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Archive for January 5th, 2019

Reprobation

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Reprobation
Crime Thriller/Mystery
Date Published: 16th October 2018
Publisher: Crooked Cat
 
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Are You One Of The Elect?
Dr. Helen Hope is a lecturer in eschatology – the study of death, judgment, and the destiny of humankind. She is also a Calvinist nun, her life devoted to atoning for a secret crime.
When a body is found crucified on a Liverpool beach, she forms an unlikely alliance with suspect Mikko Kristensen, lead guitarist in death metal band Total Depravity. Together, they go on the trail of a rogue geneticist who they believe holds the key – not just to the murder, but to something much darker.
Also on the trail is cynical Scouse detective Darren Swift. In his first murder case, he must confront his own lack of faith as a series of horrific crimes drag the city of two cathedrals to the gates of hell.
Science meets religious belief in this gripping murder mystery.

Purchase Link

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Excerpt
In this scene Deaconess Margaret Mills, a figurehead of the Sisters of Grace, subjects the congregation of St Michael’s Church to one of her threatening sermons. Sister Helen’s feelings about the Deaconess are beginning to change, and at the end of the service, she tells her first lie.
‘All of us are sinners. All people are conceived in sin and are born children of wrath, unfit for any saving good. Inclined to evil! Dead in their sins! Slaves to sin! Without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit, they are neither willing nor able to return to God, to reform their distorted nature, or even to dispose themselves to such reform. I say again, All of Us Are Sinners!’
This last sentence was said with such venom and volume that several members of the congregation who were sitting in the front pews visibly recoiled. Deaconess Margaret Mills always began her Wednesday evening sermons from the pulpit, in a gentle voice tinged with a hint of menace. She would build gradually, moving from the pulpit to the floor, a crescendo of portentous threats as her whole body would come into play. She was a natural performer, with eyes widening and narrowing at just the right moments, catching individuals so that they wanted to look away in shame but couldn’t. Her voice would range from ominous low to shrieking high, the gentle Northern accent sounding impossibly grand in this part of the world. There was no comfort to be had from her sermons, only the fear of God struck into one’s heart, and this was the appeal. For the residents, for the visitors, for Helen. Most of the congregation loved the firebrand thrill of the performance, the horror-film quality of the fear. But for Helen, the fear was real, visceral. She craved this punishment, this constant, caustic reminder of her sin. After some more fire and brimstone, the Deaconness softened and brought kindness, a sweet manipulation for her audience.
‘Yes, all of us are sinners. And nothing brings the beauty of Jesus Christ to sinful people, believers, and unbelievers alike, as powerfully as God’s own Scriptures. The Scriptures are the basis of our teaching, of our Gospel, for the word of God is the only word. And we do not question the word of God. From this comes our happiness’.
She smiled for a moment then suddenly, spectacularly, turned up the anger again.
‘And to those who complain about this grace of an undeserved election and about the severity of just reprobation, we reply with the words of the apostle ‘Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?’
Her eyes were wild now and ranged from one person to the next in fury. St. Michael’s Church was small, more of a chapel than a church, having been built originally to serve only the Argarmeols family and their employees. There was no division between the nave and chancery, and no room for aisles flanking the nave at its edges. Therefore there was no escaping the Deaconess’s wrath as she stalked the pews, allowing herself to be an eager vessel for the bitter rage of the Calvinist God. The majesty of this church interior lay in its absurd height; in typical Victorian Gothic style, it had been built to aspire to the sky, drawing the eye upwards and reminding the worshipper how very far above him his God was to be found.
‘God’s plan cannot be changed; God’s promise cannot fail; the calling according to God’s purpose cannot be revoked!’
She sighed with theatrical exhaustion, closing her eyes and raising her hands in supplication, before wringing them and returning to the pulpit. She was disappointed with her flock, this rabble of hopeless candidates for heaven. She looked from one face to the next, expectant. The Deaconness taught religious education part-time in a local private school, and Helen, sitting in her usual position on the front pew, sometimes amused herself at the thought of the terror she must instill in those teenagers.
‘May God’s son Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and gives gifts to humanity, sanctify us in the truth, lead to the truth those who err, silence the mouths of those who lay false accusations against sound teaching, and equip faithful ministers of God’s Word with a spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all they say may be to the glory of God and the building up of their hearers. Amen’.
At the end of the service, Helen waited as the small congregation filed out in a silent purge, wrapping their coats against the cold autumn evening, Helen approached Margaret who was collecting her papers together at the altar.
‘Deaconness?’
Margaret spun around. ‘Yes, tell me.’
‘Would it be ok if I took the car overnight tonight?’
Margaret’s eyes and body language betrayed a momentary flicker of disappointment – she had been hoping Helen might ask something else.
‘I thought I might go and see my mother.’
‘Are you sure that’s a good idea, Helen? You’ve tried very hard, but it only seems to upset you every time. Has something happened?’
‘No, no, I… just think it’s important to keep showing I’m there for her, you know.’
‘Of course.’ There were those hands on Helen’s shoulders again. ‘Drive safely and come and see me tomorrow when you return, let me know how it went.’
‘I will Margaret, thank you. And may I take some money from the kitty? I think we need petrol.’
About the Author

