Book Club Discussion Questions

DIRTY ROTTEN TENDRILS

Abby’s hometown went overboard to welcome back a local reality show star. Are reality show winners real celebrities?

Did your first impression of Attorney “the Lip” Lipinski change by the end of the book?

How would you summarize his character?

Why do you think Cody Verse didn’t give his former buddy/writing partner Andrew the recognition he deserved?

Why did Abby feel duty-bound to warn Marco’s brother Rafe about marrying Cinnamon?

What strategy did Abby use to convince Marco to keep their engagement news a secret from his mom? Why does Abby fear Marco’s mother won’t like her?

Why didn’t Abby trust handsome new reporter Connor Mackay?

Dave is suffering as a result of his mother’s condition. Do you know anyone with this disease?

Is his fear logical?

Abby hated piano lessons as a child. What were her reasons?

Did you take music lessons?

Love them or hate them?

Does it help children to learn an instrument?

How does Abby’s niece Tara personify today’s pre-teen?

How did Abby hurt attorney Dave Hammond’s case?

Do you agree with Abby’s grandmother’s advice: Summer and winter with a man before you agree to marry him?

Why was Marco upset about Abby’s text message: CALL WHEN U CAN?

Is that typical of a man’s reaction?

Is it warranted?

How did Abby’s cousin Jillian finally convince starlet Lila Redmond to let her shop for her?

Andrew Chapper’s grandfather suffers from a condition common to men who’ve been through combat. Do you know any soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder?

Are they getting help for it?

Why does Abby think Rapunzel would feel at home at Cinnamon’s parents’ house?

Why are Abby’s high heels an issue for her?

How does Abby solve the Tee Tea Cart problem?

What caused Rafe and Cinnamon’s break-up?

Darla Mae Brown has a blogsite devoted to ways to kill her ex-husband. Should that be allowed?

Do sites like that give impressionable people ideas?

Lottie’s makeover, courtesy of Jillian, was totally wrong for her, or was it?

Should her 70's look be updated?

Do you know people who have never changed their high school look?

Andrew’s grandmother explains why Cody’s betrayal cut Andrew so deeply. Is a friend’s betrayal a worse offense than being cut out of rightful money?

Why does Marco bait attorney Scott Hess?

What was he trying to find out?

Why does Marco decide to sell his bar?

Is this a good idea?

Why is Abby against it?

Were you surprised to learn who killed the Lip?

Did the killer have logical reasons?

In the surprising conclusion, what is Abby now facing?

 

SLEEPING WITH THE ANEMONE

Does Abby’s niece Tara strike you as a typical young teen?

Why or why not?

Why isn’t Abby frightened by Nils Raand?

With all of Abby’s mom’s artistic failures, why does Abby encourage her to continue?

What tactics are Abby’s and Marco’s family using to pressure them to get married?

Why does Abby’s mom get involved in the petition against Uniworld?

Can you compare Uniworld to actual giant food companies’ unsafe practices?

Why is Abby nervous about making a decision on their wedding date?

What is the purpose of Abby’s list of pluses and minuses, and is that a good way to decide?

Is Abby’s inability to reach the city attorney typical?

Have you ever tried to reach an attorney and never received a return call?

Why doesn’t Abby take the letter threats seriously?

In what ways does Tara’s behavior mimic Abby’s?

Abby appreciated Marco’s efforts to keep her safe, yet they made her testy. Is that understandable?

Who did you think was the big, sweating man in the third person scenes?

Were you right?

Why did Abby have difficulty accepting her dad’s handicap?

Why does Abby label Marco as autocratic when she always admired his leadership ability?

Thinking of the jar of red hearts on Abby’s parents’ coffee table, do you see them as a close couple?

How do they use humor in their marriage?

Why does Marco’s mother scare Abby?

Why is Abby’s father against Abby referring to Marco as her hero?

How does Abby’s dad’s advice change her perspective of Marco?

Abby is shocked to learn her parents were on the verge of divorce. Can you relate to that?

Was it fair of them to not tell her?

How did Abby get her nickname, Abracadabra?

What did Abby mean by, ‘There was only one cripple in the room and it wasn’t dad.’?

