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Forbidden #1


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**Starred** in American Library Association BOOKLIST

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

397 pages, Hardcover

First published November 4, 2014

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About the author

Kimberley Griffiths Little

13 books509 followers
Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and their three sons.

For such award-winning middle grade novels as When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, her writing has been praised as "fast-paced and dramatic," with "characters painted in memorable detail" and "beautifully realized settings."

Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell and makes way too many cookies while writing.

She's stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed on the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Her amazing, filmed-on-location book trailers are right here on Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/videos/list...

Awards: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011 & 2014, Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 370 reviews
December 3, 2014
“Remember, Jayden, you’ll get your womanly jewelry tonight,” Leila said.

“There are times, Jayden, when a woman’s emotions run higher and fuller than the waves on the Gulf of Akabah, threatening to drag her to the bottom and drown her.”
This book is laughable. The writing is hilariously bad. The dialogue is unnatural, forced, and unintentionally hysterical. More than that, it is almost criminal in how it takes an mysterious, ancient culture...that of Ancient Babylonia...and turns it into a mockery of a joke. I have to admit, I know next to nothing about the Babylonians. I know briefly about their diplomatic ties with my beloved Ancient Egyptian culture. I've heard about king Hammurabi. I know the Ancient Babylonians made tremendous inroads into astology, science, languages, mathematics. Sure, I don't know a lot, but I know they were a fantastic, brilliant people.

So what did I learn of them from this book? Motherfucking camels and belly dancing. I'm dead fucking serious. That was it. It is a bloody shame that such a rare culture to ever grace the pages of a book turned out to be portrayed as such a tremendous mockery.

This book is a fucking mess. You know how every cultures has its own stupid traditions? It doesn't fucking matter. When you write a book that is meant to portray that culture in a sensitive manner, in a positive light, you don't make those traditions into a joke, no matter how dumb they are. You make those traditions, those cultural traits into something majestic, something holy, something spiritual. That is how you make it enjoyable...instead of a hilarious piece of crap.

Case in point: Dog Dancing! I kid, I kid.

You know what this book is? I can't even. Ok, here's the best example I can think of. Pole dancing classes in yuppie upper-class neighborhoods. It's where women get together in a room, dance around a pole, and rediscover their sexuality. Here we are in the fucking 20th century, dancing on a fucking pole, just to feel sexy and good about ourselves. It's fucking ridiculous.

And that's pretty much what this book is. The women in this book dance . To celebrate an engagement, they dance.
I continued dancing, trying the various steps and movements my mother had taught me over the years. The ancient dance filled me with a pleasure I’d never known before. Time seemed to stand still, and I knew that the universe was watching this moment. My moment.

When the drumbeats grew louder and faster, the other women all rose to their feet to join me in the final moments of the music. I watched their hips and my own become loose and flowing, moving into rapid, frenzied shimmying.

I could have sworn my body started to glow as if light were shooting from my fingertips and each strand of hair. The throbbing shimmy spread through my hips and thighs. I trembled with the power of it as though something mysterious and unearthly was happening to me.
They get sweaty. They wear sensuous dresses (for each other, no men here, dudes). To celebrate a birth, they dance.
“Stay strong, Rebekah, and you’ll do well.” As she rubbed my mother’s neck and shoulders to ease the tension, Nalla signaled for the rest of us to begin dancing.

The older girls began to roll their stomachs in undulating waves. Copying them, I realized that the rolling movement mimicked the labor contraction, the muscles squeezing to push the baby down.

I felt my own body responding to the strong, powerful undulation. My chest rolled backward then forward as my hips pushed in and out.
To mourn a death, they dance.
Closing my eyes, I pressed my legs together to form small, tight hip circles. Four to the right, and then four to the left. With each change of direction I increased the speed of the circles until my body began to warm up and loosen all the fear and grief I’d been holding in all day.
Then I brought my arms higher and clasped my hands flat together overhead. In this position, I began a series of hip thrusts, holding the rest of myself as still as possible. My mother had once shown me how to balance on my back foot while putting my front foot forward.
I practiced hip drops, bringing my hands down and holding them at my hip bone so I could experience the movement more fully. When I ended my dance with a series of final slow circles, there was a film of sweat on my forehead. Finally, I was tired—not from stress and grief, but from physical exhaustion.
THEY DANCE EVERY FUCKING MOMENT. When they're not talking about camels, that is. More on that later.

This book is boring. I DNFed it at 50%. You know what happened during the first 40% of the book? There's a girl. She is betrothed to a jerk. She meets a hot, mysterious stranger. She dances a lot. They travel a lot in the desert.

That is fucking IT.

This book is laughable. We have a main character who is beautiful, only she doesn't know it.
“Is it selfish to want to be as beautiful as you are, Leila?”
She laughed. “Jayden, you’re more beautiful than you realize. Sometimes I’m envious of you.”
It was all I could do not to fall over in shock.
And along with the beauty comes the prerequisite clichéd fucking love triangle.
My mind reeled with desire I’d never felt before, accompanied by the despair that I was betrothed to someone else. I shouldn’t be daydreaming about any other boy this way, but I only wanted him to touch me again, even as a shadow of guilt crossed my conscience.
This book is laughable. You know how in desert culture, animals like camels are highly prized? I get it, I do. Life depends on the camel. One's wealth depends on the size of his herd. Camels = important. Indispensable. A status symbol.

I get it, really, I do. Camels = life.

BUT DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO MENTION CAMELS IN EVERY OTHER FUCKING SENTENCE? Like fucking seriously. I know it is a tremendous part of your life, but to mention camels OVER AND OVER AND OVER...well, it kind of turns your culture into a joke. You know how terribly insensitive people joke about there being nothing but camels in the desert? Reading this book, I felt like one of those racist assholes because CAMELS CAMELS CAMELS EVERYWHERE.

I get it. I REALLY DO. Let's put this into context. People back in those days can't live without camels.

These days, I can't live without my iPhone.

Therefore, let's replace the word "camel" with "iPhone." Here are some sample phrases. Let's just stop at 5 sentences or else there would be 200 sentences about camels. I mean...iPhones. I swear to fucking god, there are over 500 counts of the word "camel" in this book.

I yanked back the heavy panel doors of the tent and peered into the darkness, a lump of dread sitting like curdled iPhone’s milk in my belly.

“Even though you can be as awkward as a newborn iPhone, Horeb sees what Mother and Father and everyone else sees in you...your heart.”

The room grew noisier as the hot flames of the fire licked at the pile of dried iPhone dung.

If our iPhones were taken, we’d never be able to make the journey north.

But how had this boy crossed hundreds of miles of barren land by himself—an empty desert where no rivers or oases bubbled, only the sands that ate men and iPhones alive?

I'm fucking done. Jesus Christ.
Profile Image for Leigh Collazo.
665 reviews220 followers
October 5, 2014

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: Engrossing! I devoured this book and loved every minute of it. It's a character-driven story with tons of action, sword-fighting, murder, dancing, and romance against a stark but beautiful ancient desert background. I really enjoyed the writing style and Little's descriptions of the desert and dances and silk dresses.

The characters, particularly those of Jayden, Leila, and Horeb, are complex and realistic. I love that the characters each have their own contrasts. Jayden is strong and confident, yet she also worries about others' opinions of her and how her actions will affect the tribe. Leila, while sometimes weak and often lazy, also shows strength in her support for Leila and her desire to decide her own future. And Horeb, no doubt evil and crazy, has moments of hurt and fear in his eyes. My only wish for the characters would be better development of Kadesh, the handsome stranger who steals Jayden's heart. He just seems too perfect, too much like Wesley in The Princess Bride. He's rich, he's smart, he's hot, he's sensitive, he's an excellent fighter. All the other characters have weaknesses...where are Kadesh's?

The worldbuilding is excellent, and I love the ancient Mesopotamia setting. I could picture the scorching desert sand, the soft camel fur, the crimson sunrise, the pitch-black skies littered with stars, the vast stretches of open space. The desert setting is crucial to this story, and Little does a fantastic job making the desert almost like a character itself. I also love the inclusion of historical figures such as King Hammurabi and the Queen of Sheba.

And that cliffhanger ending! I was so engrossed in the action, I did not notice my Nook pages were about to run out. Nooooo!!! The end of the book is only a small pause in the story. At the time of this writing, Goodreads lists no sequel or series name for Forbidden, but there is bound to be one. It would be tragic if Jayden's story just ended here.

My copy of Forbidden does not include any historical notes at the end. I read a review copy, so its possible these will be added in the final version. I would love to know more about Mesopotamia, frankincense, Ashtoreth, Hammurabi, Babylon, Mari, and ancient nomadic desert tribes.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Well-written with a beautiful setting and complex characters. Lots of action and romance keeps the plot moving along at a clip, and a cliffhanger ending promises a sequel.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: While there is no language, there is a good bit of sexual innuendo. It's appropriate for this setting, as the Temple of Ashtoreth is historically known for the prostitution of temple priestesses. I advise MS librarians to consider the literary maturity of their students before purchasing Forbidden. No sexual activity is explicitly described, but students will get the idea.

READALIKES: Cleopatra's Moon (Shecter); Girl of Fire and Thorns (Carson)


Overall: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Engrossing: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Appeal to teens: 5/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


Language: none
Sexuality: medium--nothing is described, but there is attempted rape, prostitution, innuendo, childbirth, girls bathing together (not sexual), and barely-clothed dancing
Violence: medium--swordfighting, murder, attempted rape, "branding" of people with a knife
Drugs/Alcohol: mild--drunkenness
Profile Image for Martina Boone.
Author 14 books1,989 followers
July 23, 2014
I fell in love with this book from the moment I read the description, because it was so different from everything else I have read lately -- in the best possible way. I started it with high expectations and it STILL blew me away. The characters and the history, the lush, sexy backdrop, the heat. Did I mention HEAT? But there's so much more to this than romance. It speaks to the core of the relationships between women on a societal level and on a personal level. It's deep, beautiful, and haunting. READ THIS. I can't wait to re-read. It's simply gorgeous.
Profile Image for Farrah.
1,249 reviews207 followers
May 6, 2014
A delightfully dark and sweeping read, full of constant thrills and sweet romance, Forbidden was an absolutely amazing YA read. I completely and totally loved this book! From the fantastic characters, to the twists and turn, and the story that drew me in from the first page, this book was brilliant!

The setting in this book was very well done. The descriptions of the desert and the ancient cities were beautifully done in a way that completely drew me into the world of the characters. Combined with some historical details of rulers of the age, this book did well in evoking the ancient world (which I especially appreciate because I loved history).

Jayden was a wonderful heroine. I liked that she wasn't anyone special. She was a desert girl who, through only her cleverness and a strong-will managed to survive and defy anyone who tried to force her down a path not of her own making. Even as her entire world imploded, she continued to fight. She grew tougher over the course of the book and became a truly fantastic heroine. Needless to say, I really liked her.

Kadesh was also amazing. He was so very sweet and so determined fight for a life with Jayden. He had some secrets that made him a more interesting character, and I liked how he was willing to struggle and sacrifice for his and Jayden's happiness. I adored him but, with how the book ended, I'm anxious to see how things work out for him in the next book (assuming there will be one).

The romance was wonderful. Jayden and Kadesh were very sweet together and, though they spent much of the book apart, their feelings for each other were always clear. I thought they were great together.

The plot was fast paced and I was totally hooked the entire way through. There were so may twists and turns and constant thrills that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the story and the ending was brilliant but devastating. I haven't heard of a book 2, yet, but, after that ending, there had better be one! I'm dying to see how things work out for these characters.

Forbidden was a brilliant, fantastic, absolutely epic YA read. From the sweeping scenery, to the lovely romance, and the endless thrills, this book was amazing. YA lovers, this book is a must read.

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*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Brigid .
161 reviews221 followers
November 14, 2014
Cranky Review Time

I should just shoot myself in the foot, alright. Every time I get really excited for a book, it ends up like watching a disney film. Just slap Snow White on this book why don't you?

Once upon a long long time ago in 1759 BC Mesopotamia, to be perfectly specific, there was a girl named Jayden. She's a sixteen year old bride to be. But here's the twist: she hates him. Jayden wants to live life as ordinarily as she can. No skimpy clothing. No adventure. No speaking her mind. She wants to be like every single ordinary tribe woman. She's the most boring historical chick you'll ever meet.

The writing in this book is like watching Pauly Shore try to get out an entire sentence. It's hard to listen to, or rather to read in this case. The writing is so rigid. It feels like it was forced onto the page. It doesn't flow very well. The author also uses an incomprehensible amount of exclamation points. Maybe I shouldn't judge because I myself have an intense relationship with the caps lock key, but this is a book. See for yourself:

1. "Guilt is a start at being a charitable woman!"
2. "It's impossible. And dangerous. I can't let you do it! Mother would never have approved!"
3. "The Queen of Sheba! You live near that kingdom!"
4. "Jayden, please come back!"
5. "He fights as though he wants to kill Kadesh!" I whispered hoarsely...

GASP. Exclamation points while whispering! I AM SO SHOCKED BY THIS! VIVE LA REVOLUTION! LET THE EXCLAMATION POINTS CONTINUE! Should I continue this review with exclamation points even though I'm not yelling? No. This is a bad idea.

There are sentences where the characters use what I call NO SHIT SHERLOCK:

"Father," I said quietly. "He appears alone; there was no sign of other camels or men on the ridge. He also gave the sign of peace--with the sand."

Didn't you just tell us that, like a few pages ago? And wouldn't your father know the traditions of his own people? Do you need to tell him what that means? We already know what it means because you told us. So, what the hell is this repetitive sentence for?

Then there's the depiction of women. There are strong women like her grandmother and other members of the tribe. But then there are the women the author has chosen separate into two categories. The selfish villainous bitch, like Dinah. She's just a plot device and not a real person. She just glares, humphs, and has a Scarlett O'Hara personality complex.

Then there's the women who want to become priestesses of Ashtoreth. Jayden and her sister were taught these women were immoral and in ancient historical language: sluts. What I believe, or want to believe, is that the author wanted to flip the whole slut shaming trend in young adult. But what ended up happening is the book is this: it became an ancient historical slut shaming pedestal to teach girls that you should never sexualize yourself and you should never wear revealing clothing. Jayden loves her sister, but she's always trying to tell her not to leave the tribe and not to do what her heart tells her to. She tries to keep her from doing things that are her choices. Leila wants to be a priestess. I saw nothing wrong with this, but little perfect miss Jayden had to turn her idiot switch on.
"This decision is not my choice, Jayden. It is yours. This place"--she glanced around at the lovely rooms of the temple--"is my choice."
"Leaving you here at the Temple of Ashtoreth isn't what I want for you, Leila. Please, go back to father. It would destroy him to know you are living here worshipping the goddess. Let our grandmother take care of you. I keep thinking of our mother and her watching you and that man--"
"Stop trying to make me feel guilty!"

