“The Wayfarer Trilogy”–Review

511m9sm0mgl-_sx323_bo1204203200_-2Hello bloggers!  Although I’d read the last two books in the Wayfarer Trilogy awhile back, I’m happy for having the opportunity to finally read the first book, The Secret Language of Women, by Nina Romano.

Set in a war during the Boxer Rebellion in China, star-crossed lovers, Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, meet.  Because of superstition, history, and customs, Lian and Giacomo are separated yet try to find a way back to each other.  Then Lian is forced into marrying a man to whom she was promised long ago.  When she is forbidden from her profession as a healer, frowned upon by her unbound feet, and enduring her husband’s and in-laws’ demanding ways, Lian turns to Nushu, the women’s secret writing which expresses her hopes for the future.

When Lian realizes enough is enough, she embarks on her own quest for freedom—even if it will come with a costly price.  Not only does she risk everything in hopes of reuniting with Giacomo, she learns a lot more about herself along the way and what she’s willing to endure to be happy again.

I liked Giacomo and now that I’ve read his story, the next two books made a bit more sense to me.

51gnxdwxitl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Lemon Blossoms, the second book in the trilogy, takes place in Italy, where Angelica Domenico resides in a blossoming lemon grove on an island governed by volcanoes and earthquakes.  During an accident from her childhood, Angelica faces the importance of maintaining her purity.  She begins to question it all even more after she endures the trauma of her aunt’s death during a difficult childbirth.  Because of that, including her fear of intimacy, she decides she’s going to commit her life to the convent, even though her parents forbid it.

Things start to change, however, when Giacomo Scimenti stops by the family shop, leaving Angelica confused and afraid of her feelings toward him, including her future in the convent.

I liked this book, even more, especially when certain chapters mentioned some Italian recipes.  I hope to, one day, visit Italy.  Aside from that, it was a good story with likable characters.

51yi1la3zhl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The final book, In America, takes place in 1920s New York.  Marcella Scimenti—the daughter of the characters in the previous book—is young, beautiful, and ambitious.  The handsome neighborhood boy is in love with her, she has a large family, and she has dreams of moving to Hollywood to sing.  Although her parents forbid her to pursue a singing career, Marcella is willing to stick by her own stubborn ways and do what it takes.  During the economic depression, she learns the importance of friendships, promising suitors, and life as a modern working woman with certain expectations of her tradition-bound family.  Later on, Marcella’s fate is tested when she learns of a devastating family secret, leaving her to choose what is really important in life.

I’m happy for having the opportunity to read this trilogy and I loved some of the helpful advice Marcella was given in the third book.  It just left me thinking, “Wow.  I wouldn’t have thought of it that way.”  No spoilers, of course, so I’ll just encourage you to check out this wonderful trilogy.

Feel free to post your comments, of course.  Happy reading!

For more info on the author, click here.  Also, you can follow her on Twitter.

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“The Long Journey to Jake Palmer”–Review

410mbxgu66l-_sx322_bo1204203200_What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?

That’s an interesting question.  What if there was such a place?  And would you be willing to find it?  In this story, Jake Palmer is a corporate trainer who coaches people to see deeper into themselves, to motivate and provide inspiration to their lives.  The problem, however, is that Jake no longer practices what he preaches.  Recently divorced and after a near-death experience, Jake is discouraged with life.  Even after his seminars, he questions his own purposes, all the while feeling sorry for himself and just wanting to be left alone.

Although he’s not too excited about the idea, Jake agrees to meet his close friends at a lake-house for a ten-day vacation.  While he’s there, Jake is informed of the legend of Willow Lake, where a lost corridor leads to a place where one’s longings can be fulfilled, where their lives can be completely healed.  Jake’s not sure what to believe.  Although he considers the idea absurd, he still can’t help feeling tempted to find this corridor.  And when he meets a man who talks of particular beliefs of the corridor, Jake becomes determined to find this path, to find himself, and to have his life back.

This book is quite an inspirational read and I’m happy for having the opportunity to read and share this with you.  It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but it was great.  Some of the scenes where almost as if I’d stepped into a fantasy novel and I liked the creativity behind it.  Sometimes, no matter where we are in our lives, we all could use that little push.  I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just recommend you check it out.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker.  He is the author of the bestselling novel Rooms, as well as Book of Days, The Chair, the Well Spring Novels, and The Five Times I Met Myself.  He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.  You can visit his websiteTwitter, or Facebook.

“How to Live in Fear”–Review

_225_350_Book.1876.coverI’m a mess—but that doesn’t mean God isn’t good, He doesn’t care, or He is unable to change my situation.

