Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Blog has Moved!

The Self-Taught Cook has moved.  My new URL is:

All previous posts have been moved to the new site.

Thank you!

Monday, July 15, 2013


New York Times Best-Selling Author Joan Wolf Sheds Light on Scripture’s Most Mysterious Woman

“Why would Jesus seek out Mary Magdalene as the first person He appeared to after His resurrection?”

BRENTWOOD, Tenn.—One of Scripture’s most mysterious and often misunderstood women, Mary Magdalene, tells her story in her own words in the latest novel from prolific author Joan Wolf. In her new release, Daughter of Jerusalem, Wolf gives readers a fictionalized account of this complex, yet remarkable woman—and one of Jesus’ most faithful followers. Readers will love this first-person account of all that took Mary from her traumatic early life to eyewitness of the glory of the resurrection.

Mary Magdalene is famous for being a sinful woman. In Wolf’s account we see those sins as well as her triumph as Jesus’ beloved disciple. Cheated of an early love by her guardian, she is forced into marriage with a rich old man. Captivated by a Roman senator’s son, she turns away from her heritage and is almost permanently lost to the morality of the Jewish law. Then she meets Jesus of Nazareth. Is it true that he is the Messiah she has heard so much about? Can he really change her life? Is she good enough to be his disciple? Can he really be her Savior?

In Daughter of Jerusalem, New York Times best-selling Wolf skimps on no detail as she gives life to this fascinating yet mysterious woman. Readers will love seeing a living, breathing picture of the often misunderstood Mary—a woman who, though damaged, became Jesus’ friend while He walked the earth. Daughter of Jerusalem is told in three parts, each covering a different portion of Mary’s life. Readers will quickly identify with Mary, a flawed woman of deep faith who, in the end, used her wealth and influence to serve Jesus. Perfect for individual reading or book club discussion, Daughter of Jerusalem is a story not to be missed.

Daughter of Jerusalem Worthy Publishing
ISBN13: 978-1-936034-67-3 
April 16, 2013
320 pages
Joan Wolf has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Milford, Conn., where she raised two children and an assortment of horses, dogs, and cats. Along the way she also managed to write forty-six published novels, the writing of which profoundly enriched her life. Learn more about her online at

Worthy Publishinga division of Worthy Media, Inc., is a privately held company whose mission is helping people experience the heart of God. Worthy is an independent voice in Christian publishing, managing editorial, marketing, publicity, sales, and distribution from its home offices in Brentwood, Tenn. Worthy focuses on a boutique list of new books each year, crossing a broad spectrum of genres, including fiction, Bible study, current events, devotionals, biography, leadership, and specialized Bibles, as well as spiritual and personal growth. See more at

Reader review . . .

Mary of Magdala, Mary Magdalene, one of the most famous women of the Bible, has captured our imaginations for centuries.  There are many legends and theories regarding her life and relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.  Who was she?  What was her relationship with Jesus?  How did she live?  And what was her life like after we last read of her in the Bible?

These are the questions addressed in Joan Wolf's fictional novel, Daughter of Jerusalem.  Although I don't agree with the theory that Mary Magdalene and Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha, were the same person, this was a well-written and interesting novel.  The places and times come alive for the reader and  the characters are believable. I found this to be a fascinating story of life in biblical times and couldn't put it down.  Overall, well-written and, perhaps most importantly, reverently done.

4 stars 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Worthy Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Book Giveaway!

Worthy Publishing has graciously allowed me to give away two (2) copies of this fantastic new book.  The giveaway ends 07/20/13.  Due to the rising costs of postage, this giveaway is limited to the US and PR.   To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!   

Monday, July 8, 2013


Historical Romantic Suspense/Mystery
Date Published: 7/1/2013

A man obsessed, a woman willing to risk it all…

Tainted  in  the  eyes  of  Victorian  society  by  his  wife’s  suicide,  successful  entrepreneur  Doyle
Flanagan turns a deaf ear to the baseless gossip and harsh rebukes. Ignoring his shattered reputation, he goes about his business making money, doing some good for others and  making  a  few  enemies  along the way. Arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, he is forced to rely on a feisty school administrator  to
solve  the  puzzle.  As    he struggles to prove his innocence, he realizes  gaining  the  trust   and   loyalty   of  Cady  Delafield  may  be more  important  than  his freedom.

