Action/Adventure, Contemporary Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery/Thriller, Paul Willis, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Young Adult

Diamond by Paul Willis

Title: Diamond

Author: Paul Willis

Series: The Greywood Files, #1

Genre: mystery (detective stories)

Era: contemporary

Publisher: Paul Willis

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

Diamond by Paul Willis

34070257

When Detective Greywood gets a midnight case from a forgetful friend, he thinks it’s just another robbery. But when he learns his client stored the world’s eighth largest diamond in a highly secure bank vault, he knows there must be much more to the case. Only the owner himself could retrieve the diamond.

A short story containing odd friends, two eventful dinner parties, and a coffee fueled detective.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

A clever detective short story which I really enjoyed. I’m really looking forward to reading more about Rory Greyhood (and his crazy friends). I had the pleasure of beta-reading Diamond, and then I got to read it again in its completed form, and I enjoyed it both times!

Plot {4/5}:

Well-paced, clever, and exciting. I admit I had some trouble understanding certain things, but I figure you don’t need to know everything all at once (especially in a mystery), and I eventually caught on, which is what counts. 😛

Characters {5/5}:

For a short story, the characters were really well-developed, especially Rory and Henry. I really liked Henry (needless to say) and Rory’s “cop friend” was really cool. I hope we get to see Henry again. 😀

Setting {4/5}:

There wasn’t really a lot of talk about where the story was taking place or anything (some big city in the United States is my guess), but it wasn’t really necessary, partially because of the shortness of the story and partially because it just wouldn’t have added anything.

Writing {5/5}:

Mr. Willis has got to be one of the most amusing writers out there! His writing style is just so witty and bouncy and fresh. I was quietly chuckling at a lot of his similes and descriptions.

Content {1/5}:

I honestly can’t think of a single thing. I suppose there was a (non-descriptive) fist-fight of sorts towards the end.

Okay for all ages.

Overall {5/5}:

A simple amazing detective story, comparable with Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown mysteries. I’d recommend Diamond to almost anyone, but especially to lovers of old-fashioned detective stories, amusing characters, and witty writing.

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Blog Tours, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Ivy Rose, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Young Adult

Left to Die by Ivy Rose (and blog tour)

Title: Left to Die

Author: Ivy Rose

Genre: Christian contemporary fiction

Setting: China

Publisher: Lakeside Publications

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Left for Die by Ivy Rose

33141073

Lindy Greene’s life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a rural hospital in China, soon brings the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn’t even like babies.

Nathan Thomas can’t find balance. College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. The chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the clinic does nothing to help him focus.

The Chinese mission field isn’t for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing them together: a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

I wasn’t sure about this novel. I’ve never read a book about missionaries (unless you count the Bible), and I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t enjoy it (mostly because these kind of things really make me feel guilty). I was a bit nervous, to say the least. But this was a sensational book that has earned a place amongst my favorites.

Plot {5/5}:

The plot was fantastic! It all unfolded so beautifully and was perfect and amazing and wonderful and – *kicks self* It was well-paced, interesting, and kept my attention 100% throughout the entire book.

And I’ve just got to say … the epilogue was so perfect, guys. Just ❤

Characters {4/5}:

I didn’t get extremely attached to Lindy (although I really liked her), but Jia … I think I’m in love again, guys. I know I’ve said that before, but … this is it. At least in a sisterly way.

I think I need a little sister now …

And yes, I do realize it’s expensive and a lot of work and gruesome and I probably wouldn’t be able to handle it with my lack of experience – Left to Die was nothing if not realistic – but … but …

Back on track.

I loved Nate. He was amazing! Not as good as Gil, of course, but … Besides, Nate and Lindy were so cute together!

Setting {4/5}:

Sometimes there could have been a little more description, but overall, the setting was vividly portrayed. I think I always realized how bad it was in China with the orphans and such … or at least I was able to imagine it that bad (I can be pessimistic about these things) … but it was still sad to read about it.

