Book Review and Giveaway: This Time Around by Kimberly Packard



Kimberly Packard

Time Travel Romance / Contemporary Women’s Fiction / Romantic Comedy

Publisher: Abalos Publishing

Date of Publication: June 11, 2024

Number of Pages: 286 pages 

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Most of us would jump at a chance for a do-over of our teenage years…but what if our worst mistakes lead to our happily-ever-after?

Josie Gardner’s life revolves around her amazing children and her career. But, when her husband threatens to take her kids in their divorce, and the business she’s put most of her passion, time and money into building is at risk of failing, a panic attack shatters her grip on reality… and the present.

Josie wakes up in her teenage bedroom, thirty years in the past. She’s forced to relive her emotionally devastating senior year of high school — the year she cut her father out of her life, caused one of her best friends to sever ties, and turned away the boy she loved.

Determined to get back to her children in her own time, Josie tries to fix the mistakes she made, in the hope that righting wrongs will send her back to the present. But when tempted by her high school crush Josie faces the real possibility of losing her future for good.

Would you take a second chance for love…even if it meant losing everything?



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Have you ever wished you could go back to high school? Maybe things would be different, better, if you could take the knowledge and wisdom you’d gained over the years and relive those awkward teen moments. Josie Gardner doesn’t necessarily wish she could go back, but she’s going through a divorce, and as her marriage is ending, she often thinks about Daniel. The one she let walk away. She’s tried to find him over the years, but he’s not easy to track down. But she’s got her business, and she’s got two of the best kids a woman could ever ask for.

When Josie learns that a store her business was about to close a significant deal with is filing bankruptcy, she has a bit of a panic attack. And when she wakes up, she’s thirty years in the past – her senior year of high school. Before her parents’ divorce. Before whatever falling out removes someone from their friend group. Before she breaks Daniel’s heart. At first she thinks she must be in a coma, and this is all some product of her addled brain. But as near as she can tell, she has actually traveled back in time. What will she do differently? And if she makes different choices now, how will that affect the future she already knows?

I can’t exactly relate to Josie. I didn’t have “the one who got away” in high school. I have been asked if I would have married my first husband knowing it would end in divorce. My answer is always “of course,” because if I hadn’t married him, I wouldn’t have my fabulous, funny firstborn son. And I can’t imagine making a choice that would take him out of existence! Josie wrestles similarly with the idea of choosing differently and never seeing HER kids, the ones she already knows and is frantic to get back to, come into being.

It’s pretty entertaining watching Josie navigate high school with the mind of a forty-something mom in a teenager’s body (oh, yeah, I’d take my teenage knees back – they didn’t creak and hurt!). She’s trying to figure out a way to unravel her predicament without letting people know what’s really going on, and she stumbles into the assistance of three of the nerdiest boys in her class (she gives them a couple of useful tips that serve them well and become important later in the book!) Armed with a list of wrongs she can right that will hopefully send her back to her own time, Josie moves through her senior year fully aware of what will be coming, and also aware that if she says yes to Daniel this time, she’s saying no to her beautiful, wonderful children.

The characters are all wonderfully written, from Ian, the class jerk Josie saves from drowning, to her parents, whose divorce Josie handles with much more grace and dignity this time, to Daniel. Will Josie ultimately choose him, or will she choose her future and the knowns and unknowns it holds? Read the book and find out.

This is a fun spin on the time-slip trope, and the story makes you think: really, how WOULD you do things differently if you knew doing certain things differently would change the entirety of your future? I understand the author is writing a book about Em’s story, and hopefully we’ll learn more in that book about how Josie’s life played out after she made it back to her own time.

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Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found planning her next trip, asking her dog what’s in his mouth or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a precocious black lab named Tully. 

Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass, and her stand-alone titles Vortex, Dire’s Club and This Time Around. She was honored as one of the Top 10 Haute Young Authors by Southern Methodist University in 2019. Vortex was the 2019 winner of the Pencraft award in Women’s Fiction, and Dire’s Club, was awarded the 2021 General Fiction of the Year by the North Texas Book Festival.

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One Response to Book Review and Giveaway: This Time Around by Kimberly Packard

  1. Cindy Davis says:

    Great review, Lisa! No, I would never go back to high school! The concept sounds clever and I am glad you enjoyed it.

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