Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee

The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society JubileeAuthor: Carolyn Brown
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Bestselling author Carolyn Brown makes her first foray into women's fiction with this poignant and hilarious novel about four friends in Cadillac, Texas—where the best jalapenos in the world are grown.

Everything is calm in Cadillac, Texas until Aunt Agnes declares war on Violet Prescott, the president of the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society, just in time for the annual jubilee. But after the festivities—and the hostilities—are over, it's four friends who are left standing, proving once again that friendship is forever

More than forty years ago Grayson County and Fannin County women were having a heated argument over who could grow the hottest jalapenos in North Texas. Idalou Thomas, over in Fannin County, had won the contest for her jalapeno cornbread and her jalapeno pepper jelly so many years that most people dropped plumb out of the running. But that year, Claudia’s mamma decided to try a little something different, and she watered her pepper plants with the water she used to rinse out her unmentionables. That was the very year Fannin County lost their title in all of the jalapeno categories to Grayson County at the Texas State Fair. They brought home a blue ribbon in every category that had anything to do with growing or cooking with jalapeno peppers. That was also the year that Violet Prescott and several other women formed the Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society. The next fall, they held their First Annual Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee in Cadillac, Texas.

God didn’t take too kindly to a woman screwing around with another woman’s man. Not even if the woman had been married to him and the “other woman” wasn’t married to him yet. Maybe it was a good thing that Jesus wasn’t riding in a patrol car that night. She’d hate for her friend Trixie to be one of those left behind folks.

Friendship – always and forever priceless.

“Why? Because you can’t count that far without taking off your shoes?”

Women in the South? In some type of society or club? Friends and enemies? Count me in, please! My readers know how crazy I am over stories with alternating viewpoints, especially when those are different women. This book had everything that any Southern Belle would enjoy: catty women, a women’s club based around who could grow the hottest jalapenos, and some fine looking cowboys! I love small towns and I love reading about Texas settings. I have never been to Texas, but I would love to go one day soon. This book is full of humor, friendship, and best of all, some home grown cooking and the hottest jalapenos, and ladies, around!

I absolutely love books like this one. I am talking about books where the characters become actual people in my life. I feel like I know them and want to be their best friends. There are a select few that I would love to slap across the face, Violet Prescott and Anna Ruth in this case, and that is to be expected. This is how you know you have an awesome book. I am still thinking about this group of southern women and the hilarious stories that they have to tell. I became so invested in their lives and the story behind this society, club, or whatever you want to call it. I laughed out loud and even had my fiancĂ© laughing after I read him some of Aunt Agnes’s lines out loud.

How you can form clubs and societies based off of a jalapeno still surprises me, but I think that is why I love it so much. Here we have ladies striving to grow the hottest jalapenos, bake the best jalapeno cornbread, and puree the sweetest jalapeno jelly. This is one of those small details that really have the power to bring people, characters and readers alike, together. I loved the men in this book as well. Well, some of them anyway. Some were lying, cheating scumbags, but that’s to be expected I guess. While reading this book you receive a nice taste of cowboy and some mighty fine jalapeno jelly too! I wouldn’t miss this book for the world if I were you!

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Sourcebooks Landmark for my copy of this book, which was given to me in exchange for my honest review***

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