On a  quest  to  locate  a  missing  student,  school  matron  Cady  Delafield  enters  a  stranger’s  house and discovers the woman murdered. Driven to see the murderer brought to justice, she is determined to prevent any further tragedy even if it means joining forces with the very  man  accused  of  the  atrocity.
Against the wishes of her powerful family, she risks her job and reputation to learn  the  truth.  But  will
the truth, once revealed, drive her away from the man she has come to love?

Passion and murder collide in 1880’s Chicago as they race to  keep  one  step  ahead  of  the  police
who want Doyle to pay for his crime. As the attraction between Cady and Doyle sizzles, they battle
suspicions, lies and lethal actions to uncover the murderer before he destroys them both.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Joyce Proell   


Joyce Proell grew up in Minnesota and attended college and grad school in Chicago. After working in mental health, she retired at a young age to write full-time. Her first book, Eliza, was published in 2012. When she isn’t writing mysteries or historical romances, she loves to travel, walk, read, and do crossword puzzles. She and her husband make their home in rural Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie.

Visit her website:


Small Town Girl
By: Ann H. Gabhart
Pub Date: July 2013

Bestselling author Ann Gabhart weaves a timeless story of love, sacrifice and longing that will grip the  heart and  stir the spirit.  In her gentle and textured style, Gabhart takes the  reader  back  to  a  time  when  days moved slowly and life was simple.  A world that was about to change forever.

In  the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner.  The town waits in anticipation as if holding  its breath.  But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh.  As Kate  watches  her sister  marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her  heart  is  silently  breaking.   And  even  the attentions of handsome best man Jay Tanner can’t draw her interest.

Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything.  Kate’s friends are rushing to get married before  the  boys go off to war.  The newspapers talk of women making airplanes and bombs.  Everyone in town begins rolling bandages, planting victory gardens and collecting scrap metal.  Kate finds herself drawn to  Jay  in  surprising ways, and when he enlists she can hardly breathe worrying about him getting  killed.   Could  she  truly  be  in love with him?  And if she is, will she ever see him again?

Fans of Angel Sister will be thrilled to see Kate Merritt all grown up.  New  readers  will  find  that  Gabhart tells a beautiful story that will touch their hearts and win their loyalty.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister, Words Spoken True, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed and The Gifted. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Find out more at

Praise for Small Town Girl and Ann Gabhart
"A classic. Ann Gabhart pens an enduring tale from the very first line of Small Town Girl. Rosey Corner is a world you won't want to leave, rife with spiritual truths, rich romance, and memorable characters that linger long after!" – Laura Frantz, author of The Colonel’s Lady and Love’s Reckoning

"The characters of Ann Gabhart's Small Town Girl pulled me into their lives and did not let me go. This love story, painted upon the canvas of a small Kentucky town struggling with WWII, is one of the most riveting historical romances I've ever read." – Serena B. Miller, winner of the 2012 RITA award for Inspirational Romance

Reader review . . . 

Kate thinks love may have passed her by as she watches her sister marry the man Kate has thought she loved since she was fifteen.  She knows she doesn't want to tie her life to  the hometown boy who believes they are meant for one another, and wants to believe there is life outside Rosey Corner.  The best man, Jay Tanner, feels the mutual attraction between them but is warned to stay away from her to avoid hurting her.  He tries to leave town, as he never stays in one place, but the town and its inhabitants draw him in, and the couple find themselves drawn together.  But the events of Pearl Harbor change everyone's lives.

The real star of this novel is the town of Rosey Corner.  The people and places are so well-drawn I could see them.  The characters all center around the Merritt family.  Little Lorena, abandoned and taken in by the family, Graham, the eccentric loner befriended by them, and Fern, his sister who appears sporadically and disappears into the shadows, all play a part in the relationship between Kate and Jay.  

The World War II era is one of my favorite settings for historical fiction.  The effects of the war on a small town in Kentucky is particularly interesting, as people who have had little or no contact with the world at large are suddenly affected by events on another continent.  Admittedly, the story seemed to lag a bit in the middle of the book, but it was still a captivating story.

