RCR: Refuge for the Archeologist

RCR: Refuge for the Archeologist

It’s time for another month of the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge: Unlock an Adventure. I’m so excited to join you on an adventure this year with guest reviews from our reading challenge participants. If you want to submit a review for upcoming months, feel free to sign up for a month here and use the Google form to submit your review. As my time has become too limited to do a suggestions post each month, I encourage you to jump over to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page and ask for suggestions from there or from any of a number of amazing reader groups like Avid Readers of Christian Fiction or check out the Inspirational Historical Fiction Index.

*The list of prizes available from my prize shelf can be found here.*

November’s Theme: Archeologist or Paleontologist

December’s Theme: Christmas

Refuge for the Archaeologist

by Danielle Graninetti

I so wanted to be done with the book in time to write my own review. Alas, my life had allowed little time for reading, and I’m only halfway through (and definitely enjoying it). As a kindness to myself and y’all so I could get this post up, I’ve reached out to a fellow reviewer to ask if I could use their review of the book. Connie graciously said yes. 🙂  So without further ado, November’s Reading Challenge Review:

Review by: Connie Saunders – You can follow her on her Older & Smarter? Blog at https://connie-oldersmarter.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Instagram.

History, mystery, and romance! An introduction to intriguing new characters and a reunion with some that we’ve already met! Author Danielle Grandinetti invites us back to Crow’s Nest, Wisconsin and I’m so happy to return! The characters are appealing, the suspense kept me fully engaged, and there was also an inspiring faith element woven into the plot. What more could I ask for? How about an unlikely romance between a female archaeologist and a devoted son and uncle who longs to return to his work on a Western ranch? Is it possible for Cora and Silas to give up their dreams and settle instead for a future in Crow’s Nest…together??

Refuge for the Archaeologist is a great addition to the Harbored in Crow’s Nest series. It’s the second book of the series but don’t worry if you haven’t read the first. Grandinetti shares background tidbits to help you understand what’s occurred previously! I recommend this book to all who enjoy historical Christian romance.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and publisher. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

For Fans of: 


Genre: Historical Romance, Depression Era

Plot Overview:

Lies, greed, and lost dreams chase an out-of-work archaeologist and an out-of-place cowboy. Visit small-town Wisconsin in this Depression-era amnesia romance.

Will uncovering the truth set them free or destroy what they hold most dear?

Wisconsin, 1930—With her health in shambles and her archaeological career on the line, Cora Davis retreats to Crow’s Nest and the home of her great aunt to heal. She doesn’t think much of the missing memories from between the earthquake that caused her dizzy spells and her trip home. Until she begins remembering the danger that sent her fleeing her last dig and the person responsible.

After a decade as a ranch hand, Silas Ward returned to Crow’s Nest to provide for the women in his life. That same protective instinct propels him to Cora’s aid. But when finances dwindle, the lies and greed of others threaten to ruin his family. Unless Silas can walk the thin line of compromise. A choice that might cost him Cora’s affection.

As winter’s chill threatens, will Crow’s Nest prove a refuge, or will both Cora and Silas have no choice but to sacrifice their chance at happiness to save those they love?

Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge.

Purchase Links:

Amazon  |  Author’s Shop  |  Barnes & Noble


Giveaway

For your chance to win a print copy, comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on the 7th of each month at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn sometime that week and notified by email. The winner will be announced don’t the Rafflecopter widget.

*Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Recommendations for December:

  • We Three Kings: A Romance Christmas Collection by Crystal Caudill, Cara Putman, and Angela Ruth Strong
  • A Louisana Christmas to Remember by Morgan Tarpley Smith, Betsy St. Amant, and Lenora Worth
  • Chiseled on the Heart by Elaine Marie Cooper, Cynthia Roemer, Candace West, and Kelly J. Goshorn

What did you read for the challenge? What were your thoughts on it? Would you recommend it?

Meet Ivy Weaver from Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson

Meet Ivy Weaver from Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson

Christmas is in the air, so it’s a wonderful time to get to know some Christmasy characters. What better way to kick off the season than with a character named Ivy? Ivy is from a novella called Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson. Holland and Ivy is part of a multi-author series of Christmas novellas set in a small town called Wilde Rose Ridge. The collection will have a Christmas party in their Facebook group on December 5th to celebrate the release of the series. All six authors will be giving away prizes, plus there will be fun games and Christmas trivia. If you’d like to join the fun, you can join the reader group here.

