Kissed by Kimberly Loth: YA Book Review & Giveaway

Kissed Crop

Kissed by Kimberly Loth: YA Book Review & Giveaway

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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Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Defiance crop

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I LOVED this book! Fast paced, brimming with action, a strong, feisty female protagonist and a dragon that puts all the dragons that came before to shame. What’s not to love?

I could not put this book down. Inventing excuses to make time to read, I devoured this book from the opening sentence “The weight of their pity is like a stone tied around my neck…” to the breathtaking end and was left wanting more. There is a sure way of telling if you truly love an author’s style of writing – when you continue to read their four page acknowledgements at the end of the book, where they thank people who you don’t know or care about, just because you can’t believe the story is really over.

Go and get this book today! My copy is going on my favourites shelf.5 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

Defiance
Title: Defiance
Series: Courier’s Daughter – Book 1Defiance
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publication Date: 28 August 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Purchased

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While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making. — Extract from Goodreads.com

Rachel Morgan releases ‘Forgiven’ a Free Novella

Rachel Morgan releases ‘Forgiven’ a Free Novella

Rachel Morgan kicks off her new NA contemporary romance Trouble Series with the release of this FREE novella, FORGIVEN!

 

 

It’s time to face the past …
 
Three hundred and six days ago, Julia ran away from home. Abandoning her family, friends, boyfriend, and university plans, she fled with no explanation. She can’t hide forever, though, and now it’s time to face the mess she left behind.

(NA romance free of sexual content and explicit language.)

I was captivated from the very first sentence “I return home under the cover of night…” I started this prequel novella late last night and could not put it down until it was finished. Luckily it was a short story otherwise I would not have slept at all last night. Note to self: don’t start one of Rachel Morgan’s books late at night!

It is so refreshing to read a well written book set in South Africa. The description of the cane fields was spot on, anyone returning home via Durban’s King Shaka International Airport can relate to that feeling of nostalgia associated with returning to our beautiful part of the world.

I am not usually a fan of short stories, often find I don’t have time to connect with the characters but this story was mesmerising, not only did I laugh out loud but also found myself crying… in a short story – that never happens! 5 Star

I can’t wait for the rest of the series. The first book ‘The Trouble with Flying’ is expected 26 June 2014

Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn’t for her–after all, they didn’t approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults (and eating unhealthy amounts of chocolate).Subscribe to her newsletter to be the first to hear about new releases and giveaways, follow her on Twitter or Facebook, or check out her books on Goodreads.

 

My Favourite Books

Today is World Book Day in South Africa! While in our school library we celebrated by decorating the room with photos of students reading in their favourite or unusual places I thought I would share my ‘all-time’ favourite books.

I am often asked what my favourite book is. It’s really not easy to pinpoint one favourite book, but I have tried to consider books that have stood the test of time and have chosen to share those books which I still love years later.

My Favourite Children’s Picture Book

 ‘The Cat in the Hat Comes Back’ by Dr Seuss

‘The Cat in the Hat Comes Back’ by Dr SeussThis time, Sally & her brother are stuck shovelling snow: “This was no time for play./This was no time for fun./This was no time for games./There was work to be done.” But the laughing Hat Cat has other ideas, as he lets himself in to eat cake in their tub. He leaves behind “a big long pink cat ring,” which he then handily cleans with “MOTHER’S WHITE DRESS!” — Extract from Goodreads.com

I have always loved Dr Seuss’s humour,  his clever use of rhyme as well as his wacky illustrations. This book has all of that and my favourite part is where the Cat eats cake in the bath – that’s on my bucket list!

I have never lived anywhere where it snows and have only seen snow a couple of times. As a child I was totally captivated by the idea of playing in snow. As for pink snow… it blew my mind!

I read this book every year to our Grade 1’s and it always results in wonder and giggles!

My Favourite Children’s Book

‘The Game’ by Diana Wynne Jones

‘The Game’ by Diana Wynne JonesHayley’s parents disappeared when she was a baby, so she has been brought up by her grandparents. Then one day she is packed off to Ireland to live with her aunts – and a whole host of cousins she never new about! Here she is introduced to “the game” which involves adventures in the forbidden “mythosphere”. And here also is where Hayley discovers the truth about her family. — Extract from Goodreads.com

I LOVE this book and if I had to choose only one favourite book this would be it! ‘The Game’ combines Greek Mythology, action, adventure and complicated family dynamics.

The Game played in the book is a dangerous, exciting type of treasure hunt – the kind I would have loved to play as a child. Who am I kidding – I would still love to play this game!

I reread this book recently just to see if I still feel the same way about it and I got so caught up in the story again that it was like I was reading it for the first time. Don’t be put off by the uninspiring cover, this book is brilliant!

 My Favourite Young Adult (YA) Book 

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. SalingerSince his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation — Extract from Goodreads.com

In my experience most people have a strong reaction to this book: they either love it or hate it.

When I first read this book Holden Caulfield’s cynical look at life as a teenager I identified with him so much so that I felt like he was my only friend, but then I was a mixed up, anxious teen who used sarcasm as a defence against anyone who might judge me… and I thought everyone was judging me.

Today I have ‘slightly’ more self confidence and hold back on the sarcasm – or at least I seldom share the sarcastic dialogue in my mind realising it can be more hurtful than funny, but I can’t ignore that it was this book that helped me through a very difficult adolescence.

My Favourite ‘Grown-Up’ Book

I didn’t want to label this category as ‘adult’ book as these days that conjures up images that I don’t want on my blog! But yes, I do read ‘grown-up’ books in-between my insatiable appetite for YA books, but rarely do I find a book I love, so this one is very special!

‘Five Quarters of the Orange’ by Joanne Harris

5 Quarters of an OrangeWhen Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen – the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Althrough Framboise hopes for a new beginning. She quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrap book of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother. — Extract from Goodreads.com

This is a dark, honest and beautifully written account of relationships, especially between mother and daughter, reflection of childhood decisions and their ultimate affect.

I love France – although I have never been there (sigh…one day…!) and I love reading books set in France, especially during the Second World War where people’s real personalities come to the fore in the choices they make. I have often wondered how I would have handled living in Occupied Europe during this time.  I suspect I would not have been as brave as I would have liked.

 

My Friend the Enemy by Dan Smith

My Friend the EnemyMy Friend the Enemy by Dan Smith

My Friend the Enemy. Beautifully written this book brought alive the life of a child in rural England during the Second World War. I am instinctively drawn to books written about this war, and this book did not disappoint. Full of life, danger and adventure, I was caught up in the story and for a while actually felt I was actually there.

The author managed, without preaching, to bring across the message of humanity, that soldiers are just ordinary people and that in different circumstances enemies could become friends.

I introduced this book recently to our Grade 6’s (12 year olds) in our school library. I read the first chapter to them and they were captivated. The book went out immediately in the hands of a student whose great-grandfather fought for Germany and a several students added their names to the waiting list. Interestingly, this story lead to a long discussion about the war and I was amazed at how few students knew that South African soldiers fought for the Allies.

4 StarFans of Michael Morpurgo will love this story.

Recommended age 10 +

My Friend the Enemy
Author: Dan Smith

Publication Date: 4 July 2013My Friend the Enemy
Publisher: Chicken House
Source: Purchased

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Summer, 1941. For Peter, the war is a long way away, being fought by a faceless enemy. Until the night a German plane is shot down over woods that his missing dad looked after before he went off to fight.

Peter rushes to the crash site to see if there’s something he can keep, but what he finds instead is an injured young German airman. The enemy. Here.

And helping him seems like the right thing to do… 

– abstract from Goodreads.com

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