Reviews for Crossing the Finish Line
hurricanelil11 chapter 5 . 1/21/2013
This is a great story! I started reading it because I was trying to find stories that included track and field, and I found this one, and I was totally hooked. You have a really good writing style, very good grammar, and the characters feel like real people. I'm only up to chapter 5 right now (only because I had to go to a track meet today!), but I'm really excited to read more!
glitterinthedark chapter 19 . 1/5/2013
Hello. Long time reader, first time reviewer here. Been following this story for about a year now and I absolutely love it. Seriously, I have it bookmarked on my phone, laptop, desktop and work computer lol I love the development of Charlene and Ryan's relationship. They are so adorable especially in those rare moments they're alone and they open up to each other. I thought the love scene in this chapter was written beautifully. You didn't shy away from being descriptive but at the same token if wasn't overtly graphic which is a testament of your writing skills. Yeah there are grammatical and spelling errors throughout your story but many have already addressed that and that can easily be fixed when editing. Oh and not sure if you've seen Joyful Noise but ever since I saw it I can't help but picture Keke Palmer and Jeremy Jordan as Charlie and Ryan lol anyway, I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment and I have a feeling this is the calm before the storm so I'm preparing myself for a lot of creys ahead #pessimist haha! Hope to have an update soon.
professional griefer chapter 11 . 1/2/2013
I didn't really care for how quickly Charlene and Ryan forgave each other, I thought it was unrealistic. They had a massive argument, and it's suddenly just okay? I don't think that's very natural, and while it made me happy that they made up, I think for the sake of realism you need to draw it out longer.
I also loved the conversation between Ryan and his father, every line they say seems to be either characterizing them or making their relationship more interesting. I think you did a great job with that.
Another great chapter!
professional griefer chapter 10 . 12/27/2012
Oh my god, I loved Ryan's speech about kissing Charlie. It was perfect characterization for Ryan (shithouse rat!) and I was so happy when I read it, because you worded it beautifully and it felt natural, and I kind of wanted to fangirl. (I have a minor crush on Ryan...)
But I didn't like the turn it took, I thought it was too soon after Ryan's confession, I thought they should have a chapter of happiness before the plot twist. I feel like it was too much too soon.
I really loved the ending, too, I thought it was a really well worded line and a good hook into the next chapter, because now I want to know about poor Charlie...
Um, it's gotten to the point where I'm completely fangirling over your characters...I hope that's okay...
Once again, your dialogue conveyed emotion perfectly.
Great work.
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 3 . 12/25/2012
[That incident prompted an hour long lecture on the necessity of black women staying loyal black men.] *staying loyal TO black men (I assume - feels like there's a missing word there)

I really like the opening here, especially with the insight into Charlene's past and her experiences with inter-race relations. Her father's lecture to her and the banning of the white celebrity poster I think really say something strongly about what kind of a background she's coming from and I think it gives the story good depth as well as a very honest portrayal of the situation. (That's one of my favorite things in this story - you're not afraid to touch on the issues that are there - no dancing around.)

However, although I like that we're getting to see Charlene and Ryan interact more, I again felt the press of cliches in the later bits of this chapter. Almost the entire chapter after that initial inner monologue of thoughts felt like it was spent at Charlene's locker with amped up sexual tension just poured all over both of them. I feel like (especially having read your later chapters and knowing that you do have them take things slow) that you shouldn't be afraid to let things build gradually here, too. I'm not saying they shouldn't be attracted to each other - obviously they should be and are - but to me it feels like it just comes on a little thick here and a little pushed by circumstances that feel like set patterns laid up by past stories already written.

I do think that the writing is still fairly strong, though, even though (I don't mean this in a bad way at all), I definitely can see the improvement between these early chapters and your newest ones. I think, when you get around to re-writing and reworking, you'll really be able to make this shine.

- Moonstar
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 2 . 12/25/2012
I like the opening interaction with Ryan and Ms. Terry, the advisor. I felt like it flowed really naturally as well as told us instantly a bit about the situation Ryan's in (not just college, but his home life, seeing as he's working on top of school and everything else).

I feel like that first "meeting" scene between Ryan and Charlene was a little too loaded with cliches for my taste. I mean, cliches can have their time and place, but the random object dropping, hands accidentally touching, instant spark of electricity, eyes meeting, suddenly both of them are mildly dazed...eh. All of that at once is a bit too much (or I think so - you can feel free to disagree). :)

["Hellooo" she said] Missing a comma after the "hello".