4.5 stars

Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  
 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, July 7, 2013


About the Book . . .
Saving Saffron Sweeting has reached the quarter finals in the romance category of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. More information:
Grace Palmer’s British friends all think she’s living the American Dream. But her design business is floundering and when she discovers her husband is cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England.
The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a good place for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling its own changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighbours as they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. 
However, not everyone has the same opinion on what’s good for the village. The charismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky path between her home and her happiness?
With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving  Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.

About the Author

British by birth, Pauline moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back.Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Saving Saffron Sweeting is her first novel.
Connect with Pauline!


Buy the Book!

Reader review . . . 
Grace was trying to get her business going in the States, but when her husband cheated with her client, it was time to go home to England.  Once there, she looked for a small village to hide and recuperate for awhile, and Saffron Sweeting fit the bill.  But before she knew it, she had adjusted to small-town life.  Now she is trying to balance a new relationship with saving her new home.

An awesome debut from Pauline Wiles, this light, contemporary fiction novel explores the difference between the British and Americans.  First, Grace is the newcomer while living in San Francisco, and then she has to readjust when she returns to England.  In Saffron Sweeting, they are being overrun by Americans who have transferred with their company.  The villagers feel their way of life is being threatened by the horde of loud Americans, who in turn want to fit in but do not know how.

At the same time, the novel also explores marriage, love, and the aftermath of betrayal.  At the beginning of the novel, I could imagine Grace's pain when she didn't know how to tell people what had happened, and only wanted to be alone to deal with the hurt.  It was a joy to follow along as she began to heal and get on with her life.  

This novel is just full of wonderful characters who seem as real as my own neighbors.  Life in Saffron Sweeting was so clearly described that I could see it as clearly as if I had been there.  

I must admit that the ending was not as I had hoped.  I can't say more than that without a spoiler, so I'll let it go, but it's not a bad ending.  It just isn't the resolution I expected.  Still, this is a fantastic first novel, and would be perfect reading by the pool or at the beach this summer.  

5 stars

I received this book in exchange for an honest  review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013


A deadly secret is tangled up in Yesterday’s Threads, and Anna is racing the clock to get it unraveled.

In 1859, Elisabeth Margaret Nelson traveled to Crocker, Indiana to meet her new husband and start a new life. Her family never saw her again. The story of her death and a heartbroken husband who grieves his entire life is a sad tale for sure. But is it true? 

When Anna Yesterday receives some vintage dresses from the local museum, she’s excited about highlighting them at Crocker’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. But someone wants the dresses back, and they’ll apparently stop at nothing to get them—leaving a trail of murder and destruction in their wake.
As Anna and Pratt work to uncover the deadly intrigue behind the vintage dresses, interference of another kind is working its way to the surface. All too soon, Anna and Pratt find themselves neck deep in trouble from more than one dimension—and wondering which will get them first!

She pulled into the lot at the museum and parked next to a small, low-slung car with two doors. Anna was pretty sure she’d seen Mindy tooling around town in the sexy little black sports car. Which meant that, if her car was still there, Mindy hadn’t left the museum. Anna reached over to the passenger seat of her own Smart car and extracted the dress bags. She started toward the museum’s front door, clicking the doors locked on her car as she walked away.

Traffic moved along the streets in the distance, but the part of Crocker where the Bickershaw Museum stood was quiet. All the shops and businesses around the place were closed for the night, their owners gone home to dinner.

The early Spring weather had grown steadily cooler as the day had progressed, and the cooler air touching the heated asphalt had created a haze along the ground, which felt eerie when mixed with the unnatural silence.

Anna moved more quickly toward the hulking frame of the building, the bags in her arms sliding against each other, in danger of slipping from her grip. She stopped once to adjust the load in her arms and heard the soft snick of something coming from around back of the museum. It sounded like a door closing.
Anna waited, listening for Mindy to come around the building, heading toward her car. No footsteps sounded on the concrete sidewalk leading around back and no other sounds lifted up from the haze. The night fell back into unnatural silence.

Anna started walking again, her gaze sliding over the façade of the big building. The windows along the front seemed to glare at her, their rippled, old glass capturing the light from the parking lot in uneven ribbons that segmented the glass.

She shivered as a moist breeze slipped through the trees. The softly rustling leaves sounded like whispers to her overactive imagination. Anna shook off her fears and started up the staircase.

