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.

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~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?

Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

Title: Mercer Street

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: American Journey, #2

Genre: Time Travel Romance (Science Fiction)

Era: contemporary and 1938 (pre-WW2)

Setting: United States (Princeton, New Jersey)

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars (1 star removed for content)

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The Mirror by John A. Heldt

Title: The Mirror

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: Northwest Passage, #5

Genre: Science Fiction (time-travel) Romance

Age-Range: 15+ (upper young adult/adult)

Era: futuristic (2020) and 1960s

Setting: Seattle, Washington

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: author (in exchange for honest review)

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 4/5. A star was removed for content. No violence (though mentions of protests, the Civil Rights movement, and such). People are mean to a character because he’s black. Some cussing here and there – not very frequent. Mentions of birth control pills and that kind of thing (I think a mention of condoms, too? Ew …). A girl gets pregnant out of wedlock. Lots of kissing and mentions of kissing and mentions of sex, too. The word for those girls is promiscuous. But by 2020, I imagine that’s gonna be even more socially accepted, so … 😉 Just kidding. But seriously, though, not recommended to younger teens at all. Caution prescribed for older teens.

The Mirror by John A. Heldt

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On September 11, 2020, Ginny and Katie Smith celebrate their nineteenth birthday at a country fair near Seattle. Ignoring the warnings of a fortune-teller, they enter a house of mirrors and exit in May 1964. Armed with the knowledge they need to return to their time, they try to make the most of what they believe will be a four-month vacation.

But their sixties adventure becomes complicated when they meet a revered great-grandmother and fall in love with local boys. In THE MIRROR, the sequel to THE MINE and THE SHOW, the sisters find happiness and heartbreak as they confront unexpected challenges and gut-wrenching choices in the age of civil rights, the Beatles, and Vietnam.

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Again, a kind of short review I’m afraid to say. I should probably have set this one aside for a while because it’s a meaty book and I don’t want to forget anything, but I don’t want to make the author wait any longer, and this is what I have time for now. 🙂

This was a really great book! I enjoyed it from cover to cover. The only downside was the content. Lots of sex out of marriage, even if it wasn’t detailed. Didn’t care for that at all. However, if you can skim through that and pretend it didn’t happen (which I did), it is amazing.

I don’t read a lot of books set during this time period. I don’t know a ton about the Civil Rights movement. I’m not going to be studying it until … hmm, probably year after next year. And I’m sick of hearing about racism, frankly. I admit it might be a very real problem … but I feel like people make way too big a deal about it nowadays. However, back then racism was definitely a big thing, and this seemed an accurate, unbiased portrayal of the times.

I didn’t realize the Beatles were that big a deal! I like the Beatles, sure, they’re great … but the level of obsession! I had no idea. That was cool. 😀

Can we take a minute to appreciate James and Mike? Both great guys, both swell characters, and both with some serious problems on their hands! And James’s mom … gosh. Mike’s mom wasn’t bad, either, but James’s mom was my favorite. So much fun!

I really liked all the characters (that I was supposed to like, anyway … and even the bad guys were well-done!) though, like I said, Ginny and Katie (which surprised me! Katie!) both acted inappropriately by my standards. Even by the world’s standards, they were acting pretty dangerously (as evidenced by the … plot twist … at the end of the book).

Virginia … well, I can’t get enough of this girl. 🙂 She was fun as a young woman, and as a middle-aged woman she’s no less fun!

The subplot with Mike and Katie and Mike’s ancestors and all that … that was fantastic. I was a little confused in places, but for the most part, I loved it.

The ending was a little sad, but that was how it had to be … I know that. Still … sad. 😩

Overall, this was a great book for adults and upper young adults. It’s really great, and I enjoyed it so much! Looking for more books like this one by John A. Heldt in the future!

~Kellyn Roth

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

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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 XD ) 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

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)

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