[trying hard not to be mesmerized by her eyes.] Another cliche. x3 Although it's one I definitely admit to falling victim to on occasion (obsession with eyes), "mesmerized" just...well, my opinion again, but it feels a little over the top. ;P

I like Charlene's character so far. I've probably said that before, but this chapter in particular she sticks out to me, particularly in her dialogue: up front and to the point. This line is one of my favorites: ["I heard a lot of things about the South," she said with a raised brow. "But hospitality isn't one of them, especially for someone like me."] It feels like she just jabs right at the heart of things and isn't afraid to say what's what.

Oh, and a little more specifically on dialogue...I also really liked this bit: ["What's the big deal? Folks ain't friendly where you come from?" / "Only when they want something. So, Ryan, what is it that you want?"] While some of their interactions are a little corny, yeah, other bits shine and I found myself smiling reading several bits of it. I think most of the dialogue was handled very realistically with plenty of amusing quirks to it.

["What?" They both said in unison, turning to stare at each other.] Lower cased 't' in 'they' since it's a dialogue tag.

[And you," she said, addressing the new girl. "Don't have anything better to do...] Since her sentence of dialogue is split up, not two separate sentences, there shouldn't be a period in there. Comma after "girl" and lower cased 'd' in 'don't' (you can optionally add an ellipsis after the opening quotation on the second part of the dialogue, before the 'd', but it's not required).

Not a bad chapter. Cool to see them officially 'meet' after skipping far ahead in their story already.

- Moonstar
professional griefer chapter 8 . 12/23/2012
Red Foxx is spelled with two Xs. Lol, that was the one error that stood out to me...
I actually really liked your reference to Sanford and Son (though I think it's always funny...), it gave a bit of cultural texture to the world and reminds us of what time we're in.
I didn't like the length of the chapter, I thought it was too long and I thought you jumped around a bit too much. I feel like it would be fine with only one Charlie part and one Ryan part.
I really loved your dialogue (again), everything felt super-accurate and the emotions come across really clearly. Your dialect is spot-on and beautiful.
Great work, as usual.
Guest chapter 19 . 12/22/2012
You couldn't have done it any better. Great job! Please update soon!
Persevera chapter 19 . 12/20/2012
For the question of their going public, Ryan's right that it's time. Their relationship has progressed to the point that she comes to him when he's near despair and she's willing to put aside her pique when he needs her.

The love-making scene was done beautifully. It didn't flinch from any description of feeling but wasn't too graphic. It was the perfect mood for Charlene, who would have been all about feeling at the time.

The dialogue between them was good. I like that Ryan is so concerned about Charlene's grandmother and mentions it twice. His pleas to her to make the pain go away might have seemed like something that a more slimy guy would say to get a girl in bed, but I believe he was sincere in it.

For plot development this is, of course and important step. I don't know if Ryan's thought about it like this, but it is something that will make his father furious. I think at this point that pointing out his hypocrisy is something that he'd enjoy.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 19 . 12/20/2012
Okay, gonna try to be as thorough as I can here, but I'll be honest, I don't have the biggest experience with romance novels. xD Just the stuff I've written. But anyways! overall I really enjoy this love scene. I think you accomplished what you set out to do - the scene is sensual, feels very real, and it's graphic without going over the top into, say, an erotica type style. You shy away from saying certain words (like dick and cock), but you don't resort to purple prose in order to do so (like calling a guy's penis a "sword" or something cheesy, haha), which is rather difficult to do.

I also think you have some really adorable lines during their love making session, like that mention of the stitches :

[Every touch was like a branding, every kiss a stitch determined to hold them together.]

I really love this line. There are a few others that I read and thought were very unique, but this one is by far my favorite. I think because it's such a vivid image, and it's very powerful.

I don't want to undermine what past reviewers might have said about the pace in this chapter, but I honestly don't see anything wrong with it. Their conversation takes a gradual turn, Ryan ends up hurt, Charlie comforts him, and then they start to kiss... and eventually clothes hit the floor. I'm cool with that. If you ask me, I think a faster pace would make sense anyway considering Charlie's grandma is sleeping DOWN THE HALLWAY, so I'd imagine they'd want to make this relatively quick.

Now, I also saw mention that a couple people think this scene is "cliche." Like I said before, my experience with straight-up romance novels is very little, but I can see where this could be seen as cliche. I imagine the "hurt guy getting comforted by the woman he loves, and they end up sleeping together" is probably a popular trope. I don't really think there's anything bad about that, but for people who read this genre very often, they may be bored with it. So, I think maybe coming up with something "new" maybe while they're having sex will liven it up and make it somewhat different. While I was reading (and i don't know if this is just me), I couldn't help thinking how funny it would've been if Nana woke up and started wandering around the house, maybe even knocking on Charlie's door and talking to her through the door while Ryan is pretty much hovering over her, inside her, holding his breath so Nana doesn't hear him. xD I know this is realistic, because almost that exact thing happened to me when I lost my virginity - but I won't go into that.

So i think maybe inventing something unique and new that can happen *while* they're having sex might liven up the scene and make it not so "cliche." But that's really the only major advice I have. The rest is just smaller stuff, like being a little more tight in your sentences, because I imagine sex scenes to be kinda like action scenes where they're relatively faster paced - try to make the descriptions match the rate of the scene.

This is probably a good example of what I'm talking about:

[She giggled, giving him a gentle squeeze and a long stroke. Whoever it was that said white boys weren't well endowed hadn't obviously met Ryan.]

[His body jerked and he growled into the curve of her neck. "God…you drive me crazy."]

The first sentence I would clip down a bit to say:

"She giggled, giving him a squeeze and a stroke. Whoever said white boys weren't well endowed hadn't met Ryan."

But I think the second one is perfect. Very rapid actions show a lot about how Ryan is feeling at that particular moment.

That's pretty much all the advice I have. I really enjoyed this chapter! Just let me know if you have any other questions or want a more in-depth explanation of anything I said.
Flame Within Ice chapter 19 . 12/19/2012
I think you did a good job on this chapter, though I really have no way of telling good or bad apart on this subject. I normally don't deal with romance, but this was nice. I thought all the emotions and unveilings were well-handled. I also like how you worked in enough plot to ensure that this wasn't just a filler chapter for Ryan and Charlie's love. I believe being able to do that is extremely important to any romance story.
XeeWrites chapter 19 . 12/18/2012
I found incomplete sentences like "Not surprising, considering the emotional dark cloud she was under." a little clumsy. You can get away with it in first person, because it's colloquial, but not really in third person. I would either join it to the previous sentence, or rewrite it as "This was not surprising, considering the emotional dark cloud she was under." There are also quite a few misplaced commas, like in the sentence " If she didn't busy herself, she was going to run downstairs, call Ryan and not so nicely, give him a piece of her mind." The last one is unnecessary. There were also a few sentences that could have done with commas, but ran on.

I really liked the opening. I thought it set the scene and situation nicely, and I found it interesting and hooking despite not having read the previous chapters. It also established the Charlene's emotional state, which after reading the rest of the chapter, I think was very important.

I think one of your biggest strengths is painting a picture without slowing down the story. You're very good at having your characters interact with the setting, and instead of telling us where they are and what the place looks like, you kind of show us. That's very nice, very refreshing.

Your dialogue is also very well done. It's realistic and natural, and doesn't go on too long or say too little. I did feel, however, that it progressed a little too quickly from dialogue to sex, especially considering it was a new experience for the characters. There wasn't enough lead up. It sort of felt as though Charlene just got bored all of a sudden, you know? And I found the sex scene and dialogue very cliche, unoriginal and unnecessary. I know it was supposed to be cliche, but cliche's don't need to be long simply because they're cliches and the reader knows it all already. I love good smut, but this was the least interesting part of the chapter.

Some minor mistakes missed in editing:

"He gave humorless chuckle" should be "He gave a humorless chuckle"
"see through" should be "see-through"
And there was a your where there should have been a you're, but I forgot where, sorry!

All in all, a very good chapter with a very nice flow to it. Best of luck!
professional griefer chapter 6 . 12/18/2012
Hah, I loved the 'this is too good to be true' from Charlene, and then the 'this is too fucked up to be true' from Ryan immediately after, it was a nice way to contrast their thoughts, and it made me laugh.
I really like your dialogue in this chapter, you've definitely got the dialect down and it felt as natural as could be.
I also liked Ryan's reaction to James and Charlene, it was very natural and I thought that (even though I've already seen them have sex with each other) it was great relationship progression.
I actually quite liked the description of Christi, it characterized her really well and I immediately got a sense for what she was like.
Great work.
professional griefer chapter 19 . 12/18/2012
I really liked how Ryan talked about Mia and his father, I thought you handled the emotions really well and I felt like even though it was emotion-driven you worded it well, too. It was very realistic.
I didn't like how rushed things felt though, I felt like Ryan went from angry to having sex pretty quickly. I just felt like you wanted to get there quick, and you just got it there without any real midpoint.
I really love your writing style though, there's the right amount of conversational in the narrative when there's no dialogue, and when there is dialogue you step out pretty well and only insert stuff when you need to.
Really good work.
Guest chapter 17 . 12/16/2012
Hi,

I thoroughly enjoyed the story! I would like to read more of the story and to see how it will end. I love how you added an interesting twist to it by adding Alex and Chad. I am now definitely curious to know how Calvin died. It almost sounds like Alex may have had something to do with it. Overall, I think that this is an outstanding story, it is not complicated nor is it complicated!

Thanks,
NB
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