December 13, 2013

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Betwixt Omnibus

Welcome to my stop on the Betwixt blog tour, organized by Xpresso Book Tours! Check out my review of the entire Betwixt omnibus, then enter the giveaway!

Before (Betwixt #0.5), Betwixt & Beyond (Betwixt #1.5), by Melissa Pearl 
Published December 1, 2013
e-book, provided by the author and Xpresso Book Tours
young adult contemporary/paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads)
The Betwixt Series includes Betwixt, Before and Beyond. 

Follow the lives of two teenagers who have to discover that sometimes to find your way, you have to get completely lost. This emotional series deals with the consequences of bad choices, young love... and the ultimate power of redemption.

Beautiful, wild-child, Nicole Tepper, is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.

Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.

Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it's too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?

In this prequel to Betwixt, find out who Dale Finnigan was before he became known as“scar-face”—the unassuming hero everyone underestimates.

In this sequel to Betwixt, find out how Nicole Tepper proves to Dale that she loves him beyond all common sense.

Imagine for a minute that you’re walking alone down a forested road in the middle of the night. Scary already, right? Man, I hate the woods at night. But, I digress. So, you’re walking along and, of course, have no cell service in the wilderness like you are. When you see headlights in the distance behind you, you think, “Halleluiah. I’m saved!” Instead, the car swerves, HITS YOU, and you fall broken and battered down an embankment. No one knows where you are. You’re hurt badly and can’t move. You. Are. Royally. Screwed.

From that lead-in, you might think that Betwixt is about one girl’s efforts to survive long enough to be saved. And, yes – that is part of it. But, a much bigger part of this gripping story is about the incredible power of forgiveness and how it can change your life in ways you never thought possible.

Nicole spent the past two years of her life dying slowly inside from grief and guilt over the death of her little sister. To cover it up, she found new “friends” and buried her troubles in some pretty nasty rebellion. She shunned her former friends, and horribly hurt the feelings of Dale, the new guy at her school. When she is knocked unconscious by a car, Nicole is brought back to awareness in the middle of her life, but Dale is the only one who can hear her. Being able to roam the halls of her school and house unseen has its benefits and its curses as Nicole finds out what people really think about her, all the while, she and Dale are trying to figure out where her body is before she dies. Or before the person who hit her comes back to finish the job.

Betwixt was a powerful book. I mentioned earlier the theme of forgiveness that I saw woven throughout. Dale has to find it in himself to forgive Nicole for publicly insulting him so that he can do the right thing and help her. Nicole has to try and forgive herself and admit that she’s worth saving. And, eventually, she needs to forgive the person who hit her so that it doesn’t eat at her for the rest of her life. None of these things is easy to do. Nicole’s become an expert at doing what’s easy, and it doesn’t help or make you feel better.

Nicole’s journey to self-discovery and self-preservation was perfectly timed. She did not come along easily. The truth was hard to swallow. It took her awhile to come to terms with what a mess her life had become and what she needed to do to fix it. I’m so glad it wasn’t an instantaneous change. How much she had to work for it endeared me to her and made me root for her every step of the way, even when she was being a total bitch.

Dale was such a great guy. He had already been through his own person hell, which perfectly suited him to help Nicole through hers. If there was one person on earth who understood her, it was Dale.

His story is outlined in the prequel novella, Before (Betwixt #0.5). In it, you see how Dale, feeling constrained by his parents’ rules, rebels in much the same way Nicole did. He hooked up with some seedy kids, started smoking, drinking, jacking cars and sleeping around at only 15. His defining moment comes when he and his four friends are in a horrific car accident and his proverbial life flashes before his eyes. It was a heartbreaking story to read, but it gave a lot of very helpful background leading into Betwixt.

The mystery surrounding who hit Nicole and where she was was awesome. It was perfectly paced so to not give too much away at one time. Nicole’s times of coherence when she was in her body were stressful and suspenseful and scary. I can’t imagine waking up injured in the woods with wild animals around and everyone thinking I ran away. When she was unconscious and with Dale, I kept wanting them to hurry up and figure it all out sooner so that she could be found.

After such a defining moment in her life, you would think it would completely turn Nicole around. Thankfully, it does even more than that. As we see in the post novella, Beyond (Betwixt #1.5), Nicole and Dale fall into a mostly happy life with one another. But, separation has never been easy for Nicole since her sister died, and now she’s faced with the reality that Dale will soon be leaving for college and Nicole will have to stay behind to finish her senior year of high school alone with all the mean girls, a.k.a. her former friends. Nicole finds she must revisit her awful experience in the woods in order to help Dale get into the college of his dreams, even if it means they will be 3,000 miles apart.

It’s good to see that such an intense experience as the one that Nicole and Dale shared did shape their lives. Nicole isn’t a saint, by any means. And I thank Melissa Pearl for not writing her as such. She’s still tough and snarky. But, she has a strength now that she didn’t have before. And she has love which, let’s face it, helps make everything better.

“Bravery’s a choice. It’s not something you’re born with or without. It’s something that grows inside you each time you choose to stand up and fight for the right thing. Each time you choose to speak out instead of staying silent.”

I was sad to see the end of their story when it arrived. Both novellas are a great length – not too long and not too short. Although Nicole’s speech was a little too “valley girl” for me sometimes, I still felt connected to the characters and were with them every step of the way. This is definitely an omnibus worth reading one after the other.  

About the Author

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year. Unknown and Unseen (The Elements Trilogy) out now!

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”.
Learn more about Melissa Pearl --> Website / Goodreads / Twitter


Enter to win a paperback of the Betwixt series omnibus and a $25 Amazon Gift Card! This giveaway is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giselle said...

Wow this sounds like such a great series and right up my alley with the mix of contemp and paranormal, too! It sounds very characters oriented as well and I love hen novellas are added to a book I've enjoyed where you get come to know the characters a bit more. Great review, Krista!

Anna said...

Love your review, Krista. This definitely sounds like something I would enjoy!

Melissa Pearl said...

Thank you for such an excellent review, Krista :) I feel so lucky to have my work featured on your blog! You're awesome.

Jolene and Family said...

Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the giveaway and chance to win

Unknown said...

Thanks for the chance to win. Happy Holidays!