“Definitions of Indefinable Things”–Review

51GZ8uMd5rL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“My name’s Reggie. I’m seventeen. My worldview is that we’re all spiraling toward a vast and gaping obscurity we can’t escape, and if we’re lucky, we’re doing so alone. Also, I despise you. And by you, I mean the general human population.”

Reggie Mason believes that, as long as she doesn’t let anyone in, she can’t get hurt. It’s become her defense mechanism. During a quick trip to CVS to pick up her Zoloft prescription, she meets Snake, who happens to be waiting at the pharmacy for his Prozac refills. When Reggie actually lets Snake into her life, she seems to have mixed feelings for him. After all, Snake is smug, arrogant, and he can be a bit too forward. Needy, perhaps. He has an addiction to Twizzlers. And he’s an aspiring film-maker who wants to include Reggie in his work-in-progress. That’s just about everything that makes him attractive.

As the two get to know each other more, it isn’t long before Reggie finds out that Snake has an ex-girlfriend, Carla Banks—a popular queen bee and ex-childhood friend of Reggie’s—who is seven months pregnant. Now that the three of them are in each other’s lives, they endure an awkward journey of mental breakdowns, lame shopping trips, disappointed parents, boring proms, and one embarrassing birthing class. Throughout that journey, Reggie has to get to the bottom of everything that has led to her depression, and that even though—to her—people can be scary, they’re worth having in her life.

This story was worth the read, in my opinion. Oftentimes, I’d get annoyed with Reggie because of her constant mixed feelings toward Snake. She hated him, yet she loved him. He’d summon her and she’d go running to him, even though she swore they weren’t anything to each other. But I think that’s what made the story interesting. They both were struggling with their own problems and were in search of happiness, as well as trying to figure out what happiness was. If you love YA, check out this book.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*Definitions of Indefinable Things will be available on April 4, 2017.

*I received this copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Whitney Taylor is an English and psychology major from Virginia, who likes to pretend she is a supermodel from New York City. This is her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter. For more info on the author, click here.

“The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition”–Review

51AXd5ixNpL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Great advice for any relationship.

In The 5 Love Languages, the reader learns how to give and receive love in different types of love languages, which helps their relationships—not just romantic relationships—to grow.  I’ve never read the original book; however, it’s been recommended to me.

The singles edition describes the 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.  Each chapter will help the reader:

  • Understand themselves and others better
  • Relate to others more confidently
  • Grow closer to family and friends
  • Discover the missing ingredient in past relationships
  • Date more successfully.

This book is definitely helpful for those who would like to learn the love languages of their family members, friends, significant others, etc.  Not sure what your love language is, no problem.  The book includes a quiz to reveal your language.  In fact, I still need to take the quiz.  And if you’ve ever been curious about online dating, there’s a section in the back of the book giving the pros and cons.  This was worth the read, in my opinion.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Moody Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Gary Chapman is an author, speaker, and counselor, who has a passion for helping people form lasting relationships.  He is the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc.  Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations.  For more info on the author, click here.

“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.

“The Taste of Air”–Review

416syijurlIt all changes with a phone call.

Nell Williams, a wife and full time mother, receives a phone call regarding her mother, Mary Ellen Reilly.  While Mary is supposed to be residing in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, apparently she’s been in a hospital in Vermont.  Confused by this new information, Nell contacts her sister, Bridget, and hops on a plane to Vermont.  By the time the sisters arrive, they learn that Mary has been seriously ill and is barely capable of speaking, so getting any information is going to be a lot more difficult.

While they’re there, the sisters eventually learn that Mary has been living another life, with a cottage of her own and a connection to two men—including the local residents—who claim to have known Mary for years.  But who are they to Mary?  And is it possible that they’re connected with Nell and Bridget?

During their stay in their mother’s hideaway, Nell and Bridget start to uncover more secrets from Mary’s past, leading them to question their own lives and decisions for the future.

