Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: "Crossing Borders" by Z.A. Maxfield

Crossing Borders (Crossing Borders, #1)Crossing Borders by Z.A. Maxfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Awww, this was such a "feel good" book! Adorable H/H, likable secondary characters and a sweet story with a nice touch of drama, enough to prevent me from going into a sugar induced coma.

Tristan Phillips is a red-haired, freckled, 19-year-old college student who decides to listen to the inner voice that's been "harassing" him and find out if he's gay after being dumped by his last girlfriend. A girlfriend whose brother made him stand up to attention, I must say. So he devises the plan: go to the next Borders, pick some books in the gay lit section, park himself in the bookstore café and, using the books as bait, lure and trap some unwary and willing man to help him make up his mind about his sexuality. Tristan, Tristan, you really didn't know how things could have gone bad, did you? *shakes head*

Thankfully, even though Tristan doesn't think so, the 1st person who spots him in the café is Police Officer Michael Truaux. Officer Helmet, as Tristan calls him, is the bane of his existence since he was issued a 700+ dollars ticked for riding his skateboard without a helmet. The last thing Tristan wants is to have Officer Helmet hovering over him while he's tring to pick up his 1st guy. Alas, Michael decides to stick around once he finds out what kind of books Sparky, as Michael calls him, is reading pretending to read. Why? Just to tease Tristan? We all know that's not it, right? ;)

What follows next is the sweet development of Tristan and Michael's relationship. It doesn't take long until Tristan knows for sure that he's gay. It doesn't take long either until Tristan and Michael fall in love with each other, but there are some issues that will have to be dealt with before they can reach their HEA. Will they make it? Hey, this is Romancelandia!

Like I mentioned above, Tristan and Michael were utterly adorable. Compassionate, caring, protective, understanding, loving... and there's a slight problem: they were too perfect. Seriously, I couldn't find any fault in them. While it's nice to know people who make you wish to be your BFFs and deserve nothing but your unconditional love, that level of perfections becomes annoying after a while. Am I being too cynical here?

I also thought that the pace of the story was uneven. The 1st 2/3 of the book was all mushy, with Tristan and Michael professing their love for each other every other page. There was no conflict, not even when Tristan told his family he was gay. Okay, they weren't bigots and that was excellent, but I thought that some level of shock should have been shown there, considering Tristan had been "a pretty determined hetero" (aka "a guy who dated almost every girl in the neighborhood") before. Then, came the last 1/3 of the book: the mushiness was gone and the drama took over. That was very good, but too rushed. Those conflicts (Tristan being too young and Michael being a cop) could have been better developed, IMHO.

As for the author's writing, I really liked it. All the scenes were perfect examples of "show, don't tell". I got to know the characters by watching their behavior and interactions, not by being told who and what they were. Really good writing there, and I'll be in the lookout for this author's books from now on.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read, saved mostly by Tristan and Michael. The story had some problems, but they weren't bad enough to ruin the book. As a whole, I'd give it 3 1/2 stars, but I'm bumping my rating up to 4 stars because that Thanksgiving dinner scene was just fantastic and deserves a 1/2 star on its own.

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