My Top 10 Winter TBR Pile

My Top 10 Winter TBR Pile

Everyone is doing their top ten lists from 2021, but I’m looking forward to my reading pile for January through March. In the order I hope to read them, these are the top ten books on my TBR pile for cozying up this winter. Of course, these are just goals. Last year my reading life took a hit. Here’s hoping that this year I can squeeze in three books a month, at least one from my 2021 TBR pile a month, one 2022 release a month, and whatever I need to squeeze in.

What’s on your top 10 TBR pile?


Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Ashfar

Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.
Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.

Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.

In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters―including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.

Harmony on the Horizon by Kathleen Denly

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

A Promise for Faith by Stacy Simmons

Secrets have the power to ruin lives. Faith and love have the power to disarm those secrets.

Failure isn’t an option for Faith Fuller, She wants to prove to herself and her very successful parents she can stand on her own, even if it means accepting a job offer from someone she wanted to forget. To add to the problem, that job means facing her biggest fear.

Caleb Gaines is looking for a manager for his coffee shop. He’s in over his head running his successful river outfitters business, and being a single dad to a preschooler. But the perfect candidate wants nothing to do with him. Risk-taker Caleb is up for  a challenge and wants to convince Faith to help him.

If neither one relies on faith and learns to trust, any chance at love will be washed downstream.

An out-of-work chef and successful river outfitter are both hiding secret tragedies. How much faith will it take to learn to trust in each other, overcome obstacles, and find love?

The Debutante’s Code by Erica Vetsch

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

A Virginia chocolatier and a privateering sea captain collide once more after a failed love affair a decade before. Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart? Or will a new shared vision reunite them?*****It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmée Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she’s never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.
Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmée. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart, or can their shared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past? Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz whisks you away to a time fraught with peril–on the sea and in the heart–in this redemptive, romantic story.

To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she’s determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne’s way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.


In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

Madness in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin

Wonderland is in trouble.

Under the rule of the Red Queen, Wonderland is under constant threat. In fear for her throne, children are taken into the queen’s army and only the strongest survive.

Alice is nothing but a pirate, but with the help of Hatter, they hatch a plan to sneak into the Red Queen’s palace to free Hatter’s sister. After all, Alice has always wanted to fly an airship.

Dr. Frank N. Stein has created an army of automatons to serve their queen. Of particular note: a prototype soldier. Part man. Part machine. The best of both worlds.

Doc’s monster is a threat to everything they know, but Alice sees something in the man that begs she look beyond what he’s done and search out the heart of the beast for the better of the realm.

He’s their only hope of survival, but how can a monster learn to love when all he’s known is hate?

The Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

Luke Delacroix has the reputation of a charming man-about-town in Gilded Age Washington, DC. In reality, he is secretly carrying out an ambitious agenda in Congress. His current mission is to thwart the reelection of Congressman Clyde Magruder, his only real enemy in the world.

But trouble begins when Luke meets Marianne Magruder, the congressman’s only daughter, whose job as a government photographer gives her unprecedented access to sites throughout the city. Luke is captivated by Marianne’s quick wit and alluring charm, leading them both into a dangerous gamble to reconcile their feelings for each other with Luke’s driving passion for vital reforms in Congress.

Can their newfound love survive a political firestorm, or will three generations of family rivalry drive them apart forever?

The Breakup Project (Original Six Hockey Romance series Book 1) by [Carolyn Miller]

The Breakup Project by Carolyn Miller

New Year. New Resolution. New Romance?
What happens when the best-laid plans break a friendship?

As the twin sister of hockey’s hottest forward, romance-loving Bree Karlsson is used to being ignored, leading to a New Year’s resolution to not date any athlete in her attempt to find Mr. Right. But what happens when the man who might prove to be her personal Mr. Darcy is her brother’s hockey-playing best friend?

Mike Vaughan might be happy playing in Boston, but he’d be even happier if Bree could one day see him as more than a good friend. He agrees to help Bree with a special project in the hope she’ll finally see him as something more. But when a misunderstanding ends in a Valentine’s Day disaster, Bree realizes that her breakup project may have broken her friendship with Mike in two. Can she ever redeem her mistake?

