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Dining with Joy

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Overview

"Chef" Joy Ballard longs for asimpler life. But when a good-looking outsider arrives and spices things up, life becomes deliciously complicated.

Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can't cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.

Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare ...

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Overview

"Chef" Joy Ballard longs for asimpler life. But when a good-looking outsider arrives and spices things up, life becomes deliciously complicated.

Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can't cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.

Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare bankruptcy of his Manhatten restaurant. When her producers ask him to co-host the show, Joy sees Luke as her way out. But Luke sees much more than just a co-host in Joy.

Their relationship begins to simmer on and off set. Until Joy's secret is revealed and her reputation is ruined on national television by her rival, Wenda Devine.

But could Devine's cruelty be a divine gift? Losing Luke—and her sister—forces Joy to consider where her worth really comes from. Could God be cooking up an even bigger adventure from the mess? And will Joy hang on long enough to find out?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Romance novelist Hauck (Love Starts with Elle) whips up a delectable and light tale of finding love amid everything edible, a story that goes down easy. Joy Ballard, a cooking show host who can't cook, inherited her television show from her father. Joy's executive producer sells Dining with Joy to success-hungry Allison Wild of Wild Woman Productions, who brings on hunky chef Luke Davis, owner of a failed Manhattan restaurant. When Joy and Luke mix it up on television, sparks fly and ratings soar. The only thing holding back Joy's career is the truth about her lack of cooking talent and her guilty conscience. Toss in some cooking rivals, old family wounds, and struggles with Christian faith, and readers will find themselves hankering for another serving of low country living from Joy's pantry. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Chef Luke Davis now cooks at the Frogmore Cafe in Beaufort, SC, after losing his Manhattan restaurant. Culinary show host Joy Ballard lacks cooking skills but has lots of personality, which gets her show picked up by a major network. What's a girl to do? Find someone who can cook, of course! Though there is an instant attraction between Joy and Luke, the two get along about as well as a moth and a flame. When Joy's secret is exposed, Luke steps up to the plate to save not only his reputation but also hers. VERDICT Featuring excellent character development, this is a light, fun romance for readers who like foodie fiction. It will also attract fans of Hauck's other romances (Sweet Caroline; Love Starts with Elle).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595543394
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Series: A Lowcountry Romance Series
  • Pages: 314
  • Sales rank: 293,412
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

RITA-finalist Rachel Hauck lives in Florida with her husband, Tony. She is the author of Dining with Joy; Sweet Caroline; Love Starts with Elle; and The Sweet By and By, co-authored with Sara Evans. Visit RachelHauck.com and SouthernBelleView.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Dining with Joy

A Lowcountry Romance


By Rachel Hauck

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Rachel Hayes Hauck
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59554-339-4


CHAPTER 1

Driving the Sea Island Parkway with her windows down, the nose of her Dodge Ram cutting through the swaths of shadow and light cast through the limbs of shading live oaks, Joy surfed her hand through the textured, saline lowcountry breeze.

Yesterday she'd been at peace, finally home from three months on the road, guesting on radio and morning talk shows, hosting food fairs, judging cooking competitions, riding in convertibles as a parade marshal, waving at the crowds standing on the curb, acting the part. Always acting the part.

Joy Ballard, host of Dining with Joy.

But when she returned home to Beaufort from the spring promotional tour, she ached to sink back into being plain ol' Joy Ballard: lowcountry girl, softball player, aunt, daughter, friend.

This morning she'd planned to sleep until the noon sun spilled through her window with a golden heat. Then she'd tug on a pair of baggy shorts and a tank top, wrap her hair in a ponytail, mosey outside with a lawn chair, and sit under the ancient live oak with her feet pressed into thick blades of green grass, wiggling her toes down to the red South Carolina dirt.

After a few hours in the shade, Joy would move to the backyard dock, catch rays from the afternoon sun while dangling her legs over the side, breaking Factory Creek's velvet surface with her red-stained toes.

What she hadn't considered was a predawn call from her executive producer, Duncan Tate.

"I'm driving down from Atlanta. I'll see you around four."

"Duncan, it's my first Monday home."

"We need to talk."

"If this is about Omaha—"

"See you at the studio."

"No, McDonald's."

"Joy—"

"I need a Big Mac."

