RCR: Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch

RCR: Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch

We’ve finished the eleventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to any country you want to go to but have never been, and my choice of story was Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vestch. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*

Millstone of Doubt

by Erica Vetsch

What can I say? I adore Erica Vetsch’s books and this series has definitely ranked top of my list from her. Millstone of Doubt is the exciting sequel to The Debutante’s Code. Just as in the first book, Millstone of Doubt is filled with excitement, suspicious relationships, unexpected twists, and best of all danger. Well maybe, second best. I’m not a huge romance girl, but this book had the perfect amount of romance and a swoon-worthy ending. I’m looking forward to seeing how things wrap up with the next book, Children of the Shadows, which is not yet up for preorder but I am eagerly anticipating its release next year. 

This book is great for lovers of Regency romance, spy stories, and romances where you’re never sure who is holding back secrets. It’s a thrilling adventure with depth, romance, and characters you can’t wait to continue to follow.


Genre: Regency Mystery Romance

Plot Overview:

Caught in the explosion of the Hammersmith Mill in London, Bow Street runner Daniel Swann rushes to help any survivors only to find the mill’s owner dead of an apparent gunshot–but no sign of the killer.

Even though the owner’s daughter, Agatha Montgomery, mourns his death, she may be the only one. It seems there are more than a few people with motive for murder. But Daniel can’t take this investigation slow and steady. Instead, he must dig through all the suspects as quickly as he can, because the clock is ticking until his mysterious patronage–and his job as a runner–comes to an abrupt and painful end. It seems to Daniel that, like his earthly father, his heavenly Father has abandoned him.

Lady Juliette Thorndike is Agatha’s bosom friend and has the inside knowledge of the wealthy London ton to be invaluable to Daniel. She should be in a perfect position to help with the case. But when her trusted instructor in the art of spy craft orders her to stay out of the investigation, Lady Juliette obeys. That is, until circumstances intervene, and she drops right into the middle of the deadly pursuit.

When a dreadful accident ends in another death on the mill floor, Daniel discovers a connection to his murder case–and to his own secret past. Now he and Juliette are in a race to find the killer before his time runs out.

Purchase Links:

Amazon     Baker Bookhouse       Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com     Indiebound.org


Giveaway

*Special Giveaway note: Erica Vetsch is going to give this month’s winner a copy of her Thorndike and Swann paper dolls.*

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 December 7th 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


What did you read for November’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in December?

RCR: October 2022

RCR: October 2022

We’ve finished the tenth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to South America. Don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a book from my book stash.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*


So I’ll be honest. I totally BOMBED this month and failed the challenge. SO this month I’m reversing the blog post to ask YOU to post a review of what YOU read. Also, since I totally bombed this month, I figured, maybe now was a good time to announce next year’s challenge.

Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge 2023:

Unlocking an Adventure

January – A Book with Spies

February – A Book with the Underground Railroad

March – A Book with a Gold Rush

April – A Book with a Law Man Hero

May – A Book with Exploration or Pioneering

June – A Book with a Treasure Hunt

July – A Book focused with Heroines in Unusual Professions for Their Time

August – A Book with a Bounty Hunter

September – A Time Travel Novel

October – A Book with a Medieval Setting

November – Book with an Archeologist or Paleontologist

December – A Christmas Novel/Novella set somewhere you’ve never been

(2024 I have plans for a trope-based challenge. 🙂 )


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 November 7th 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


What did you read for October’s Challenge? Leave a quick review.

RCR: Love in the Bargain by Lucette Nel

RCR: Love in the Bargain by Lucette Nel

We’ve finished the eighth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to North America, and my choice of story was Love in the Bargain by Lucette Nel. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a book from my prize pile.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*

Love in the Bargain by [Lucette Nel]

Love in the Bargain

by Lucette Nel

This book isn’t actually out until September 30th, but being a member of the author community has its perks. Lucette Nel weaves a unique and engaging marriage of convenience story. Both Micah and Amelia are desperate to have some control over their lives and futures. When Amelia’s grandfather offers an ultimatum of marriage or return to New York, she is determined to have a paper-only marriage with the man of her choosing. Although Micah is an ex-convict, he was once her friend and the only prospect that she can entertain being stuck with for the rest of her life. Besides, it will mutually benefit them as he is struggling to raise his orphaned niece and nephew. But nothing is as simple as it looks on paper. Micah has no intention of living in a loveless marriage, and though he is a patient man, Amelia is determined to keep him at arm’s length. When life-threatening dangers arise, it’s more than their lives at stake. Their marriage and hearts may not survive.

