Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Samantha at the Crossroads by SK Smith

Samantha at the Crossroads by SK Smith
Gear Towards: YA-Adult
Published By: SynergEbooks
Publication Date: August 2008

It's not often that I come to a book I can't make myself get through. Unfortunately, Samantha at the Crossroads, an e-book by author SK Smith was one of those books.

Samantha at the Crossroads is described by the author as "The volatile 1960s find thirteen year old Samantha in a small town in rural Montana, groping her way into her future as America is doing likewise." Based on the description I decided to give the author's review request a go. Not ordinarily the first book I'd gravitate towards, but there's nothing like getting out of your comfort zone from time to time. I figured worst case scenario it wouldn't be my favorite book, but as it turns out I simply could not finish this book. Infact, I couldn't even making it a 1/3 of the way through the some odd 388 pages.

No disrespect to the author intended in any way, because I'm sure she put her heart and soul into this, her creation. For me though, it just wasn't working. The story wasn't gripping enough to keep me entertained, and I found myself literally zoning out while reading. I was still reading the words, but my brain had shut down by that point and wasn't processing any of it. Perhaps, entertainment value aside, I could have made it through the book if it was even well written. But again, unfortunately, I found the writing style at times to be overly wordy, sloppy, and disjointed. I guess if I had to put my finger on one thing in particular it would be the flow that I had issues with. At certain places there seemed information was included that really had no bearing whatsoever on anything in the story. It was hard for me to stay focused when I couldn't always find a common ground linking all the pieces of the story together.

I debated for a while what to do about this review because I didn't want to be unfair to the author who came to me with the review opportunity. I considered writing the author and informing her of my dilemma, and just leaving it at that. Posting no review. To simply say I couldn't write a fair review because I couldn't get in to the story wouldn't really have been fair either though, because there were aspects about the book I felt strongly about. Yet I still wanted to be certain I wasn't overanalyzing in any way which would lead me to give an unfair review. I even asked my 'sister' what she thought I should do. As someone who writes herself, I knew she'd be able to give me some advice upon taking a quick look at the book herself. And after reading a few snippets, she came away with the same feeling I had about it.

As I already said, I did not complete the story. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I really did not enjoy the format, styling, or quality of the writing (as stated already). So, while I don't think I could give a fair overall rating for this book, I believe it's only fair for me to share what opinions I do have.

In my opinion, and again I truly hope the author understands I'm only one person and most certainly my opinion would not necessarily be shared by everyone else (I actually discovered a very positive review of this title here.), I think this book is rather unfinished. Not having completely read the book I can't speak on the story itself, but on the composition I can say I think there's definitely room for some serious editing.

I hope the author will understand that I do not mean to criticize or tear down her work. I only wish to impart my thoughts, since she did ask for a review. I think with a little work this could very well likely turn in to a decent book. Just at the moment I think it's coming up short a bit.


Anonymous said...

You have such a kind heart. You can hear the pain in your critique. Know that people who read your reviews appreciate your honesty. I never would have picked it up based on the brief description anyway so the author didn't lose any readers so far!

Anonymous said...

I see poor “Samantha” got a “heartless” review here – in more ways than one.
Admitting she didn’t even get 1/3 of the way through the book, why does Rebekah feel qualified to write such a “review”? How do you review a book you haven't bothered to read?
Rebekah really comes across as a snipe with her cruel words in here. And sarawithnoh’s comment on her “kind heart” escapes me, too.
I rate this review: 0 PURRS and 5 HISSES

RebekahC said...

For starters, I didn't give any hearts because I wasn't posting an all out review of the book. As it said in my post I was sharing my thoughts on the book. I didn't feel qualified to review it as a whole which is why I stated that in my post as well. The parts I did have something to say about, I shared in as friendly and honest manner as possible. I'm sorry that you don't like that, but I'm not here to snipe or be sniped. If you don't like my post then so be it, but don't come in here bad mouthing me because I shared MY thoughts on MY blog for a book I was ASKED to review. I did the best I could considering, and if that's not good enough then oh well.

So hiss hiss right back at you.

Ruby (Mouth) said...

Really, Anonymous(what you're not brave enough to say who you are) I read the first few paragraphs of this online and completely agree with Bek. At least, she attempted to give a link to a good review. And, to name call her is just sooo second grade. So let's all grow up and realize not everyone is going to enjoy the same books and if you can't take a bad review, don't write.

S. K. Smith said...

Hello Rebekah & company -

I'm the author - S.K. Smith. I was revisiting your observations for I'm working on a sequel and really want to do a better job next time. Your feedback was valuable to me & I appreciate the effort you put in it.

For a Christian site, I was quite surprised by some of the heated comments in here. (A soft answer turns away wrath.)

Oh, well... So is the life of the writer & a blogger. You got to take the bitter with the badder.

Susan ;)

RebekahC said...

Thank you for your comments, SK. :) Good luck with the next book.