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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Righting a Wrong by Rachel Anderson


Today, I have the third novella  in the from the Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series.  It is a series of 6 clean novellas by 6 different authors. 

“Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love.”



Author: Rachel Anderson
Publisher: Self
Date of publication: April 2014


Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father’s been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past.  If only life worked that way.
Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs.  If only it were that easy.
Ever think about the one that you left behind and wonder if you made a mistake?  When Cambri returns to her home town to take care of her father, she begins to think that she may have made a mistake running away from her best friend, Jace.  Righting a Wrong is a great addition to this series.  Not only does Cambri realize that she might want a second chance with Jace, she is also able to start healing some wounds between herself and her father.  
I loved Cambri.  I didn't blame her for wanting to get out and "see the world".  Sometimes when you go away and come back, that is the only way to truly appreciate what you had in the first place.  I was hoping that she would realize Jace was the one for her all along.  I loved Jace in the last story and was hoping he would get his HEA!  Lydia's story is next.  I look forward to reading about her big adventure!

About the author:
A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Duke City Split by Max Austin

Author: Max Austin (AKA Steve Brewer)
Publisher: Alibi (Random House)
Date of publication: April 2014

Bud Knox isn’t your average bank robber. He’s happiest fixing a nice lunch for his wife on her lunch break or watching his two young daughters play soccer. He leaves the boldness and brawn to his partner, Mick Wyman. In the past fourteen years, they’ve hit nearly thirty banks all over the West—everywhere but “Duke City,” their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. 
 
So when Mick calls him about the perfect job, Bud is less than convinced, because the target is on their own turf. But with the potential to haul in millions, Bud simply can’t say no. If they do this job right, Bud may never have to work again.


I flew through this book and I'm not sure I let go of the breath I held until the end of the book.  It was that exciting.  Duke City Split starts out fast and never stops.  It's like one of those movies that starts out with a bang and you just have to hold on for the ride.  After Bud and Mick agree to help a young kid rob a bank in their own hometown, the "easy job" turns out to be their biggest mistake.  As the reader, you never know who is going to pop up wanting a piece of the action.  Nor do you know who is going to be safe.  

Even though they are criminals, I found I liked Mick and Bud.  Especially Bud because he is a family man who is upfront with his wife about his "job".  In general, you aren't supposed to root for the bad guys, right? But as you read, you can't help but hope Mick and Bud get away with it.  The ending had me yelling in frustration.  Not because it wasn't good, but because I wanted more!  This is supposed to be the first in a trilogy, so I can't wait to read the next book.  I definitely recommend this one.  It's a quick read that you won't want to put down!
Enter to win some exciting prizes from Random House! 
A Grand Prize of a $30 egiftcard to the ebook retailer of the winner's choice, and a First Prize Mystery Prize Pack of mystery paperbacks from Random House:  The Alpine Xanadu, Dying for Chocolate and A Bat in the Belfry!



About the author:

STEVE BREWER is the author of more than 20 books, including the recent crime novels A BOX OF PANDORAS, PARTY DOLL, LOST VEGAS and CALABAMA.  His first novel, LONELY STREET, was made into an independent Hollywood comedy starring Robert Patrick, Jay Mohr and Joe Mantegna. 

Under his new pen name Max Austin, Brewer is writing a series of hard-boiled crime stories set in Albuquerque, NM. The first, DUKE CITY SPLIT, will be published by Alibi/Random House in April 2014.

Brewer's short fiction appeared in the anthologies DAMN NEAR DEAD, THE LAST NOEL and CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, and he's published articles in magazines such as Mystery Scene, Crimespree and Mystery Readers' Journal.

Brewer has taught at the University of New Mexico, the Midwest Writers Workshop and the Tony Hillerman Writers Seminar. He regularly speaks at mystery conventions, and was toastmaster at Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe, NM, in 2011. He served two years on the national board of Mystery Writers of America, and twice served as an Edgar Awards judge. He's also a member of International Thriller Writers and SouthWest Writers.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Brewer worked as a daily journalist for 22 years, then wrote a syndicated weekly column for another decade. The column, called The Home Front, produced the raw material for his humor book TROPHY HUSBAND.