Did Rafe’s choice of a girlfriend surprise you?

Were you surprised by the ending?

 

SHOOTS TO KILL

How does the opening scene in the jail set the stage for the rest of the story?

What do you think was at the heart of Libby’s fixation on Abby?

Why does Libby seem genuinely puzzled by Abby’s rejection?

Why do Marco, Grace, and Lottie, doubt Abby’s suspicions?

Would you classify Delphi as a narcissist?

Did she love her children?

Did Libby care about her brother?

Was Oliver delusional or exceedingly cunning?

Why did Oliver trust Abby, i.e. call her his OOTTO?

Was Libby’s plan to set Abby up all along, or did she conceive it after Abby rejected her?

When Abby rushes to Libby’s house and sees Det. Lisa Wells’ car in her driveway, did you think the detective had beat Abby to the draw?

How did Marco attempt to show Abby that he’d never stopped caring?

Were they both at fault for not trusting each other, or only Marco or Abby?

Did Abby let Marco off the hook too easily?

 

EVIL IN CARNATIONS

Why was Abby surprised that Nikki didn’t tell her the whole truth?

Do you agree with Marco’s statement that everyone is capable of killing?

Give an example.Was Abby justified in feeling betrayed by Nikki?

Have you ever felt betrayed by a friend?

Was Abby living a double standard with Nikki?

Would you ever consider speed dating?

Why or why not?

Have you ever had any dealings with unscrupulous contractors?

Have you ever met a man who behaved like Jonas “Treat the Cheat?”

Do you think Iris was aware of how others viewed her?

Was Iris’s mother responsible for Iris’s secretive behavior?

Was she abusive?

Why is Abby uncomfortable around children?

Was Jillian being altruistic when she volunteered to help Abby at Bloomers?

Why did Mrs. Frey hate her husband, and were her actions an example of Marco’s statement from #2 above?

What do you take Marco’s hand squeeze at the end to mean?

 

MUM’S THE WORD

Abby considers herself the black sheep of the Knight family. What positive and/or negative impact does that have on her character?

Pryce Osborne and Marco Salvare are as opposite as two men can be. Or are they?

What do you think attracted Abby to Marco?

To Pryce?

What was the real cause of her break-up with Pryce?

Can you explain Abby’s love/hate relationship with the police and the judicial system?

Stories usually contain a character who functions as the protagonist’s spiritual guide. Who serves that function for Abby?

What does Abby do to promote her flower shop?

Were any of her attempts effective?

What one trait does Abby find most appealing about Marco?

Abby hates bullies and injustice. What do you think has caused each of those feelings?

Does Abby have any obvious or hidden fears?

What are Abby’s flaws?

Can you understand or relate to them?

Which character (if any) do you identify with, and why?

Do you know someone like Lottie’s cousin Pearl?

Do you think Abby comes from a normal or dysfunctional family?

Why does Abby consider her father her hero?

Would you classify Abby as an optimistic or pessimistic person?

How does the ending tie in with the opening scene of the story?

 

SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS

What do you think is behind Jillian’s fear of getting married?

If an Emperor’s Spa opened in your town or neighborhood, would you take a stand against it?

Do you think Abby’s tactic of taking photos of the clients was a good one?

Were there any other means by which she could help force the business to close?

Why does Abby worry about Grace’s opinion of her?

Are any of the bridesmaids like women you know?

Could you sympathize with Abby’s reaction to trying on the dress in front of the others?

Have you ever met a man like Punch?

Would you describe him as a narcissist?

What makes some women go for men of his type?

When Abby got the distress call from Passion Flower, did she make her decision based on logic or emotion, or both?

What would you have done in that situation, given only the information Abby had at the time?

Should massage parlors be licensed to stop the covert prostitution going on in some businesses?

Are they licensed in your state?

Author’s note: The spa in this story was based on an actual business. Shortly after my book was written, the police finally raided it. It is now operating under a new name.

 

DEARLY DEPOTTED

Does Jillian take unfair advantage of Abby?

Is Abby an enabler?

Is Grandma Osborne, as a ninety-year-old fairly portrayed?

Did you like her?

Is Richard Davis the type of man you would expect Grace to be attracted to?

