Hello, my name is Chester. I’m a gray tabby, and I’m the star of Bloom and Doom.
Now, some might say I’m not actually the star, that Audrey Bloom, my human, deserves that distinction. But they’re wrong…
Not that Audrey isn’t okay. She knows how to operate the can opener, is a grand master at belly rubs, and keeps me in kitty litter and toy mice. But there are a few odd things about her you really ought to know.
First of all, she has this thing for flowers. And it’s not like she does anything normal with them. She calls herself a wedding florist and arranges them in bouquets. And, get this, she has some cockeyed notion that the flowers mean something. She goes on about how daisies symbolize cheerfulness and how foxglove means insincerity. She even spent one sleepless night staring at a vase of snapdragons, debating whether they mean presumption, deception, or graciousness.
Who cares? They were delicious.
Here’s another strike against her: instead of staying home and cuddling on the couch with me, she leaves every day to go to work (whatever that is), abandoning me in the apartment with nothing to do but stare out the window. And there, the best toy of all is just out of reach, sitting in the neighbor’s parking space. Audrey knows I want it. Every time I manage to escape, I run right toward that big, round, black, wonderful circle-thing that feels so nice when I rub against it or stick my claws in its ridges. And why should the neighbor care? There are four of them attached to that silly thing he calls his truck. They could give me one, and I bet the fool thing would still work. But no, as soon as I get out there, the greedy neighbor starts yelling. He’s a bully and Audrey backs down every time.
Are those the actions of a heroine? Hmm?
So I had to take matters into my own hands. Last time I managed to get out, I peed on it. It’s mine now. Score one for the cat!
And then there’s the other men who come around. Brad was okay, even if he did call me Chest Hair. He was pretty regular for a while, he and Audrey licking faces and pawing each other instead of paying attention to me. But he’s out of the picture, and some new guy has been over a few times, some dude named Nick, who calls himself a baker and wears white pants.
Think about it. White pants. Gray cat. Never going to happen.
But lately, even more than flowers, she’s got herself wrapped up trying to figure out who killed her friend’s fiancé. It wasn’t me this time. Honest. Unless the fiancé was a mouse, snake, spider, or fly, and then he’s fair game.
But she’s been gone an awful lot, arranging flowers, going to weddings (apparently a human ritual of chasing tail), and tracking down a killer. Dangerous business. I worry something might happen to her. And she’s barely home to feed me.
But I fixed her. I peed on her pillow, just a little bit, and she hasn’t even noticed. Ha!
But if you need any more persuasion, Audrey is a human, I’m a cat, and Bloom and Doom is a cozy mystery. You can draw your own conclusions. Sure, she’s the one that tells the story--and the one who solves the mystery. But I think I came off incredibly cute. If you still think Audrey Bloom deserves top billing there’s nothing I can do to change your mind.
But you might want to smell your pillow…
Bloom and Doom (A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery - Book 1) by Beverly Allen
Publication Date: 04/01/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Berverly Allen on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead.
A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.
Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies…
Beverly Allen brings readers the first book in a new series. Bloom and Doom is a cozy mystery with a Bridal theme. Readers have seen just about every profession they can imagine for their cozy protagonist's and now we have a great new series featuring a wedding florist. Allen uses a lot of interesting research facts including the meanings attributed to flowers to make this book ring true for cozy readers. She couples the happiness of wedded bliss with murder and comes up with a great book that readers will have a hard time putting down. A great new series!
What I liked:
I have always been one of those people who loves weddings. I've done just about everything for family and friends from baking and decorating the cake to setting up all the flowers. My one time dream job was to be a wedding coordinator, complete with a wedding venue and all, so this book really hit the spot for me. This is my first book from this author, but it definitely won't be my last. I enjoyed all of the wedding hulabaloo and thought it added a very interesting theme to the book. When the groom ends up dead at a wedding where Audrey Bloom has created the bouquet, that gives her a reason to be on the case. I thought the overall wedding atmosphere was a big plus for this series.
I was also genuinely interested in what each flower meant. I thought Allen did an amazing job of using the language of flowers in this novel. I enjoyed finding out what each one meant and found myself wondering about other flowers that were not mentioned. I am a huge crafter and use flowers a lot and I found this very interesting. I'm sure that a lot of readers will enjoy this aspect of the book as well.
The main protagonist for this series, Audrey Bloom was just a delight to read about. She lit up the pages. And even though cozies are essentially about murder, she made this one just as much about her life and her work as she did about the victim and the suspects. I enjoyed learning more about her and think that she will be a great lead character for this series. Allen portrays her as loving, capable and obsessed with flowers and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
I thought the mystery aspects of the story flowed very well and kept the reader engaged. Allen was able to make each suspect appear to be the killer at one time or the other, without overwhelming the reader. There were a few red herrings and enough suspense to keep readers on edge, like any good cozy will do. I thought the killer ended up being unpredictable and that made it even better. Sometimes it's just too easy to figure it all out... not so with this one.
What I didn't like:
I can't say there was too much I didn't like about this one. It was well crafted. It had a great theme. The lead character was believable and easy to relate to. There just isn't much to criticize.
This is a great new cozy series with a lot of potential for future books. Allen uses flowers in a unique way in this book that I found very interesting. The language of flowers is now something I want to know more about, and that's a hallmark of a good writer. And the mystery was not an easy one to crack.
Bloom and Doom is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Beverly Allen holds a degree in engineering, but her creative streak caused her to run screaming from the pocket-protector set. She enjoys cooking, crafts, gardening, home-improvement projects, board games, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and three naughty but adorable cats.
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