rose Gardner Mystery Box Set This book in the series is hard to read with the changes in Rose's life. Joe finally shows his true self - the weak-willed jerk who can't stand up to his parents or his on again-off again ex, Hilary - who is an evil cow IMHO. My heart broke along with Rose's. And her sister Violet shows a side that is abhorrent. Well, I was becoming Team Mason. So hopefully, when Rose is ready, he will be there.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cyndy Andren

    If I had to pick just one word to describe this book it would be WOW!! Thirty and a Half Excuses is the third book in the Rose Gardner series and I have to say it's my favorite. It's filled with characters that I've come to know and love and also some new ones that I loved to hate. Rose and her sister Violet have opened a floral shop together and things seem to be calming down for Rose. But in her usual fashion, things don't stay calm for long. Elderly women are dying but that's to be expected. If I had to pick just one word to describe this book it would be WOW!! Thirty and a Half Excuses is the third book in the Rose Gardner series and I have to say it's my favorite. It's filled with characters that I've come to know and love and also some new ones that I loved to hate. Rose and her sister Violet have opened a floral shop together and things seem to be calming down for Rose. But in her usual fashion, things don't stay calm for long. Elderly women are dying but that's to be expected. Things like that happen when you get old. Enter in a smarmy, smooth talking televangelist with secrets of his own and suddenly those deaths don't feel so natural. Rose lands smack dab in the middle of yet another police investigation and that doesn't make Joe, her state policeman boyfriend happy. Can he accept Rose for who she is without trying to change her? Can Mason, the District Attorney, help her out of the mess she's found herself in? Can Violet, her sister, stop trying to run her life? What secrets is she keeping? Put all these characters together and you have another sure to be best seller by DGS. Suspense, romance, and humor all combine to create a book you won't be able to put down. Denise Grover Swank has done it again!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Rose is evolving into the woman she was always meant to be...this addition was yet another intriguing mystery that kept me invested, guessing, and laughing to the very end, but I think this book also showed the growth of Rose and how she navigates relationships and circumstances around her...whether it is her complicated relationship with Joe, her passive aggressive relationship with Violet, or her new found connection to Mason, Rose is experimenting with confidence and self assertion which is m Rose is evolving into the woman she was always meant to be...this addition was yet another intriguing mystery that kept me invested, guessing, and laughing to the very end, but I think this book also showed the growth of Rose and how she navigates relationships and circumstances around her...whether it is her complicated relationship with Joe, her passive aggressive relationship with Violet, or her new found connection to Mason, Rose is experimenting with confidence and self assertion which is making her character that much more appealing... I enjoyed watching her stand up for herself and others who are oppressed, judged, or ignored witnessing both her compassion and strength...I am intrigued to see how the story will unfold and how the development of Rose's personality will impact her decisions in the future....4.5 Stars:)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily Pearson

    Do you know what it's like to literally ride an emotion rollercoaster? You will after you read Denise's third installment of the Rose Gardner mystery series. My word, the emotions I went through were more than I could count. I love Rose so much and I just love watching her grow. She has grown into herself since book number 1 and I am so proud to be a part of that development. I absolutely, 100% am in love with her beau, Joe. I am his biggest fan and the journey of his true colors in this story i Do you know what it's like to literally ride an emotion rollercoaster? You will after you read Denise's third installment of the Rose Gardner mystery series. My word, the emotions I went through were more than I could count. I love Rose so much and I just love watching her grow. She has grown into herself since book number 1 and I am so proud to be a part of that development. I absolutely, 100% am in love with her beau, Joe. I am his biggest fan and the journey of his true colors in this story is phenomenal. without giving away spoilers..let's just say my heart was so conflicted when it came to him. I adore Mason as well and his friendship (key word friendship) is something to be in awe of. The character relationships throughout this story are beautiful and heart breaking and near perfect all at once. This is more than just a must read; it's a perfect read. Get your Rose on boys and girls!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stormy Udell

