Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Cornerstone

CORNERSTONE (Cornerstone #1)
Misty Provencher
Paranormal Young Adult
219 pages
Self-published
Available Now
Received from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Nalena Maxwell has been branded ‘The Waste’ at her new school, due to her mom's obsessive paper hoarding. Nalena desperately wants something to change in her life, but when she receives a sign (and it's the wrong dang one) inviting her into a mysterious, ancient community, too much changes. What she knew of her family, what she thought of her life and what she believed about her future, is no longer applicable. Seventeen years worth of family skeletons come crashing into Nalena's life and it is the boy...the one that smiles at her like he wants to hear everything she'll ever say...that already knows her powerful secrets. But it is only Nalena that can choose between protecting the life that is already crumbling beneath her feet and the one that might sacrifice everything she could ever have.

MY THOUGHTS
Deeply intriguing, Cornerstone is one of those stories that doesn’t immediately enfold us in its paranormal world, instead taking the time to introduce us to an utterly normal young woman dealing with a realistic and difficult situation in a mother who hoards astronomical amounts of paper and spends all their available money continuously buying more. We instantly align ourselves with Nalena, feeling the pain of every verbal arrow aimed at her as the words “The Waste” echo in our ears, reminding us of just how mighty a weapon a couple of letters strung together can be. Only once we’re firmly connected to Nalena and emotionally invested in her life is the paranormal element brought into play, providing us with firm ground to stand on before showing us something completely new.

Nalena is a young woman of whom we feel instantly protective, her role reversal with her mother causing our arms to practically spasm with the need to wrap around her and assure her that the paper her mother seems to treasure above all else does not define her life. Her mother clearly loves her, but there’s a innocence to Evangeline that has her appearing younger in years than Nalena herself, and we can’t help but smile as Nalena exhibits far more patience and understanding than we might were we in the same situation. Because of the treatment she receives from the classmates, she’s instantly wary when Garrett Reese begins to show an interest in her, and their relationship is thankfully one that progresses at a much slower pace than we often find in young adult fiction. She’s smart with him, testing the waters with cautious fingertips to determine the reception she’ll receive should she wade in deeper, and taking some care to guard her heart against a young man who so easily could cause her pain.

While the romance is well-executed–just the right amount of tension and affection swirling around and between Nalena and Garrett–the paranormal element itself is a touch elusive, a complete explanation seeming to dance out of our reach every time we make a grab for it. We learn the basics of Nalena’s gift as well as her mother’s, but some of the finer details remain blurry, leaving us struggling to figure out how the pieces of the community Nalena suddenly finds herself a part of fit together and what this community's purpose is as a whole. Perhaps greater illumination is coming in later books, but our slight confusion does rob us of some of the intensity of Nalena’s conflict as we don’t fully understand the ramifications of her decision to either join the Ianua or continue on as she has been. The ending is rather brutal and heart-wrenching, and it would be my recommendation to have book two on hand for immediate consumption upon finishing as things for Nalena are clearly only going to become more challenging.

Rating: 4/5

 

KEYSTONE BLOG TOUR

The promotional tour for the second book in this series, Keystone, is running now through September 28th. The participating blogs have various reviews, guest posts, deleted scenes and interviews, so be sure and check out Candace's Book Blog or Misty's Blog for the full schedule because you don't want to miss out on all the fun. Additionally, there are some EPIC giveaways on this tour. Seriously. Want to see?



That's just one prize pack my friends. All the giveaways and the aforementioned tour details can be found HERE.

60 comments:

  1. Sometimes I am confused by myself.. See, Candace kept telling me about this book like forever. Then, I saw review after review which were all super awesome.. still, I didn't read it.
    Now you! I mean you and me are BookSoulTwins so I know I'll like it!. What's wrong with me?

    Uhm...

    Glad you liked it!!! But I'm a little scared about the ending!

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    1. I'm like this with the Iron Druid books. I have no idea why I haven't read them. I suck.

      The ending is definitely rough, I just sort of blinked at what happened and then went "Dammit! Why don't I have the next book yet?"

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  2. Wow, I've never heard of this book before but after reading your review, this book goes straight into my TBR pile ;) The cover is so mysterious but intriguing as well. Nalena and Garrett's relationship sounds really beautiful and I'm glad that it's well-executed!

    Awesome review, Jenny! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I really liked Nalena and Garrett:)

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  3. I honestly don't know what to make of this book, parts of this sound really appealing like Nalena's mother's obsession with paper hoarding, but then I'm worried about other aspects like the paranormal. I'm so conflicted, this sure does sound super interesting though and I'm glad you had fun reading it. Another beautiful review Jenny!