And that's how she found herself driving the parkway toward the Boundary Street McDonald's. Served old Duncan right. Disturb her vacation with business. She'd disturb his diet with McDonald's.

Her cell chimed from where she'd propped it in the cup holder, displaying Mama's smiling face—tanned and lined—on the phone's rectangle screen.

"Joy, I know you won't forget the girls' softball game this afternoon."

"Duncan called, said we needed to talk. I'm on my way to meet him. I'll try to get there."

"Doesn't he know it's your vacation?"

"I think this is about Omaha." Over the drawbridge, Joy peered right toward the Atlantic, catching a glint of sun off the mast of a drifting schooner.

"Serves him right. He should've watched your back."

"Maybe he didn't know."

"As your producer, it's his job to know. It's his show, Joy. You'd think the man would know the fine details."

"All right, thank you, Mama. I'll see you at the game." Mama wasn't a big fan of Duncan Tate since he finagled the show away from Joy's father.

"Four o'clock. They only play five innings, so don't think you got gobs of time."

"I know how many innings they play, Mama."

"Bring Duncan, let him see you have a life outside his show."

"Mama, his show affords us some of the nicer things. In case you forgot, my income made up the difference last year when Ballard Paint & Body ran into trouble." Joy braked for the traffic light, switching to red just as she exited the bridge. Her irritation over Duncan's surprise visit eased up as she gripped the steering wheel of her own truck, inhaled the scent off the Beaufort River, and gazed over the familiar landmarks of home.

"Yes, and I'm grateful, but it don't give him no right to own your time off."

"I'll tell Duncan to talk fast. See you in a bit."

Joy ended the call, set her phone back in the cup holder, and tapped the gas when the light turned green.

Mama. The woman had definite ideas. Like the notion Duncan stole Dining with Charles from Daddy. But during Joy's brief stint as an associate producer on the show, watching Daddy from the studio shadows, she suspected Daddy didn't care much for the business and production side of television. The man merely wanted to share his cooking creations with America, or his segment of it. How and when, why and where didn't matter much to him.

Then he died. Joy resituated in her seat, hands tight around the wheel, taking the bend of Carteret to Boundary, the aroma of sun-baked pine and steaming palmetto leaves saturating the air blowing through the cab. And Dining with Charles became Dining with Joy.

A sliver of light glanced off the edge of the Bible verse Joy had clipped to the truck's dashboard. Old Miss Jeanne had passed the verse to her one Sunday after Daddy's funeral, the week she'd agreed to take over the show.

"God's got your back," Miss Jeanne had said, handing her the slip of paper, her lively blue eyes sparkling from their high perch above her round, crinkled cheeks.

Three years later the square ends were bent and cracked from years of sitting under the windshield, the words on the old, lined notebook paper dim and sun-faded.

"My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me." John 4:34

CHAPTER 2

In the McDonald's parking lot, Joy eased into the spot next to Duncan's Lexus. Cutting the engine, she angled down for her Alabama ball cap tucked inside the door's side pocket.

"Sure you want to eat here?" Duncan asked, watching her, propped against the polished hood, dressed in crisp khakis and a stiff, blue button-down, the wind tousling his silver hair.

His blue eyes communicated nothing but disdain for fast food.

"I've been hankering for a Big Mac." Joy peered over her shoulder as she tugged open the restaurant's door, Duncan stepping up behind her. She scanned the horizon for a glint of light off a camera lens or a shadowy movement among the trees. "No cameras?"

"Not today."

Duncan liked to send the show's cameraman, Garth, into Joy's everyday life sometimes to film spontaneous clips for the show. It'd become part of their unique brand.

But Garth had been with her on the road gathering footage for a new opening segment, and he'd probably had enough of her. In fact, he was probably enjoying his first day of vacation. Unlike the show's host ...

"What's with the hat?" Duncan followed Joy to the front counter, a bit of sarcasm lacing his voice. "Hiding?"

"Yes, my dirty hair." But if the hat obscured her identity too, then so be it. When she first became the host of Dining with Joy, someone snapped a picture of her eating Cheetos in front of a 7-Eleven and a headline ran the next day: This Is How We're Dining with Joy?