Something flared inside the house, bright and quick like the flash of a match. She stopped, peered through the eye-level window, and saw nothing. Thinking it must have just been the play of distant headlights over the glass, she started up again.

The front door was locked so she pounded, calling Mindy’s name. No one came. Anna bit her lip, trying to decide what to do. She reshuffled the dresses and started back down the stairs, deciding to try around back. Maybe the sound she’d heard had been Mindy going back into the building from an errand or something.

She hurried back down the stairs and followed the sidewalk to a small, unobtrusive wooden door at the back, lower corner. She figured the door would have been for servants in the original use of the house. Now she was hoping it led to the work area of the museum, where she assumed they kept the items in need of repair or storage.

Anna tried the knob and was relieved to find it unlocked. She stepped inside, further comforted to see the space was softly lit. “Mindy? It’s Anna Yesterday. Are you here?”

Silence met her query, only the soft drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet breaking the stillness. “Mindy?” She started forward, walking toward the warm, yellow glow of light spilling from a doorway across the room.
As she neared the door, someone moaned. Anna slammed to a halt. She waited, listening. Another long, drawn-out moan brought the small hairs up on Anna’s neck. “Mindy?”

She moved reluctantly forward, stopping in the doorway of the lighted room. It sounded as if someone was hurt. The room was lined in aromatic, cedar planking and filled with clothing racks that held bag after bag of what Anna assumed was vintage clothing—no doubt Lissie and Felix Bickershaw’s clothing. Several of the bags were unzipped and dresses in all colors and fabrics spilled from the plastic, their hems looking more ragged than they should.

Another moan had Anna spinning on her heel and she found Mindy lying on the floor in a pool of blood, a large pair of black-handled scissors protruding from her chest. 

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 About Sam Cheever:

Award winning author Sam Cheever mixes in a little fun, a little magic, and a little real-life spice to create her sexy fictional characters. Sam’s fun-loving creations fight their way through a dizzying array of dangerous challenges without letting little things like dangerous bad guys, angry, manipulative gods, evil dark world denizens, or killing Furies dampen their zest for life and hot love!

In her real life, Sam lives on a hobby farm in Indiana with 11 dogs, 2 horses, 1 barn cat, and one husband. Not necessarily in that order. When asked why, why, why on the 11 dogs (yes, they all live in the house!), Sam simply shrugs and says she’s stupid. But what she really means to say is that she’s a dog-aholic. She of course can’t be blamed for her addiction. She is a victim. And along those lines, if anyone knows of a support group for this addiction please write Sam at and fill her in.

Connect with Sam Cheever:

Join Sam Cheever on tour:
June 24, 2013 - Chloe Gets a Clue
June 25, 2013 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle
June 27, 2013 - Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries & More
June 28, 2013 – A Chick Who Reads
June 30, 2013 - Cozy Up with Kathy
July 1, 2013 - Kaisy Daisy’s Corner
July 2, 2013 - Kate Shannon
July 5, 2013 - The Self Taught Cook
July 6, 2013 – The Bookish Owl
July 7, 2013 – The Bookish Owl

Reader review . . . 

Newlywed Elisabeth Nelson journeyed to Crocker, Indiana alone in 1859 to reunite with her husband.  After disembarking from the stagecoach, the new bride was never seen again.  Her family's suspicion of her husband continued through the generations without proof.  

Present-day:  Anna Yesterday was excited when the museum sold her shop some beautiful vintage dresses.  But someone wants those dresses and will do anything to get them. 

This second installment in the series continues with Anna and Pratt exploring their blossoming relationship.  I was happy to see Pratt's back story, and it wasn't what I expected.  Joss's disappearance was interesting, and the interplay between Pratt and Bess was fun to watch.  I must admit to a giggle at the idea of a character named Morticia, though.  

Another fun trip to the antique store in Crocker......

4.5 stars

I received this book from Cozy Mystery Book Tours in exchange for an honest  review. All opinions expressed are my own. 



About Yesterday’s News:

Antiques can be a dangerous  business.  Especially  when  you’re  dealing  with  a  desperate politician, a sexy ex-cop, and a couple of “spirited” companions.