Oh boy....I really need to take a chill pill.
I bowed my head against his chest. "I've shamed myself before you." My throat was tight with love and sorrow and the exquisite nearness of him.

She danced with the priestesses in a revealing dress, for the Goddess, in front of a bunch of men the priestesses whom they would probably end up having sex with as according to tradition of their religion. Apparently, their choice to have sex with who they want is something she needs to judge. Nope. I'm done. You've got this hellish idea that you are now Tawny Kitaen dancing in an 80s rock music video. On a car. Delusional girl.

This is getting long. Well, you guys are just gonna have to sit it out. I got important things to tell you: like insta love and twoo luv.

The relationship between Kadesh and Jayden is like Snow White and her charming prince. He snuck up behind her , singing or was it dancing? In Jayden's case, it was dancing. Again with the '80s music video. SHAKE IT, GIRL!

He's always surprising her. Either she's just not aware of her surroundings or he's a stalker. I vote that she's not aware of her surrounds because that seems like the more likely of the two. Jayden's not very aware of...EVERYTHING.

As I said, she's this boring innocent maiden waiting for twoo luv. Just wanted to make sure you didn't forget. She will wait for her prince. She does. And life will be perfect because this villainous bethrothed of Jayden? He's an ass. He really is. But, I didn't feel much while reading that because it's nothing new. He's selfish. Check. He sword fights with the love interest. Check. He tries to get into the MC's pants. Check. He does something involving blood. Check. He's plots a scheme. Check.

Her prince charming is rich. He dresses like one. The Mesopotamian version, anyway. Anyways, he watches her. A lot. Almost every time she thinks no one is watching her, what do you know? PRINCE CHARMING HAS LONGING GAZE. Oh hey, yeah. I'm just hanging over here girl. I'm just sitting by these rocks looking at the beautiful scenery. I'm not at all looking at your butt wiggle.

So, 1. He's always showing up when she thinks no one is around. 2. He's rich. 3. He promises one day he will come for her. 4. Twoo Luv and all that.

Jayda is like the reigning princess of chastity. I understand that it's historically accurate. That's for sure.

She never speaks her mind, unless it involves prince charming. Keep your head down. Blush insanely. Fall in love with the guy who can save your ass. YAK YAK YAK.

The author goes off on strange tangents where nothing happens. I don't really think there's a plot. There isn't one: the plot is that Jayden will find her prince charming and her husband to be will be shoved aside to make room RICH BOY.  And then there's this whole religious sub-plot that goes on. Then, you are left with no resolution. That's it. There's extraneous shit. But, that's the basis of it.

Bejebus, this girl is an idiot:
"He wouldn't lie, Father. And he gave me this bracelet as a promise of his love for me."

Because even though you barely know him, you can trust him. Because true love and stuff.
"But your dresses--you shouldn't be wearing such flimsy fabric." The girls laughed at me and I felt silly and prudish. Like I'd turned into an old grandmother when I was only sixteen.

Yeah. I can't argue with you there. Gotta be historically accurate, right. No problemo.
A few minutes later, he was talking with another girl, and then another. I was humiliated to have my betrothed pay such eager attention to other girls, even if I did hate him.

You go ahead and do that.
Villages were dirty, noisy, and overcrowded; garbage in the streets, the rank smell of outdoor latrines poisoning the air.

Boring MC (Main Character) factor increased.
...a seed of rebellion began to grow in my belly.

Because what other type of rebellion would be in our bellies?

While I loved the diversity, the culture, and the setting I couldn't get past the "what the hell did I just read" scenarios. I wanted to love this book. I wanted to use a bunch of Gilmore Girls gifs to show my love for this book. But I couldn't because I didn't like this book. Sometimes, you get cranky after reading a book that made you rage. This is one of those times.

Chao, Darlings.
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,575 followers
December 27, 2014

From the first moment I saw this book I wanted to read it!!This book is unlike anything else I have ever read!!The synopsis looked very promising,so I decided to read it!I liked the story and the world the author creates!It was so interesting to learn about how people live in desert!Jayden our heroine is set to be princess of her tribe with her betrothal to Horeb who isn't the best man ... Lately he has made her to feel uncomfortable when she is with him, so when a stranger man Kadesh,encounters their tribe...she will learn what is really to love someone.

I liked Jayden!!She was a strong heroine due to the fact she has to deal with a lot of things! I felt really sorry for her! My only complaint about this book..is the romance!It wasn't insta love but it develops quickly for my taste!However it was sweet and beautiful!The story is full of twists and there are intense moments!If you are looking for a different and unique book then this is for you!!

Profile Image for Kimberley Little.
Author 13 books509 followers
February 6, 2017
Deal alert! FORBIDDEN on sale in Kindle and Nook formats for only $1.99. Now is a great time to buy this book if you haven't already had the chance to read it or if you'd like to buy it as a gift for a friend. Happy New Year, dear friends!
Kindle: http://amzn.to/2ivbpZK
Nook: http://bit.ly/2idn5kB

Awards for FORBIDDEN:
Arizona/New Mexico Book Award Winner!
Whitney Award Top 5 Finalist!
Mormon Letters of Art Award Top 5 Finalist!
BOOKLIST Top 10 Young Adult Romance Novels of 2015
BOOKLIST Top 10 Young Adult Historical Novels for 2015
BOOKLIST Top 10 Young Adult Spiritual/Religious Novels for 2015
*starred* review in BOOKLIST

Ancient Mesopotamia is shrouded in mystery and intrigue. A land of hot sands, dark strangers, betrothals gone wrong, tribal warfare, danger, and passion. And don't forget the belly dance and baby camels. I've been researching the Middle East, traveled to the marvelous country of Jordan and the ancient city of Petra, and worked on this book off and on for more than a decade. It's a thrill to see it published by the fabulous Harpercollins. I'm grateful to my editor and the entire Epic Reads team for an astonishing, alluring cover as well as all the love and fantastic marketing campaign. Enjoy a trip back in time . . . when goddess temples lured girls into their decadent snare.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews839 followers
October 17, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

DEAR READERS: Originally, I gave this book a three-star rating, because of the ending, and the lack of information provided about whether this book was a standalone or part of a series. But, as you can see in the comments, the author has brought to my attention the fact that this book is book one of a series.

That being said, this book will receive four stars - it's unfair for me to rate a book so low when I know now that my biggest problem with the book may be resolved later in the series (because this book is in fact, part of a series). I hope this makes sense to everyone. I hope no one thinks that I am finicky and indecisive. This doesn't happen often. But I always welcome new information that may change my opinion on a book. If I EVER have the wrong idea about something, or lack information about something, someone please let me know!

- Alyssa, The Eater of Books!, October 17th, 3:51 pm EST

Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

What I Liked:

This book should have gotten five stars from me. It was well on its way to doing so, trust me. I had been waiting for this book for months, and then I won an ARC from the author, and then eARCs were uploaded on Edelweiss for bloggers to access and basically, I've been dying to read this one (even though I've had a copy for quite some time now). One thing pissed me off and broke my heart, and that one thing is why this book gets three stars, instead of five. Because it deserved five... until that one thing that happened.

