We moved to Egypt! Guest post by Kimberly Loth, author of ‘Kissed’

We moved to Egypt! Guest post by Kimberly Loth, author of ‘Kissed’

Introducing author Kimberly Loth (see my review on her book here). Thank you so much for writing a guest post on my blog!

Sue, thank you for having me today. The last few weeks have been crazy busy with the launch of my first book, Kissed, and I’m so pleased with the way things are going. There are a lot of different things that I could talk about today, but I thought I’d let you in a secret. One that even my mother doesn’t believe.

I live in Egypt (nope, not the secret, everyone already knows that.) I moved here last August. If you follow the news at all you know that in August the military got sick of protesters camping out in the street, warned them a dozen times to get out, and they didn’t listen. They forcibly removed them. Over five hundred people died. A curfew was instated. No one was allowed of the house after 7 pm. This all happened two days before my flight was scheduled to leave for Egypt.

I called my mother from the plane.

“You’re really going?” she asked.

“Yep, you want to talk to the kids?”

She did talk to the kids and I kept my conversation short with her. I didn’t want to hear “You’re crazy” again. Off I went on a two-year adventure with my husband and two middle schoolers. I’m a teacher and decided to try my hat at teaching in an American school in a different country. Was it hard when I arrived? Absolutely.  But I’ve loved every single crazy minute of it. And in spite of what my family thought would befall me when I arrived, everyone is still alive.

You want to know the secret?  In spite of everything you might’ve have heard on the media, Egypt is safe. Never once have I felt threatened. (Okay so every time I get into a cab I think the driver is going to kill me with his driving, but I’ve grown used to that.)

Kimberly Loth and her family

Kimberly Loth and her family

The curfew passed, the streets calmed, and life is normal. We’ve seen the pyramids, cave churches, and swam in the Red Sea. These are experiences of a lifetime for my family. If you’ve ever thought of visiting Egypt, now is the time. There are no tourists. You get whole pyramids and beaches to yourself.

Living in a foreign country has been an amazing experience. True, I have to go to four different grocery stores to find everything I need for dinner, but I can walk to all of them. My commute is 45 minutes in stop and go traffic everyday, but I use that time to write. One thing I didn’t expect in Egypt was all the green. I thought I was coming to a desert. But I look off my balcony window and all I see is green and a multitude of floral colors. Every month a different tree is blooming a different color. Right now it’s bright red. Last month it was purple.

When my two years are up here, I’m not going back to the states. I’m heading to another new and exciting country. We asked the kids last night during dinner if we could extend our contract if they wanted to stay. At first they said “yes,” but as dinner wore on I could tell they were both faltering. Finally, my daughter said, “But that means we won’t get to go someplace new.” Then they both shook their heads. We wont’ be staying more than two years. I highly recommend overseas living. The experience is worth it.

About Kimberly Loth:

Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina. She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. Currently, she lives in Cairo, Egypt with her husband and two kids.

She is a high school math teacher by day (please don’t hold that against her) and YA author by night. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures. Kissed is her first novel.

https://www.facebook.com/kimberlylothbooksKissed

http://kimberlyloth.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20612227-kissed

https://www.amazon.com/author/kimberlyloth

Twitter: @kimberlyloth

 About Kissed:

Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.

Buy the book here: http://amzn.to/1ix9Bcd

 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: YA Book Review

Anna And the French Kiss crop
I loved Anna and can totally relate to that feeling of arriving to a foreign country and starting a new school! Luckily (or unluckily) my new school didn’t have a menu to choose from in a different language – we were all served the same thing!

This is a fun, easy read and I loved the banter and humour between the characters.4 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: Anna and the French Kiss 
Series: Anna and the French Kiss – Book 1Anna And the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: 4 August 2011
(First published 2 December 2010)
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased

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Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?    — Extract from Goodreads.com

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely crop 1
I LOVE this book! Beautiful, mesmerising, frightening, just brilliant! Melissa Marr has created an exceptional Faerie world, overlapping our human world, in this modern faerie tale, where intrigue and trickery prevail and things are not what they seem.

If you like Faerie, this is one of the best. Don’t miss it.5 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

Wicked Lovely
Series: Wicked Lovely – Book 1Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Author: Melissa Marr
Publication Date: 12 June 2007
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased

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Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. — Extract from Goodreads.com

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin: YA Book Review

one lonely degree cropDo you ever get that feeling that the author has just followed a formula when they wrote the book? That’s what it felt like with One Lonely Degree.

Formula for YA contemporary Romance:
√  Love Triangle
√  Parent’s marriage on the rocks
  Fall for best friend’s boyfriend
  Angst

Just throw in a little pressure, such as bullying/sexual harassment and you’ve got a winner…

A disappointing, mediocre read. I would like to describe it as light reading, but light reading implies fun which it just didn’t live up to.3 Star

Recommended age 13 +

Postscript

I am often asked why I rated ‘One Lonely Degree’ 3 stars if I didn’t like it. Find out why below…

Spoiler Alert!

