“Time with Norma Jean” by Elyse Douglas

Itty-Bitty ReviewTime with Norma Jean

I thought the story might show a new playful insightfulness into Marilyn Monroe told with the twist of being written as a time-travel novel.  I really tried, but still found the book to be sophomoric and not enjoyable. The story has two timelines that do not meet. The 16-year-old narrator is a girl named, Darla.  In 1998, the author has her goes back in time to the early 1950s.   She hangs out and goes on a road trip with her favorite old movie star—the legendary blonde.  I did appreciate the connection between Darla, and Dorothy, from Oz, learning the life lesson of “there is no place like home,” but that is about as magical as this tale reads.  Maybe, I am being too harsh. Maybe, this book is YA. After all, the author spends time on Darla’s first crush, which I think I would have enjoyed when I was a teenage girl.  I know it is supposed to be a light read, but it wasn’t for me.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher through Book Sirens at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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“The Emancipation of Veronica McAllister” by Shawn Inmon

Genre:  FantasyThe Emancipation of Veronica
Publisher:   CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Pub.  May 2018

This is the fifth book in the Middle Falls Time Travel Series.  Still, it is a standalone read.  This reviewer didn’t know that the novel was part of a series until after finishing the book.  The story begins in 2018 when the protagonist, 80-year-old Veronica, is on her deathbed.  She is ready to die.   As she breathes her last breath she is anxious to learn the answers to the question we all wonder about—what happens after death?  Is there a heaven?  Is there a hell?  Or will it be an eternity of nothingness?  Once dead, Veronica opens her eyes, to see that she is back in 1958 and is a teenager again, wearing a poodle skirt and apparently babysitting.  The author does a good job with her complete confusion and excitement at seeing her old friends and parents again.  “Oh, Daddy, you’re so young and handsome,” she says.  Often you may think of the comedy-drama film, Peggy Sue Got Married.

But the story theme isn’t really about time travel.  The author is asking the question, What If you could live your life over and over again until you got it right?  What would you do differently not to duplicate your mistakes made in each life?   Not an original thought but an interesting one, especially when you imagine yourself in such a situation. Where the story begins to become a bit tiresome is after Veronica’s second or third life. Each time she dies, she wakes up as a teenager at the same babysitting job.  Until she finally learns her own personal meaning of self-actualization, she and the reader are stuck in a purgatory-like, Groundhog Day existence.  If the author would have stayed with keeping his protagonist to a one do-over life, while adding in anything new to the theme, this may have been an interesting tale regarding the nature of changing oneself kept light with humor.  Instead, it can read as a bit preachy—neither marriage nor money guarantees happiness— time-loop redemption tale.  The novel is too cliché to encourage this reviewer to read the first four in the series.   This may not be the case for other readers who enjoy when characters get to stop the clock and start over again.  You will have to read the book yourself to decide.

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I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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“The Dream Daughter” by Diane Chamberlain

Genre:              Women’s FictionThe Dream Daughter
Publisher:         St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date:        Oct. 2, 2018


Just what would you do to save your child?  This is the question that is presented to the reader.  The author, Diane Chamberlain, is a hit or miss author for me.  I think if I was reading this book on the beach it would have been a hit.  Since I wasn’t, it was more of a miss.  Think the movie, “Back to The Future” meets the book, “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”  The humor in the book reminds me of the movie with someone from the past trying desperately to fit into the future without sticking out like a sore thumb.  While it also reads similar to “Traveler’s Wife,” making the reader wonder did the magic of the complicated plot take away from the realism of the characters?  Like most women’s fiction “Daughter” has enough drama to pull heartstrings.  I did think the book ended too nicely, it could have been wrapped up with a bow.  All though this style of writing bothers me; this reviewer admits I was anxious to learn how it would end.  If you are a fan of this genre, I suspect you will gobble this one up.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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