Saturday 20 September 2014

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M.


In this story we follow Kiva from about the age of 15 to around 22. She lives with her Aunt and Uncle in Samoa. This is the first time that I have read anything located in this area of the world, and I loved how the author not only told the story of Kiva, but also weaved in some Samoan culture and tradition, it really opened my eyes to what life is like there.

Kiva walks with a limp as when she was born her legs were not the same length. She feels left out of some of the culture and traditions like typical Samoan dances and things, however, she does not let this become who or what she is.

It has been a long time since I have read a book with so many powerful messages in it, and it was written in a way that they were not shoved in your face or anything, it was beautiful. 

The other main character that we meet is Ry, he lives in the US with his Mom and Step-Dad, however, due to his actions and violence that he is constantly bringing in to his life, they send him to Samoa to go to school for his last year of high school, it is not exactly a military school, but it is close.

Kiva meets Ry when his school is brought to her Uncles art studio for classes on carving. She notices him right away as he stands out from all the other students. He is not in a good spot in his life when he comes there, and he is not looking to make new friends. As situations arise, they are put together more and more and do end up being friends. I think that it was good for both of them, she calms him down, and he makes her realize what she is living without.

She is an artist, and she has dreams of going to school and studying art. She gets a scholarship to go to a different country and study, however, it is only for classes that she is not interested in, and her Uncle ends up having a stroke, so she declines the scholarship in the end. She feels like she has to stay with her family now more than ever, but it does take a toll on her.

This book covers so many different relationships that we have in life, from family to friends to romantic ones. They are all written very realistically and from the heart, I would be interested to know where the inspiration came from.

If you are looking for a good coming of age story from two different perspectives, this is the book for you! I give this one a 4/5 and cannot wait to read more of what the author has to offer.

Friday 19 September 2014

Firebolt Book Blitz

Title: Firebolt
Author: Adrienne Woods
Series: The Dragonian Series
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date: September 19  2014


For the love of blueberries, Elena Watkins was destined for greatness, even though she didn’t know it. Forced to travel from home to home every three months Elena’s life was a never ending blur of new towns and new faces, that is, until the night her father was killed by a creature she thought only existed in fairy tales – a dragon. With her father’s death leaving her orphaned, Elena is whisked away to her true birthplace, Paegeia.
Arriving at Dragonia Academy, the premier school for young Dragonians, she begins to feel a sense of belonging in this strange world; a school she was never meant to attend because her father was a dragon. Elena is soon swept up in the rigor of her new life and the new set of skills she now needs to survive: Latin, Art of War, and Enchantments.
Entranced by her new reality Elena learns about the dragons and humans who inhabit her new home. There are two classes of dragons that soar through Paegeia distinguished by their instinctual pretense for either good or darkness. The distinction between these two very different species is vital to Elena’s success in her new world because she has been marked as a Dragonian, a human preordained to ride and tame a dragon of her very own.
With the help of her new friends, Elena is able to navigate the complexities of her new home. Her new roommates Becky and Sammy are even more amazing then she could have ever imaged and to top it all off, Sammy was a dragon. Sammy’s is also the devoted sister of Blake, the most attractive boy at school and the Rubicon; the only dragon of his kind with the abilities of all the dragon species with a pretense for evil. Elena soon finds the love she always wanted with Lucian, the Prince of Tith, who actively pursues Elena throughout her time at Dragonia Academy, winning her heart with his absolute adoration and unshaken dedication.
Unbeknownst to Elena danger is lurking behind the enchanted vines concealing the once thriving capital of Paegeia – Etan. Goran, the darkest sorcerer to ever practice his evil arts in the realm, has lain dormant for over a century behind the crumbling city. The first step in his menacing plan is to destroy the only weapon that can kill him – the King of Lion Sword.
When the sword is stolen Elena doesn’t think twice about seeking it; knowing deep down that it is her destiny to save her new home. She travels to the Sacred Cavern, and discovers the nefarious actions of an unknown man lead to the swords destruction as she follows the trail revealed in the prophetic waters of the cavern.
Elena and her friends engage the mysterious man revealing their existence to Goran and fighting for their very lives.


