My Book Rating System

My book rating system is based on 5 stars. The book must be rated at least 3 stars for a review.

3 Stars: Good story, good plot, good writing.

4 Stars: I was wowed, but something about the story fell short of perfection.

5 Stars: I was either drooling, on the edge of my seat, or falling in love.

If you would like me to review your book, please contact me at

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Crossroads, by Mary Ting

Mary Ting

Claudia Emerson, who has just turned 18, keeps dreaming of a place where heavenly bodies (literally, this place is draped with drop dead gorgeous men and women) reside. These life-like dreams turn out to be the real thing, as Claudia is drawn over and over to a place called the Crossroads, a place between the living and dead, heaven and earth. Here she meets an angel, Michael, who's at first rude, but then grows on Claudia when he becomes her guardian angel.

I was eager to start this book based upon the premise, and when a Goodreads group I belong to had it as an October monthly read, I moved it up to the top of my TBR list. I loved the concept which, at least to me, was a fresh idea in a flowering field of YA urban fantasy being choked by the weeds of vampire love.

Unfortunately, that's where the love fest ended. This story just is not up to par. I don't like books where I'm constantly looking at the page numbers, hoping I'm getting closer to that magical last number, only to find I have, sigh, 100 pages to go....95 pages to go...90 pages to go. I looked at the page number countdown, it seemed, every 5 pages. Let me break it down for you.

Pacing. Slow, slow,slow...burdened with the pontificating internalizations of the main character. The action and dialogue were continually interrupted as Claudia asked herself question after question. Rather than letting the scene play out, we had to put up with Claudia's constant internal chatter.

Story arc. I'd like to say I could find one, buried in all the needless prose, but to have a true story arc, the main character has to go through change, be faced with a critical choice, make that choice, and hopefully learn from it. Claudia, however, didn't really do anything except stand around and have other people protect her and fight for her. Claudia just kind of went for the ride as events happened *to* her. It was very reminiscent of Bella Swan in Twilight, with a "family" of drop-dead gorgeous stronger beings (angels) that she had to keep secret and who were all-powerful and went out of their way to protect her at the risk of their own lives because she's the weak mortal who can't seem to do anything for herself. Seriously...I think one Twilight is enough for me, and at least in Twilight you were drawn in to the story and the characters. The funny part is, there is a glowing recommendation near the beginning of the book from...wait for it...the owner of the

Dialogue. Unrealistic, boring, and some of the lines, especially the romantic lines, are just down-right goofy. Much of the dialogue just didn't come off as "real". Not to mention the needless chatter that does nothing for the story or the plot or...well, or anything.

Plot. Pretty flat. No sub-plots. No twists. No "OMG! I didn't see that coming!" moments. Pretty predictable.

Writing. Abysmally amatuerish. There is no connection with the characters, or what they're going through. Most of it--and for some reason it seemed to get worse as we neared the end--was just painful to read. I don't think Ms. Ting painted *one* visceral emotion. Not one. If there's any in there, it's so buried in the adverbs and telling that it's quickly forgotten. The writing also sets the reader apart from the main character. Told in first person, Claudia "feels" or "sees" things instead of the author putting Claudia right into the action. "I could feel my body levitating off the bed." Or "I began to feel anxious." Or "I was in complete shock." I'd rather read how that feels, not be told she's feeling it.

And let's not forget the adverb-itis:

"I'm in danger?" I asked frantically.
"But it's not as fun," David said lightly.
"Leave the fun part to yourself," Michael said seriously.
And on...and on...and on...
It makes you want to pull your hair out.

Then there are the POV shifts. Just saying.

And of course then there are lines that just don't make sense, like:
My eyes set into his beautiful eyes.
Wha-huh? What does that even mean?

Overall, I'm disappointed and extremely frustrated that I paid $8 for this eBook. *$8!* That's highway robbery for a story that reads like it was written in Jr. High School.

Ms. Ting is writing a sequel. I think Ms. Ting would be better served if she took a couple of years off and focused on mastering her craft and invest in some writing classes before publishing any further works.

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