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Catherine Fearns is a writer from Liverpool. Her first novel, crime thriller Reprobation, was published by Crooked Cat on October 16th, 2018. Her second, Consuming Fire, will be out in February 2019. As a music journalist, Catherine has written for Pure Grain Audio, Broken Amp and Noisey. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Toasted Cheese, Succubus, Here Comes Everyone, Offshoots, and Metal Music Studies. She lives in Geneva with her husband and four children.
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RABT Book Tours & PR
I would like to thank Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours and PR for the opportunity to share this book.
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I have a special treat today. I was given this collection of stories ages ago and can’t believe that it has taken me this long to get them reviewed especially since they are such a great series. So, without further ado, get read for some time travel and lots of romance, healing, and so much more.

American Journey Series by John Heldt

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September Sky (Book 1)

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.

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My Review

4 stars

Chuck Townsend is a reporter that spent a lot of his time wrapped up in his career. Chuck pursued his reporting career instead of spending time with his family. Now his job is over and his wife has passed, he wants to make up for lost time with his son Justin. They decide to take a cruise to Mexico and catch up. While there they attend a lecture on time travel and find themselves back in Galveston, Texas in 1900.

They have been given the instructions that they are only to observe what is going to happen but both of the men throw that rule out the window when they both fall in love with two women from Galveston. But Chuck has decided that he wants to fix some family history. At the same time that they go back, a family member was accused of murdering a man. Chuck wants to set the records straight.

Of course, we all know that there is a huge paradox about changing the past and how it can affect the future. But on top of this, both men have to decide how they are going to progress with their relationships. They can’t stay and they can bring the women back to our time.

I have read John’s Northwest Passage series and absolutely loved it. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this series. One thing I want to warn you, this book is relatively slow going as John builds the world around you and the romance between Chuck, Justin, and the ladies. But it does pick up toward the end.

This is a great historical romance/time travel fantasy story. It is a great start to the series and I can’t wait to see where it is going from here.

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Mercer Street (Book 2)

Love, honor, and courage take center stage in the second book of John Heldt’s American Journey time-travel series as three women from the present become entangled in the past in the tension-filled months leading up to World War II.

Weeks after her husband dies in the middle of an affair, Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel.

Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties.

Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to sacrifice and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

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My Review

5 Stars

Susan Peterson is a romance author that has just lost her husband and learned that he was having an affair. She is broken hearted and decides to take her daughter, Amanda, and her mother, Elizabeth on a beach get away. While there they attend a talk given by a time traveling professor and they agree to go back in time. The three women find themselves in 1938 Princeton, NJ.

Elizabeth connects with her immigrant parents that she lost many years earlier. She is introduced to herself as an infant and starts reliving events that she was too young to remember. With their lost she appreciates this time she gets to spend with them.