A GIRL SINGING HER heart out about a miracle boomed inside my ear. A miracle would get me what I needed: a chance at a semi-normal life.
The bedroom door hitting the wall expelled the thought from my mind. With his hand tangled up in his copper hair, and with huge brown eyes, Dad's figure filled the entire doorway. “Pack your bags.” He had that set to his jaw, the one that meant there was no way out of this. He bolted out of the room just as suddenly as he had appeared.
My teeth ground hard against each other, and the sharp pain behind my eyes, I guessed from the lack of sleep, grew stronger. Every fiber of my being wanted to explode.
Ever since I could remember my name, Dad and I had been on the run. From what? Beats me.
For the last two weeks, I'd been pacing up and down through the house, struggling to fall asleep at night, waiting for this day.
For the love of blueberries, no sixteen-year-old should live this way!
I climbed off my bed, and the first step I took left my toe tangled in the wide leg of my jeans. I tried to regain my balance as the closet inched closer, but with wildly flailing arms, I came crashing down. The thud reverberated across the wooden floor, and it sounded as if I'd broken something.
Dad darted back into my room. “Are you okay?” He lifted me back onto my feet as if I weighed nothing.
Tears lurked in the corners of my eyes, threatening to burst, as I stared up at him.
“Don't give me that look, Elena. Please, we need to hurry.” He pulled my suitcase from the top shelf and chucked it haphazardly onto my bed. “We need to go. Now.”
He started to grab my clothes from the shelf and tossed them messily inside my small suitcase. Then he paused, sighed, and looked up with soft eyes. He stroked the side of my cheek. “This . . .” He looked past me. “. . . wasn't the right place, Bear. Please, you’ve got to trust me.”
His hand reached back to pull everything off my shelf, while my hands curled up into balls of fury. My heart pounded fast as those two words bounced inside my skull. “Trust you?”
“Elena, we don't have much time,” he yelled. “Pack your bags! You can ask questions later.” He left, and the hollow thump from his stomping footsteps rang loudly as he made his way into the hall.
Ask questions? Yeah right! I’ll only get answers that don’t reveal why we are on the run for the gazillionth time. “Trust me” and “I'll tell you when the time is right” were the only two answers Dad gave. Guess the time with him will never be right.
It was no use arguing with him anyway. Once, he threw me over his shoulder and carried me out without any of my things.
So I grabbed the stuff I needed: my mp3 player, a photo of Mom and me on my first birthday that Dad didn't know I had, and my journal from underneath my bed. I tossed them into my backpack. It wasn't much, but it was the stuff that made my miserable life feel less pathetic. I zipped up my suitcase and took a deep breath. Looking around my bedroom for the last time, I said goodbye to my sixtieth-something room.
Dad almost ran me over in the hall, with his army bag slung over his shoulder. He grumbled, which I assumed was an apology, took my suitcase, and ran down the stairs. He always rented these huge old houses, pre-furnished and near the countryside, and we always left after three months.
The pickup's horn honked as I shut the front door. I closed my eyes and took another deep breath. Just two more years, then I'll be eighteen and free from this freak show. Huge raindrops fell hard onto the ground. The smell of wet dirt filled the air. It was my favorite smell.
The water that pooled on the ground covered all the gaps in the driveway, forcing me to hopscotch around all of them. My shoe got caught in one of the gaps and I smacked down hard in a huge puddle. By the time I reached the truck, my jeans and shoes dripped with water.
Warm heat from the vents inside the truck hit me full blast as I jumped in; a million goose bumps erupted across my skin.  As soon as I shut the rusty door, Dad floored the gas pedal. Tires screeched and the truck spun away as if the Devil was chasing us.  My lower lip quivered softly as he swerved onto the road. The streetlights flew by in a blur, and I plugged in my earphones. The same stupid song about a miracle boomed from my mp3, drowning the sound of the engine and the hard dribbles on the roof, a percussion that became the perpetual soundtrack to my misery.
A feeling of utter loneliness consumed my heart while I stared out the window. Homes with white picket fences and a convenience store whizzed by in a flash. A tear rolled down my cheek. Saying a silent goodbye, I released my breath and watched as it created a foggy condensation on the glass. Reaching out with my index finger, I drew a small heart. These were the reasons why Mom had left. She couldn't handle his paranoia, but why she’d left her two-year-old daughter to deal with it was a mystery. Dad constantly reminded me of the latter; that was the only time he ever spoke of her. If he ever discovered I had that picture, he would kill me. That was how much he hated her for leaving us.
The lights of a vehicle in the upcoming lane shone directly into my face. I shut my eyes, waiting for it to disappear. When I was little, I used to watch Dad as we drove away from yet another house. He would glare into his rearview mirror every five seconds, every muscle in his face clenched, and his knuckles white on the steering wheel. I hadn’t been able to force myself to peek out the window then, as it used to scare the living crap out of me to consider the possible reasons why he was fleeing, or who might be following us. Now, I didn't look at him or care much about what he was going through. He’d created this problem, with me becoming the luggage. It was a ritual I endured every three months, and nothing over the past sixteen years had ever changed that.
The “Interstate 40” sign flew by in a whirl, and the pickup slowly moved onto the turnoff lane.
My eyes started to burn as I stared at the rain running sideways against my window. Each rivet resembled another town, another place I could never again call home. Exhaustion consumed me and my eyelids felt heavy. I laid my head against the window and struggled to stay awake.
Suddenly, a huge figure flew past me. Dad swerved to the left, which made me crash into his side. My entire body pumped with adrenaline. I jumped straight in my seat, tore out my earphones, as I wrenched the seatbelt over my shoulder to buckle myself in, while trying to process what had just happened.
“What was that?” I looked at Dad.
He kept checking his rearview mirror every five seconds with huge eyes. Beads of sweat rolled from his hairline down to the side of his temple. Sure, he was paranoid, but I’d never seen Dad look this scared in my entire life. This was something more than his usual paranoia.
“Did you see where it went?” he asked, attempting to inject calm into his voice, but I could hear the fear lacing each syllable.
“See where what went? Dad, what was that?”
“You wouldn't believe me if I told you.”
“For once in your life, just tell me!” I screamed. Sixteen years of frustration exploded from my lungs. I couldn't take the unknown anymore.
“Fine.” He mumbled something else that I didn't catch. “Do you remember the stories I used to tell you?”
“Stories? What stories?”
“The stories about Paegeia, Elena.” He looked in his rearview mirror again with huge, unblinking eyes.
Vaguely, but I didn't tell him that. “What does that have to do with this?”
“They're real.”
I froze and stared at him.
“All of it, it’s real. The dragons, the magic, the wall, everything is real.”
“Dragons!” I couldn’t believe this. “Is this why we’ve been on the run my whole life?  That’s your reason?” I took a deep breath.
“You can believe what you want, it doesn’t change the fact that they are real, and somewhere out there.” He looked over his shoulder.
A figure with huge paws and talons flew in front of the truck. Tires screeched at the same time I shrieked. The truck spun around on the turf a couple of times and came to a standstill on the dark stretch of road. My heart jumped at a great speed inside my chest. My throat and lips became dry from my deep and heavy breathing.
Pushing my face against the cool glass of the passenger window, I searched the horizon for any sign of life. Apart from the pickup’s headlights, there wasn’t a single light peeking through the blanketed darkness, and the rain crushing down made me see figures but I couldn’t tell if they were real or imagined. Dragons don’t exist.
“You okay?” my father yelled.
“I'm fine.” I tore my eyes away from the window.
His hands were on the door’s handle. “Elena, I need to get out─”
“No, no, please don't leave me here!” I grabbed a piece of fabric from his jacket. I could feel the fear beginning to rise up again and my vision became blurry. Why am I afraid? Dragons aren’t real.
He cupped my face and made me look at him. I only noticed now how his hands trembled. “Listen to me, Elena. Listen!”
I tried to swallow my tears, but it was no use. They were caught in the back of my throat, silencing me.
He hugged me tight and kissed me on my forehead. I could feel the love he had for me behind that kiss. “You drive like hell, you hear me? Don't slow down for anybody. There's a motel on Interstate 40. Just stay on this road, you can't miss it. Someone named Matt will meet you there.”
“Dad, it's pouring outside. I can't leave you here with whatever...” We can sort this out rationally.
Dad cringed and looked at his jeans for a minute. When he looked at me again, that set to his jaw was back. I knew my words hadn’t made any impact on him whatsoever. He had already made up his mind for the both of us.
My strength returned as I slowly came to terms with what I had to do.
A man appeared in the middle of the road. We both stared at him for a few seconds. I squinted, as the rain made it hard for me to see him, but the headlights of the truck outlined his figure. I looked back at Dad and could see that this guy was no stranger by the look on Dad’s face.
My gaze turned back to the guy in the rain. He was tall with long black hair; wet strands clung to his face. He wore a pair of pants, no T-shirt, and it looked like no shoes either. He stared at the pickup for a couple of minutes, and it made my heart pound faster. He began to walk slowly toward us.
“Dad?” I slapped his shoulder, trying to expel the fear from my body.
“Elena.” He grabbed my wrist. “I'll be fine. You need to go. Now. And, Bear, I'm so sorry. Whatever happens, don't stop for anything.”
“Dad?” My lower lip quivered again. He kissed me one more time on my forehead and wiped away my tears gently with his thumbs.
“I'll meet you there.” He sounded stern, climbed out of the truck and slammed the door. My gaze switched back at this macho loon making his way toward Dad, who stood right next to the pickup. I quickly moved into the driver’s seat, took a deep breath, and buckled up.
With my hands trembling on the steering wheel, I took another deep breath.
You can do this, the voice in my head rambled a couple of times. The key sat lazily in the ignition, and I jerked it to the right. The pickup sputtered and died. The guy disappeared into the darkness, and a new fear pumped through my veins.
“No, no, no, no! Please don't die on me now,” I mumbled as I tried to restart the engine. The man appeared again by the faint glow of the headlights. He was getting closer.
“Start you stupid piece of crap!” I yelled over the roar of the blood pumping in my ears.
The engine came to life and I screamed as the man's figure leaped toward the pickup. Dad jumped from the asphalt and tackled him in mid-air. “Go, Elena!” he shouted over the pounding rain.
I floored the gas pedal and the pickup's tires screeched as I drove past Dad, who'd wrestled the guy onto the road. Tears blurred my sight.
I can't just leave him back there.  I struggled to come to terms with what was going on.
My father and the other man quickly disappeared into the horizon of my rearview mirror. I wiped away my tears with the back of my hand and lowered the mirror so that I could see Dad, but they had vanished into the night.
Don't stop for anything, his voice replayed inside my head.
My hands trembled on the shift as I found third gear. A strong force hit the pickup on the passenger’s side. The impact of the blow jolted through my body as the truck rolled a couple of times, and came to a halt on its roof, leaving me suspended in the air. My head and body throbbed with pain, and my hand went automatically to the ache on my head. It was warm and wet and when I brought back my hand, it was smeared with dark blood. My head began to buzz and the view started to slip away.
Lightning struck, and the road was instantly engulfed in flames, leaving me wide-awake. Something to the left grabbed my attention as the fire slowly began to creep toward the overturned truck. Something lifted the truck, righting it on the asphalt once again, and a shrill sound left my lips.
The belly of a huge, blue beast on four legs the size of tree stumps stood in front of the pickup. The sight left me breathless and my entire body froze. Dragons don’t exist.
A part of its head popped in front of me. Huge horns on the top of his nose lingered inches from the windshield, leaving a foggy condensation on the glass as he breathed. One of his frilly ears lay flat against his head, like a cat’s when sensing danger.
