Tag Archives: Sally Kilpatrick

Review: Much Ado About Barbecue by Sally Kilpatrick

Much Ado about Barbecue

Sally Kilpatrick’s latest novel, Much Ado About Barbecue should come with a warning label that you’re going to crave some good barbecue. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing — unless you don’t have access to good barbecue, that is.

Emma Sutton and Ben Cates have been rivals all their lives. It started in kindergarten when Ben pulled the chair out from under Emma and continued throughout their educational history, including Emma’s underpants winding up on the school flag pole. So, when Emma returns to town after a series of disappointments in her life, she quickly finds the rivalry resuming thanks to Ellery’s barbecue competition. Both families own barbecue joints in town, each praised and respected for differing ways of cooking the meat. Ben has reluctantly embraced using a smoker, while Emma’s family still does whole-hog pit barbecue.

There is a bit more to the rivalry between Ben and Emma than the competition for who has the best barbecue and juvenile pranks. Emma has repressed large portions of junior high school due and she holds a deep secret about possibly raining on Ben’s dream of playing baseball at the next level. Needless to say, these two are probably the last two people you’d imagine ending up together.

And like the main dish of the book’s title, the potential romantic entanglement is one that roasts slowly, marinating in its own rub of family secrets, long-held resentments, and misunderstandings. Along the way, we meet a colorful cast of characters from Jeremiah, the long-time pitmaster as Emma’s family barbecue joint (and a character I’d love to see get his own novel) to Ben’s sister, Shero.

Between family secrets, the slow-simmering enemies-to-lovers story, and a colorful cast of characters (including several familiar faces from previous Ellery novels), Much Ado About Barbecue proves to be another winner from Kilpatrick. Filled with the types of characters you’d expect to me in a quirky small town, Much Ado works much like the barbecue does — as a satisfying, enjoayble meal that left me fully satisfied and yet somehow wishing I had just a bit more room for another bite or two.

Taking a page from Shakespeare (maybe you’ve heard of him), Kilpatrick gives us her spin on Much Ado About Nothing in her quirky creation of Ellery. As with her other novels, Much Ado About Barbecue is a delightful gem and most likely destined to end up on my list of favorite books I read this year.

Add this one to your to-be-read pile, folks. Just don’t do it on an empty stomach.

Highly recommended.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. No bribing of barbecue was done or needed….

Leave a comment

Filed under ARC, book review, books, netgalley, review

Review: Snowbound in Vegas by Sally Kilpatrick

Despite being assured by friends that they were “perfect” for each other, Geo Russell and Truvy Fuller’s first blind date didn’t end in a love connection — or even a second date.

Years later, the Geo and Truvy are the best man and maid of honor for their best friend’s wedding. But little do they know that their friends not only still think they’re perfect for each other, but they’re going to prove it to them.

Geo and Truvy are tricked into spending a week together in a remote, snowbound cabin  (nicknamed Vegas) in Gatlinburg with no cell service, no television, and no contact with the outside world.   Will there be a love connection this time or will these two end up loathing each other even more?

Sally Kilpatrick’s “Snowbound in Vegas” is a sweet romance with just enough heat to it to fuel but not overfeed your imagination.  Alternating viewpoints between Geo and Truvy allows us to see inside each one’s world-view and assumptions about the other and see just how these two didn’t connect on that first date but might connect now.

“Vegas” is a bit different from Kilpatrick’s previous stories in terms of setting and turning up the heat factor. But what she doesn’t sacrifice is her commitment to building strong, relatable characters with their own quirks and foibles that serve as both an asset and a hindrance to romance.   The remote setting and confined quarters make for a lot of fun and there are some genuinely sweet moments between Geo and Truvy.

And any story that uses the word “nekkid” in reference to its characters being sans-clothing  (because neither one packed a suitcase for the trip and there is a hot tub) wins major points in my book.

Sweet, charming, and relatable, “Vegas” is another winning story from Kilpatrick.

This story is part of the Once Upon A Wedding anthology.

Leave a comment

Filed under book revierw, book review, review

Review: Bless Her Heart by Sally Kilpatrick

Bless Her HeartPosey Love hates three little words. Every time someone says, “Bless your heart,” Posey sees red.

But who could blame her? Her life hasn’t exactly turned out the way she pictured it would. After a decade of marriage, Posey hoped to be raising a child with her pastor husband. Still aching each month as she hopes for a positive instead of a negative indicator on a pregnancy test, Posey finds her world turned upside down when her husband absconds with another woman and leaves her with a repossessed car and a pile of outstanding debt.

Moving back in with her mom, Posey decides that she’ll “give up” going to church for the Lenten season and follow her younger sister’s advice to experience each of the seven Deadly sins during those forty days. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ARC, book review, digital arc, netgalley, review

Waiting on Wednesday: Bless Her Heart by Sally Kilpatrick

waitingonwednesdayMy local library branch was closed for three weeks for renovation.   So, I not only experience withdrawals but I also had a huge stack of stuff I’d put on reserve come in, leading to a truly epic check-out.  That’s why I wasn’t able to participate in the Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine) last week.

But now as I whittle down the pile, deciding what to return and put on reserve again for future reading, I’m looking into the future for more books to add to my TBR pile.

This week it’s the latest novel by one of my favorite authors and a good friend, Sally Kilpatrick.   Her new novel, Bless Her Heart, hits physical and digital shelves on Halloween.

blessherheartLaugh-out-loud funny and unabashedly uplifting, with just the right amount of Southern sass, Sally Kilpatrick’s wonderful novel centers on one woman’s journey from unhappy marriage to a surprising second chance . . .

On the day Posy Love discovers that her born-again husband has been ministering to some of his flock a little too eagerly, she also learns that he’s left her broke and homeless. Posy married Chad five years ago in hopes of finding the stability her hippie mother couldn’t provide. Instead she got all the trappings of security–house, car, seemingly respectable husband–at the price of her freedom.

Posy’s mother, Lark, accepts her daughter’s return home with grace, though her sister can’t resist pointing out that being a sweet Southern wife hasn’t worked out as planned. And so, with the Seven Deadly Sins as a guide, Posy decides to let loose for once. Envy is easy to check off the list–Posy only has to look at her best friend’s adorable baby for that.

One very drunken night at The Fountain bar takes care of gluttony. As for lust–her long-time friend, John, is suddenly becoming much more than a pal. One by one, Posy is bulldozing through her old beliefs about love, family–and what it really means to be good. And she’s finding that breaking a few rules might be the perfect way to heal a heart…

I’ve read all of Sally’s books and enjoyed them.  I’m really looking forward to her new novel and hoping I may get an early peek if it arrives on the Galley of Nets in the near future.

Leave a comment

Filed under meme, Waiting on Wednesday, Waiting on Wednesdays

Review: Orange Blossom Special by Sally Kilpatrick

Orange Blossom Special“As everyone had long feared, it was Tennessee football that finally killed Jerome Malcolm.”

With an opening line like that one, how could I possibly resist Sally Kilpatrick’s Orange Blossom Special?

The short answer is that I couldn’t.

When her husband of sixty year passes away, Edie Malcolm discovers that he has some very specific thoughts on how he and his estate should be distributed. In addition to leaving behind funding for two neighborhood friends to pursue a college education, Jerome wants to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled in three places – the Ryman, General Robert Neyland’s grave and the orange and white checkerboard of the University of Tennessee end zone. And Jerome wants his wife, sister and the two college scholars to complete the scattering together.

So, the four of them pack into Jerome’s orange and white checkerboard painted hearse with Jerome safely stored inside a Carmen Miranda cookie jar and set out to fulfill his final wishes. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ARC, book review, digital arc, review

Review: Better Get to Livin’ by Sally Kilpatrick

 ByBetter Get To Livin'The Happy Hour Choir made me a fan and Bittersweet Creek put Sally Kilpatrick on my “must read” list. With her third novel Better Get to Livin’, Kilpatrick has ensured that her books join the likes of Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Laura Lippman and Peter David on my list of “authors I will read their latest offering first no matter what other books are on the to-be-read pile.”

Presley Cline left her small hometown in Tennessee for the bright lights of Hollywood. But just as her fortunes are about to take a turn toward that goal, she’s caught up in a Hollywood scandal that has her not only embarrassed but headed home to try and hide out with her mother for a while. Those plans quickly go awry when her mother’s trailer is destroyed by a tornado and Presley and her mother take refuge at the local funeral home, run by Declan Anderson.

Like Presley, Declan has his own “big dreams in a small town.” He’s been holding down the fort on the family business for a couple of years now while his brother is off in Atlanta, going to school. The two had an understanding that once school was over, the brother would come back to town, take over the day-to-day funeral home operations and let Declan pursue his own dreams. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ARC, book review, review, Uncategorized

Musing Mondays: I Want To Tell You About The Happy Hour Choir


Time to kick-off this week with Monday Musings hosted by A Daily Rhythm.   Instead of answering the random question this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recommend an upcoming book.

The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

happyhourNow, let me start this off by saying that I’m probably a bit biased when it comes to this book because it’s written by a friend of mine from college, who shared a couple of interesting classes with me — from short story writing to anthropology.   (I don’t think any of us will ever forget that anthropology class, if only because it was in the auditorium of our university’s museum during the spring and the heat was kept on despite the fact that it was wonderfully spring-like outside!  It didn’t always make things conducive to staying awake, much less learning about anthropology).

I’d lost track of Sally and her husband Ryan after they and I moved away from our college town but thanks to the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been able to re-connect after all these years.  It was when we reconnected that I found out that Sally had a)written a book and b)was having it published.   And so, like many of her friends, I was eagerly waiting the novel to hit stores later this month (I almost felt like haunting book stores on the off chance they might put it out on shelves early).    But thanks to the good folks over at NetGalley, I was able to get a copy of the book and read it early.  That way I can let all of you know the books is coming and encourage you to pick up a copy.

I ask this for several reasons.   On a purely selfish level, Sally has written such an enjoyable book that I can only hope it’s a first installment in a series and I want to spend more time with her characters.   So, if getting some of you to buy a copy (dead tree, digital, carving it on a cave wall) means that we get more books with these characters, then I’m all for that. (I see that we’re getting a second installment later this year, but dang nabbit, I want more!)   On a less selfish level, I will admit I was moved Sally’s forward and talking about all the steps of encouragement she got from the important people in her life along the way.   I want this book to do well because I think it proves their faith in her was completely and totally on the money.   And finally, I ask this because I think if you pick it up, you’re going to enjoy it.

One of the highest praises I can give a book (or any form of artistic output for that matter) is that in our world of a myriad of choices and demands for my free time, it caught my attention and held it.   I read this book despite having a stack of other books that were piling up to read, a DVR loaded with movies I should watch before I pass away and new installments of some of my favorite TV shows and while in the midst of binging on season two of Orange is the New Black.  And yet, The Happy Hour Choir was a novel that held my attention and kept it focused there instead of all these other distractions for my free time.   It’s a story that is rich and highly authentic with characters that I loved and a story of redemption and forgiveness that had me getting a lump in my throat similar to the one I get every damn time I watch the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

If you’re still on the fence, let me give you the blurb for the book.

From author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet Southern town where a lost soul finds her way with the help of an unlikely circle of friends…

Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music…

Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuses to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past—and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved—she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint…

So go and pre-order your copy now.  And then you can join me in the long wait until the next book hits the market later this year!

Congratulations Sally! I just wish I could be there to get a copy at your launch party later this month.   I will be there in spirit.


Filed under meme, Musing Mondays