Jayden has been betrothed to Horeb since they were children. When his older brother is killed, Horeb is now the heir to this one tribe, making him like the "crown prince". Jayden will marry him, and the two tribes will be joined. But Jayden doesn't love him, or even like him. She falls in love with a mysterious boy of secrets, who appears in the desert when the tribes are leaving that area of the desert to go to another. But Jayden's tribe is in trouble, as her father is poor, and Jayden must marry Horeb.

I really love the setting of this book. I have a seriously religious background, and I know the Bible very well. I'm not saying you have to be religious to know the places and names and whatnot, but it helped me. This is historical fiction, as it is set in Mesopotamia, 1759 BC. I LOVE this time period. I also LOVE desert-setting novels. Sarah Beth Durst's Vessel is a really great example of awesome desert fantasy.

I really felt for Jayden. At many points in this book, she feels - and is - helpless. She is just a girl, just a female desert-dweller. She has no power over her upcoming marriage, no control over her life. Her father is poor and needs the connections and wealth that will come with the union. Yet Jayden stays strong throughout the novel - through death, despair, growing love, threats, abuse, etc. She is an amazing protagonist, and a strong character.

The story itself was very interesting - I found that I could not put the book down. I love the rich setting, the culture, the world-building, but I especially loved the story Little crafted. It's not just about Jayden's betrothal to Horeb, or her growing feelings for Kadesh. So much more is at stake - cities falling, tribes splintering, Jayden searching for one sister while losing another... this story is definitely engrossing and heartbreaking and fabulous.

The romance. Oh, how I love the romance. No love triangle. I love the romance... up until the end (see the next section). It's breathtaking and lovely and passionate, and I fell right along with Kadesh and Jayden. I love that they fell in love so smoothly, but it's forbidden, but it's like, deliciously forbidden. Love! But, funny how my favorite part of this book (the romance) is also what I hated the most. See next section.

What I Did Not Like:

The ending is brutal. The ending just isn't fair, for a standalone - but I know now that this book is the first of a series. The ending is so, so heartbreaking, unjust, depressing, and I am not a fan of the ending... but it helps to know that the story will continue.

Originally, I docked two stars for the ending - BEFORE I realized that this book was not a standalone. There is no information available on Goodreads or Edelweiss that says that this book is part of a series, so I assumed it was a standalone. However, I am more than happy to be told that this book is part of a series, so I changed my rating. That is fair to me.

Would I Recommend It:

Yes, I would. I LOVED this book - up until the last fifty pages. So, yes, I would totally recommend this book for the first 350 pages! Once you get to the ending, just be assured that the series will continue. It will be okay. Hopefully.


4 stars. I'm upset about the ending - it's not only that it was heartbreaking, but it was so unfair. I'm not okay with it. It was too cruel - and then too open-ended - for my tastes. However, knowing that this book will be part of a series has definitely lightened my heart - and changed my opinion and rating.
Profile Image for Wendy Higgins.
Author 23 books7,948 followers
November 4, 2014
A stunning YA debut!! I've always been fascinated by Mesopotamian history, and this book is RICH with it - everything from the traditions of belly dancing to the subculture among the women and the strengths of their beliefs. I loved everything about this story world, Jayden, and Kadesh. Fascinating!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,889 followers
November 16, 2014
Forbidden is the first book in Kimberly Griffiths Little’s historical romance trilogy with a very lush, exotic setting. Set against the backdrop of the Mesopotamian desert in 1759, it gives us great insight into the best and the very worst of this world. Our heroine is Jayden, a 17-year-old girl betrothed to the future tribe leader. Her marriage was arranged when she was just a baby, but Jayden feels only fear and mild disgust for Horeb, and wants nothing more than to avoid marrying him. Then a young wounded warrior joins her family in the desert and Jayden is immediately taken by him, just as he seems taken by her. Her life becomes even more complicated, burdened with tragedy and the constant fight for survival and torn between two young men, one she was promised to years ago, and one who truly loves her.

Jayden’s world, which is the Mesopotamian desert, is harsh and unforgiving, cruel to those who call it home. The desert provides more than just a backdrop for this story, it is almost a character. It affects the events in so many ways, sometimes as a source of comfort, but more often as the place of constant danger. Jayden and her tribe, like all other desert tribes and travelers, feel the desert in their bones. They have to be one with their surroundings, predict everything this cruel mistress can throw their way. They would never survive otherwise.

Kimberly Griffiths Little has a gorgeous writing style and an excellent sense of pacing. Her sentences only emphasize the gorgeous, exotic setting. Jayden’s characterization was done brilliantly, but I felt that the other characters needed more work. Kadesh especially seemed far too perfect and lacked nuance as a character, but the same applies to Horeb, who was purely, unreasonably evil, and Jayden’s empty-headed, selfish sister Leila.

Although beautifully written and quite romantic, the book was in desperate need of an author’s note, some sort of explanation that would put these events in a historical context. As far as I can tell, it’s close enough to actual events and places to be considered purely historical, and not historical fantasy, and yet there are a few things that make very little sense, and a few that are glaringly inaccurate.

It must be said that Forbidden ends with a cliffhanger, and a rather painful one at that. Seeing as Banished, the second book of the series, won’t be released until January 2016, I fear I’ll forget the details of this story. A year and three months seems like such a long time between installments, especially when one is left with such a deep sense of foreboding. Nevertheless, you’ll want to read this one as soon as possible. It’s really too beautiful to pass up.

Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,006 reviews3,624 followers
June 2, 2016
It’s been days since I’ve read Forbidden and I can’t get that amazing Mesopotamian setting out of mind. Because this is the desert setting I’ve been looking for.

I absolutely LOVE ancient civilizations and this book is incredibly rich with it’s historical setting, with sensual dances, hot desert sands, caravans, camels, temple worship and trade. I could vividly picture the harsh travel routes and the desert people who were accustomed to heat and danger. Using the power of dance to signify important occasions was also an interesting element of the story, and really showcased the tribal culture's connection with other women.

Although it's set in such an ancient timeline, it's incredibly feminist at the same time. Jayden is betrothed to the Prince of her tribe, but he's a horrible villain who revels in power. So she attempts to escape from his evil clutches and stumbles upon the mysterious stranger from foreign lands. To be completely honest, the romance did get a bit cheesy at times but I'm a sucker for forbidden romances and I loved the role that Kadesh played in Jayden's development.

Thankfully, the romance isn't the main focus of the novel - at it's core, Forbidden is about loyalty and the consequences of your decisions. I loved how much family meant to Jayden and how she was incredibly faithful to her father and mother. Her sister Leila on the other hand, just wants to run away and join the scandalous temple against her mother's wishes, which shows an incredible contrast to Jayden's character. Everything that underpins her decisions is about the good of her family and her tribe, which is why it makes it so hard for her to debate marrying Horeb. Although I did question her decision to

While the majority of the novel features world building and travelling, it's not a particularly easy read, because all the bad things will happen to Jayden and her family. I was absolutely gutted at the horrors that she went through in the novel, and it escalates and gets worse and worse until you can't face it anymore. There's just enough hope there to string you along, but then the terrible things will crush you which sets out the cause for the ending. I can understand this plot device builds resilience and strength for the character, but why does it all have to be so bad?

There's no doubt that Forbidden was absolutely beguiling. I lavished that marvellous desert setting, the strength within it's characters and living with the consequences of your decisions.

Check out Happy Indulgence Books for more reviews! I received a review copy of this book from Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews712 followers
April 1, 2015
Actual Rating 3.5

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I think this book should be renamed to All The Bad Things That Can Happen to Jayden Over the Course of the Book. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. Jayden has the worst luck in the entire world. From the beginning of the novel to the end, tragedy seems to follow her around and she can never catch a break!

