Book Review: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

Belonging

Title: Belonging (Temptation #2)
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 432
Rating: 1.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

My Review:

Rose knows that what she has with Noah is forever. She’s given up her English ways and is willing to become a real Amish girl if it means she can be with Noah. Trading in her dancing shoes and family for a white bonnet and life without modern technology, Rose knows that things are not going to be easy. She has to impress the community Elders before the small close knit society will even consider letting Noah court Rose. But to be with the man she loves – Rose is sure all the change and sacrifice will be worth it.

This is was an interesting read for me because by the time I finished the novel, I wasn’t sure I liked any of the characters. Rose is trying to fit in with Amish society solely for Noah. She moves in with a family and learns the ways of the women – from cooking to cleaning, mending and social expectations – there is a lot for her to take in. With her formerly supportive family now behaving as if she has joined a cult and her interactions with Noah being severely limited due to dating customs, Rose is alone in a foreign world – one where she doesn’t even speak the language. I admired Rose for the choice she made to sacrifice a lot for love and Noah however I disagree with some of the decisions she made. Despite trying to toe the line as a good Amish girl, Rose still lives in the belief that she can change Noah and convert him to the English way of life. She uses her feminine wiles on him and goes as far as making vows to a church and a faith she doesn’t believe in. I understand that Rose is young (only sixteen/seventeen throughout this book), however I believe that is old enough to understand what she’s doing. She wants the world to take her relationship with Noah seriously however there are times when she acts incredibly childish and immature. Noah on the other hand is portrayed fairly badly throughout this book. The thing he loves most about Rose is the thing that he wants to change. He is unwilling to compromise regarding Rose and his Amish beliefs and I got the feeling that his main reason for wanting to be with Rose was to get her into bed. He does some pretty terrible things – goes as far as to potentially ruin an Amish girl’s entire life just as some kind of retaliation for how Rose made him feel. I could not believe that he was telling Rose to cut ties with her family and how he couldn’t stand Rose’s opinions and frequently kissed her to shut her up.

I was disappointed at how easily it was for Noah and Rose to give up on each other. For a love that was stronger than anything else in the world, it didn’t take much to break it. Rose’s family have seemed to have done a one-eighty since the first book. They were supportive of Rose and her choices and now they behave terribly and I don’t quite understand why. We do get to see some of Sam’s (Rose’s older brother) feelings about the situation from occasional chapters told from his point of view, but it felt fairly shallow (After two months of Rose living with the Amish, he continues to burst into laughter each time he sees her new clothing but apparently still wants her away from the cultists… it just didn’t quite feel authentic). Sam’s involvement with Rose’s new friend was an interesting turn of events however added little to the overall story.

I wanted to learn more about the Amish culture from this book however I felt like it wasn’t very well explored. I think the only things I learned were the clothes were dowdy, the weddings devoid of colour and the church services extremely long.

The author took a brave move with this book – she could have written another book about star-crossed lovers who always behaved perfectly and were flawless. But these characters all have their issues and in many ways that makes them more realistic. Everyone in this book makes mistakes and I admire the author for taking that route. There are a lot of problems that the characters in this book have to face and Noah and Rose have a tough road ahead of them.

The third book of the Temptation series, Forever,  was released last month and despite my problems with Belonging, I’m still eager to see what happens next. This book left us on a slight cliff-hanger and I’m curious as to the fallout in the Amish community and just how Noah and Rose compromise to find a happy ending.  

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Novella Review: All Over You by Beverley Kendall

Title: All Over You (Unforgettable You #1.5) – formerly know as Those Nights in Montreal (Language of Love #1.5)
Author: Beverley Kendall
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, New Adult 
Publisher: Season Publishing LLC
Publication Date: 6th May 2013
Pages: 138
Rating: 1.5. stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
An ex is an ex for a reason

To Rebecca Winters, it’s not just a saying or the title to a catchy tune, it’s a rule she staunchly lives by. Especially since the break up with her ex. What’s the point in trying to fix the “unfixable”? Besides, only a girl hell-bent on more heartbreak would go back to the guy who bailed on her when she needed him most. But saying no to Scott is becoming more difficult than surviving the breakup itself. And unfortunately for her, the kind of pressure he’s exerting is making her rule all too easy to break.

Scott Carver has given up trying to get over his ex. He’s still in love with her and their year apart has done nothing to change that. Yeah, he knows he screwed up. Just how royally, he wasn’t aware of until now. So when Becca agrees to give him a second chance, he grabs on to it with both hands. But it’s clear the only way things will ever truly be right between them is if he comes clean…about everything. He can only pray the truth doesn’t send her running—for good this time.

My Review:

After a bad break up 12 months ago, Rebecca Winters still wants nothing to do with her ex. Scott Carver. But unfortunately for her – he hasn’t given up on her. For the past month, Rebecca can’t go anywhere on campus without Scott turning up. One incident with a little too much to drink and the gorgeous and hard-to-say-no-to Scott, leaves Rebecca doing something she swore she would never do – giving him a second chance. Has Scott really changed? Or is he just going to end up breaking Rebecca’s heart again… and this time permanently.

I wanted to like this novella. I really did. I found Rebecca to be an effervescent character when she was first introduced in Only For You (formerly know as When In Paris) but somewhere in between Olivia’s story and now – she changed for me. In this story, Rebecca is the kind of girl who loves to play games – and I’m not even sure she knows she’s playing them. A person who thinks they’re low maintenance but in all reality they couldn’t be any more insecure or temperamental. She leads Scott on and then shuts him down, is jealous of his liaisons with other women and yet gets an almost perverse pleasure out of turning him away and messing with his emotions. Scott is a little flat and I don’t understand his motivation for wanting Rebecca. They don’t make sense as a couple and have some rather severe communication issues.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh on Rebecca. The relationship between her and Scott – whilst it doesn’t make sense to me why either party is interested in the other except for sheer sexual attraction – is full of obstacles and does reach a satisfying conclusion. Are they perfect for each other? Yes (but maybe that’s just because I don’t want anyone else to have to put up with either of them).

Despite all I’ve said – I enjoyed reading this book. It’s hot – like sizzling in parts! – but involves people who frustrate me to no end because of the games many people play in relationships.

NOTE: Due to language & sexual situations, recommended for readers 18+ yr.
Warning: The sensuality level of this short novel is high

Grab a copy now whilst it’s still free on Amazon!

Purchase from:

Amazon