Anna  Yesterday  owns  Yesterday’s  Antiques  in  small  town  USA.   When  she  finds  an  old newspaper clipping lining the drawer of an antique dresser, she realizes she’s never heard the horrible story of rape and suicide detailed on the yellowed newsprint. So she starts to dig,  and her sleuthing exposes an ugly cover-up that casts the residents of Crocker, Indiana into danger and intrigue, and leaves them with a corpse.

About Sam Cheever:

Award winning author Sam Cheever mixes in a little fun, a little magic, and a little real-life spice to create her sexy fictional  characters.  Sam’s  fun-loving  creations  fight  their  way  through  a dizzying array of dangerous challenges  without  letting  little  things  like  dangerous  bad  guys, angry, manipulative gods, evil dark world denizens, or killing Furies  dampen  their  zest  for  life and hot love!

In her real life, Sam lives on a hobby farm in Indiana with 11 dogs, 2 horses, 1 barn cat, and one husband. Not necessarily in that order. When asked why, why, why on the 11 dogs (yes,  they  all live in the house!), Sam simply shrugs and says she’s stupid. But what she really means  to  say is that she’s a dog-aholic. She of course can’t be blamed for her addiction. She is a victim. And along those lines, if anyone knows of a support group  for  this  addiction  please  write  Sam  at and fill her in.

Connect with Sam Cheever:

Join Sam Cheever on tour:

June 24, 2013 - Chloe Gets a Clue
June 25, 2013 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle
June 27, 2013 - Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries & More
June 28, 2013 – A Chick Who Reads
June 30, 2013 - Cozy Up with Kathy
July 1, 2013 - Kaisy Daisy’s Corner
July 2, 2013 - Kate Shannon
July 5, 2013 - The Self Taught Cook
July 6, 2013 – The Bookish Owl
July 7, 2013 – The Bookish Owl

Reader review . . . 

When Anna pries open a drawer on an antique dresser in her store, she finds an old newspaper clipping telling of a horrible crime.  Realizing that there must have been a cover-up in her small hometown of Crocker, Indiana, she, with the help of her sexy assistant Pratt, begins to investigate the decades-old story.  But someone in Crocker doesn't want the truth told.......

As a rule, I'm not usually a fan of "ghost stories" (with the exception of Aunt Dimity), so when Joss and Bess first made their appearance in the story, I almost stopped reading.  However, the characters were so engaging that I could not stop reading. With the setting of the novel being an antique store, it is fitting to have an unsolved mystery from decades before.  As this is the first of the series, hopefully we will learn more of the back stories of not only Joss and Bess, but also of Anna and Pratt.  

3.5 stars

I received this book from Cozy Mystery Book Tours in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


A post-World War II “cozy” mystery about a museum heist, a missing child, a murder, a recent ex-con and an even more recent widow.
In Hartford, Connecticut, 1949, Juliet Van Allen, a museum administrator, discovers that her artist husband is having an affair with another woman. Just a wee bit shocked, Juliet slips unseen back to her office to mull over her options and wish the earth would swallow her, when she meets an intruder. Elmer Vartanian, recently released from prison for a museum robbery, is coerced into helping scout the museum for a heist by a gang that has kidnapped his daughter. When her husband is found murdered, Juliet becomes the prime suspect, and Elmer is her only alibi.

Juliet, the rebellious only daughter of a wealthy financier, and Elmer, a lower-class ex-convict who has educated himself in prison, must partner to solve their separate crises. She is Elmer’s guide to a post-war world that has changed so much since he entered prison. He feels guilty for having missed his daughter’s childhood, for being safe when friends were killed in World War II, and is bewildered over atomic energy, Modern Art, ballpoint pens, and frozen orange juice concentrate.

Juliet is not sure she believes Elmer’s story. Elmer is not sure she didn’t kill her husband, yet they are compelled to work together, dogged by the scandal-monger newsman, the shrewd police detective, and scrutinized by the even more judgmental eye of Hartford’s elite in world where Modern Art meets old-fashioned murder.
About Jacqueline T. Lynch:  

Jacqueline T. Lynch’s novels are available as ebooks from, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Several of her plays have been published and produced around the U.S., Canada, and one of which was translated into Dutch and performed several times in the Netherlands. Her ONE GOOD TURN premiered as a winner of the 2011 Northern Kentucky University Y.E.S. Festival. Her one-act play IN MEMORY OF TRIXIE GAZELLE was chosen as a winner in the 2010 Nor’Eastern Playwright’s Showcase of the Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theatre in Rutland, Vermont. She has published articles and short fiction in regional and national publications, including the anthology “60 Seconds to Shine: 161 Monologues from Literature” (Smith & Kraus, 2007), North & South, Civil War Magazine, History Magazine, and writes Another Old Movie Blog and New England Travels blog.

