Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen (Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway)

Please join me in welcoming Beverly Allen to Debbie's Book Bag today. Beverly is here promoting her first book in the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery series, Bloom and Doom. Enjoy her guest post, along with my review of her book and a giveaway. Here's a word from Chester...

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 fiancĂ©. It wasn’t me this time. Honest. Unless the fiancĂ© 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…

Book Information:

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
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425264971
ISBN-13: 978-0425264973

(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.

Bottom Line:

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.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, April 15th.

1. Please leave a comment about your favorite flowers.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Bonnie said...

My Favorite flowers are Hibiscus.

traveler said...

Pansies are my favorite flowers. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Charlotte said...

Love Pansies. I have a wooden barrel on my desk that I can see out my kitchen. They look like happy faces.

Beverly Allen said...

Sorry for being so late over here! Your review brought tears to my eyes. And thanks to those who entered!

Let me spread the word around and hopefully invite a few more people this way!

Risa said...

my favorite flowers are carnations! and portulacas in the garden.

Angie Young said...

Yellow roses and daffodils are my favorite flowers. I love the bright yellow after a dreary winter.

Jenny H, Mystery Most Cozy said...

My favorites are carnations. Love the smell...reminds me of so many special occasions from childhood! :)

Beverly Allen said...

I'm excited. Not too many people have mentioned hibiscus when they've been listing their favorite flowers. It means change or delicate beauty.

And pansies say, "you occupy my thoughts." Two very expressive flowers!

Beverly Allen said...

And Risa, I had to look up portulaca, since that wasn't in my language of flowers guide. It is, however, a type of moss rose. "Superior merit" is the meaning. Unique. I like it!

And thanks, so much, Debbie, for hosting and the sweet review!

Diane Dean White said...

Shades of lavender when spring lilacs bloom are my very favorite flower. The scent is wooooderful,
and I'd cut them to fragrance our home. We lived in Michigan then, and now in Florida, lilacs aren't a part of the landscape. I love the language of flowers and so happy to be part of this book launch.

Alicia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alicia said...

I love irises and daffodils...


Barbara Lynne Gifford said...

My favorite flower is the Calla Lily which surprisingly really is not a lily at all!

Nancy Luebke said...

I would say it would be roses.

Anonymous said...

Debbie this was a great review. Very interesting sounding book. As to flowers I love Roses in maany colors. Each color has it's meaning. During my growing up years and until a few years ago it was a tradition to wear a Rose on Mother's Day. Red(LOVE) for your mother if alive. White if she is no longer with you. This went on for many years tradition, but now-days seems like every tradition has changed. And, I miss doing that. I love having Gardenia Bushes around to perfume up your home. Makes a wonderful Room Freshener. But, have really enjoyed see so many pictures online lately of daffodils breaking through the snow to brighten your winter days. I didn't realize they bloomed so early. Must be very hardy. Beverly thanks for giving a book away. I would love to win it. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com
( PLEASE use this email to contact me.)

cyn209 said...

my favorite flowers are daffodils & tulips....I love the way they look with all of the different colors........daffodils look like they saying 'hello' to you...........
always a great reminder that Spring is upon us!!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!?!

Linda Kish said...

I have always liked daisies. They are so simple.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

I love peonies! Thanks!

Angela Holland said...

My favorite flowers are lilacs.

skkorman said...

My favorite flowers are moonflowers, which open only at night!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

debbilet said...

I love daffodils in the spring!

Carol N Wong said...

My favorites are peonies. They are so extravant! I love their smell and their size. My mother grew lovely peonies, in white, pink, red and candy striped.


Rita said...

I love roses and have been very lucky growing them. When I lived at my previous address people walking by would make comments about how lovely they were.
I also love pansies, they remind me of my mother who always had pansies in her yard.


Karen B said...

Lilacs, daffodils and 4 o'clocks are some of my favorites.

penney said...

My favorite flowers are the wild ones and Lilacs, daffodils, red roses sweet peas and pansy.
Congratulations on your book I can't wait to read it.

Barbara T. said...

I've never met a flower that I didn't like.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved roses in unusual colors.

justpeachy36 said...

You are very welcome Beverly. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. I loved the wedding theme, great idea!

Sue Farrell said...

I love daisies---shasta daisies, Alaska daisies, gerbera daisies---I love them all.

bn100 said...

like all kinds of flowers

Virginia winfield said...

My favorite flower is the hydrangea.

Barbara Thompson said...

I love roses and tulips. My Mother grows some beautiful roses.
Barbara Thompson

lag123 said...

I absolutely love yellow roses.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite flowers are carnations.


Brooke Bumgardner said...

Stargazer Lilies are my favorite. So pretty and fragrant. My boyfriend actually just brought me home stargazer lily bulbs to plant so I have them all the time. :)

Carol M said...

I've always liked pansies.

Natasha said...

Roses are my favorite.
Thanks for the chance to win!

Chelsea B. said...

Hmmm... I think roses. They are just classic and romantic :-)

Lisa Brown said...

i love carnations...so beautiful to look at and the fragrance is gorgeous.