Married and the father of two adult sons, Brewer lives in Albuquerque, NM. 

Connect:
 www.stevebrewer.us.com and www.stevebrewer.blogspot.com
Twitter: BrewerRules

Buy links:  Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Tour stops:
Monday, March 31st: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Thursday, April 3rd: Reading Reality
Friday, April 4th:  A Bookworm’s World
Monday, April 7th: Tales of a Book Addict
Tuesday, April 8th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, April 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, April 14th: Crime Book Club
Friday, April 18th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 23rd: Cupcake’s Book Cupboard
Monday, April 21st: …the bookworm…
Friday, April 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trinity Stones by L. G. O'Connor

Author: L. G. O'Connor
Publisher: She Writes Press
Date of publication: April 2014

Anxiety-ridden New York investment banker, Cara Collins, has little to smile about on her twenty-seventh birthday between a hostile work environment and her impossible romantic situation with her longtime friend and first love, Dr. Kai Solomon. But before the day ends, she learns she has inherited $50 million—a windfall that must remain secret or risk the lives of those close to her. 

As Cara unravels the truth surrounding her inheritance, she makes a startling discovery: angels walk among the living, and they’re getting ready to engage in a battle that will determine the future of the human race. In the midst of these revelations, she meets mysterious and sophisticated Simon Young, who offers her the promise of romance for the first time since Kai—but when Kai and his daughter are kidnapped by dark forces, Cara must choose: accept her place in a 2,000-year-old prophecy foretold in the Trinity Stones as the First of the Twelve who will lead the final battle between good and evil . . . or risk losing everything she holds dear.

Trintiy Stones is a unique take on the Angel/Nephilim genre. Cara's life changes when she finds out she has an immense inheritance coming her way.  The catch is that she can't talk about it.  Once she finds out the real reason behind it, she must decide if she will answer her calling.  It turns out that she is a Seeker and part of a Trinity.  As the Seeker, she will one day try to hep someone make the decision between good and evil. It's a bit convoluted, but as the story unfolds the idea becomes clearer.

 While a little slow at first, I ended up enjoying the story in the long run. In the beginning, I felt a bit disoriented and then there was a huge information dump. But once the real story got going, I loved it. I liked the idea of the trinity and stones.  There is the Seeker, the Guardian and the Messenger.  And in the middle is the Trinity stone, the one who needs the help.  As I said earlier, it's a bit convoluted, but it makes sense as the story progresses.  The characters were fun and interesting.  I loved the bond between Simon and Cara. That their souls recognized each other was very sigh worthy.  They were a lot of fun to watch.  

The book is filled with romance, science, angels and of course evil demons.  This is a great debut book and the first of a promising series.  I look forward to reading the next one!


About the author:
L.G. O’Connor is a member of the Romance Writers of America. A corporate strategy and marketing executive for a Fortune 250 company, she writes adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She is currently preparing the second book in the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles, The Wanderer’s Children, for publication at the end of 2014. In addition, her adult contemporary romance will launch later this year. A native New Jersey girl, she lives a life of adventure, navigating her way through dog toys and soccer balls and loaning herself out for the occasional decorating project. When she’s feeling particularly brave, she enters the kitchen . . .
Find & Follow L.G. O’Connor Online:


L. G. O’Connor’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, March 31st:  girlichef
Wednesday, April 2nd:  Book Loving Hippo
Thursday, April 3rd:  Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, April 7th:  Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, April 9th:  The Written World
Thursday, April 10th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, April 14th:  Reading Reality
Tuesday, April 15th:  Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, April 17th:  From the TBR Pile
Monday, April 21st:  Ladybug Literature
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Casebook by Mona Simpson

Author: Mona Simpson
Publisher: Knopf
Date of publication: April 2014

From the acclaimed and award-winning author: a beguiling new novel about an eavesdropping boy working to discover the obscure mysteries of his unraveling family. He uncovers instead what he least wants to know: the workings of his parents' private lives. And even then he can't stop snooping.

