Tag Archives: Rachel McMillan

Top 10 Tuesday — Santa Baby, Can You Put Some New Books Under The Tree, For Me? Been An Awfully Good Girl . . .

21 Dec

What self-respecting book nerd enthusiast doesn’t want books for Christmas? I know you are with me on this one. Although the books on my list are not yet released, I think Santa can manage some bookish magic. If that doesn’t work, how about a gift card for pre-order shopping?! 😉

For more bookish wishes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Upcoming Releases I Can’t Wait For

The Catch by Lisa Harris

Critical Alliance by Elizabeth Goddard

The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey

Elysium Tide by James Hannibal

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

Malicious Intent by Lynn Blackburn

The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

Potiphar’s Wife by Mesu Andrews

Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

Top 10 Tuesday — Historical Mystery Series

7 Dec

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Freebie! Since I am reading the first book in a historical mystery series, I thought I would highlight it and a few other mysteries set in the past. One of the things I love about historical mysteries is the main character’s reliance on wit and intuition, rather than high tech forensics. If you are a fan of mysteries, I hope you find a book or two to love.

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Historical Mystery Series

Middle Ages

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr (14 books in the series!)

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders.

However, feeling no certain calling despite a lively faith, he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris and then hanging out his sign in Oxford. A local lord asks him to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cess pit. She is identified as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith, and her young man, whom she had provoked very publicly, is in due course arrested and sentenced at the Oxford assizes.

From there the tale unfolds, with graphic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, misdirection, ambition, romantic distractions and a consistent underlying Christian compassion.

Regency England

Thorndyke And Swann Regency Mysteries by Erica Vetsch (1 book so far)

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

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

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

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

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

Edwardian Canada

Herringford And Watts Mysteries by Rachel McMillan (3 books)

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Roaring Twenties

Poppy Denby Investigates by Fiona Veitch Smith (6 books)

It is 1920. Twenty-two year old Poppy Denby moves from Northumberland to live with her paraplegic aunt in London. Aunt Dot, a suffragette, was injured in battles with the police in 1910. Her contacts prove invaluable. Poppy lands a position as an editorial assistant at the Daily Globe. Poppy has always wanted to be a journalist and laps up the atmosphere of the news room. Then one of the paper’s hacks dies suddenly and dramatically. His story was going to be the morning lead, but he hasn’t finished writing it. Poppy finds his notes and completes the story, which is a sensation. The editor, realising her valuable suffragette contacts, invites her to dig deeper. Poppy starts sifting through the dead man’s files and unearths a major mystery which takes her to France – and into danger. By the end of the story Poppy is a fixture on the paper, and is being courted by a photographer. Further mysteries lie ahead.

Depression/Pre-WWII

Drew Farthering Mystery series by Julianna Deering (6 books)

Downton Abbey Meets Agatha Christie in This Sparkling Mystery (6 books)

Introducing Drew Farthing. From the tip of his black Homburg hat to the crease in his cheviot trousers, he’s the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered. Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he’s learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be — not the blackmailer, not the adulterer, not the embezzler and not even Drew himself. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer — and trying harder to impress Madeline — Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

Van Buren And DeLuca Mystery series by Rachel McMillan (2 books)

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

WWII

Blitz Detective by Mike Hollow (6 books)

Saturday 7th September, 1940. The sun is shining, and in the midst of the good weather Londoners could be mistaken for forgetting their country was at war – until the familiar wail of the air-raid sirens heralds an enemy attack. The Blitz has started, and normal life has abruptly ended – but crime has not.
That night a man’s body is discovered in an unmarked van in the back streets of West Ham. When Detective Inspector John Jago is called to the scene, he recognises the victim: local Justice of the Peace, Charles Villiers. The death looks suspicious, but then a German bomb obliterates all evidence. War or no war, murder is still murder, and it’s Jago’s job to find the truth.

Top 10 Tuesday — Upcoming Books I Must Buy Because . . . Covers!

3 Aug

I love book covers — bold colors and images, lovely landscapes, delicate historical details — I love them all! And I get so excited to see the lovely covers that grace upcoming releases. So my take on today’s Top Ten Tuesday is upcoming book covers that scream buy me! Do you agree with my selections?