This friends-to-more romance has plenty of heart, humor, and swoon-worthy kisses in this first book of the Original Six, a sweet, slightly sporty Christian contemporary romance series.

What’s on your top 10 TBR pile?

2021 Reading Challenge Grand-Prize Winner & Wrap Up Announcement

2021 came with the first-ever Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge with a theme of American History. We traveled from the Colonial Era all the way through Contemporary times.

Here are some fun facts from the 2021 Reading Challenge:

  • The group collectively read 177 books.
  • We had 27 unique readers.
  • 3 readers made it ALL 12 months! (Message me for a special badge.)
    • Betsy T
    • Colleen H
    • Courtney G
  • 2 made it 11 of the twelve and earn honorable mentions!
    • Alisa W.
    • Deb H.
  • February and March had the most participants with 20 each.
  • August, September, and October had the fewest participants with 9 each.


I read and reviewed twelve books which are all part of the 2021 Grand Prize giveaway. The winner will be receiving a print copy of each of the below books:

Now for what everyone is REALLY waiting for!



Please comment and tell her congratulations!!! Then be sure to jump in and join the 2022 Unlocking the Past Challenge: Around the World. You can find suggestions for the first month’s country, Africa, HERE.

Follow Me Here

Subscribe to Newsletter

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age

Book 3: Counterfeit Faith
41% Complete
41,000 of 100,000 words
Rough Draft

Giveaway & Meet Sadie Bauer of Time will Tell by Donna Schlachter

Giveaway & Meet Sadie Bauer of Time will Tell by Donna Schlachter

UPDATE: Donna is offering a giveaway! See below!

Last year when I asked what you would like to see more of, the most popular answer was more interviews. It is my joy and privilege to be able to meet that need in this coming year with TWO types of interviews: Character Interviews and Author Interviews. I left the choice up to authors when they signed up as to which ones they wanted to do and a large portion of them were excited to introduce their characters to you in a more intimate manner outside of their stories. 

Today I have the amazing honor and privilege to introduce to you, Sadie Bauer of Time will Tell, Book 2 of the “Christmas Under Main Street” series written by Donna Schlachter.

CC: Thanks for joining me, Sadie. First I’d love to know, what can you tell us about yourself and the role you play as a heroine in Time Will Tell. 

SB: Hello, and thanks for asking these questions so your friends can get to know me. I own a watch and clock repair shop that I inherited from my Papa, who passed just a month ago. Every time I look around the shop, I see something that reminds me of him. Like his old sweater hanging on the coat rack. Or his pipe in the dish on the work table. Or that old grandfather clock that he refused to sell.

CC: How do you think others view you?

SB: I know my friend Penny thinks I’m much too serious for my own good, but I have a huge responsibility – to keep the shop open so I can keep Papa’s memory alive.

CC: Who is your least favorite person to deal with? Why?

SB: Mr. Pope owns a watch and jewelry shop, and always felt he needed to compete with Papa. However, my Papa was a better artisan. Mr. Pope tried many times to shut my Papa’s business, but he never succeeded. Finally, he bought out Papa’s lease and made it difficult for him. Mr. Pope is also the head of the Colorado Horological Association, a guild that controls who can work as a horologist – timepiece repairer – in Colorado. He doesn’t like me.

CC: What is your biggest fear?

SB: My biggest fear is of disappointing my Papa.

CC: Do you know any secrets about the other characters that you can share with us?

I am fairly certain Will O’Reilly, the man I hired as salesman and the public face of the shop so I can fulfill Mr. Pope’s requirements has a secret. I’m not certain what it is, but there is a woman I sometimes see him with. Which at first hurt my heart, because I might have been a little attracted to him, but now I see he’s already spoken for – which he never once mentioned to me. 

It’s been a pleasure to get a glimpse of you Sadie. Friends, you can get to know Sadie more by picking up Time will Tell by Donna Schlachter. You can read the blurb and connect with the author below. 


