Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Book Review: The Mine by John A. Heldt


‘The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)’ by John A. Heldt is the compelling story of Joel Smith who, despite his ordinary name, begins an extraordinary journey which inadvertently changes the lives of a tight group of friends in 1941. This is a bit of a problem for Joel. He’s from the year 2000. Quickly adapting to his new life, Joel finds himself falling for a woman from a different time. He soon realizes that he must make a difficult decision: go back to the time to which he belongs, or stay with the woman he loves and change the lives of those who have yet to be born.
At first this novel seems to be a new take on concepts we have seen in both film and literature. Reminiscent of ‘Back to the Future’ (which is referenced multiple times within the novel), ‘The Mine’ explores the theory of time travel and its consequences on those both in the past and future. On the other hand, it reminds me of the movie ‘Somewhere in Time,’ a poignant film about the type of love which spans decades. It soon becomes clear that while ‘The Mine’ is a story about time travel, it is something so much more. Heldt did a wonderful job writing a novel which draws out deep emotions and explores various aspects of what it means to have a fulfilling life. On one hand, Joel is soon to graduate which many view as an important milestone. Yet he is tempted to risk it all for the love of his life.
What impressed me was how easily I was transported back to 1941, a time when America is on the brink of war and Glenn Miller is the ‘bee’s knees.’ Heldt clearly did his research, which showed through his beautiful description of the world Joel has found himself in. ‘The Mine’ employs the clever tactic of ridiculously short chapters, one which worked extremely well on me and had me constantly telling myself I would only read “one more chapter.” There are few novels which stray from the predictable model, and I am happy to say that ‘The Mine’ is one of them. Just when all hope is lost, Heldt shows us the power of true love, and the power of his lovely and descriptive writing.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Book review: The Lineage by Dale Martin

Reviewed by for Readers' Favorite

Dale Martin tells the story of Wes Aettian, a young man ordinary in every way except for two things: he is to be king, and he is part of ancient and sacred bloodline. In Martin’s The Lineage, we follow Wes in his journey of becoming king and fulfilling a prophecy. The Aettians, the royal family of Cassia, are in hiding from the invading Naborn. Upon his father’s death, Wes discovers that, although he is the middle-born son, he is the Chosen Heir. Eventually he discovers that he is the heir to more than the Cassian throne. The Lineage is a beautiful story – reminiscent in many ways to the Bible – that allows us to watch Wes grow from a young man into a king and a man firm in his faith in God, the Creator, and one true King.

The Lineage is a wonderfully thrilling book. The writing is spot-on, from the dripping of snow melt, to the scent of death, to the ever-present love of God. Dale Martin has done a fantastic job of bringing you into a world similar to Earth, but unique in so many ways. The twists and turns were perfectly timed and most were unseen, which is a first for me. Martin’s ability to create a novel set in a different world while using the Bible, God, and Christ’s sacrifice as its centre is impressive. The faith and belief of each character was believable, including the conversion of one of the characters, to which I can personally relate. If there’s ever a book to read that speaks of God’s love, sacrifice, life as a believer, and our goal to trust in God, this is it.

Link to Amazon page

Book review: Divided We Fall by Adam Bender

Reviewed by for Readers' Favorite

In Adam Bender's Divided We Fall, we follow the story of Eve Parker and Jon Wyle. They are members of the Elite Guard: a special task force dedicated to finding and arresting those who resist the Church. After meeting during a stake-out, Eve and Jon quickly form a relationship, a relationship which is tested when Jon accepts a special mission. He is to infiltrate the rebel heretic group known as the Underground, and bring them down from the inside. But it means forgetting who he is, and who he loves. It is up to Eve to bring him back, but she finds that not is all as it seems. She questions who the true Enemy is, and the teachings she followed her entire life. She must make the decision to follow God and country, or the love of her life at the risk of losing her own.

There are few novels I can read in one sitting, but Adam Bender’s Divided We Fall was one of them. It is fast-paced, intriguing, and had me wondering what was coming just around the corner. It had me not only wanting, but needing more. Eve and Jon are both relatable characters, as relatable as possible in a dystopian setting. But is it? The idea of government surveillance has been in the news for years, and Divided We Fall goes into detail about a very real and very current issue. Eve’s revelation of the world as a mix of colours rather than black and white was beautifully written and a lesson for all. Jon’s transformation into Seven was well-written and shows us the true potential of humanity – if we strip away the bias and focus solely on the good of all, we see what Seven knew all along: united, we are stronger. But divided, we fall.

Link to Amazon page