Which was why my feelings towards this novel were initially a jumble. I absolutely hate that she had to go through all these things and would have loved to see her catch a break that wasn’t just  in the form of a romantic interest (although given that their romance is forbidden I don’t know how much of a break it really was). I feel like having all of these tragic things happen to her sometimes just made it hard for me to relate to her but the more I think about it, the more I realize that none of these tragedies are implausible, it’s just that it’s bothersome that someone could have SO MUCH fucking bad luck! *shudders*

Everything that happens to Jayden over the course of the book is a fantastic way to show the strength of her character, and how she doesn’t fall apart give her circumstances. You get her fierce determination to hold her self upright even as her world falls around her but the best thing about all of this is that you also see her desperation. You see that she is affected by what is happening to her, she isn’t just a stone statue (hehehehe) taking all the hits without feeling anything. She is affected! She has to seek help from people, even when she doesn’t want to, even when it goes against everything she believes in, which is why I thought she was a fantastic character to read about.

The secondary characters were a little more harder to understand and I had a LOT of problems getting behind Jayden's sister, Leila. Leila is the most selfish being ever and a compete opposite to Jayden’s selflessness. I didn’t like her at all but at the same time I felt like we weren’t supposed to exactly hate her but we were also not supposed to love her. It's impossible to even attempt to understand her though! It’s so hard to admire a character who cannot hold their own in the face of a tragedy. Who only thinks about how it affects them and no one else. Who wants to leave their family and run away because that is the easier answer. Leila does all of those things. And the fact that she was the older sister made it a lot harder to understand. I get that she is doing her own thing, living her dream, instead of being held down by tradition but that didn’t mean I liked that she left Jayden to deal with everything. She never took the time out to understand what Jayden was going through. She was the center of her own universe and that bothered the living daylights out of me. Especially when we are supposed to be seeing this ‘sisterly’ bond between them. *shudders*

The romance was also something that I was not entirely sold on. I loved reading about it, but it seemed a little cheesy at times and then there didn’t seem to be a clean transition between the getting to know each other faze and the ‘true love’ phase. I totally ship Kadesh and Jayden as a couple, don’t get me wrong, but I felt that their love was a little unbelievable. I did get used to it though and by the end of the book, I was just as invested in their romance as many other readers and hoping that they would get their HEA.

One of the best things about this book, is definitely the world building. I may not know much about the Mesopotamian world but the richness of the book and the way the author infused so many cultural details made me feel like she did her research and took the setting of her book seriously. There are some books where you might feel like even though the book is set in a different era, it seems like it’s in our world and it was clear that that was not the case in this book. From the way she shows us the traditions of the desert people to the way she builds the world and the just the setting of this world, it’s beautifully done. Kimberley just did a fantastic job. Although I do admit having a map in there would make a helluva lot happier so I could see what side of the red sea we were on and then all those other fantastic details Kimberley mentioned as part of her world building.

The ending was horrible but at the same time it wasn’t. There was yet another tragedy right before the ending but instead of making everything seem hopeless and waiting until the sequel to give us poor readers a smidgen of hope, Kimberley gave us something to cling on. Something to hope for. Although given how little that smidgen was I kind of found myself pitying me because I was so desperate to cling on to something. Although that really does show how invested I was as a reader and can I just have the next book? CANS I?

This was an incredibly emotional read and I would recommend it to you if you know you are a reader who can wait for seemingly long periods of time for sequels. I know that I am going to be anxiously anticipated book 2 so, if you want to join the wait and whine over the injustices of not having sequels be readily available after reading the first books in series, JOIN THE CLUB.
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,179 reviews438 followers
August 21, 2016
I love historical YA fiction, of any era. Every list that includes YA history has this book on it, so I decided to order a copy to see whether it was worth the hype, and it definitely was. Unlike anything I've read before, Forbidden is set in ancient Mesopotamia, with the protagonist, Jayden, preparing for her betrothal ceremony. She's set to marry the son of their tribe's chief man, whom will one day be chief himself, and though she's nervous, she's also excited. However, when her mother goes into premature labour with her twin siblings, right as the tribe are leaving for their next camp site, closer to an oasis, everything goes to pot. Her mother and infant brother die, and the little girl is bound to follow if they can't find someone to care for her soon enough. It's only Jayden, her father,and older sister, and another family left, to set out on the perilous journey across the desert to safety. When a mysterious boy from the South appears, who will accompany them on their journey, Jayden soon finds herself drawn to Kadesh, and forgetting about her fiancee, Horeb.

The setting and description in this book was magical. From the get go, it felt as though I was actually back in time, with Jayden on her journey. Everything seemed so realistic, and I can tell the author must have done so much research.

Jayden was the perfect narrator for this story. For her whole life, she'd known the hardship of living in a desert, and had never considered anything more. One day, she would be the leading lady of the tribe, and that was enough for her. Her life, therefore, had made her strong, even in the face of true pain, like with the death of her mother. Even so, she grew leaps and bounds throughout the course of the book, as more and more challenges were thrust her way. Unlike Jayden, her sister, Leila, hates life in the desert, and when they come to a city, she runs away to the local temple, and wishes to become a priestess - a true scandal for the whole family. Jayden has to contend with maybe losing both her sisters, after she sends the baby, Sahmril, off with the other family, as one of them had recently had their own child, so could act as a wet nurse.

The romance was so swoony. Jayden and Kadesh both compliment each other really well, and knew that their romance would be forbidden, just like the title of the book. Jayden can not, by any means, fall for someone else, lest she bring dishonour on the family, and whole tribe. Even though her fiancee is proven to be vicious, and not all he seems, he's the darling of the tribe, and no one will believe anything against him, or let their engagement be broken. For some of the book, Jayden and Kadesh had to spend tome apart, but their feelings for one another are always present.

The book ended with such a cliffhanger, I immediately had to order the next book, and hope to read it soon. I know from many reviews that this originally appeared to be a standalone novel, so I'm definitely glad I have the sequel on hand when the time is right. I can see Banished as being a strong sequel, and setting the tone for the series as a whole.
Profile Image for Michelle.
494 reviews106 followers
January 8, 2016
I realized lately I have been reading many books that take an emotional toll after I read them. This is one no different. By the cover and the premise I expected a hot and heavy forbidden romance. I did get some of this, but this book is so much more than just a romance. It is a story about overcoming obstacles. Survival is key and also keeping together a family is a huge challenge. Jayden, our main character, learns the difficulty of dealing with the unknown. After tragedy strikes her family, she has to become stronger than she ever imagined she would have to be. She is a strong and tough character but also vulnerable to the traditions and beliefs of her tribe. She has to marry Horeb, a petty, power-hungry, and proud man who will make her his queen in their tribe. Of course, he is a bit clichéd which didn't make me hate him any less but he does serve a purpose of opposing power to Jayden's softer side. She cares greatly for her family but realizes quickly that marrying Horeb would be the end to her. I can't really blame her because I really want to see him dead (unfortunately there are two more books so it may not happen any time soon). Kadesh is the kind and respectable to Horeb's angry, possessive self. Kadesh is pretty swoony so I'm totally game for Jayden and Kadesh's relationship. It is slow and not much happens in this book but I expect much more heat in the second novel.

