It's Monday again. Are we all happy campers? Today is the last day of March, that means spring is surely around the corner, right? If it is still dreary where you are and if Monday isn't treating you quite right, why don't you stop here for a spell, grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever your pleasure and let Ms. Carolyn Brown entertain you for a bit. I always love when Carolyn stops by with one of her feisty characters, it is sure to be an entertaining chat, and today is no different. Let me take a minute and reintroduce Carolyn to all you new comers.
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and a RITA finalist. Her books include historical, contemporary, cowboys and country music mass market paperbacks. The Blue Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee is her debut woman’s fiction book. Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma, she refers to herself as a Tex-Okie. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. Find Carolyn on her website,Facebook, and Goodreads.
Please welcome Carolyn and Agnes back to Rainy Day Ramblings:
Will March go out like a lamb or a lion? It’s supposed to go out the opposite of the way it came in so if it came in all peaceful like, we might be seeing some tornadoes in our neck of the woods today. If it came in all blustery and showing us that it was the boss, it is supposed to go out like a sweet little lamb. Maybe we’ll ask Agnes about that in the interview today. She’s a secondary character in The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off which will hit the shelves in a few days and has agreed to let us interview her today.
CB: Agnes, thank you for talking to us today. What’s been going on in Cadillac since the Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee?
Agnes: Not a damn thing. I tell you it’s been deader around here than road kill.
CB: But I hear that things are heating up again since Carlene found a pair of red underpants in her husband, Lenny Joe’s brief case.
Agnes: Damned old sumbitch. Lenny Joe is good lookin’ but he comes from bad stock. Can’t deny that DFA stuff.
CB: You mean DNA?
Agnes (rolling her eyes): Everything is alphabet these days. Everyone is too damn lazy to write out the whole words. All this technology just makes it easier for a scum bag like Lenny Joe to cheat on his wife, I tell you. It’s so easy to hit a button (she giggles) and send a picture or a few words to anyone in the whole world. I know (she whispers) because I figured that Lenny Joe needed a lesson and I used that send button to teach it to him.
CB: So what did you think of the girls at the Bless My Bloomers shop entering the chili cook-off?”
Agnes: It’s about time! The men have gotten plumb arrogant about the chili cook-off. They think it’s their domain and women aren’t allowed. Hey, if the truth was known I bet a woman was behind the invention of all this technology shit that we have. So they should be able to enter any contest they want to. I went down to the shop and put my money where my mouth was the first day I found out they’d entered the contest.
CB: And Violet? What did she do?
Agnes (with a big smile): She backed Lenny’s team. Poor Carlene was holding her head up and trying to get on with her life here in Cadillac and that rotten, black-hearted Violet Preston was bad mouthing her and saying that it was her fault that Lenny Joe cheated on her. Well, I wasn’t havin’ a bit of that so me and Violet, well, let’s just say we had a Come-to-Jesus discussion. I wouldn’t want to get into the whole story but I did ping her in the head with a plastic Easter egg. I was right proud of myself. Still got a good aim after all these years.
CB: I hear you two took sick at the same time and wound up in the hospital.
Agnes: Yes, but I wasn’t in the room with that crazy old bat. I would have gone on and died before I’d have spent a day in her room. But I got well in plenty of time to go to the chili cook-off. Me and those girls, Carlene, Patrice and Alma Grace, well, we had quite a day at the cook-off. And let me tell you those women brewed up some fine chili. I’d love to have their recipe but Carlene’s mama, Gigi, don’t give out family recipes. Sugar, Alma Grace’s mama, did let it slip that the secret to the whole thing was a chocolate bar.
CB: Do you buy your undergarments at Bless My Bloomers?
Agnes: Hell, no! Have you seen the cover of the book? Honey, I couldn’t keep them under britches up on my hip bones and them things they call thongs, why Lordy Mercy, them things ain’t hardly even Christian. None of it has got enough material in it to flag a freight train or sag a clothes line.
CB: So you think the fit Carlene threw at the car dealership where Lenny works was justified?
Agnes: Hell, yeah! Only I think she should have shot the sumbitch. I believe that it should be totally legal to fire one bullet at a cheating husband. If she hits him, the law just turns its head.
CB: And if she misses?
Agnes: Her mama should have taught her not to waste ammo. I do not think for one minute that Carlene would have missed. Gigi is a fine shot.
CB: Do you think things will die down in Cadillac for a while now?
Agnes: I hope to hell not. I’m getting old. Without excitement I’d wither up and die.
CB: Agnes and I will be around all day to visit with ya’ll so stop by and ask questions or tell us if you’d like to visit Cadillac or meet the girls at Bless My Bloomers.
Thanks, ladies! Never a dull moment when Agnes stops by. I assure you, she is as funny in the book as she is in this interview today. So be sure to grab a copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off and be prepared to laugh. What? You don't have a copy? Well, the wonderful Carolyn Brown is offering one lucky winner a chance to win a copy. Just read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Open to U.S. residents only. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off(Cadillac, Texas #2) by Carolyn Brown
In small-town Cadillac, Texas, Carlene Lovelle and her cousins' fancy panty business, Bless My Bloomers, is booming. But irony strikes when Carlene discovers another woman's silk bikini underwear in her husband's briefcase.Lenny Joe hasn't just crossed the line, he's left it in his dust, so Carlene's taking her revenge to the kitchen.
For ten years, Lenny Joe's team has dominated Cadillac's Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. But with Carlene's Bless My Bloomers team now in the ring, it's anyone's game—and when there's pride and food involved, things are bound to get messy.
Paperback, 320 pagesExpected publication: April 1st 2014 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Recieved from author in exchange for an honest review.
Four stars: A hilarious look at life in a small Southern town.
Carlene has no idea that the sexy pair of red bikini panties and matching bra that she sells to the giggling girl whose sugar daddy is taking her to Vegas, will soon come back to haunt her. A couple of weeks later, Carlene finds that very same pair of skimpy panties in her husband's briefcase just after he returns from a supposed business trip to Vegas. Carlene confronts her cheating husband and immediately moves out. She takes up residence in the upper floor of her business, Bless My Bloomers, that she co owns with her two cousins. Carlene will soon learn that blood is indeed thicker than water as her aunts and cousins rally around to support her. They decide that the ultimate revenge on the cheating, no good sumbitch is to beat him in the Chili Cook-Off which he has won for the last five years. What follows is a chaotic whirlwind of planning as the ladies plot to get the ultimate revenge. Will Carlene and the rest of the gals from Bless My Bloomers win the all men's chili cook-off?
What I Liked:
- A Carolyn Brown book never ceases to make me smile. This one is no exception as the reader is once again transported to Cadillac, Texas. A small town where everyone knows everyone, there are no secrets and gossip is always the dish of the day. Come sit a spell and watch as the fireworks explode when a group of women set out to take revenge on a cheating husband. It is going to be one heck of a cat fight.
- I always appreciate that Carolyn's characters are genuine and full of plenty of flaws. The batch of characters in this book are certainly an eclectic mix. There is the curvy Carlene whose husband has been cheating on her, Alma Grace, Carlene's cousin and the resident bible thumper, Patrice the foul mouthed, straight shooting cousin and co owner of Bless My Bloomers. Along with the three cousins,who are more like sisters, are their pampered Southern Bell Mothers, the Fannin Sisters: Sugar, Gigi and Tansy. These three ladies are true Southern Belles. The sharp tongued, foul mouthed, troublemaking Agnes returns as well, and she is still feuding with the pain in the ass Violet. This is a group of women who aren't afraid to speak their minds, and they aren't above a cat fight or two. These gals will make you giggle with their antics.
- Carlene is the character I connected with the most. She is slapped in the face with her husband's infidelity, but after her initial blow up, she handles the situation with grace and courage. She spends very little time wallowing in sorrow and self pity. I liked how she quickly pulled herself up by her bootstraps, strapped on her big girl panties and found a way to get her revenge without getting nasty. I also admired the way she embraced her full figure and curves. She is a sexy size sixteen and instead of hiding her curves, she opens a lingerie shop that caters to larger women, and all the others in between. Time and time again, those who are out to hurt her call her fat, but she holds her head high. I loved her spirit and I liked watching her get her revenge.
