Posts Tagged ‘Karen Ann Hopkins’

Forever

Karen Ann Hopkins

foreverAll I want is my happily-ever-after. That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller. From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation.
If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose & Noah – a family, forever. But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.

I was thrilled when Karen Ann Hopkin’s package arrived in the post with a copy of ‘Forever’ in. I hurriedly finished off the book I was reading and got started. I had thoroughly enjoyed reading Karen’s previous two books in this Trilogy of complicated and forbidden love between Noah an Amish guy and Rose an ‘English’ girl. ‘Temptation’ and ‘Belonging’ had drawn me in and roused my curiosity in a world that is often hidden from the rest of us. We got to see inside the Amish community, see their rules and customs and follow Noah and Rose’s story as they fall hard and fast in love and seek to continue their relationship despite family and community opposition.

Part of the challenge for Noah and Rose is to remain committed to each other despite the odds and even though they are so young. I couldn’t help but root for them as I’d grown to very much like each of them as they dealt with so much along the way including their own doubts from time to time. It’s been good to see them mature as well, from being a bit selfish and childish in their attitudes at the beginning, to growing as people. Karen has developed their characters well and I enjoyed seeing that growth.
‘Forever’ brings a lot of change for Noah and Rose. I don’t want to give too much away but we do already know that Rose is pregnant and that these will be further testing times ahead for them. This is not going to be an easy time for Noah and Rose and yet it’s good to watch them remain steadfastly committed to each other.

There is heartbreak in this story and I want to warn you so you are prepared with the tissues. I wasn’t prepared for what happened and honestly this is the first time in a long time a story has made me sob into my pyjama sleeve! Tragedy changes everyone and often that tragedy causes others to think about their choices and what’s important. I’m glad to say that that having been through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with this story, there are changes that bring happiness… Whilst the ending is maybe a bit predictable, I’m not sure I’d have coped had it been too different!

I’m glad to have followed Noah and Rose’s story and think that although this is the end of the trilogy, there is enough potential storyline for them that it wouldn’t surprise me to see them pop up again one day…

Verdict: If you like your romance intense and emotional then this will not disappoint!

Publisher:Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Provided by author
Challenge:None
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Belonging

Karen Ann Hopkins

belongingRose became Amish so she could be with Noah, but is this where she really belongs?
‘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 Rose & Noah, together forever.
But not everybody believes this is where I belong’.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Temptation’(read my review here), Karen Ann Hopkin’s first book that introduces us to Rose and Noah and their blossoming young love with all it’s trials. In fact for Rose and Noah they have suffered and are suffering more trials than your average young couple as Rose is ‘English’ and Noah is Amish. Rose and Noah meet when Rose is new to the area, they fall quickly and hard for each other but face much opposition both from Rose’s protective family and Noah’s very traditional Amish community. At the end of Temptation we leave Rose and Noah in love and prepared to make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to be together. And to make this a possibility, Rose decides to join the Amish community.

I was very pleased to receive an advanced reader copy of ‘Belonging’ and pretty much devoured the book over a couple of days. Without wanting to give too much from the first book away, Noah is recovering from an accident and Rose has made a commitment to be part of the Amish community, leaving her father and brothers and moving in with an Amish family in order to learn their ways and to show them how much she is prepared to work to prove her love and commitment to Noah.

Rose’s dad and brother, whilst not happy with her decision gave their blessing, secretly safe they believe, in the knowledge that Rose will get a shock and come to her senses and not last more than a couple of weeks. Rose meanwhile is on a steep learning curve having been told that she will not be allowed to court Noah until she has become a member of the Amish church and that this will not happen until she’s had ample opportunity and time to learn their ways and become more like them.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Amish in this book. With Rose living with them, this community is where the story is mostly set and we get to read about all their activities; their services, feasts and different occasions. All the while Rose is fighting against her natural and very ‘English’ ways and desires and trying to fit in with the Amish as best as she can.

Rose makes begins to make friends among the girls and she begins to realise that not all Amish girls are sweet and innocent… Also she still has to deal with Ella Weaver who wants shot of Rose as she is interested in Noah for herself.