In How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out, Pastor Lance Hahn talks about his current struggle with severe anxiety disorder, which he’s dealt with since he was six years old.  For unknown reasons, he’d constantly suffer panic attacks, usually at home, in school, during his sermons, etc.  Oftentimes, these attacks would lead to nausea, including fainting.  In this book, he uses empathy and patience with those who also deal with anxiety, and guides them through steps to coping with fear and panic attacks.  Not only does he guide his readers with coping, he teaches people to accept their feelings without giving in to them.  Despite the years of struggling with anxiety, Hahn has always believed God was on his side and still is.

Although this book isn’t really for me, I admit I like how honest the author is.  It’s a recommended read for those who know the pain of anxiety attacks.  Hahn isn’t one to suggest people pray and it all will go away.  Because he knows what to expect with his panic attacks, he advises people to take on healthy hobbies and activities to keep the mind occupied.  Diet and exercise is what he also recommends.

If you, readers, suffer from anxiety or know others who go through it, this book can be a guide for you.  Feel free to post your comments.

Happy reading!

FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Lance Hahn is the senior pastor of Bridgeway Christian Church in Roseville, California.  He is the host of the Ask Pastor Lance radio show, a conference speaker, and an adjunct professor.  He is married to Suzi, and they have two daughters, Jillian and Andie.

“The Opposite of Everyone”–Review

51SYNXP9TRL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Opposite of Everyone, by Joshilyn Jackson, is a story of love, betrayal, and family.

Paula Vauss is an independent divorce lawyer, in a successful practice in Atlanta, whose life revolves around shattered relationships.  Born in Alabama, she lived half of her life on the road with her free-spirited, hippie mother, Kai.  While constantly on the road, Kai told stories of Hindu mythology to reinvent her history with Paula.  It all changed, however, along with Paula’s birth name, Kali Jai, when Paula tells a story of her own—a story which lands her mother in jail and Paula in foster care.

Fifteen years have passed and the only contact Paula has with her mother involves her mother cashing Paula’s checks every month, checks which pay off the karmic debt Paula owes.  But that changes when Paula’s most recent check is returned, along with a note: “I am going on a journey, Kali.  I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end.  You will be the end.  We will meet again, and there will be new stories.  You know how Karma works.”

Just when she least expects it, Paula is surprised with one of her mother’s most treasured secrets, transforming Paula’s life from only child to big sister.  Desperate for more answers, Paula sets off on a journey to find her estranged mother and a journey that leads her back into her past.  With the help of her ex-lover, Birdwine, an emotionally unstable private detective, Paula must go from being an expert on shattering families to putting one back together again.

Even though I wasn’t too crazy about this story, I liked the narration.  Paula is definitely a fierce person, almost like a character you’d love to hate, in my opinion.  She’s emotionally unavailable, distant, yet she knows how to go after what she wants.  I also liked that the relationship with Paula and Birdwine wasn’t so predictable.  I was hoping for more toward the end of the story, however.  Honestly, I didn’t really care for the story’s constantly going back and forth with the past to present.  Aside from that, though, the idea of the story was good, so I encourage you to check it out.  I’d give it, at least, three stars.

The Opposite of Everyone will be available on February 16, 2016.

For more info on the author, click here.

Happy reading!

*I received this Advance Reader’s Edition from William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, for an honest review.

“The Adversary”—A Review

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Spiritual warfare is real.

And we are all involved whether we like it or not.  The Bible plainly tells us that Satan schemes against humanity and wants to devour us.  Daily we struggle against Satan’s strategies and his desire to take over God’s kingdom.  This battle will not go away, and ignoring it could be disastrous…

The Adversary: The Christian Versus Demon Activity, by Mark I. Bubeck, discusses the conflicts that many believers face today.  Oftentimes, they’ve asked themselves questions, such as:

  • What is Satan’s strategy in spiritual warfare?
  • Can a Christian be oppressed by demons?
  • What are the symptoms of demonic activity in a person’s life?
  • Can demonic affliction be passed down through family lines?

Throughout the book, Bubeck discusses spiritual warfare, as well as how to defeat your own demons when facing everyday struggles.  In Chapter 6–Understand and Don’t Be Afraid–the author discusses the topic of demonic possession.  This includes topics on demonic oppression, demonic obsession, willing possession, and unwilling possession.  Many people do believe in demonic possession, and some do not.  As interesting as the topic was, there was a particular passage in the chapter that I didn’t really agree with, however.  It read: “It is my conviction that no believer can be possessed by an evil spirit in the same sense that an unbeliever can.  In fact, I reject this term altogether when talking about a believer’s problem with the powers of darkness.  A believer may be afflicted or even controlled in certain areas of his being, but he can never be owned or totally controlled as an unbeliever can.”  We all are entitled to our opinions, but how can a nonbeliever really be controlled by something that doesn’t exist to him or her?

I’m not here to argue about this topic.  Honestly, this book isn’t for me–I’m not a religious person–but I think this is a recommended book for those who are interested in the topic of spiritual warfare.  Also, it may be beneficial for those who are looking for a particular self-help book.  Feel free to check it out and post your comments.

FTC Disclosure: I received this free copy from Moody Publishers for an honest review.  The opinions are based on my own experience.

“Unstoppable”—A Review

Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving.  It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents, your purpose, and most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action, by Nick Vujicic, provides inspirational stories of Nick’s hardships.  Because he was born without arms and legs, he had to overcome the many obstacles and trials to get where his is today.  Just when he thought that he’d hit rock-bottom, he realized that having faith in himself was going to make him a stronger person.  Not only did having faith guide him on a daily basis, his passion for helping others made him a better person.

Throughout the book, Nick guides the readers on how to achieve their own success and happiness, as well as how to start believing in themselves.  He also discusses topics, such as:

  • Personal crises
  • Relationship issues
  • Career and job challenges
  • Health and disability concerns
  • Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions
  • Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance
  • Imbalance in body, mind, heart, and spirit
  • Feeling out of control

It was over a year ago that I was introduced to one of Nick’s YouTube videos and I really enjoyed his speech.  He was funny and I enjoyed his positive energy.  As for this book, I did enjoy reading it.  I, especially, was interested in the topic of bullying and the effects it can have on people, as well as the fact that awareness of bullying needs to be addressed.  Bullying not only occurs in schools, it occurs everywhere else, such as in the home and the workplace.

One of the passages that I really liked is where Nick says: “Many people struggle to find meaning and direction in their lives. They question their value because they aren’t clear on how they can contribute or make a mark. Maybe you haven’t identified where your talents and interests lie. It’s not uncommon to cast about trying one thing or another before identifying your life’s calling. Changing course several times is increasingly common. I encourage you to identify whatever it is that fulfills you and engages all your gifts and energy…Be patient if it takes time to find your way. Know that timing is important and that as long as you hold a true passion in your heart, it will not fade. Understand that even passions can come with risk.”

Nick’s advice is to always put your “faith into action” and to believe in the power of prayer.  Although I’m not a religious person, I do enjoy an inspirational story, on occasions.  I’d recommend this book for anyone who is looking for an inspirational story for self-improvement, success, etc.  The topics in this story can really benefit others.

For the author’s info, click the link Unstoppablebelow:

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=107506

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books, for this review.

“The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring”—A Review

The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Art of Purring

What makes you purr?

Of all the questions in the world, this is the most important.  It is also the great leveler.  Because no matter whether you are a playful kitten or a sedentary senior, a scrawny alley Tom or a sleek-coated uptown girl, whatever your circumstances, you just want to be happy.  Not the kind of happy that comes and goes like a can of flaked tuna but an enduring happiness.  The deep-down happiness that makes you purr from the heart.

This book is the sequel to The Dalai Lama’s Cat.  In The Dalai Lama’s Cat, we remember the main character as a starving, mud-smeared kitten that is left for dead in the slums of New Delhi.  Fortunately, she is rescued and taken to her new home in the Himalayas, where her new life begins as the Dalai Lama’s cat.  She becomes known as HHC—His Holiness’s Cat.  Throughout the story, HHC, including the reader, learns what it means to seek true happiness and Enlightenment, regardless of the fact that we are in a world of materialism.

In The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring, the Dalai Lama is set to do a teaching tour in America on a temporary basis.  Before he leaves, however, he provides a challenge for HHC.  The challenge is for HHC to discover the true cause of happiness.

There was a particular passage that I’d made a note of for safe-keeping.  The passage read:

If any object, achievement, or relationship was a true cause of happiness, then whoever had such a thing should be happy.  But no such thing has ever been found.  What’s saddest of all is that if we believe that our happiness depends on something we don’t currently have, then we can’t be happy here and now.  Yet here and now is the only time we can be happy.  We can’t be happy in the future; it doesn’t yet exist.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book.  It’s quite an inspirational story.  As I may have mentioned in my previous post, I’m not at all familiar with Buddhism.  However, I loved the great advice that the main characters provided.  I encourage you to pick up a copy.  Feel free to let me know what you think.

For more information on the author, David Michie, click here.

FTC Disclosure: I received this free copy from Hay House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are based on my own experience.