- I enjoyed the camaraderie between the women. This book reminded me a bit of Steel Magnolias and The Ya Ya Sisterhood. You have a group of women who are life long friends, three sisters, and their daughters and a few others. They have each other's backs and they will go to battle for one another. That means plenty of chaos, a few fist fights and some other situations that will make you laugh. Throw in the hilarious Agnes and you have a recipe for chaotic fun, oh and you might learn a thing or two about making chili.
- I liked the romance in this one. Actually there are two romances, but I liked the slow burner between Jack and Carlene. It is just the hint of relationship that starts out with an attraction and a strong friendship. It is just getting its roots by the end of the story, and I am most eager to see how it will flourish. I thought that it was just right considering Carlene's circumstances.
- The chili cook off is the highlight of the book. I loved watching the ladies plot, plan and fight their way into the all men's Chili Cook Off. It was hilarious watching them try to make chili. I don't think I would have wanted to taste many of their test batches! I liked that big blow up at the cook off, and the antics that followed. It was the perfect climax to the book.
- I liked that this book is a companion book to The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee. This book can be read as a stand alone. It takes place in the same town and a few of the characters from book one make an appearance, but this story centers on an entirely new group of women. So don't feel like you have to read the first book, jump in and grab this one if you are looking for a laugh. I would recommend both books if you like reads with plenty of spitfire women and hilarious chaos.
And The Not So Much:
- The eighty year old, red haired Agnes is without a doubt one of my favorite characters in the series. I was disappointed that she didn't have a larger part. I kept waiting for her to show her face, and she finally makes an appearance about half way. She is always loads of fun when she is shooting off her mouth or picking a fight with Violet. I loved the scenes she was in, and I found that I was eagerly looking forward to her next scene. We need more Agnes!
- This book has a huge cast of characters. Between the Fannin Sisters and there three daughters, Josie, Agnes, the husbands, boyfriends and all the rest of the folks in town, it was a lot to keep track of. Early on, I struggled keeping everyone straight, but I kept my focus on Carlene and by the end I had everyone organized. Be patient with this one in the beginning because there is a lot of people coming and going and a lot going on.
- Alma Grace was a character that bugged me in the beginning. She is the girl who is constantly praying and expecting God to intervene and make everything right. My biggest issue was that she kept insisting that Carlene pray about her marriage and work everything out. Thankfully, she finally shows some character and pulls some crazy stunts and she sees the light as far as Carlene and husband are concerned.
- I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to catch up with the gals at Clawdy's, aside from Agnes. I kept hoping that they would make an appearance, but they don't. Hopefully, next time around I can visit them and see how things are going in their world.
- As much as I like visiting Cadillac, Texas. It is a place I would not like to live. The folks in the town are always gossiping, spying and tattling on one another. It would take extreme patience to live in that town, though I wouldn't mind eating at Clawdy's and shopping at Bless My Bloomers.
The Red Hot Chili Cook Off is a look at life in a small Southern Town and what happens when a husband cheats on his wife and her friends and family rally around her. Be prepared for plenty of sparks and heat as the women set out to win the all male Chili Cook Off. This is a hilarious book that will make you chuckle. I am eager to visit Cadillac again for the third and final book in this series.
"Some men are just born stupid. Some don't get infected until later in life, but they'll all get a case of it sometime. It's in their DNA and that can't be helped."
"I need a drink, a cupcake and sex in that order."
"Honey, experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And every experience in life gets us ready for what's comin' at us in the future. So don't count it as wasted. Count it as lesson learned and, next time around, learn from it and maybe you'll get what you wanted all along."
"She sat up. Nothing hurt except her pride. "I thought I was in hell when I saw your face."
"Violet don't have any idea when to shut her mouth. I swear that woman's got a magic mirror in her house and when she looks in it she sees Marilyn Monroe or Betty Boop instead of an old, chubby woman who's trying to outrun wrinkles and age," Agnes declared."
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.