More Top 10 Tuesday fun can be found at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Covers from Upcoming Releases

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

The Catch by Lisa Harris

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

The Master Craftsman by Kelli Stuart

The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

Shiloh by Lori Benton

Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2020

29 Dec

Who knew that 2020 would be such a difficult year? It started out all bright and shiny with the birth of my first grandchild, then a landslide of a lump and a biopsy in February pointed to breast cancer. My surgery and the good news of no chemo or radiation was followed by 15 days to crush the curve. We all know where that went. While life became a bit more normal in June here in Georgia, this year has been filled with anxiety and grief. I am certainly ready for a brand new year!

While I am glad 2020 will soon be in the rearview mirror, I did read A LOT OF GREAT BOOKS this year. I couldn’t whittle the list down to 10, but I did confine it to an even dozen. And that was hard! As always my favorites span a variety of genres — historical, suspense, romance.  I hope you find a book you will love.

For more best of the best lists, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top Books of 2020

 

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

 

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

The Mulberry Leaf Whispers by Linda Thompson

 

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

The Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Recommendations

20 Oct

I am self-aware — I know that I nag people about books. I like to call it offering recommendations. That’s what I do here on my blog, on my FB page, and at book club (or any other social gathering 😉 ). But where do I find books to read? I browse catalogs, other bloggers’ sites, readers’ groups, etc. For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, I have narrowed it down to a few that prove very reliable in discovering my next great read.

For more avenues for book recommendations, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Places for Book Recommendations

 

Award Lists — You cannot go wrong with award-winning books. For Christian Fiction, the following 3 are go-to sources. I especially like the short lists — lots of options. You can check out the archives of the organizations too to find some gems you may have missed. The links take you to this year’s winners and nominees. I am currently listening to the audiobook of The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White (Christy finalist for historical romance) and loving it!

ACFW Carol Awards

Christy Awards

Inspy Awards

Favorite Bloggers — While two of my favorite bloggers may live miles away from me (Australia and New Zealand), I find that we almost always agree on the merits of a book. So when they recommend a book I have not read, I take notice. If you like the books that I like, be sure to check them out. They are an especially good resource for internationally published books.

Fiction Aficionado

Iola Goulton

 

People in The Know — book people who have been in the business for a while are a great resource for recommendations. I follow a lot of authors and publicists on social media, but prolific reader/writer/agent/all around book pusher Rachel McMillan, author of recent release The London Restoration, is my go-to source. I follow her on Twitter and find a treasure trove of new books to add to the TBR from her posts.

Rachel McMillan

 

 

Where do you find your reading recommendations?

 

Book Review: The London Restoration

29 Sep

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King’s College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles’ long-anticipated reunion is strained by everything they cannot speak of. Diana’s extensive knowledge of London’s churches could help bring down a Russian agent named Eternity. She’s eager to help MI6 thwart Communist efforts to start a new war, but because of the Official Secrets Act, Diana can’t tell Brent the truth about her work.

Determined to save their marriage and rebuild the city they call home, Diana and Brent’s love is put to the ultimate test as they navigate the rubble of war and the ruins of broken trust.

Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts mysteries, the Three Quarter Time series of contemporary romances set in opulent Vienna, and the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries praised for bringing an authentic 1930’s Boston world to life while normalizing the fictional conversation surrounding mental illness. She is also the author of Dream, Plan and Go: A Romantic’s Guide to Independent Travel and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, which explores her love of made-for-TV Christmas movies. Her upcoming historical romances The London Restoration and The Mozart Code take readers deep into an atmospheric look of post-war London, Vienna and Prague. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada.

 

My Impressions:

Bravo! That’s the first word that came to mind as I turned the final page of The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan. This post-WWII novel is a complexly written novel that brings to life a London and its people that have suffered greatly. There are so many things to love about this book — great characters, interesting historical details, and a plot that keeps the pages turning. If you are a fan of this era, The London Restoration is a must-read.