    Oh Rose, How I love to watch you grow! Thirty and a half excuses was perfect. The depth and variety of emotion got me. Laugh out loud funny at times, book thumping irritating at others and then there were the tears. Oh the tears. But, hey…. They don’t call them growing pains without reason. Once again Denise has nailed it – no shocker there. Get it, read it and I’m sure you’ll love it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I was very fortunate and very lucky to have been given a copy of this book to beta read for Denise. I really and truly LOVE this series so much and I cannot believe that I got to be a part of the process for it!! Anyway, if you haven’t read this series, then READ NO FURTHER!! You will need to read the others first before you read this one. There may be spoilers here and I can’t help if I reveal something to you that you don’t know from reading the other books. Rose Gardner has survived the last 2 I was very fortunate and very lucky to have been given a copy of this book to beta read for Denise. I really and truly LOVE this series so much and I cannot believe that I got to be a part of the process for it!! Anyway, if you haven’t read this series, then READ NO FURTHER!! You will need to read the others first before you read this one. There may be spoilers here and I can’t help if I reveal something to you that you don’t know from reading the other books. Rose Gardner has survived the last 2 books and “adventures.” She is still relatively in one piece and her relationship with Joe is still in tact. But, Joe has to go off on an undercover assignment and leaves Rose to her own devices. Rose and her sister Violet have recently opened a flower shop together and have a potentially very big client to impress, Reverand Jonah Pruitt. He is the new pastor at the New Living Hope Revival Church and has given Rose and Violet a very large contract for landscaping at the church. But there is something odd about Jonah and Rose isn’t so sure she wants to take his business, especially after Joe says to steer clear of him. However, she can’t very well pass up the sale as it could be huge for their flower shop. And, as if that’s not enough, old ladies on Rose’s street are dying and wouldn’t you know it, she gets mixed up in the mystery. Since Joe is out of town, she’s relying on Assistant District Attorney Mason Deveraux III for help when she needs it, despite Joe telling Mason to stay away from Rose. With all of this going on, Rose’s sister going through a divorce, Joe talking about having Rose meet his parents, you know that shenanigans are about to ensue! I truly believe that this is the best Rose Gardner book to date. It is suspenseful, funny, dramatic, heart wrenching and full of surprises, not all of them good ones. Denise has created such an awesome group of characters that mesh so well together that the reader can’t help but be invested in them and their lives. Even grumpy old curmudgeonly Mildred would be welcome around the dinner table if I were able to invite them all to a meal. That would be a meal that would be remembered and go down in the record books in my opinion! But, I predict that there will be some grumbling and even backlash from some of Rose’s readers for some of the things that happen in this book. I do, however, believe that these things are happening for the greater good of the series and for the characters in the book. I believe that they are necessary for each character to evolve and mature into the people they are meant to be. Each of these characters has already matured in each of the books, with Rose doing most of the growing. I do hate the fact that I read this book early and I have to wait so long for the next one to come out!! I give this book and this whole series 5 books (I’d give them a million plus if I could!).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna's Herding Cats

    I think I could read this whole series back to back. I really like Rose. She gets into so much trouble but she always means well. The Gist: Old ladies are randomly dying and Rose...doesn't think it's an accident. When the police start eyeing her she finds herself in yet another mystery and trying to find the real culprit. Rose is one who is easy for me to like. She's naive and sheltered. Trying to break out of her own doubts and abuse. While she gets herself in dangerous situations she's not tst I think I could read this whole series back to back. I really like Rose. She gets into so much trouble but she always means well. The Gist: Old ladies are randomly dying and Rose...doesn't think it's an accident. When the police start eyeing her she finds herself in yet another mystery and trying to find the real culprit. Rose is one who is easy for me to like. She's naive and sheltered. Trying to break out of her own doubts and abuse. While she gets herself in dangerous situations she's not tstl and always has good intentions. I like seeing her slowly finding herself, growing as a person, etc. And all of Rose's men. She does have a way of collecting men. From a romantic interest in Joe-- who is sexy and sweet but frustrating-- to friendships with the assistant DA and new employees. I like all of them. They're good guys or at least attempting to be good guys. All with their faults and strengths. It's not *really* love triangle-y but there are some tensions. The mystery I figured out fairly early on. Not all the whys but the whos. It was still fun watching Rose bumble about while dealing with personal issues as well. And some scenes sure get your blood pumping! Had me nervous for a second there. All in all, another win. I'm loving this series. The mystery, the heroine, the herd of men that seem to be collecting. I just like spending time with them and watching what all they get up to.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Collins

