Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Throw in the Trowel by Kate Collins

Please join me in welcoming Kate Collins to Debbie's Book Bag today! Kate is here promoting the release of her book, Throw in the Trowel. Enjoy Kate's guest post about dream solving. The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Throw in the Trowel by Kate Collins, see details at the end of the post.


By Kate Collins

Have you ever dreamed the answer to a question, or solved a problem while you slept? I’ve always wanted to do that, but no matter how hard I concentrate before I go to sleep, I don’t wake and say, “Eureka! I’ve got it!”

I did once dream an entire story, start to finish. The problem was that it didn't help me with my current work-in-progress at all. It was a Sci-Fi story, and I don't write, read, or watch science fiction. (Well, except for Star Wars. Who hasn't watched that?) Too bad, though, because that dream was a really good story in a romantic-yet-goose-bumpy sort of way. I wondered at the time whether the Universe was trying to nudge me into a new genre. Oh, well.

I will admit to waking up and feeling inspired. That happened yesterday morning, in fact. I woke earlier than usual and was determined not to get up until some light came through the curtains. (I hate getting up in the dark. It reminds me of all those years when I had to.) Anyway, as I lay there trying to get back to sleep, my thoughts turned to what was happening in the story. And at once I had a flash of what should come next – a brand new disaster for Abby and Marco. It was brilliant! So I tossed back the covers and got up full of energy. Strike while the iron is hot, right?

I had some juice to wake myself up, then decided I needed to see what was happening on Good Morning America! You know, in case there were any more Polar Vortexes headed my way. So I ate breakfast in front of the TV, then remembered that I was waiting for an email from my editor. I fired up the laptop and spent an hour doing Internet work. And there I was still in my jammies mid-morning. Time for a shower!

So much for that hot iron. Apparently I'm not a problem solver when I dream for a reason. Fortunately, I did hang on to enough of that brilliant idea to incorporate it into the story.

Getting back to my original question, have you ever dreamed a solution to a problem? Or felt inspired when you awakened? Or are you one who forgets your dreams the moment your eyes open?

Inquiring dreamers want to know.

Book Details:

Throw in the Trowel (Flower Shop Mystery - Book 15) by Kate Collins

Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0451415507
ISBN-13: 978-0451415509

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Kate Collins on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Mum's the Word (2004), Slay it with Flowers(2005), Dearly Depotted (2005), Snipped in the Bud (2006), Acts of Violets (2007), A Rose from the Dead (2007), Shoots to Kill(2008), Evil in Carnations (2009), Sleeping with Anemone (2009), Dirty Rotten Tendrils(2010), Night of the Living Dandelion (2011),To Catch a Leaf (2011), Nightshade on Elm Street (2012), Seed No Evil (2013), Throw in the Trowel (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, Throw in the Trowel, courtesy of the author's website.


I’m used to buried bulbs, not buried bodies… 

The couple that sleuths together… 

Flower Shop owner Abby Knight has just returned from a romantic honeymoon with the man of her dreams. There’s no reason for the bloom to be off the rose just because she and Marco are returning to normal life. But when Marco discovers a skeleton buried in the basement of his bar, it is a bit of a mood killer.

When the body is identified as a carpenter who went missing back in the 1970s, Abby and Marco decide to cultivate the clues to solve the cold case. What could be more romantic? But the deeper they dig, the more desperate the murderer grows. And if Marco and Abby don’t unearth the killer’s identity, they may not live to see their first anniversary.


Flower Shop Mystery number fifteen, Throw in the Trowel by Kate Collins is an excellent example of a good plotting and engaging characters. Collins has a knack for writing a solid story with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. With some unidentified bones, a missing carpenter from the 70's and issues with mother-in-laws, Abby and Marco are up to their ears in problems. If this is married bliss, they are in for a long road. A great addition to this beloved series.

What I liked:

As far as cozy mysteries go, Kate Collins is one of the best writers in the sub-genre. Her Flower Shop Mystery series has a huge following and many cozy readers name it among their very favorites. It's not hard to see why. The latest book in the series, Throw in the Trowel is very well written and full of surprises. I wasn't quite sure how Collins was going to top her last novel in the series featuring the wedding of Abby and Marco, but I shouldn't have worried. They may have finally gotten married, but they were not out of the amateur sleuthing woods, so to speak. This was an excellently plotted novel.