The shiny-faced teen behind the counter eyed her as she ordered a Big Mac Extra Value Meal, tipping his head to peer beneath the cap's bill. "Hey, aren't you—"

"The hungriest woman in Beaufort County? You bet."

"Yes, she's Joy Ballard, the cooking show host." Duncan tossed a twenty onto the metal counter. "I'll have a grilled chicken salad and a water."

The teen grinned as he punched in their order. "My mom can't stand your show."

Joy's sigh slipped through her puckered lips. She'd heard similar comments dozens of times, if not hundreds, but the words stung fresh every single time.

"Tell you what." She tugged a napkin from the dispenser and signed it with the Sharpie she kept in her handbag. "Tell your mom I'd love for her to come by the studio next month when we start filming our fourth season. We can give her a behind-the-scenes tour, show her around."

He laughed as he took the napkin, jamming it into his pocket. "She won't go, but I bet my dad will." The counter jockey handed Duncan change from his twenty. "Mom says she feels like a bloated tick when she watches you on TV."

"Just give her the napkin."

"How come the host of a cooking show eats at McDonald's?" The teen set Joy's Big Mac on a tray next to Duncan's salad.

"Because a foodie loves all kinds of food." Joy tugged her cap low and snatched up her drink cup. "But let this be our little secret, okay?" She aimed two fingers at her eyes, then swung her hand around to his face. "You and me, eye to eye, our secret." She nodded once, giving him a good, stiff stare.

Duncan mumbled, "Good grief" and picked up the food tray, leading Joy to a booth by the front window, the teen's voice billowing through the dining room. "The cooking show lady—Joy Ballard—is eating a Big Mac."

"You'll be on the front of the Beaufort Gazette tomorrow." Duncan drizzled low-fat dressing over his chicken and lettuce.

"I haven't been on the front of the Gazette since Daddy died and I took over the show." Joy peeled the paper from her straw and wiggled it through the top slit of the cup lid. "People around here don't really care about my claim to fame. Just another hometown girl trying to make good."

Popping open the Big Mac box, Joy took a large first bite, eyes closed, savoring the scent and taste of the special sauce and warm beef. When she swallowed, exhaling, she glanced at Duncan.

"My friends and I used to ride our bikes over the bridge to this McDonald's on Saturday afternoons."

"How old is this salad?" Duncan frowned at the cherry tomato speared on the end of his fork.

"We'd go to the beach in the morning, bake in the sun, then ride our bikes across the bridge, our money tucked into our bathing suits."

"Hmm, nice." Duncan leaned over his salad and sniffed, making a face. "So, you want to tell me about Omaha?"

Joy reached for her napkin to wipe sauce from her fingers. Right, Omaha. "Wenda Divine blindsided me. We were watching two young chefs demonstrate Culinare's latest cookware, and all of a sudden, I have an apron over my head and I'm being challenged with a secret ingredient." Joy eyed her Big Mac, her appetite waning. "I panicked."

"Panicked?" Duncan nibbled at his chicken, the lines of his face accented in the light falling through the window. "Panic is burning the food. Panic is undercooking. Panic is forgetting an ingredient. You, my dear Joy, fell off the stage." Duncan twisted the cap from his water. "Garth showed me clips."

"I didn't fall off the stage, I swooned." Joy shoved her food forward and folded her arms on the table. "After the initial shock of crashing onto concrete, it was pretty funny." She smiled. "You should've seen Wenda's face as she bent over me, her bow lips tight with fake concern while her fat eyes fired daggers."

"You could've broken your neck, Joy." Duncan slapped the plastic lid onto his uneaten salad.

"What would you have me do? Try to cook with the secret ingredient?"

"Yes, if you must know. I'm sure you could burn food with the best of them." Duncan tipped up his water bottle for a long, hard swig.

"Burn the food? I'd have to graduate to burning food. Got to know how to cook before I can burn." Joy closed the lid on her Big Mac box. "Did you know, Duncan? That I'd end up on stage with Wenda Divine? I have a rider on my contract. No cook-offs."

"No, I didn't know." Duncan sipped his water again, his gaze drifting out the window. "Who were the men who picked you up from your swoon?"

"The men of Delta Tau Delta, University of Nebraska." Joy sipped her soda. Part of her success was her male following, especially on college campuses. Whole fraternities TiVoed her show and watched at night.