    Rose is back and better than ever! In Thirty Rose has really started being her amazing self. She's learned to stand up for herself, and has a whole lot of confidence that makes her even more lovable (if that's possible). But she's still that sweet, fun Rose who can't not help people and it gets her in trouble again. She tries to stay out of it, but that's easier said than done, especially when a vision reveals someone's life is on the line. Joe's off on assignment and Rose finds herself turning Rose is back and better than ever! In Thirty Rose has really started being her amazing self. She's learned to stand up for herself, and has a whole lot of confidence that makes her even more lovable (if that's possible). But she's still that sweet, fun Rose who can't not help people and it gets her in trouble again. She tries to stay out of it, but that's easier said than done, especially when a vision reveals someone's life is on the line. Joe's off on assignment and Rose finds herself turning to Mason for help, which causes some trouble in paradise. And the secrets — Oh, the secrets! Everyone has one and some could rock Rose's world, and even change it forever. This book will pull you through every emotion available and leave you dying for more, and in need of a support group to get out all the feels. Be prepared to not be able to put this book down, like at all... this is one of those books you will take into the bathroom because seriously... you can't put it down!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    For a small town in Arkansas there are secrets, televangalist, and murders galore. Denise shows Joe and Masons secrets as well as Roses growing maturity with great compassion. She writes of there heartbreak and joy showing there are 2 and even sometimes more sides to everyone. This is a must read for anyone. Her characters have depth, romance and realisiam without the graphic sex you find in so many books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Trisha Leigh

    Rose is still my favorite. Some of the more real characters you'll read in fiction. Full review to come.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris Torretta

    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, alt 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    10 BIG STARS!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS SERIES!!! I was going to write a lengthy review, but have decided against it as so much has already been written about it; and trust me, all those 5 star reviews - they all hit the nail on the head. This is an amazing novel that's part of a brilliant series. In fact, it's even better than books 1 and 2, and I thought they were terrific. I'm a huge fan of Rose. She comes across so real that I just want to reach out and give her a great big hug that she tru 10 BIG STARS!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS SERIES!!! I was going to write a lengthy review, but have decided against it as so much has already been written about it; and trust me, all those 5 star reviews - they all hit the nail on the head. This is an amazing novel that's part of a brilliant series. In fact, it's even better than books 1 and 2, and I thought they were terrific. I'm a huge fan of Rose. She comes across so real that I just want to reach out and give her a great big hug that she truly needs. I could have used a hug myself last night as I was in tears when I reached the end. I love how much Rose has evolved since book 1. She's gone from a timid, naïve girl to a woman who's confident, determined, and full of more love for those she cares for. (It's too bad a lot of other authors never seem to get around to having their characters grow, not even by book 20.) So if you haven't had the pleasure of reading any novel in this series, or any series for that matter written by Denise Grover Swank, you are truly missing out on some brilliant storytelling, with the most in-depth characters you'll come across. Just start with book 1. Get ready to love Mason, and kick Joe to the curb. And her sister? Don't even get me started with her, only that she needs a good slap upside her head and her ass kicked to the curb. I personally want to beat the living shit out of Joe and throttle Violet. So unless you want me to kick your ass to the curb, READ THIS SERIES! As for me? I anxiously await book 4 and hope that Mason will show Rose what true love is really all about.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Honestly, this may be the best book in the series so far. Poor, poor Rose! She is developing tremendously as a character but still has some growing to do. I've become attached to her --and the rest of the characters in this charming story -- and I find myself sort of protective of her. Where Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine were more fun and quirky, I found Thirty to be more of an emotional read. My heart went through the wringer watching Mason and Rose's friendship blossom into something special, wh Honestly, this may be the best book in the series so far. Poor, poor Rose! She is developing tremendously as a character but still has some growing to do. I've become attached to her --and the rest of the characters in this charming story -- and I find myself sort of protective of her. Where Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine were more fun and quirky, I found Thirty to be more of an emotional read. My heart went through the wringer watching Mason and Rose's friendship blossom into something special, while her struggles with Joe simply ripped it a part. I don't know if I can take another love triangle, Jesus!! Joe's position between that rock and hard place is brutal -- so it's tough to make a judgement call about which guy's team to be on. As for Rev. Pruitt —I'm giving him the side eye. I think we'll see more from him and I'm not sure it will be nice and neat. The mystery was the easiest one to solve yet, as I figured out who the culprit was about 50% into the book. It was so obvious! It didn't take anything away from the story, though. I can't wait to crack open Thirty-One! Bravo, Ms. Swank!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Livvie

