Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blog tour: Kissed (The Thorn Chronicles #1) by Kimberly Loth + review & giveaway

It's been a GREAT week for reading and tours here at Reader Girls. We bring you a YA paranormal tour today with Kissed. This tour is hosted by Shane at Itching For Books. There's our review, book spotlight, and a giveaway. Find the tour list here. Have a wonderful day!
Kissed (The Thorn Chronicles #1) by Kimberly Loth
YA paranormal romance
Paperback/eBook, 250 pages
Release date: April 21st 2014
Purchase: Amazon

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 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.

This has been a great week for reading and reviewing books! I started and finished Kissed late last night. Let me say one thing: I was hooked. Completely and utterly. The world author Kimberly Loth submerged me--beginning with main character Naomi's penchant for gardening to the mysterious guy who appears in her 'dreams' to the strange cult her parents belong to and more--kept my complete interest. Call me mesmerized.

I really liked how each chapter began with some interesting tidbit about roses. Naomi loves to garden, has a greenhouse outside her home (left to her by her late grandmother who also helped guide her in the care of the world of roses) and has to deal with abusive parents. Her father belongs to this uber weird and sadistic cult where men are in charge and women exist merely as possessions, there to obey and follow. The scenes in their 'church' during their services angered me with the treatment of females. Naomi starts outs as a humble, quiet, teen girl. She goes to school (because of her grandmother who lived with them, other members are homeschooled) but isn't allowed to have friends. On her sixteenth birthday, her father delivers her 'present' with the news that she is to marry Dwayne, a fellow student, cult follower, and general disgusting bully. 

Poor Naomi. I really felt for her and her predicament. Marriage at 16? No identity? Her bliss is found surrounded by her roses and their wonderful array of scents and emotions. I knew something was going on with Naomi by the inordinate amount of time she spent with her flowers. When a mystery dream boy appears more frequently, doing something not usually transferred out of the dream world, I was firmly hooked in the story. Dream guy turns out to be Kai who pops up in school and helps her out. But can he be trusted?

Some parts of Kissed made me uncomfortable, but in order to understand Naomi's horrible home life, we had to see what she experienced at the hands of her parents, Dwayne, and his father. Her mother was equally strange and never stood up for her daughter. Things took an even more intriguing turn when her parents were arrested and Naomi took off with Kai's help. Where does she go? Vegas baby.

In Sin City, Naomi is immediately uncomfortable by what she sees, but the sunsets and sunrises hold her in rapt attention. She meets Aunt Ginny, a relative she never knew existed, and falls into a new world of glitter, extravagance, and excess which is so unlike her rigid, prudish upbringing. Naomi meets another person who shares a similar passion for roses and gardening, Alejandro ("Ale"), and his interesting array of friends from the dashing goth boy Puck to the friendly Jason and others. Our heroine is soon thrust into a world of magic and supernatural beings: Guardians (the good guys), Destroyers (not the good guys) and Shades. They reminded me of the fae but were not called this. I have to say the author created an unique world here with her mythology and history that I found immensely rich and entertaining. Her writing was gripping, the descriptions wonderful and easily visualized, the dialogue realistic and the conflicts profound at times. 

Yes, there was a love triangle and I didn't mind in the least. Pitting two close guys against each other made for a strong, interesting conflict and I still can't believe the ending. Naomi, what were you thinking? Action, drama, friendships, flowers and lots of kissing (it's necessary) can be found on the pages of Kimberly Loth's highly addictive YA paranormal series opener, Kissed. Speaking as someone thoroughly 'hooked' by the first book, I await the continuation of Naomi, Puck and Kai's story in The Thorn Chronicles, and highly recommend it.

Rating: 4  Really really liked it! H-o-o-k-e-d!

Cover comment:
I really like the cover, I just wish the model's hair was bleached blond or dyed green to better represent Naomi. Brown may have been her 'natural' color, but she was never depicted like the cover throughout the book.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.

About the author
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.

Author links: website | Twitter | Facebook

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