From the Editor’s Desk: Diverging Cadence by Katie Hamstead

Many of you also follow me on social media (I think), so it’s probably not a surprise that I’m posting a review for this. Anyone who saw my tweets about it knows that I swooned hard for this series. And since I already reviewed Deceptive Cadence, it wouldn’t be right to let the second one pass by unnoticed. Plus, I’m part of this here nifty blog tour:

Diverging Cadence Blog Tour Banner

But, because I was also part of the team that worked on it, I have to do the obligatory disclaimer first. So, for those of you who already know what that means, feel free to skip it! For everyone else, here’s the rundown:

As an editor (both freelance and under REUTS Publications), I have the wonderful opportunity to see amazing novels during their developmental/production phase. And I wanted to find a way to share them with all of you as they became available. (I also wanted to find a way to help support the authors who trusted me with their manuscripts.) So think of these posts as my own personal book recommendations, straight from the editor’s desk.

All right, on to the book review!

Diverging Cadence

By Katie Hamstead

Diverging Cadence Cover

When Cadence Anderson woke to find her husband and infant daughter had been killed, she thought her life was over. Instead, she was offered a second chance and sent back in time to do it all again.

She’s made the most of this opportunity, repairing her relationship with the best friend she lost the first time, avoiding the romantic mistakes she made originally, and even bringing her family closer together. But she’s also done something she wasn’t planning on — she’s fallen in love with someone other than her future husband.

Stepping onto a plane and flying across country to attend university is the hardest decision she’s had to make. But unless she follows through with it, her future with Austin might never happen. And what becomes of her beautiful baby if she stays with James, the man she was never supposed to love?

The only thing she knows for certain is that she has to see Austin again, and she’s intent on reliving that part of her previous life exactly like she did the first time. Even if that means she has to lie to James to do it. Because, deep down, she can’t quite bring herself to let him go.

Now, past and future are about to collide, and Cadence has to make her final choice — follow the uncertain path of a life with James, or the one she came back to save . . . with Austin.

In this emotional conclusion to the story that began in Deceptive Cadence, relationships will be tested, identities revealed, and the past will overshadow the future, putting the finishing touches on an unforgettable tale of courage, sacrifice, and, above all, love.

Diverging Cadence picks up where Deceptive Cadence leaves off, but not in typical sequel fashion, where you’re quickly brought up to speed even if you missed the first book. No, to truly experience the emotional roller coaster that is this series, you have to read both, and preferably back to back. Together, the duo create a traditional narrative arc, with Diverging Cadence being the latter, more appropriately tense, climatic portion. And trust me, the emotional pay-off of reading the series in its entirety is well worth the investment of time.

The second half of Cadence’s journey encompasses her adult life — attending college, finding independence, marriage — but is fraught with turmoil unique to her slightly supernatural circumstance. Namely, her decision between forging a new path and reclaiming the life she returned for. Unlike other love triangles, the relationship drama rings with more than a shred of truth, as Cadence wrestles between letting go of the comfortable (her relationship with James) and exploring the promise of her life with Austin. Hamstead expertly crafts a scenario that is heartbreaking, torturous, often maddening, and ultimately human. Cadence is allowed to make mistakes, to make the wrong choice, and the consequences of that speak volumes.

I won’t lie, there were many times that I felt uncomfortable with the choices Cadence made, and there were quite a lot of tears shed during the last third of the book, when we’re finally shown the horrific earthquake scene in real time, but the final resolution more than made up for all the heartbreak. It’s poignant, beautiful, and exactly what I wanted as a reader. Hamstead will rip your heart out before you get there, but that makes the ultimate satisfaction all the more powerful.

With beautifully simplistic prose, Hamstead captures a cast of characters who feel entirely real by the end. Flawed, human, and brilliant, Diverging Cadence wraps up all the threads left dangling at the end of Deceptive Cadence, providing a conclusion to a tale that will likely haunt me for years to come. If you’re looking for a light, upbeat story, this might not be for you, but if you want a thought-provoking tale that tugs on every element of your empathy, I cannot recommend this series enough. Seriously. Read it. Now.

