Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Time to Shine by Jo Elliott

Posted November 9, 2020 by meezcarrie in children, Christian, contemporary, fantasy, giveaway, historical, Jo Elliott / 31 Comments

Time to Shine, On Tour with Prism Book Tours

History Village #3
GENRE: Christian Middle Grade/Lower YA Sci-Fi, Time Travel
RELEASE DATE: September 10, 2020
PAGES: 171

Ally, Josh and Brendan are half siblings living in Australia who have a difficult situation to face at School and at home. They have a special interest in the past as they have previously embarked on two time-travelling adventures with God’s divine help.
Once again they embark on their latest time-travelling adventure into first century, ancient Syria. On the road to Damascus the children meet the frightening Commander who is on a mission to find and punish anyone who disagrees with his religious views. The children must quickly learn who can be trusted in this dystopian Village as they push back against the darkness and look for the truth. In time, the children learn that ordinary people with extraordinary faith in God can have a monumental impact throughout the generations. With the help of biblical heroes of old, this coming of age story will help young people discover their own unique purpose and mission in life. If you enjoy action-packed, suspenseful drama enveloped in cultural history, you are going to love “Time to Shine”.


Other Books In This Series


Time to Shine follows 3 siblings who have figured out a way to travel back in time to the Biblical era. Not much is explained in this book as to how they discovered it, just a brief phrase or two, so it would probably be good for your middle grade reader to read the first two books in the series before tackling this one, just to make sure they’ve got the full experience. I love the means and the motives, the parameters the author set up, for the time travel & I think it definitely gives kids the right message on why & how we should do anything as followers of Jesus.

Being plopped down on a Damascus road just as Saul is about to encounter Jesus is a great way to engage middle grade readers in a pivotal New Testament story. They’ll meet all the key players – as well as some other characters that the author presents using a good deal of creative license. While this is most certainly allowed in a fictional account, I would still encourage parents to use this as a springboard for discussion on what we actually do know from the Bible versus what the author made up for story purposes, just to make sure there’s no confusion between the two for impressionable readers.

While I generally liked this story & its concept, there are a few things that bothered me. For instance, frequent use of modern slang among Biblical era characters as well as no indication of the time travel process, its effect on the children, or what happened between praying in the modern era & trudging up a dusty road in Biblical Syria. How did they get there? Did they know where they were when they arrived? etc. I always enjoy seeing those kind of details in a time travel novel, and I missed it in Time to Shine. Additionally, there is language that I was uncomfortable with – using God & Christ as curses, some potty humor, and characters looking with impure thoughts at a middle school girl. Finally, a lot of the reactions seemed over the top (which is probably fine for middle grade readers but wasn’t a hit with me) and the mother/stepmother was particularly mean and degrading to her children.

Bottom Line: Time to Shine makes the Biblical story of Saul’s Damascus Road conversion & its aftermath come alive for young readers in a unique way. Middle grade aged children will easily relate to the main characters, as well as the Biblical figures, given the author’s writing style. While it was problematic for me in some aspects, overall I think children in the age group for which it was written will enjoy it & learn a few things too!

Reviewer’s Note: readers may want to be aware that, while this book clearly points to Jesus, it also contains some uses of God & Christ as curse words.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 3 stars / enjoyable

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Jo Elliott was born in Melbourne Australia, to Greek parents and has resided in the world’s greatest city all her life. She left a career in industrial relations to pursue her greatest love which is introducing children to God’s word. Joanna is married to Phillip Elliott, a devoted writer of fiction, and together they have traveled the world, opening their minds and their hearts to new peoples and languages. When she’s not plotting her next teen book, Jo is trying to learn Italian, and is tinkering with an old family piano (which requires urgent tuning!)

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What about you? What makes you want to read Time to Shine by Jo Elliott?

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31 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Time to Shine by Jo Elliott

  1. Lynn Brown

    I think it would be neat to get a glimpse into how it really was in the past or present. Thanks for the chance.

  2. James Robert

    Thank you for taking time to share  this book, and your review. I enjoy discovering books I believe my family will enjoy reading.

  3. Jo Elliott

    Thank you for taking the time to review my book! My aim in writing the History Village series was to bring God’s word to life in a manner that will engage young people and instil in them a desire to learn more about the Bible and the Christian faith. For me, the Bible always takes me back in time, so creating this time-travel tale was a natural extension. So glad you enjoyed it:)

  4. Audrey Stewart

    Jo Elliott is a new author to me, but I look forward to reading this. I always love meeting new authors. Thanks to this blog for the introduction.

  5. Alisha Mccracken

    Time travel reading is very new to me. But it sounds very interesting and I plan on reading this one.

  6. Bea LaRocca

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this story and the book and author details, this sounds like a must read for me.

  7. Betty Curran

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I like that it combines the message of God with the adventure and excitement of time travel.

  8. Sand

    It sounds like a very interesting book. I like time travel books, I find they perk my interest into learning more about historical events.

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