    I loved this series, till the last few pages of this book and now it is ruined for me. I'm not even sure that I want to read the next book. I thought the last book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series ticked me off, this one made me want to toss my kindle through the wall. (view spoiler)[The book looses all it's humor and Joe becomes an asshat who actually lets his family get away with treating Rose like crap, I mean his Mom calls her poor white trash and he still goes to them instead of sta I loved this series, till the last few pages of this book and now it is ruined for me. I'm not even sure that I want to read the next book. I thought the last book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series ticked me off, this one made me want to toss my kindle through the wall. (view spoiler)[The book looses all it's humor and Joe becomes an asshat who actually lets his family get away with treating Rose like crap, I mean his Mom calls her poor white trash and he still goes to them instead of stay with her. Of course this is to "protect her" but as a cop he should know their evidence is bull shit. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stef

    Crazy good story. A nice romance to go with the drama, suspense, comedy, action packed craziness. Must read series in order for the characters. This is a fun series to read, makes me laugh out loud and can't wait to read the next book. . ======= If you are looking for other great suspense/action/Comedy/romance books check out my other reviews. Also Recommend this series and the following: > Rose Gardner Mystery Series by Denise Grover Swank > Body Movers Series by Stephanie Bond > Rock Chick Series Crazy good story. A nice romance to go with the drama, suspense, comedy, action packed craziness. Must read series in order for the characters. This is a fun series to read, makes me laugh out loud and can't wait to read the next book. . ======= If you are looking for other great suspense/action/Comedy/romance books check out my other reviews. Also Recommend this series and the following: > Rose Gardner Mystery Series by Denise Grover Swank > Body Movers Series by Stephanie Bond > Rock Chick Series by Kristen Ashley > Bobbie Faye's Series by Toni McGee Causey > Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather Pennington

    The first two books in this series made me fall in love with Rose. This book cemented my relationship with her. Denise does an amazing job of having Rose mature beyond the naive, simple girl she was in the first two books. Rose is now a woman, and the transformation is done beautifully. This is the perfect book if you are looking for a little romance and a little comedy all packaged into a great Southern story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becky Martin

    I have loved every book that Denise has written!! I have read them all!! This book is by far the best one yet!! I laughed and cried and almost threw my iPad across the room!! Rose is an amazing person!! I can't wait till the next book to see what other kind of mess Rose finds herself in

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Rice

    Denise Grover Swank just keeps getting better and better!! She out did herself with Her newest book, Thirty and a Half Excuses. You won't want to miss Rose's newest escapades and the twists and turns in her life. AWESOME!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mahoghani 23

