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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Obviously never one to let the grass grow under his feet, this latest review request comes from John A. Heldt, an author, who just a couple of years ago, was promoting his debut novel. Some five books later, the Northwest Passage series is done and dusted, and he has now started work on a second series of five books, which will be known collectively as the American Journey series. I really must try to persuade John to stop by ‘Meet The Authors’ with a guest post sometime. Any author who can conceive, commit to paper and publish an entire series that quickly and with such success, must surely have a story to tell!


When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel.

Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city.

Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, September Sky follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.


Image of author John HeldtJohn A. Heldt is a product of the Pacific Northwest. Born in Portland, Oregon, he grew up in the suburbs and small towns of Oregon and Washington, as the third oldest of six children.

He began writing professionally a year out of college as a journalist and went on to report and edit for four Northwest newspapers, taking second in a regional sports writing competition in 1994. He changed careers in the late nineties and is now a reference librarian in Montana, where he lives with his wife and son. He has two grown daughters.

John turned to novel writing in 2011 when, inspired by the success of a college friend, the romance novelist Maureen Driscoll, he wrote The Mine, which was destined to become the first episode of the hugely successful, five part Northwest Passage series.

John is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, reader of thrillers and historical fiction, and active blogger.

Catch up with John’s blog posts at his website

Follow John on Twitter

Like John on Facebook

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … ‘Mailbox Monday’

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Apart from being intrigued by the uncle about to be hung for a crime he did not commit this doesn’t really appeal to me and certainly isn’t a series I could see myself getting into. Still, never say never, there are some books you really can’t tell a lot about merely reading the synopsis and I think this is one of them

    • Hi Tracy,

      I had pretty much the same thoughts when John asked me to read ‘The Mine’, which was the first book in his debut series ‘Northwest Passage’. I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it so much and the only reason I haven’t carried on and read the subsequent four books which make up the series, is purely and simply that my review pile is so humongous 🙂

      Each book takes the reader back to a different period in time and history, although I do believe that ‘September Sky’, the first book in ‘The American Journey’ series, which sees our time travelling duo reappear in 1900, is the furthest back we have ventured so far.

      Even though, as you say, this probably isn’t one for you, I do appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Have a good week 🙂

  • Like Tracy, I’m not really sure if this is a series I would enjoy. I struggle with the whole concept of time travel (scientifically), though I’ve read a number of novels based around the premise. I’ll just have to wait and hear more what you think of it once you read it.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I too, am probably not much of a believer in time travel, if I am being perfectly honest. However, I shall simply treat the book in exactly the same way in which I did ‘The Mine’, the previous book of John’s I have read, as a work of contemporary fiction which also has a subtle romantic twist to the storyline.

      You didn’t say whether you had enjoyed any of the novels you had read based around the time travel premise. I was pleasantly surprised by ‘The Mine’ and have high hopes for ‘September Sky’.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit. The fact that this may be a book which isn’t within your general genre of reading, makes your comment all the more appreciated and valued.

      • Even if I couldn’t necessarily agree with the science behind them, I have enjoyed most of the time travel novels I’ve read. Those that immediately come to mind are The Time Traveler’s Wife, Time Split, 11/22/63, and When You Reach Me (a YA novel). I think, perhaps, the Stephen King novel (11/22/63) handled it the best.

        • Hi Kelly,

          I have never read ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ but it looks as though I should. Personally I think I would enjoy it more than the Stephen King book, from a storyline perspective anyway. The fact that you consider that King handled the time travel element of the story the most competently does sway it however.

          I know, I’ll add both to my TBR mountain, after all, I am never likely to get around to reading either of them in reality 🙂

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I do appreciate it.

  • John writes good books. I wish I had time to read his newest. The Mine was very good.

    Time Travel isn’t appealing to me, but his book The Mine was excellent.

    Thanks for reminding me of the first book of his that I read.

