The Writer's View - Cornerstone by Misty Provencher
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 What she knew of her family, what she thought of her life and what she believed about her future, is no longer applicable.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.
The Writer's View
Wow, this was a great book! Thanks to Candace at Candace's Book Blog for the recommendation!
What really sucked me in was the gorgeous writing. Provencher has some of the most gorgeous prose I've come across in a long time. The best part is that it never feels forced or overly-flowery. Her metaphors and descriptions are all poignant and distinct and well-timed, creating impressions and visuals that are entirely original. No cliches here! If you're a writer, I recommend picking up this book just to get a brain-full of gorgeous prose. If you're looking for a fun urban fantasy read with some sweet romance, I also highly recommend this novel. It's free on Amazon, so you can't go wrong!
Another thing I loved about this book was the unique urban fantasy world Provencher created. Everything was totally original and new -- no vamps, no werewolves, no fae, etc. I do like urban fantasy, but sometimes I get bored with vamps, etc. I really enjoyed a fresh new take on a genre that's getting pretty worn out.
My only nit is the punctuation in the dialogue. I'm not what I would call a grammar whiz, but a lot of the punctuation in the dialogue looked incorrect to me. For instance, periods were often used instead of commas at the end of a dialogue tag. Since there's a lot of dialogue, I found it a bit distracting. I was able to overlook it because the writing was so well done.
What really tickled me about this book was the dynamic of Nalena and Garrett's respective families. Nalena is the MC and Garrett is her love interest. Nalena is an only child with a single mother. Garrett is from a family of five kids. It was cool watching Nalena and Garrett's family meet up in the story and see how much they contrasted. As an only child myself, I remember what it was like going to the home of friends with large families. Provencher captured the beautiful chaos of a large family so well from the POV of an only child. It really took me back to my teenage years.
This got me thinking about how important it is to give groups of characters their own collective personality. I think this is especially true in speculative fiction, where you have elves, vampires, dwarves, etc. -- all these different groups and cultures have a chance to shine if the author takes the time to make them unique and distinct. I think a lot of times it is easy just to make everyone seem human. Now, if only I can remember this important lesson when I'm writing!