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Where All Things Will Grow, by N.K. Smith

29 Dec

Format: ebook

Published: December 29, 2011

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

Little battles have been fought, and old wounds have festered and healed.

The weight placed upon both Sophia Young and Elliott Dalton never grows lighter, but as they adapt to life, the burden becomes bearable. In the final chapter of their early and fragile relationship, they will be faced with the biggest challenge of them all—accept the love they’ve been given, or seek comfort in the cold solitary ways of their past.

Love is a lesson, but one must be open enough to learn.

When Elliott reveals more of his past and Sophie confronts more of her own, they continue on the path of joining their lives together. But where will the path lead and what will they find there? Emotionally bare and physically fatigued, they find nothing but rubble at the end of their journey. Will they accept destruction of their peace, or will they brandish the tools they’ve gathered along the way and cultivate a garden where all things will grow.

My review:

A box of tissues will probably be required for reading the emotionally charged fourth and final book in N.K. Smith’s Old Wounds series, Where All Things Will Grow. Picking up from the end of the third book, Weight of the World, troubled teenagers Elliott and Sophie are still taking one step forward and two steps back in their relationship, with both finally admitting they love each other even though they are still very broken individuals.


The appealing cover, showing a fresh new shoot, gives hope that their turbulent relationship will finally get a happy ending, but not until Sophie can exorcise her demons and Elliott can come to terms with what happened to him and his brother at the hands of their evil father. When the extent of the abuse is finally, gradually revealed it is shocking and heart-breaking to read.


Their tentative sexual relationship is taken further in this book, but just when Elliott seems to be making progress, a ghost from Sophie’s past plunges them back into chaos. Their co-dependency is tested when Elliott begins a different type of therapy, in a section of the book which left me with chills. Then, just when you think nothing could possibly be worse than what they have already been through, an event takes place which causes irreparable damage . . . that’s when the tissues will come in handy the most.


Once again, Smith has crafted an incredibly moving story which stays with you long after you have finished reading. It is an amazing ending to a remarkable series.

My rating: 5/5

Weight of the World, by N.K. Smith

26 Aug

Format: ebook

Published: August 25, 2011

Publisher: The Writers’ Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

Book Three in the ‘Old Wounds’ Series.

Now that the lonely and deeply damaged teenagers have discovered a strong interest in one another, what else is left to reveal and how much more can each of them handle? Sophie has taken great steps to let him in, but is Elliott ready to do the same?

With a painful past buried deep within him, Elliott embarks on a journey of self-discovery propelled by a need to be normal for his new girlfriend. Amid a lifetime of betrayal, Sophie continues down the perilous road of recovering her true strength. Each of them has something to hide and an incredible untapped reserve of compassion, love, and friendship.

Their new relationship is put to the test by both mundane and extraordinary circumstances alike. Sophie has to face up to the life she’s led, while Elliott must decide to come to terms with the life he’s been given.

The hardest part of learning how to love is allowing oneself to be vulnerable to another. As children, their choices were taken from them, and as young adults they struggle to lower their walls and let each other in. Sophie Young and Elliott Dalton continue to explore life, themselves, and each other. They learn how to trust and what it takes to fully participate in a life of love.. Every day they reveal a little more about themselves, but will it be enough or will the past continue to hold them hostage?

My review:

N.K. Smith’s third novel, The Weight of the World, picks up right where we left off in Little Battles, with teenagers Sophie and Elliott still trying to overcome the trauma of their pasts. While Sophie is making huge progress, having given up drugs and reckless sexual encounters, Elliott still has so much bottled up inside him that when he cracks it is catastrophic.


Elliott slowly reveals some of his father’s brutality to Sophie, and along with it the religious zealotry with which he was indoctrinated as a child. Smith’s use of biblical passages – which Elliott can recite at length without stuttering, thanks to his father’s beatings – show her mastery of understanding of this complicated upbringing, to the point where one fears her writing is based on experience. If this comes purely from her imagination, it is incredible. Either way, the writing is fantastic.


