The Journey by John A. Heldt

And we’re back!

I’m planning on posting Tuesday and Friday from this point forward, although there may occasionally be a post on another day. Especially as I need to catch up on reviews. The hiatus was nice, but it’s good to be back. 🙂

Title: The Journey

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: Northwest Passage, #2

Genre: Science Fiction (time travel romance/adventure)

Era: contemporary and 1979

Setting: Unionville, Oregon, United States

Publisher: John A. Heldt

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

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

THE JOURNEY BY JOHN A. HELDT

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Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

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Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

Title: Hannah’s Moon

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: American Journey, #5

Genre: science fiction (time travel romance)

Era: contemporary & 1945

Setting: Tennessee, United States

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

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After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival.

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, Hannah’s Moon, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

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I don’t know what to say about this novel. It was amazing, yes, but I don’t know if I can put that amazingness into sentences that make a lick of sense. But I’m going to try, and hopefully I’ll be able to do this book justice.

Let me just say, before I delve into each individual aspect, that it is an amazing book. I cried, I laughed, I shivered – from fear, from worry, from excitement. It’s threatened Indiana Belle‘s place as my favorite Heldt book!

PLOT: 5/5

Incredible.

I’m not going to attempt to recap this book (I rarely do that; it’s just not my style), but let me just say that all the twists and turns were quite amazing. I can honestly say I didn’t see most of the plot twists coming, and even the smallest changes kept me spinning, excited to keep reading, not wanting to stop.

Also, the ending … I don’t want the American Journey series to end, but let me just say, that the final plot twist + seeing all the characters I’ve read about in previous books again if only briefly + how it concluded the series was pretty awesome!

Also, it was pretty clean (that I remember). Which is something I’m technically supposed to talk about later on, but, well, it bears mentioning twice.

CHARACTERS: 5/5

I felt that every character in this book was well-developed and interesting. A few of my favorites were …

Margaret: I loved her to death. Her backstory was heartbreaking, but it really added depth to her character. Also, she was just a sweet, friendly lady. Technically, the main story didn’t revolve around her, but she was a great sideplot.

David: David is awesome! He’s one of those guys you root for and yet want to push into a creek or something.

Claire: Because she’s just so sweet. And I feel so awful for her, poor dear, or at least at the start of the book.

Ron, I’m not putting up there because he annoyed me. He did some pretty stupid things, even if he did them for the right reason. I was impressed with his fortitude in certain situations, though.

SETTING: 5/5

I felt that John A. Heldt did a great job researching for this book and putting that research into this fictional world.

(Minor spoilers!)

One of my favorite parts were the details about the Indianapolis. I am by no means a WW2 buff, but I do know a ton (and I’m not exaggerating) about the USS Indianapolis. Possibly because of Jaws and the sharks. Okay, mostly because of Jaws and the sharks. *sigh*

Also, am I the only one who was just a little disappointed that there was no Jaws reference? That would have been a perfect way to warn Ron. Ah, well, I can go write my own book if I want to use that. 😛

(End of minor spoilers!)

WRITING: 5/5

I thought it was quite well-written. I don’t know if it’s proper reviewer protocol to say this or not, but I really see how the author’s prose, dialogue, etc. has improved from book to book, which is just fun to see.

CONTENT: 3/5

Language: some language, including a few instances of d**n and h*ll as well as possibly oh my g*d (although it’s been a while since I read it). Pretty infrequent.

Violence: talks about the war, people dying, etc. A semi-detailed account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and what the survivors experienced. A fight in an alley, described in a little detail.

Sexual: several kisses, some a little bit detailed (but not much). Claire and Ron have suffered numerous miscarriages and a stillborn child. Margaret and David kinda-sorta have a romance while Margaret is engaged. Margaret has a backstory; (spoilers ahead) she got pregnant out of wedlock; she gave her child up for adoption. (end of spoilers)

Other: much sadness and drama. *couldn’t think of anything else to put here*

Overall, it was pretty clean. I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens, but I think anyone about 15+ would be able to handle it.

OVERALL: 5/5

I’m starting to feel a little guilty about not thinking up something negative to say about this book, but I honestly can’t! It’s a little heavier than the other Heldt books, but it’s really, really good. Heartbreaking … and yet leaves you with a satisfied feeling.

Hmm … I guess it’s not out in paperback, so I could moan about that a little. I really want to own a physical copy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Blog (social media links on sidebar)


~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you ever read anything by John A. Heldt? Do you enjoy time travel fiction? What about WW2 fiction?

7 Christian Historical Romances

I was just going to have this be a mini review post, but I realized the genres were kind of … exactly the same. So this post is ‘7 Christian Historical Romances.’ Hopefully you enjoy these reviews.

7 Christian Historical Romances

And no, these aren’t any particular Christian Historical Romances. They’re just ones I needed to review that I grouped together to do mini reviews of.

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

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For the most part, this was a great book. I loved Cullen and Della, and everything about the fair was absolutely fascinating. I also loved reading about the school for deaf children, etc. That was part heartbreaking, part intriguing. I don’t really have any complaints about the characters, plot, setting, or writing … I thought it was all pretty awesome! It even deals with some tough issues of the time.

However, the content was a little much for a book of this particular genre. Cullen’s former fiancĂ©e tries to talk him into sleeping with her (basically). It’s a brief scene, but … still. Too much. Also, we kinda-sorta get a peek at the wedding night of the main characters’. It’s not an actual scene, but it’s led up to, if you will. Then Cullen does spend a lot of time staring at Della’s lips … but … if you read the book (or even the synopsis), you’ll understand why. 😉

4/5 stars

Amazon ~ Goodreads

All in Good Time by Maureen Lang

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This novel deals with a time and place I don’t often visit – Denver, Colorado of 1887. It also touches on a difficult subject – prostitution. Basically, the main character, Dessa Caldwell, is trying to found a refuge for former prostitutes (and needs the help of handsome bank manager Henry Hawkins to do it). However, I thought it was well dealt with. The content didn’t feel like too much (although I still wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers because it just isn’t good subject-matter for them).

I was a little worried that Henry’s secret past wasn’t dealt with as fully as it should have been, but maybe that’s just me. Also, the book seemed to drag in a couple places. I didn’t enjoy it a ton, but it still was interesting, and Della was endearing.

2/5 stars

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A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

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I don’t know if I’ve yet to express how much I love Belmont Mansion and its owner, Adelicia Acklen. Also, I’m a huge fan of Tamera Alexander’s writing style and the settings she chooses for her novels.

Things I loved included Tate, Rebekah, basically everything related to the orchestra and music, seeing characters from the old novel, Adelicia herself, the mansion.

Things I didn’t love so much included a super-rushed ending, quite a lot of kissing (you know, for this genre), and Rebekah’s stepfather (who tried to rape her when she was a young; there is some talk about this, but it’s never described).

4/5 stars

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When Hope Springs New by Janette Oke

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I feel like there was only meant to be one or two of these books and Janette Oke just kept stringing them out ’cause they were popular. I didn’t really enjoy this book very much. I liked Elizabeth and Wynn still, yes, but I guess I just got sick of them. It’s the same Elizabeth and Wynn of the last three books, and I guess some people really want that, but I just can’t take it anymore.

I guess I just ended up being kinda disappointed with this series as a whole. I did love the first book, but after that they got steadily worse and worse. Yes, there’s a lot of sweet Christian content, but I never absolutely loved Elizabeth. Then, in this book, the ending seemed so random and just there. Not worth the rest, in my opinion.

2/5 stars

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The Pelican Bride by Beth White

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I loved parts of this book, what with its original setting and interesting characters. The romance took up a small part of the story, which was refreshing.

However, there seemed to be a lot of content. I’m not too worried about the violence. There was nothing gory, but the French were at war with some of the American Indians as well as the Brittish and all sides could be pretty ruthless. I didn’t even mind the mentions of how the French took Indian mistresses and sired illegitimate children. I mean, that actually happened; we can’t just ignore it!

I’m talking about all that talk about the wedding night. Goodness gracious, what was that for? We didn’t need to go that far! Sure, the book doesn’t actually show sex, but it shows what I’d call foreplay. Seriously. Not something I want to read.

Other than that, it was pretty awesome. The author clearly did her homework. I recently studied this period, and seeing it play out in a fictional world was fun for me.

3/5 stars

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Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

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Not a great book, but not a bad book. It skipped forward rather suddenly a couple times, oftentimes skimming over years. It was kind of divided into two parts; the Titantic and the war. Between then, the events are kinda foggy. (And yes, a lot of reviewers said the exact thing, but it bears restating.)

Then there were just too many POVs. Don’t get me wrong; I love seeing the world of a book from as many perspectives as possible. However, this was just too much. A lot of characters just got one scene and for the rest of the book either didn’t exist or weren’t important. This was extremely annoying.