He climbed on top of the hood with one of his front legs, and my body trembled as the truck started to crumble. A part of his wing came into sight. It appeared to be shredded, with a sharp talon located at the end. Oval-shaped blue scales fanned over its entire body, glistening in the flames on the side of the road. Maybe it only looked that way through the tears blinding my sight. Beady eyes, sunken deeply into its skull locked with mine. The picture in front of me just became my nightmare. I yelped as the dragon’s weight shifted, forcing the pickup to crumble even more.
Another dragon sank its jaws into the one in front of me. Two huge copper horns lay flat on top of its copper head. The blue dragon growled, and snapped with gaping jaws at the copper one attacking it. With powerful force the blue dragon was dragged off the pickup’s hood and thankfully away from me. The truck shook slightly and groaned as if a huge weight had been dispelled; while my heart pounded as if I'd just run a hundred meters.
A bolt of fire came from the sky and lit up the entire scene in front of me.
More dragons landed with a thud in the middle of the road. One seemed to be green with a long neck and a fin-like mane running from the top of its head to its tail. A cloud of dark fog emerged slightly from its nostrils. The other dragon was red and oddly beautiful, but something evil derived from its aura. They attacked the copper dragon with startling savagery.
Get the hell away from here, my voice shrilled in my head. Quickly, I tried to unbuckle my seatbelt, but the clip wouldn't release. For the next couple of minutes the earth shook with bolts of fire, and lightning flew through the air, while I tried to free myself.
My father wouldn’t just leave me here! As each second ticked off my watch, I became more worried about Dad.
The dragons came close to the truck a couple of times, but the copper dragon kept driving them back, as if it was trying to protect me. I shook my head, trying to expel that thought. Dragons don't exist. Wake up. The tips of my fingers felt raw as I hammered endlessly on the buckle of the safety belt. My face was soaked with sweat and blood, but I knew that I had to get out of the truck, and quickly too. With trembling hands, I pounded on the buckle with my fist until it unlocked. Throwing the vicious restraint from around me, I watched in horror as the copper dragon bit fiercely into the blue dragon’s neck. Blood squirted everywhere and pooled in thick puddles on the road. It staggered and dropped down to the ground. Electricity still sparked off its body, but it soon died away. The green and red dragons jumped on top of the copper dragon, but it knocked the red dragon hard onto the ground and crushed the green dragon with its huge front legs. The sound of flesh ripping made me feel sick, and I had to lean over as tremors wracked my stomach, but for some reason I couldn’t look away. The picture of the copper dragon shredding the green dragon’s wing sent a stab of new fear deep into my core.
Dad, where the hell are you? I pleaded into the darkness.
The red dragon got back up and flew away just as the copper dragon moved from the green dragon’s wing to his neck. I flinched and finally looked away as more blood squirted out of where the green dragon’s neck used to be.  When I looked again, the copper dragon had turned its gaze to me.
I started to kick at the windshield with my newly freed legs. A new sense of urgency punctuated every kick.
C'mon! I kicked three, four times, but it only left long cracks in the glass. Watching the copper dragon trudge toward the pickup through the jagged cracks made the scene before me look more terrifying. The copper dragon stopped right in front of the pickup. Our eyes locked, and I could see the vertical pupils inside a pair of dark, rich brown irises. My heart thumped wildly inside my chest as it hooked one of its talons gently into the windshield and ripped it off.
It paused, stared at me for what seemed like an eternity, took a few steps back, and nodded in my direction.
 It wants me to get out? You’re imagining things, Elena. Dragon’s aren’t real.
I didn't act. I couldn’t. The dragon started to shrink. Its wings and legs dwindled into a smaller size until they disappeared. Its big head and horns shrunk into nothing. I watched as the dragon's huge figure melted away. The heap transformed into a figure crouching low to the ground. The figure lifted up its head, and huge cuts with blood seeping from them ran down his face. It felt as if somebody had squeezed all the air out of my lungs. I’d finally found my father─ without a shred of clothing.