Susan is still mourning the loss of her husband and his betrayal. But she has found a new love with a widowed admiral. Amanda wants an adventure before she has to go join the rest of the adults working. Here she falls for German scientist Kurt during a fragile time with those of German decent.

I love John Heldt’s stories. There is lots of research with the different time periods from the clothing to how things were done and simply how people interacted with each other. It really makes me nostalgic when you compare that to today and how indifferent we are with each other.

I really enjoyed this story. All three women found the love that they were looking for and the ending was just perfect. I strongly recommend checking out this series if you like historical romances with a touch of time travel.

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Indiana Belle (Book 3)

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

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My Review

5 Stars

Cameron Coelho is working on a dissertation on the 1920’s. While looking through various papers, Cameron finds the picture of a captivating woman, Candice Bell. Cameron is given the chance to go back in time to spend it with Bell but he is given the strict order not to change anything, especially Candice’s murder since Candice is directly related to the time traveling professor.

Cameron initially feels the 20’s are a simpler time yet he is going to find out real quick that there are problems that still affect that time. He will face prohibition, flappers, KKK, women’s rights, and so much more. It also doesn’t help that he falls in love with Candice and finds it hard not to try and stop her murder.

I love all the research that goes into John Heldt’s books. You can’t help but feel right there with Cameron. I did look up a couple events and found them to be true which just added another level to this story. But just the simple thought that you can go back and observe someone but you cannot change their fate is just hard.

This is another great addition to this series. My heart goes out to Cameron as I didn’t want to see Candice be murdered too. But the ending was just perfect.

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Class of ’59 (Book 4)

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.

Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

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My Review

5 Stars

It is 2017 and Mary Beth McIntire is recovering from the loss of her fiancé and on vacation with her family at a friend of her father’s house in California. One day she sees a strange man coming and going from the house. But when she goes to confront him he is gone. Mark Ryan is from 1959 and his family has just moving into the house. While exploring he finds plans about going forward in time. He goes on his adventure and seems Mary Beth a few times before he finally approaches her and tells her what is going on.

The two couples explore 1959 and get closer the longer they are around each other. But then time is up and the couples have to decide what they are going to do, stay in 1959, go to 2017, or split up.

I loved 1959! I am a bit too young still to know anything much about it besides what I’ve seen in documentaries and movies. This is such a wonderful romance. The 50’s seemed so much simpler and more personable than today. I hoped that everything would work out for the couples and it did in its own way.

I love exploring the different times as I read the American Journey series. This is a great series and one that I recommend checking out if you like historical romances (even if it’s not really that long ago) with a touch of time travel.

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Hannah’s Moon (Book 5)

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.

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My Review

5 Stars

Well we have reached the end of this series and it is memorable. Claire and Ron Rasmussen want a child more than anything but cannot have one and adoption is a paperwork nightmare that can last years. But an unknown uncles arrives to give Claire the gift of time travel to 1945, where adopting a child is very easy. Claire, Ron, and her brother David head to the past to find their new family.

Claire and Ron get their child and David starts a friendship with the girl across the street. But things are not ideal in this world. World War II is in the ending months when Ron gets sent to war. Claire does get her child but she also learns of the limitations of 1945. She doesn’t have the conveniences as today and she is stuck with the medical advancements of the time.

This is a great conclusion to this series. There is lots of research done that makes the book just that more enjoyable. My heart breaks for Claire and Ron, I hoped they get a child but then again I was on the edge of my seat with what happened next. Of course I really hoped things would work out for David and Margaret.

I really enjoyed this historical romance series with time travel. Although each book is a standalone I just loved jumping in and reading them in order. This is a great series and one that I strongly recommend checking out.

John A. Heldt

Author’s Bio

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage, American Journey, and Carson Chronicles series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

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I would like to thank the Author for the opportunity to read and share his books. I’m so sorry that you had to wait so long for a review of this amazing series.

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