Before we get to know Ivy, let’s find out a bit more about her story.

Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson

He’s betrayed her before.
She’d be a fool to trust him again.
And Ivy Weaver is nobody’s fool.

Beloved town baker, Ivy Weaver, is capable of so much more than frying up a mean apple fritter and now’s the time to prove it. Winning Wild Rose Ridge’s annual Diced competition would show the town her chef skills and help get her fledgling catering business off the ground. But when her biggest competitor from culinary school enters the contest, her dreams seem destined to die. Again.

Holland K. McIntyre IV may have been born into privilege, but he’s fought and clawed his way to success in the restaurant business on his own. Nothing is going to keep him from his goals. If beating Ivy in another cooking competition is what it takes to make a name for himself, then that’s what he’ll do.

But when the two of them are forced to be teammates rather than competitors, they just might face their biggest challenge yet. Will trusting Holland keep Ivy from realizing her dreams once again?

Purchase Links: Amazon

Now for our interview with Ivy.

CC: I’m so excited to get to introduce you to my readers, Ivy. Would you mind telling them a little bit about yourself?

IVY: Hi. I’m Ivy Weaver, the heroine in Kathy Geary Anderson’s book, Holland and Ivy. I’m twenty-six years old and live in Wild Rose Ridge, a small town on a lake in central Washington.

CC: Oh! Washington state is absolutely beautiful, and to be on a lake? That is fabulous. Small towns can be rough though. How do you think others view you? Do you feel this is an accurate representation?

IVY: Most people in Wild Rose Ridge see me as the one who makes their favorite Christmas gingerbread cookies and fresh apple fritters. I work in my mom’s bakery, but I also trained as a professional chef and worked in restaurants all over Europe. I love baking, but I can do so much more. I’ve started a small catering company and entered the town’s cooking competition, Diced, for this very reason. I’m hoping to prove to Wild Rose Ridge that I’m a world-class chef as well.

CC: It’s so hard to be seen as less than you are capable of. Is that your biggest fear?

IVY: My biggest fear is that I’ll get stuck in the same old, same old, and life will pass me by. I’m twenty-six years old, yet I still work at my mom’s bakery in the same town where I grew up and have lived most of my life. I was more adventurous in my early 20s than I am now. I came home from working in France three years ago to run my mom’s bakery while she was fighting breast cancer. Now, she’s all better, but I’m still here.

CC: “But I’m still here. . . ” I take that to mean this is not the life you dreamed of? What IS the dream you keep close to your chest?

IVY: Although I can make desserts that will make you drool, my biggest dream is to own a restaurant of my own where I would serve Provencal French cuisine with an American twist. My mom and uncle have inherited their great aunt Edith’s house that backs onto the Riverwalk here in Wild Rose Ridge. It would be the perfect place for a restaurant because it is so close to shops, hotels, and other tourist hotspots. I’m hoping they will rent it to me so I can start living my dream.

CC: I’m drooling already. I love a good French dish, and they are so hard to come by here in the States. I hope that you win the competition. Speaking of competition, I believe you are being forced to work with a man you despise. Can you tell us who he is?

IVY: Holland K. McIntyre IV, a rich, spoiled, bad-boy chef. Sure, he can be charming and has swoon-worthy good looks, but he can’t be trusted. We were in culinary school in Europe together and now he’s in Wild Rose Ridge as the executive chef of my cousin’s winery restaurant. We were friends once. Almost more than friends, until he betrayed me in our final cooking competition at school. Now I have to face him in another competition, but I’m not a naïve twenty-one-year-old anymore. This time I plan to win.

CC: Those dastardly men who betray us can be a real challenge to deal with. Who is the person you can run to when this man comes striding back into your kitchen?

IVY: My best friend, Fiona, of course. We’ve been friends since middle school. Actually, we were pen pals before that because she used to live in Africa with her missionary parents. She owns the local teashop/bookstore and we host a podcast together on Tuesday mornings. It’s all about books and tea and things that happen in our town. Of course, I’m a bigger fan of coffee than I am tea, but we don’t let that spoil our friendship. Fiona is dating my cousin Chase and I’m hoping that someday soon we will be family as well as friends.