Noah meanwhile, is watching Rose and worrying about how she is settling, behaving and stressing over who she is becoming friends with and what sort of influence they will be. He soon finds out when the boys meet up with the girls in the middle of the night in the woods after a sleepover sneak out. As secrets are shared Rose discovers that while the Amish may project a particular image of purity and high moral standards, in fact there is a lot more going on that she realised and that one of her friends in particular has suffered horribly within the community.

Rose is coping with an awful lot considering her still very young years and is finding the change in lifestyle tough, especially as she misses her father and brothers. However she perseveres and eventually is able to join the church and is allowed to officially court Noah. But that doesn’t mean their happy ending is in sight. There is a lot more to happen to Rose and Noah yet.

I just loved this second book. From a kidnap, and misunderstanding between Rose and Noah, new relationships and creepy dealings with creepy Levi Zook which actually put Rose’s life in danger, I don’t want to give too many spoilers away but there is a lot going on and I couldn’t put the book down.

verdict: I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next chapter in Rose and Noah’s story.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Received from author
Challenge: None
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Interview with author Karen Ann Hopkins

We are delighted to welcome Karen Ann Hopkins, author of Temptation (read Lesley’s review here) and the continuation of Rose and Noah’s story , Belonging

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.

What inspired you to write Temptation, a story of forbidden love between Rose, an ‘English’ girl and Noah who is Amish?
When I bought a farm in the middle of an Amish community in northern Kentucky five years ago a steady stream of Amish teenagers began arriving to hang out at my arena. They enjoyed watching the non-Amish (English) kids ride horses and practice drill team maneuvers. Soon enough, all the teens were riding together and the interactions I witnessed among the mixed group stirred my imagination with the ‘what if’. Soon after Rose and Noah’s story was born.

Reading temptation, I was certainly able to feel Noah and Rose’s pain so deeply!
Have you seen this situation happen in real life or heard of other’s experiences?

Although Rose and Noah’s affair is strictly fictional, there have been a couple of young people who left my community to be with outsiders. In both instances they were girls and were subsequently shunned by their families.

If Temptation was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?
So many people have told me that they’d love to see this story on the big screen! It’s unique, yet has all the passion and action that most young adults are looking for in a movie experience. I would hope if that came to pass, they’d cast unknowns, although I envision Rose being similar to Selena Gomez in personality and cuteness.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing Temptation?
Researching the Amish culture was the most difficult aspect of writing Temptation. I wanted to keep it as accurate as possible to my own neighbors. Amish groups differ in rules, traditions and lifestyle from region to region. I was careful to incorporate only information that I personally observed or asked about in my own community.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Where do you write?
Some of my best writing comes when I’m sitting in my car waiting for my Amish neighbors to finish shopping. I drive the Amish sometimes and these are the moments when they open up and talk about their own feelings and experiences. I also do a lot of writing while at soccer practices and late into the night when the kids are in bed. I usually begin in a frenzy of writing and continue to the end without doing much editing. Then I go back and begin the painstaking job of fine tuning.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
If I’m in the house I’ll have a scented candle burning (usually an autumn scent, like pumpkin spice). A bowl of ice cream helps stimulate the creative juices too!

When you are not writing, what are your favorite things to do?
Horseback riding! I try to ride every day, but sometimes business gets in the way.

Do you have any secret ambitions?
I’d love to be in the position to open a riding stable that provided free riding instruction to kids who can’t afford the hobby and incorporate an equine rescue/adoption into the program. Horses have such a positive influence on young people’s lives and I really enjoy making a difference through the equine experience.

The Amish are known for plain living and shunning the use of mains electricity, cars and other forms of modern technology. What piece of modern technology would you find the most difficult to give up/ live without?
My SUV. Even though I LOVE to ride horses for fun and even enjoy riding in a buggy on occasion, the freedom that an automobile gives is one thing I’d truly miss. Otherwise, as far as basic comfort and entertainment goes, there are ways to get by without most modern technology.

In some Amish communities teens are allowed a period of time, prior to their baptism, when they are permitted to “run around”, taking part in activities and behaviors that would ordinary result in being shunned by their community.
You’re referring to rumspringa. My own community does not allow the practice and most others have a restricted version. I’ve seen how my young neighbors get around their lack of freedom though—they become very good sneaks. There have been many nights where Amish teens show up late in the night at my house to play video games or watch a movie with my sons.