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    1. I was just confused about some of the whys when it came to Nalena's mom's ability (and Nalena's as well), I would have loved a little more backstory there, but I'm the type of person that likes explanations for everything:)

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  4. Thank you so much for the awesome review, Jenny! You have beautiful writing yourself, Chica!

    Oh Danny, you are the most well-thought-out reader I've ever met! What can I say to convince you to give me a try, my girl? I'd love for you to go in with zero expectation and see what I can do for you!

    I'm so happy to hear you like the cover, Celine. Thank you! It does have clues about the book - it makes more sense once you read the book - so I hope you'll give it a shot and swing back around to tell me what you think!

    Jasprit, don't you worry one bit. Cornerstone will take care of you! lol If you happen to read, please let me know. I'd love to hear if you enjoyed it!



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    1. You're so welcome Misty! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read it:):):)

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  5. Excellent review Jenny.....is there The Bloggie Reviewer awards yet??? Cause that was awesome...:)

    I bought this forever ago, I really need to read it, at this rate Ill be 50 by the time I get to all these review and TBR books....:D

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    1. Hahaha SAME! Every week I'm all "this is the week I'll make a dent in that pile" and then I wave cheekily at said pile as the week goes by and the stack only grows because I can't not buy books:)

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    2. PSST...Tina, I'll give you a cookie if you push it up and give it a read... :))

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  6. That Garrett Reece is a charming guy, isn't he? He had me at the library where he met Nalena the first time. ;) So glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I had a fabulous time interviewing Garrett and I'm curious to see where this story goes next.

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    1. Thanks so much, Rummanah! Your interview with Garrett was so much fun!! Oh and where we shall go, my friend...WHERE WE SHALL GO!!! *rubs hands together* *plots with wild abandon*

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  7. I so agree about this starting out about hoarding and then catching me off guard by moving into paranormal. I loved this book because it was suprsingly different and a self published gem! I agree I had lingering questions and Misty was kind enough to answer them on my blog when I reviewed this. I just started Keystone and I can't wait to see how things progress! Enjoy your weekend, Jenny!

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    1. I'm so happy with your questions, Heidi. You ask good exploring questions that folks don't always consider...you have a great reading eye. It is such an incredible gift to have the opportunity to discuss the 'extras' in my head that would otherwise never be known!

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  8. You have me intrigued. Especially with a well-executed romance. I do like those. A lot. :)

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    1. I hope you'll give it a try, if you like romance, Amanda. I think you might like to spend some time with Garrett Reese!

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  9. OMG! Jenny... I have this one and I'm still needing to read it. Matter of time is all... but I will. Looks like I'll need that second one. Heart wrenching? ACK! I hate to cry, but I do love a good book. I love how you describe the romance. I love that it is slow and she is aware. I also am curious about this paranormal aspect. Hm...

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  10. I hear you, Melissa! I've got five books lined up right now to read! I hope that when you get there, you will enjoy Garrett and Nalena!

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  11. Thanks for the marvelous introduction to Cornerstone Jenny!!!!!! Awesome review! I'm glad to hear that this book starts out really normal and full of normalness that lead up to its paranormal elements.
    :) yay for a slow romance!
    Terrific review!

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy the bloom of the romance, Rachel! Let me know if you do!

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  12. YAY! I was so excited for you to read this! Now if Danny ever reads I may just finally feel complete. ;)
    Keystone answers the questions about the community. I was actually glad to not get too much about it because I think I would have been overwhelmed. So everything slowly coming to light worked. I guess in the beginning of Cornerstone I may have been wondering WHAT?! but I think it was more of the good kind. Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  13. Wow, I've never heard of this one before, Jenny, but it sounds amazing! I'll definitely have to check it out, especially with such wonderful characters and a beautiful romance! Fantastic review, dear! :)

    OH, and thank you for sharing about the giveaways! I'll have to check those out and try my luck ASAP! ;)

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    1. I hope the story will bring you all the luck you desire, Keertana! And good luck on the giveaways as well!

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  14. Beautiful review Jenny! Surprisingly, I've never heard of another YA book that deals with hoarding, I like that someone is touching on the issue. Another thing that sounds great is the slow moving romance, I feel like every book I read lately has insta-love =P


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    1. Hi Born Bookish! There is hoarding and I hope you'll enjoy how it ties into the larger story. Please let me know what you think if you give it a read!

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  15. I love a book that lets the story open like an onion, and carries me, with the hero/heroine into the adventure, as I see it from their prospective, and not from a larger prospective. I like the feeling of learning what's going on, along with the character. In Cornerstone, Nalena goes from innocence to choices. Keystone answers many of the questions that Nalena and I had from Cornerstone. Couldn't ask for more, and the adventure/mystery/romance are all there, while the humorous scenes balance the stressful parts. Wonderful writing!