Writing {4/5}:

I feel like there could have been a little work on the writing here and there, but overall, it was good. I really like Ivy Rose’s writing style. It just … appeals to me. No particular reason. 🙂

Content:

Parental guidance suggested for younger teens. No language or sexual content (except maybe a couple kisses, no details). Descriptions of sickness and the medical care and abandonment/other poor treatment of infants/children (somewhat graphic, but still pretty clean) that may disturb sensitive readers or young children.

Overall {5/5}:

AAAAAH THAT WAS SO GOOD!!!

*puts on serious face* It was a noble story which I’m recommend to any lover of missionary stories, Christian fiction, light romance, adorable babies, and somewhat sad stories with very happy endings.

~Kellyn Roth

About the Author

ivyroseimage

Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, eating chocolate, traveling, reading, and doing TaeKwonDo. She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.

She can be found at various places on the internet:

Blog – Pinterest – Goodreads – Instagram

lefttodieblogtour

Is that cover not amazing? And the graphics! *swoons*

lefttodiegiveaway

You can enter the giveaway here (as the HTML is not cooperating for some reason so I can’t embed it)!

Follow the Tour

~Monday~

Becoming Lost – Review

Beyond the Amethyst – Review

Anika’s Avenue – Review

Once Upon an Ordinary – Interview

~Tuesday~

Whispers on the Wind – Interview

Read Another Page – Review

The Left-Handed Typist – Review

~Wednesday~

Counting Your Blessings – Review/Interview

Stories by Firefly – Review

Writing in the Light – Interview

~Thursday~

Reveries Reviews – Review

Marrok Macintyre – Interview

~Friday~

A Purpose and a Promise – Review

Having a Heart Like His – Review/Interview

Whimsical Writings – Review

~Saturday~

Rebekah’s Remarks – Interview

Action/Adventure, Adult, Allison Pittman, Carrie Turansky, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, K.M. Weiland, Melissa Jagears, Mini Review Day, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Sarah E. Ladd, Sarah Sundin, Young Adult

January 2017 Mini Review Day

Hi guys! Today we’re gonna do something a little different … mini reviews! I’ve decided to do this monthly (as you can see by the title. This one is for January 2017, in case you didn’t notice). These will mainly be books I chose to read, not review books.

So let’s get started!

25370350

Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Whoa! That was fantastic!

Okay, so, I have written (to completion: I’ve started maybe fifty other books) three full-length books now. The first two had to be intensively rewritten. In fact, very little of the original drafts remain. Why was this? Well, after assuming myself to be a “pantser” (because I was too lazy to outline), I refused to outline …

And that got me nowhere.

I decided to try some extensive outlining with my third book (currently titled At Her Fingertips) this last November (for NaNoWriMo). I wrote 65,000+ words in 30 days (beating my previous record of 42,000) and they’re not all trash. Yes, it’s first drafty … but I have a feeling that this is a winner! I don’t expect rewriting, and I think my revising will be lighter.

I don’t know if K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel is completely responsible for this. I was super excited about my story this last NaNo, and that’s part of the reason. But … well, K.M. Weiland’s methods and ideas and tips are all great, and they are at least 75% responsible for me actually having an enjoyable writing experience!

Grab a copy! It’s a wonder what a little outlining can do, even if you don’t think you’re a ‘plotter.’

5/5 stars

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads


Where Two Hearts Meet by Carrie Turansky

21858794

Two very sweet novellas. I loved Turansky’s Edwardian Brides series, so I was a little nervous/excited/worrying that they wouldn’t be as good, but these novellas were really great!

Tea For Two:
This was my favorite of the two novellas. It was sweet (and clean) and I really liked the characters … and Sweet Something, too, of course. I want to own a place like that … or at least visit it!

Content: clean. No language/violence. A couple kisses, none very detailed. A mention of adultery (treated as wrong), I believe?

5/5 stars

Wherever Love Takes Us:
I didn’t enjoy this one as much … probably because I’m not married and had trouble getting into the characters, understanding them, etc. This would probably be better-enjoyed by someone who’s married and a little older than me. 🙂 I did tack on half a star because OREGON MY OREGON! 😛

Content: fairly clean. No language/violence. Kisses (never detailed), and a mention of s*x (although it was pretty hard to catch and between a married couple … but still). Matt kinda seems to be considering adultery at one point.

