Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sweet Caroline - review, give away and more

Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc
February 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59554-337-0
Genre: Inspirational/chick lit

Caroline Sweeney is a sweetie, and the whole town knows it. She’s always done the responsible, dependable thing. Caroline is hesitant to upset her life when her best friend offers her the opportunity of the lifetime. Working for a wealthy CEO in Barcelona, Spain. Caroline says “yes” to a new future. After all, it has to be better than continuing to work at the run-down failing café she’s worked at for the past two years.

But before the new job is official, the ownership of the run-down café falls in Caroline’s lap. And she has two choices. Refuse it, go to Barcelona, and the café is sold, money going to charity. However, that means that all the employees will be out of work. Or, keep the café and somehow try to get it from the red into the black.

And what about handsome Deputy Sheriff, J.D. Rand? And when Caroline’s first love, Mitch O’Neal comes to town, Caroline is faced with some hard choices.

SWEET CAROLINE is a wonderful chick lit/romance about a sweet Southern waitress who suddenly has more choices than she knows how to juggle. Caroline is a real character, the good girl who never got into trouble, and that all the grown-ups depended on to do the right thing. Life gets mixed up when the right thing isn’t completely clear, and Caroline isn’t sure whether to cut loose and make a living in Spain, or to help her work friends keep their jobs. Add a romance to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

The faith message isn’t preachy, but expertly woven in. The setting is so developed, it is almost a character. And the secondary cast is strong, each with their own voice. The writing is impeccable. Don’t miss SWEET CAROLINE. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 318 pages.

Be sure to visit the other blogs on this tour:

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)

About the book:
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 Sheriff 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.

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.

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