Miles Adler-Rich, helped by his friend Hector, spies and listens in on his separating parents. Both boys are in thrall to Miles's unsuspecting mother, Irene, who is "pretty for a mathematician." They rifle through her dresser drawers and strip-mine her computer diary, finding that all leads pull them straight into her bedroom, and into questions about a stranger from Washington, D.C., who weaves in and out of their lives. Their amateur detective work starts innocently but soon takes them to the far reaches of adult privacy as they acquire knowledge that will affect the family's well-being, prosperity, and sanity. Once burdened with this powerful information, the boys struggle to deal with the existence of evil, and proceed to concoct hilarious modes of revenge on their villains and eventually, haltingly, learn to offer animal comfort to those harmed and to create an imaginative path to their own salvation.


I'm going to be upfront, I didn't finish Casebook.  I have read some good reviews for the book and was looking forward to reading it.  Unfortunately, I think I am in the minority when it comes to this book.  The book I read wasn't the book I thought I was getting.  I got about a third of the way through and gave up. 

There are a few reasons that this book just didn't work for me.  I didn't really like the way it was written.  I know that for some people, it will work but I just couldn't get into the flow of the book. It was like Miles was just randomly telling us about things that happened to him after his parents split up.  It felt very disjointed and I never got a handle on time frames for any of it.  There also seemed to be a jumble of characters and I couldn't keep everyone straight.  Finally, there were weird footnotes that were supposed to be from his friend Hector.  I found those weird and I didn't get the point.  So, I'll just chalk this on up to being not a good fit for me.  Check out what others are saying (see the tour list below) and give it a try.  Maybe you will "get it".

About the author:


Mona Simpson is the author of Anywhere But HereThe Lost FatherA Regular GuyOff Keck Road, and My HollywoodOff Keck Road was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the Heartland Prize of the Chicago Tribune. She has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, and, recently an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Connect with Mona on Facebook.

Mona Simpson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, April 14th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, April 15th:  Book Chatter
Tuesday, April 15th:  Guiltless Reading
Wednesday, April 16th:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 16th:  5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, April 17th:  Bookchickdi
Friday, April 18th:  She Treads Softly
Monday, April 21st:  Entomology of a Bookworm
Monday, April 21st:  Simply Stacie
Monday, April 21st:  A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Anita Loves Books
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Guiltless Reading - guest post “A Rejection”
Thursday, April 24th:  Lit and Life
Friday, April 25th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Saturday, April 26th:  Chaotic Compendiums -  guest post “How I Found My POV”
Monday, April 28th:  Book-alicious Mama
Monday, April 28th:  Daily Mayo
Tuesday, April 29th:  Love at First Book
Tuesday, April 29th:  Fiction Addict
Wednesday, April 30th:  Bookish Ardour
Wednesday, April 30th:  Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, May 1st:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, May 2nd:  Missris
Monday, May 5th:  Bibliophiliac
Tuesday, May 6th:  Bound by Words
Wednesday, May 7th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, May 8th:  BookNAround
Friday, May 9th:  In Bed With Books

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2 for 1 by Cathy Maxwell

Today, I have the first two books in the "Brides of Wishmore " series by Cathy Maxwell.  As you will see, so far, I am about 50/50 on the series.

The Bride Says No
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: January 2014

Lady Aileen never thought she’d be in this position—falling in love with her sister’s betrothed! Of course, her sister did run away rather than marry him, and he doesn’t seem to be all that interested in her sister either, but even so, such a match is impossible...isn’t it? 

Aileen is certain she must turn away from the man she loves in order to protect her sister’s reputation. However, he’s not one to give up without a fight, and now that he’s met a woman he wants to marry, nothing on earth could convince him to let Aileen go.

After reading the synopsis, you would think that this book was a romance between Aileen and Blake Stephens.  I was expecting a romance between the two, but it just wasn't there for me.  After reading the book, I can't say I blame Aileen or Blake for falling in love with each other.  There was never any feelings between Tara and Blake as it was an arranged marriage so I found it didn't bother me as much when they got together.  That's not to say that their love story was anything to really write home about.   While Blake and Aileen do eventually get a HEA, I felt like the relationship fell flat and was a little forced. I would have liked to see more.

