Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brutally frank look at one of the most racially charged moments in the history of the United States.  Sarah Dunbar is a teenager, and she’s one of the first black students to attend a traditionally white school in the south.  Sarah is a bright girl with a promising academic future – until her parents enroll her Jefferson High School.  She faces opposition every day, and the honor student’s schedule is full of remedial classes, because the school administrators don’t want these new, unwanted students holding back the rest of the class.  The white students don’t want her there, their parents don’t want her there, and even the faculty looks the other way as she is tormented daily. 

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Review: Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins

 

 

Contain Spoilers

Review:

Let the Drama Fest begin!  And, sadly, end, in the last book of Karen Ann Hopkins’s series of forbidden love.  Rose and Noah make so many poor decisions, cause so much misery for themselves, but I can’t help but hope that they find a path to happiness.  Both of them have lied, acted in ways that they know is wrong, and I still sympathize with them.  Their families, and Noah’s community, conspire to keep them apart, when all they long for is to be together.  Because both are young and willful, they are determined to find a way to be together, even with so much opposition to their relationship.  After tragedy strikes, Noah realizes that life is too short to allow his community to drive him away from Rose, and he leaves the Amish church.  Will he be happy in the English world?

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Meet Rose from Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins and Giveaway!

 photo Forever_Banner_zps8e894271.jpg

 

 

I am so excited to be part of Karen Ann Hopkins’ Forever blog tour! This series has been like crack for me.  I love all of the angst and all of the drama!  Today I’m going to introduce you to Rose, and I’m going to ask her all kinds of questions about Noah and her new life with the Amish.  After, please enter the giveaway for a chance to win some really cool prizes!

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Rose. Can you describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rose] Spunky, tenacious, loyal, persistent, athletic.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you share a typical day in your life?

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Spotlight and Giveaway–Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins



Stir Me Up
Release Date: 10/01/13
Harlequin Teen
 
Summary from Goodreads:
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She’ll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father’s French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami’s family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian’s all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami’s starting to feel. And Cami can’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He’s got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….
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Review: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

 

 

Title:  Belonging

Author: Karen Ann Hopkins

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

I left everything I knew behind.
But it was worth it. He was worth it.
No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren’t even allowed to see each other. Not until I’ve proven myself.
If I can find a way to make it work, we’ll be NOAH & ROSE together forever.
But not everybody believes this is where I belong


Review:

Belonging picks up right where Temptation left off.  Rose has just been introduced to her new Amish guardians, the Hershbergers, and she’s immediately confronted by the community elders.  They are an intimidating group of old men, and they warn that they will not tolerate any poor behavior from Rose.  If she’s going to court Noah, she has to work hard and prove herself to them.  Both Noah and Rose are disappointed that Rose will have a ramping up period before she’s allowed to join the church.  Until she’s an official member of the community and officially courting Noah, they aren’t allowed to be together. 

This is a soap opera on an epic scale.  Rose is so in love with Noah that she’s willing to give up her family to be with him, though she’s less than happy at the thought of being a drudge for the rest of her life.  She definitely irritated me, because even as she’s pretending to go along with her new way of life, she’s convinced herself that somehow she will coax Noah into leaving the Amish and becoming English for her.  I realize that she is young, and that she’s gotten everything she’s wanted to this point in her life, but I really wanted to shake her every time she thought about Noah abandoning his family for her.  He already explained that he is content with his life, that he enjoys the community, and that he is counting on the assistance of his family and friends to start his adult life with his new wife.  He made perfect sense to me, and his behavior remained comfortingly steady.

After Rose’s father discovers that she’s taken to the Amish way of life a little too well, he and Sam plot to kidnap her and send her off to live with her aunt in Cincinnati.  They both think that once she’s back in her old life, with her old friends, that she will forget about Noah.  To ensure that their plan is a success, they meddle even more, and turn Noah against her.  And this is where  I actually, finally, started to like Rose.  She didn’t forget about Noah, and she began to look back on her time with the Amish with fondness.  She made friends with them, life was a little more laid back, and there was her life with Noah to look forward to.  Sure, doing the laundry by hand sucks, and so did the constant cleaning and unending chores, but the community, for the most part, had been welcoming and encouraging of her efforts to belong with them.