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    1. Onion! I was thinking rose, but I'll totally take the onion!

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  16. Since I'm all the way at the bottom I doubt Danny will see this but Danny, it's got romance, unique paranormal, Jenny Loved it, Rummanah did too, the second book is out and I bet Misty has the third books churning on the presses as we speak. What are you waiting for???? And anyone that is undecided....it's 99cents on Amazon!

    Jenny, as always, you did a beautiful job reviewing the book. Great way of telling how we root for Nalena and then get to the paranormal aspects. Fabulous job!

    Heather

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    1. Thank you for reminding everyone, Heather. Amazon's got me on sale for .99 cents~ what's to lose!

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  17. Never heard of this book (well until now haha) great review!
    Leigh | Little Book Star

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  18. When I first came across this book, I was a little surprised to hear it had a paranormal edge to it (I'm not sure why!) It does sound like a very worthwhile read though and I look forward to giving it a shot one day. Beautifully reviewed, Jenny! :)

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    1. Oh Sam, I hope you will and I hope it will surprise and delight you. Please let me know if you decide to give it a shot!

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  19. I never heard of this book before, but wow sounds awesome. And thanx for telling us about the end! Def. need book two when I read this one. ;) Great review!

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    1. Hi Nina, thank you so much for considering the book!

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  21. Wow, I haven't heard of this book until now and your review had me definitely intrigued. Nalena seems like a character that is easy to connect with and understand. Plus the paranormal sounds like a unique one though I can see that there's some elements it's still lacking. Maybe more will be revealed in the following books. Very well reviewed, Jenny. I look forward reading this but with what you said about the ending I guess I'll wait first for the second book. :)

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    1. Second book is out, Eunice! Hope you will enjoy!

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  22. Jenny, you always put new books on my radar - ones that always pique my interest. Garrett and Nalena both sound like amazing characters and though I haven't read this yet, I'm already rooting for Nalena and her mother. Also, thank goodness there's no insta-love here lol! Thanks for the review, Jenny!

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    1. Hi Chel! Jenny's done a beautiful review and I'm so glad you got the feel of Nalena and her mom already. I hope you'll give it a read in the future!

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  23. Ooo, great review, Jenny! I have never heard of this one, but I love the sound of it. Nalena sounds like a character I can totally relate to.

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    1. Hi Hafsah! I hope you will give it a try and let me know if you relate to Nalena and what you think of the story!

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  24. The brutal and heart-wrenching ending makes me nervous, but this one does sound very good. Thanks for the intriguing review! :)

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    1. Not so brutal, YA Book Queen. Brutal, but not brutal. I hope you will have a read so you can understand what I mean. Please let me know if you do!

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  25. Is it me or does it seem like we could've done without the paranormal aspect in this story? I am very intrigued however, especially because you say the romance is so well done. Wonderful review Jenny. :)

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    1. Hi Rachel, I hope you'll give the story a look to see how the paranormal aspect ties into the book. I'd love to hear what you think at the end and if I can change your mind or not!

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  26. I've heard great things about this book from another blogger and have been excited to read it ever since. Now you come up with this wonderful review and I'm even more excited! This sounds like such a great book.
    Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Please let mew know what you think of it, Nick!

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  27. I never heard of this book but your review alone Jenny interests me. I just may have to pick this book up. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I hope you will, Savannah, and then come back to let us know your opinion!

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  28. WOW! This book looks good!! I heard great things about it at Candace's blog too!


    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

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    1. Thank you Krazzyme! I hope you will read and have great things to say about it too!

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  29. This book kind of confuses me. The cover is so...not good. It looks like a textbook. But it's good to hear the romance is well handled, even though the paranormal sounds like it needs to be a bit clearer and stronger. I've read a lot of good stuff about this book!

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    1. So sorry you don't like the cover, Mary. I was going for a clean look that was a little different than the usual, but certainly wasn't going for textbook! Lol

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  30. I knew I should have read this one when Candace recommended it! Too many books too little time! But it's definitely going on my wishlist.

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    1. YAY! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it, Melissa!

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  31. Two things I love to hear about a book: the MC is developed and well characterized before the action comes into play and the romance is slow developing. It's too bad about the world building kind of lacking because that is also another must for me. I'll be curious to read reviews for the sequel!

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    1. This is an onion kind of a series, Aylee. I can't really say much without giving everything away, but there is purpose to the structure and I hope you will check out the KEYSTONE reviews too. I think you may find what you are looking for!

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