Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: December 6th 2016
My rating: 4 stars
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(Originally published as The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off.)
One woman's quest for chili perfection
Carlene Lovell is going to hit her no-good, deadbeat, cheatin' ass, soon-to-be ex-husband where it hurts: at the annual chili cook-off, which he's won for 10 years in a row. To win, though, she'll need more than a little help...
Is another man's second chance at love
Police Chief Jack Landry has been smitten with Carlene forever. Now that she needs some help keeping the peace (and getting revenge), it's his chance to prove that not all men are dogs....
Carolyn Brown once again had me laughing my head off with A Heap of Texas Trouble! It was a wonderful mix of family, friends and love!
I felt the acute sting of betrayal, right along with Carlene when she finds out her husband of five years, Lenny, has been cheating on her! Yes she’s hurt, but Carlene doesn’t plan on just lying down and taking it! I was thrilled that Carlene had her family’s support, her mother, aunts and Cousin Patrice. Cousin Alma Grace is another story, and I wanted to strangle some sense into that woman for a lot of the book! All the rest of the family is in Carlene’s corner, ready to hide the body if she decides to kill that scumbag Lenny! Carlene opts for a much tamer revenge: win the Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off and steal the much prized trophy away from Lenny, and hilarity ensues!
There are several story threads in this book, and every one of them were highly entertaining. There’s romance for the cousins, Carlene, Patrice, and Alma Grace; even though it wasn’t the complete focus, all of them are a sweet treat! Carlene’s mother and two sisters head the team to win the Chili Cook-Off even though none of them are much good at cooking, (the results are pretty funny and scary at the same time) they pull together to search for the perfect Chili recipe. Agnes and Violet take opposing sides in Carlene’s breakup, but it wouldn’t take much to keep enmity burning between them.
I think this is the funniest book of the series and I was giggling all over the place while reading this story! Agnes Flynn, the crafty old lady and loyal friend, (thankfully she’s on Carlene’s side!) is back, and her wars with Violet, the other old crone in town, always make me laugh! Aunt Tansy’s psychic powers assisted by her inspirational bird, Dakshani, were funny as hell! Kitty, Lenny’s horrible mother, was a pain in the butt for all of Carlene’s family, but the confrontations were priceless!
A Heap of Texas Trouble can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone, but I would definitely read it before The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop to appreciate some of the history of the Agnes/Violet wars. I read the series out of order and now I’d like to go back and re-read The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop. If you want a book to make you laugh and warm your heart, A Heap of Texas Trouble is definitely your story!