The London Restoration features married couple Diana and Brent Somerville. Their new marriage was interrupted by the war, and they are having to navigate a relationship impacted by their wartime experiences. Brent was a stretcher bearer and carries both physical and emotional scars from his time at the front. Diana’s secret wartime activities add another layer of distance between the two. This is a married love story — one that faces many obstacles, but is determined to succeed. The love of 1 Corinthians 13 is lived out in their lives. While for most Londoners the war is over and restoration of families, lives, and buildings is ongoing, a new kind of conflict — a Cold War — is just ramping up. There is mystery and suspense galore. McMillan’s love for music, churches, and the city of London shines through the pages of the novel. You will feel like you are walking the streets and viewing the Wren churches along with Diana and Brent. Simon, one of the secondary characters in the book is a fascinating addition. Readers will have the good fortune of going along with his new adventures, while seeing how Brent and Diana fare in the upcoming sequel, The Mozart Code.

Again, bravo for a beautifully written novel. It is very highly recommended.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

First Line Friday — The London Restoration

11 Sep

Happy Friday! I am featuring a book that I have long anticipated. I started The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan a few days ago, and I can attest that this book was well worth the wait! Set just following the end of WWII, it is full of history, mystery, and a married romance. I am loving Diana and Brent Somerville. The novel is beautifully written — here is the first line.

While some adjusted to air-raid sirens and others to the lost light of blackouts, Diana Somerville never recovered from the absence of church bells. 

 

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King’s College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles’ long-anticipated reunion is strained by everything they cannot speak of. Diana’s extensive knowledge of London’s churches could help bring down a Russian agent named Eternity. She’s eager to help MI6 thwart Communist efforts to start a new war, but because of the Official Secrets Act, Diana can’t tell Brent the truth about her work.

Determined to save their marriage and rebuild the city they call home, Diana and Brent’s love is put to the ultimate test as they navigate the rubble of war and the ruins of broken trust.

Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts mysteries, the Three Quarter Time series of contemporary romances set in opulent Vienna, and the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries praised for bringing an authentic 1930’s Boston world to life while normalizing the fictional conversation surrounding mental illness. She is also the author of Dream, Plan and Go: A Romantic’s Guide to Independent Travel and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide: which explores her love of made-for-TV Christmas movies. Her upcoming historical romances The London Restoration and The Mozart Code (Harper Collins) take readers deep into an atmospheric look ofr post-war London, Vienna and Prague. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada.

For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Author Interviews

25 Aug

I have been blessed over the years in opportunities to meet fantastic authors. It’s always a thrill to interact with writers either face to face or via email and social media. In the ten plus years I have been blogging, I have interviewed a number of my favorites, and since I am not as creative as them I have a stock list of questions. For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday I decided to highlight the answers authors gave to my number one question — When did you know you were a writer? I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into their writing journeys. And to see the rest of the interviews, just click on the author’s name.

For more author info/interviews, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.  

 

When did you first become a writer?

 

Pepper Basham author of The Red Ribbon (October 2020)

I feel like I’ve always been a storyteller, but I didn’t start ‘writing’ down those stories until I was about 7 or 8. I actually still have a story I wrote and illustrated from when I was 9. Poorly illustrated . . . it was pretty clear writing was more my forte than drawing (especially from the sizes of the noses on my poor people I drew 😉 .

 

 

Lori Benton author of Mountain Laurel (September 2020)

I’ve always been a writer, making up stories as a child. Really! I was in the third grade and already a voracious reader when my best friend said out of the blue, “I wrote a story.” She showed it to me, and I was instantly intrigued. Could I write a story? It was an epiphany. I wrote a story. And never really stopped. But one day I decided to get more serious about it (I was about 21 by this time) and see if I could write a novel and maybe (if I could figure out how one did so) get it published. That novel, which I did finish, wasn’t published. Nor the one I wrote after that. It was quite a few years later (22 years in fact) before my debut novel Burning Sky reached store shelves. 

 

 

Kimberly Duffy author of A Mosaic of Wings

I wrote my first story at the age of eleven. It was about an inchworm. When I was twelve I wrote my first romance — about a girl who gets stuck in an elevator with her celebrity crush. And I really haven’t stopped writing since. Before I began writing, though, I loved stories and words and daydreams. 

 

 

Rachel Dylan of Backlash (October 2020)

I think I have always been a writer. As a child, I was a voracious reader. I gobbled up books left and right. I started writing stories and poems in elementary school. Everyone in high school assumed I was going to become an English professor. It didn’t turn out quite like that, but writing has always been a part of who I am.