Sweet, kind Elliott becomes angry, frustrated Elliott who obsesses over his late mother and blocks Sophie’s attempts to help him with increasingly sexual encounters. When he finally breaks down completely, it is heartbreaking and frightening to read.


So many questions still remain. What happened to Joseph? What is so awful down in the basement? And will Sophie and Elliott ever be able to have a normal, loving relationship? Luckily, a fourth book, Where All Things Will Grow, is planned in which, hopefully, the two teenagers will get the happy ending they both deserve.


My rating: 5/5

Little Battles, by N.K. Smith

29 Apr

Format: Kindle mobi

Published: April 28, 2011

Publisher: The Writers’ Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

Spending time with Elliott instills a faint whisper of hope within Sophie Young; hope that both terrifies her and promises redemption.  But the demons of her past are never far behind, and old habits are hard to break.  The more she tries to push him away, the stronger the pull towards him becomes.  As Sophie’s broken heart continues to seek comfort in Elliott, can she put aside her destructive ways and take the most dangerous risk of all?

For many years, Elliott Dalton had lived a solitary existence, keeping his emotions under tight control.  But as his feelings for Sophie grow and her life spins further out of control, his carefully built facade begins to crack.

He is determined to protect her at all costs, just as he protects the hidden secrets of his past.   Secrets that threaten everything.  For if she knew, he would lose her forever…

My review:

This is the second book in the Old Wounds series by N.K. Smith, and if you recall I loved the first one and gave it five cupcakes.

In Little Battles, Sophie and Elliott continue to open up to each other and we begin to learn what horrendous pasts they both have had. Sophie reveals more than Elliott, and even begins to share her experiences with her counsellor in therapy, but for all the progress she makes she still finds herself in situations that, frankly, broke my heart. I had to walk away from the book in the middle when things got particularly dark, but I couldn’t stay away for too long.

Elliott is still so sweet and kind, but he reveals an anger management problem and hints at some of the horrors of his early years. I imagine the third book in the trilogy – Weight of the World, due out in August – will be more devoted to his story, and I also hope they can finally get it together by then!

Again, I loved this. The writing is excellent and the story really takes you over. I fear Smith must have experienced something like this in her own life, otherwise how could someone write about it so authentically? I hope she hasn’t, and that this is just an amazing writing gift.

My rating: 5/5

Old Wounds, by N.K. Smith

28 Mar

Format: ebook, 409 pages
Published: December 2, 2010
Publisher: TWCS Publishing House
Back cover blurb:
Sent to live with her estranged father, troubled seventeen year Sophia Young is biding her time until school is over and freedom is hers. But running from her painful past is not as easy as she was expecting, especially after meeting a kindred spirit in Elliott Dalton, the shy, withdrawn son of a prominent doctor.

In the first novel of the series, they are paired together in therapy; a seemingly unlikely pair who have nothing in common.

Or do they?

For Sophia and Elliott are about to learn that appearances can be deceiving…

My review:
Wow. This book was amazing.

I never read it when it was part of an online writing community (IYKWIM) but I had heard all the buzz and knew it would be something special once it was published. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fantastic writing – amazing for a first novel – and the way in which the characters were developed. I became really invested in their lives, and by the end I was begging for more. Thank goodness the second book in this series comes out next month!

Sophie is a troubled teen who is sent to live with her father in small town Damascus after evidence of abuse by her mother is discovered. She soon falls into her old habits of getting high and having sex in order to forget about her problems. Her father forces her into therapy, where she is paired with shy, stuttering Elliott. He also comes from a troubled background – more of which I hope we find out about in the next book – and slowly they begin to open up to each other about their pasts.

Elliott is lovely. Just lovely. I wanted to hold his hand and run my fingers through his hair and remind him to breathe. Of course, the fact that I pictured him as HHH was a bonus. I could totally see she-who-must-not-be-named as Sophie too. Yeah, so it’s a bit like Twilight crossed with Misfits, but it’s just excellent and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend to all.

My rating: 5/5