Adrienne Woods was born and raised in South Africa, where she still lives with my husband, and two beautiful little girls. She always knew that I was going to be a writer but it only started to happen about four years ago, now she can’t stop writing.
In her free time, If she gets any because Moms don’t really have free time, she loves to spend time with friends, if it’s a girls night out, or just a movie, she’s a very chilled person.
Her writing career is starting with Firebolt, book one with the Dragonian Series, there will be four books in total and two to three books that is about the stories taking place inside The Dragonian Series.
She writes in different Genres, have a woman’s fiction called the Pregnancy Diaries, but it would be published under another name. And then she has a paranormal series, called The Aswang series. There are about ten novels in that one, and another two, The Dream Casters series and Guardian of Monsters, which will be a NA paranormal fiction.


Author’s website:
Twitter: erichb3
Blogs: Adrienne Woods Books and Reviews (
The Dragonian Series:
Fire Quill Publishing:


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Thursday 18 September 2014

Reborn by Ada Adams Cover Reveal

Check out this cover! It is so incredibly beautiful!!

This is the third book in her Angel Creek Series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on this book, mark it in your calendars for March 2015!

Saturday 6 September 2014

Thw Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff

Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Published: August 26 2014
Source: An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


A stirring novel of first love in a time of war and the unbearable choices that could tear sisters apart, from the celebrated author of The Kommandant's Girl 

Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn't be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day. 

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena's concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.


I devoured this book in one day, it is that good. I am so glad that I was chosen to review this book for the publisher.

I loved the pacing, it was done so well, nothing seemed rushed or out of place. And I could imagine myself being there with the characters and going through everything that they were, which was not all happy.

The characters were awesome, there was not one that I didn't like or feel as though I could relate to. We first meet Helena, and she is the one twin that did everything with her Father, like bringing in the wood and hunting for food. Then we meet Ruth (the other twin), and she took after the Mother and did all the cooking and chores mostly.

They have two younger sisters and a younger brother that they are now responsible for as their Father has passed away, and their Mother is in the hospital because of cancer. They make sue on the rations that they are given from the Government. They also make due with what they have around the house for things like clothes and supplies, which is not much.

Helena is going to the city to visit her Mother at the hospital one day, and on her way back through the forest she comes across a soldier who is badly wounded. She decides to take it upon herself to hide him and be the one to take care of him, so she hides him in an old abandoned chapel in the forest. In these times, this could mean arrest or even death for someone helping out a foreign soldier, so she is putting herself and her family at great risk for Sam.

This starts off a set of events that even Helena could not have imagined I don't think. There were strict rules when it came to portions that you were allotted per person and Helena had been going to the market to buy more supplies after Ruth had for Sam, and this was against the law, it was called hoarding, and for example the police showed up at the house and made allegations towards Ruth about hoarding, and threatened her. Helena had no idea that this would happen.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on what happens in this novel, and I don't want to say much more about specific events for fear of giving something away, however, this novel will have you gripped from the very first chapter right down to the last page.

I absolutely give this book a 5/5 and if you love stories about war, family, and first loves, you will not be disappointed!

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf Blog Tour

Amazon purchase link:


"Her heart wept when she realized that the hardest part about loving him was the idea that his love was never meant for her."

Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns.

When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, an unlikely friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art. 

