Time and Again by Deborah Heal | DNF Report

September 8, 2014 Reviews 25

DNF Report

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I’ve decided that when I’ve spent days (and sometimes weeks… because DNFs tend to take a lot more time) reading a book and have to give up on it, I want to give a quick explanation why. So welcome to what I’m calling a DNF report. It’s not a real book review but a quick report of why I had to call it quits and the time of death.

Time and Again by Deborah Heal

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Time and Again by Deborah Heal | DNF ReportTime and Again by Deborah Heal
Narrator: Michelle Babb
Series: History Mystery #1
Published by Write Brain Books on February 25, 2013
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 266
Length: 5 hours 12 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

Abby thinks tutoring an “an economically disadvantaged adolescent” as her college service project for the summer will be a snap.

Merrideth, her sullen 11-year-old student, thinks “No thanks, I don’t need a babysitter.”

John thinks Abby’s kidding when she tells him she can fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but that of the girl who lived in Merrideth’s house 160 years ago.

It’s difficult for Abby to break through Merrideth’s emotional wall. The girl has been closed down ever since her parents’ divorce, especially since she was forced to move to the dilapidated old house that her mom inherited. But when her dad sends her a top-of-the-line computer to make up for it, Abby and Merrideth discover a crazy program that invites them to “Take a Virtual Tour” of houses around the world— including Merrideth’s. It’s a tour all right… a tour of the past when the house was new and a girl named Charlotte Miles lived there.

It’s like being there, only better. They know Charlotte’s thoughts and feelings. They experience her joys and frustrations as she courageously takes on a huge challenge, risking her life for others while her father is off fighting in the Civil War.

Watching from a distance, Abby and Merrideth gain a new perspective on their own lives, their faith strengthened as time and again they see God’s loving hand in Charlotte’s life.

My Initial Thoughts:

I picked up Time and Again from Audiobook Jukebox, thinking that the story sounded unique and interesting. Plus I noted that it had an average rating on Goodreads over 4 stars. Unfortunately it didn’t deliver for me at all.

I started to DNF at the 20% mark because I thought, “this is only 5 hours, it would be lazy to DNF something that short.” But no. It’s nothing like what I was expecting, had lots of elements that just kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and the narration was not good.

Why it didn’t work for me:

– The narration! I listened to a sample briefly and for some reason thought it was okay or else I would have never requested Time and Again. But I was wrong. I felt like Michelle Baab was in a race – she just sped along with no variation in pace or tone for emotion. I eventually got used to it, but definitely would say it played a big part in my decision to DNF Time and Again.

– The way that Abby (the main character) describes and relates to Merrideth, the 11 year old that she is supposed to be tutoring, bordered on offensive for me. I get that this girl has problems. But the emphasis that the girl is fat and she only eats Kit Kats and named her cats Kit and Chip (for her two favorite foods – Kit Kats and chips) just was overboard. There’s more to this girl than being fat and I’d hope that Abby could see that. There’s an inkling that she’s starting to, but I couldn’t take anymore. But maybe this gets better and Abby realizes that she’s been far too judgmental?

– The thing is, I don’t think that’s likely because Abby has a very judgemental personality. She’s CONSTANTLY quoting Bible verses. I can handle religion being woven into a story where appropriate, but this had the preachy quality and that rubbed me the wrong way.

– Finally, the pace was just so SLOW. Abby is teaching Merrideth and we actually get to sit in on those lessons. Who wanted to relive grammar lessons when reading a book? Show of hands? Yeah, me either. We could have skipped that, especially since the lessons only felt like they were there to reiterate how stupid Abby thinks Merrideth is. As a tutor/teacher myself, I found it really sad and I felt like Abby was in the wrong field. Although the mystery finally got started around the 40% mark, I still found myself falling asleep, so I called it quits.

So it didn’t work for me and I’m calling it.

Time of death: 50%


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About Deborah Heal

I was born in Eldorado, Illinois (Be sure to pronounce that with a long A.) but grew up in Woodburn, a tiny village in Macoupin County. We lived in a house over 100 years old and I often wondered about the people who had lived there so long before.

