Monday, May 12, 2014

"Kissed" by Kimberly Loth

(The Thorn Chronicles Book 1)
by Kimberly Loth

Kissed, the first book in Kimberly Loth's new Thorn Chronicles series, has just been released. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by YA Bound Book Tours.

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.

My father and Mr. Yerdin talked of politics and religion, not once acknowledging that anyone else sat at the table. Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised since more than one sermon had been preached about the place of women and children. We were inferior and didn’t deserve an opinion that differed from our husbands’ or fathers’, so it was best that we just didn’t say anything at all. As the conversation turned to the medical experiments Dad performed on the dog that had been dumped in our yard last week, I tuned out and tried to think of what I would get if I crossed an Iceberg rose with a Sunsprite. A nice pale yellow and only a few thorns. Could be interesting. If Grandma were still alive, she’d appreciate it.
A quick glance at the clock told me they’d only been here forty-five minutes, but it felt like days. After another excruciating hour, Mother presented the cake. The carrot cake (my father’s favorite) had sixteen candles on it. I had not had a cake with candles since my eighth birthday. On that day, the cake was chocolate, my favorite, but that was before Father went insane. I missed those days, the ones before he went crazy. When he would come home and take me canoeing and fishing. When we would wake up early on Saturdays and go to breakfast at Sheila’s CafĂ©. I blinked back tears thinking of the father he used to be.
After the cake, I moved to help my mother clean up, but Father put a hand on my wrist, a signal to stay seated. The skin burned where he touched it.
“See,” my father said, “she’s obedient.”
Mr. Yerdin grinned. “Yes, of course she is. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Dr. Aren. Dwayne, what do you think?”
Dwayne shrugged and shifted his eyes. Me, I kept my mouth shut and listened for the words that weren’t being said.
Mr. Yerdin eyed me up and down. “Well she certainly has the required blond hair and blue eyes.”
“And she’s a virgin.” My father spoke this a little too loudly and I flinched. My mother paused before picking up Mr. Yerdin’s plate. She met my father’s eyes and nodded. Then the corners of her mouth turned up ever so slightly.
My stomach sank at the thought of what my birthday surprise would be. Although part of me did not want to hear the rest of the conversation, but to escape back into the quiet world of flowers and dirt, another part of me needed to know what my future held, where being a virgin was important.
I cleared my throat. Dwayne smiled a wide toothy smile and my father glowered like I’d done something wrong. Which, of course I had, but it would be worth the punishment if I got the answers I needed.
“Could someone please explain?” There. I asked the question. So out of character for me and yet satisfying in a strange way, like the way I felt when a teacher praised me for a good job. I bit my bottom lip and tasted butterscotch, which was weird because the cake we had, contained nothing of the sort. While I knew asking questions was not an act of disobedience, I also recognized the power in the asking. As if I was taking control, even if that control was small. I took a sip of my water. Father hesitated for a moment and then frowned. He looked up and saw my mother standing in the kitchen, her eyes boring into his. He didn’t look away from her when he answered me.
“You’ll be marrying Dwayne.”

Featured Review
The first 5 chapters will have you so captivated that you will not want to put the book down. I was sorry when the book was finished. I find myself wondering what Naomi is up to right now! I cannot wait for the next book to come out by this inspiring new author. I highly recommend this book, it is romantic, chilling, suspenseful, will leave you with the sense that anything is possible.

Guest Post by the Author
The Roses
Thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m thrilled to be able to talk about Kissed. This journey has been so amazing.  Today I want to talk about something that readers have told me they’ve really enjoyed about the book. The roses.
I consider myself a lifelong learner. I love learning new things. And I love books that teach me about new things or places. One of the first things I often do when I finish a book is Google the setting, a hobby a character had or something else interesting I found in the book. My favorite books are ones that not only captured me up in the story but one that taught me something I never knew before. For example, in North of Beautiful by Justina Chen her main character loves maps and learns how to geocache. I’d never heard of the concept before that book. Now, it’s a hobby that I enjoy.
I wanted to capture that spirit in Kissed. My main character, Naomi, is obsessed with roses. From a young age she learned how to garden with her grandmother and by the time we meet her at sixteen, she has a greenhouse filled with exotic rose blends and a garden out back.
I start every chapter with something she knows about roses or how she applies those roses to her life. Here’s the one from chapter four.
Seven roses contain the name of the day of rest. My favorite is Sunday Lemonade. Its pale pink blooms give off a scent of lazy summer nights visiting with friends. Just the opposite of the many Sabbaths I spend with my father. His Sundays smell like famine and pestilence.
Many readers have asked how I know so much about roses. The truth is, I didn’t know much until I started writing Kissed. I’d always loved roses. My grandpa grew them and I loved watching him trim them when I was a child. He always picked a few roses for me and cut off all the thorns. But I’d never grown my own before.
When I knew Naomi needed this, I checked out every book on roses my small community library contained. (Five books, in case you were wondering). I began reading everything I could online. I found out there are literally thousands of different roses. It was so fun finding roses to fit each situation. But I needed more than that.
I drove out to my local Lowes and picked out a few plants. I only chose ones that smelled good and would bloom all season. A lot of rose bushes will only bloom once a year and while Naomi was content with that, I wasn’t.
I’ve always had a black thumb. I killed everything I grew.  Everything I read said that roses were hard to grow. To my surprise, not only did they live, but they flourished. I loved those roses. Honestly, I think that was the key. We’ve moved since then, but for a couple of years I had gorgeous smelly roses. Not only that, I was able to really get a feel for the roses and add an authenticity that research alone doesn’t give you.
If you are interested in trying to grow your own roses, I would recommend Oklahoma, Tiffany, or Granada roses. They seem to do well in most climates and have dreamy smells. Also, Miracle Grow Roses does wonders.
I hope you will enjoy Kissed. You can buy it until the end of the week for only 99 cents.

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.

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