Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Denise Grover Swank, author of Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons!


                                                            Author Denise Grover Swank                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Author Guest Post

When I was a little kid, I loved to learn. I was one of those weridos who liked homework. You know, the kid in the class everyone hated. Not that I cared. I was too busy memorizing the capitals of the fifty states. 

My love of learning kind of changed in high school. I had a part time and a sometimes boyfriend. You know, really important things. So I skated by in high school, getting good grades with little effort. No one paid much attention to tell me to apply myself. But that’s okay. I’m a firm believer in the school of hard knocks.

I went to one full semester of community college before I dropped out to go to technical school to learn to become a histologist. (Try to figure that one out. No it doesn’t involve history.) But my love of learning and my desire to find a less stressful job sent me back to college part time. And that is when I fell in love again. 

With learning.

It helps when the most stimulating thing in your life is choosing between Pampers and Huggies. And it also helps when you only take on class a semester while working full time. But I found the most mundane classes that most freshmen blow off, fascinating. Music appreciation? Loved it. Western Civilization? Eye opening. Even American Government was exciting when I accidently paired it with American Literature and saw the correlation between the two.

See? I told you I’m weird.

But the love of learning is a valuable tool for any author. Every book requires research. Sometimes the research comes when you’re writing the book, other times it happens at the beginning. Sometimes it spurs the idea.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to the father or one of my daughter’s friends. He told me that he’d been laid off from his job and was looking of another one. He’d worked in the funeral home industry and said the recent economy had made more and more people are chose cremation instead of funerals. While I was sympathetic to his situation, and wished him luck on his job interview the next day, I kept thinking to myself: “How can I use that in a book?”

Being an author gives me an excuse to ask people questions that might otherwise seem nosy. Tell people you’re an author and they’re eager to tell you just about anything. They don’t do it to get recognition in a book, although I try to include people who help me in the acknowledgment. Most do it be helpful or because they are excited that someone wants to know.

About The Author:

Denise Grover Swank lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has six children, three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book. You will rarely find her cleaning. You can find out more about Denise and her other books at  or email her at

Rose Gardner Mystery Series
Denise Grover Swank's Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

* Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card *

Post a comment on Denise Grover Swank's Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons Virtual Book Tour Page on Chick Lit Plus to enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons before August 6th, and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries!

Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons Book Trailer

Book Review

Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank
Published By: Bramagioia Enterprises / CreateSpace
Release Date: June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback - 398 pages / Kindle - 494 KB / Nook - 1 MB
ISBN: 1475089570
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romantic Mystery / Mystery - Suspense - Thriller

BUY THE BOOK: Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus.

Book Description: 

When Rose reports for Fenton County jury duty she figures she's lucky to get out of a morning working at the DMV. Instead, despite a disastrous encounter with the new assistant district attorney, Mason Deveraux, she's picked as a juror on a murder case. As the trial progresses, she realizes an ominous vision she had in the men's restroom proves the defendant is innocent. And there's not a cotton picking thing she can do about it. Or is there? As if things weren't bad enough, Rose's older sister Violet is going through a mid-life crisis. Violet insists that Rose stop seeing her sexy new boyfriend, Arkansas state detective Joe Simmons, and date other men. Rose is done letting people boss her around, but she can't commit to Joe either. Still, Rose isn't about to let the best thing in her life slip away.

Book Excerpt:

Neely Kate folded her hands on the table. “I heard you had a run in with Mason Deveraux.”

I hesitated. I wasn’t supposed to discuss the case with anyone, but I guessed talking about Mr. Deveraux wasn’t the same thing. “Yeah, I literally ran smack dab into him.”

“I heard you gave him a tongue-lashing.”

“But one else was in the hall...”

“I told you. I know things.” She waved her hand vaguely. “Don’t question my methods.”

For twenty-four years I had known things and people questioned every utterance that came out of my mouth, yet Neely Kate, who knew things that no one should know, self-assuredly sat there telling me to accept it.

I loved her already.

