Friday, 23 August 2013

Cross My Heart-Carmen Reid *Review, author top 10 and giveaway!*

I am a huge fan of Carmen Reid.  I first came across her Annie Valentine 'shopper' books a couple of years ago now, and found them a laugh-out-loud funny.  Similar to Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series, they are thoroughly entertaining reads.  Carmen is also the author of the St Jude's series of teen books.  A modern spin on the popular boarding school genre, they are humorous, fast-paced reads.

Today on Books with Bunny you can read my review of her latest novel, the heartbreaking war story Cross My Heart, discover Carmen's favourite reads as a teen and there is also the opportunity to WIN one of three of Cross My Heart via a rafflecopter giveaway!  What more could you ask for?!


When I heard that Cross my Heart was being released I was slightly overexcited- a completely new approach from one of my favourite authors was definitely something to celebrate!  I have messaged Carmen quite a bit via her facebook page and knew that this book held a special significance for her and desperately hoped that it would live up to my high expectations. 

I needn't have had any concerns.  Cross My Heart proves just how versatile Carmen Reid is as an author, demonstrated by her ability to tackle the horrific subject matter of WWII in a sensitive, informative manner. 

Nicole, a fifteen year old Belgian girl, finds her life thrown upside down when the Nazis invade.  Her best friend Lottie is a German Jew and flees Belgium seeking safety, her Papa disappears without trace and before long Nicole decides she has to make a stand.  Against her family's wishes, Nicole and her friend Anton join the Resistance to help fight for the freedom of their country. Nicole is determined and gutsy, yet finds there are still moral dilemmas however strongly you believe in a cause.  Essentially a war story, Cross My Heart also encompasses romance and family loyalty ensuring that there is something that will appeal to readers of a wide range of genres.

Although aimed at teens, Cross My Heart has a strong plot that will also appeal to adults.  The story skips along at incredible pace and I found myself greedily turning the pages to discover Nicole and Anton's fate.  It is almost unimaginable to someone who has grown up in a safe, relatively peaceful society that Cross My Heart is based around fact.  Our generation has a responsibility to educate and inform our children about the horrific acts committed during both World Wars.  Books such as Cross My Heart are vital in doing this by providing a vivid account of how life may have been for teens during this time, and I hope that Carmen Reid's latest offering will be as widely read as other children's books set in this era such as John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Nina Bawden's Carrie's War. 

Cross My Heart is out now, published by Corgi Childrens.

With thanks to Corgi for sending me a review copy of Cross My Heart in return for an honest review.

If you would like to read Cross My Heart, why not enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this blog post?  Good luck!
An avid reader as well as an author, Carmen was keen to share the books that she loved as a young teen with Books with Bunny.  Here are some of her favourites and why they appeal to her...

Sunset Song - Lewis Grassic Gibbon
So romantic and so sad. This book is set in the part of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where I grew up. Yes the skies and landscape really are as beautiful as described. I love Chris, the central character, and her journey from teenager to young woman.

Little Women  - Louisa May Alcott
One of my absolute favourites. The four March sisters are so well portrayed with their quarrels and their quirks and their big ambitions for life. They are on the brink of womanhood and they have big plans for their future. I have two sisters and although the Marchs live in America in the 1800s, so many of their thoughts and feelings were familiar.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
A heartbreak of a book. I’ve read it so many times. I love the rural England portrayed here and poor, gorgeous Tess. She’s so badly treated and nothing ever goes right for her. You’ll never feel quite the same about eating a strawberry after this story.

The Yearling - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
A beautiful story about a boy and a wild fawn who becomes his pet. But it’s not sentimental, this is a story set in a harsh, small farming community with a tragic ending.

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
A brilliant book packed with totally memorable characters: Scout, Jem, Atticus, Mrs Dubose and her azaleas, scary Boo Radley in the cellar next door. It’s funny, sad, thoughtful and wonderful. A tale of racism and injustice which both seem all the worse as seen through children’s eyes. 

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder
I was a devoted fan of the TV series, so went on to read all the books I could find in this series. It’s about a family growing up in rural America and I was captivated.

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
This is also set in rural America, but it’s more serious and grown up. Two farm workers are searching for a happier life, despite all the hardship they encounter.

The complete novels of Nancy Mitford
I’ve read all of Nancy Mitford’s books (I think!) and I just love her sense of humour. This is upper crust English society and although she makes fun of it most of the time, there are some lovely characters portrayed with real feeling. I always loved the story of the girl who runs off to Paris to be with romantic Frenchman Padrice.

Letters from my Windmill - Alphonse Daudet
Lovely stories from rural France which we would occasionally be read at bedtime.

My father’s Glory - Marcel Pagnol
I loved this book and did in fact read it in French. It’s all about a boy growing up in the heart of Provence. There is a lot of detail about hunting all kinds of little birds and creatures which I remember finding totally fascinating.
Books with Bunny has three copies of Cross My Heart to give away to lucky winners.  Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below-  the competition closes on Friday 30th August.  Winners will be informed shortly after this date.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Keeping everything crossed I win. I never win anything! One of my favourite teen war books is Tamar by Mal Peet. Hopefully looking forward to seeing if this is as good. x

  2. Tried to post a comment earlier and the dang computer froze! I enjoy reading your reviews Kate, we do seem to like the same kind of books. :-)

  3. Well I have to say my favourite book as a teenager was Far from the Madding Crowd! Hardy's books are fascinating and atmospheric but now I have the Carmen Reid bug! They too are fascinating and really capture my imagination so, all I can say is forget Hardy!! xx

  4. I think my favourite book as a young teen was a book by Esther Hautzig called The Endless Steppe. It's a story that has always stayed with me, and which fostered my love of historical fiction.

  5. As a teenager, I loved the Harry Potter books. They allowed me to escape from bullying at High School, and still to this day, I adore the wizarding world. Plus, I fancy the pants off Daniel Radcliffe ;-)

    Emma xx