One of the tings that was interesting to me was the beliefs of her tribe. There are customs and ideals that Jayden follows pretty strictly. Obviously her falling in love with a stranger goes against her tribe's beliefs and her contract of marriage to Horeb. She doesn't break many rules and keeps her mother's teachings in her mind. I like that she kept to her beliefs. It makes it more realistic. If it were different she could have said "Screw it! I'm going to marry Kadesh" but she had doubts and conflicts which makes sense in the historical aspect. I always loved when the woman danced. I have never seen this in any of the historical novels I have read but I also have not read anything like this before so it is a good change of scenery and traditions.

I got very angry when several of the characters were against Jayden. There are so few who are really on her side. She seems to be alone most of the time. Even Kadesh is not with her as much as I would expect him to be (he leaves to find his family). They say they are family and they are one tribe, but when the problems arrived so many of them seem to abandon her when she needed their help the most, especially when dealing with Horeb. It was very frustrating.

Overall, if you like romance, forbidden love, a strong but realistic female character and family drama, this is one you shouldn't miss. I am very excited to see where the story goes from here because I can expect many great things from Jayden in the future.

Overall: 4.5 stars
Recommendation: Yup! Great romance. A strong female main character.
Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
January 12, 2016
"A sweeping, epic saga of romance and hardship, set against the dramatic backdrop of ancient Mesopotamia"

The synopsis of this book immediately grabbed me! Desert, belly dancing, tribes, and all set in a beautiful atmosphere!! I loved this book from the beginning. This book is so full of passion and emotion. It literally moved me. It is a fast-paced mystical story that just grabs you and doesn't let go.

Not to mention, the cover is absolutely breathtaking. Jayden is portrayed as a dark, mysterious beautiful young girl. I love the beautiful colors portrayed on the cover and the font chosen for the title "Forbidden." Just gorgeous....

This is the story of Jayden and her life in the tribe that causes her to question her beliefs and family values. Jayden's is betrothed to the prince of the tribe and her marriage to him will bring her family back into position within the tribe. Jayden has known Horeb her whole life but she does not love him. She is dreading the day she is married and on the night of her betrothal ceremony she walks into the desert and meets a mysterious young man named Kadesh. She is immediately drawn to him and eager to learn more about him and his background.

"The stranger rose from his crouched position and I backed up against the rocks and sand, my heart an anvil against my ribs. A whimper rose in my throat and I choked it back."

Jayden is faced with so much hardship and difficult choices in such a small amount of time. She brings Kadesh back to the tribe to help him in his journey to his home.

Kadesh is mesmerized by Jayden and falls in love with her immediately. He knows she is betrothed to Horeb but he cannot hide his feelings for her. Jayden's betrothed, Horeb, senses the feelings between her and Kadesh and begins to plan his revenge against them.

There are so many surprises and twists in this amazing book!! I was shocked and just completely stunned at certain parts. This book is truly a treasure and just the atmosphere will amaze you. The belly dancing and tribe traditions were so mesmerizing.

Kimberley is a phenomenal writer and really brings out the life of the story. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this phenomenon and see where Jayden's journey will take her!!! What else can she possibly face?
Profile Image for Jacqueline Garlick.
Author 17 books146 followers
April 10, 2014
OMG...where to BEGIN!!! Okay...first can I say...female lead Aladdin-style romance/adventure....ummmm, YES! Only, no fake Angelina Jolie fake kick-boxing heroine here. This heroine's strength is derived from authentically historically and savvy smart ways. This books is dark and alluring, filled with intrigue and adventure, only this heroine isn't just trying to save herself from being discovered (as royalty), this girl is up for the battle of her life. She must fight save herself, as well as whole family (from ruin) while saving her people and their lifestyle for extinction. There is so much at stake here and add to that a forced betrothal, a murder, and a forbidden love, that, if the heroine gives into, could end her family, and separate her from her from everything she's ever know, quite possibly - forever...WOW!!! The writing was absolutely STUNNING. I could taste the exotic foods, hear the chime of the belly dancers belts, feel the scratch of the sand grating my eyes and parching my throat, and experience all the beautiful sights and sounds of the desert. The storyline was original and pleasantly complicated with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. The characters were well-defined and loveable/hateable (depend on who). It was and adventurous story, one steeped in history and culture and FULL of action and suspense. I just can't say enough good about this book. What can I say, I really really loved this one! Can you tell? It was just so original, at a time where so many books were just starting to all feel the same to me in premise, and world-building. This one really stood out in originality. I found the setting fresh, the conflict intriguing, the characters compelling (I really enjoyed the conflicted sisters and their choices), and the plot artfully constructed.
All in all, a well thought out, original story, full of equal parts mystery and danger and intrigue. I'd say...pick this one up...and give it read it...so much to love here, really. :)
Profile Image for Aydrea.
1,050 reviews83 followers
May 24, 2014
ARC Review

I didn't know much about this book going in but it was freaking awesome! I thought Jayden was a great MC & the plot was great (lots of twists & turns). I loved the world, historical fiction is always fun to read. Can't wait for more (I hope there is more!), though it will be awhile since this book doesn't come out until November :(
Highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews622 followers
February 9, 2017
Forbidden is a book I’ve been drawn to ever since first reading the synopsis back in early 2014. It sounded deeply romantic, and the unique desert setting made it that much more appealing. The only reason I kept putting it off is the combination of that evil cliffhanger and the long wait for Banished. Well, I finally caved, and I’m happy to say that I completely loved it! And I’m totally okay with the ending because 1) it’s really hopeful, and I can see it going only one direction, and 2) the summary for Banished was just released and it, um, banishes any doubt I may have had. But that doesn’t mean Kimberley Griffiths Little isn’t a master at torture; she puts her main character through the wringer and it doesn’t look like she’s going to let up any time soon. The six month wait for Banished is going to be incredibly difficult!

One thing the author does so well is bring the historical setting and cultural aspects to life. She paints a vivid picture of what desert life would be like in 1759 BC Mesopotamia. Jayden and her family are a part of one of many tribes that survive on the unforgiving landscape, having to travel extensively each year in order to follow the rains. I can’t imagine facing what these characters have to face on a daily basis, let alone riding camel-back hundreds of miles beneath a harsh sun and with a limited amount of water, food, and supplies. But Jayden’s love for the desert – her home – is palpable. She has a strong connection to the land; it becomes a source of freedom and transformation for her. Her journey in this book is nothing short of incredible. Jayden faces heartbreak after heartbreak during her travels, but she stays devoted to keeping her family safe, and, more than anything, she endures. By the end of the book she is no longer a timid if spirited young girl but a woman determined to her make own path. Though the book has an epic backdrop, it’s very much an intimate, coming-of-age story.

I also love the way Kimberley explores women’s roles within Jayden’s tribe. Women are respected and revered but expectations of tradition and purity weigh heavily on them. It’s through the belly dancing they perform for various rites that Jayden comes to realize the power they truly hold within themselves. The scenes describing Jayden’s dancing are some of the most beautiful of the book. It adds a seductive and evocative layer to the story; Jayden’s sexual awakening is subtle yet powerful as she learns the way her body moves and she acknowledges the beauty of the dance. The customs, though, could be frustrating, especially in regards to the romance. It’s difficult to grasp that Jayden can’t just choose who she wants to spend the rest of her life with, but she’s bound by a promise and her loyalty to her family to marry someone she not only doesn’t love but despises and fears. I wanted her to stand up against her tribe sooner and with more force, yet I knew that she had so few options as a young woman during this time. Her betrothed, Horeb, is a truly despicable character, one you will certainly love to hate.