CC: Awww! Friends that become family! That is the hope for us all, isn’t it? Before wrap up, can you tell me what one of your happiest moments is?

IVY: I have lots of great memories of baking alongside my mom when I was growing up. I practically lived in her bakery, but I didn’t mind. I’m always happiest when I’m creating something good to eat. Some of my other great memories were spending time with Mom and Great Aunt Edith in the garden at my great aunt’s house. I loved her stone house and her garden. It was like something out of a fairy tale. We’d pick fresh herbs and vegetables and then go into the kitchen and make them into the best lunches. I guess I’ve always spent a lot of time cooking with the women in my family.

CC: Cooking really bonds people in ways that no other activity can. Considering that Holland is your forced partner in this competition, you might want to watch out. You never know when your enemy might become something more . . . cherished. 

Readers, if you’re looking for a fun, Christmas read, I recommend checking out Ivy’s story in Holland and Ivy by Kathy Geary Anderson. And don’t forget to join the Wild Rose Ridge Facebook group for the party on December 5th.

About Kathy Geary Anderson:

A south-Texas transplant to the good life of Nebraska, Kathy Geary Anderson has a passion for story and all things historical. Over the years, she has been an English teacher, a newsletter and ad writer, and a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not reading or writing novels, you can probably find her cheering (far too loudly) for her favorite football team, traveling the country with her husband, or spending time with her adult children.

Connect with Kathy: Website  |  Facebook  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads


 

Readers, what is your favorite Christmas baked good or meal? Would you try out Ivy’s French restaurant if given the chance?

The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

The Lady of Bolton Hill

by Elizabeth Camden


Review:

I haven’t read all of Elizabeth Camden’s books yet, but so far, I have to say this one is my favorite. While the hero is a difficult man to love, the profoundness of the spiritual arc, not just for him but for other key characters, just totally blew away. The prologue was a must-read if you are to make it through the rest of the book and understand how Clara and Daniel could like each other, so don’t skip it. It’s a story of how vengeance destroys and kills and how forgiveness heals–but it’s so much more than that. One of the most impactful and complicated characters was Bane–a villain of all people.

The historical details of this story are immaculate, as always. I felt right there in the story while also learning so much. The romance was a true struggle of loving someone who wasn’t who they once were and yet fighting for them because you know who they can be. The familial relationships are complicated, broken, and realistic. There are just so many layers to this story that I know I will find new things when I read it again.

Recommended for fans of Historical romance, friends to more, redemption stories, antiheroes who grow into true heroes, and women in unusual professions (reporter during the 1880s).


Genre: Historical Romance, Gilded Age

Plot:

Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London’s poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face to face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel’s success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara’s deeply held beliefs about God’s grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara’s very life is endangered by one of Daniel’s adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen.

Author Website: https://elizabethcamden.com/

Purchase Link: Amazon |  Baker Book House  |  Barnes & Noble  | Christianbook  |  GoodReads


What is the most recent book you’ve read? What did you like about it? Who would you recommend it to?

Meet Erica Vestch, Author of Children of the Shadows

Meet Erica Vestch, Author of Children of the Shadows

There is an interesting dynamic in being both a reader and member of the Christian writing community. As a writer, I am SO incredibly blessed to get to know authors I read on a personal level. As a reader, I totally fangirl over getting to meet and know these incredible authors. Which means I’m often squealing on the inside every time I am meeting with each of these women. I’m a hot mess, y’all. So it’s an incredible blessing that I haven’t run them off yet, especially Erica Vetsch. While trying to be professional in this interview, know that I am absolutely squealing on the inside. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Erica’s writing, especially the Thorndike and Swann series. So now it is my immense pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite authors. 

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspirationalregencyreaders where she spends way too much time!

You can connect with her through:  Website Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Amazon  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Erica with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Sweet or Salty?

EV: BOTH! I love popcorn with M&Ms

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

EV: Print for research books, and currently audio for fiction.

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

EV: Tea, Black.

Morning Person or Night Owl?

EV: Night owl 🙂

CC: Favorite Holiday?