I did enjoy it, I just didn’t love it. I don’t think it was as well-done as it could have been, and it was pretty confusing at times.

3/5 stars

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The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell

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This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. There were a couple issues (which I’ll address below; I literally wrote them down because I read this on vacation and was bored), but other than that, I really loved it. Great characters, great plot, great setting. I especially loved Julia, Fiona, Mr. Clay, and … okay, yep, I loved all of them.

So, the negatives:

  • Trumpets, baritones, etc. aren’t “wind instruments.” Just sayin’.
  • I believe housekeepers were called “Mrs.” even when they weren’t? Correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t know for sure.
  • What happened to half-mourning? Julia just seems to hop out of mourning at the end of a year, but that wasn’t how it worked. In fact, it seems like a lot of the rules of mourning were ignored.
  • The formatting was pretty awful in the Kindle version I had. Not really a problem wit the book, but, um, I wrote it down, so …
  • There were a couple places where the author randomly head-hopped at the very end (about 90%+). And a few typos here and there, I think.
  • Were American fashions seriously considered fashionable in England? Okay, yes, maybe they were, but … I’d never heard it before. And, again, I wrote it down, so …
  • I don’t believe the English school system was at all like the American school system of the time. I believe you had to pay to put your children in school except in the case of charity schools (which this school didn’t appear to be). (Again, I could be wrong!)
  • The ending was a little sudden and rushed. It wasn’t too bad, though.

4.5/5 stars

Amazon ~ Goodreads


Thanks for reading my reviews! I hope you enjoyed them. I’ll be reviewing a lot in the next couple weeks, and then, once I’m all caught up, there will be some fun posts. Hopefully.

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you read any of these books? Do you enjoy Christian Historical Romances? If so, do you have any pet peeves about the genre? I sure do …

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

Title: Broken Branches

Author: M. Jonathan Lee

Genre: horror/paranormal

Setting: English countryside

Publisher: Hideaway Falls

Source: from the publisher

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

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A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

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After a Fashion by Jen Turano

Over at my blog, Reveries, there’s a blog tour going on. You should check it out! But anyway, that’s why I didn’t post these last weeks. *blushes*

Title: After a Fashion

Author: Jen Turano

Series: A Class of Their Own, #1

Genre: Historical Romance/Romantic Comedy

Era: 1882

Setting: New York

Publisher: Bethany House Publisher

Source: from library

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

After a Fashion by Jen Turano

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Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself without an income.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiancée causing the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can’t make her fashionable. She’ll never truly fit into Oliver’s world, with its fancy dinners and elegant balls, but just as she’s ready to call off the fake relationship a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

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The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo (blog tour)

thereluctantgodfather

I know I already reviewed The Reluctant Godfather, but I’m reviewing it again. This one is a full-length review as part of Allison Tebo’s blog tour for her new novella. You can enter the giveaway here.

Before you read the review, a little about the author …

Allison Tebo is a Christian homeschool graduate in her mid-twenties, who works part time as a sales associate for a major transportation company.  A graduate of London Art College, Allison pursues avenues in cartooning and illustrating as well as singing and voice acting. In her spare time she writes and blogs at www.allisonswell.com.

It is her goal to write fiction that appeals to many different kind of people, by writing clean, classic fun. Her faith in Christ directly influences all she writes about – or does not write about.  Whether the story possesses a strong message or is simply fun and imaginative fiction – her desire is to bring honor to God – and to provide quality stories for everyone to enjoy.

And the review …

Title: The Reluctant Godfather

Author: Allison Tebo

Series: Tales of Ambia, 1

Genre: fairytale retelling (light fantasy)

Publisher: Allison Tebo

Source: bought

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo

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A humorous and magical re-telling of Cinderella from a unique perspective.

Burndee is a young and cantankerous fairy godfather, who would rather bake cakes than help humans. A disgrace to the fairy order, Burndee has only two wards entrusted to his care
a cinder girl and a charming prince.

A royal ball presents Burndee with the brilliant solution of how to make his wards happy with the least amount of effort. He’ll arrange a meeting and hope the two fall in love.

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I got this book on a free day, and I was so excited! I’d really been looking forward to reading it. A retelling of Cinderella from the perspective of the Fairy Godfather? Sign me up! Then I skim-read it again (although it was hard; I really wanted to just settle in and enjoy it!) so I could rewrite this review. I’m going to have to read it again sometime sooner or later … it’s really that good!