When Joy came up with the idea of Stupid Cooking Tricks, college men across America were the first to submit videos.

Duncan picked at the wrapper on the water bottle. "Your mom ... how's she doing? Your nieces still living with you?"

"Mama's fine. Lyric and Annie-Rae are fine. In fact, they're playing softball right now." Joy leaned toward Duncan. "As we speak."

Duncan nodded. "Your brother and his wife—"

"Sawyer and Mindy."

"Still in Vegas?"

"Still in Vegas. Trying to find themselves." Joy regarded Duncan, trying to determine how his demeanor started a swirl of dread in her chest. "So, what's new with you, Boss? Ready for season four of Dining with Joy?"

The man leaned forward, cupping his hands around his water. "Remember how you felt when you stood on the pitcher's mound, bottom of the seventh, your team was up by one and the opponent's next batter was their best hitter? And if she hit off you, the NCAA championship would be lost?"

Joy narrowed her eyes at her producer. "Is there a reason you're talking softball to me?" She didn't like the way the conversation settled over her soul.

"You're going to need the same courage this season."

"Courage? What are you talking about?" Why did he hesitate? A no-nonsense producer and businessman, Duncan hardly wasted time with small talk or cushioning hard news.

"We've had fun, haven't we?" Duncan smiled, slow and steady, more cushioning of the conversation.

"We've had fun, yes. Despite the fact your show's host can't cook, we've had some success. But you didn't drive down from Atlanta to remind me of the good times, did you? What's going on? Did we lose a big advertiser?"

Duncan lifted his eyes to Joy's. "I sold the show."

The declaration pressed against her. "Excuse me?" She slid her soda cup to the edge of the table. "You sold the show?"

"Closed the deal two weeks ago." Duncan started stacking their uneaten food onto the tray.

"Why? To who?"

"Allison Wild at Wild Woman Productions. She needed a show to pitch to a network and contacted me about Dining with Joy. She thinks you're fabulous, by the way. She's on her way to Beaufort. We're meeting her at the studio tomorrow morning, nine o'clock."

"This is incredible ... Duncan, you can't just sell the show. What happened to all the fun?" A thin tremble started beneath Joy's skin, creeping through her middle. She gripped her hands in her lap. "This makes no sense."

"Out of the blue like this, yeah, it doesn't. I should've said something, but toward the end of last season, I realized I'd taken the show as far as I could. I was bored—"

"Bored? How can you be bored? The show is coming into its own. Stupid Cooking Tricks alone is putting us on the map. We're defining our brand, creating a cooking show that's about the viewer, the fans. There's no cooking show out there like ours."

"I agree, all true, all true, but I'm tired of cooking shows." Duncan's flat monotone conveyed his boredom. "This would've been my eleventh season. Seven with your dad, three with you. I'm out of ideas. Out of zeal. To be honest, Joy, if I didn't get out of the way, I'd wind up killing the brand. So when Allison called, nearly salivating over the phone about you and the show, I knew it was my chance to do what I want to do. I'm forty-nine years old, and if I'm ever going to try movie production, I'd best start now. I have a friend in L.A. who's been asking me to merge DT Productions with his company."

"You should've talked to me." Joy shook her head, squinting beyond the window at the pale blue horizon.

"Look, I know this doesn't seem fair."

"No, it doesn't." Joy swept up the napkins from the table and wadded them onto the tray, slightly aware that the volume of her voice drew stares from around McDonald's dining room. "Not even close to fair." She jerked to her feet, tray in hand, and started for the trash bins.

"Joy, listen." Duncan's grasp on her arm stopped her in the middle of the room, between tables. "You're still in business. Still host of the show. Your contract remained intact. Allison is very talented and creative. I don't know which network she pitched the show to, but you can bet your audience will double or triple this season. We'd gone as far as we could on the Premier Channel."

"I hosted the show because you were desperate." Joy freed her arm from his hold and leaned toward him. "Because Daddy asked me to help you as he lay in a hospital bed, dying."

"And we've done well. But I can't believe in three years this show hasn't woven into your DNA, become a part of you. You don't get a little bit of a thrill by hosting your own television show? Being a celebrity?" His grin mocked her.