4/5 stars

Overall, this is a worthwhile read for a summer afternoon (or, for me, a Christmas-break-afternoon). 🙂

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads


11038485

Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman

Wow. That was … all over the place. And the ending made no sense and wasn’t really happy or satisfactory. The main character annoyed me by continually going, “Oh! I’ve got it now!” and then doing stupid things. Again.

It wasn’t an awful book, but it wasn’t a good book either. I didn’t really care for it. I found it depressing, dark, and meaningless (probably one of those books where I’m not smart enough to get the theme … ;P).

This novel contains an honest (but somewhat scorching) portrayal of the Mormons of that era. Probably not a book for LDS readers for that reason.

Content: no language. A lot of violence, wars, people wanting to baptize “by blood if not by water,” fingers getting frostbitten and having to be cut off, sometimes somewhat detailed. Mentions of and portrayals of pregnancy. Lots of mentions of husbands and wives becoming one, sleeping together, etc. and the husband’s other wives (*shivers*) knowing that this is happening. One scene where a married couple presumably … you know. They cut it off before they actually do anything, but … yeah. Then later another woman and her proceed to discuss this. A little too much for me. Removed a star.

1.5 stars

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads


 

13459177

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

It’s getting a little old for me to be rating Sarah Sundin books 5 stars and crooning over them, so this is gonna be a short review.

All of the books that I’ve read by Sarah Sundin have been five-star marvels … but wow. This may be the best one yet! An amazing plot, an amazing message, amazing characters … I just don’t have words for it!

I think my favorite thing about this novel was its originality. It’s a romance, but the two main characters don’t even meet for months and months into their relationship! And Tom … wow! He was totally committed before he even met her in person! AAAAH!!!

The minor characters were neat, too. I especially liked the other nurses. Oddly enough (because I don’t know if I was supposed to), I’ve taken a liking to Kay. Should I be shot? I’m sorry … I just feel like there’s something there, you know, underneath all the … ick. I feel sorry for her.

And Rose. I like Rose. And Georgie. I liked Georgie.

Hooooold it a minute! This was gonna be a short review! And so it stops here.

5/5 stars

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads


23582599

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

This was a pretty good novel. It wasn’t my favorite of all the Regency romances I’ve read, but it was enjoyable, the characters were realistic, and the setting was charming, and it was pretty original. At times, I was wrapped up in it (my status updates mostly involved screaming … sorry, Goodreads friends!).

I found the ending to be a little unsettling. Why? Well, I can’t tell you that! It was the ending! THE ENDING! It’d be spoiled for you.

Oh, you’ve read the novel? Okay, here’s why. (HIGHLIGHT TO READ SPOILERS) This sounds stupid, and lots of people have mentioned liking this in their reviews (because it’s original, right?), but I love the idea of inheriting a mansion, it remaining in the family, and all that, and I wanted Jonathan to live at Kettering Hall! I wanted it to remain in the family, and I wanted it to be passed on to their children and their children’s children! So … my weirdness is revealed … (END OF SPOILERS)

Other than that, there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy about this book. It’s more a matter of personal preference than anything (as to why it’s not rated 5 stars).

4/5 stars

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads


17350829

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

Ah, that was cute! I admit it was somewhat cliché, but not much, and I really enjoyed it (because some clichés are just too awesome). The character were believable and the plot was well-paced. I was a little frustrated at the main characters for their back-and-forth-ness sometimes.

Anyway, this is an enjoyable, sweet romance that was only sometimes frustrating and therefore worth it. Besides, I argue that if a couple characters can make me frustrated, even in a bad way, the author has great potential. 😉

Content: no language. Sicknesses and injuries. Lots of mentions of (and a couple brief descriptions of) childbirth. Mentions of pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths, and the like. Julia is terrified of childbirth (mostly of losing a baby). Several mentions of ‘becoming one’ and that sort of thing. Julia and Everett sleep in separate beds after they’re married, etc. Julia was ‘taken advantage of’ before she left Boston (no details, handled well, barely mentioned). Nothing that made me terribly uncomfortable.

4/5 stars

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads


Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Are any of these books getting added to your to-read list? Or taken off?

