Review: 30 1/2 Excuses by Denise Grover Swank

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Rose is trying to adjust to a normal life- she has only recently been cleared as the primary suspect of

a murder investigation!  She struggles with concerns for her new boyfriend Joe’s safety as he goes

undercover in a different city as state investigator. She and her sister Violet are in the midst of opening

a plant nursery, other than that Rose’s life is pretty normal from the outside.

Except that….Rose has a gift that she keeps hidden- she can see visions of future events. This gift gets

her tangled up in some pretty shady situations (like the previous murder investigation). When suddenly

elderly women in Rose’s neighborhood begin to die of ‘natural causes,’ Rose is suspicious, as her visions

lead her to believe otherwise.

Encouraged by her sister and her boyfriend to repress her visions and stay out of trouble, Rose begins to

confide in District Attorney, Mason, who encourages her to use her God given talent for good. Mason is

clearly interested in Rose romantically, but as a gentleman, strives to keep his feelings at bay.

Meanwhile the Gardner sisters are approaching the grand opening of their new business, Gardner

Sisters Nursery. This is a big endeavor for both women, as they risk money and time. In a town

where everyone knows everything about everyone, the success of their business is due to more than

just knowing their stuff. A lot of their success will depend upon the politics of their small town (aka

schmoozing important people). This is putting additional stress on Rose.

As Rose begins to uncover the mysterious murders of several elderly women in her neighborhood,

things take a turn for the worst as Rose’s life is threatened! Rose desire is to confide in her sister and/

or boyfriend, but is unable to because she knows that Violet is keeping a secret from her. Meanwhile

Joe has something he needs to ‘tell her about his past’ but can’t bring himself to do so. To top it all off,

her only healthy friendship with Mason is compromised when Joe discourages her from talking to him,

because Mason knows the something volatile about Joe’s past he doesn’t want revealed.

I liked the balance of this book, one part mystery, one part love story, one part self discovery. This ‘book

recipe’ makes for a fulfilling novel. The author’s writing style was fluid and entertaining, and the book

was an easy read- (even though I came in blind as this is book 3 of a series.) I can’t wait to go back and

read the first two Rose Gardner Mystery books!  -Jana

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