Time Will Tell by Donna Schlachter

Sadie Bauer inherits her father’s watch and clock repair shop in the Mall beneath Main Street, Pueblo. However, she soon learns that Fate conspires against her operating this business and keeping her father’s memory alive.

Will O’Reilly, recently dismissed for fighting, longs to help this beautiful damsel in distress, but she’s about as prickly as a porcupine. He’d like their relationship to be more than employer-employee, but if she learns of their connection through their ex-fiances, she might not want to have anything to do with him.

Can Sadie overcome her mistrust of men in general, and of a certain suave salesman in particular? Can Will get past his former betrothed’s infidelity? And can both learn to trust the God who makes all things beautiful in His time?

Purchase Links: Amazon

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both.

Connect with Donna:     Website & Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Amazon Profile & Books     Bookbub     Goodreads     Etsy


Donna is offering a print copy of Time Will Tell to those with a mailing address within the United States. For those outside the U.S., she is offering an e-book giveaway. Just complete the Rafflecopter entry below to be added. Open to those legally eligible. Rafflecopter entries open from 1/11 to 1/18/2022 until 11:59 PM EST (GMT-5).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Free Books

Free Books

Just dropping in for a quick moment to let you know about a Bookfunnel Promotion I’m participating in. If you are looking for some new-to-you authors to possibly try out, this promotion allows you to browse through some titles and descriptions and sign up to receive a free copy of short stories, novellas, and novels. I only know one author on the list to recommend, Danielle Grandinetti, so I can’t speak to the rest.

This is your chance to try out some new authors for free. If you’d like to stay connected with them, you can stay on their newsletter lists. If not, you can unsubscribe at any time.

My short story, Banking on Love, is on the list.

Visit and take a look around.

Information about Banking on Love

November 1884

When Eunice Reed discovers her younger brother has been arrested for public intoxication, she travels from Cincinnati to Chicago to save him from himself. But public intoxication is the least of their problems. Irvin is tangled up with a dangerous bank robber. With a little help from her fiance, will the love and ingenuity of a sister be enough to save Irvin from making the biggest mistake of his life?

Endorser Spotlight: Misty Beller

Endorser Spotlight: Misty Beller

One of the most nerve-racking parts of being an author is sending your book out into the world for the first time, knowing you can no longer change a single word of your book. Thankfully, the first people to read my novel outside of my critique partners and the Kregel team are endorsers. I am so honored and encouraged by the ladies who read my book and then wrote up beautiful endorsements. For the next few months, I’m going to feature one endorser every couple of weeks. So settle in, hear what they have to say about Counterfeit Love, and then learn about who they are, the books they’ve written, and how you can connect with them. Maybe you will be blessed to discover a new author.

At the end, I’d be blessed if you would leave an encouraging note for this author who has encouraged me so much!

I am pleased to introduce you to . . .

Misty Beller

Romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family–both immediate and extended–is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream.


What she had to say about Counterfeit Love:

“Crystal Caudill has hit a home run with this action-packed historical romance. If you like characters who come alive, a hero to make you swoon, and edge-of-your-seat intrigue, you’ll love this story. A fantastic debut from an author I’m looking forward to reading again!”

—Misty M. Beller, USA Today bestselling author of the Brides of Laurent series

Y’all, I’m no sports fan, but hitting a homerun makes me all giddy. None of this story would have come together without God’s heavy hand in this book. May He have all the Glory, and YOU have a fun read. Thank you, Misty, for the wonderful endorsement! (And I’m shamelessly putting the link to Counterfeit Love here if you would like to learn more or preorder it.)


Misty’s Books

Misty is a prolific writer, so I can’t include ALL of her books. Instead, I’m including only the first book of all the series she has written, and that is STILL a lot. You can purchase them from any major retailer, but here is the link to her Amazon Author Profile where you can grab any of the titles you like.


Freedom in the Mountain Wind (Call of the Rockies, Book 1)

The last epic journey before her life changes forever.