~Kellyn Roth

 

Alleece Balts, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Young Adult

The Crowd by Alleece Balts

Title: The Crowd

Author: Alleece Balts

Series: The Crowd, #1

Genre: Contemporary YA/Romance

Era: contemporary

Setting: Vermont, United States

Publisher: Alleece Balts

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Crowd by Alleece Balts

28445145

Whitfield Preparatory Academy ought to be the perfect school…

Not only does the Academy boast a distinguished faculty and lavish campus, it is also home to the privileged youth of the upper class. They will one day hold the reins of power in the business world and political arena – but for now, they exercise absolute authority at the Academy.

For seventeen-year-old Ella Parker, acceptance into the prestigious Academy is a dream come true. But her delight quickly turns to dread when she finds herself in the crosshairs of an elite group of ruthless students dubbed “the Crowd.” Ella’s been at the center of unwanted attention before – but never like this – and she’ll do anything to make them stop. Anything, that is, apart from accepting the advances of popular and wealthy playboy Jackson Montgomery, the leader of the Crowd.

Will Ella be humiliated, or triumph over her tormentors?

An irresistible story of faith, friendship, betrayal, and romance, The Crowd will immerse readers in Ella’s tumultuous struggle from the very first page.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

The Crowd by Alleece Balts is a simply fantastic novel. That is the only word to describe this book: fantastic. I was, as the blurb says, immersed from the very first page. I loved it to death, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2!

Plot {5/5}:

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I started this novel. I only knew I was sick to death of hearing about bullying. Why? Because I’m homeschooled and know nothing about it and just want people to stand up for themselves! I’ve read maybe a hundred YA/MG novels with characters getting bullied in it … and it always just annoys me.

However, for some reason this one didn’t annoy me at all.

Aside from that, the plot was fantastic. I’m not going to attempt to explain it to you, but I’ll just say it was amazing, start to finish (and you should read it; you should definitely read it!).

Characters {5/5}:

The characters were another of this novel’s strong points. Ella was one of the most individualistic characters I’ve read of in a long time. There was nothing generic about Ella! Jack was also super cool and interesting (his past, the redemption, etc. were all very real). I love how Ella’s dad was a rockstar and her mother was a reporter and the story of their meeting … wow. Even though we didn’t get to meet either of Ella’s parents (well, we didn’t get to meet Ella’s mom for very long, anyway), I got a super good idea of who they are just based on their actions (and because of Ella’s thinking about them). The same goes for Malcolm.

I’m not going to go into every single character, but … wow. Quite a few of them, all so beautifully done, and I never got them mixed up! How did Mrs. Balts do it? 😀

Setting {4/5}:

Fairly strong. I would have liked a little more focus on the setting here and there. For the most part, though, it was good, and the description was top-notch.

Writing {3/5}:

The author’s writing is absolutely gorgeous! It reminds me of … hmm. I don’t know. Old-fashioned yet contemporary. Whimsical and sweet, but dipping into solemnity when need be. It really showed a lot of emotions and had a lot of content (not the bad kind; I mean content like deep stuff) while not overloading my tiny little brain. 😛

The one problem was the head-hopping. I was never sure if I was in Ella, Jack, or Aunt Meg’s head. It kept changing, oftentimes three or four times in a scene. It was confusing. It didn’t bug me a ton, but it almost made me shave off half a star … before I realized it just wasn’t worth it because the novel was too strong besides that.

Content:

I’d say light PG-13. I’m gonna try to say why as accurately as possible, but I’m not going to list every little thing. Depending on the maturity level, younger teens may need parental guidance.

No cussing. Some crude language and name-calling. A mention of gay people (as a part of the name-calling, not justified). Bullying. Mentions of (and an attempted) suicide. Mentions of drug-use and drinking. Mentions of hospitals, blood, gunshot wounds, almost dying, cancer, etc. Nothing graphic or disturbing.

Lots of attraction, romantic emotions, etc. There are some crude jokes that count towards sexual content. Quite a few kisses, ranging from no details to somewhat-detailed-ish. It’s pretty clear that most of the girls and boys at the campus are none too moralistic. Then … once Ella is hiding a closet (she was snooping and had to hide) and there’s a couple in the room presumably having s*x. Nothing is detailed and it’s not talked about a ton, but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. So there’s that … *awkwardness hopefully ends* But it was such a very brief scene, so … I don’t know.

