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on Feb. 23, 2012 :
Don't waste your money. I spent the 2.95 on this book only to delete it after trying to read only a few pages. I loved the other two books written by Charlie Courtland about the Blook Countess and was very dissapointed in this one. It is as if it was written by someone totally different.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on May 08, 2011 :
Plot recipe: Start with a few completely original and unforgettable characters and a large heaping of twisted gruesomeness, mix in a generous dash of humor, then add a splash of an unexpectedly sweet romance. That is what you'll find in The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno. The story is crazy, horrid and often graphic but, like a bad car wreck, I couldn't make myself look away. If you're looking for a story to make you laugh while you cringe, this one's for you.
(reviewed long after purchase)
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
on March 28, 2011 :
Joe Parker grows jalapenos on the local sheriff's farm. His secret to growing them is based on questionable methods that the sheriff concocted. When Vera is delivered to the farm to hide from her drug dealing ex-boyfriend, Joe's life is turned upside down.
This story is something quite different from what I normally read. I did enjoy it though. Getting past the gruesome growing of jalapenos, there was a surprisingly sweet romance between Joe and Vera.
Technically, I found a few incidents in the beginning half where the narrative switched from third person to first person with no warning or reason. This was a little jarring, and caused me to re-read a few pages to figure things out, but it could be easily fixed. I also found there were a few overall graphic and unnecessary sexual references.
But getting past these few things, I really liked the growth in Vera, and sweetness of her relationship with Joe.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on March 09, 2011 :
Charlie Courtland fans will be thrilled to have this new story. Altogether different from her Elizabeth Bathory series in style and tone, there are still precious Charlie moments within it. If you’ve never read her tales, The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno is a spectacular place to begin to know her. She is wickedly inventive, and this new book is delicious.
So skilled at nuancing her characters, Charlie makes you desperate to figure them out. Some of us already love her most wicked character, the Blood Countess, but Joe Parker is a close second for being many things at once, some of them impossibly opposite. Charlie also understands the need to balance horror with humor, and she can dance the thinnest of lines between the two. She knows how to be overtly macabre and still keep you reading.
I’ve read the first draft, and this final release. I thought the first draft flawless, but she is passionate about what she’s put on the page. Charlie’s skill is so evident; her edits are seamless, and spare. It is a rare treat, to witness an author’s craft as closely as I’ve been able to do here. This earned five stars from me long ago; now you get to experience Joe Parker and Vera Cruz for yourself and see why I like them so much.
(reviewed the day of purchase)