Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: The Show by John A. Heldt

I received a copy of this book - The Show by John A Heldt - in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from AmazonSeattle, 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.

Once again, I was captivated by Heldt's unique storytelling in his sequel to The Mine. I really enjoyed that book and was anxiously waiting to find out how Grace handled being in the year 2002 after she tracked Joel down somehow and followed him through the portal. I must admit, the pace of The Show was a little slower and less compelling, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story. Heldt has a way of making the characters come to life, making you fall in love with them and care about what is going to happen to them. 

So, basically, Grace became a detective driven by love, followed up on clues Joel had left behind and found her way to the mine that brought him to 1941 to begin with. She ended up in 2002 without a clue what to do and blown away by technology and how much the world had changed since the familiar 40s. I enjoyed her cluelessness about things like hand dryers in the bathrooms to credit cards and modern conveniences. She luckily and unbelievably ended up sitting right next to a distant cousin of hers who took her in until she got in touch with Katie, an old friend from '41, who helped her locate Joel. 

Well here's a spoiler, so cover your eyes if you don't want to know. Grace goes to a theatre with Joel to celebrate their anniversary, and an itchy eye moment lands her in the bathroom. When she rinses and opens them up, she's in the same place but it's 1918. She goes nuts. People think she's crazy, and she gets hospitalized. Lo and behold, she runs into her long lost uncle who is a skeptic about the time travel story until he sees the contents of her purse. He welcomes her into their home where she eventually meets her aunt, cousins and her deceased parents who are just teenagers at this time. 

This part of the story was touching, because I have wondered so many times what it would be like to go back in time and meet my parents before they became parents. I was actually happy for Grace in that regard. She met a wounded soldier who wooed her, and she gave in thinking she was stuck in 1918. I blame him for being too pushy and her for taking advantage of his feelings for her. She eventually had to say goodbye, and he was left dumbfounded! I was really sad for him.

What I'll do next is give you my good old bad vs. good bullets list. I think this one warrants it. 

Things I didn't love about the book:

  • A bit slow moving and too much romance and mushy feelings across the board for my taste.
  • Not enough Joel. 
  • Believability was a bit less than in The Mine. But, hey, it was eons more believable than CSI: Miami, and I still watch that all the time, haha.
  • Grace said, "What would you like to know?" or something to that affect too often to too many people. 
  • I thought the color link to the portal was a tiny bit weak. (Read it, and you'll get what that means.) The mine portal was more powerful and thrilling to imagine. 
  • Thought it was selfish of her to drag her parents back to 2002 with her, and it baffled me that it was even possible since they hadn't planted the seed of "her" yet. 
  • Since Edith hopped over too, does all this trump what occurred in '41 and there after when Aunt Edith died with ill feelings toward Grace for vanishing to chase a love interest?
Things I loved about the book:

  • Heldt knows how to tell a story and bring the characters to life. 
  • He writes well with no glaring typos or errors, which makes for comfy read. 
  • The balance between likeable and not-so-likeable characters was just right. No one was despicable, but it wasn't ALL gushing with bliss either. 
  • The historical background was awesome, and he did a good job of mixing the characters into the modern world while keeping them in their old-fashioned personalities. 
  • I was never bored, and the story kept me engaged straight through. 
  • It was a very nice sequel and didn't lose me on any of the newly added elements or characters. 
  • I was able to create vivid images of the characters and scenes in my mind as I read it. 
  • I absolutely love time travel stories, and Heldt is good at writing them. 
  • You can sense the writer's passion and creativity throughout the book. 
  • It left me wanting to read more of Heldt's work, which I plan to. 
  • Nothing about it was too over-the-top for an avid sci-fi reader. 
  • The ending didn't piss me off like a lot of books, so that is ALWAYS a plus. 

I grant this book my 4-star rating. I highly advise you to read this one! But you might want to read The Mine first or at least the synopsis. You can also check out my review of it in under the "Book Reviews" tab above. Thanks for reading! See ya next time.