But after a tragic accident leaves Kiva severely disfigured, she struggles to see the beauty she has been brought up to believe. Just when she thinks she’s found her place, Ryler begins to pull away, leaving her heartbroken and confused. The patriarch of the family then takes a turn for the worse and Kiva is forced to give up her dreams to help with familial obligations, until an old family secret surfaces that makes her question everything. 

Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.


The white van’s presence in the driveway made Kiva’s heart thud against her ribs, and a mysterious anticipation settled over her. Hobbling into the house, she carried out her chores with efficiency, hanging the laundry on the line and checking on Masi’s bowl while stealing curious glances at the art center.
After a long pause, she decided to enter it.
Poised along the far wall to avoid distraction, Kiva perused the students scattered around the room, heads and shoulders bent over their wood carvings, the clink and thud of the chisel and mallet competing over each other. Mau paced his time with each student evenly, making his way around, offering guidance when needed. Kiva couldn’t make out his words from where she sat, only a few low mutterings accompanied by the shake or nod of his head.
Her eyes strayed until they settled on the boy with the mysterious tattoo. Ryler. Her suspicions were correct about his work when she noticed the slab of wood with the sliced words in front of him. He hadn’t spoken a word to any of the other boys, didn’t acknowledge them, and they avoided him too, as if he’d erected an invisible wall and they were aware of it.
Her uncle had no problem stepping through it though. He was with him now, speaking in low tones and gesturing to his work. What was he saying? Kiva strained to hear, but nothing came to her over the cacophony of sounds in the room. A muscle in Ryler’s jaw ticked as he sat, head bent, listening to him. Mau remained with him for some time, talking and listening, acknowledging the need to spend more time. Finally, he gave him a tap on the shoulder and a satisfied nod before moving away.
Kiva noticed when Ryler picked up a carving knife, pausing in concentration, his face tentative and contemplative, before he met it with wood, the muscles in his broad back contorting and flexing from the grip and release of the tool. What had he decided to carve? Kiva wanted to inch her way forward to find out but kept herself firmly planted. An hour passed and still she sat riveted to her spot.
A couple sharp drops on the roof were the only warning to the torrential downpour that followed.
“Makiva!” Hana’s voice shouted from across the yard and made her jump. “It’s raining! Get the laundry!”
Kiva scrambled off the floor, the noise drawing attention, and limped as quickly as she could to the line. The knifelike raindrops hit her on the back, stinging, and soaked through her shirt. Ignoring the pricks, she rushed to unpeg each piece of clothing, throwing it in the bucket and returning for more. The rain came down harder and faster, blurring her eyesight, the sound of a thunderclap roaring in her ears. Tea towels, Mau’s shirt, Hana’s school skirt. Breathless, her quick movements had long ago uncoiled her hair, wild and swirling in the wind; the pencil slipped out, lost somewhere. She was nearing the end of the line, grappling with a sheet, when she glanced up and noticed the boys running from the center to the van, their lesson over.
Ryler appeared last through the door, his brown eyes trained on her, and descended the stairs with heavy, deliberate steps. Kiva stared wide eyed as he stepped into the rain and came toward her with unhurried, even strides. She watched as raindrops pelted his gray shirt, soaking through to his shoulders until the wet dots spread and connected.
When he was a foot away, he lifted his hand.
“You dropped this,” he said, his voice low and hoarse, as if he was just getting over a cold. He smelled of wood dust and sweat.
She glanced down at his hand and saw the pencil she used to pin up her hair. It must have fallen in the art center in her haste to get to the laundry. Reaching for it, she noticed the deep scars on his left wrist and paused. From this close they looked even worse.
“It’s not what you think,” he answered, interpreting her thoughts.
Kiva snapped her eyes to his face. His brown eyes penetrated hers, thick lashes dripping from the rain, a line formed between his eyebrows. She tried not to fidget under his gaze and glanced to the right of his face. She saw a scar near his eye, something she hadn’t noticed before.
She calmly returned her gaze to him. “And what do I think?”
Ryler took a step closer. “You think that I did this to myself on purpose.”
“Did you?” She breathed.
He shook his head. “It was from a fight. The other guy had a broken bottle and I tried to block him.”
Kiva hissed as if she had been the one cut open and bleeding. Her eyes found the scar again and her stomach plummeted at the thought of the pain it must have caused. She felt suddenly light-headed and blinked to clear the blur clouding her mind.
“Are you alright?” he asked, concern laced in his voice.
She took slow, even breaths and nodded her head.
The sound of the van’s horn blared from the drive way.
“Ryler! Hurry up, we’re going!” A superior impatiently gestured for him in the rain.
“You better go,” Kiva said hastily. “Thanks for returning this.” She took the pencil from his hand and curled her fingers around it.
Ryler remained unmoving. Why wasn’t he going? Did he want to get into trouble? He finally stepped away and turned, jogging over to the waiting van, his shirt now drenched through and stuck to his retreating back.


