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: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

RCR: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

We’ve finished the ninth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to Oceania, and my choice of story was A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. 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.*

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

by Jessica Kate

For this month’s reading challenge, I picked up A Girl’s Guide to the Outback written by Aussie native, Jessica Kate. It was a joy to get to experience Australia (or ‘Straya) through the eyes of a native.  Between the landscapes, authentic Aussie lingo (translated seamlessly), peek into the grit it takes to run a farm in the outback, and the wide array of characters in the story, it truly felt like I’d made a trip around the world. Especially as the heroine was an American experiencing it for the first time The Aussie lingo was a delight to read and experience through the eyes of an American setting foot in the country for the first time. The characters were complex and real, and the storyline true-to-life. The wrestle of faith and growth in Christ with this book was well-done, not preachy, and oh, so needed.

I definitely recommend this story for those who want storylines that are rich with complex characters and transport you to another location. This was my first Jessica Kate book, but will not be my last.

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Plot Overview:

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

PURCHASE LINKS

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


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 October 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 September’s Challenge? What do you hope to read in October?

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?

July 2022 Reading Challenge Suggestions

July 2022 Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the seventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month focuses on books that take place in the Middle East. While I will generally focus on Historical Fiction novels, I have included plenty of contemporary options as well. The majority of recommendations come from https://inspirationalhistoricalfiction.com/, other readers, or other authors. Especially don’t forget to check out my partner’s website, http://amongthereads.net/. The books aren’t broken down by country, but you can find all sorts of wonderful reads. If none of these suggestions appeal to you, I highly recommend joining the Avid Readers Facebook Group and asking for their recommendations. They are AMAZING and your TBR pile will never be the same.

Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below?

Monthly Reminders:

*If you read a book for December, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)

*You can also join the Facebook Group. for more interaction and suggestions, or if you’d like a bookmark to remind you of the monthly challenges, fill out this Google Form.


The Esther Paradigm (A Contemporary Christian Romance)

The Esther Paradigm (A Contemporary Christian Romance) by [Sarah Monzon] Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.

Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution to be found is within marriage vows. In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?


Giver of Wonders by Roseanna M White

giverofwonders3rd Century – Turkey

A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?

Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.

Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.

Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.

As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.


Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead

1000s – Turkey

Born to rule

Although born to rule, Aidan lives as a scribe in a remote Irish monastery on the far, wild edge of Christendom. Secure in work, contemplation, and dreams of the wider world, a miracle bursts into Aidan’s quiet life. He is chosen to accompany a small band of monks on a quest to the farthest eastern reaches of the known world, to the fabled city of Byzantium, where they are to present a beautiful and costly hand-illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, to the Emperor of all Christendom.

Thus begins an expedition by sea and over land, as Aidan becomes, by turns, a warrior and a sailor, a slave and a spy, a Viking and a Saracen, and finally, a man. He sees more of the world than most men of his time, becoming an ambassador to kings and an intimate of Byzantium’s fabled Golden Court. And finally this valiant Irish monk faces the greatest trial that can confront any man in any age: commanding his own Destiny.


The Power and the Glory Clint Kelly

WWI – Turkey

Finding themselves in Istanbul in the midst of Turkey’s massacre in World War I, Tatul and Adrine feel obliged to take a stand and fight for their homeland.

 


Swords and Scimitars by Linda Chaikin

1095 – Byzantine Empire (Ancient Turkey)

WOVEN TOGETHER, THE COURAGE OF THE NORMAN KNIGHTS AND THE STRENGTH OF THE PEASANT HEART BROUGHT AGONY AND GLORY TO THE FIRST CRUSADE…

FRAMED FOR A MURDER he didn’t commit, Tancred Redwan is a knight torn between his father’s Norman blood and the Moorish blood of his mother. Forced to flee for his life, Tancred journeys from the golden hills of Palermo, Sicily to the seven jeweled hills of the Byzantine capitol, Constantinople. As both scholar and warrior, Tancred is caught up in the turbulent events surrounding the First Crusade, until he is suddenly forced to choose which path to follow as Christian Europe arms for the First Crusade to rescue Jerusalem and the Holy Lands from the Muslim infidels.

Helena of the Greek Nobility holds the key to his decision. Ensnared in a web of intrigue and political maneuvering within the Emperor’s Sacred Palace, Helena is proud and vulnerable—a woman Tancred longs to both rescue and win.

CLAIMING HONOR AS HIS ARMOR AND FAITH AS HIS SHIELD, TANCRED REDWAN WIELDS HIS SWORD AND SCIMITAR IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE. BUT WILL HE ESCAPE THE SCIMITAR OF HIS MOORISH COUSIN AWAITING HIM ON THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM


Ismeni by Tosca Lee

ismeni989 BC – Middle East/Yemen

A mysterious beauty, a destiny set in the stars. Born under an inauspicious sign, young Ismeni is feared by her own people. The single thing she prays for: to live an invisible life. But that is not to be for the young woman who has captured the attention of the king’s youngest son. A story of love, passion, and twists of fate through the eyes of the woman who will one day give birth to the legendary Queen of Sheba.

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