Review: Between by Cyndi Tefft

Book: Between
Author: Cyndi Tefft
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: June 1, 2011
Source: Ebook from author
Summary: (from Goodreads) It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water’s life isn’t alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven’s siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.

First impressions: The book opens with Lindsey in a car, kissing her boyfriend and not really enjoying it all that much. Hilarious and sweet, and it made me like Lindsey a lot. Then the action picks up and before you know it, Lindsey is dead. It’s a great beginning that keeps you glued to the pages.

Lasting impressions: What will stick with me the most about this book, unfortunately, is how offensive I found its moralizing.

Conflicting impressions: This book was full of inconsistency in the characters and their choices. The decisions made stretched the bounds of plausibility for me, so I wasn’t able to fully invest in what was happening.

Overall impressions: I really, truly wanted to like this book. It’s a Scottish boy who falls in love with his very own Sassenach (Outlander) and sort of time travels with her! Plus, Lindsey is a college student, and I’m all about more YA fiction for the college set. It had everything going for it, but just couldn’t deliver.

My first problem with this story was the insta-love. MAJOR case of it going on here. Lindsey dies in a car wreck, is whisked away by Aiden to this “between” place on her way to heaven. At no time does she seem overly concerned about being dead. She’s sad, sure, but not sad enough to miss the fact that Aiden is smoking hot and she kind of wants his bod. This didn’t really ring true for me. If I found out I was dead, I would not automatically be concerned with the attractiveness of my reaper.

Lindsey decides that she’s really upset about going to heaven still a virgin. And Aiden gets all uppity about deflowering a maiden and it really wasn’t working for me. Aiden came off as more jerky than chivalrous or old timey. I get that he would find modern female behavior strange, but when he gets Lindsey make believe drunk and she starts flirting with him he basically calls her a whore. And she doesn’t immediately tell him to eff off and run away to heaven. Bad move, Lindsey!

It touched a nerve. On the one hand, Aiden is skinny dipping and lusting after her, but on the other he doesn’t want to take her maidenhead or have her acting too much like a floozy. I mean, what a turnoff, right? (Insert eyeroll sprain here.) Similarly, Lindsey is supposed to be a college aged nice girl virgin, but yet she jumps in naked in the lake with Aiden and sleeps with him, and later practically gives him a lap dance after some drinking. Where is the conflict here? She has no qualms about giving up her virginity in the afterlife? It seemed inconsistent with my idea of Lindsey and so I couldn’t figure out who these characters were supposed to be.

I admit that I had a very personal reaction early on that may have colored my perceptions a bit. Cyndi Tefft really lost me when describing Aiden’s story. Aiden explains that the reason he’s spent 300 years transporting souls to heaven while not going there himself is because he committed suicide and God was mad at him. Later in the book, there’s another discussion of suicide with similar blatant moralizing about how all suicide victims are selfish and cowardly.

I realize that this is almost always true, but I don’t need it flung in my face. The whole concept was handled in a clunky way at best, and in an offensive way at worst. I have been personally touched by suicide, and so having the basis of Aiden’s position be a punishment for his suicide just didn’t sit well with me. At all. But that’s just me, and it may not bother most readers.

The time travel elements were fun to read, though I had a hard time getting into them knowing they weren’t actually happening and were memories instead. I did like the idea of “casting,” where the characters in Between can make their own reality by just imagining what they want. It was a cool world and an interesting story of two people facing the ultimate obstacle. The story does take an interesting twist into new territory about halfway through, but a lot of the side characters and backstory didn’t add much to Lindsey and Aiden’s tale. If I had been able to get past the preaching and really believe in these characters and their love I may have enjoyed this book, but in the end I couldn’t and I didn’t.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Want a different perspective? Read this rave review by Steph: Short & Sweet.

13 thoughts on “Review: Between by Cyndi Tefft

  1. That's a really interesting review. I guess if I was thinking really hard about the book, I would've disliked the book like you did. It now makes me think about the book's moral values. thanks for the review and thanks for linking my review πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for the review, Logan!! I hadn't heard of this book, but I don't think I'd enjoy the preaching either.

  3. This is such a well thought out review. I think you did a great job articulating everything that didn't work for you. I don't think I would enjoy it either.

  4. "At no time does she seem overly concerned about being dead. She's sad, sure, but not sad enough to miss the fact that Aiden is smoking hot and she kind of wants his bod."But Logan! It's a hot angel!! LOLYeah – I'm thinking that would annoy me too. Great review.

  5. I'm sorry you didn't like this one. (Eeek -I don't remember ever seen you give anything just one star.) I appreciate how you lay the reasons why, though, this helps me come to my own conclusions about if I want to read it or not. I'm with you on the characters acting out of context. Also, agree on the I just died I'd have a lot of more serious things on my mind piece.All in all, great review on a book which sounds like it has a lot of controversial issues.

  6. Okay, the first half of your review had me spewing my lunch all over myself and then mention of Aiden's circumstances had me more than a little upset too. I'm sorry to hear about your personal experience, Logan. I hate when things as sensitive as this are taken lightly or just add to the widely held preconceived notions. Thanks for your honest review. I doubt this is a book for me, but I enjoyed your witticisms.

  7. Sounds like the characters had some major inconsistencies which is annoying. But that's not as bad as the offensive moralizing. It's not just you, I know I would be offended by that and a lot of other people would be too. I dislike when issues like that are generalized in such a way.

  8. Too bad that didn't work for you. You did a great job of explaining why. It definitely sounds like there were some character consistency issues. And the moralizing – or talking the talk but not walking the walk – would drive me crazy too.

  9. Here's were self-publishing fails. Writers need editors, critique partners, anyone who will say "this doesn't make sense." I've gotten some of these for my Kindle, seduced by good reviews and wished I could have taken a pencil to every one of them. Sigh.

  10. Oh I can see why you wanted to love this book. It's premise sounds interesting, but I could do without the "in your face" moralizing. Nope. Don't think this is the book for me. Great review!

  11. Oh wow, inconsistent characters are a big turn off. Sorry to say, but she also does kind of sound like a floozy. And he sounds like a jerk. No thank you. In-your-face moralizing and insta-love are the final straws. Thanks for being my guinea pig πŸ™‚

  12. I'm reading this one right now, and I"m having many of the same reactions that you had. This is actually the first 1-star review that I have come across, and for me anyway, the more critical reviews are the most helpful. I always know that I'm not really enjoying a book if I start seeking out reviews when I'm not even finished with the book. I'll definitely be checking out your blog more–I feel I can trust you!

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