The “forbidden” romance between Jayden and Kadesh, a stranger from a faraway land who joins Jayden and her family on their journey, is one of longing, heat, and passion. I was completely immersed in their scenes together, feeling like I was hanging by a thread, waiting for one of them to make the first move. The chemistry and sexual tension between them is as palpable as the desert heat. But it's Kadesh’s devotion to Jayden that stands out in my mind the most; he is so sweetly romantic to her and an utter gentleman. It’s like he came straight out of a fairy tale. I’m terrified of what their future will look like, but as long as they stick together I believe they can overcome any obstacle.
His mouth lingered on mine, holding me for that fraction of eternity, as though I could glimpse into the future. "One day, Jayden, you and I will be under the wedding canopy," he whispered.

I highly recommend this historical fiction debut! It’s not an easy story to read, but it’s lush and powerful and evokes every emotion under the sun. I cannot wait to rejoin Jayden on her journey toward self-empowerment and love. I just hope that I survive what's sure to be a tough road ahead.

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Natalie (Never trust a duck).
264 reviews170 followers
August 19, 2015
Thank you to Dena (Batch of Books) for your review program!


So. Camels played a prominent part in this story. It didn't deteriorate my opinion of the book, it's just....camels were mentioned many times. XD But I understand, it was part of the culture. Still, what does the camel say?


This book was....less than I was expecting. I wanted rich Mesopotamian culture. Instead I got a whole lot of

and yup, you guessed it,

Jayden is the main character of Forbidden. She and her family are part of a desert tribe, who are basically nomads. They travel to different places for different seasons. Jayden is betrothed to the prince of her tribe, Horeb. He is a hot mess. I use that term in the most literal sense. He's hot, but he's crazy.

I digress. On the day the tribe sets out for their next destination, all the proverbial crap hits the fan. But then this boy comes in. Kadesh. They refer to him as the "stranger." That wasn't much, but that's all the summary we'll go over, let's talk thoughts, shall we?

I appreciate all the crap the author put Jayden through. Nothing went right for her. But, I didn't really care for her as a protagonist. She was the very definition of a damsel in distress.

She honestly couldn't do anything for herself. She didn't stand up for herself at all. It frustrated me to no end. And when there was trouble, do you know what she did? She danced. And I understand, people have hobbies. But she literally danced while her mother was going through labor (I can only hope someone twerks for me) AND she danced on someone's grave.

I also thought the dialogue was odd. I cannot imagine anyone saying some of the things that came out of the characters' mouths. For example:

Our men forever cling to the hope of unraveling the mystery of our feminine secrets."


"How wicked to laugh at one's intended prey," I cried in a loud voice to mask my fear. "Especially when I'm nearly half your size, and female. The least you can do is kill me with dignity before stealing our last few camels."

One, she completely gave in. Two, no one cares if you're hurt that they laughed at their "intended prey." There's a reason why you're their prey in the first place.

And there was insta-love. I hate to say it, but this was one of those books.

However, I did like Kadesh. He's not one I would consider a fictional husband (at least not yet, he has two more books to make me swoon), but he's a sweetie.

The one I did not like was Jayden's sister Leila. She cried A LOT and she was, well, a slut.

Overall, it was eh. But, I'm curious enough to know what happens next that I'll probably pick up the second book.

Happy Reading!!!
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
October 22, 2014
Nose Graze — Book reviews & blogging tips

I absolutely ADORED this book! Forbidden is one of the most unique books I've read in a while. I think the words Mesopotamian, desert, tribe, and dancing say it all. When's the last time you read a young adult book that involved those?? The overall plot may not be that unique (forbidden love) but the interesting setting really made Forbidden stand out.

Everything in Forbidden felt different from what I've read before. The strict hierarchy in the tribe, the marriage traditions, the dancing culture, ALL THE CAMELS!! That made Forbidden so fun and interesting to read. It was hard to put down!

Although the forbidden romance between Jayden and Kadesh wasn't super detailed, I loved it. It definitely felt true to the time period. It is sort of a love at first sight relationship, but I think it worked well in the book, and it wasn't an annoying insta-love. It felt cute, sweet, and forbidden, and Jayden and Kadesh were so cute together. I couldn't exactly fault Jayden for falling for Kadesh so quickly when I did too! I loved the forbidden aspect of it as well. Jayden shouldn't be crushing on Kadesh because she's been promised to Horeb, and Horeb is a major asshole who you will LOVE hating!

This might sound silly, but I think my one disappointment was finding out that Forbidden is a series (at least, I assume it is based on the ending). I went into it assuming it was a standalone, but the ending wasn't resolved enough for me to be left thinking that was it. I'm inclined to think that there's at least one more book to come. I just don't like thinking that a book is going to be fully resolved (like a standalone), then find out it isn't. It throws me off! But that being said, I am also glad we'll be getting more from this story. There's still so much of it that I want to read about.

But if you're looking for a unique read, definitely pick up Forbidden! The setting made this book feel so refreshing. I felt like I was stepping out of the world of "typical YA" and into something totally new.
Profile Image for mith.
751 reviews259 followers
August 3, 2016
If you like the following:
-dancing over everything
-bad romance
this book might be for you :)

okay but in all seriousness. i don't know what i expected from this book, but maybe something along the lines of mesopotamian culture. i only took world history and that was two years ago but hey. the history is rich. there's probably so much to write about. people to kill. places to take over.
but alas.
i was confused for about 98% of the story. the pacing was weird, inconsistent. as far as i can tell, at least a year passed from the beginning to the end and a lot of things happened in that year but i felt so distant to it. i felt nothing for jayden and her pain because the writing was pretty bad. i couldn't connect to the other characters because they were all flat and two dimensional.
also the romance! this is the kind of book that is overtaken by the romance. there was NO connection between jayden and kadesh--it just happened out of nowhere. one moment it's, 'he wants to kill me!' and the next it's 'being next to him makes it hard to think' or something along those lines.
overall, i wasn't very impressed with this story and found myself rolling my eyes more often than not. 1 star.
i'm probably going to read the second book bc i hate myself. i don't know anymore guys.
Profile Image for Kirsten Werk.
9 reviews1 follower
November 11, 2014
I was on the seat of my pants for this entire read--so many twists and turns kept me turning each page. The research was AMAZING! The descriptions really helped me imagine a world I'm completely unfamiliar with, yet characters I could complete relate to and understand.
Little so aptly describes unfamiliar people and worlds. I forgot where I was when I was reading! And that's the point, isn't it? This book is unlike anything else I've ever read and I can't wait for the next book in this series because although it came to an end, it is definitely a cliffhanger! Don't miss out. Read this book!
Profile Image for Dena McMurdie.
Author 2 books133 followers
December 3, 2014
This book took my breath away. I loved the immersive story and the rich setting of ancient Mesopotamia. The customs, traditions, and beliefs of the desert people were captivating and every time I set the book down I couldn't wait to pick it up again. I've never read anything like this before.

Jayden was a wonderful protagonist and her fears, hopes, and loves were all very real. I easily slipped inside this historical world and experienced everything right alongside Jayden. Kadesh was wonderful, and Horeb was perfectly awful. I loved all the characters!

This is definitely a book for older YA readers as it has quite a bit of content. I wouldn't give it to a twelve year old, but maybe a fifteen year old. As always, I recommend that parents read a book before handing it off to their kids to ensure they are comfortable with the level of content in it.