The main issue that I had with the book was that the story seemed to be more about Lady Tara, then about Aileen.   Tara was more center stage with her manipulations and selfishness.  I really didn't like her character at all.  I was hoping she would redeem herself in the end and was pleased to see that she did do the right thing.  But, I still didn't feel too badly for her that she lost out in the end.  She kind of deserved it.  So I won't say this is a bad book.  I just ended up being an OK read for me.

The Bride Says Maybe
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication:  February 2014

She'd once been the toast of London, but now scandal has brought her down. Still, pretty, petted Lady Tara Davidson can't believe her new fate. She had wanted to marry for love . . . but her profligate father has promised her hand to none other than Breccan Campbell, the "Beast of Aberfeldy" and laird of the valley's most despised clan! Well, Tara may have to marry him, but Breccan can't make her love him—can he?

Breccan Campbell is nobody's fool. He knows that Tara is trouble. Yet he's determined to reform the Campbell name even if it means forging an alliance with the arrogant beauty. There's no doubt that Tara is a challenge, and Breccan loves nothing more. For he's vowed to thoroughly seduce Tara—and make her his in more than name alone. 

I had a such different reaction to The Bride Says Maybe than I did to the first book.  I found I really enjoyed Tara's story.  I detested her in the first book, but she goes through a major transformation in this story and I found myself liking her.  As I got to know her character's background more, I could see how she ended up the way she did and felt bad for her.  Her beauty tended to have people dismiss her and it's no wonder she turned out to be a brat.  

She and Breccan were a great match for each other.  I loved him and even though his reasons for marrying Tara weren't the greatest, he ends up really respecting her.  Their first love scene was pretty funny.  In fact, there is a lot of humor in this story.  Something that was lacking from the first one.  I do recommend this one as it's the better of the two.  I almost feel like this one could be read as a stand alone novel since some of the ground from the first book is gone over in this one.  The next book, Groom Says Yes comes out on September 2014.  I look forward to reading it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Her Loving Husband's Curse by Meredith Allard

Author: Meredith Allard
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Date of publication: April 2012

Finally, after many long and lonely years, James Wentworth’s life is falling into place. Together with his wife, Sarah, the only woman he has ever loved, he has found the meaning behind her nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials and now they are rebuilding the life they began together so long ago.
But the past is never far behind for the Wentworths. While Sarah is haunted by new visions, now about the baby she carried over three hundred years before, James is confronted with painful memories from his time with the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.
Through it all, the persistent reporter Kenneth Hempel reappears, still determined to prove that the undead walk the earth. If  Hempel succeeds in his quest, James and Sarah will suffer. Will the curse of the vampire prevent James and Sarah from living their happily ever after?
Her Loving Husband's Curse is the sequel to Her Dear and Loving Husband .  It continues the story of Sarah and James from the first book.  In this one, they are married and trying to build a life together. But exposure of James' true nature threatens to crumble their happiness.  I was happy to see that they were able to expand their family with the addition of little Grace.  

While I really enjoyed the first one, I found this one harder to get into and it was a bit slow.  I felt like the couple was in a good place when the first book ended and this one just added more strife and pain to the story.  I found the historical parts about the Trail of Tears to be interesting though and it added a lot to the book .  The book ends with things unresolved and since I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers, I wasn't satisfied with it this time around.  I often find that the second book in a trilogy leaves me unsatisfied because I want to see the end.  I just have to trust in the author that this couple gets their ultimate HEA in the final book, Her Loving Husband's Return. 

Check out the what others are saying on the tour below!
About the author:
Meredith Allard has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction workshops at Learning Tree University, UNLV, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference. Her short fiction and articles have appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, Wild Mind, Moondance, Muse Apprentice Guild, The Maxwell Digest, CarbLite, Writer’s Weekly, and ViewsHound. She is the author of the Loving Husband Trilogy, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle (Copperfield Press). She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com.
Buy Her Loving Husband’s Curse:

Her Loving Husband's Curse Web Tour Schedule

Indie Reviews Behind the Scenes March 15 Live Interview 11 am cst
So Many Precious Books Mar 31 Spotlight & Giveaway
Cassandra M's Place Apr 1 Review                                                   
Mina's Bookshelf Apr 1 Guest Post
Giveaways & Glitter Apr  2 Review                                     
TalkSupe Apr 3 Review                                             
TalkSupe Apr 3 Interview & Giveaway
 Books, Books & More Books Apr 7 Review                                               
Aspired Writer Apr  9 Review                                               
Aspired Writer Apr 9 Interview
Genuine Jenn Apr 10 Review                                   
Peeking Between the Pages Apr 11 Review & Giveaway
From the TBR Pile Apr 14 Review                                       
My Devotional Thoughts Apr 15 Review                                         
My Devotional Thoughts Apr 16 Guest Post & Giveaway
Bookalicious Traveladdict Apr 18 Guest Post & Giveaway
Mom With Kindle Apr 22 Review                                        
The News in Books Apr  23 Review                                     
The News in Books Apr 23 Guest Post
Deal Sharing Aunt Apr  24 Review                                       
Deal Sharing Aun tApr 28 Guest Post
Luxury Reading Apr 25 Review & Giveaway
Ashley's Bookshelf Apr,28 Review                                       
Melissa's Midnight Musings Apr 30 Review                                     
Amber Stults - Reviewer and Writer Apr 30 Review                                    
Celestial Reviews May 2 Review  Celestial Reviews May 2 Guest Post  & Giveway

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner

by:  P.D. Viner
published by:  Crown
publish date:  October 8, 2013

Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found, and the case has long gone cold. Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. While Jim fell apart, Patty was consumed by the unsolved case. She keeps contact with Tom, Dani's childhood sweetheart, who has become a detective intent on solving murders like Dani's. When he finds a lead that seems ironclad, he brings Patty in on it. After years of dead ends, her obsession is rekindled, and she will do anything for revenge, even become a killer herself-dragging her whole family into the nightmare once again, as lies and secrets are uncovered.

The first thing I want to address about this book is that it told out of chronological order.  I went back and forth on this issue.  At times I could understand the author's technique.  Other time, I found it really frustrating because I was clueless as to what point in time we were hearing about.  Ultimately, I don't know if it was the most effective way to tell this story.

Secondly, I listened to the audiobook.  This was the most bizarre audiobook I've listened to...EVER.  It had an ensemble cast and it wasn't just read, it was acted out.  It also had a lot of sound effects which were a little off putting especially when I was driving.  There was a lot of screaming, crying and wailing throughout this book and it was all LOUD.  I didn't find it to be particularly appealing.  There was also this ethereal moaning sort of ghosty like "Whoa!" that would float up whenever something significant would happen that got to be sort of hilarious.  I found myself "whoa-oo-aa-oo-aa" along with it after awhile.  Would I recommend listening to the audiobook?  Probably not for serious audiobook listeners, but maybe for amusement sake.

Overall, I thought the story was just ok.  I was kind of disappointed because I was expecting something different than Dani's crazy mother running like a lunatic most of the book.  That's what it felt like most of the time.  It felt like being taken along on this wild meltdown of Patty and I didn't care for that.  I guess I would have rathered more of the story told from a different point of view.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

by:    and 
published by:  Putnam Juvenile
publish date:  September 17, 2013

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.  At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

This was one of those books that I kept going back and forth about.  For about the first 15-20 mins or so I wasn't too sure I was going to be into this book, but I stuck with it and got into it.  I decided I really like it.  The idea of the whole world being a frozen wasteland was intriguing.  I could get behind all the adjustments everyone had to make to survive the cold.  All those things were pretty cool.  