Love in the Bargain is a wonderful story of learning to release control and open oneself up to the vulnerability of loving another. I highly recommend this story for fans of historical romance, marriage of convenience, friends to more, danger-filled romance, and realistically flawed characters.


Genre: Historical Romance, Texas 1889

Plot Overview:

Driven to rekindle her relationship with her ailing grandfather, Amelia Scott returns to her childhood home. However, her unyielding grandfather is determined to control her future and poses an ultimatum. Marry and inherit the iconic Scott Hotel or return to New York penniless. Amelia is determined to stay, and formulates a plan to ensure proprietorship of her last connection to family. But love is not a part of the deal. She can’t risk another man having control of her.

Ex-convict, now town carpenter, Micah Kelly struggles to raise his deceased sister’s children. When Amelia proposes marriage without love as the answer to both of their problems, he knows better than to say yes. While partnering with his childhood friend may yield an answer to his monetary challenges, he cannot agree to a marriage in name only. His heart is already involved, and that always leads to trouble.

Circumstances put them together, and while they struggle within their new marriage, outside forces are determined to snatch the Scott Hotel from them. Even if it means killing them.

Purchase your copy at Amazon


Giveaway

For your chance to win a print copy from my prize pile (OR an e-copy of Lucette’s book), 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 September 7th at midnight EST, and the winner will be notified by email and announced on 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


What did you read for August’s Challenge?

RCR: The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

RCR: The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

We’ve finished the seventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to the Middle East, and my choice of story was The Esther Paradigm. Since I didn’t get  a chance to finish it yet, I’ve pulled on AmongTheReads to get the review posted. If you click on her link, you can see her FULL review and a ton of awesome quotes and pictures. Once you read her review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*

The Esther Paradigm

by Sarah Monzon

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Plot Overview:

Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she’ll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?


The Esther Paradigm is yet another moving story by Sarah Monzon.  This modern-day retelling of the Book of Esther was very well written.  Not many stories have moved me like this one.  It is the heartfelt account of a sheikh who carries the burdens of his people gladly and of a woman who struggles with feelings of not measuring up.

There was an amazing account of a sandstorm that had me wanting to wash dirt out of my teeth and rub the grit from my eyes. And the moving emotions of a lonely young girl trying to fit in to a new culture, seeing her romantic dreams of being a foreign missionary exchanged for disillusionment and then again for hope. The characters were very well developed, which is evident if you look at the details in the Character Spotlights that the author provided about Hannah and Karim.  The portions of the story that were told “by” Karim used a voice that sounded like an Arab and not a Westerner.

The author told of Christian missionaries living with a Muslim tribe with the threat of persecution with great sensitivity and love towards the Muslim people.  The story was obviously well-researched and included information on how God is working in the Muslim world.  The mention of a dream of Jesus resulting in a heart open to hear the Gospel, though related to fictional characters, is something that really is happening around the Muslim world.  I work at a Christian mission organization and have been hearing for years about this very thing happening.  Just a few weeks ago I heard a story from a missionary in a Muslim country who heard from a student about a dream just like that.  When he commented about how unusual that was, the student later told him that it really is not unusual, he had talked to at least 13 other people who had the same dream.  🙂

While there was a fair amount of time spent going over Hannah’s fears of what physical intimacy would be like, but there was nothing inappropriate or offensive about how it was done.  I would not be concerned about my young nieces reading any of the story.

One of the issues that Hannah dealt with was a feeling of always being compared to others and found lacking.  She struggled with the sense of not measuring up.  The journey that she traveled in dealing with this was tender and touching.

Two quotes that I especially liked in the story, enough to make note so I could include it here is:

“If everyone only did what was safe, nothing would change.”

“But I read, soul open to any stirrings of the Holy Spirit.”

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon


Giveaway

For your chance to win a book from my prize stash, 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 July  7th at midnight EST, and the winner will be drawn 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


What did you read for June’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in July?

RCR: Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar

RCR: Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar

We’ve finished the sixth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to the Mediterranean, and I leaned on Among the Reads for this month and reviewed Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar. Once you read her review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy. Don’t forget to check out her full review and all the awesome quote images she made here.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*

Daughter of Rome

by Tessa Afshar

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Plot Overview:

A woman with a devastating secret. A man bent on proving his worth. A chance encounter that catapults them into the heart of history.