Overall {5/5}:

A fantastic novel I’d recommend to almost any older teenager/adult and some younger teenagers (depending on who they are and what they can handle). PLEASE let the sequel be coming out soon! Plllllleeeeeaaaaseeee!!!!

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, John A. Heldt, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

The Show by John A. Heldt

Title: The Show

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: Northwest Passage, #3

Genre: Science Fiction Romance (time travel)

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2), contemporary, and 1918 (post-WW1)

Setting: London, England

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: author (in exchange for an honest review)

Rating: 3/5 stars

Content: 3/5. Some language (just a few times, though). Little/no violence (though mention of wars, etc.). Kisses (somewhat detailed), mentions of pregnancy. There’s a scene on Joel and Grace’s wedding night which I skipped and therefore couldn’t tell you about. So … no idea what went on there. *coughs* And then … Grace kinda gives her mother ‘the talk.’ I skimmed this as well, but I didn’t see anything explicit.

The Show by John A. Heldt

27858685

Seattle, 1941.

Grace Vandenberg, 21, is having a bad day. Minutes after Pearl Harbor is attacked, she learns that her boyfriend is a time traveler from 2000 who has abandoned her for a future he insists they cannot share. Determined to save their love, she follows him into the new century. But just when happiness is within her grasp, she accidentally enters a second time portal and exits in 1918.

Distraught and heartbroken, Grace starts a new life in the age of Woodrow Wilson, silent movies, and the Spanish flu.

She meets her parents as young, single adults and befriends a handsome, wounded Army captain just back from the war. In THE SHOW, the sequel to THE MINE, Grace finds love and friendship in the ashes of tragedy as she endures the trial of her life.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

This was a somewhat disappointing novel, mostly because of Grace’s actions in 1918. I was especially confused by her actions towards the end regarding her parents. I didn’t get how that could be possible until the way time travel works in these books was explained in The Mirror. Now that I understand that, however, I’m able to understand this novel much better.

I must say, I loved Grace’s parents as teens. They were amusing, especially her mother. I had no idea ‘Mrs. Vandenburg’ was such a kick as a kid!

I also found it difficult to believe that Grace got over Joel that quickly. Joel was her everything. Sure, she needed to move on … but she was married to him regardless of differences in time and space. Moving on doesn’t necessarily have to involve another man, okay?

I found the whole idea of the theater interesting. Very cool concept. One of the best things about this story other than seeing Grace and Joel again, hearing Grace’s side of the story, etc.

I’m not going to go on more (because I had rating less than four stars … even though three stars is honestly a decent rating …). I’ll just say that this is a good story, but not quite as good as some of Heldt’s others.

~Kellyn Roth

Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Shannon Hale

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title: Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: contemporary

Setting: New York, USA and England

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Source: library

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 3.5/5. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember exactly. Some cussing, but extremely rare … and unnecessary in my opinion. I just remember one or two words. A little sexual content – mostly in form of mentioning stuff that could be taken inappropriately, a little innuendo, and then kissing (not extremely detailed). There were also three mentions of gay people. Never says what that is or goes into more detail about it. Mentions of adultery, and it’s hinted that several of the stayers at the result (they’re all female) have husbands. No violence. Not recommended for readers under 14.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

248483

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

Well … hmm. It was a great book, but there were also a couple things that were not so good. The content, for one. It wasn’t awful (it was better than the very worst Gilmore Girls episode, for my mom’s sake), but it was still there. And unnecessary.

Then I found the writing a bit immature, and the romance was just a wee bit cheesy at times. Also, falling in love with Mr. Darcy does not make you a lesser human being, as Jane seems to think. It makes you a little crazy (KNIGHTLEY GUYS KNIGHTLEY!!! THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EVERY AUSTEN HERO BUT KNIGHTLEY!!!!!!!!), but not a lesser human being. 😉

Other than that, the book was amazing.

