Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Temptation: Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Temptation is a novel I very much enjoyed recently so I'm happy to have Karen over on the blog today for a quick guest post on the Amish culture. We've also got 2 fabulous giveaways going on. First, let's have a look at my review!

Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: Temptation, #1
Release date: June 26th, 2012
by Harlequin

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.
*A copy was provided by HarlequinTEEN for review purposes*

The Amish fascinate me. Really, they do. Their rules, their beliefs, their antifeminist ways; a lot of if it actually seems kind of ridiculous, but regardless if you consider them as a cult, or counterculture religion, I can't see anyone not being intrigued by their ways. This is a novel about love: Forbidden love. A love so authentic that I found myself at the mercy of a burning restlessness at thoughts of their relationship's imminent unraveling and collapse.

The relationship that Rose and Noah have is just as wonderful as it is frustrating. It's also genuine; how they deal with each other's different belief system is convincing. Told in a dual perspective, we not only get to see firsthand how they both feel about each other, we also get to understand how they reason their actions, both of them having two contrasting ways of life. This is especially important for Noah's character; I often felt frustrated towards him to tell you the truth, and I'm sure a lot will share this feeling. His antifeminist ways, his controlling nature, his selfish behaviour - in any other circumstances I would have loathed him. Loathed!. However, one can't blame someone for their beliefs due to a culture that is so different from our own. A lot of things that seem absurd to us are simply their way of life to them. The whole Amish culture, very foreign and old fashioned, can seem exaggerated towards certain aspects; even though I may not agree with how Amish woman are treated, I understand that that is how they are raised. Thus, I do not begrudge Noah for his upbringing. Besides, you can see that Noah is a truly nice, kind person who cares immensely for Rose. He's likeable. He's frustrating, but he's likeable. Funny, huh?

Rose is just a naive teenager who fell for the Amish boy. She's the girl next door - in the proverbial and literal sense. She's caring, sweet, naive at times, but what really wins me over is how she thinks for herself. No matter how emotional she becomes, she' s not blinded by love - at least not foolishly. She thinks of her own well being, giving a lot of thought to her final decision. Even though I don't completely agree that it was a smart decision, it's easy to understand with a connection that is so thoroughly felt between her and Noah. Their chemistry is palpable, their love unmistakable; a story of forbidden romance needs these elements to work, and I can assure you I was completely mesmerized by their requited love.

The romance is at the heart, but there are other aspects that make this novel compelling. The family dynamics between Rose and her brothers, Rose and her father, and the Amish community, are all beautifully captured. There is also a scene with a pained horse that I know will stick with me.

I came into this with no expectations and finished feeling completely satisfied. We do have the formulaic forbidden romance story, but the journey is wonderfully compelling, becoming highly emotional with an interesting ending. There will be a sequel, and I'm extremely curious to see how this will… work out.

4 Hot Espressos

Guest Post by Karen Ann Hopkins
Karen Ann Hopkins’ debut novel TEMPTATION (July 2012, Harlequin TEEN), focuses on an Amish community in America:

Overall, the Amish culture is mesmerizing on many levels. The fact that it's a growing culture, indicates that most of the children raised in these large families are choosing to remain in the culture they were born to, instead of opting out for a more convenient way of life. Seeing the buggies trekking up the road in front of my house is the most baffling of all. Although I, myself own seventeen horses and enjoy using them as recreational transportation, I can hardly imagine life without my SUV. And to think, there are generations of Amish people living out there who've never pressed the gas pedal before. Every day, I find new questions to ask my neighbors. Sometimes I get a straightforward answer and other times the randomness of an answer or complete avoidance of the question reminds me that I'll never fully understand the culture...and maybe that's one of the things that intrigues me the most about the Amish. 

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.

 This post is a part of:

Full tour schedule:
Monday, June 25th - Ravenous Reader
Tuesday, June 26th - Xpresso Reads
Wednesday, June 27th - Harlequin Blog
Friday, June 29th - Page Turners
Monday, June 2nd - Evie Bookish
Wednesday, July 4th - I Like These Books
Friday, July 6th - The Cozy Reader

Giveaway 1
As part of the blog tour, one finished copy of Temptation was provided for giveaway

Open to US/Canadian addresses
Giveaway ends July 2nd, 2012
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter

Giveaway 2 
Harlequin Romance Pack Blog Tour Grand Prize
Open to US/Canada addresses

1 copy of TEMPTATION by Karen Ann Hopkins, 
1 copy of SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington, 
1 copy of INSIDE by Maria V. Snyder, 
1 pair Harlequin socks, 
1 red Harlequin bag, 
1 large Harlequin notebook,
1 small Harlequin notebook
1 pack of 3 Harlequin notepads 

How to enter:
Enter daily tour giveaways! All giveaway entries for Giveaway 1 will also count as entries into the Grand Prize. Therefore, make sure to visit all the stops on the tour for more giveaways that will get you more entries into the grand prize!
(Tour schedule found above)