My husband Bob and I farmed and raised a family there in Macoupin County. When the kids were old enough I went back to college, majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Afterwards, I taught high school English, including creative writing, composition, grammar, and literature. I loved teaching young people, except for grading compositions of writers who didn’t want to write, leaving me no time to do what I had always wanted to do—write.

I remember one time when I was four. I scribbled furiously on my paper, and then took it to show Mommy. “Is it writing?” I asked. “No, not yet,” she answered. I went busily back to scribbling with my stubby pencil in just the same way, it seemed to me, grownup writers did, hopeful that the next time I showed her, the lead on the paper would have been transmuted into fine words.

I was in 8th grade when I first began to get the dream of being a published author. We had to write a story and mine was a scary one about being unjustly confined to a mental hospital. (The author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest may have stolen my idea.) My teacher wrote on the top of my paper:

Be sure to give me a signed copy of your first book!

It’s been a long time since 8th grade, but that dream at last came true with my first book Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

25 Responses to “Time and Again by Deborah Heal | DNF Report”

  1. berl ivanta

    This is a great idea, Berls! And you did a good job telling us why you couldn’t finish. I agree if you have to force yourself to continue a book it’s just not worth it

  2. Katherine

    Sounds like I’m out too. The premise is definitely interesting but the way Abby treats Meredith would grate on me. I’ve read books that sound like this and I’ve wanted to spend the whole time screaming “she’s a CHILD” at the main character. You really lost me with preachy. Like you I don’t mind religion if it fits with the story but I definitely don’t like being preached at. Thank for saving me some time!
    Katherine recently posted…Of Monsters and Madness – ReviewMy Profile

    • Berls

      Yeah – Abby’s treatment of Meredith was way too much for me. And the preachy quality – even if there were only a couple of direct quotes, the feeling was definitely there – just grated me wrong. I’ve heard that Abby learns how wrong she is as the story progresses, so maybe it gets better. It just couldn’t hold me any longer 🙁
      Berls recently posted…Skinwalker by Faith Hunter | My TBR List ReviewMy Profile

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    As always, I appreciate your honesty in your reviews, Kim. And I applaud you giving this one the ‘old college try’. But I have to say I’d probably have DNF’d it as well. I couldn’t take the judging AT ALL. And if the narration is bad – no go. Sorry you spent your precious time on this one. I hope your next read trips your trigger! 😉
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**New Release Review ~ Girl Nevermore ~ R.A. Desilets**My Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Brandee. I hate when I have to DNF a book, but I don’t see the point of pushing through. If I don’t like it at 50%, why drag out the agony? I wonder if I was just in the wrong frame of mind, since it’s fairly well rated. But I just think it wasn’t for me.
      Berls recently posted…Skinwalker by Faith Hunter | My TBR List ReviewMy Profile

  4. Terri M. (Second Run Reviews)

    Can I just say that the meme name alone caught my eye? 🙂 Definitely going to tuck this away for future use.

    I do like to see DNF “reviews” and negative reviews. What one person loves another one might dislike. Or if I’m on the fence about the book, I can decide if I truly want to keep it on my to-read list.

    Sorry this one didn’t work out. Halfway through on a audiobook with slow pacing must have been brutal!
    Terri M. (Second Run Reviews) recently posted…Book Review #35: Traveling Left of Center by Nancy ChristieMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Terri! I felt like review was an inaccurate name, since I haven’t finished the book – but I still feel like I need to share my thoughts, especially when I received a book for review. It definitely wasn’t for me, but I’ve been told it gets better, so maybe it’s just me.
      Berls recently posted…Skinwalker by Faith Hunter | My TBR List ReviewMy Profile

  5. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    You being unable to survive five hours of this audiobook is all of the info I need. Because, I mean, what’s that amount of time to a blogger? Seriously! Slow pacing, Bibles quotes, and a horrible performance by the narrator are definite strikes against this one. 3 and you’re OUT!
    Carmel recently posted…Review: Ghost Layer by Robin D. OwensMy Profile

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