"You think I enjoy lying to the viewers? That I get a kick out of pretending to be something I'm not? Do you think I like falling off stages and joking my way out of cooking questions?" The trembling in her middle intensified. "But I did it for you and because my dying father asked."

"Seems that new Dodge Ram out there was a nice pill for your pain."

"Duncan, I'm a cooking show host who can't cook. It's a miracle we've pulled off the charade this long. Now you want me to continue with a new producer, a woman I don't even know? Did you even tell her?"

"She knows what she needs to know. That you took over the show after your father died suddenly of a heart attack. She knows you did it to help me save my financial investment. She knows we changed the name from Dining with Charles to Dining with Joy. She knows you're funny, clever, and very popular with male viewers and the under-thirty crowd. She knows you're gorgeous and absolutely dynamite in front of the camera."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck. Copyright © 2010 Rachel Hayes Hauck. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

4 Star

(11)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An enjoyable and funny read

    Joy and Luke's story was a warm and funny read. They both have contrasting sides to their personalities, an interesting mix of strength, kindness and vulnerability which makes them very real and likable. All of which made me want to root for them while at the same time wanting to roll my eyes at some of the rather unnecessary angst they put themselves through. The pacing as well as twists and turns of the story was also a rather enjoyable ride. It had me holding my breath waiting for the moment when Joy would be outed and guessing how she would overcome her difficulties. Couple that with the sexual tension between Joy and Luke, and Dining with Joy makes for highly entertaining and light read. I'd say romance fans looking for a light read would enjoy this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good end to the series

    Good end to the low country series not my favorite in the series but good end still love her books. can't wait to read more by her

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Excellent

    Couldn't put it down. Good, believable characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    Part of a great Christian romance series

    I really enjoy this author and this series of books. Each can stand on their own, but it's great to read them all and see how each character grows.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Hated to see the last page come so soon

    Can you imagine a cooking show host that doesn't know how to COOK? That's Joy Ballard and she does everything she can to keep that a secret. Then she meets Luke Davis-a real chef! And that attraction hits the broiler on camera and off.

    Loved this book and am glad I spent the money on it. It's funny and the way Rachel Hauck writes is like apple pie topped with caramel and chocolate syrup.oh why not add a scoop of ice cream as well.

    I'll be buying her next book as soon as it hits the shelves. There's real value between those covers.

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  • Posted March 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an okay read

    I picked this book because a cooking show host that couldn't cook really appealed to me. This book started out slow to me. It took me a little more than 100 pages before I was drawn into the story. The story is focused around Joy Ballard. She is a celebrity host of a well know cooking show. Joy took over hosting after her father died suddenly. Joy has mixed emotions over her masquerade as a cook. So many people depend on her for their livelihood that I could sympathize with her character. This book also had several themes such as, forgiveness, redemption, trust and finding out who you really are, woven into the storyline. I liked Joy's character but at times she frustrated me. Her banter with Luke, a cook who's looking for a second chance, was great. I thought they had good chemistry together. My favorite character is Joy's mom, Rosie. She has an ongoing lawn rivalry with their next door neighbor. It is hilarious! Rosie and Joy also have the responsibility of raising her teenage nieces. The Ballards lead complicated lives full of hard lessons to learn. Overall this was an okay read for me. I did have trouble getting into the story but by the end I liked it.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    Sweetly Layered Romance

    In Dining with Joy, readers get to return to the lowcountry in South Carolina. First, I love the cover and the new ones for earlier books. They just make me smile and want to pick them up. Joy Ballard is a character, the kind of gal I'd love to get to know. Too bad she's only a character!

    When her father died, she took over his job as host of a cooking show. She's brilliant at it except for one not so minor detail: the girl can't cook. At. All. The charade is getting tiring and when the producer sells the show without telling the new owner that she can't cook, the deception digs deeper. Enter Luke...a hunk of a hero who can cook. Very. Well. The sparks fly immediately and the two are paired as co-hosts for the show. 

    That would be enough to make the book interesting, but the author doesn't stop there. She adds complicated layers with family, Joy's past with her dad, her inability to see a future apart from the show, an inability to dream. The result was a book that i delighted in reading. Many books I'll read because they're good. Or they might be interesting. Or occasionally engaging. But this one truly delighted me. I slowed down the reading so I wouldn't have to say good-bye. Some of the parts don't end the way I'd like -- but isn't that life? God doesn't promise us a smooth, easy life. Instead, He promises to be there through all the rough patches as well as the delightful times. 