    This romantic yet mysterious book ended on a very sad note. However it took forever for the truth to come to the light. I enjoyed the book but found myself falling asleep close to the end of the book. It just didn't touch me like the other books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leanne Crabtree

    2.5 stars. I set this as a reading challenge book for one of my groups on here so I would finally have to read this since its been in my Kindle for 5 years now. I don't read all that many mystery/romantic suspense books anymore and Rose's small Southern town sounds like hell to live in. Everyone knows everyone's business. If you don't go to church, how dare you. If you've been thrown in jail for something you didn't do, the stigma sticks to you like glue. I really have no idea why Rose is still in 2.5 stars. I set this as a reading challenge book for one of my groups on here so I would finally have to read this since its been in my Kindle for 5 years now. I don't read all that many mystery/romantic suspense books anymore and Rose's small Southern town sounds like hell to live in. Everyone knows everyone's business. If you don't go to church, how dare you. If you've been thrown in jail for something you didn't do, the stigma sticks to you like glue. I really have no idea why Rose is still in Henryetta. Once again, though, Rose finds herself knee deep in an investigation after several older women in the town die of supposed natural causes, and some things just don't add up about it all. I'll admit I wasn't the least bit suspicious about this person until very near the end so it was cleverly done and well thought out. And as for the romance in this... I was never fully Team Joe, and after reading my review of the previous book it seems I liked Mason more then too. I never really liked how Rose let everyone bully her into things and in this she actually started to stand up for herself more, so I did a little cheer about that. This is definitely going to be the last of this series that I read, mainly because I don't read this subgenre anymore.

  22. 5 out of 5

    ReBecca

    Probably my favorite in the series so far! It was a quick, enjoyable, and easy read!! I enjoyed the love triangle going on between Rose, Joe, and Mason and am totally team Mason!! I also enjoyed learning more about Joe and Mason's past ...and while learning of their past broke my heart, it also made me understand them more. As for Joe's family.... ugh.... I don't even know, clearly a very powerful family. I'm sure we will learn more about them in the upcoming books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lauren R.

    Another interesting installment that was better than the last! I think the mystery threading through all the stories is getting deeper and is well-thought out (compared to what I expected). The characters and their backstories are getting interesting too. Definitely on Team Mason right now also.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Annette M Guerriero Nishimoto

    Today's review is on Thirty and a Half Excuses by Denise Grover Swank I have read just about all of Swank's books and I can't praise her work much more than I already have. She writes beautifully and with such intensity and grace that if you're not immediately drawn in, or you don't fall helplessly in love with her characters you're not doing it right. But when all is said and done I do have but one complaint. Ms. Swank is so talented that she seems to pop out book after book after book. I can't Today's review is on Thirty and a Half Excuses by Denise Grover Swank I have read just about all of Swank's books and I can't praise her work much more than I already have. She writes beautifully and with such intensity and grace that if you're not immediately drawn in, or you don't fall helplessly in love with her characters you're not doing it right. But when all is said and done I do have but one complaint. Ms. Swank is so talented that she seems to pop out book after book after book. I can't keep up!! Eeek!!! Just when I think I'm caught up she comes out with another instant Bestseller. And this third installment of the Rose Gardner series is no different. Why or why did I have to fall in love with so many of these imaginary people? Just one of whom is Ms. Rose Gardner. So what do we know about Rose? We know that she has visions that may or may not come true. We know that she's the town pariah to most of the other residents of Henryetta. And we know that she attracts trouble like bees to honey. Thank goodness she has Joe to watch out for her and protect her. Wait, what's that?! Joe's on another undercover operation? Then thank goodness she has Mason Deveraux, III to watch our for her and protect her. (And boy does she need someone to protect her.) Rose and her sister have finally opened the Gardner Sisters Nursery and are off to a great start with their first big job. They've been hired to work on the church grounds of The New Living Hope Revival Church, courtesy of its own Reverend Jonah Pruitt. But when both Joe and Mason caution Rose about working with the Reverend, she's hesitant to follow through. And when he becomes a prime suspect in the murder of two long-time Henryetta residents, well, Rose is also implicated. It's going to be up to Mason to keep her safe. While trying to confirm the Reverends innocence Rose forces a vision in which she sees a women being murdered in Jonah's kitchen. The woman is wearing a white slip dress, a diamond engagement ring, and gets shot in the head. But who is this woman, and will Rose be able to save her in time? As if that's not enough danger and drama for you, Joe and Mason's secret is revealed and a choice must be made. Now that I have finished reading I'll be waiting on pins and needles to find out what the effects of that choice are. Don't write anything else Denise. Just focus on the next Rose Gardner book and I won't fall behind again. *wink, wink* Another book by Swank that is bound to top the charts! 5 of 5 stars Available at Amazon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Maude-Lecholat

