If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison (Audiobook)

If I Could Turn Back Timetime by Beth Harbison is the perfect book for summer reading!  Seriously how many of us haven’t thought of what we would do differently if we could turn back time?  Well thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips gets just that chance when on a boat with friends she takes a dive off the diving board and the next thing she knows she is waking up as her eighteen-year-old self.

Ramie has been a little dissatisfied with her life even though she’s really successful in her career.  She’s got everything she could want in terms of money, rich friends, and the material things in life but personally she has been feeling more lost than ever.  While her friends are getting married or having families Ramie can’t even seem to find a suitable man.  So when the conversation on the boat turns to these kinds of topics Ramie gets annoyed and consequently takes that fateful trip off the diving board.

When Ramie wakes up it is the eve of her eighteenth birthday and she can’t believe it, yet looking in the mirror she sees her nice smooth skin and knows it’s true and even better she still has all the knowledge from her thirty-seven year old self.  As this all sinks in Ramie realizes that she has the chance to change all the things she regrets and even more importantly to be able to reconnect with those she has lost.  So even while Ramie is wondering how she ended up time traveling she is also looking to see how she can right some wrongs of her past and just maybe set her future on the right path.

I really enjoyed If I Could Turn Back Time.  I think we all wish we could go back in time with the knowledge we have now.  I know I do and would I ever do things differently.  I find these time travel stories fun and like I said they always make me wonder ‘what if’.  I listened to the audiobook of If I Could Turn Back Time which is narrated by Orlagh Cassidy and she does a fantastic job.  I always enjoy audios narrated by her because she always makes a story even better with her talent at different voice tones and just the emotions she puts into her reading.  Loved it!  Highly recommended for those who enjoy women’s fiction.

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review however audiobook from personal library. No compensation was received.

The Passion of Marie Romanov by Laura Rose (Audiobook)

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If you’re anything of a history buff you likely already know about the Romanov family and their horrible end and in The Passion of Marie Romanov, Laura Rose brings that history to life.  I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Lillian Webb and Travis Smith and they bring even more power and emotion to the story.  The majority of the story is narrated by Lillian Webb as the narrative itself is told by one of the Romanov daughters Marie.  The ending is narrated by Travis Smith who in a very realistic way brings the tragic end of the Romanov’s alive in our minds.  Very well done by both narrators who kept me rapt throughout the telling of the Romanov’s story and the very beautiful writing of Laura Rose.

The story is told from the perspective of the third Romanov daughter Marie and is based on original diaries and letters written by her.  It’s a fascinating although terribly sad accounting of what happened to the Romanov family as they were kept in captivity.  When taken the Romanov’s were told they were being taken somewhere safe and so they assumed their privileged lives would carry on as they had.  It wasn’t long until they realized it wasn’t so when they were unable to even get proper provisions such as food and were no longer treated to the finer things like butter and coffee.  At one point the guards even whitewashed their windows effectively cutting them off from the world.  As it is historical fiction there are some things like the romance Marie has with a guard brought into the picture.  For me I can see a young girl of nineteen yearning for love but I’m not sure that within the time period that the Romanov’s would have lived that a well brought up girl would have carried the romance as far as she did or even had the opportunity to do so.  That aside the story is so beautifully told but I will say that the ending is not for the faint of heart.  The Romanov’s execution is brought to life in vivid detail and I think that’s to portray the unfairness and downright evilness that was done to this family.

I have read a bit about the Romanov’s in the past including researching them a bit on the internet because their story is so tragic.  To imagine that people can kill others so brutally is so horrific to me.  One has to wonder how history would have changed had they all been allowed to live.  I found this account by Laura Rose to be rich in historical detail with a fictional story weaved throughout that will definitely entice the historical fiction fan. Highly recommended … especially in audio!

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Source: Review copy provided by ListenUp Audiobooks for an honest review.  No compensation was received.

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells (Audiobook)

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It’s always exciting to discover an audiobook that you know from the beginning is going to make your favorites list and that is exactly what Girl Underwater by Claire Kells was for me.  It’s narrated by Julia Whelan and if you listen to audiobooks at all then you already know what a fantastic narrator she is.  I love the different voices she’ll use for her characters and the emotion she puts into telling the story really brings it alive for the listener.  She’s one of my favorite narrators so I was thrilled to see she was narrating the story and then when the book turned out to be so good I was over the moon.  It was like watching a good movie that you just can’t turn away from.  Girl Underwater is a powerful story about survival – both in the most trying of circumstances and in life.

