Sunday, August 5, 2012

Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank {Book Review}

When I found out that Denise Grover Swank was writing a sequel to Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes I was ecstatic. I was even more thrilled when I found out that I would be getting to read, review, and ask Denise some fun questions! 
Denise's writing style is fun, down to earth and addicting. I will warn you, though: I found myself staying up through the night to keep reading. She is an amazing author and I find myself recommending her to my friends and family when they ask for a new book to read.

About the Book

When Rose Gardner shows up at the Fenton County jail she thinks that she will be getting a morning off from her job at the DMV and the court would never choose her to actually sit on the jury. Instead, despite a disastrous run in with the Assistant DA, she low and behold gets chosen as a member of the jury for an upcoming murder trial.
As the trial continues Rose suddenly realizes that the vision she had in the male's restroom of the courthouse the morning of jury selection was actually a vision that has to do with the very case that she is sitting on. The kicker? Her vision will prove that the defendant is innocent and not the murderer that the prosecutor and police have made him out to be. 
As if that weren't bad enough, Rose's sister, Violet, is suddenly going through a midlife crisis. Violet begins to insist that Rose stop seeing her police detective boyfriend, Joe, and see a new man instead. Rose is sick and tired of always having someone boss her around in her life, but at the same time she is not sure if she can commit to Joe being that he lives in Little Rock.
Will Rose be able to find out the truth in the murder case? And will she allow Joe, the best thing in her life, to slip away from her? 

My Thoughts & Rating

I loved it! I found myself reading with a southern accent throughout the entire book. I loved the introduction to the new characters and watching Rose's life evolve since her last novel. Rose is one of those characters that you have to love and laugh at. She has a generous heart, visions that are somewhat disruptive to her daily life, and her comeback lines are definitely ones to remember.
Denise Grover Swank manages to combine many elements in one book: mystery, humor, and romance. Her characters are lovable, easy to relate to, and full of wit. I highly recommend the Rose Gardner mystery series--you will not finish the books disappointed. If you are anything like me you will be finding yourself eagerly awaiting the next Rose novel (which releases in Winter 2013).
Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons is definitely a 5 out of 5 stars! I enjoyed the book from start to finish and it is definitely a fun summer read.

Where to Buy

Barnes & Noble

Q & A

1) I know you are a very, very busy mom these days. Where do you find your inspiration for your novels? Is there a genre that is more difficult than the other to write?
I get inspiration from everything and everywhere. The idea for Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons came from getting a summons for jury duty. But Chosen came from my three-year-old son touching my son's girlfriend's fingers to count. Here came from my thirteen-year-old daughter asking me to write a YA. 

2) What made you take the plunge into writing and publishing your first novel?
Writing was a do-or-die decision. I'd talked about it for years and had even attempted it a few times, never finishing. I heard about NaNoWriMo and decided this was it. I either wrote and completed my first book or I gave it up for good. I started November 1 and had no written 69,000 words by midnight, November 30. I finished the book on December 10 and realized I'd finally found a job I LOVED. 

Publishing was a different story. I'd endured two years of rejection with three different manuscripts. No one was even remotely interested in Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. At least my other two books (Chosen and Here) were getting requests and some near signings with agents. Last spring, self-publishing didn't carry the pariah stigma it had a year earlier, so I decided to try it and see what happened. I'm so glad I did! No regrets at all.

3) Have you always wanted to write? Did you ever find it intimidating to begin?
I've written since I can first remember. I loved creating stories in my head and giving them life on a page. But even now, I find it intimidating. Especially when I'm starting a new book and I'm on page one with nothing but a Chapter One at the top and a flashing curser. I always wonder how I'll come up with enough words to make a book, yet I always do.  I'm about to finish my eighth book.

4) What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
 Practice, practice, practice.  Which translates into: write, write, write. EVERY DAY. Even if it's just a journal entry. Then get critiqued. I know how hard it is. Trust me, I know. But getting other writer's insights is invaluable. I'm amazed by the number of writers who query agents or decide to self-publish before their work has been critiqued or beta read.  *I* wouldn't dream of releasing even a short story without my critique partner reading it. 

5) Totally random, but what is your favorite drink from Starbucks? 
My love notorious love of Starbucks has followed me here. LOL  My favorite drink is a Grande non-fat, no whip mocha. Hot. If it's iced, I get a Venti.  

6) Name three of your favorite material things.
My laptop
My iPhone
My Keurig. 
After reviewing that list, I think I have issues. ;) 

About Denise Grover Swank

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 more out about Denise and her other books at or you can email her at Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and/or her Rose Gardner site.


Denise Grover Swank said...

Thanks for being part of my blog tour. I'm so happy you loved Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons!

Samantha March said...

thanks for being in the tour!