The plot, the characters, the setting … all well-developed and original. I especially liked the concept … a place where you can go to dress up like a Regency bell, enjoy the empire-waist gowns and meet the dashing gentlemen (or are they … actors?) of that time. Is anything real at Pembrooke Park, or it all just Jane’s imagination?

But, of course, I’m obsessed with Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Darcy. And I’ve never actually gotten through the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. 😛 I love Keira Knightley unconditionally, no matter what. I don’t care what people say. She is the perfect Elizabeth Bennet.

Anyway, overall, it was a great book. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Gilmore Girls (chick flit) crossed with your less-awesome “historical” romance novel (usually also a chick flit and sometimes pretty slack on the “historical” part!). However, I did enjoy it (didn’t put it down for a long time!) and would recommend it for older young adults/adults.

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, John A. Heldt, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt

Title: Class of ’59

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: American Journey, #4 (can be a stand-alone, too)

Genre: Time Travel Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: contemporary and 1959

Setting: California

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 4/5 stars (.5 removed for content)

Content: 3/5. A few cuss words, d**m a few times and I think maybe h**l once. Some violence (someone is shot with a gun, mentions of blood, nothing graphic at all). As far as sexual content … let’s just say we stayed out the bedroom, but there was some, er, extra-marital activities that weren’t described (past kisses and stuff). Fade-to-black, but we still know it happened and … yep. That’s why I don’t recommend it to anyone under 14. And then … there’s also a mention, when Mark is looking at the 2017 world, of couples of the same gender kissing … so yep. There’s that. Never mentioned again, though.

Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt

31978127

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.

Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

Well, that was great! I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it because I always feel bad after giving a bad review … even if my last review of one of Mr. Heldt’s books wasn’t exactly bad, I had some bad things to say about the book. But I really enjoyed Class of ’59 (as you know if you’re my mother and scolded me in the morning for being up at two …).

Anyway, this book breaks the formula I was kinda starting to see in John A. Heldt books. For instance, we’re seeing the story for two couples’ perspectives … four people who are main characters instead of one. Very nice. Also, we’re seeing the time-traveling, originally, from someone living in the past’s perspective. Really neat. I liked that.

The plot was relatively well-paced and interesting. I enjoyed the setting a bit more than I thought I would (I found it really interesting, if a little … more modern than I’m used to, I suppose), and I was already thinking I’d like it a lot. Honestly, I don’t like to go much past the early ’50s in novels, so this was pushing it for me. But I really liked it. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of school in the late ’50s. And the tennis match … that was my favorite part. 🙂

For some reason I was envisioning a mixture of That Darn Cat, Grease, and my grandma’s young adulthood in my head the whole time I was reading this book. It was pleasant (and a little annoying, because THE GREASE SOUNDTRACK AAAH SHOOT ME BEFORE I HEAR GREASED LIGHTNING RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD ONE MORE TIME!!!), and I’m glad I read it.

Now, the content was a little more than I prefer, but I managed to switch my mind to ‘Okay, I’m watching my grandma’s young adulthood Grease at the moment, and I need to try ignore the content because my grandfather Olivia Newton-John is awesome cute …’ and fast-forward during those parts. 😉

The characters were interesting and unique. I think my favorite was Mary Beth. Or Piper. Definitely Piper. Wait,  I like Ben, too. And Sally …

Which reminds me; not finding out about Sally was one of the  reasons (other than content and the fact that it made me stay up too late 😄 ) I didn’t give this novel 5 stars. How do I know how she ends up?

So, if you’re an older teen/adult (see content section) and you love time-travel romances with a generous dash of adventure, grab a copy of Class of ’59, John A. Heldt’s most recent (September, to be exact) release today!

~Kellyn Roth

Christian Fiction, Comedy, Contemporary Fiction, Grace Marshall, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Young Adult

No Pizza Delivery? by Grace Marshall

Title: No Pizza Delivery?

Author: Grace Marshall

Series: Horse Haven, #1

Genre: Contemporary Christian Comedy

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult)

Era: contemporary

Setting: United States – Missouri and Wisconsin

Publisher: Grace Marshall

Source: from the author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 2/5, rude humor, mentions of thinking a guy’s hot (not really innapropriate or anything).