Marco's bar, Down the Hatch is having problems with the pipes, which prompts the owner to do some digging in the basement. When Seedy, the three-legged rescue dog turns up some finger bones, it starts to get to a little crazy. Collins has a keen sense of what makes a mystery work for the cozy reader. It has to be unusual, but still believable. If it's too far fetched it becomes unrealistic and doesn't resonate as well with reader. Well, this one was right on the money. A carpenter went missing back in the 70's and Abby and Marco think the skeleton may be his. It turns out to be a very interesting situation with plenty of suspects and a great motive for murder. Collins gets an A+ for great plotting in my book.

One of the things that I enjoy most about this series is the long list of secondary characters who could turn up in any given book, but amongst my favorites are the the mother-in-laws. Abby's mom is always creating some far fetched creation that she wants Abby to display in flower shop including her latest masterpiece which is quite a prize. Marco's mom on the other hand, Francesca is always up rearranging and changing things that Abby doesn't want changed. She has a real penchant for change. These two along with cousin Jillian who's a bit of a kook give this series a great dose of comic relief that will keep the reader chuckling while trying to figure out those pesky clues. 

What I didn't like: 

The way to finding the killer was a very crooked path in this one. I love twists and turns but too many can be a bad thing. I thought this one doubled back a bit on itself, but that wasn't a deal breaker. It was still a very intelligently written novel, that will keep readers up late at night for sure.

Bottom Line:

You can't go wrong with a Kate Collins novel. You know you are going to get a mystery that will challenge you and make you really think before you figure it out. The plot will be well crafted and executed and the end will always be satisfying. Throw in the Trowel proves that this series is a long way from finished. There are plenty more stories to tell. 

Throw in the Trowel is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Kate Collins grew up in a suburb of Hammond, Indiana, one block from the family home of author Jean Shepherd, whose humorous stories inspired Kate at an early age. After a stint as an elementary school teacher, Kate wrote children’s short stories and historical romance novels before turning to her true passion, mystery. The author of the popular Flower Shop Mystery series including Seed No EvilNightshade on Elm Street, and To Catch a Leaf, she lives in northwest Indiana and Key West, Florida.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Throw in the Trowel by Kate Collins.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 19th.

1. Please leave a comment sharing one of your favorite gardening tips.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Karen B said...

Plant the flowers that you love - and that smell good!

Rachelle21 said...

I love these books. If I had not ordered one from the bookstore I might have entered the contest.

Angela - Bookaunt said...

I am not a big gardener but I will learn to be as we are building a greenhouse.

Brooke Showalter said...

I am a terrible last name of Bumgardner certainly rings true LOL. I guess my tip would be to make sure you have some sort of fence up to keep critters out. There are always deer, rabbits and more getting into our fenced yard, and I know they'd devour anything tasty we would try to grow.

I kill flowers, so I don't really try to grow those lol.

Carol M said...

If you want bushes or hedges to grow in thicker be sure to keep them trimmed. Each branch will make several new ones

Rita Wray said...

I use coffee filters in the bottom of my pots before putting in the soil.

Charlotte said...

We put egg shells in the hole before putting tomato plants in.

lag123 said...

Plant perinnials so they will come back each year.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Sue Farrell said...

Take off the bottom couple leave of a baby tomato plant, then plant the baby deep---more roots will grow where you took off the leaves and make the plant stronger.

Unknown said...

If you are allergic to bees, plant all red flowers. Bees do not like red flowers, but butterflies and hummingbirds do!

Barbara T. said...

Don't fight your climate. Utilize plants that are appropriate to your location.

holdenj said...

I actually used the newspaper trick, then covered it with extra dirt and mulch to help minimize weeds--worked!

bn100 said...

to trim branches

Natasha said...

To make sure they get plenty of sun and water.
Thanks for the chance to win!

skkorman said...

Well, I haven't done this but my neighbor mixes in pigeon poop (which she gets from a friend who has a pigeon coop) with her soil, and she grows amazingly big and beautiful plants!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net