You can check out the full tour schedule HERE on the author’s blog.
On this tour stop, we have reviews of both book one and two of the series as well as giveaways. There should be no spoilers in either review, so you can read both without worry. After reading both books, this quickly became on of my favorite series of the year. I actually liked the second book better than the first, which is odd considering that I’m usually bitterly disappointed with sequels. Although Keystone isn’t a standalone book, it is nothing short of awesome.
Cornerstone (#1) Review:
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Overall: As someone with first hand experience with a horder, this story definitely touched me on a personal level. It’s hard watching someone you love ruin their life (and your own) because they cannot overcome a psychological problem. I never had friends over my house (ever) so I never experienced the redicule that Nalena did from her classmates. Mine didn’t know what my home life was like living with someone that rather buy a new set of dishes than wash the two or three sets stacked in the kitchen sink. Nalena was more aware that her mother had problems than I did – for a time, I thought that it was normal to have half of the shower covered with empty shampoo bottles yellow and coated with soap scum. I’d like to personally thank the author for making it feel authentic, even if Nalena’s mother had better motives for her paper-filled house than the typical horder.
Characters: My absolute favorite character is Addo. He’s colorful personality (and clothes) shine in every scene he’s in. I couldn’t help but smile in one of the scenes where he makes cookies for Nalena, the majority of them are gone by the time she arrives, and slowly during the scene, the remainder of the cookies dissapear one bite at a time – and Addo acts like a druggie getting his high with every bite. And while this is going on, Addo is delivering very serious and life-changing news to Nalena. The contrast is startling, but presented amazingly well.
There is no instant love between Nalena and Garrett. She actually tells him off upon first meeting, expecting this popular guy to make fun of her like everyone else. For much of the novel Nalena is more furious with Garrett’s decisions than in love with him, but when they are together the chemistry is sizzling.
Plot: I think this story is more about Nalena’s relationship with her mother than Nalena discovering her powers. It’s definitely hard enough for a teenager to deal with the ridicule associated with living with a horder; it is even more difficult when that horder is actually hording for the sake of mankind. Nalena has no choice but to support her mother’s weird habits, even when it directly conflicts with the attention of a cute boy named Garrett.
I found myself equally frustrated as Nalena by the lack of answers for much of the novel. I understand that some things could not be revealed early, but it felt like the author was stalling at times – a lot of filler when all I wanted was to know WTF was happening. And that alone kept me from rating this book five stars.
Ending: Nalena chooses what I thought she would choose but definitely not for the same reasons. It’s a bittersweet ending, but a good place to pause the series.
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.
Keystone (#2) Review:
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Overall: While Cornerstone felt like a contemporary novel for the first half, Keystone’s genre is a full-fledged paranormal romance. Although the mystery of the key and who possesses her grandfather’s memory are unraveled slowly, the lag and confusion from the first novel aren’t present here (thank goodness!) – Keystone is action packed and the mystery compelling and concise. The only thing that is obvious to readers is that Nalena will play a large role in figuring out this 17 year-old mystery. The rest is a guessing game until the very last pages.
Characters: At times, it is hard to believe that Nalena is the same girl from the first novel who was ridiculed for having a horder for a mother. Gone are all the negative people from her high school. Instead Nalena meets others that are like her. There is a surprisingly large number of students that have special abilities and belong to this community. My absolute favorite is Nok, who can read minds. He doesn’t talk much; it’s amazing how vocal and clear his intentions can be saying so few words. The other new characters all have pretty distinct personalities, as oppose to Garett’s brothers (Brandon and Mark) who I still get mixed up. The Addo doesn’t have the same humor and awesome one-liners of the first book, as the mood has definitely sobered in this book.
Plot: Find the key to unlock Nalena’s grandfather’s memory that her father had stolen. Her grandfather apparently unlocked the weakness of The Fury (the bad guys) right before his death. So somewhere…on a sheet of paper…is the answer to all of their problems. It’s been 17 years since his death and no leads, but now Nalena is on the job. Of course, the Fury is also looking for the key and is hell-bent on killing every single person that gets in their way. Thoughtout the novel, the bad guys are chasing them. They have to switch from safe house to safe house, unlocking clues, and trying to keep everyone alive. They lost way too many people by the end of the first novel. There’s a traitor among them and it’s definitely not one you can predict.
Ending: The book kept building in suspense and pacing until the very last page. All of my questions were answered and yet I was so disappointed when the story ended. Because Nalena’s story is far from over. And the next book isn’t written yet. Because in the very last chapter I felt that my eyes were opened to the gravity of the situation and there is a whole lot more butt-kicking that this crew needs to do.
There’s a man-made storm coming, like a rip in the world, and it’s called the Cusp.
Struggling to fit into the destiny she’s accepted, Nalena Maxwell has been left with one objective: she must find her murdered grandfather’s Memory. Stolen and hidden away by her own father over seventeen years ago, the Memory could be the key to ending the Cusp and destroying the Ianua’s rival community, The Fury.
Driven by each individual’s selfish desires, The Fury has always lacked the loyalty and organization it needs to be an actual force of power.
Someone masterminded the Fury’s massive attack on the Ianua, slaughtering twelve of their thirteen community leaders, the Addos. Now there are rumors that the 13th Cura, to which Nali belongs, has gone to the Fury, manipulating the last Addo in order to control the other 12 Curas.
As the Cusp brings the Fury and their own communities against them, Nalena’s Cura must preserve the Ianua, but finding the key to the Cusp isn’t as simple as it seems.
I received copies of these books as part of a book tour in exchange for an honest review.