EV: Christmas

I am with you on the book formats. Unfortunately, my life has been too crazy for print. (Cue sobbing.) But I can’t wait for your book to come out on audio so I can really enjoy it. So let’s dive into the meat of this interview.

What does your writing process look like from beginning to end?

EV: I start noodling an idea, letting it marinate, and begin reading history books set in the place/time I am thinking of. I ask ‘what if’ kinds of questions. Then I schedule time with my adult daughter, who listens to the plot, and asks lots of ‘thread pulling’ types of questions to see what unravels. Then we write scene summaries on a white board, with the characters, settings, plot points, etc. After I have it the way I think it will go (which it does, sort of, but there are always changes as I write it.) I tell my girl the story again. Then I type out a synopsis, with a paragraph for each scene, and usually two scenes per chapter. Then it’s time to sit down and write. I keep the research books handy, and I make notes as I write about what else I might need to research that I didn’t know when I started. Each day, I go back over what I wrote the day before, tidying it up and then writing new words. When I get somewhere between the two-thirds and three-fourths mark of the story, I go back to the beginning and change and rewrite in all the things I’ve changed my mind about or discovered as the story unfolded. When that’s done, I’m able to write a smash-bang finish.

CC: It’s always so fascinating (and freeing) to hear how each author works differently. I have some similarities to your process and now have a few things from yours that I might try out on the next story. 🙂  

What is your writing Kryptonite?

EV: The Internet. Social media, really. I help administrate a wonderful Facebook Group for Inspirational Regency Readers, and that takes quite a bit of time, but I also love Instagram Reels. 🙂

CC: Oh, that dreaded internet and social media. Although I have to admit, I LOVE the IRR group. 

Do you have any advice for those who want to write their own stories?

EV: Write! At first, you may not know exactly what you’re doing or how to plot or craft a story, but write! Finger-paint your story. Then write some more. Don’t obsess over the first story, but begin a new one. Each time you write a story, you’ll learn more about what makes for good storytelling. Read books on the craft of writing, take a writing class online, or go to a conference and sit in the workshops. But above all, write.

CC: I echo this. Without the writing, you can’t have a book. 

Now, I’m excited to discuss your newest release, Children of the Shadows, book three in the Thorndike and Swann series. It’s literally sitting next to me and taunting me to pick it up. Sigh. To-do lists first . . .

Detective Daniel Swann and debutante Juliette Thorndike once again team up to solve a dangerous mystery–while trying to keep their growing romance secret.

Someone is preying upon the street children of Regency London. They seem to think no one will notice when urchins go missing–and even if they are noticed, who will care?

Daniel needs to do something about the missing children. But with recent revelations about his past and an unexpected, somewhat unwelcome inheritance to deal with, this is a terrible time to dive back into the seedy underbelly of the crime world. Nevertheless, he’s still a Bow Street runner, and his partner Lady Juliette is sensitive to the plight of these wayward youngsters. They’re on the case, searching shadowed alleys and coal-drenched streets to find the missing.

But the tangle of expectation and the dynamics of power cannot be easily ignored, even if there are children in danger. When Daniel’s past threatens to overwhelm his future, he will need a miracle and the help of his friends to both apprehend the villain and unravel his tangled family web. And it may be that his new responsibilities demand that he leave the children of the shadows to their terrible fate–or lose everything.

Erica Vetsch’s popular Regency mystery series concludes with a bang, sure to satisfy readers who have hung on every page since book one.

Purchase your copy at  Amazon  |  Baker Book House  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Christianbook 

CC: Where did you get the idea for Children of the Shadows?

EV: This is the third book in the series, and the initial idea popped into my head about 6-7 years ago. What if a girl returned from finishing school to find her parents missing and discovered that she came from a long line of spies for the Crown?
CC: It has certainly been as fun a series to read as the idea was to entertain. I’m so glad you had the idea.
What about this story drew you to it?

EV: I think one of the things I like best about this story, aside from the justice aspect, is that the characters wrestle with some really thorny problems in their faith. Is God both Sovereign and Good? I think many people can relate to those wobbles of faith where they question God’s ability to act, or the goodness of His actions.