    Jonah... I swear that I know that guy! The question DGS will need to answer is whether Jonah is a good guy or a wolf in sheeps clothing? I love the characters of Henryetta and Fenton County! A continuation of a great story with characters that are easy to love. A fun read that will soon sink you into the trials and tribulations of Fenton County! Keep 'em coming DGS!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    CLICK ON AMAZON LINK FOR A NEW UPDATED REVIEW OF THIRTY AND A HALF EXCUSES. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-re... Review Ready to start anew, Rose and her sister Violet have decided to open up a landscaping/Nursery shop in hope for a brand new start and new recognition. There's a new Reverend in town and with big media/community followers and being a potential new client could that boost up the nursery/landscaping business? Jonah Pruitt believes by bringing the Gardner sisters into the fold, t CLICK ON AMAZON LINK FOR A NEW UPDATED REVIEW OF THIRTY AND A HALF EXCUSES. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-re... Review Ready to start anew, Rose and her sister Violet have decided to open up a landscaping/Nursery shop in hope for a brand new start and new recognition. There's a new Reverend in town and with big media/community followers and being a potential new client could that boost up the nursery/landscaping business? Jonah Pruitt believes by bringing the Gardner sisters into the fold, the church, and the business will be a double threat. But is a double Threat too literal? Now someone is killing old women who are mysteriously turning over their will to the new reverend Jonah, making Jonah a targeted suspect. but he has his eyes on Rose. Will she be his next victim? Rose tries to stay out of trouble but when the killings are happening on her street, she can't help but initiate her own investigation . . . despite Joe and Mason's warnings. Rose must figure out the pieces before she becomes the next victim. I give this a 4 Cat's Tails up, the times are changing for Rose and the stakes are getting higher but whose going to fall through the cracks? Read more on my blog about what I thought about the book overall, http://sassycatsbooksreview.blogspot....

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    This third Rose Gardner mystery has Rose opening a nursery with her sister Violet and reluctantly investigating the deaths of a couple of elderly women. Joe is off on an an undercover assignment leaving Rose to depend on her friend Mason for support. Because of past actions, Joe and Mason do not get along which makes Joe jealous of Rose's relationship with Mason. Rose also gets a job doing the landscaping around the new church in town. Jonah is a televangelist who is gaining parishioners at the e This third Rose Gardner mystery has Rose opening a nursery with her sister Violet and reluctantly investigating the deaths of a couple of elderly women. Joe is off on an an undercover assignment leaving Rose to depend on her friend Mason for support. Because of past actions, Joe and Mason do not get along which makes Joe jealous of Rose's relationship with Mason. Rose also gets a job doing the landscaping around the new church in town. Jonah is a televangelist who is gaining parishioners at the expense of the other local churches. He also seems to be attracted to Rose which makes her unhappy because both Joe and Mason have warned her that Jonah and the church are under some kind of investigation. Between Violet's marital troubles, Joe's socialite parents who are pressuring him to follow their plans and who hate Rose, and her investigation, Rose is in the middle of her usual chaos. What I like about Rose is that she does things because they are the right thing to do. She is a strong supporter of the underdog and the outsider because she has felt like an outsider all of her life. She also seems to have no concept of personal danger and stumbles into situations that are hazardous all the time. I like the way she is becoming stronger and more confident with each book. I can't wait to read Rose's next adventure. I really want things to work out for her.