Nineteen-year-old Avery has always loved the water and is a competitive college swimmer.  She’s got a great boyfriend and family with a father who has always taught her to take care of herself.  She’s happy with her life so far … until the plane crash.  On the way home for Thanksgiving break the plane she is on crashes in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and Avery finds herself one of only five survivors.  One of those survivors is teammate Colin as well as three young boys.  For almost a week they struggle to survive the snow and cold of the Rocky Mountains. As the story unfolds it alternates between the scenes of the plane crash with Avery’s life in present.  We see her as she tries to do what she can for those she’s stranded with and her inner turmoil with the choices she needs to make in order for them to survive at all.  In present we see how the aftermath of something so devastating takes its toll on an individual as Avery struggles just to get through each day and then there is the secret she is keeping, hiding it even from herself.

Avery is a great character.  She’s smart and strong and she’s easy to like and to relate to.  The author weaves a love story throughout the novel but it isn’t overwhelming – it’s just perfect as are the two male leads she has in the story especially Colin.  As well she tackles the psychological side of such an event and it’s effects on those who survived.  To be sure Kells  certainly grabs your attention with the terror of a plane crash, the survival, and the aftermath in such a way that you can’t put down this book or in my case stop listening.

Girl Underwater is the debut novel from Claire Kells and it’s an awesome one.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.  Highly recommended … especially in audio – the production is fabulous!

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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.

Demelza: A Novel of Cornwell, 1788-1790 by Winston Graham (Audiobook) – Blog Tour & Grand Giveaway Contest (US only)

demelzaDemelza is the second novel in the enthralling Poldark series from author Winston Graham. The Ross Poldark & Demelza Blog Tour kicked off on July 6 and will run through to August 3. The blog tour is to highlight the tie-in editions of Ross Poldark & Demelza which are the first two novels in The Poldark Saga by Winston Graham. These two novels have recently been adapted for television for the new Masterpiece Classic PBS’s series Poldark, which began airing on June 21 and will run through to August 2.  After really enjoying the first novel, Ross Poldark, and now Demelza I can say without a doubt that I am definitely hooked on the series and can’t wait to keep reading and with twelve books in the series I foresee a lot of good reading ahead!

Being the second book in the series it’s impossible not to write at least a few minor spoilers so if you intend to read the series you may not want to go past this point.  Demelza, who had once been a poor miner’s daughter, is now married to Ross and they’ve had a baby daughter together.  Ross is still busy fighting for the rights of the miners and Demelza finds herself struggling just to fit into Ross’ life.  Many of Ross’ counterparts still view Demelza as an outsider and don’t see her as being right for Ross or being the kind of person who can readily fit into their social circle.  Of course there is still Elizabeth, Ross’ first love, and Demelza still struggles with her uncertainty around the woman.  Needless to say with the changes in the world and within their own lives, the ensuing years are very trying for the couple, testing their marriage and love for one another.  When tragedy strikes will everyone overlook their differences to work together or let bitterness destroy them all?

That’s about all I want to say as I don’t want to ruin these books for anyone else.  What I do want to say is what a wonderful character Demelza is and how much I like her.  She and Ross are the types of characters who you come to know and care about.  I love the setting of Cornwall and when I opened this novel I felt instantly transported back to eighteenth century Cornwall and into the lives of the Poldarks and back to a time in history so different from my own.

If you enjoy historical fiction full of unforgettable characters and a great love story then you really should indulge yourself in the beauty of Demelza and the Poldark saga.  I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Clare Corbett and as usual she does a terrific job of bringing the world of the Poldark’s to life.  Highly recommended!

Other tour stops for Demelza
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Grand Giveaway Contest – Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes!

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In celebration of the re-release of Ross Poldark and Demelza, Sourcebooks Landmark is offering three chances to win copies of the books or a grand prize, an Anglophile-themed gift package.

Two lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:

(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothersr
(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee’s Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!

Don’t forget to follow along with all of the tour stops (click here for the full list of tour stops) and comment on each including mine to be entered in this fantastic giveaway prize pack!

 

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“If Jane Austen met Charlotte Bronte and they drank too much port,
the Poldark Saga would be their literary love child.” — Poldarkian.com

 

Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review however Audiobook is personal copy. Giveaway sponsored by the publisher. No compensation was received.