CC: That is definitely a true struggle that I think every Christian wrestles with. And I love how you call it a wobble of faith.
What character was the most fun to create?
EV: I love Juliette’s Uncle Bertie, and I’m thrilled that he will be the main character in the next series. He’s so droll with a dry wit and a nice line in irony. He loves Juliette fiercely and wants to see her succeed while at the same time protecting her from harm.
CC: WHAT!!!! Uncle Bertie gets his own series??? Where is the preorder link? I need that book, like yesterday. 🙂 I have to agree. He’s SUCH a fun character.
How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything through the writing?
EV: It’s always good to revisit struggles that I’ve had in my faith journey, including the Sovereignty/Goodness balance. I was reminded again and again that those two qualities are not mutually exclusive but perfect in every way in the Person of God. 

CC: Amen. It’s definitely not a one and done wrestle, and it’s so fascinating to see how much we’ve grown since the last time we wrestled with it.

 

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

EV: First of all, an entertaining read with a satisfying ending. Beyond that, if they can see themselves in the characters, learn alongside them, and grow, even in a small way, in their faith journey, that would be icing on the tea cake. 🙂

CC: As a reader, I can say you have definitely achieved that icing on the tea cake. 🙂 Last but not least . . . 

What animal is most like you?

EV: The Manatee. A few years ago, I visited my folks in Florida, and we went to a particular spot on the Gulf of Mexico known for its manatee sightings. As we walked along the pier, there were audio speakers along the rail at intervals, telling the listener about the life of the manatee. At one point, the recording said, “When the manatee isn’t sleeping, it can be found eating,” and I knew I had found my spirit animal. 🙂

CC: LOL, oh boy do I feel that one. Except I don’t eat my leafy vegetables as I should. Thank you so much for visiting us, Erica.

Readers, take my word for it. You do NOT want to miss this series. Grab the first one, The Debutante’s Code, if you haven’t started it yet. If you’ve read this newest and last one of the series, DO NOT tell me what happened. I can’t wait to dive in for myself. But please DO leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.  


Do you think you’d make a good spy? What quality or trait do you think would be your strength? Your weakness?

RCR: Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid

RCR: Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid

It’s time for another month of the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge: Unlock an Adventure. I’m so excited to join you on an adventure this year with guest reviews from our reading challenge participants. If you want to submit a review for upcoming months, feel free to sign up for a month here and use the Google form to submit your review. As my time has become too limited to do a suggestions post each month, I encourage you to jump over to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page and ask for suggestions from there or from any of a number of amazing reader groups like Avid Readers of Christian Fiction or check out the Inspirational Historical Fiction Index.

*The list of prizes available from my prize shelf can be found here.*

October’s Theme: Medieval Setting

November’s Theme: Archeologist or Paelontologist

Lord of Her Heart

by Sherrinda Ketchersid

Review by: Crystal Caudill

Every once and a while I want to enjoy a good medieval read. Usually, I just reread Lori Wick’s The Knight and the Dove or a fairytale retelling, but it was nice to step into a new story. This story had elements that I love from multiple other stories while still holding its own as a unique story.

The characters made you want to keep reading to see exactly what would happen. Jocelyn has the courage to disguise herself as a boy, going so far as to cut her hair. The author did a realistic job of the challenges and the weaknesses a woman would face trying to pose as a squire–a very physically demanding job. Then you have that gallantry and chivalry of the knight, Malcom, with realistic flaws. He was a hero you could cheer on, and at moments want to slap the sense into. The secondary characters were entertaining and supportive of the main characters.

I love how this story has a knight, jousting, subterfuge, and a bit of mystery and danger. It has definitely been added to my reread pile.

For Fans of: a good medieval story with villains, plots to overthrow, jousting, and a love story that extends into the marriage afterward.


Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval England, 1198 

Plot Overview:

Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth.

Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite of her conniving ways.Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives.

Purchase Links:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble


Giveaway

For your chance to win a print copy, comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on the 7th of each month at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn sometime that week and notified by email. The winner will be announced don’t the Rafflecopter widget.

*Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Recommendations for November:

  • Refuge for the Archaeologist by Danielle Grandinetti
  • A Time to Weep by Tracy Higley
  • The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson
  • Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright
  • Among Sand and Sunrise by Stacy Henrie
  • The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green
  • The Secrets Beneath by Kimberley Woodhouse
  • Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

What did you read for the challenge? What were your thoughts on it? Would you recommend it?

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