Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off (Cadillac, Texas - Book 2) by Carolyn Brown

Publication Date: 04/01/2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Landmark
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 1402287038
ISBN-13: 978-1402287039

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Landmark)

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

Carolyn Brown on the WEB: websitefacebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Cadillac, Texas

1. The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee
2. The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

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

Excerpt from, The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


More Than the Chili's Heating Up Cadillac, Texas
Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband's briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself—and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he'd known there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.
Carlene's cohorts—and their mamas—plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it'll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm...and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.
Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.


Carolyn Brown has proven over and over again that she can write a great cowboy romance, but when she took on women's fiction in her Cadillac Texas series, she proved she could do humor with the best of them. The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is a tale of romance gone bad and revenge that is sweet. It is the second book in the Cadillac Texas series, which is full of southern charm and small town hilarity. Brown's use of humor is to die for and her down to earth characters are easy to relate to and so much fun to read about. When Lenny Joe decided to step out on his wife, Carlene, he never imagined she'd take her revenge on a corvette and his title as winner of the local chili cook-off. Now Lenny is feeling the heat!

What I liked:

Carolyn Brown is one of my favorite cowboy romance writers. She has this way with understanding the psyche of the cowboy and how they live. I wasn't quite sure how she would fair with women's fiction since I was so used to cowboy books. I shouldn't have worried, she took to it like a fish to water. And what totally surprised me was the addition of a ton of humor into her writing. Brown shows readers that romance doesn't always have to be sappy and full of long Shakespearean soliloquies. It can be fun, upbeat and down right funny. I laughed until my sides ached at some of the antics of Carlene and her family and friends in The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Carolyn Brown can write humor. Who knew?

Carlene was a typical southern belle, with all the charm and all the spitfire attitude one might expect. She thought she had it all figured out, her own lingerie shop business, a great husband and then it all falls apart. But does Carlene sit around and cry about it? Nope, she goes on the warpath. When she finds out Lenny Joe has been cheating with his secretary Carlene and her friends and family decide to hit him where it really hurts. The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is coming up and a women's team has never entered, let alone won. Lenny Joe is proud that he wins every year. Not this year!

I loved the whole theme of this book. It reminded me of a good old country song, where the woman gets her revenge in an unexpected way. You know what they say about a woman scorned. Well, Carolyn Brown took that idea and ran with it and what resulted in one hilarious romp in Texas, with a determined set of ladies who are out to break Lenny's winning streak. There is everything from food poisoning to a very special batch of winning chili. And there is also a good deal of romance even though revenge is a meal better served cold. It was a fun book with a lot of humor and some fantastic characters. Brown does it again! A great new book.

The overall theme may be revenge, but underneath it all this book shows the resilience of women and the deep bonds of family and friendship. Carlene's dysfunctional family got her into all kinds of hilarious situations but they stood together against whatever came their way. You mess with one, you mess with all of them. I thought Brown did a great job with that idea and gave readers not only a comical book, but one with heart and spirit. I loved it.

What I didn't like:

I had so much fun reading this one that I didn't notice a thing that I didn't like about it. The characters are fun and lovable and the theme was just hilarious. 

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for great women's fiction with tons of humor this is the book for you. Carolyn Brown may know how to write about cowboys, but she also has a trick or two up her sleeve when it comes to writing books that women enjoy with small town charm and humor.

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

About the Author:

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances, as well as women's fiction. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma.

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