January Reading Challenge Suggestions

January Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the FIRST month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month focuses on books that take place in Africa. 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?

Also, if a title has (read and reviewed), clicking on that takes you to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.

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.


Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson

memoriesofglass1942 – Holland

As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.


The Entrepreneur’s Nurse by Rose Fresquez

The Entrepreneur's Nurse: A Sweet Opposites Attract Romance (BWWM) (The Caregivers Book 2) by [Rose Fresquez]His trip to Africa is strictly business. Her attraction to a tourist is a prescription for heartbreak.

As a successful entrepreneur, Brady Sharp is all about profit. His trip to Uganda is to strike a deal and get back to his life in New York. But when he falls off a motorcycle taxi and misses the meeting and his flight, the only thing he’s grateful for is the nurse who comes to his rescue.

Being the sole owner of the only clinic in a Kampala suburb, Ruth runs a tight shift. After she stitches an incoherent tourist she rescues from the roadside, she doesn’t expect to see the white man again, until he shows up to her clinic to ask her out on a date—too bad, she has patients to treat in the village.

As they work side by side in a small African village, Ruth’s selflessness makes Brady question everything he believed important. Each day spent with her creates a deeper attraction—a threat to his long-term goals of becoming the next billionaire.

Can Brady and Ruth pursue a long-distance relationship? At some point, they must make a conflicting choice: pursue their careers or take a chance on love.


Healer of Carthage by Lynne Gentry

healerofcarthage250s/Time Travel – Texas/Ancient Carthage

A twenty-first-century doctor. A third-century plague. A love out of time.

First-year resident Dr. Lisbeth Hastings is too busy to take her father’s bizarre summons seriously. But when a tragic mistake puts her career in jeopardy, answering her father’s call seems her only hope of redeeming the devastating failure that her life has become. While exploring the haunting cave at her father’s archaeological dig, Lisbeth falls through a hidden hole, awakening to find herself the object of a slave auction and the ruins of Roman Carthage inexplicably restored to a thriving metropolis. Is it possible that she’s traveled back in time, and, if so, how can she find her way back home? Cyprian Thascius believes God called him to rescue the mysterious woman from the slave trader’s cell. What he doesn’t understand is why saving the church of his newfound faith requires him to love a woman whose peculiar ways could get him killed. But who is he to question God? As their different worlds collide, it sparks an intense attraction that unites Lisbeth and Cyprian in a battle against a deadly epidemic. Even as they confront persecution, uncover buried secrets, and ignite the beginnings of a medical revolution, Roman wrath threatens to separate them forever. Can they find their way to each other through all these obstacles? Or are the eighteen hundred years between them too far of a leap?


An Ocean Away by Lisa Harris

anoceanaway1921 – Africa

Dateline: 1921—Northern Rhodesia and New York, New York. Lizzie MacTavis is determined to remain with the people with whom God called her to work along the banks of the rugged Zambezi River in southern Africa. Andrew Styles, an anthropologist and explorer, has been commissioned to bring Lizzie back to New York City at any cost. With a fortune at stake, Lizzie is caught between two worlds when she is finally forced
to return to the United States and discovers her life is in danger. Will Andrew turn out to be Lizzie’s nemesis or hero?

 


Child of the River by Irma Joubert

childoftheriver1938 – South Africa

Persomi is young, white, and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm in the South African Bushveld. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her, escaping the brutality and squalor of her family home through the newspapers and books passed down to her from the main house and through her walks in the nearby mountains.

Persomi’s close relationship with her older brother Gerbrand and her fragile friendship with Boelie Fourie—heir to the Fourie farm and fortune—are her lifeline and her only connection to the outside world. When Gerbrand leaves the farm to fight on the side of the Anglos in WWII and Boelie joins an underground network of Boer nationalists, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, a native country that values justice and equality, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of war and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is, where she belongs, and why her life—and every life—matters.


The Doctor’s Mission by Debbie Kaufman

doctorsmission1918 – Africa

A woman doctor! Missionary William Mayweather can’t hide his disappointment. The Nynabo mission in Liberia, Africa, desperately needs help, but he’s vowed not to put another female in jeopardy. Too bad flame-haired Dr. Mary O’Hara refuses to turn back—and he cannot allow her to go into the jungle alone.
Medicine or marriage? For Mary, the choice was clear. Far away from the patriarchal medical community, she resolves to be of real service. She’ll willingly go head-to-head with the handsome, opinionated missionary, even in the face of deadly danger. Yet the greatest tests lie in trusting God’s plan—for the mission, and her future happiness in this untamed, beautiful land….

 


In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

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?

*This one releases February 1st but should be available via NetGalley for early reading.

The Other You by Marion Ueckermann

The Other You (Heart of Africa) by [Marion Ueckermann]

Who am I? The question has Taylor Cassidy journeying from one side of America to the other seeking an answer. Almost five years brings her no closer to the truth. Now an award-winning photojournalist for Wines & Vines, Taylor is sent on assignment to South Africa to discover the inspiration behind Aimee Amour, the DeBois estate’s flagship wine. Mystery has enshrouded the story of the woman for whom the wine is named.

South African winegrower Armand DeBois’s world is shattered when a car accident leaves him in a coma for three weeks, and his young wife dead. The road of recovery and mourning is dark, and Armand teeters between falling away from God and falling into His comforting arms.

When Armand and Taylor meet, questions arise for them both. While the country and the winegrower hold a strange attraction for Taylor, Armand struggles with the uncertainty of whether he’s falling in love with his past or his future.


Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle

The smallest flame shines brightest against the darkest night.

If absolute power breeds absolute corruption, what happens when a multinational corporation with unlimited funds hires on a private military company with unbridled power, especially in a war-torn African nation where any governmental accountability is for sale at only too cheap a price?

While former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan is no stranger to corruption or conspiracy, she has always been able to tell the good guys from the bad. At first, her current assignment is no different: working on behalf of an international corporation to insurgent killer. But as a ruthless global conspiracy begins to surface, run by powerful men who can’t afford to leave witnesses, Robin doesn’t know who to trust. Nor can she see any way to save the Ituri rainforest villagers she has sworn to protect. Why is God silent amid all the pain and injustice? And how do these people of faith continue to rejoice in their suffering?


The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

theconfessionsofx300s – Carthage

Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.

She met Augustine in Carthage when she was seventeen. She was the poor daughter of a mosaic-layer; he was a promising student and with a great career in the Roman Empire ahead of him. His brilliance and passion intoxicated her, but his social class would be forever beyond her reach.  She became his concubine, and by the time he was forced to leave her, she was thirty years old and the mother of his son. And his Confessions show us that he never forgot her. She was the only woman he ever loved.

In a society in which classes rarely mingled on equal terms, and an unwed mother could lose her son to the burgeoning career of her ambitious lover, this anonymous woman was a first-hand witness to Augustine of Hippos’s anguished spiritual journey from religious cultist to the celebrated Christian saint and thinker.

Giving voice to one of history’s most mysterious women, The Confessions of X tells the story of Augustine of Hippo’s nameless lover, their relationship before his famous conversion, and her life after his rise to fame. A tale of womanhood, faith, and class at the end of antiquity, The Confessions of X is more than historical fiction . . . it is a timeless story of love and loss in the shadow of a theological giant.


What suggestions do you have? What do you think you are going to read?

2022 Reading Challenge Announcment

2022 Reading Challenge Announcment

Hi guys! Apparently, I am unintentionally taking the month off or writing book reviews, but there are some other great announcements to make like . . .

After having such a great year of reading books with other historical fiction fans, I’ve decided to do it again with a different theme: Around the World.

Exciting Changes:

A New Partner

This year I am partnering with the AMAZING book reviewer, Phyllis from @AmongTheReads. Together we are going to share reviews of books that take you around the world. Phyllis is an avid reader and has hundreds of book reviews on her website in an easy-to-find way. I highly suggest you pop over to her website AmongTheReads.net to check her out and find your next great read. 

 

Prizes

Due to the high cost of the 2021 Reading Challenge, I’ve changed up how I’ll do 2022 prizes in order to make it where this can be a long-term thing. Instead of receiving a copy of the reviewed book, winners will get a chance to pick from my stack of new and gently used Christian Fiction books which will have new additions every month. I’ll keep a list of those choices on the Unlocking the Past Webpage beginning in January after the first challenge is over. At the beginning of January 2023, those who have participated in any of the monthly challenges will get entered to win a Grand Prize Reader Basket. The prizes may change, but at the moment, the prize will include a copy of Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill (me), Everyday Love by Katie Orr (A Focused15 Study), a book recommended by me, reader socks, tea, and a bookmark.

Participation Requirements

Books no longer HAVE to be historical, but I will push them as a preference. With the Around the World theme, some areas are just going to be really hard to find with a historical focus, plus I’m hoping this will allow more readers to be involved.

In order to be entered to win books each month and the grand prize at the end of the month, you will still be required to comment on what you read on that month’s Reading Challenge Review post from the last day of the month. I will still use Rafflecopter to randomly select the winner. Extra entries can only be earned for that month and are only available through the Rafflecopter link. HOWEVER, if someone comments that they joined the reading challenge because of your invite, I will add three extra entries for the end of the year prize manually for each person who mentions you.

Comments for the monthly drawing must be made by midnight EST of the 8th of the month. Any comments made after that point will still get you an entry to the end of the year drawing, but will not go toward the monthly drawing.

Suggested Reading Posts

I will once again be adding monthly suggested reading posts on the first of each month. My suggestions will be a mix of historical and contemporary, with a heavier focus on historical when possible. These suggestions will not necessarily be ones that I have personally read but have been found on Among the Reads, the Inspirational Historical Fiction Index, and my connections in the author world.

Legalese

The giveaway portion is open to all eligible members of society according to their country’s and state’s laws and it is up to you know whether you are legally able to enter. Print copies are only eligible to winners eligible for media mail in the 50 states of the USA. Any winner outside of the United States (or readers within the USA who prefer an e-book) will get to choose a Christian Fiction e-book that is on sale for $5 or under on Amazon. If the winner of the grand prize is outside of the United States, they will receive an e-copy of Counterfeit Love, three additional e-books, and a snail mail letter with bookmarks. This giveaway is not associated with anyone but me, Crystal Caudill, and all winners will be randomly drawn by a third-party app like Rafflecopter (monthly) or https://miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker/ (end of the year).

Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World

Monthly Themes

January – Africa

February – Asia

March – Caribbean

April – Eastern Europe

May – Europe

June – Mediterranean

July – Middle East

August – N. America

September – Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, all the little islands around there – Samoa, Guam, Marshall Islands, Fiji, etc)

October – S. America

November – Bucket List Country

December – Christmas in Any Country


So here’s the question: Are YOU going to participate this year? And is there anyone you can share this reading challenge with? The more the merrier. What books do you recommend for the first month: Africa?

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