“Yeah, he was a bit snippy.”

“Rumor has it he’s like this all the time. He’s the new assistant D.A., but he doesn’t want to be here. He had a job up in Little Rock workin’ in the state courts. But something happened up there—something so top secret I can’t even find out. Now he’s stuck here in Fenton County and he’s takin’ it out on everyone. I guess I can’t say I blame him. I’d do anything to get out myself.”

I shrugged. I used to think that too.

“His name is Mason Van de Camp Deveraux the Third. Could you imagine having such an awful name? No wonder he’s so crabby. Anyways, he just started a little over a month ago. About the time that big crime ring got busted.”

I pinched my mouth shut, but my guilty look alerted Neely Kate. She shrieked, pointing to me. “Rose! Rose Gardner! Oh my stars and garters! You’re her. How did I not realize it before?” She covered her mouth with her hand with a dramatic swoop then just as quickly dropped it. “Did you really find your mother dead on your sofa?”

I refrained from asking her how she didn’t know already, but I suspected she did. She just wanted the firsthand account. Glancing down in embarrassment, I fiddled with a sugar packet. “Well, there’s really not much to tell.”

Her hand covered mine. “I’m so sorry, Rose. There I go again, buttin’ into things that aren’t my business.”

Her sincerity grabbed my heart and I found myself wondering if we could actually be friends. “No, it’s not that. Honest. It’s just that I haven’t really talked about it with anyone but Joe. Not even my sister.”


I shrugged.

“You’re kind of famous. You were one of the few to beat the Henryetta police.”

“What do you mean?”

Her eyes widened and she bobbed her head. I swore she missed her Broadway calling, sticking around Fenton County. “Once they make up their mind someone’s guilty, nothing sways their opinion. But you proved them wrong, not to mention you helped bust that crime ring that was going on right under their noses.”

No wonder Officer Ernie hated me so much.

My Book Review:

In the second installment of the Rose Gardner Mystery Series, Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons picks up about a month after Rose's last adventure in Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. Just when you think that the town of Henryetta, Arkansas is getting back to normal, Rose gets herself in trouble again! Rose is selected to be a juror in a criminal murder trial, the only problem is she has one of her visions which reveals that the defendant on trial is innocent. Knowing that she can't let an innocent man go to prison, she is determined to prove his innocence by doing her own investigation into the murder. Rose's latest adventure will complicate her life once again, she can't seem to stay out of trouble, but it doesn't stop this sassy lady from accomplishing what she sets out to do!

Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons is an entertaining cozy mystery that will keep you in stitches. Picking up where book one left off, the author weaves another fun tale of adventure and mayhem for Rose Gardner. Told in a sassy first person narrative by Rose, she takes the reader along on her latest adventure where trouble finds her once again, except our Rose is now a spit fire and exerting her new found independence and personality in a hilarious fashion that is laugh-out-loud funny!

Picking up where Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes left off, the author brings back the lovable but crazy characters from Henryetta, Arkansas, and she added some really funny new ones too! I loved how the author starts the storyline by making references back to book one, it was a great way to catch the reader up on the lives of Rose, Violet and Joe while weaving in the new adventure that is about to take place in book two. I love the sassy new Rose, she's found her voice, backbone and a boyfriend in Arkansas state detective Joe Simmons. The supporting cast of characters added to the entertainment of the story, their humorous personalities and interactions will capture your interest and keep you laughing at their crazy antics. I loved court clerk Neely Kate Rivers, her quirkiness rivals Rose's, they're like two peas in a pod!

Twenty-Nine and Half Reasons is a fast paced cozy mystery that has enough action, adventure and suspense to keep you guessing, while mixing in some really great humor and lighthearted romance that will keep you interested and engaged in the story. The Rose Gardner Mystery series is an addicting series of cozy mysteries, once you are introduced to Rose and the rest of the gang, you're hooked! I look forward to reading the third book in the series when it is published in 2013.



  1. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host Denise's virtual book tour event. :)