What qualities does Grace admire?

What surprised you most about Grace?

Why does Lottie think Greg Morgan would be perfect for Abby?

Why do you think Melanie succumbed to Jack’s charms?

Should Abby have asked her aunt for payment, or sent a bill, or hoped she would remember eventually? Was Abby justified in dumping the coffee in Pryce’s lap?

Was Sheila a sympathetic figure?

Was she off-balance or just deeply wounded?

Were you surprised to discover who the killer was?

If so, who did you think it would be?

 

SNIPPED IN THE BUD

What does Abby find most frightening about Professor Puffer?

The media is notorious for hounding a murder suspect, influencing public opinion. Could Abby have handled her notoriety in a better way?

Would you consider Jocelyn Puffer an abused spouse?

Abby isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, e.g. protesting animal testing at the lab. Yet she cowers before Snapdragon. Why?

What does it take for her to overcome that fear? Did Abby seriously consider Connor MacKay as a romantic interest?

If Marco hadn’t been in the picture, would she have gone for him?

Would they have been a good match?

Should Connor come back in a future book to threaten Abby’s relationship with Marco?

Why did Professor Reed have an affair with Jocelyn?

What caused the rivalry between Puffer and Reed?

Were Kenny’s motives understandable?

Did Puffer’s actions at the end of the story stay true to his character?

Did you feel you understood Jillian’s reasons for fearing marriage?

 

ACTS OF VIOLETS

A fear of clowns seems to be a common phobia. What causes it?

Is Marco’s mother in favor of her son seeing Abby?

Would she be an interfering mother-in-law?

What about Abby’s mother?

Would Marco’s sister Gina be likely to try to stop any future wedding plans?

Do you think Eudora had psychological problems before her dog’s death?

Could that alone have triggered her behavior?

Why didn’t Ed seek more help for his wife?

Do you think he was in denial at all?

Do people react more strongly to animal cruelty than to human cruelty?

Did Trina do enough to stop Ryson’s harassment?

What else should she have done?

Eudora’s revenge took careful planning. Would that be possible for someone who had gone off the deep end?

Could her behavior have been complicated by inhaling poisonous powder?

Abby tells Nikki that she erred in revealing her feelings for Marco. Do you agree that telling a guy how you feel about him could be the kiss of death to a budding relationship?

Are Abby and Marco at a point where she should feel safe in telling him?

Being a step-parent is a tough job, especially when dealing with a delinquent child, as Dennis Ryson obviously was. Did you at first believe Eve had tried to harm him?

Did she had a strong enough motive?

Did Eve’s lisping make it difficult to understand her?

Author’s note: In my original manuscript, Eve Taylor lisped only when she said “thomething thpecial” or “thecret.” Unfortunately, a copy editor made changes in her speech that I didn’t catch until the book had gone to print. I sincerely apologize for this error.

 

A ROSE FROM THE DEAD

Much of the mortician’s humor and convention information was found during my internet research for the book. Did their dark humor surprise you?

Is it out of place, or understandable?

Are you surprised to know that the convention souvenirs I name in the story are actually available?

Was Abby wrong to feel threatened by Grace’s sleuthing?

Ross and Jess seem to flaunt convention. Is it the rebelliousness of their age or that they feel untouchable because of their father’s wealth and influence?

Is their behavior typical of wealthy young men?

With the “green” ecology movement becoming so popular, do you think people will embrace the natural burial concept?

Are any funeral homes in your city offering that service?

Are breaking and entering for a good reason (e.g. to find a murderer) okay or not?

Angelique was attracted to Sybil’s soul music because it was so dissonant. Why would that draw someone like Angelique?

Did Sybil show any characteristics that would garner your respect or make you want to befriend her?

Why do you think Sybil married her husband, who was a good deal older than her?

Billingsworth and Blount deceived many people with their cremation scam. Should the Colonel have been more remorseful?

How should he have made reparation to his customers?

Are the customers better off never knowing the truth?

Should Ross have been charged as an adult with a crime?

If not, why?

If so, with what?

Aiding and abetting a murder?

Criminal confinement?

Does Chet Sunday remind you of any particular actor or celebrity?

Why?

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