Follow Jacqueline T. Lynch:

Join Jacqueline T. Lynch on tour:

 Reader review . . . 
It's 1949 in Hartford, Connecticut, and Juliet has just caught her husband with another woman.  While having a good cry in her office after hours, she is surprised to see a man drop from the vent in the ceiling.  Elmer, a recent parolee, is being blackmailed into helping a gang of thieves with their plans to rob the museum where Juliet works.  When she returns home to find her husband murdered, she needs Elmer as her alibi.  As they work together to find the killer and clear her name, this odd couple grows closer together.  Juliet is there as Elmer deals with the guilt that he feels for being absent from his daughter's life and not being available to fight in WWII.  The novel comes to a dramatic conclusion that leaves the reader wanting more from this pair.
This novel could have gone horribly wrong, if not for the author's skillful writing.  Avoiding the stereotype of the spoiled, rich girl, the character of Juliet is likeable.  Elmer was fleshed out beyond the cardboard character of "the ex-con".  His internal struggles with guilt, shame, and grief draw the reader's sympathy.  
The ending somehow has a "To be continued..." feel, so this will hopefully not be the last we read of Juliet and Elmer.
4 stars
This book was provided by Cozy Mystery Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  

Monday, July 1, 2013


Author: John A. Heldt
File size: 537 KB (Kindle)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Genres: Romance-Time Travel, Historical Fiction.


In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't  spend,  and  little  but  his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a  peacetime  draft,  Joel  begins  a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his  21-year-old  trailblazing  grandmother  and  her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity  comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose  a  course  that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.



 About the author . . . 

John A. Heldt is a reference librarian who lives and works in Montana. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved reading and writing since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of both the University of Oregon and University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. Heldt is the author of THE MINE, THE JOURNEY, and THE SHOW, the first three novels of his Northwest Passage time-travel series. 


Reader review . . . 

Deciding to take a quick break right before college graduation,  Joel and his best friend Adam embark on a road trip.  While driving through Montana, Joel decides to explore an abandoned gold mine.  A strange glow from the walls of the mine catapults him into the past.  On his own in 1941, Joel's first thought is to find his way back to the present.  But upon meeting Tom and his family and friends, he finds himself facing the dilemma of all time-travelers; should he intervene to save them from their future and risk altering the course of history?

Not being a serious fan of sci-fi and time travel, this novel did not, at first glance, look like my usual choice of reading material.  But after a second reading of the blurb, I decided it might be interesting.  Once I started reading, I could not put it down.  This was a fascinating historical fiction using time travel as the means of transporting the reader (and the protagonist) back to pre-WWII America.  Anyone who has ever contemplated what it would be like to go back in time will appreciate the question raised by the novel.  Is it safe for a time traveler to alter the past?  If you know that someone is going to die, is it okay to change their fate?  In this story, the grandfather (actually, grandmother) paradox plays a major role in the storyline.  As I was reading, I found myself trying to guess ahead to how the author would end the story.  With all my conjecture, it was still a nice surprise.  

The 1940s setting is very well done.  I particularly enjoyed Joel's exploration of the contrast between the past and present.  The idea of going back in time to see one's hometown as it once was is intriguing.  His quandary upon realizing that the Pearl Harbor attack  and subsequent entry to the war is only months away was thought-provoking.  Joel was seeing the faces of the young men who had only been names on a memorial plaque for him before.  

IMHO, the romance angle is more of a subplot to a well-written time travel story.  This is perfect for anyone who enjoys sci-fi, historical fiction, and/or the time travel genre.  

5 stars

I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own. 



Saffron Shrimp

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp sofrito 
1 lb. shrimp, peeled
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper 
1 pinch of saffron
1/4 C cilantro 

Heat oil to medium in non-stick skillet.  Cook sofrito in oil for 5 minutes.  Saute shrimp for 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve over white rice with tostones.

music to cook by
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” ― Julia Child, My Life in France


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