Book Review: The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles #2) by John A. Heldt

Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: 30th April 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time-Travel, Sci-Fi, Relationships & Family
SeriesCarson Chronicles – Book #2
Edition: E-book
Pages: 659
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents’ Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt is a compelling sequel to River Rising, book one in the Carson Chronicles series. Just like the first part of this series, and the others I’ve read by the author, this book was equally interesting, entertaining and emotional. It had a lot to offer in terms of the rich American history, WWI and the culture of the years long gone. This book was especially good because it had a twist which I was not expecting and the element of surprise really caught me off-guard as I’ve come to understand where things are generally moving in author Heldt’s books because of having read many of them and being familiar with his style of writing. So the twist was a pleasant surprise for me.

The characterization was good and I was able to see the development of all the characters from the last book experiencing new worlds and living in times new to them. The writing was good and complimented the story well. And I’m really looking forward to reading the next part of this series.

I’d recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers and to everyone who loves reading stories on relationships and families. It is an honest-to-god feel-good story that will definitely warm your heart.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon
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Book Review: River Rising (Carson Chronicles #1) by John A. Heldt

Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: 7th February 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction, Romance, Historical
Series: 
Carson Chronicles
Edition:
 e-book
Pages: 661
Publisher:
Blurb:
Weeks after his parents disappear on a hike, engineer Adam Carson, 27, searches for answers. Then he discovers a secret web site and learns his mom and dad are time travelers stuck in the past. Armed with the information he needs to find them, Adam convinces his younger siblings to join him on a rescue mission to the 1880s.
While Greg, the adventurous middle brother, follows leads in the Wild West, Adam, journalist Natalie, and high school seniors Cody and Caitlin do the same in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Like the residents of the bustling steel community, all are unaware of a flood that will destroy the city on May 31, 1889.
In RIVER RISING, the first novel in the Carson Chronicles series, five young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they experience America in the age of bustle dresses, gunslingers, and robber barons.

REVIEW

★★★★★

River Rising by John A. Heldt is an engaging sci-fi historical book that’ll take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.

I’ve always loved author Heldt’s books because of the beautiful storylines and his exceptional storytelling skills, and this book is no different and had the same charm that I find nothing short of magic. In fact, this book was all this and so much more; it had elements of mystery and something very different from the author’s previous books – this book is a series based around the same family. This made me look at the characters, the main ones as well as the secondary ones, in a very different light.

Overall it was a very good read and I enjoyed every aspect of it. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, science-fiction – time travel, simple romance, family drama and easy mystery.

Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

27258807Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: October 21, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction>Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Edition: Ebook (Kindle)
Pages: 431
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

Review

Mercer Street by John A. Heldt is the second book in the American Journey Series. As a fan of Mr. Heldt’s books I had a lot of expectations for this book, and as expected, this book lived up to each and every single one of them.

I always find Mr. Heldt’s novels very meticulous, gripping and heart-warming. There’s a unique quality about his writing that makes you feel eerily happy and content while reading his books that you simply can’t put them down. His story-telling is so beautiful that his writing puts tons of ‘big-time’ authors to shame in comparison.

This story is about three females of varied ages –  a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. I loved the assortment of memorable characters and their deliciously distinct backgrounds in this book. They were so compelling that I found myself thinking about them for days, especially about the way things ended.

The vivid imagery, the complex emotional battles each character fights, the moving story and the gut-wrenching situations the characters go through make this book an unforgetful read.

There are some books that are not simply read, but experienced, and this one is one of those. When you read each and every chapter, you feel like you’re not just reading them but savoring them and feel like doing it slowly so as to enjoy the experience for a long time.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you read.


Goodreads | Amazon

Book Review: September Sky (American Journey #1)

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Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: January 1, 2015
Series: American Journey
Genre: Science-Fiction- Time Travel | Romance | History
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 412
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon


Blurb

When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

Review4+1:2 Stars Black

 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Hedlt’s books and The Mine and The Journey are one of my all time favorites. As a result, I had huge expectations from this one and, I must say, that September Sky didn’t disappoint me.

The storyline is well thought out and thoroughly researched. All the historical facts and places are to the point. Though the plot felt a little far-fetched at times, I still enjoyed it, given that the book was about time-travel, a far-fetched concept in itself.

This book is written in third person multiple POVs which give a very clear idea about everyone’s thoughts and reflections. Author’s writing is one of the best parts of the story and I can’t sing enough praise for it. It is simple, relatable and flows beautifully.

It book had a slow start but it picked up the pace gradually. This, however, is a point that I have gotten accustomed to while reading Mr.Heldt’s books. So, when I read his books I know what to expect and that makes it a little easy for me to get through the slow start of his books. But might be a problem for anyone who’ll be reading his book for the first time. So bear in mind that his books are worth the initial labor.

The ending is amazing. In spite of being a romance novel, I really didn’t see it coming, so it was a pleasant surprise. All the questions were answered with great care at the end and I was completely satisfied with the way things turned out for everyone.

The characterization is really good and I felt a connection with each and every character (even with the secondary ones) and thoroughly enjoyed reading about each and everyone.

As this is the first book in the American Journey series, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Charles Townsend lifted the small, framed photo from the corner of his desk and studied the boy with the bat.

Highlights: Storyline.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Paragraph: 

With that Geoffrey Bell, professor of physics, cruise-ship lecturer, and time-travel agent, walked out of the room and out of sight. He left his guests with Victorian clothing, bogus documents, and twenty-first-century anxiety.

