Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Step Back in Time

By Melissa Amster

**Giveaway  is now closed**

If you are just getting to know me now, you might not already know that I LOVE novels about time travel. I even wrote a short story about it recently. Shortly after I decided to have a Nostalgia Month theme at CLC, Trafalgar Square Publishing approached me to ask for a review of Step Back in Time by Ali McNamara (which I had already read by then). How perfect is that?!? They even have a copy for a lucky US reader!


How many lifetimes would you travel to find a love that lasts forever? When single career girl Jo-Jo steps onto a zebra crossing and gets hit by a car, she awakes to find herself in 1963. The fashion, the music, her job, even her romantic life: everything is different. And then it happens three more times, and Jo-Jo finds herself living a completely new life in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. The only people she can rely on are Harry and Ellie, two companions from 2013, and George, the owner of a second-hand record store. If she's ever to return from her travels, Jo-Jo must work out why she's jumping through time like this. And if she does make it back, will her old life ever be the same again? (Synopsis adapted from Independent Publishers Group.)

I liked this original take on the concept of time travel. It was almost like Quantum Leap in some ways, where Jo-Jo would end up in someone else's life, even though she was still herself for all intents and purposes. The other three people who show up in each decade seem to know her different personas, as well. The descriptions made people and places easy to visualize at each go-around. And I loved the nostalgic feel Ali McNamara gave off throughout. While I didn't understand some of the British references, I could keep up for the most part. Each decade had a different situation that Jo-Jo needed to deal with, and it was interesting to see if she'd accomplish her goal before being catapulted into a "new" year. The story was engaging and I kept trying to figure out what the connections were each "time." I especially loved the 60s. Ali pulled off the Mad Men feel really well (and I don't even watch that show).

One of my biggest issues with any time travel story is how plausible the actual time travel is. While the consistency of being hit by a car at a zebra crossing each time was helpful to the flow of the story, there were a lot of confusing aspects too. The explanation of time travel just felt too vague for me. This is coming from someone who overanalyzes Back to the Future though. Aside from that, some parts seemed forced, like Ali was trying too hard to make everything connect. The amount of Beatles references became overwhelming at times, as well. Especially since they only made sense to the first two decades she visited. I'm not much of a Beatles fan, so I only picked up on a handful and that still felt like a lot to me. Perhaps Beatles fans will enjoy this aspect, as it's almost like a scavenger hunt.

Naturally, Step Back in Time would be great as a movie. I would love to see how the story is played out on film. Given that each time everyone seems so different in both age and appearance, the only person I could easily cast was Jo-Jo. I'd love to see my current celebrity girl crush, Tatiana Maslany, play her. She has experience playing diverse versions of herself, so this would be a piece of cake. I just wish George Carlin were still alive because he would have been perfect as George.

If you're looking for a nostalgic treat, you've come to the right place.

Thanks to Trafalgar Square Press for sharing the book with our readers.

How to win:
Tell us your favorite Beatles song.

One entry per person.

Entries without contact information (e-mail address, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc.) will NOT be counted (and we do NOT count "Google +" as contact information).

US only. Giveaway ends September 16th at midnight EST.

28 comments:

Bonnie Franks said...

Eleanor Rigby. And now it will be stuck in my head all day.

Milena Mutter said...

My favorite Beatles song is Yesterday

Kim Vanderpool said...

Hey Jude

Anonymous said...

Yesterday is my favorite Beatles song. Linda W frogz60@hotmail.com

Rhonda G said...

Rhondajgothier@yahoo.com

Strawberry fields is a great song. I like Yesterday as well.

Janine said...

Hey Jude

kinini01@hotmail.com

Kathy LaMaster said...

This is like asking me to pick my favorite child!
Ok..."Here Comes the Sun"

Anonymous said...

Hey Jude

jpetroroy said...

Here Comes the Sun
jpetroroy at gmail dot com

susieqlaw said...

The yellow submarine

Sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

Bonnie K. said...

Hey Jude is my favorite.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

peony said...

My favorite song is Michelle.

Teknoturtl at yahoo dot com

Chanpreet said...

My favorite Beatles song is Across the Universe. One my favorite movies is a musical with the same name featuring 34 songs written by members of the Beatles. :)

kaur_chanpreet AT hotmail DOTcom

Lauren McCormick said...

Oh I love time travel stories!!
My favorite Beatles song is, Do You Want To Know A Secrect.
itzhunic@hotmail.com

Kimberly V said...

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

k3kdpv@gmail.com

Anita Yancey said...

My favorites were A Hard Day's Night and Can't Buy Me Love.

ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

Blackbird is my favorite.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Shelby N. said...

My favorite is All You Need is Love. Such a happy song! :)

Melissa Seng said...

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Lis32@aol.com
Melissa S.

StephTheBookworm said...

When I was little, my dad would play his guitar and we would sing together. We sang A LOT of Beatles song, and my favorite was always "Eight Days a Week."

stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

bn100 said...

let it be

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Charlotte Lynn said...

Yesterday...I can hear it now

Bonnie Franks said...

Ahhhhhh! Just saw that I forgot to add contact information!!

I will repeat that Eleanor Rigby is my favorite Beatles song.

bonlyn55@yahoo.com

Kimberly Griffin said...

That's hard, I like so many...I guess I'll go with All You Need Is Love.
kgriffin3227@gmail.com

Bridget O'Neill said...

Twist and Shout, and whenever I hear it I think of Ferris Bueller's Day Off :)

bjoneill@hotmail.com

Virginia Guin Reese said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia Guin Reese said...

My favorite Beatles song is If I Fell

guinreese@yahoo.com

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and telling us your favorite Beatles song.
I am not a Beatles fan, but I like "Mother Nature's Son," "Blackbird," and "You Got to Hide Your Love Away." (This is all thanks to the I Am Sam soundtrack that has GREAT covers of these songs.)

Thanks to Trafalgar Square Publishing for sharing the book with our winner.

Random.org chose one winner from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to Anita Yancey!