    Happy Reading week. Stay warm. I saw on The Mailbox Monday post that you will be getting our snowy, cold weather. BRRRRRR.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      The north of the country is due to get most of the snow I think. Down here in the more clement climate of the south, we are expecting lashings of rain and gale force winds, which will be keeping the temperatures very chilly indeed. However, as we generally get the tail end of any weather systems which have hit east coast USA, I guess we are in for something much worse, although reports do say that the storm is heading north into Canada, rather than east across the Atlantic, so we may be lucky!!

      Like yourself, I was very impressed with ‘The Mine’, given my scepticism about the time travel aspects of the story, but now I am intrigued as to how the individual stories in the series are linked, given that they all seem to involve journeys into different periods in time. I might have to go back and read all five episodes one day.

      I am wondering if ‘The American Journey’ will follow the same format, however given my reputation for not completing a series, I think I shall read ‘September Sky’ in much the same way as ‘The Mine’, as a stand alone story.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope that all is well for you and ‘Happy Reading’ this week.

    • Hi Carol,

      John has a great writing style, which whilst presenting an interesting and intriguing storyline, with a smattering of romance, isn’t too heavy or demanding for the reader. I have read one of his previous books and was more than surprised just how much I enjoyed it..

      My hubbie reads fiction hardly, if ever, much preferring non fiction books, usually technical or business books. The last fiction book I can remember seeing him with, was Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and that he was reading as research for a contract he was working on!

      Thanks for taking the trouble to comment, I always appreciate your visits.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      John’s debut novel, ‘The Mine’ had definite similarities with the film ‘Back To The Future’, but without the DeLorean! and was so good.

      ‘September Sky’ takes us literally between the future and the past and whilst 2016 is within an imaginable time frame and a period I shall probably be able to relate to, 1900 Texas is going to be a whole new experience, so I should learn a lot from this book hopefully.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I look forward to your visits and comments.

    • Thanks Mary, I’m sure I shall!

      Whichever site I have visited, reviews and ratings for ‘September Sky’ have all been very positive so far, which is a good sign that things are going well for both book and author.

      Thanks for stopping by this week, I always look forward to receiving your comments. 🙂

  • This sounds good! I enjoy time travel when it’s well conceived. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 comes to mind as does one of my all time favorite time travel books, Time and Again by Jack Finney.

    • Hi Leslie,

      A fellow commenter mentioned the Stephen King book and although I have read and enjoyed his writing from time to time, I wasn’t particularly struck on the storyline for 11/22/63.

      On the other hand, the Jack Finney book sounds great and I am so tempted to add it to my ‘Want To Read’ list.

      I say that I will never take on science fiction books for review, but having noticed that this is one of the genres under which ‘Time And Again’ is classified, I am beginning to wonder exactly what constitutes a science fiction book. I have always assumed science fiction to be about space, aliens, life on another planet etc. and I certainly wouldn’t have placed the Finney book in that category.

      Is time travel a sub-genre which makes a book part of the science fiction genre?

      Thanks for the great recommendation and for taking the time away from hosting MM to comment 🙂

  • I thought the first rule of time travel was not to interfere with the past. Then again, I’m not much of a time travel reader over all so I could be mistaken. Interesting idea though.

    • Hi Kristen,

      I also thought that time travellers were not supposed to interfere with events which could possibly change the future, or indeed to have any contact with their own, or a family member’s alter ego, for exactly the same reasons.

      John was quite careful to avoid such scenarios in the only other one of his books I have read, ‘The Mine’. However the synopsis for ‘September Sky’ does specify that Chuck and Justin are going back to try and avoid a distant uncle from being hung for a crime he didn’t commit, doesn’t it?

      Perhaps there is a little more to the story than that small snippet and any actions the pair decide to take, don’t fundamentally alter the course of history. John is a consummate author in the genre of time travel and I can’t see that he would make such an obvious faut pax.

      Like yourself though, I am not much of a time travel reader, so I stand ready to be corrected 🙂

      Thanks for making the time to stop by, I appreciate the comment.

Written by Yvonne