When the daughter of a prominent Roman general meets a disinherited Jewish immigrant, neither one can dream of God’s plan to transform them into the most influential couple of the early church. Nor can they anticipate the mountains that will threaten to bury them. Their courtship unwittingly shadowed by murder and betrayal, Priscilla and Aquila slowly work to build a community of believers, while their lives grow increasingly complicated thanks to a shaggy dog, a mysterious runaway, and a ruthless foe desperate for love. But when they’re banished from their home by a capricious emperor, they must join forces with an unusual rabbi named Paul and fight to turn treachery into redemption.

With impeccable research and vivid detail, Daughter of Rome is both an emotive love story and an immersive journey through first-century Rome and Corinth, reminding readers once again why Debbie Macomber has said that “no one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.”


Daughter of Rome is an intriguing account of what the lives of Priscilla and Aquila could have been like. I was very interested in seeing the research that the author did to determine what type of environment they likely grew up in based on what we know from Scripture.

Aquila experienced firsthand the consequences of choosing to follow Yeshua. Not willing to deny his faith, he was disowned and lost his earthly inheritance.

Despite having been treated abominably by her brother, Priscilla treated others with kindness and compassion. One of my favorite moments in the story was when Marcus, a young boy Priscilla and Aquila took in, was helping minister to a woman who had come to them in terrible condition. When Priscilla questioned him about where he had learned to take care of someone like that, he replied “Don’t you know? I learned from you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I especially loved the way Priscilla was always caring for those in need, even at great cost to herself. She was constantly taking in “strays” and sharing all she had with them.

Another part I really enjoyed was when Aquila was getting ready for their wedding. He was so sweetly funny as he stressed over details and was so absent-minded!

There were many spiritual lessons learned along the way. Aquila had to learn to set aside his pride several different times. Priscilla learned forgiveness – for herself and for her enemies. Salvation was boldly proclaimed.

If you enjoy Biblical fiction, you are bound to enjoy Daughter of Rome.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon     Baker Bookhouse       Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com     Indiebound.org


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 July 7th 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


What did you read for June’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in July?

RCR: Dusk’s Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller

RCR: Dusk’s Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller

We’ve finished the fifth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to Europe, and my choice of story was Dusk’s Darkest Shore by Carolyn Miller. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.

*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*

Dusk’s Darkest Shores

by Carolyn Miller

It was such a joy to dive into a Carolyn Miller book. Someone initially compared it to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and while there might have been very loose parallels on occasion, this was its own beautiful story. Resplendent with a beautiful setting, a woman with a tender heart and special connection with God, and a blind hero, it was a unique read. I really appreciated the way the story dealt with God not answering prayers in the way we want, and leaving the reader with hope.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves regency stories, stories of spinster women finding love, spiritual threads that are strong but not preachy, and heroes who are not your typical hero.

(Forgive the especially short review. I’m editing and really tired. 😉 )


Genre: Historical Romance, Regency

Plot Overview:

How can a meek wallflower help a returning war hero whose dreams are plunged into darkness?

Mary Bloomfield has no illusions. Her chances for matrimony have long since passed her by. Still, her circumstances are pleasant enough, especially now that she has found purpose in assisting her father with his medical practice in England’s beautiful Lake District. Even without love, it’s a peaceful life.

That is until Adam Edgerton returns to the sleepy district. This decorated war hero did not arrive home to acclaim and rest, but to a new battle against the repercussions of an insidious disease. Mary’s caring nature cannot stand to see someone suffer–but how can she help this man see any brightness in his future when he’s plunged into melancholic darkness, his dreams laid waste by his condition?

Adam wants no charity, but he’s also no coward. If this gentle woman can work hard, how can he do less? Together they struggle to find a way forward for him. Frustration and antipathy slowly develop into friendship and esteem. Then a summer storm atop a mountain peak leads to scandal–and both Mary and Adam must search the depths of their closed hearts for answers if they hope to find any future path with happiness at its end.

Best-selling author Carolyn Miller is back with a fresh series that will not only thrill readers eager for more of her work, but bring in new fans looking for beautiful writing, fascinating research, deftly woven love stories, and real faith lived out in the Regency period.

What I loved: Adam’s spiritual walk and personal walk in learning how to live as a blind man. I found inspiration in his struggles.

Favorite Character and Why: Adam. While not always the most gentle in his responses, you could tell he was a good man who struggled. It felt real and relatable as he learned to accept a future different from the one he envisioned.

Who would like this? I would recommend this book to anyone who loves regency stories, stories of spinster women finding love, spiritual threads that are strong but not preachy, and heroes who are not your typical hero. 

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Books-a-Million  |  Book Depository  |  Bookshop.org  |  Christianbook.com  |  Indiebound.org

 


Giveaway

For your chance to win a book from my prize stash, 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 June 7th 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


What did you read for May’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in June’s?

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