Publication Date: April 21, 2014
Origins: From Author for Review
Book Links: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
Review: When Naomi was eight, her father changed. They’d had a wonderfully close relationship, but now they belong to a very different church. Naomi now must keep herself covered, her hair long, and at sixteen, is forced into a marriage she doesn’t want. Her only friends are her roses, given to her by her deceased grandmother, and the only thing which brings her pleasure. Naomi meets Kai – he comes into her room and kisses her, along with leaving special roses for her when she wakes. Even though Kai promises to help her – Naomi must find a way to escape her father and her future husband even sooner. What Naomi learns over time about Guardians, Destroyers, and Shades will change her life forever. Will she be able to make the right choices when it comes to her heart and her future? KISSED has an interesting premise and I got caught up in the story, even staying up late to finish it. While I liked the story overall, there were certain aspects I loved more than others. The lore of the roses is amazing and each rose came to life like they were another character in the book. I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle between Naomi, Kai, and Puck – I’m just tired of love triangles. Naomi seemed to evolve quickly, much more so than I’d think a girl who had lived very sheltered for half of her life. I wasn’t very surprised by who the villain turned out to be, so I would have enjoyed more suspense or twists there. I did love the paranormal elements and I’d be interested in seeing where the author takes Naomi if there were a sequel. KISSED is a good debut novel from an author with definite talent.