However, the parts that I didn't like were the magical parts.  Nat herself had magical powers, they encountered magical creatures, "the Blue" was supposed to be a magical place.  I felt like the whole book was on a nice high level, but then when the magical elements were brought in, it plummeted the book down into an amatuerish??/immaturish?? level.   It seemed like there were two different books struggling to be one book.  This might be because there were two authors.  Usually it works, but maybe this time it doesn't.  

It could just be me, I'm not a big fantasy reader.   There wasn't anything racy in this book so it would be safe for all YA readers.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off Recipe-Sharing Virtual Tour

We are excited to be the last stop on the Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off Recipe-Sharing Virtual Tour with author Carolyn Brown.  Her latest book,  The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is in stores this month.  Enjoy her post after my thoughts on the book.  

Giveaway details: We are giving away 2 exciting prizes to 2 lucky winners.  Fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win one of the following:
-       
           Prize #1: a print copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off
-          Prize #2: A Carolyn Brown Prize Pack
o   Print copy of The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee
o   Print copy of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off
o   Cute recipe card set—so the winner can save the recipes shared along the tour!

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Date of publication: April 2014

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.

My thoughts:

I love when a book can make me laugh out loud.  The Red-Hot Chili Cook off definitely fit the bill for that!  I really enjoyed the book.  While it is a sequel, I felt like it can be read as a stand alone book.  I loved the characters.  They are really what made the book for me.  Carlene, Patrice, and Alma-Grace are three cousins who own Bless Your Bloomers, a custom lingerie shop in town.  Their mothers are sisters and women who fight fiercely for their daughters. I loved how everyone rallied around Carlene after she left her cheating husband.    Being a small town, the gossip is always flying.  The way the rumors kept getting out of hand is one of the things that made me laugh the most. This is a great book and I do hope you will spend some time visiting the town of Cadillac and it's very colorful residents!


Thank you folks at TBR Pile for letting me stop by here for the final blog on the recipe tour for The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Since this brings us to the end of our recipe blog tour, I have to admit I was sorely tempted to share the prize winning chili recipe with all y’all, but that would be a definite spoiler since at this point it’s still anyone’s game so I decided to share a recipe for homemade ice cream. The Red Hot Bloomers Team is serving those little cups of ice cream with their chili because it is so damned hot.

The day is here. Lenny is sure he’s going to win for the sixth year in a row and the ladies from the Bless My Bloomer’s lingerie shop are giving it all the southern charm they can find. In case you missed the rest of the blog tour, three cousins, Carlene, Alma Grace and Patrice, own and operate the Bless My Bloomers shop. Josie, their seamstress at the shop, and their three mothers, Tansy, Gigi and Sugar, make up the seven member team. Lenny Joe, bless his heart is one of those men who were born stupid. He left a pair of his girlfriend’s bikini underwear in his briefcase and Carlene, his wife, found them. It was a double whammy for humiliation because she made the under britches at her shop. The family has joined together, religious and not so religious alike, to be the first women in the chili cook-off in Cadillac. Hopefully, they’ll take the trophy right out of Lenny Joe’s cheatin’ hands. It’s time for the judges to do their tasting…