  28. 4 out of 5

    T

    Denise is a mad genius! She shocked and surprised me so many times in this book! I love that about her writing and it keeps me going back for more! This is by far the best in the series and was an awesome page turner for me! I could not decide who I wanted to side with through much of the story…I love the Rose and Joe side…however I do think Mason is becoming a quick favorite for me. This book did not disappoint in keeping me guessing and even cussing over some of the twists in this book…Love th Denise is a mad genius! She shocked and surprised me so many times in this book! I love that about her writing and it keeps me going back for more! This is by far the best in the series and was an awesome page turner for me! I could not decide who I wanted to side with through much of the story…I love the Rose and Joe side…however I do think Mason is becoming a quick favorite for me. This book did not disappoint in keeping me guessing and even cussing over some of the twists in this book…Love that! I am quickly picking sides when it comes to so many characters; I think it’s because of how well Denise develops her characters. It is one of the things I love about her writing, that in the way she draws you in and then hits you like a truck with her sneaky twists! In saying that, things are never what they appear and Denise has quite a knack for reminding us in her writing. I often find myself really questioning why I dislike someone in all her books as I find later they had the best intentions and I totally judged them too quickly. As is the case with many of the characters in this book! This is by far my favorite in this series and I am completely irked that I have to wait to read the next book!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bookish

    Rose Gardner is an amazing woman and a really outstanding character. Her loves, her life, her work, and her universe are all so real and yet so much fun. That the writing is outstanding and the story so engrossing and well-told is an added bonus. Rose spends an awful lot of time avoiding injury and death, yet she does nothing to bring these horrible events upon herself. She's just so often at the wrong place at the wrong time. She's got people who fret over her, and who want to protect her, yet s Rose Gardner is an amazing woman and a really outstanding character. Her loves, her life, her work, and her universe are all so real and yet so much fun. That the writing is outstanding and the story so engrossing and well-told is an added bonus. Rose spends an awful lot of time avoiding injury and death, yet she does nothing to bring these horrible events upon herself. She's just so often at the wrong place at the wrong time. She's got people who fret over her, and who want to protect her, yet she fights to take care of herself and to face whatever comes her way. I love this girl! All the characters in Swank's books are like this; human, relateable, and genuine. These people ring true, and it's a rare talent who can write people who not only remain true to who they are, but who also grow and mature and change, while keeping the heart of the story at the forefront. Swank also has daily life and the realities of the every day world in every little detail. Read the entire Rose Gardner series; you'll be really glad you did.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    When the new televangelist Jonah Pruitt in town shows up at the opening of the nursery Rose and her sister Violet hacve bought Rose recieves warning from both Joe and Mason, but she cannot turn down the job the nursery is offered to fix up the church grounds, with her kind heart she hires Bruce Wayne and his buddy David to help her trying to give them a chance to turn their lives around despite warnings from everyone around her.... The older women in town are dying and no one is sure why, then th When the new televangelist Jonah Pruitt in town shows up at the opening of the nursery Rose and her sister Violet hacve bought Rose recieves warning from both Joe and Mason, but she cannot turn down the job the nursery is offered to fix up the church grounds, with her kind heart she hires Bruce Wayne and his buddy David to help her trying to give them a chance to turn their lives around despite warnings from everyone around her.... The older women in town are dying and no one is sure why, then the clues all start to lead to Jonah, but another vision tells Rose something different, Joe is off on an undercover job so Rose has to lean on Mason during the entire ordeal... The storyline in this book is just as amazing as the 2 before, however the emotional rollercoaster that this book puts you through is proof of the authors amazing talent, I did not see this book coming and I am so glad I had the next 2 (novella and Novel) readily available or I would have been lost and possibly distraught for a very long time!

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