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

Meet Ella MacKenzie from Victoria Roberts’ To Wed a Wicked Highlander and Giveaway!

Please give a warm welcome to Ella MacKenzie, feisty heroine of Victoria Roberts latest release To Wed A Wicked Highlander.  After the interview, enter for a chance to win a copy of To Wed a Wicked Highlander!

[Manga Maniac Café]  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Ella MacKenzie] First, thank ye so much for having me here today. ?Tisnae often I’m asked to speak to people from the outskirts of Glengarry. Ciamar a tha sibh? For ye non-Gaelic speaking folk, I asked how ye were today.

Mmm…back to the matter at hand. If I had to describe myself in five words or less, I’d have to say that I’m the adventurous type.

[Manga Maniac Café]  Can you share a typical day in the life of Sybella MacKenzie?

[Ella MacKenzie] Ye can usually find me in the garden with Aunt Iseabail tending to the flowers and pulling weeds. I find the task soothes the soul. And when I’m nae in the garden, I’m probably hunting with my bow or riding to the loch. Aunt Iseabail’s mind still comes and goes so I try to stay close to home.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What three words come to mind when you think of Alex?

[Ella MacKenzie] Kind, compassionate, and aye, sometimes infuriating.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What do you find most exasperating about him?

[Ella MacKenzie] I tell the man something once and he doesnae listen. For instance, I told him many times that I am a superior rider. What does he do? He gives me a quiet mount that is more suited for Aunt Iseabail. I had to look twice to make certain the poor beast wasnae dead. In the end, he realized what I said to be true, but if he would’ve only listened to me in the first place…Men. Stubborn lot.

[Manga Maniac Café]  If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Ella MacKenzie] I would’ve ne’er let Alexander kiss me at the waterfall when we were young. I should’ve known better because the boy was arrogant even then. And he was a MacDonell. What did I expect? I honestly didnae know what was I thinking at the time. If my brother had come down and seen a MacDonell’s lips upon mine, there would’ve been a bloody war. But I was young and didnae know any better.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Ella MacKenzie] An escort. Someone has taken aim at me a few times in the woods and Alex insists I have a chaperone—although the man knows I can take care of myself.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What do you like to do when you aren’t spying on your new husband and his family?

[Ella MacKenzie] I find spying to be such a harsh word. I ne’er spied on Alex, Aunt Iseabail, Rosalia or Ciaran. I merely searched for my clan’s seeing stone. I actually do enjoy their company. Sometimes Rosalia and I poke fun at the men. That is always a good time.

[Manga Maniac Café]  Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Ella MacKenzie] MacDonell and MacKenzie as one.

Mòran taing for having me here today. If Alex and I were to travel out of Scotland, do ye recommend a place for us to visit? Victoria just reminded me that Sourcebooks will give away one copy of To Wed a Wicked Highlander to a lucky commenter.

(US and Canada only, please)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book:

She always wanted to be one of the boys…

Sybella would do anything to prove she’s just as valuable to the MacKenzie clan as her brother is. She’d go on any hunt, take any dare. But her father has a different sort of mission in mind: marriage. It’s simple, he explains. All she has to do is marry Alexander MacDonell and report back on his family’s secrets. It will be easy, he says, as long as she doesn’t do anything foolish…like fall in love.

Until she got a man

As laird of the MacDonells, Alex has a duty to produce an heir. It’s a duty he won’t mind with the lovely Ella as his wife?even if she is one of the dreaded MacKenzies. He’s wooed and won many ladies, but Ella is a challenge like no other. He can tell she’s holding something back. But not for long. Because inch by inch, he plans to expose everything she’s been hiding and claim the ultimate prize: her heart.

Praise for To Wed a Wicked Highlander:

Reviewer Top Pick

“Victoria Roberts knocked it outta the ballpark with this one!!! It is Highland romance at its best, loaded with likable characters, and an engaging plot with lots of angst and heartache that put a few tears in this reader’s eye. It was so good that I couldn’t put it down.”

?Night Owl Reviews

Reviewer Top Pick

“Roberts has created the baddest boy of the Highlands for her third in her series. This action-packed romance has everything Roberts’ fans adore: a strong heroine who meets her match in a to-die-for hero, deception, betrayal, love and redemption. To Wed a Wicked Highlander has all the elements that make readers sigh with pleasure.”

?RT Book Reviews

About Victoria Roberts:

Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as "one of the most promising debut authors across the genres" and was also a 2012 Reviewers Choice nominee for Best First Historical for Temptation in a Kilt.

X Marks the Scot and To Wed a Wicked Highlander (Bad Boys of the Highlands #2 and #3) were reviewer TOP PICKS, and the first of Victoria’s new Royal Rebellion series is scheduled for release fall 2014.  
Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine Celtic Guide. 
Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish romp, she enjoys reading, nature, and antiques. She also drags her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun.

Purchase/Links:

Sourcebooks: http://www.sourcebooks.com/store/to-wed-a-wicked-highlander.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wed-Wicked-Highlander-Victoria-Roberts/dp/1402270127/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1373572622&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-wed-a-wicked-highlander-victoria-roberts/1114828092?ean=9781402270123

Website: www.victoriarobertsauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/victoria.roberts.395

Celtic Guide: www.thecelticguide.com

Spotlight and Giveaway: Tempted in the Tropics by Tracy March

Tempted in the Tropics by Tracy March

About the book:

The only thing they agree on is the sultry heat between them.

Nothing’s more important to Paige Ellerbee than her struggling bakery, Sweet Bee’s. When Lane Anderson, the temporary new doctor hot enough to rival McDreamy, moves in next door, though, she’s sure things are looking up. Until he threatens her business in their first conversation.

Lane just wants to practice medicine responsibly—not argue with the flighty bakery owner next door. But when he finds himself traveling down to the Caribbean to play guitar for Paige’s best friend’s wedding, suddenly the sight of the blonde in a bikini eclipses the fact they can’t agree on anything. And as their vacation romance grows, his reservations about starting something after getting burned by love are washed away like sand on the beach.

But once Paige and Lane land back home, will these polar opposites be able to forgive their feud and find lasting love?

Early Praise:

“This is a terrific book! The storyline is fresh, modern and engaging. This is a fast-paced read the flows fluidly from beginning to end. The author does an excellent job of creating sexy seduction scenes that sizzle with heat.” – LJT on Goodreads

“Oh. My. Gosh. I so loved Tempted in the Tropics by Tracy March. It was entertaining from start to finish with the perfect blend of romance, laughter, and passion.” – Amy on Goodreads

About the author:

Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.

Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.

Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA. They recently spent two years living in Washington D.C., and enjoy visiting often—especially when the Nats are in town.

Buy links:

 B&N | Kobo Books

Tracy’s links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Giveaway!

Tropics Beach Bling prize pack including a charm bracelet, ring and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card.

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Spotlight and Giveaway! Flirting with Danger by Claire Baxter

 

Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter

About the book:

To be together is dangerous. To stay apart is impossible.

Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one’s more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend’s wedding. Jasmine knows she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing’s more important to her than her job.

Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there’s something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it’s not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It’s their hearts.

About the author:

Claire Baxter writes contemporary romantic fiction of all lengths. Her short stories have been published in commercial women’s magazines around the world, while her novels have been translated into 20 languages, and have finalled in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award, the Booksellers’ Best Awards, the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and the Cataromance Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.

Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than 20 years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide’s beautiful metropolitan beaches where she loves to walk and think up stories.

Buy links:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo Books

Claire’s links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway