If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison



If I Could Turn Back Time

by Beth Harbison

Published by St. Martin Press

July 28, 2015 release date

I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

Ramie Phillips is celebrating her 37 birth day with friends on a yacht and thinks she has it all.  Single, wealthy and successful, she has never regretted the decisions she mad that led her where she is.  The joyful pregnancy announcement sends Ramie reeling and she proceeds to get good and drunk.  When she her drunken dive winds up smashing her head on the boat, Ramie wakes up- not 37, but 18 and in high school.  As she relives the days leading up to her high school graduation, she begins to second guess her big choices- what  and where to study in college, breaking up with her high school sweetheart, etc.

This was a fun, fast book that I really enjoyed.  I loved the beginning and the end, but felt the middle  became bogged down with too much “reflection” that really didn’t tie into the story or the main character.  It felt like it disrupted the flow of the story in order to make it major meaningful.  Once past that, it was really terrific, and I loved the ending (no spoilers).  I love the idea of revising major life decisions and possibly seeing the aftermath of the path not taken.


Thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich and occasionally the semi-famous, and she enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Potomac, Maryland. But despite it all, she can’t ignore the fact that she isn’t necessarily happy. In fact, lately Ramie has begun to feel more than a little empty.

On a boat with friends off the Florida coast, she tries to fight her feelings of discontent with steel will and hard liquor. No one even notices as she gets up and goes to the diving board and dives off…

Suddenly Ramie is waking up, straining to understand a voice calling in the distance…It’s her mother: “Wake up! You’re going to be late for school again. I’m not writing a note this time…”

Ramie finds herself back on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, with a second chance to see the people she’s lost and change the choices she regrets. How did she get back here? Has she gone off the deep end? Is she really back in time? Above all, she’ll have to answer the question that no one else can: What it is that she really wants from the past, and for her future?




Fictional Bookworms- a Top Ten List



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!


This week’s topic is

Top Ten Characters that are Book Nerds

1.  Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

2.  Jo March from Little Women

3.  Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird

4.  Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice

5.  Matilda Wormwood from Matilda

6.  A.J. Fiery from The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

7.  Daniel Sempere and 8. Fermin Romero de Torres from The Shadow of the Wind

9.  Liesyl Meminger from The Book Thief

10.  Anne Wilkes from Misery

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain



Circling the Sun

by Paula McLain

published by Ballantine Books

July 28, 2015

I received this book as an advance review copy from the publisher through net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I loved McLains’ The Paris Wife so much and I was so happy to receive Circling The Sun from the publishers.  I was not disappointed!  First- this makes me want to read, and then watch Out of Africa, which I never have.  Then I want to read Markham’s own memoir West with the Night.  The author has presented an amazing description of aAfrica in the early 20th century, as well as one of the Europeans who either treated it as a part of heaven, or a playground for the wealthy and bored.

Beryl Markham lived an amazing life.  She grew up on a farm in Kenya, raised only by her somewhat neglectful father after her mother leaves them to return to England.  She was permitted to run wild, learning how to hunt and shoot with the native boys.  When her father tries to send her to school in her teens, she repeatedly runs away until she is kicked out.  She lived her life in such an unconventional way, at at time when there weren’t many choices for women living on their own.  She did marry two times- both were very unhappy and ended quickly.  Markham had many affairs, but was only made truly happy but three things- horses, Denys Finch- Hatton, and flying.

This might be one of my favorite books of the year so far.  The writing was wonderful and the author obviously did a meticulous job with her research.  My favorite part of the book is the descriptions of Africa, and the obvious love Markham had for it.  I would definitely recommend this book.  A big thank you to Ballantine Books and Net Galley for sharing it with me!


Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

To learn more about Beryl Markham, check out some of these site-




Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts



Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1. I have to take a day very soon to organize my reading.  I have been a little bad in terms of buying/accepting books, even so far as to check books out of the library and then never read them. I see some shelving, a white board and dry erase markers in my future.

2.  The chocolate lab just will not stop eating poop.  We live on 5 acres and I am lazy, so they just get let out whenever they want to go.  I have tried everything but actually walking out with him every time.  I know- the answer lies within me.

