Tag Archives: historical

Class of ’59– John A. Heldt

Standard
Class of ’59– John A. Heldt

Plot: 3/5        Characters: 3/5       Writing: 3/5       Entertainment: 4/5         World Building: 5/5

Mary Beth McIntire just wants a quiet summer in 2017. Mark Ryan wants to know what’s hidden in in the basement of the same house in 1959. When Mark discovers a key and a few mysterious crystals, he gets his answer and Mary Beth’s quiet summer is ruined thanks to his appearance. The summer vacation that follows was more than Mary Beth and her younger sister, Piper could imagine in this decade, or the fifties.

I want to preface this review by saying that I have the utmost respect for John Heldt. He breaths life into the past, his dedication to research and accuracy is admirable, and he clearly has a passion for what he does.

That’s probably why “Class of ‘59” felt like such a step down after “The Mine” and “Indiana Belle.” Especially “Indiana Belle.” 


To be fair, it’s as well researched and put together as Heldt’s other works. If you have any sense of nostalgia for the 1950’s, this is still definitely the book for you, but it could have been much more. While his other works had interesting conflicts and/or exciting plots, “Class of ‘59” felt like fluff show casing how great the 1950’s were. Both “The Mind” and “Indiana Belle” felt like well-rounded snapshots, so I was hoping for something similar here. What conflict exists is underplayed in favor of small talk and simply strolling around the era.

So, if you want to take a break and step into the 1950’s and like romance, “Class of ‘59” is a solid read. Like Heldt’s other books it’s also a good example of how to put together and execute a historical era. For you writers out there. However, if you’re looking for something with a bit more excitement, you might want to take a look at some of Heldt’s other work.

Indiana Belle–John A. Heldt

Standard
Indiana Belle–John A. Heldt

Don’t miss your chance to get Indiana Belle for free on Chirstmas on Amazon!

Plot: 4/5       Characters: 5/5       Writing: 4/5       Entertainment: 5/5       World Building: 5/5

This is the second novel of Mr. Heldt’s that I’ve read and I’m beginning to think he can do no wrong. His dedication to portraying history in all of it’s nuances, layers, difficulties, and beauty is admirable and his ability to craft brilliant and unique stories shines across the lines of genre and time alike.

When Cameron Coelho began his doctoral dissertation, he never expected to find a photograph of the beautiful Candice Bell, nor did he expect to fall in love with her. The possibility of stepping back in time to save her from an untimely death in 1925 never even entered his wildest dreams until he met her distant cousin, Geoffrey Bell, who just so happens to know how to time travel.

When I first read the description for this book, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. As some one who doesn’t usually like romance, I didn’t expect much. I figured Heldt’s world building would be just as good as “The Mine,” but the plot would be a passable indie love story as best.

Oh, boy. Was I ever wrong.

I was right about the world building, at least. Heldt continues to floor me with his expertly crafted depiction of the past. Not only does he paint wonderful, creditable scenes with his words, but he captures the 1920’s in it’s entirety. Yes, the Roaring Twenties were new and exciting, but it wasn’t all jazz and flapper dresses for everyone. I don’t want to give anything away because I really want everyone to check out this book, but as someone who’s biracial–White and Black–I really appreciate the other half of my heritage being acknowledged in this time period. I feel like the experience of Black Americans is often over-looked when talking about history outside of the Civil Rights Era, so I really appreciate that Heldt included that experience and handled it well.

Not only is the history well done, but it’s woven in with the story beautifully. The two work together to create a unique and unforgettable narrative with plenty of twists, turns, and a climax that will have your heart racing and pages turning.

And then there’s Candice. Oh my days, is Candice Bell a delight. Anytime she’s in a scene she absolutely steals the show. She captures the sense of independence that the 20’s are so often associated with, but still stands out as her own own character, making her the strong female protagonist romance novels so often try to create, yet so often fall short of doing, in my opinion. In fact, if you writing romance, or if you find you struggle to write women regardless of genre (which is a longer conversation for another day), check out Indiana Belle for Candice alone. She’s worth it.

So, whatever you usually read–romance, historical fiction, mystery, sci-fi, you name it–take a break and get whisked away to the 1920’s with Indiana Belle no time travel required.

Not Dead Yet: A Zombie Apocalypse Series (Book 1)

Standard

Plot: 4/5     Characters:2/5     Writing: 5/5   Entertainment: 3/5     World Building: 5/5

If you like gritty adventure and zombies, you’ll enjoy this, just be ready to put up with a horrible main character.

18-year-old Jack Strapper is expelled from Eton in England and has no choice but to join the army. Tales of an easy post in Ireland seduce him into leaving home, but what he doesn’t know is that Ireland is experiencing an apocalypse. While the Potato Famine has ended, the dead have come back to feast on the living. Now trapped in a war against the dead, Strapper must find away to survive both the zombies and the members of his unit who suspect him for what he really is: an abosolute coward.
I must say, this is the best indie book I have read in a while. The formatting is perfect, I didn’t notice any spelling/grammatical errors, and the narrative voice (as much as I hate the narrator) was expertly done. The world building is creative and solid. It was so fascinating to see how another time and place deals with a zombie apocalypse. The author knows just how much military exposition and lingo to use without bogging down the story, which I really appreciated. Those elements alone were strong enough that I wanted to see it to the end and recommend to others who like this genre.

Too bad I had to put up with Jack Steapper the whole time. It’s not his cowardice or his giant charade that bothered me, because I think those are good character flaws that can lend themselves to a lot of development, but there wasn’t a single redeeming characteristic about him. At first, I thought it would be funny watch his lies get bigger and bigger, mostly by chance and accident, but it wasn’t. It was nauseating because he’s just a terrible human. It the first time I’ve actually WANTED a character to get eaten by zombies.

It’s really a shame. I would love to explore this world and its possibilities because those elements were brilliantly done but I can’t bring myself to up with Captain Strider for another book. If he didn’t bother you and you read on, get back to me and tell it how it is.

As posted on Amazon on March 31st, 2016 with slight modifications.