November 26, 2017

Review: River Rising (Carson Chronicles Book 1) by John A. Heldt

Product Description:
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.

My Thoughts:
I am a huge John A. Heldt fan. His time travel books are always fun and even educational. This was was no exception however I will start off by saying that the transition from Adam finding out his parents were time travelers to the decision for him and his siblings to set off on their own time traveling adventure isn't as believable as the rest of the book. 

Traveling past that (pun intended) the rest of the book is great and makes sense that it would play out the way it did. As the adventure begins the siblings have to make the transition from 2017 to 1889 and I had a good chuckle over the times that something modern slipped out when they were talking to their new friends. The rest of the story pulled me in quickly and I ended up zooming through the read. Each sibling has a story line of their own so the book switches back and forth between characters and I ended up growing to love them all. 

Again I learned about an event in history that I hadn't heard of before and once again I was intrigued enough to read of up the real life event. If I felt heartbroken for the book characters I can't even begin to imagine the emotions and pain that the real event brought on. Heldt captured it so perfectly that I could actually see it play out in my mind.  Below is an image from Wikipedia of the real event which is exactly how I pictured it while reading.

My Recommendation:
Overall this a great book for anyone who loves historical fiction with a time traveling twist.This was the first in the new Carson Chronicles series and the cliff hanger ending makes me look forward to book two. 

September 4, 2017

Review: An American Cage by Ted Galdi

Product Description:
Three inmates break out of a maximum-security prison in Texas, one of them Danny Marsh, a suburban kid in his twenties who landed in jail because of a crime he never intended to commit. 
An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. On this dangerous journey, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn't who he seems.
My Thoughts:
Overall this was a pretty good book but it feels weird rooting for the criminal. Danny is very likable and you can't help but feel sorry for his circumstances so you hope the inevitable doesn't happen and me can make it to Mexico despite the actions of his fellow escapee,  Professor Zorn. 

All the characters are well developed and make the story believable as a whole but some of the actions don't flow well. The author seemed to put the characters in situations that didn't make sense the way they played out.  

My Recommendation:
I recommend this for anyone who likes suspense thrillers and unconventional heroes. 

June 11, 2017

Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Product Description:
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

My Thoughts:
YA novels for me lately have been very hit or miss. It seems like once the genre exploded authors were just haphazardly slapping stories together that made no sense or were filled with inappropriate content. Fortunately this isn't the case with Nyxia. The story is well thought out and builds suspense from the first few pages. There is the typical teenage angst, love story and conflict but it all very real and makes perfect sense within the story. 

I would say it's almost like The Hunger Games in space. The characters must fight to survive but can't help becoming friends. Throw in a last minute twist and a cliff hanger of an ending and you have an incredible start to a trilogy that I cannot wait to complete.

My Recommendation:
This is an absolute must read for all sci-fi fans, especially if you also enjoy YA. 

March 26, 2017

Review: Hannah's Moon by John A. Heldt

Product Description: 
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.

My Thoughts:
I've been reading Heldt's books since 2012 and this one by far has been my favorite. It's full of heartbreaking decisions and events but still concludes with a happy ending. I love the way history is always weaved into the books. It always makes me wonder about the true events and I usually end up on Wikipedia trying to learn more.

In this final installment in the American Journey series, the book has 3 separate story lines playing out and I was instantly pulled into them by my heartstrings. Claire and Ron face heartbreak from the opening pages and you can't help but fall in love with their characters. David is what women everywhere yearn for but the one woman that captures his heart is already taken. And for the one who holds the key to the time travel, devastating news leads to an unexpected future for Professor Bell and his wife. The book is definitely an emotional roller coaster that I fully enjoyed riding with my hands high up in the air. 

My Recommendation:
I highly recommend this one for anyone who loves historical romance with a little touch of fantasy. 

February 25, 2017

Review: The Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston

Product Description:
The fate of the United States hangs in the balance and only a select few can prevent the impending disaster. Stanley Carmichael is an intelligent and hard-working member of the Central Intelligence Agency. Yet, he never expected to be named Deputy Director of the CIA so soon in his career. Nonetheless, he finds himself stepping into shoes that feel impossible to fill. 

Anna Carmichael is a legend. She’s one of the fiercest ex-members of the Special Activities Division, where she saw more than enough blood and war for a lifetime. Now, she’s still CIA, but stuck behind a desk and bored. Luckily for her, it seems her fieldwork isn’t done yet. For as soon as Anna’s partnered with rookie FBI Special Agent Blayze Phillips, she realizes his investigation is a lot more dangerous than it seems—especially when it turns its attention to the mysterious Caliph al-Maqasid. 

They know that the Caliph spent the last few years successfully uniting fractured terrorist groups in the Middle East. Now he's formed the most well-funded, strategically efficient operation that’s on its way to becoming a true global caliphate. But who is the Caliph, really? Why doesn’t anyone know anything about this infinitely clever, charismatic, and terrifying man? And what, exactly, is he plotting next? 

The Carmichaels will have to work together to find out, because the Caliph is about to strike at the heart of America.

My Thoughts: 
This is definitely a "ripped from the headlines" read. It was so realistic that I got chills in some parts of the story because I swear I've seen news stories that were very similar. It makes the book that much more compelling. I only hope that someone who can pass for a real life Anna Carmichael is out there protecting is. 

The opening pages of the book begin with what actually plays out towards the ending which was a great way to keep me in suspense the entire time I was reading. I kept thinking "Who was it that Stanley saw?" and I never guessed correctly. 

The only reason I didn't rate this one a full five stars was because a few of the scenes and some of the dialogue didn't seem to flow as well as a most of the book. Otherwise this was an awesome, fast-paced thriller and the best part is that this is just the first book in a series. I can't wait for more. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for anyone who loves political thrillers with real life scenarios.