Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Before Ever After

'Before Ever After'
Author: Samantha Sotto

Format: Hardback
Published: Crown; Aug. 2011
Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction
Grade: A
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis: Three years after the death of her quirky, wonderful husband, Max, Shelley is a young widow barely able to get through the day. Until a knock on the door brings a thirty-two-year-old man who claims to be her thirty-two-year-old husband’s grandson--yes, grandson--into her life. And he tells her that her beloved husband Max is still very much alive and living halfway across the world. It sounds impossible, but that is part of the joy of this novel: it is about a search for answers to the critical, and most basic, questions about life. It is about what should be impossible but because of the transformative power of love, isn’t.
Samantha Sotto takes readers on a journey--from London to the Philippines, and all over Europe--as Shelley and the grandson set off to track down Max. 

My Take: This isn't a new type of story, the time traveller. It's been done a lot in recent years, yet for some reason in this new format I really enjoyed it. Remember The Time Traveller's Wife (link's to the movie review)? I read that in my pre-blogging days. I liked that but was a little skeeved out by the love of an older man for a little girl. Then, more recently, we had My Name is Memory (click for my review) where most people died and came back, they just couldn't remember it. This one didn't work for me either because it was a love story I couldn't get in to. Too overwrought. However, obviously I don't shy away from the space/time continuum issue because I jumped right into this one and I am happy I did. This was the time traveling book I was looking for!

Sotto has managed to create a believable and romantic love story that adults can believe in. Max is our resident 'time traveller', only this time it's that he is immortal. He keeps coming back to life after he dies. So he has seen it all really.  In modern times, Shelley is wife and had no idea throughout their entire marriage that he was, well, immortal. They met on a European tour.  Max was the guide and boy did he know some unique things about the tour that your average tour guide wouldn't be able to tell you about the cities they visited. The participants were captivated and Shelley felt her heart beating fast. When she learned the feelings were reciprocated though she didn't think it was a good idea because she knew that love isn't always forever. But they do get married and she is right, he dies two years later ... or so she thought.

Then one day a man named Paolo shows up on Shelley's doorstep who looks an awful lot like Max saying he is Max's grandson and she freaks out because who wouldn't. Max was too young to have an adult grandson. It is time to piece this together! We get taken on that journey. 

What was particular enjoyable for me, besides the mystery of who the true Max was, was the trip back through history. It was really interesting to learn some really unique and random facts about countries that I've visited in Europe and had no idea these events occurred. If you can suspend belief for a little bit, this book is one that will be great to take on a tour with you!

Cover Lust: I'm going to be honest, I think this cover is only just ok. I wish the green old looking book was the whole cover and not laid on a wooden background. I think that would look more unique.

Giveaway Details!
The author has kindly offered up one new copy to a lucky winner! The deadline for this giveaway is Aug. 23rd; entries open to those in the US and Canada.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Aug. 23rd. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

For other opinions about this book, here's the full TLC Tour Schedule.


  1. No need to enter me, as I already have the book. Just glad to see you really enjoyed it!

  2. No need to enter me, either -- just wanted to say I enjoyed your review and can't wait to read this one! I actually picked it up last night and intended to start, but then a library book came in... and try to give those first reading preference, haha!

  3. Sounds like a really good book and I would love to read it. You know how to get a hold of me. :) (I posted it on FB too)

  4. Like to read this book, have been following the tour. It sounds like a beautiful story and the cover seals the deal. poofbooks (at) gmail (.) com.

  5. I don't think I've read any time travel books, but this one sounds really good to me. No need to enter me.

  6. This book sounds good! I'm a follower of your blog.


    kennedyotoole at gmail

  7. sounds really interesting.twitter follower.lomazowr@gmail.com

  8. No need to enter me--I reviewed this book a few weeks ago. I'm glad you loved it; I did too! In fact, it was my "Best Book" of July!

  9. Hm....I am intrigued but I just do not know any more about this one

  10. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    gfc follower

    vidishamun at gmail dot com

  11. Sounds great!

    +1 I follow

    +1 I follow Twitter: @nfmgirl

    +1 Blogged:

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  12. Thanks for the lovely review! So glad you enjoyed it! :)

    *Waves to everyone in the comment box* Good luck! Happy reading! :D

  13. I'd love to read "Before Ever After." tweeting away...

  14. I do love time travel books when they are done right, this one sounds like a good read. For a YA one that I think was done well - check out Waterfall (River of Time series) by Lisa T. Bergren, if you haven't already.
    GFC: Book Sake
    Twitter follower: @BookSake and tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/booksake/status/101009427699736576

  15. Looks like a good book. Great review. Thanks for the giveaway.

    annettesspot (at) gmail (dot) com

    I'm a google follower

  16. Oooh, I wanna win!!!

    +1 GFC follower

    stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

  17. This book sounds interesting!! lifeisshort.readfast@gmail.com

  18. Totally agree with you about the cover...
    Count me in!

  19. I'd love to win this thanks! I'm a follower.


  20. Thanks for the honest review. Don't think this one would be for me.

  21. I would love to win a copy of this book! I've been hearing good things about it.

    +1 I follow on GFC
    +1 I follow on Twitter (athomewithbooks)

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  22. This book sounds so good, thanks for the giveaway!

  23. I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).

  24. The synopsis didn't appeal to me but your review makes me think I coul like this one. Some of my favorite books involve time travel. Please enter me. I'm also a follower +1 :)
    stacybooks at yahoo

  25. Love your review and absolutely adored this book! I had all the same problems with the other two you mentioned and this was such a huge relief to read. Someone finally got it right! Loved it!

    Fab review!

  26. Thanks for this giveaway! Im a follower

    GFC name: Michelle Adams/chelle2006

    chelle2006 @ aol .com

  27. +1 im your follower

    ..I love this book and i really want to win this book.

    kairi_namine270408(at) yahoo(dot)com

  28. "a believable and romantic love story that adults can believe in" - now THAT sounds really good!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  29. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  30. GFC Follower

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  31. I follow you on Twitter and I Tweeted this giveaway


    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  32. I love your review! Would love to win this as I haven't read it yet.

    Thanks for the opportunity! :)



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