Sieni A.M. is a coffee addict, Instagram enthusiast, world traveler, and avid reader turned writer. She graduated as an English and History high school teacher from the University of Canterbury and is currently living in Israel with her husband and two daughters. “Scar of the Bamboo Leaf” is her second novel.

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Monday 1 September 2014

Claudine by Barbara Palmer

Published: September 2 2014
Source: A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Maria Lantos has a secret. She’s a post-grad student researching early erotic literature at Yale who puts her studies to work after hours as a courtesan named Claudine specializing in erotic role play. Her allure and stock of sexual tricks command top dollar from international clients. When Maria receives anonymous text messages filled with chilling threats, she knows her secret is out, and someone is hunting her—someone who knows a lot about her past and who’s intent on playing a starring role in her present.

As Claudine, she loves the brief anonymous liaisons that allow her to explore the darker side of power and desire. But now it’s Maria’s turn. Two men—charismatic Yale professor Reid Whitman and her business manager, Andrei Barinov—will test the limits of her sexuality and safety, forcing her to discover the depth of the dark places within her. 
Claudine combines the pace of a thriller, the deep emotional connection of a romance, and the heat of a beautiful woman’s sexual discovery.


I have to say, the first thing that intrigued me about this book was the fact that the author is using a pen name, however, she is a Canadian international best seller, I need to know who is writing this lol!

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it was sure not what I read! Yes, there is some erotica in the book, however, I wouldn't list it as a strictly erotica novel, there is so much more to it than that, her being a prostitute is almost a back story to what actually happens.

I loved everything about this book, from the characters, to the plot, to the pacing, it was bang on for all of it. I think my favourite character is Andrei, he is handsome, stoic, a true gentleman. 

There is so much action in this book, I did not expect that, and it flowed so nicely with the story line. Maria finds herself the cause of an obsession from one man in particular, and you are left guessing for a while as to who that might be, even right up until the end of the book, just when you think that you have it figured out, the author throws another twist in there, and it was fantastic!

I also loved the way that the author was able to put you right in the scene with Maria, everything that she was feeling during the story, I was too. From her relationships with Andrei, Lillian and her Mother, to the encounters that she has with her clients. I loved how there was usually themes to these encounters, and my favourite one was the Victorian themed event, that one has stayed with me the longest, especially her outfit and everything, it was awesome.

Another part of the story is the strained relationship that she has with her Mother, you get bits and pieces throughout the story, and you can start to put together what happened. I don't think any Mother would be happy to know that her only child has turned in to a high priced escort, however, she never tries to understand Maria either, and why she chose the life that she did. She has a better relationship with her Step-Father than she does with her Mother, which is actually a little unusual.

Overall I give this book a 5/5, if you are looking for a thriller with some "sexy times" this book is for you, it has everything that you want, and you will not be disappointed!