At one point in the story Finn finds herself in a situation ( a situation that no girl should find herself in, but unfortunately many of us do) where her ‘no!’ is ignored. The author is brave to tackle this subject, but I am glad she did and I will continue to suggest this book to readers for this reason. Finn deals with the boy in a unique and clever, if involuntary, way. I wish I had thought of that when I faced a similar situation.

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One Lonely Degree
Author:  C.K. Kelly MartinOne Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication Date: 26 May 2009
Publisher: Random House
Source: Purchased

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Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend…can she?   
Extract from Goodreads.com

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley: YA Book Review

North of Beautiful crop

This book was an emotional roller coaster for me. The main character, Terra, has a Port Wine Stain birthmark on her face identical to the one my daughter has on hers. While I have come to terms with this and my beautiful daughter is so confident and bubbly that it is hardly ever noticed, I did go through heartache in her early years and this came back to me in a flood as I read this story.

Having said this, and taking all the emotion into consideration, I can still say this book is fantastic. Beautifully written, Terra’s journey negotiating difficult awful family circumstances while discovering acceptance, friendship, love, joy, adventure and ultimately herself was both engaging and inspirational.

Best of all, this book introduced me to my new hobby, geocaching, which, unlike reading, I can actually share with my family.5 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Publication Date: 6 January 2009North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased

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It’s hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She’s tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably “flawed” face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob’s path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?  – Extract from Goodreads.com

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Book Review

Code Name Verity crop

Wow! An amazing book! I wish I could start at the beginning again…

Courage, despair, deviousness, courage, manipulation, treachery, betrayal, courage and did I say courage… unbelievable courage.

In the first half of the book we get to know the background story of the two main characters and their various paths that led to the fateful journey into Occupied France. At this stage of the story I was enjoying it, but not really feeling the ‘wow’ factor. It was during the second half of the book when an unexpected twist turns the story on its head and WOW, did the wow factor hit me hard! I LOVE this book.

I was struck by the extensive research Elizabeth Wein has done not only on the war, but on the lifestyle of the time, giving the story a sense of realism that allowed me to feel as though I was there, witnessing the events as they unfolded.

Code Name Verity has a unique plot that blew me away.

To those who start and feel let down – read on… it’s definitely worth it.5 Star

Recommended age: 14 +

Title: Code Name Verity 
Author:
Elizabeth Wein
Publication Date: 6 February 2012Code Name Verity
Publisher: Egmont Press
Source: Purchased

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I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort.  And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two. We are a sensational team.  — Extract from Goodreads.com

Movie Trailer: If I Stay

If I StayThe movie of If I Stay by Gayle Forman is due to be released on 22 August 2014.

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make. – Extract from Goodreads.com

If you loved this book as much as I did you’ll going to want to see the trailer….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMp896hfp74

The Top Ten YA Book Covers I’d Frame as Art

The Top Ten YA Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

I’m a total sucker for beautiful covers and it’s no secret that I frequently choose books based on their cover. This was a tough choice and would probably change from year to year, but right now I love these covers…

 

Heart 1
The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
The Edge of Falling
 
by Rebecca Serle

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 2

Poisoned Apples
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
by Christine Heppermann

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 3

The Jewel by Amy Ewing
The Jewel
 by Amy Ewing

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 4

The Museum of Intangible Things
The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Amazon  Goodreads

Heart 5

Shatter Me
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 6

Splintered by A.G. Howard
Splintered by A.G. Howard

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 7

Across the Universe
Across the Universe
 by Beth Revis

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 8

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr Amazon  Goodreads

heart 9

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen 

Amazon  Goodreads

heart 10

Slated
Slated by Teri Terry

Amazon  Goodreads

Which book covers do you think are beautiful enough to frame?

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week’s the task is to showcase the top 10 books covers you would frame as pieces of art.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Children’s Book Review

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Children’s Book Review

False prince crop

This brilliant book was captivating from the very first page. Despite being a little predictable the story flowed beautifully and I found I could not put it down.

This is a popular book in our school library!

4 Star

Recommended age 10 +

The False Prince
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy – Book 1
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publication Date: 1 April 2012False Prince
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Purchased

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In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a run-down orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. –Extract from Goodreads.com

Kissed by Kimberly Loth: YA Book Review & Giveaway

Kissed by Kimberly Loth: YA Book Review & Giveaway

Kissed Crop

The first half of this story, the dark half, describing Naomi’s bleak home life was disturbing and difficult to read due to the graphic portrayal and level of violent abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. It was however beautifully written and I felt drawn into the character’s emotional journey.

In contrast the second half of the book, where the fantasy element is further revealed, felt a little bland and rushed, with Puck the only character with any real spark. I wish he played a larger role in the story – I am definitely on ‘Team Puck’!

I loved the unique way the author used roses as a link through the story. Roses play a large role in the story, including Naomi’s penchant of matching each person she meets, based on their character and her emotional connection to them, to a particular rose.3 Star

Recommended age: 15+ (Domestic violence)

Kissed
Series: The Thorn Chronicles – # 1
Author: Kimberly Loth
Publisher: Kimberly LothKissed
Publication Date: 1 May 2014
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review

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Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself   — Extract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received this copy of this book from the author does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

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