Monday, May 26, 2008

Sweet Caroline, by Rachel Hauck

Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing--the responsible, dependable thing--unlike her mother who abandoned her family. But when her best friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Barcelona , Spain , Caroline says "yes" to destiny. Then, without warning, ownership of the run-down cafe where she's been waitressing falls right into Caroline's lap. While she's trying to determine the cafe's future, handsome Deputy Sherriff J.D. Rand captures Caroline's heart. But when her first love, Mitch O'Neal, comes back to town, fresh from the heat of his newly-found fame as a country music singer in Nashville , Caroline must make some hard choices about love and the pursuit of the sweet life.

Contest: The Sweet Life contest! Enter to win a Scrumptious Baking Basket from Rachel. The basket contains a Super Cool Apron, a Low country cook book signed by PAT CONROY, rolling pin, and a pie plate! All you have to do to enter is sign up for Rachel's newsletter here:

And BONUS... here's a recipe for Bubba's Buttery Biscuits!

3 cups self-rising flour 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled, plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted for brushing the tops 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the flour and chilled butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingertips until the butter pieces are a little larger than an English pea, but not larger than a lima bean. If you are using your fingers, work quickly so that the heat of your hands won't melt the butter.

Pour in all of the buttermilk and, using light pressure, fold the mixture a few times with a plastic spatula until it holds together. Do not over mix. In order to make light biscuits, it is important to work the dough as little as possible.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it quickly and gently 6 to 10 times or until it begins to be almost homogenized. There will be large pieces of butter throughout. Sprinkle a little flour under the dough so that it won't stick to the board and lightly dust the top of the dough so that it won't stick to the board and lightly dust the top of the dough so that it won't stick to the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness.

Cut the dough into 2-inch rounds, place on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. I like the biscuits to be crispy and brown on the top and bottom, but not dry in the middle. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter. Serve right away. (recipe from Louis Osteen)

My take on the novel:

This was a fantastic novel! I laughed, squealed, gasped, cried, and yelled right along with Caroline as I read her moving, heartfelt story. Talk about relatable characters! Anyone who has ever felt the need to please others at their own expense will find themselves shaking their fist full of Kleenex right alongside Caroline.

I truly couldn't get enough of the town, the diner, the was all so real. My only advice when you read this story is to read it slowly - you'll be so disappointed when it's over! But never fear, a sequel is near - "Love Starts With Elle" =)

About Rachel:

I'm a forty-something, a child of the '60's, '70's, '80's, '90's and '00's.
I roller skated through the '70's into the '80's with Farrah Fawcet hair and a three-speed orange Camero.
Born in Ohio , I lived several years in Oklahoma and Kentucky before my parents moved the family to Florida .

I graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism. As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I partied my way though the last few years of college.
But, the truth is, and always will be, I belong to Jesus. At the age of six, I knelt at the altar of a Tulsa Methodist church and gave my life to the One who loves me.
After graduation, hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. And I did it without a laptop, a cell phone, an IPod or portable DVD player. Those were hard times.

But, I traveled to Ireland , Spain , Venezuela , Mexico , Australia , Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine . But, life on the road is difficult. Working twelve to fourteen hour days, one doesn't get to see many of the sites. In Ireland , our company's distributor drove me around at night so I could see something of Dublin .
I met Tony, my husband, in '87, at church, of all places. We got married in '92. Tony has been a pastor for twenty years. I've worked with him in eighteen of those twenty. Our heart is to see teens and adults passionate, radical and whole hearted for Jesus.
Tony and I don't have any children of our own, lots of kids-in-the-Lord and we love them all. However, we do have a very spoiled dog, and an even more spoiled cat.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My dad used to tell me, "You're a writer." I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.
In '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an honor.

~ Want more info on Rachel and her books? Click on the links below! ~

Rachel's website:
Buy the book here:
Rachel's My Book Therapy (a writing craft blog for writers):

And guess what ELSE? (like all this wasn't enough??) I'm giving away a FREE COPY of Sweet Caroline right here on my blog, no strings attached. Just leave a comment stating you'd like to enter and voila- you're entered. (Hey, sometimes life just needs to be easy, you know?) So sign up today, what are you waiting for? I'll do the drawing the first day of June!


Keisha-Michelle said...

Sign me up Betsy!

Terri Tiffany said...

I'd love to enter your contest and read your book! Hello from Florida!

Georgiana said...

I really enjoyed this book too! I ran through the whole range of emotions, just like you did =)

Audra Elizabeth said...

Please enter me! :)

angela said...

I still haven't read one of Rachel's books. Can you believe it? Please pick my name. ;-)

Melinda said...

Enter me! Pick me! Love me! lol :D

Hi Betsy! :)

Susan said...

Here's my comment in the hope of winning a copy of "Sweet Caroline." Thanks!

email: writeagain04 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Allison said...

I'd love to be entered! I am always looking for new, Christian authors to read, and have found many during this blog tour. Now all I need with a new infant is more time to read, haha! Thanks!

Sara (artist4christ) said...

Pick me . . . . ! I love getting new books and trying new authors !

rebornbutterfly said...

please enter me! :)

rebornbutterfly said...

please enter me :)

Anonymous said...

Please enter me! It sounds like a great story.


elizardbreath said...

I just found out about this great new book and would love to read it! Please enter me in the drawing! :)

Tammy said...

Please enter me in the drawing. It looks like a wonderful book!

MissBookworm said...

this looks really good...sign me up!!