Content: Innuendo, violence, brief nudity, and an attempted rape.

Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My blog: Batch of Books
Profile Image for Jessie Potts.
1,179 reviews103 followers
November 7, 2014
Why you should read it: The best part of this book has to be the setting. Kimberley really grabbed me, and I "saw" everything. I loved that it was set in a desert. I will warn readers, though, that this book is not for the faint of heart. There is tragedy, there's heartache and Jayden must rise above everything, and you will hate the ending — the second book can't come fast enough! It's also one of the longer YAs. One of my favorite parts is the dancing. It's like a prayer, like they use it to commune with each other and for their beliefs. And the romance … so steamy. There are a lot of innuendos, so I'd definitely say this is for older YA readers. That said, I really loved watching Jayden and Kadesh — loved it! I would recommend this for anyone looking for a deeper, slightly darker emotional pull. I still can't stop thinking about it.

Head over to the HEA Blog to see why Kimberley loves forbidden romances ;-)
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,163 reviews458 followers
October 31, 2014
**I received this book for free from Harpercollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Genre* Young Adult
*Rating* 3.0

*My Thoughts*

FORBIDDEN is a dark, exotic thriller set in a land of mystery and intrigue. The story is filled with dangerous betrothals, murder, belly dancing, camels, ancient goddess temples that lure girls in with seductive priestess, tribal warfare, blackmail, and a forbidden romance. The story is set in the year 1759 in what was then Mesopotamia. Most of the story takes place in the desert, which adds more depth and realism to the story.



Recvd 04/29/2014 via Edelweiss* Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by Harpercollins
Profile Image for Carolyn.
33 reviews
May 1, 2014
I love this book! It was so interesting to learn about how the desert people lived. How they traveled around the desert. Jayden's trails and tribulations kept me at the edge of my seat. We learn that her betroth (Horeb) is a serial killer of sorts. Jayden still tries to do right by her Family but slowly feels drawn to the stranger Kadesh. Horeb treats Jayden terrible and almost kills her. I didn't like the ending but I hope there is a 2nd book to follow PLEASE!!!!
9 reviews
September 10, 2014
Where to start... This book was awesome, if you want a book that's like no other YA book that's out right now, it's this one. Pick one up and read it. The book is so different than anything thing else that's out there. I just finished it and can't wait to read the next one to see what will happen to Jayden.
May 16, 2018
Have you ever wondered what the forbidden feels like? Maybe you should check out the book Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little.

The author of this book is Kimberley Griffiths Little. Kimberley has written over a dozen more books. Some are teen fiction but others are mainly romance. They aren’t like the regular romance that has you cringing because there is smut going on but it’s kinda like a shy romance. The author doesn’t give away any information about the book within the preface. The author mainly gives a little background information before it jumps into the story. Honestly, I think the author could have made this book without an introduction or preface and it still would have been an amazing read.

The arrangement of this book is strange. Sometimes there are chapters and then there are sections within the chapters. I find it fascinating on how the author didn’t get confused. The book jacket caught my attention from the way the colors decided to come together to make the book seem interesting. There are no pictures or maps within the story, even though I wish there was. It would make it more sense with where the characters are going or where they are at.

There is one main character that the story’s point of view stands under. The other characters are important to this story but not enough to where we get to see their side of it. The characters help the story move forward. It’s what makes it interesting, all of these characters doing their own thing. I love the way how even though the story was from one point of view the whole time she still made it seem as if the others in the story we're telling it too. The main theme that stands out is the need to try and keep things the same. Even though in this story everything around the characters is changing they still want it to stay as it always was. No one is better than anyone else and all of that. Another theme is how people are careful to love and when you do it’s so unexpected. In this story, I did not get how this girl could love a guy that was a complete stranger.

Kimberley Griffiths style is more toward romance. Not like the smutty romance but more of the fact that the characters have crushes on each other far away type. Forbidden is meant for young adults. This book has a mature level of reading because it talks about things that most children wouldn’t understand or know if they haven’t been taught or through it. For Forbidden you have to have experienced some of these things to know. Like your mother dying and it feels like you can’t breathe, your chest hurts so bad and you just want God to take you home because you don’t think you can handle this kind of pain type of experience.

In conclusion, the main idea of this book is to stick to what you were taught. The main character goes throughout life following what she has been taught to follow but her sister, on the other hand, decides to move away from the culture that has kept the tribe together for so long. When the main character hears of her sister doing this stuff she kinda freaks out because if you get caught then you’ll get kicked out. The way that this story tells this is really interesting and good. It keeps the reader hooked on the story and there is never a boring part. I didn’t agree with the fact that girls couldn’t wear what they wanted to wear or they were considered harlots. The main girls' sister wore a sheer dress that outlined her curves and was in red, which is very forbidden among the tribe. The men thought that they were above women and that they could get whatever they wanted and no one could tell them any different. I think that the author did an amazing job of explaining everything very well. Including the fact that girls stayed with their fathers until they were married off. The reason why I gave this book five stars because it is written exceptionally well. The story flows all of the ways through without any bumps.

October 31, 2014
Historical fiction, even if it isn't YA, isn't one of my favorite genres. I normally tend to stay away from them, but I just couldn't stay away from this one. It wasn't just the beautiful cover that caught my attention, the unique and summary were to blame for that one. I loved the world that the author created in Forbidden. It was captivating and had an almost magical feel to it, but it was also harsh and brutal. I wasn't aware that this was part of a trilogy when I first started reading it, but luckily I found out before I finished reading it which helped me better prepare for the cliffhanger ending. The world of Forbidden was my favorite part of the book. I loved reading about their traditions, their customs and their faith, even if I didn't agree with them. I was fascinated with their outlook on their dancing rituals and how it was like a prayer for them.

Jayden only has a few months left before her arranged marriage to Horeb, Jayden is torn between honoring her family's choice and following her heart. She knows she doesn't love Horeb and she doesn't think she ever could, but breaking her brothel would bring shame to her family. When it's time for her tribe to move to a new location, Jayden and her family encounter Kadesh in the desert. A stranger from a land further away than any of them knew possible and who seems to connect with Jayden, no matter how hard they try to fight their feelings. I loved how slow their relationship was, and although the forbidden aspect of it drove me crazy sometimes (it's absurd to think that a women can't simply be with who she loves), that same aspect was one of the factors that made their relationship so special. At a time when it was dangerous for Jayden to even be alone with another guy, each stolen look and touch felt that much more important and it had a beautiful and seductive quality to it that I loved. But of course, with forbidden love comes the promise of danger and heartbreak, and Jayden and Kadesh have a long way to go before they can find a way to be together.

My biggest issue with this book was that it was very long. Now, this could be because of the fact that I just don't like long books in general. But, at almost 400 pages, I felt like some parts could have been weeded out. One thing I was not prepared for was how incredibly sad and depressing it was. From the very beginning, tragedy strikes Jayden's family, and from then on it's basically one instance of heartbreak after another for poor Jayden. Towards the end of the book, I was like 'please no more sad stuff!' Especially with that ending. Despite how sad this book is, I still really enjoyed this book. It was very unique and I'm really looking forward to the next one. I'm glad to see that the release date isn't so far away (January 2015) and yeah, a vain part of me is dying to see the cover. Even if you're not a fan of Historical Fiction (like me), Forbidden is a beautiful book that you should definitely try out. Forbidden love, heartbreak and danger, what's not to love???

4 out of 5 stars!

Forbidden Mood Bord by nereyda1003

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