Thursday, September 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

Today we get to share with you Breaking Nova by the incredibly talented Jessica Sorensen.  This story is both haunting and confronting - we follow Nova through a challenging journey as she deals with the impact of a significant loss.  Read on for more about this beautiful book.

Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she's getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn't want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he's done, what he's lost. He's sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he's too damaged to get close to her, yet she's the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

For our guest post we asked Jessica for her thoughts on book titles and covers: how she goes about choosing a title and at what stage in the writing process she chooses; how involved she is in the cover design process and which one of her own is her favorite.  Here's what she had to say.

I think titles are very important. They can say so much about the story and I think it also helps grab a reader’s eye if it’s catchy enough. For me, I usually come up with the title in the beginning stages of writing a story. But with Breaking Nova, I actually picked out the title before I even started working on the story, when it was just an idea. I’m usually a little ways in before I make a commitment, but this one popped into my head and considering the story is about Nova breaking apart and then rebuilding herself, I thought it fit perfectly.

I also think covers are extremely important and can help give readers a little insight to what the story is about. With my Indie titles, I’m lucky enough that my designer, the lovely Regina Wamba at Mae I Design, lets me give her ideas and she always does such a good job at capturing what I want. My all time favorite cover is one she designed. It’s the cover for The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden. When I asked her to do the cover, I simply said that there was this rain scene in the story between Callie and Kayden and I’d really like it if the cover could match it and that’s what she ended up creating :) 

There is definitely a theme to the Jessica Sorenson books I have read - damaged people struggling to find themselves, questioning their worth and whether they deserve happiness.  It is not a joyous theme and yet I have absolutely enjoyed reading her stories.  The despair and introspection from Sorenson's stories is a gentle reminder of the balance and harmony I have found in my own life and as a consequence I am thankful for what I have.

Breaking Nova is a difficult read.  There are many elements that people would ordinarily find offensive or too confronting to read but I think they are built into the story in a way that is credible and realistic, that does not glorify them but rather conveys the complexity, sadness and loneliness people feel when grappling with loss, grief and depression.  There is a lot of drug use in Breaking Nova; by a number of characters.  

Despite the painful journey I had with Nova,  I got to the end of her story with some hope for a brighter, more positive future.  Nova's experiences and circumstances have left her a shell of the person she used to be and she has struggled to find a healthy way to deal with her pain and grief.  Nova uses order, structure and numbers to numb herself from her pain and to quiet her brain.  But it isn't enough.

"... sometimes stuff happens and we find ourselves lost, and suddenly we're standing in a place we don't recognize and we're unsure how to get back or if we even want to."

Nova dabbles in the world of drug use as a means of finding some escape - but it only causes her to question things more, to seek greater clarity and control.  She recognises the temporary and transient nature of the escape drugs give and questions her ability to do things differently.  Haunted by elements from her past, constantly questioning whether her present would be different if she had done or said things differently Nova takes some chances, seemingly small on the surface, but monumental in terms of who she is, what she has experienced and who she may become.

Quentin Carter is a key factor in Nova's journey.  Carrying his own pain and guilt he has turned to regular drug use as a means of numbing himself.  Plagued by memories and regret Quentin has no real purpose or direction: in fact he believes he should be dead.  When Nova and Quentin meet they begin to question the way they are thinking, the choices they are making and there is the prospect that perhaps they can 'save' each other.  

There is nothing 'romantic' about Breaking Nova in the usual sense of the word.  I found the story challenging to read, because it is sad and the despair of all of the characters is a little overwhelming at times.  But it is beautifully written and Nova's character is incredibly strong.  I really liked her and appreciated her struggle and the choices that she made.

I was happy with the ending in Breaking Nova, I didn't feel like I was left hanging and wanting to know more and I was given enough to engage me in the books that are to come in the Nova series.  Even though there is the promise of more challenging stories to read in those books I will pick them up as I have an investment in the characters; a connection with them that has left me wanting to know what the next chapter in their story might be all of which is a testament to the way Breaking Nova is written.

4 out of 5 stars

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

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