3.  I am having a friend’s son over for the night while they are away- any good vegetarian ideas for lunch and dinner?

4.  I just read that some guy slipped into someone’s house while they were taking out the garbage and hid under the bed for three days.  Three days!!!  He even charged his cell phone while he was there.  That scares the shit out of me.  There really are monsters under the bed.

5.  I started drinking my coffee black.  It is pretty awesome.  I definitely feel a little badass.  But wow, it really sucks cold.

6.  I read Circling the Sun about Beryl Markham, and now I am dying to read more things about Africa in the early 20th century.  Beth Fish Reads just posted a great list of books just for that. How fortuitous!

7.  I am have about ten books looming on my horizon- all very good books I am sure- but there is something about rereading favorite books in the summertime.  Do any of you have favorite rereads?

8.  I am making smoothies in the morning before I torture myself at the gym.  I have the standard blueberry/banana one down, but I would like to change it up a bit.  Any good smoothie recipes out there?

9.  The heatwave we had has finally broken and people are happy again.  It’s like a scene from a Disney movie with the birds chirping and the butterflies fluttering.  Then-bam!- yellow lab kills one of those chirping birds and spits it out on the driveway.  The rest of the birds go freaking crazy, squawking and flying all over.  Now I am afraid to go out of the house again.

10.  If I have to see another web article on Donald Trump I might vomit.  I can’t believe John Stewart is retiring at this moment.  It’s too easy!  I guess I will just have to wait until Colbert comes back in September.


Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts



Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  I started working out with a trainer last week.  I think when you hit your 40s, you go a little crazy.  I am aching ALL over- can’t lift my arms more than half way.  This might seriously affect my wine drinking.


2.  I am going to Pittsburgh to visit my son, who is being kind enough to set aside an hour or so of his time so we can take him out to eat.  Seriously, he told me he has to get back for “activities” even though it is Parent’s Weekend and we are driving 6 hours each way.  This might make him leaving for college next summer a little easier for me.

3.  I read Circling The Sun by Paula McCain in one day, and I didn’t realize it was based on a real woman until I read the epilogue.

4.  I have Go Set A Watchman sitting on my kitchen counter.  I am reluctant to read it for a few reasons, not the least being I really don’t believe Harper Lee actually wanted it ever published.  I also don’t like the idea of losing faith in Atticus.  Sort of like finding out Harry Potter turned to the Dark Arts after a mid life crisis.


5.  I had a bear in the yard.  Now every time I drive up the driveway, I am afraid.

7.  I hate that Goodreads doesn’t count my endless rereads in my reading challenge.  Why does it NOT count when I reread The Hunger Games for the 8th time, just because it was there???

8.  I started some tomato plants from seed back in April.  I had to repot them 3 times, and now they are taller than me.  The kicker?  I forget what kind of tomatoes they are supposed to be.


9.  We watch The Brink with Tim Robbins and Jack Black- it was AWESOME!  Can’t wait for more episodes.

10.  Any suggestions on things to do in Pittsburgh?  Since I will have so much time on my hands?

Look What I Just Got!- A Top Ten List



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!


 The Last Ten Books to Come Into My Possession

It’s a pretty random list, including books from an indie bookstore, my local library, bought on my kindle, and received as ARCs.

1.  The Mapmaker’s Children

2.  Circling the Sun

3.  Eight Hundred Grapes

4.  If I Could Turn Back Time

5.  In Wilderness

6.  Code Name Verity

7.  The Dog Stars

8.  My Cousin Rachel

9.  The Light Between the Oceans

10.  The Remains of the Day

Go Set A Watchman-Are You Going To Read It?



The much talked about, much anticipated prequel to To Kill A Mockingbird is set to be released tomorrow and there is already a whole lot of talk out there.  I have not read the first chapter, but I have heard that Watchman portrays our beloved Atticus Finch in a less than flattering light.

This comes on top of the debate over whether author Harper Lee really wanted Watchman to ever be published, or if she has been manipulated by lawyers/publisher just to make $$.

So, I am asking everyone out there- what are your thoughts here?  Will everyone read it?

If you haven’t heard the buzz, you can read here-


NY Times

The Guardian