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

From the Editor’s Desk: Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead

I know, I know. Many of you are eagerly awaiting the post involving “voice” that I’ve been hinting at across social media. But I already had this one planned when the inspiration struck for that, so it will be next week (as long as I can formulate my thoughts on the topic into coherent and helpful advice by then).

However, this week, I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Katie Hamstead’s newest release: Deceptive Cadence. (Look! Pretty blog tour banner!)

Deceptive Cadence Blog Tour

 

But because I was also part of the team that worked on it, I have to do the obligatory disclaimer. So, for those of you who already know what that means by the post’s title, feel free to skip it! For everyone else, here’s the rundown:

As an editor, (both freelance and under REUTS Publications), I have the wonderful opportunity to see amazing novels during their developmental phase. And I wanted to find a way to share them with all of you as they became available. (I also wanted to find a way to help support the authors that trusted me with their manuscripts.) So think of these posts as my own personal book recommendations, straight from the editor’s desk.

All right, now that that’s out of the way, on to the book review!

Deceptive Cadence

By Katie Hamstead

Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead

Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .

Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.

Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determination to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.

But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.

Deceptive Cadence combines the soaring emotion of a heartfelt romance with the innovative storytelling of magical realism, crafting a uniquely moving, intricate tale about love and loss that asks: what would you do if given the chance to right all your wrongs?

Every now and then, a book comes across your desk and you just know you’re going to love it from the second you read the blurb. Admittedly, Deceptive Cadence was not that book for me. The premise was intriguing, sure, but it didn’t necessarily grab me immediately based on the concept. But boy oh boy was I wrong about that. This book is, in a word, brilliant.

Hamstead’s latest seems deceptively (yes, pun intended) straight-forward. As the blurb indicates, it’s about a woman who abruptly loses the very definition of “happily ever after” and is then offered a second chance. Now, I know some of you are probably having the reaction I did — okay, how is that different from every other redemption romance? The answer is in the execution.

What seems on the outside like a simple narrative is actually a multi-layered experience akin to biting into a Gobstopper. Just when you think you have it figured out, another flavor appears. Hamstead’s writing sings off the page as she weaves a poignant, resonating tale that is simultaneously heart-warming and heartbreaking.

Cadence’s journey forces her to relive a time that most people would rather die than face again — high school. Filled with all the usual teen angst and drama seen in contemporary young-adult fiction, readers may wonder why the book is being targeted at a NA audience. Again, the answer is in the execution. See, what sets this apart from every other teenage love story is the fact that readers witness it much the way they would reminisce over their own memories, meaning it’s filtered through adult Cadence’s perspective. This future hindsight (for lack of a better way to describe it), allows Cadence to approach her choices and relationships with the maturity and understanding of her future self, thereby revealing the point of the story: a thought-provoking idea that will have you asking what you would change if you had the chance to go back and fix your mistakes.

Layer that philosophical foundation with a magical realism approach to storytelling and fantasy, the twists and turns of a mystery, and the emotional resonance of a beautiful, conflicted romance, and you start to see why Deceptive Cadence is aptly named. Hamstead brilliantly captures the intricacies of navigating relationships with a realism that is nothing less than impressive.

I may not have been a fan from the second I read the premise, but I devoured this (and the as yet unreleased but coming very very soon second half) with an all-consuming need to find out how it ended. By the time I reached that ending, I knew that Deceptive Cadence would forever be one of my all-time favorite stories. It haunted me for days afterward, and has turned me into a lifelong, devoted fan of Hamstead’s work.

So don’t let this one fool you. It’s amazing, and I highly HIGHLY recommend it. It does end with the dreaded “To Be Continued,” but fortunately, I believe the second half will be available very soon. And trust me, it’s well worth the short wait. 😉

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble