Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Double Feature Book Review: About Time

By Melissa Amster

One story is about sharing one month with someone special. The other is about going back to a simpler time in life. Of course, both would make for great chick flicks, if only I could figure out how to cast them!

Both synopses are courtesy of Goodreads.

February or Forever by Juliet Madison

Yoga teacher and single mother, Chrissie Burns has a plan: move into the rundown beach house left to her by her deceased aunt, renovate it, sell it, and move on. The scene of a terrible accident years ago, the house needs to get out of Chrissie's hands as soon as possible.

But Tarrin's Bay, where the house stands, has more to offer than bad memories. The town is lovely, the people friendly, and even Chrissie's young son finds friends and begins coming out of his shell. Employed at Serendipity Retreat as a yoga instructor, Chrissie is shocked to be given the role of private teacher to Drew Williams, Australia’s top singer/songwriter for the month.

Relationships between instructors and clients are strictly forbidden, but Drew draws happiness out of Chrissie with his down-to-earth nature and sense of humour. Days of stretching and bending may bring Chrissie unexpected peace and strength, but she knows that this interlude must end, and there's no pose or position to aid her when Drew walks away and leaves her broken-hearted.

I already know that Juliet Madison is an excellent writer, so this was just the icing on a delicious cake. Juliet takes us back into the setting of The January Wish and since it is still summer down under, she's able to work that into her romantic story. Overall, it was very sweet with sympathetic characters, good build-up to dramatic moments, and descriptions that make you feel like you're right there with the characters. It's a very easy read to cozy up to during this everlasting winter (or autumn, since that's starting in Australia soon). Her style for the Tarrin's Bay series reminds me of Katherine Stone, who is my favorite romance novelist. I hope she keeps going with more months, as I'd like to see what she does with July. I had some casting ideas in mind that I shared with Juliet (and she gave me some ideas too), but I'm still mulling it over. If Hollywood wanted to make the characters 10 years younger, Teresa Palmer could play Chrissie and Dean Geyer would be Drew.

Thanks to Escape Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review.

A Mother Dimension by Mink Elliott

Kate O’Reilly, mother of three on the cusp of her 45th birthday, has got a thing about the past. Her husband, Seamus and long-standing best friend, Georgia, both call her chronic nostalgia an obsession – but Kate sees it as her safety harness, her private Prozac, her coping mechanism of choice. Because when being a wife and mother is weighing her down, making her feel trapped and overwhelming her, all Kate needs to do is take a quick trip down memory lane - to where the music was better, her social circle was wider, her self-esteem higher, her hair thicker and her waist much, much thinner - and voila! All is right with her world again.
But when a freak electrical storm propels her back in time to 1996 for real, Kate can’t believe what’s happening. Soon, however, she’s elated, because this is the moment she’s been waiting for all these years – her chance to re-live those good old days and actually do all those things she’s been fantasising about. 

Armed with little more than the optimism of youth, the benefit of hindsight, a taut-again tummy and just the one chin, Kate sets out to discover what might have happened if she’d only done things a little bit differently. And why some things really are best left in the past...

I love time travel books and reading about a mother of young children who gets to go back to the 90s is an added bonus. The build-up to the time travel part was good and I liked how the concept was worked in throughout the story. I found it interesting that she chose 1996, in particular. I was in college that year, so I couldn't really relate to the adult world as much during that time. Still, it was fun to read about a simpler time before iPhones and Facebook came about. The level of suspense is great and there were a lot of twists throughout the story. The only thing that didn't work for me was the British slang and references, which had me confused most of the time and made the story a bit hard to follow. I also would have liked some background as to what happened after a certain spot to get from point A to point B. Overall, it was a fun escapist read, full of pop culture and humor.

Thanks to Mink Elliott for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Juliet Madison and Mink Elliott:

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