As her time apart from Noah stretched on, Hunter resurfaced in her life.  I’ll be honest and say that love triangles aren’t my favorite trope.  Love triangles are probably one of the major reasons that I don’t read as much YA as I once did.  I just don’t find them that compelling.  If the heroine is that confused about who she wants to be with, she’s not ready to be with anyone yet.  Just hang out with both of them, because there is a lack of commitment for either guy and avoid all of the drama.  Since Rose thinks that Noah hates her, she doesn’t have a reason to not hang out with Hunter, and when he tells her how much he cares for her, she thinks that they might have a future together.  Good thing that Sam suddenly suffered from a guilty conscience, thanks to Rose’s friend Summer, and he comes clean to Noah about how he interfered in their relationship.  Hunter is a great guy and all, but compared to Noah, he’s boring and shallow, and a huge pushover whenever Rose so much as smiled at him.

I enjoyed Belonging better than Temptation, though I had the same reservations about Rose.  The novel is character driven, and we have the addition of Sam’s POV this time around.  He is just as over indulged and spoiled as Rose; probably more so, as he’s made himself a reputation of loving and leaving countless high school girls and their broken hearts in his wake.  Even though I didn’t necessarily like him, his POV still made for engaging reading.  The drama, drama, drama at times is overwhelming, but I couldn’t put my Kindle down.  Every emotion and setback is huge and over the top, and made me want to see how Rose, Noah, and Sam would handle these conflicts tossed at them throughout the book.  The ending is a huge cliffhanger, and made me want Forever, the next book in series, RIGHT NOW!  I am so curious to see how everything plays out.  Will Rose leave her modern life behind, and embrace a life with Noah,in his Amish community?  I would have a really hard time giving up my electric gadgets, so I’m dying to see how this series ends.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by Kismet Blog Tours

About Karen Ann Hopkins

Blog | Goodreads | Facebook

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

Kismet Book Touring

Review: Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins and Giveaway!

 

 

Title:  Temptation

Author: Karen Ann Hopkins

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Your heart misleads you.
That’s what my friends and family say.  
But I love Noah. 
And he loves me.  
We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms.
It should be  
ROSE & NOAH
forever, easy. 
But it won’t be. 
Because he’s Amish. 
And I’m not.


Review:

I am a fan of forbidden love stories, especially if the major obstacle is cultural.  When I saw the tour invite for Temptation and Belonging, I quickly signed up.  I wondered how Rose and Noah would find their HEA when so many road blocks stand in their way. Their families are against their relationship, so much so that Noah’s parents are willing to send him away to live with relatives in Pennsylvania.  They want  to split them up and force him to find a more suitable wife among his own kind.  I was wondering if Rose would give up her privileged life to be with Noah.  I know that I would have a hard time letting go of my electronics and gadgets, so I hope the zombie apocalypse is a long time in coming (at least until my Kindle is solar powered).

I am not sure how I feel about Temptation.  It’s a compelling YA romance, but I thought the resolution was over simplified.  Rose and her family have just moved from Cincinnati to a more rural part of Ohio, and after meeting Noah, she is smitten.  So is he.  Neither has met anyone like the other, and neither can stop themselves from thinking about the other.  Noah has never met a girl as wild and outspoken as Rose, and she fascinates him, unlike the Amish girls he’s expected to pick a bride from.  Rose finds Noah gorgeous, and she’s impressed by his maturity. 

Noah is a guy who knows exactly what he wants out of life; a loving wife, a large family, and his own land to work.  He loves his way of life and can’t imagine living any other way.  After he and Rose fall for each other, he’s determined to convince her to convert.  Though I hate to admit it, his reasons for her converting as opposed to him made a whole lot of sense.  His community would help them build a house, his parents would give him some land, and he would continue to work for the family business.  Those opportunities just would not be there if he left the Amish community.

Now, while I understood Noah’s thinking, my upbringing didn’t allow me to agree with it.  Rose would be giving up her dream of becoming a vet in order to marry Noah and start a family, far sooner than she ever imagined she would.  She would be joining a society where she would have little to no freedoms, and she would be giving up everything she owned.  I wouldn’t be able to do it, and I honestly don’t know many people who could.  Noah’s parents caution him, fearing that Rose will grow to resent him for giving up her former life.  I think he would have done himself, and Rose, a favor to have listened to them.

I enjoyed the alternating points of view, especially Noah’s.  The book was impossible to put down after the buggy accident, which was raw and emotional.  The end also left me conflicted. Rose still thinks she can get Noah to change for her, which made me think that her attempts to become Amish weren’t really sincere. Overall, this is an engaging story and I want to read the next book in the series.

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

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About Karen Ann Hopkins

Blog | Goodreads | Facebook

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

Cover Shot! Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

This cover gets a big old YUM!  I love this cover!  And Beth is such a flawed character, so Dare You To should be all about the angst.  What do you think of this cover?  Did you read Pushing the Limits?? Did you like it?

 

"I dare you…"
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….