What were you like as an adolescent? Did you give your parents sleepless nights or were you the model daughter?
I was a horse crazy girl, with a mild penchant for getting into trouble. Luckily, my parents provided me with a large amount of freedom at an early age, which gave me the ability to experience life fully and learn to make important decisions.

The Amish philosophy is centered on the rejection of pride and arrogance and the promotion of humility, calmness and composure.
What would you consider to be your best and worst personality traits?

My best and worst trait is the same—stubbornness. There are just certain things I don’t budge on and I’ve had both difficulty and success because of it.

The rejection of pride, including vanity and the high regard placed on modesty is manifested by the regulated clothing and hairstyles, recognized the world over the world as distinctively Amish.
In the UK the majority of schools impose a uniform policy, the purpose of which is to avoid distinctions among children and promote equality.
What are your thoughts on the importance of this verses a teen’s right to express their own individuality?

It’s beneficial to many families for an imposed uniform policy since it gives equal footing for all students, especially the ones who can’t afford to buy trendy clothes and shoes. But for my own children, I’d rather they have the freedom to express their individuality. When teens leave their school days behind, they are thrust into a world full of distinctions among people. Discovering themselves earlier on is the key to confidence, direction and success. I’m a homeschool mother of five children and my personal convictions about parent and student freedom is paramount in my world.

I can see the advantage of this regulation and eschewing of modern technology- No embarrassing photographs featuring disastrous haircuts and questionable fashion sense. Mine include an unfortunate perm from the 90’s!
What is disastrous for one child might be amazing to another. Teaching young people tolerance of everyone’s tastes is important in developing a kind and understanding populous.

Please describe (or better yet share the pictures!) your most cringe worthy fashion faux pas
In the early morning when I go out to the barn to feed the horses and other farm animals, I’m usually wearing sweatpants, muck boots and an oversized flannel jacket with too many holes to count. I wouldn’t allow anyone to photograph me in such a state, but I’m quite comfortable.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’m writing the third book in the Rose and Noah series and also working on an adult Amish mystery. The mystery shows a much grittier, darker side of Amish society.

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.

Karen has kindly provided a copy of Temptation to give away to one lucky international reader.

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Temptation

Karen Ann Hopkins

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 and Noah, forever, easy. But it won’t be. Because he’s Amish. And I’m not.

I’ve always been curious about the Amish and their way of life. I envy their simplicity whilst knowing I could never really live that kind of life, especially with all those rules and restrictions! So I leapt at the chance to read newly published ‘Temptation’ a story of forbidden love between Amish boy Noah and ‘English’ girl Rose. Rose is sixteen and her mother has passed away during the last year. Along with her father, a busy doctor, and her two brothers, the family move away from the city and out into the countryside for a fresh start and move to Meadowview, near an Amish community.

Rose and Noah meet almost straight away as they are neighbours and their attraction is instant. I very much liked Rose and Noah. Their characters were well developed and I found myself rooting for them although it seems like a hopeless situation, and being annoyed at them occasionally too! It was interesting to seeing the situation from each of their viewpoints as the chapters are told alternately by each of them. Rose is sixteen. She is young, headstrong and passionate and yet naive and simplistic in her understanding of the complexities of the Amish community. Noah, at just a couple of years older seems more mature than his years, having had to grow up and take on responsibilities from an early age.

I enjoyed learning about the Amish way of life and following Rose and Noah as they navigate their way through their forbidden romance, sneaking off to see each other and agonising over how it will work out. It got difficult for both of them as Noah believes there is no other way than for Rose to become Amish and join their community, but Rose believes that she can persuade him to ‘turn English’ i.e. to leave the community for a life of freedom. They have high expectations of each at times, their overwhelming desire to be together seems to throw common sense out of the window and I kind of wanted to shake them a bit. I didn’t expect their story to work out the way it did. I’d imagined it was all going to go horribly wrong – and certainly lots does but even at their tender age true love seems to win through…or so we think. There is a sequel to this book coming out so we can follow Rose and Noah’s story.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out.

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 383
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: Debut Author
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