    I loved this book. And for me to say that about a straight romance is rare. This book is a treat you've earned!

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  • Posted December 23, 2010

    Dining With JOY

    I loved this book. No, really. Dining With Joy by Rachel Hauck is an amazing novel about a young woman named Joy Ballard who hosts a cooking show. Since I like Food Network, I thought this would be an interesting read. You see, Joy and I have a few things in common. Such as...we both have a Daddy that cooks really good food. And...that we can't really cook all that great (Case in point, I was decorating some sugar cookie people for the holidays and those "little red dresses"? Totally make them look like murder victims. Um, oops.). And for Joy, the drama in her life flairs up...oh, right about the time she gets the big primetime TV spot (that she hasn't been wanting) and she falls in love with the ever-handsome, creative, I-really-need-to-meet-this-guy-in-real-life, Luke Redmond. Oh yeah, and did I mention...the cooking thing (or lack thereof) is a total secret to the rest of the world (aside from her family, producer, and sous chef). So, things are only going to get more interesting when Wanda, Joy's arch enemy that wants that primetime TV spot, finds out the secret and sets her mind on destroying Joy's career. So, is Joy able to find joy in the mess? How does she deal with the imminent disaster? Oh- and Luke. Do they fall in love and live happily ever after?

    Well, you'll have to read the book to find that out.
    I'm not telling. :)

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  • Posted December 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Help! I can't cook!

    Joy has recently taken over her father's cooking show after he passes away from a heart attack. The show is great, except for one little thing - she can't cook. Through the course of events, she meets Luke, who comes to her rescue. But he can't rescue her from Wenda Divine, Joy's rival. Wenda makes it her life's mission to destroy Joy and her reputation. When she succeeds, Joy is left to figure out what God has in store for her life.

    Figuring out what God has in store for one's life can be a struggle. The premise behind this story is that the heroine finds out what God's plans are for her life. Although the writing flows very well, there is an aspect of this struggle that is lacking. By the end of the book, I was left wondering if she did, in fact, struggle with God's plans for her life. As one who is in a similar situation, I would have enjoyed seeing how someone else (never mind someone who is fictional) handles figuring out what God has in store for her life.

    Even with this being said, I would recommend this book and this author.

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  • Posted December 13, 2010

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    "Dining with Joy" is a joy!

    Joy Ballard didn't grow up dreaming of being on television or cooking for a living. To fulfill her father's dying wish, Joy took over his televised cooking show. The only problem is that she can't cook. Through careful editing and the help of co-workers, Joy has successfully hosted the popular cooking show for several years. However, her nemesis, Wenda Devine, knows Joy's secret and is determined to bring her down. When Luke Redmond enters the picture, Joy thinks she may have found her way out of the deception. Luke is her handsome, new co-host and best of all, he can cook! If he took over all the cooking, she could just do the hosting. Unfortunately, Joy's secret is outed on national television before she can put her plan into place. With her career in shambles and Luke gone, Joy slowly realizes that her tragedy has the potential to be a blessing.

    I loved Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck. The book was filled with humor and romance, but also a spiritual lesson about trusting God and finding one's worth in Him. Joy's character was authentic, savvy, and well-written. She was a mixture of mischief, delight, and charm. The author's use of unique situations, various characters, and humor made the book irresistible. In fact, I read it in under three days. I really have nothing negative to say about this book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an inspirational, romantic read.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookSneeze as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

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    A fun read for everyone!

    I love to cook and I look cooking show too so a book about cooking show is just too hard to resist. Joy Ballard is a host of her cooking show 'Dining with Joy' but she can't cook. It's a secret that only few know about and when her show is picked up by a major network and given prime time slot, it was just a matter of time before her secret is out especially since her television rival is stopping at nothing to bring her down. When Luke Redmond, a handsome, creative but jobless chef was asked to co-host with Joy on her show, Joy sees him as her way out of the secret that's consuming her. This is my first time reading Rachel Hauck and I quite like this book. However, I think the writing wasn't that captivating but it was quite light and fun. I was annoyed with Joy but sympathise with her at the same time. I was annoyed with Luke too for he fell so quickly in love Joy but at the same time rooting for him as he is a nice guy. I like the message and the originality of the story. So, will I read Rachel Hauck again? Yes, I think she has great potential to produce good books although she needs to develope her writing to be less descriptive at times.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

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    The best ingredients to guarantee a great novel!

