Thursday, April 14, 2016

Audiobook Review: Time and Again by Deborah Heal Narrated by Michelle Babb

An old house + A new computer program = The travel opportunity of a another century.

Abby Thomas is spending the summer in a run-down old house with a bratty pre-teen named Merrideth she is supposed to tutor. Not a dream job. But it does come with perks.

There's John Roberts, a devastatingly attractive neighbor who is almost too wonderful to be real.

And there's the new computer program Beautiful Houses--also too amazing to be real. No one knows how it works, but with it she can rewind and fast-forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house, including Charlotte Miles.

In 1858, the house is a train stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. And Charlotte is stuck there serving meals to the passengers, wondering if she'll ever get to have any fun. And then she meets two travelers who change her life forever.

There's James McGuire with whom she falls in love. And there's his boss, a young Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His debate with political opponent Stephen Douglas catapults him onto the national stage. And it inspires Charlotte to take up the cause of abolition.

The House

A stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. A stop on the Underground Railroad.

Watching the house's history unfold, Abby and Merrideth gain a new perspective on their own lives as time and again they see God's loving hand in the lives of its inhabitants.

Series: History Mystery #1 | Narrator: Michelle Babb  | Publisher: Write Brain Books| Genre: ? |Length: 5 hours 12 minutes  | Source: Narrator| Rating: Performance: 4.5 Cups Plot: 3.5 Overall: 4 

When Abby Thomas decided to become a tutor for her Summer service job, she never imagined that she would be staying in an old dilapidated house trying to teach an attitude-clad Merrideth who would rather grumble and eat junk food than actually learn. Although when Merrideth discovers that her computer program, Beautiful Houses, is more than just a game, she’s eager to use its time traveling ability and find out more about the residents of Miles Station, especially Charlotte Miles, the young lady that lived in the house during the 1850’s. Soon Meredith and Abby are learning first-hand about Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and the cause of abolition.
Thrown in throughout the story is Abby’s attraction to John Roberts and Merrideth’s journey of figuring out who is she and how to handle her parent’s divorce.
Okay, so I enjoyed Time and Again although it wasn’t really what I was expecting it to be and, honestly, I’m not entire sure what genre to classify it as. It’s sort of a mix of Christian YA, time-travel (sort of), historical, and romance, yet I can’t really lump it into just one of these genres.
What threw me with this one was that Audible has it labeled under ‘mysteries and thrillers’ then subcategorized as ‘suspense’. Plus, the name of this series is ‘History Mystery’. Honestly, it’s not either of these. Yes, there’s a lot of talk about the characters having a ‘Nancy Drew Summer’ and there’s a few discoveries but there was actually no mystery or suspense involved.
At the start, it was a bit hard to like both Abby, who seems a bit judgmental, and Merrideth, who has this angsty, I-hate-the-world thing going on. Yet as the novel progressed, I found that both characters become enjoyable as they finally decide to work together rather than fight against each other. And I really enjoyed how Abby and Merrideth bonded. With her mother working and her father out of the picture, Merrideth was kind of pushed to the side so it was nice to see Abby taking her under her wing. I also like watching Merrideth show kindness to her neighbor and eventually making friends with him. There’s also a slight romance developing between Abby and John.
It was also nice to go back in time and get the history of the house, watch Charlotte’s life unfold and see her fall in love, and discover what was happening in Miles Station. Although right when I was really getting in to the heart of Charlotte’s story, the book ended. I would have liked to have seen more of her story.
The time-travel aspect wasn’t exactly what I would consider time traveling. Rather than physically going back in time, Abby and Merredeth watched the past unfold on a computer via a computer program as though they were watching a movie.
I really enjoyed Michelle Babb as the narrator. She really held my attention and brought the characters to life. Part of the book came off as choppy, but it was more so the dialogue rather than the narration.
Overall, I thought that this was a cute young adult book. It’s Christian fiction yet it wasn’t preachy. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. The ending felt a bit abrupt, and, as this is the first part in a series, not all of the contemporary threads have been fully developed. Although I have to say, I look forward to reading more from this series.

History Mystery Series
3-Every Hill and Mountain  

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