Susanna Wilkins will do anything to make her father’s final dream come true, including trek along the path Lewis and Clark explored into the untamed wilds of the Rocky Mountains. Every mile is more crucial now that lung cancer is stealing Pa’s last days faster than she can come to terms with losing him. The journey becomes harder than she ever expected, but paddling upriver through fierce rapids and fighting hungry grizzlies isn’t what terrifies her the most.

Beaver Tail endured more than he can stand from the women in his Blackfoot camp, but the last disaster gave him the final shove he needed to join this band of brothers searching for one of their group who’s gone missing. The last thing he expected was to find a white woman and her sick father stranded at the base of a massive waterfall. His plan is to help them carry their oversize canoe and supplies, then leave them to their strange mission. Yet, the more he learns about the pair, the more he realizes his life is about to be derailed—again.


A Warrior’s Heart (Brides of Laurent, Book 1)

Brielle Durand still feels haunted by the massacre that killed her mother a dozen years before. Vowing to never let it happen again, she’s risen to be the key defender for her people’s peace-loving French settlement living in hidden caves in the Canadian Rockies. When a foreigner wanders too near to their secret homes, she has no choice but to disarm and capture him. But now, what to do with this man who looks at her in a strange way and insists he can be trusted?

Hoping to escape past regrets, Evan MacManus ventured into the unknown, assigned to discover if the northern mountains contain an explosive mineral that might help America win the War of 1812. Despite being taken prisoner, Evan is determined to complete his mission. But when that assignment becomes at odds with his growing appreciation of the villagers and Brielle, does he follow through on the promise he’s made to his government or take a risk on the path his heart is leading him down? Either choice will cause harm to someone.

Brielle and Evan must reconcile the warring in their hearts, if they’ve any hope to find the peace the seek.

Hope’s Highest Mountain (Hearts of Montana, Book 1)

Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, she’s hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds.

Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he’s forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can’t help but admire Ingrid’s tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine–with or without his help–he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.

The Lady and the Mountain Man (The Mountain Series, Book 1)

Leah Townsend, a recently orphaned heiress, flees Richmond after discovering her fiancé’s plot to kill her after their wedding. She needs a safe place to hide, and finds herself accepting a newspaper marriage proposal from a God-fearing young rancher in the Montana Territory. But when Leah arrives at the mountain ranch, she learns her intended husband was killed by a grizzly, leaving behind a bitter older brother and a spunky younger sister.

When Gideon Bryant finds an eastern lady standing in his log cabin, his first thought is to send her back where she came from. He’s lost too many people to the wild elements of these mountains––his parents, his wife, and now his brother. His love for this untamed land lives on, but he’s determined not to open his heart to another person.

But when an accident forces Leah to stay at the ranch for seven more months, can Gideon protect his heart from a love he doesn’t want? Has Leah really escaped the men who seek her life?


A Pony Express Romance (Wyoming Mountain Tales, Book 1)

After growing up as an orphan, Josiah English wants nothing more than to have his own ranch and raise Arabian horses. Riding for the Pony Express seems like the ticket to his dream. And when he meets the stationmaster’s beautiful sister, it seems he may be within reach of the happy life he craves.

Mara Reid is thrilled to finally meet the man of her dreams, and the fact that they both want to raise horses in the Sweetwater River valley seems like confirmation straight from God.

But when the Express shuts down and Mara’s family home is in peril, the danger looming over Mara’s life may not be half as destructive as that threatening her heart.


The Rancher Takes a Cook (Texas Rancher Trilogy, Book 1)

When their South Carolina home burns to the ground, Anna Stewart’s only choice is to move with her younger brother to the wilds of a Texas ranch. Their prospects are beginning to look better, until the rancher’s son, Jacob O’Brien, shows up with his alarmingly blue eyes to put a kink in Anna’s well-controlled plans.

When danger escalates in the form of a band of cattle thieves with deadly intent, can Anna learn to release control to God’s capable hands…and those of the blue-eyed cowboy who’s stolen her heart?



Leave an encouraging note for Misty Beller in the comments. This writing journey is rough, and I’d love to bless her as much as she has blessed me.

Pin It on Pinterest