No Pizza Delivery? by Grace Marshall

30458861

Manure, southern accents, self-absorbed boys, and new faces are all a part of the maze that have become Ruth Deloach’s life.

Her world is sent spinning when she finds out she is going to be ripped from America’s Dairyland to live in the embarrassingly small tourist town of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. The blow is slightly lessened by the news that her father wants to start a horse ranch, but how enjoyable will it really be to live where there is no pizza delivery and a revolving door to the public? A public with a different idea of how things are done and said.

To add embarrassment to her frustration she finds she knows less about horses than she presumed. Maybe the handsome ranch hand her father hires can brighten things up, then again, maybe not.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

This was a sweet, hilarious story. It had a well-paced plot and I can’t wait to read the next book – I kinda felt like it ended with a cliffhanger, even though it wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, because I wanted to read more! I also enjoyed the characters … and, of course, my mouth started to water every time a horse entered. 😛 I need a horse, guys … need not want.

And you know what’s weird? It wasn’t cliché! There are so many books and movies out there about a city girl moving to the country (presumably a country containing horses) and messing up there and finding herself along the way … but this was not cliché. Nor was it cheesy, as most of those books and movies are.

It was fresh and funny and interesting. I liked Ruth a lot, and I really liked her brother … although, of course, I probably wouldn’t want him to be my brother …

And the turkey thing! *cracks up* I have come near to having that happen to me, so I understand the feeling, though I would have been the one ripping the turkey out. (What? Read the book to find out what I’m talking about!)

Ruth and me have something in common in thinking we’re better with horses than we are … though even Ruth is probably a better rider than I am! 😀

Overall, this was a quick, amusing read! I think it could use just a wee bit of editing (I’m sorry; I’m a bit of a perfectionist!), but a couple punctuation mistakes didn’t bother my enjoyment of it … and most people probably wouldn’t notice them, as I’m extremely meticulous.

So, go buy a copy and have a nice, light read and, above all, enjoy the horses! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth

Action/Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, John A. Heldt, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Young Adult

The Fire by John A. Heldt

Title: The Fire

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: Northwest Passage, #4

Genre: Time Travel Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 13+ (upper young adult/adult)

Era: 2000s/1910s (Contemporary/Edwardian)

Setting: Northwest America

Publisher: John A. Heldt (self-published)

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 3/5 stars

Content: 3/5, not recommended for anyone under thirteen. Mild language, only occasionally. Some violence/death/thematic elements, but nothing gory or frightening. (SPOILERS NOW) I expected there to be another out-of-marriage sex scene, but there was more description this time (it was very no-details and fade-to-black in the last two books I read by Mr. Heldt, and although it wasn’t very detailed and it didn’t go too far … still not a fan). I was disappointed. Also, they didn’t get married, although they would have if they could have. There were also several mentions of visits to prostitutes, and one of the main characters would have become a prostitute, but she was rescued before she actually … *awkwardness* (END OF SPOILERS)

Continue reading “The Fire by John A. Heldt”

Action/Adventure, Adult, Alexa Verde, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Reviews by Age-Range, Reviews by Author, Reviews by Genre, Romance, Young Adult

Taste of Danger by Alexa Verde

Title: Taste of Danger

Author: Alexa Verde (http://www.alexaverde.com)

Series: Secrets of Rios Azules, #2 (can definitely be a stand-alone)

Genre: Christian adventure romance

Age-Range: young adult/adult

Setting: Rios Azules, a small town in Texas, USA

Publisher: Alexa Verde

Source: author (for honest review)

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. Some violence. Nothing too graphic. Some intense action scenes. Okay for teens; some parental guidance for tweens (maybe).

Taste of Danger by Alexa Verde

30197271

Small-town librarian Soledad Sokolova has three days to find a hidden Russian treasure — or she and her father will die. Out of options, she turns for help to a hunky stranger, private investigator James O’Hara. But she knows better than to let a ladies’ man break her heart for the second time. Bound by his word to Soledad’s father, James is ready to protect her at all costs. However, once betrayed, he’s reluctant to fall in love again. Will James and Soledad escape danger and find treasures of faith, love, and hope?

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

Continue reading “Taste of Danger by Alexa Verde”