2015 Book #98 – The Mirror by John A. Heldt

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Title: The Mirror
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 9/14/15
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: John A. Heldt (Self-published)
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Pages in book: 387
Stand alone or series: #5 in the Northwest Passage series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Ginny and Katie Smith, twin daughters of Joel and Grace Smith. Joel was the main character in the first book in this series, The Mine, and Grace was the main character of the third book in the series and The Mine’s sequel The Show. Katie and Ginny Smith have just turned 19 and they are celebrating their birthday at a local fair. They are looking forward to starting college within the next couple weeks and are excited about the upcoming changes in their lives. Unfortunately, fate has other ideas in store for the two pretty twin sisters and after looking at a Mirror exhibit at the fair they somehow end up in the year 1964.
They realize that their best bet of returning home to their family is to go the same Mirror exhibit at the fair in this new year they’ve been deposited into. Since the fair doesn’t open for a few months though, Ginny and Katie have to figure out what to do with themselves in the meantime. They obtain jobs and make friends and somehow meet up with ancestral family. And as much as they don’t want to interfere with the time stream, neither of them can seem to help falling in love.
Overall I liked this book a lot more than The Show but just a tiny bit less than The Mine. I just felt like there wasn’t as much wrap up with the story as there was with The Mine. I really enjoyed the plot line of this book though, especially Ginny and Katie’s characters, they were a hoot.

The bottom line: I enjoyed this book a lot, almost as much as I enjoyed the first book, The Mirror. The plot line was interesting and I liked hearing more about the characters from first two books. Good series overall I think!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #97 – The Show by John A. Heldt

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Title: The Show
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 9/13/15
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: John A. Heldt (Self-published)
Publication Date: February 17, 2013
Pages in book: 293
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Northwest Passage series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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.

My rating: 2.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Grace Vandenberg. This book picks up a little before where The Mine left off since we here about Grace’s decision to travel to the year 2000 to be with Joel. After that everything goes smoothly for awhile, Grace and Joel marry and start a family. Unfortunately on their second wedding anniversary Grace is somehow transported from the year 2002 to 1918. Luckily she’s still in Seattle so she looks up her Uncle Alistair Green who takes her in but still Grace is lost in another time with no idea how to get back to her two young children and her husband.
Grace’s uncle takes her home to live with her and try to help her start over in this new world. Along the way Grace meets the Green’s neighbor John Walker, an injured war veteran who also has the look of loss about him. Grace finds herself drawn to John as she mourns the loss of her husband and her two daughters. And then when Grace’s mother Lucy comes to America as an 18-year old girl to begin her college education, Grace is presented with an opportunity that she never even thought to hope for.
**SPOILER ALERT**  There were a few issues that I had with this book. Grace ends up bringing her mother and father back to the future with her at the end so that they don’t end up dying in 1939, but she brings them to the future before they’re ever married. So how does she even still exist? At the end of this book her parents never actually had her so how is it possible that she exists?! I mean I know there are some complications involved in time travel and its consequences but its just too confusing. And honestly my big issue with this book was Grace. I understand that at some point she would have to stop mourning the loss of her husband and move on but after 4 months she’s already engaged to someone else? That seems just a little too quick for me. I mean I understand that continuing to hope that she would make it back to her own time would probably make her miserable and being miserable is no way to live but I can’t imagine giving up that easily over seeing my daughters again. For those reasons I just had a lot of trouble connecting to the story and I could not enjoy the plot line much at all. The story was interesting as was the first book but I enjoyed the first book a lot more than I enjoyed this one.

The bottom line: I did not end up liking this book as much as I liked The Mine. I am hoping that I like the third book (The Mirror) better but this book just was not one that I could get into.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #96 – The Mine by John A. Heldt

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Title: The Mine
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 9/9/15
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: John A. Heldt (Self-published)
Publication Date: February 13, 2012
Pages in book: 291
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Northwest Passage series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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 is a love story that 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.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Joel Smith, a young man who is interested in geology and can’t pass up a chance to look at an abandoned mine. When he walks out of the mine though he finds himself not in the year 2000 as it was when he walked into the mine but instead it is suddenly the year 1941. And with no cash in his wallet and only credit cards that don’t work yet, he’s stranded in the year 1941 with no way to even buy food for himself. Joel decides to head back to Seattle as that is where he had been going to school in 2000. It is there that he begins to build a new life for himself. Six months later though he realizes that he has a chance to go back to his own time, and he has to make the agonizing decision to leave behind all the people he’s grown to care for in 1941.
Overall I really ended up liking this book. The plot line was just so interesting and I can’t remember reading anything like it before. I thought it was a little sad that Joel built this whole new life that he really enjoyed and then had to decide to leave it behind but I can understand he wanted to get back to his family. The dialogue between the characters was decent and the tension between Joel and Grace was basically palpable. It ended pretty much how I wanted it to, though I felt like there could’ve been a little more closure. There were a lot of questions I still had at the end of the book that I didn’t really think were addressed (How did Grace find Katie in 2000? Why didn’t she meet up with Joel in 2000 sooner?) but I know that Book #3 in the Northwest Passage series is about Grace’s story so I’m hoping that book will answer a few of my questions. I’m also hoping this next book (The Show) will tell us a little more about Grace once she gets to the future, does she assimilate ok? I hope they talk about that in the book. Also I can’t believe that Joel’s grandmother was able to keep this secret from everyone for all these years. I feel like she would’ve spilled the beans at some point during Joel’s first 17 years. Good book though, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.

The bottom line: I ended up really liking this book a lot. The main character wasn’t an easy one to get tapped into but I loved the plot! Would recommend to those who like time travel books!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page