    Imagine all the cooking greats you've seen on TV, from Emeril to Rachel and more. What if behind all the lights and camera, they really couldn't cook? Not even boil water?

    In the latest Lowcountry Novel by Rachel Hauck, "Dining With Joy", is the premise for the storyline. Joy can't cook. In fact the only reason she even has her own cooking show was to replace her father, Charles on the former, Dining With Charles show when he died. They knew Joy couldn't cook but since the show was so successful they didn't want to see it end.

    Now Duncan Tate, the executive producer to her show is selling her show to TruReality without disclosing the one thing that would destroy it all, her inability to cook. Duncan convinces Joy that they don't really need to know because they are buying it based on how it's been going up to this point.

    Enter Wenda Devine, Joy's cooking show rival that wants nothing more than to have a "cook off" to show the public who is truly the better cook. When she stages one on national TV with an up and coming local hunk/chef, Luke Redmond, her ultimate plan is to switch competitors without Joy knowing about it.

    Will the network executives really find out about Joy's cooking secret? Will Wenda rise to the ranks of the best chef after exposing Joy? Will Luke come to Joy's aid and save the day in more ways than one?

    To find out you will need to read, Dining with Joy, a classic for those cold, winter nights. I received Dining With Joy, compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and found it to be beyond my wildest expectations and worthy of a 5 star rating!!!

    This book is available in paperback and eBook formats.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

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    Dining With Joy

    Joy is the hilarious host of a TV cooking show, and she simply can't cook. Her expertise is entertaining her viewers by humour and her amazing prep cook makes sure that nobody knows the truth. When Joy is caught in a surprise cook-off, she chose to fall off the stage instead of admitting the truth about her cooking skills. When a second surprise cook-off happens, she directed the attention of the audience elsewhere by planting a passionate kiss on her unsuspecting "assistant". Her fame as the unconventional cooking show host increased instantly, as the kiss made millions of hits on Youtube. Joy is willing to do almost anything to keep the truth from coming out. She is faced with some really tough decisions, and struggles with what is really important in her life. Her journey is filled with pain and embarrassment, devotion to her family, and also a chance at laughter and romance. But everything is on the line ... and it all depends on whether she can be honest with herself and with others. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it!

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

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    You'll feel like you are a fly on the wall...learning secrets!

    This has been a delightful read! I enjoyed every minute of it. The entire time I was reading, the author made me feel like I was a fly on the wall learning secrets about the characters. I will tell you not to read this book when you are hungry. The references made my stomach growl with jealous pains. The author was even gracious to put a few recipes in the back of the book that were mentioned in the book. YUM! I can't wait to try the banana bread. Overall, this book was entertaining and it was a blessing to see how the story unfolded. I appreciated the purity that was presented in the book, as well. Blessings to you! You are loved! Note: I was sent complimentary copy for review purposes only. This review has not been monetarily compensated. The review was my honest opinion and views and not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

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  • Posted November 29, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    This book "Dining with Joy" by Rachel Hauck, was truly a "Joy" to read! This is my first book by this author and I wasn't disappointed. It's about a girl who couldn't cook but had her own cooking show! Can you imagine not being able to boil water and be on a live broadcast on Television? Amazing! Then enters a handsome and creative man to the rescue, but through it all the faith message throug out this story made it a delightful and a fun read. I will be reading other books by this author. Terrific writing! I highly recommend this book and a huge thank you to the publisher ~ Thomas Nelson, who has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Booksneeze.

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  • Posted November 17, 2010

    another rachel hauck read i loved!!

    Joy Ballard is the host of the popular cooking show "Dining with Joy." She took over hosting the show after her father passed away three years ago. When the show is sold to a new production company, the new producer wants to add a co-host. Luke Redmond is immediately attracted to Joy and agrees to join the show as the new chef. Overcoming a failed restaurant, he jumps at a chance to get back on his feet. They seem to be the perfect combination. Joy is funny and charming while Luke is a very talented chef. But Joy has a secret and if Luke finds out, she fears he'll quit. If the new producer finds out, it could be the end of Joy's career. The closer Joy and Luke become, the harder it is for her to keep the truth buried. Can she trust him with her secret? Can she trust him with her heart?