Final Thoughts: A heart-warming read.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

 

Book Review: The Journey (Northwest Passage #2)

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Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: November 3, 2012
Series: Northwest Passage #2
Genre: Science-Fiction > Time-Travel | Family | Romance
Edition: mobi
Pages: 271
Publisher: Self-published
Interest: Requested by Author
Source: Author (Thanks a lot John!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

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.

Rating

4half-stars

Review

Plot | Story

I loved the first book in this series, The Mine, and so obviously I was expecting a lot from this one. The Journey met all my expectations and even managed to make it’s place in my favourite books. Inspite of increased expectations somewhere I had a bit of a reservation, before starting the book,  thinking that how one time travel book can be different from the other one by the same author. And to my pleasant surprise, John Heldt exceeded all my reservations and this book made a remarkable read. It’s concept was totally different from the last one (which for me was totally awesome!) I love both the books so much that I can’t even pick my favourite one out of the two.

Coming back to the plot and story, The Journey started of on a great note and only after a very few pages the time-travel thing happens. The flow of the story was good and the pace was something that I call “no-nonsense pace”, where everything major happens without any unnecessary drama or twist.

I was completely absorbed in the story right from the first page till the very last one. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and I might just read it a second time soon.

Characters

I loved Michelle and Shelly Preston. They’ve easily become on of my favourite characters (like Joel from the previous one.) I even loved the other characters… actually, scratch that, I loved all the characters. John’s characterisation is so gripping that the reader can’t help but fall in love with all the characters, especially the main ones.

I loved the little meeting towards the end where Michelle meets Joel. That was a real treat.

Romance

There was romance in the book but the overall story was about something else. The little bit of romance between Michelle and Robert was refreshing and entertaining. It was the typical old school romance where there’s no sex before marriage and was the sweetest part. I hated it when in the end Robert suffers but well, it only shows that not all endings are happy.

Writing

Now that I’ve read two books by John Heldt, I can say without any hesitation that I’m already a fan of his writing. I can connect with his way of writing almost instantly. It’s very effective in a very simple way. He never over-exaggerates anything nor does he undermines the importance of either the plot or the characters. Also, his stories are always so much more than what the reader expects. They are very eventful and keeps the reader absorbed throughout the book. His writing is subtle and I really enjoy reading his books.

Beginning

I was absorbed in the book right from the start. I loved the beginning as it was quite eventful. I loved the time travelling thing and the way the story progressed. I even like the willingness and even the eagerness of Mitchell to start a new life for someone who time-travelled unknowingly, given her past.

Ending

Ending was a huge surprise. I had a lot of assumptions for the end but I never imagined it to be what the ending really is. I compliment John Heldt for pulling off such a drastic ending. It blew my mind and left me wondering if it really should have happened as I loved the lead a lot. But that’s the way a good ending is, so yea, I made my peace with it (not to forget Shelly was Mitchelle herself!)

Blurb

In one word, this blurb is precise! It tells the reader what there is to know. As this is not a mystery book, there’s nothing that can spoil this book except the end, so the blurb is perfect.

Cover Art

The cove art is very much in sync with that of The Mine and as a part of the same series, it’s a good thing. Keeping the theme of the book in mind, I think that the cover is good enough. It has a depth but still I feel that it could have been a teeny tiny bit better. Still I like it.

You can also read this review at Goodreads | Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening line: Michelle started at the marble memorial and saw dead things.

Highlights: John Heldt’s supereb storytelling

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: An amazing read.

FTC Disclaimer
I do not accept any form of payment for the reviews I write or the other content I post. 
Books received from Authors & Publishers are designated as such. 
Receiving books from Authors/Publishers, in no way affects my review as it is my own opinion.

Book Review: The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)

The Mine

Author: John A. Heldt

Release Date: December 6, 2013

Series: Northwest Passage #1

Genre: Science-Fiction > Time-Travel | Historical-Fiction | Fantasy | Adventure | Romance | NA 

Edition: mobi

Pages: 316

Publisher: Not known

Interest: Requested by author

Source: Author (Thanks a lot John!)

Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Review

5-Stars

Positives

The Mine is the best time-travel book I’ve read in a really, really long time! It’s a brilliantly written book and the strong and realistic characterization will definitely blow your mind. Joel Smith, the lead, is such a gentleman and is just so adorable that I really can’t praise enough. You can feel the connection, with Joel, develop over quite a few pages but once he time-travels and starts his new life, you’ll start understanding him better and better with every page you turn. Joel is my new favourite time-travelling character. He is everything a stud, time-travelling brilliant and smart guy should be. He handles the fact, that he has indeed walked into a time-machine and come 59 years before his time, pretty well and starts acting accordingly.

Among the other characters, Ginny really stands out. She is this amazing women whom you really idealize and start respecting instantly. John has left a lot of big authors far behind in the race when it comes to character building (atleast for me!)

The plot is amazing and develops slowly in a very subtle way. It ends beautifully and leaves you craving for more and more. From the historical point of view, as far as I know, John has paid very close attention to the details which is highly commendable.

Negatives

None!

Conclusion

The Mine is a beautifully written book and definitely a must read. I’d recommend it to everyone, particularly the fans of Time-Travel, Science-Fiction, Adventure and Historical-Romance. Trust me, you really don’t wanna miss out on a wonderful book like this one!

You can also read this review at Goodreads.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “Joel eyed the remains and laughed at the animal that had caused the carnage.”

Highlights: Excellent writing and perfect characterization.

Low-lights: None.

Memorable Quote:

“Beneath that delicate exterior is a strong, resolute woman who does nothing halfway. Never take her for granted and never underestimate her. She will amaze.”

Final Thoughts: The best time-travel book I’ve read till date!