The Reluctant Godfather is a fantastic story. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. It was hilarious, causing me to laugh aloud several times. Allison’s writing style is unique and engaging. It’s light and just a bit silly, but completely self-aware and quite clever.

The characters were amazing. Burndee was especially awesome with Ella running a close second. Colin 
 I am a little irritated with him. Mostly because I think all Colins should be amazing. *shrugs* It’s a weird quirk 


Though, in hindsight, I guess Colin wasn’t terrible. He was irritating, though. Sometimes I was like, “Colin … I’m going to strangle you … and I don’t think anyone’s going to try to stop me …”

I can’t tell you all the amazing twists and turns of the plot without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say that this retelling leaves no clichĂ© unaddressed. Sometimes I thought, “Oh, well, that’s gonna be a little clichĂ© …” and it turned out so creative! It’s truly a work of genius. And it’s really funny. What’s not to love? I honestly can’t stop raving about it.

I’m not going to rant on about the amazingness of this book forever, but you must read it! Really. Get yourself a copy.

In closing, I just want to say: Allison. I MUST READ THE SEQUEL AAAAH!!! More Ella and Burndee and maybe even Colin … *squeals*

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you read this book? Are you going to? Did you check out the giveaway and other blog posts? What are your thoughts on fairytale retellings?

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Title: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Author: Baroness Orczy

Series: The Scarlet Pimpernel, #1

Genre: Classic Adventure/Romance

Era: 1790s (French Revolution)

Setting: England and France

Source: from library (read with my mom)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

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Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down.

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I really enjoyed this book. It has definitely earned a place amongst my favorites! I think it’s one of those books everyone should read, along with Austen. It’s both humorous and thrilling, romantic and adventurous.

Plot: 5/5

This is genius. Absolute genius.

A dashing hero is saving the aristocrats from the dreaded guillotine. A beautiful woman fights for her marriage, which seems to be falling apart at the seams. An evil man plots to capture the dashing hero.

The plot is sooo good! I can’t begin to describe how much I enjoyed all the twists and turns. I swear I didn’t guess a single plot twist before it happened … not a single one! I was surprised every time.

It was so good that I’m just gonna have to send you off to read it. ‘Cause I can’t tell you with words how amazing it is.

Characters: 5/5

The characters were awesome, too! They were all beautifully developed and loveable – or hateful, in the case of the villains. I’ll describe a few of my favorites.

Marguerite … who can hate this girl? She comes off as a little silly and self-centered at first, but we soon learn her true mettle. She’s awesome.

Percy: *swoons* HE IS SO AMAZING I LOVE HIM! He’s got to be my favorite hero. Well, my favorite hero from classic fiction, anyway. Except … well, maybe he’s not my absolute favorite hero, but he’s up there! Top ten at least!

Chauvelin: I hate you. Die. But really, he was so absolutely despicable that I kinda admired the character development. Such evil! Such malice! Such hatred!

There were several other notable characters, but I won’t go into them.

Setting: 4/5

There wasn’t a ton of work done on setting, but I did enjoy everything about English social life at the time and then the French upheaval. The more I read about the French Revolution, the angrier I get. *glares at the evil French Revolution peeps* Seriously, that was so awful! I was shocked … I hadn’t realized it was that bad until I started studying it this year.

Writing: 5/5

*grins* I’m a sucker for old books. And old writing. I wish I could write like that and magically not bore secular readers. So yes, loved the writing. I really enjoyed the author’s style.

Content: 2/5

Language: Percy exclaims, “Odd’s fish!” and “Sink me!” and such. Otherwise, no.

Violence: mentions of the guillotine and people getting killed by it. Lots of talk of killing (’cause it’s Le Revolution!).

Sexual: Percy and Marguerite kiss a couple times (I think), but there are no details.

This was a pretty clean book, though the whole thing with the French Revolution might scare younger readers. Okay for any young adult.

Overall: 5/5

I LOVE THIS BOOK IT’S SO GREAT READ IT NOW AAAAAAAH!!!

*clears throat* Um … this is an excellent book. You may want to procure a copy and devour it. I enjoyed the plot, characters, and setting thoroughly. I’d recommend it to any lover of classics, adventure, romance, or simply good books.

~Kellyn Roth~

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p.s.

Have you read this book? If so, did you enjoy it? If not, will you read it now? Do you enjoy classics? If so, what are some of your favorites? If not, have you even tried classics? ‘Cause maybe you’d enjoy them … who knows? 😉

Also … I am out of town. *nods*