 

 

Camille Eide author of Wings Like A Dove

Age 7. I wrote and illustrated my first novel. It was about Snoopy. I don’t remember it, but am fairly certain it wasn’t a bestseller.

 

 

Heather Day Gilbert of No Filter, Barks And Beans Cafe mystery series

From the time I was about four, I loved words and reading. I won a writing contest in fifth grade . . . but I didn’t realize I was a writer until I was about twelve. We came back from an ocean trip and I sat on the porch and wrote a poem . . . and Boom! It hit me — I was a writer. I promptly shared this epiphany with my mom and my grandma, and they were duly impressed. LOL. That’s not to say I launched into an immediate writing career trajectory. Goodness knows I entertained plenty of other majors in college, though I wound up with a degree in Humanities that focused on literature and writing.

 

 

Jocelyn Green author of Veiled in Smoke

My first book was writing captions in my Bugs Bunny coloring book to make it an actual story. I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t writing. My first published books were nonfiction, though, mostly devotionals, before I started writing historical fiction.

 

Tracy Groot of The Maggie Bright

I think it was when I sought to right what I considered was a wrong: In the early years of my marriage, my father-in-law told me that his family had rescued a Jewish boy during WWII. They risked their lives to shelter him for one year, and then they got him to England through the Dutch underground. I asked him, “Did he ever come back to thank you for what he did?” “No.” “Well — did anyone thank you?” “No.”

 

 

Richard Mabry, MD author of Critical Decision

I never considered becoming an author outside of medicine until the death of my first wife, Cynthia. Almost a year after her passing, I began to consider turning the journaling I’d done into a book, but had no idea how. Finally, at a writer’s conference, I got an inkling of 1) how to write a book, and 2) how hard it is to get one published. But I did and it was. The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse has been out for a decade and ministered to many thousands who have suffered a similar loss.

 

 

Rachel McMillan author of The London Restoration

I always loved reading and making up stories in my head. One year, my brother Jared gave me a diary for Christmas and I wrote all the time. That’s when I knew. Even if I never publish another book, I will always write stories. I enjoy it so much.

 

 

 

 

Happy Release Day — The London Restoration

18 Aug

It’s finally here — release day for The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan. I have been wanting to get my hands on this historical romance novel set in the days following WWII for a long time. Now you and I can! If you love historical romance, you have got to check this book out. See all the details below.

From author Rachel McMillan comes a richly researched historical romance that takes place in post-World War II London and features a strong female lead.

Determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II’s secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London’s churches intersect in MI6’s pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.

Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King’s College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

Featuring a timeless love story bolstered by flashbacks and the excavation of a priceless Roman artifact, The London Restoration is a richly atmospheric look at post-war London as two people changed by war rebuild amidst the city’s reconstruction.

To purchase, click HERE.

Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts mysteries, the Three Quarter Time series of contemporary romances set in opulent Vienna, and the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries praised for bringing an authentic 1930’s Boston world to life while normalizing the fictional conversation surrounding mental illness. She is also the author of Dream, Plan and Go: A Romantic’s Guide to Independent Travel and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, which explores her love of made-for-TV Christmas movies. Her upcoming historical romances The London Restoration and The Mozart Code (Harper Collins) take readers deep into an atmospheric look ofr post-war London, Vienna and Prague. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada.

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Titles That Make Me Smile, Chuckle, Snicker . . .

14 Jul

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Books That Make Me Smile. I am going with book titles that caused me to smile, a smirk, or LOL! Cute titles always catch my eye and make me want to know more. My list seems to be heavy on mysteries, southern, and women’s fiction, so if you like those genres you are all set! 😉

What about a book makes you smile?

 

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Titles That Made Me Smile, Smirk, Snicker . . .

 

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Charlotte Figg Takes over Paradise by Joyce Magnin

The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

For Whom The Wedding Bell Tolls by Nancy Mehl

Murder, Mayhem, And A Fine Man by Claudia Mair Burney

Pretty Is As Pretty Does by Debby Mayne

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Truelove And Homegrown Tomatoes by Julie Cannon