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Back to Reality: A Novel

Narrated by: Kim Bretton
Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Summary

A story of second chances that's impossible to stop listening to.

Jo's world is about to change forever, and it’s about time. Her marriage is on auto-pilot, her daughter hates her, her job sucks, and it’s not even Tuesday.

As Jo's life implodes, a freak event hurls her back to ‘90s Los Angeles where, in a parallel universe, she’s about to hit big time as a rock star.

Jo has to choose between her dreams and her family in an adventure that propels her from London to Hollywood and then to Glastonbury, the world’s greatest music festival.

In her desperate quest, Jo encounters a disgraced guru, a movie star with a fetish for double-decker buses, and the biggest pop star in the world...who just happens to want to kill her.

Back to Reality is a funny, heartwarming story about last chances, perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman and Helen Fielding.

Praise for Back to Reality:

“Heartwarming, inventive, and funny. Like if Nick Hornby wrote a time travel, body swap adventure!”(The New York Times best-selling author Mimi Strong)

“Written with an authentic touch and plenty of good humour. A tough book to put down.” (Mark Dawson, USA Today best-selling author of the best-selling John Milton series)

“A compelling story where the comedy compliments the drama and keeps you turning the page... A delight.” (Caimh McDonnell, best-selling author of The Dublin Trilogy)

“I love it! It's Back to the Future meets Freaky Friday.” (Number one Kindle best-selling author of Hot Mess, Lucy Vine)

“Everything the world loves about British comedy. For those who wished Simon Pegg wrote novels, you now have the Two Marks.” (USA Today best-selling author Shannon Mayer)

“Crackles with all the addictive energy of a pop hit, and the heart of a soul classic.” (Samantha King, bestselling author of The Choice)

“Like a book version of Hot Tub Time Machine with fabulous female characters and great music.” (Kate Harrison, author of the bestselling 5:2 series)

“If you love time travel and rock and roll, you'll love this book!” (Julie Cohen, author of Together)

Sliding Doors meets Back to the Future in a story to make you sing with joy.” (Karen Ball, Speckled Pen)

“A magnificent book! Loved every page. Beautifully written.” (Callan McAuliffe, actor in The Walking Dead)

©2017 Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux (P)2019 Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A lot of fun!!

Joanna has a pretty normal uninspiring life. She's not overly fond of her job and her teenage daughter is going through that rebellious stage where she hates her mother. Jo did have a life once, but all her hopes and dreams of being a star were swept away from her years ago. The something magical happens. She goes to a birthday celebration and after a few drinks starts to recreate her youth singing at a karaoke. It sets off a trigger that spookily transports her back to swapping places with her younger self in Los Angeles where she is set to take the music world by storm. The book is the story of her hilarious adventures as she relives part of her youth, ending up at Glastonbury music festival with a rival who hates her and some rather unhelpful cows. It's funny, laugh out loud at times, but there are also very poignant and heart-warming moments. I was fondly reminded of the film Freaky Friday. I listened to the audio book version of this, and it works incredibly well. The narrator was wonderful in the role and brought Jo to life perfectly. A very enjoyable listen and a lot of fun! 5*

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Review

Back To Reality is different to the books I would normally read or listen to, but I am really glad that I chose to listen to it. I was very interested by the concept of an alternate reality, and overall, I feel that Stay and Oliver executed it really well and gave me a lot to think about as I was listening.
As a central character, I related really well to Jo. She is very down to earth and although she makes mistakes, she is just trying to live a normal life with her husband and daughter. The authors also introduce a colourful supporting cast, and between them, they provide several moments of humour.
The plot of Back To Reality is highly engaging and I was drawn into the story really easily. There are some elements of the story that felt a little implausible, but the humour means it's very easy to forgive!
As the novel reaches its ending, there are some poignant moments which made me think more carefully about some of the messages in the book and added an emotional layer to it.
I loved Kim Bretton's narration, as her bubbly voice conveyed the lighthearted nature of the majority of the book really well. She kept me engaged from beginning to end.

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Excellent Performance of a Fun story

Fantastic audio performance by Kim Bretton.

This feel good story initially starts out following the unhappy life of Jo, her dull life degenerates further, but then Yohanna turns up and things get weird! It’s certainly a page turner, as Jo deals with a comedic level of problems. Despite the scale of the protagonist’s problems, somehow the two Marks manage to maintain a light tone and some great humour.
Be warned this funny story also has character depth, interesting scenes all wrapped up with some heartfelt profundity. This good mix of fun and seriousness helped with the books pacing, I was intrigued to know what would happen next. In the spirit of this books good use of nostalgia, the story has a Play Your Cards Right feel: “Is the next scene’s emotion higher or lower than a 7?”
I recommend this fun read, particularly to anyone wanting a good balance of joy, sadness with a good sprinkling of gravitas about life choices. I rate this book a caterpillar cake, definitely worth consumption.

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A modern twist on Freaky Friday!

Really enjoyed the book, some laugh out loud and lovely moments as a 40+ Mumma! Enjoyed the Glastonbury parts and a nice story overall. Kim Bretton does a fabulous job bringing all the characters to life with her different accents and helps the story flow well with her audible version.

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not my kind of book

the only reason it got finished was as it was a book club book 😬

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fab story

I enjoyed the story and not really any moments where I thought to myself "where the hell is this going?" and I didn't get lost in any of the characters, which is part of the criteria of a great audible book. I would be interested in more from these authors.

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  • M
  • 15-10-19

Absolutely delightful

Bought this on a wim. So happy I did. Laughed out a few times even. Would love to see more from this duo.
Narrator - superb. Instantly put two of her narrated books in my wish list