A slightly abbreviated excerpt:
Carlene stirred the chili one more time so the aroma of their special blend would fill the judge’s noses before they ever tasted it. Six judges lined up in front of the Red-Hot Bloomers stand, laid their clipboards with a blank page covering the stack of entries on the table, and eyed the whole display from back to front.
Alma Grace opened the freezer and removed six cups of ice cream with six special little wooden spoons on top imprinted with, “Red-Hot Bloomers thank you.” She set one in front of each judge’s station.
“Good morning,” Patrice greeted the judges with her best smile. “We realize that you are only allowed to taste the chili, itself, but in appreciation for all your work, we have an envelope for each of you. Inside you’ll find a coupon redeemable anytime today for a bowl of chili with or without chips or condiments, a free glass of sweet tea, and another cup of ice cream.” She laid them on top of their clipboards as Josie carefully measured one fourth of a cup of chili into each hot-pink plastic bowl with the team logo printed on the side.
Isaac looked down the row and nodded. They all scooped up a spoonful and put it in their mouths.
“Holy smoke, that’s hot!” Isaac grabbed the ice cream and shoveled two bites into his mouth before picking up his clipboard and writing.
“I taste a bit of Cajun. I like it,” Floy’s husband wrote on his clipboard before he opened his ice cream.
Tip ate the whole sampling, pulled a snowy white hanky from his hip pocket, and wiped his brow. “Now that is some damn good chili.”
John, the owner of the Rib Joint, tasted, thought a few minutes, and tasted again. “I’d put chili on my menu with this recipe. Fine job, ladies.”
Barbara Culpepper, bless her heart and God love her soul, couldn’t get to the ice cream fast enough. Steam rolled out her ears and she fanned her face with her clipboard, all the while reaching for a bottle of water in the shoulder purse hanging across her chest.
“Ice cream, darlin’.” Gigi opened it for her and stuck the little spoon in the middle. “It coats the palate and takes away the burn.”
Mayor Jim Burdette tasted, wrote on his clipboard, nodded at the ladies, and left his ice cream sitting on the table.
“Good luck to you,” he said as he moved to the next exhibition.
Carlene waited until they were at the next tent before she sat down at the picnic table. “Well? Aunt Tansy, you’re the psychic. What do you think?”
“I’m not a bit worried, darlin’,” Tansy said.
“Alma Grace, your opinion?” Carlene asked.
“Well, I think that after eating that chili, Barbara Culpepper may sing a little better come Sunday morning,” she said.
Carlene looked at Josie. “Mayor was on the fence. I wouldn’t even play poker with him on a good night. Can’t read his face a damn bit.”
“No strings of Spanish?” Gigi asked Josie.
“Not today. Today it’s press one for English.”
Patrice sat down beside Carlene. “They’re going to taste twenty kinds of chili and there won’t be a nickels worth of difference in any of it, but they won’t forget ours or our tent.”
Gigi nodded. “We are breaking ground for women of the future even though I will not do this ever again. One trophy is enough for me.”
Agnes waved from the tape at the back of the tent. “Hey, y’all! You been judged yet? I’d duck under this tape but that sorry ass Lenny might say that you had more in your tent than seven and get you thrown out.”
“We’ve been judged Miz Agnes. Heard you had a little mix-up last night,” Sugar said.
“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.

Summer isn’t far away and that’s a time for home made ice cream and long, lazy evenings out under the shade trees, visitin’ while the kids play catch or toss Frisbees around. Have you got a favorite ice cream recipe you’d like to share with us?

SOUTHERN STYLE HOME CHURNED ICE CREAM

1 quart whipping cream
1 quart + 3 cups whole milk (do not substitute 2% milk)
12 egg Yolks
4 tablespoons vanilla
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Scald milk in a large 6 quart saucepan. In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks and salt. Add about 3 cups of the hot milk to the egg yolks slowly while stirring constantly. Then return this mixture to the milk in the pan. Add sugar and keep stirring while cooking at medium heat. When mixture coats the spoon or just starts to boil, remove from heat. In most cases, the mix will be lumpy. No worry. Just remember to strain out the lumps when you pour it into the canister. You will have lots of left over egg whites. Use them for make some meringue shells to serve the ice cream in.
By substituting additional cream for some of the milk, this can be made even richer. In the south we don’t think anything can be “too rich.”
Either use a “hand cranked” freezer or an electric one. Use lots of rock salt and plenty of ice and let it set for fifteen or twenty minutes after it’s churned before serving.

Be sure to follow along on The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off Recipe Sharing Tour!

April 3: Fresh Fiction
April 4: Book’d Out

Learn more about The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off and find out some delicious recipes from Carolyn and other readers along the way. Chances to win at each stop!

About the author:

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. Her bestselling cowboy romance series include the Lucky trilogy, the Honky Tonk series, Spikes & Spurs, Cowboys & Brides, and the new Burnt Boot, Texas series. She has also launched into women’s fiction with a Texas twang. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. For more information, please visit http://carolynlbrown.com/

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