    I really, really enjoyed the book. I've read "Sweet Caroline" and was excited to read another of Hauck's books. I also liked how those characters made a few appearances in this story. I loved Joy and Luke's banter. It just seemed so real to me, making the story that much more enjoyable. Reading this makes me want to try the recipes that are mentioned in the story and conveniently located at the back of the book (especially Charles Ballard's Banana Bread). Joy also goes through a time of wondering what it is she's supposed to do with her life - a feeling I can identify with. At one point she tells Luke, "Haven't made any decisions about what's next for me. Kind of enjoying not knowing, leaping out, aiming for the hand of God." I like the idea of that. I think the ultimate theme of this story is finding that thing that you're passionate about - that thing God has called you to do - and chasing it with everything you have.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    Brilliant Read!!!

    'Dining With Joy' by Rachel Hauck

    Joy Ballard is a cooking show host, with a deep secret: she can't cook! The secret is disguised for a few years until her show is given a prime time slot on a major network. The new network means production team changes and a new co-host called Luke, the secret threatens to come out!

    I absolutely loved this book. Rachel has a style of writing that is easy to read but yet transports you and makes you feel that you are observing the story instead of reading it. Rachel develops the characters and plot with detail making them believable and lovable. I found myself sympathising with the characters as I read the book and really didn't want to put the book down.

    There are many elements to this story - romance, morality, bringing up children - but the story did not feel overpowered by too many themes. Themes were nicely entangled to make a brilliant book that anyone could read. I loved everything about this book and would recommend it to anyone.

    Definitely a book to read on a rainy day - or any day for that matter!!!

    Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    God is Good. God is Love.

    God is Good. God is Love. This is a theme throughout the novel Dining with Joy that resonates within the main character of the story. Joy Ballard, a "chef" has no idea how to cook yet she is the host of a cooking show! This beautifully written novel shares her story about the ins and outs of hosting a cooking show and not actually being able to cook. She struggles throughout the story trying to figure out what the Lord's will is for her when trials come at her from left and right. Many of us can relate to the struggles that Joy faces in our everyday life. This story is written in such a way that you simply don't want to put it down because you are intrigued to find out what happens to the lovely Joy Ballard, cooking show host, who can't cook.
    This is a fun loving tale of friendship, love, and struggle. Joy reminds herself that God is Good and God is Love, which inevitably reminds us, the reader, of the same message. God is Good. God is Love. And that truly is all that matters!

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    Lovely read

    The book is about a young lady called Joy.


    When her father passes away, Joy Ballard takes over his cooking show and she renamed it from Dining with Charles to "Dining With Joy."


    But then again, there is just one small, minor problem. Joy can't cook. Oh, uh! Trouble brewing! How can you host a cooking show without knowing how to cook?


    She is able to hide the fact that she doesn't know how to cook until her producer sells her show. When her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, trouble begins. People began to suspect that she doesn't know how to cook, and Joy's enemies really wants to see her failed!

    And then enter Luke Redmond, a handsome , creative chef who has just lost his own restaurant due to financial failure. He is asked to co-host the show with Joy. Joy and Luke are thrown together on the show and he uncovers her lack of culinary skills.


    After Luke rescues her from certain cooking doom, she thanks him and life gets a little sizzly after that.

    I like this book.

    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

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    Dining with Joy

    Joy Ballard is an author and host of a syndicated cooking show, Dining with Joy. She is excited with her show is picked up by a major network. Dining with Joy will now be in a prime time slot. However, Joy has one problem, she cannot cook. The producers of the show hire a creative cook, Luke Redmond, to co-host the show. Joy thinks this is the perfect idea. Now she has time to write her books and spend time with her friends. Soon she starts having feelings for Redmond. Joy and her rival Wenda Devine have a cooking competition on live television and Joy's secret comes out. Dining with Joy was a fun delight to read. After reading the book, I wondered how many other cooking show hosts cannot cook. LoL! The characters are believably written. Any romance fan will enjoy reading this book. *I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy to review!

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