I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to read this book.  Each chapter contained many surprises and it left me wanting more.  I especially liked the descriptions of the settings in Vermont. (I hope to, one day, visit the place.)  I also enjoyed reading the chapters from Mary’s past.  No worries, I won’t spoil a thing, but I will recommend you check out this book.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author: Gail Cleare has written for magazines, newspapers, Fortune 500 companies, and AOL.  Her award-winning advertising agency represented the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  She was the turtle Leonardo’s date for the world premier of the second movie, and got to wear a black evening gown and sparkly shoes.  Gail lives on an 18th century farm in New England with her family and dogs, cats, chickens, black bears, blue herons, rushing streams, and wide, windy skies.  She loves organic gardening and nature photography and can often be found stalking creatures with a 300 mm lens.  Check her out on Twitter.

“Marrow: A Love Story”–Review

51bgxbf6cl-_sx323_bo1204203200_A mesmerizing and courageous memoir: the story of two sisters uncovering the depth of their love through the life-and-death experience of a bone marrow transplant.

Elizabeth Lesser always took an interest in finding out what it means to be true to oneself and to be truly connected with our loved ones.  Then she receives a phone call from her sister, Maggie.  Maggie is dying and is in need of a bone marrow transplant.  When Lesser finds out she’s a perfect match to be Maggie’s donor, she starts to question what it really means to love.

While Maggie goes through the transplant, the sisters eventually become more open regarding their relationship—as well as with their other sisters—to clear a path to unconditional acceptance.  They examine their family history, difficult conversations, old assumptions, etc.  Within time, they offer forgiveness and love.

Even with the transplant and additional treatments, however, Maggie’s body becomes too weak to fight the illness.  Lesser takes on more than she can handle, all to give Maggie a longer life.  Despite the struggles, the sisters become closer, their blood cells a symbol of the bond they share.

I’d just finished reading this book today and I enjoyed it.  Not only does the author talk about family and sisterhood, she talks about getting more in touch with ourselves, accepting ourselves, loving ourselves, including the importance of letting go.

Marrow: A Love Story is available now.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Shelf Awareness’ giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Elizabeth Lesser is the New York Times bestselling author of Broken Open and the cofounder of the Omega Institute, an organization recognized internationally for its workshops and conferences focusing on health and healing, psychology and spirituality, and creativity and social change.  Prior to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and childbirth educator.  She attended Barnard College and San Francisco State University, and lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family.  For more info on the author, click here.

“In America”–Review

51Yi1la3zHL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, all!  I just finished reading In America, the final installment of the Wayfarer Trilogy, by Nina Romano, so here’s my review.

This coming-of-age story introduces the beautiful Marcella Scimenti.  She’s headstrong, outspoken, and knows what she wants.  Oftentimes, she can be stubborn and drive her parents crazy.  She has the affection of a neighborhood boy and friend, Gianni Simoni, including the love of her large Italian family in 1920s Brooklyn.  Marcella also is a singer who aspires to one day have a singing career in Hollywood; however, a career in the performing arts is frowned upon by her parents.  Regardless of what anyone says, Marcella is determined to pursue her goals.

Throughout her journey, Marcella  learns to balance new friendships, new suitors, and her life in the working world with certain expectations of her tradition-bound family, all the while having to accept changes during the economic depression.  Just when she thinks things are starting to look up for her, Marcella learns of a devastating family secret, putting her to a test of loyalty, faith, and love. But can Marcella swallow her pride and see what’s been in front of her the whole time?

I’m happy to have had the opportunity to read this book.  I’d recently read Lemon Blossoms, which is the second book in the trilogy.  The first book is The Secret Language of Women.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to read that one (I couldn’t find it at my library).  Although the first two books should give you an idea of the stories and characters, I don’t think you’d have to read them in order.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the stories.  It makes me want to see Italy, someday, as well as New York.  There also were particular Italian foods mentioned in the books, which sounded so tempting.  Aside from that, the characters were likable and the stories were beautiful, providing some advice to think about, in my opinion.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

In America will be on sale July 19, 2016.

*I received this copy from Turner Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Nina Romano earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU.  She’sa world traveler and lover of history.  She lived in Rome, Italy, for 20 years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish.  She authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, and has published five poetry collections and two poetry chapbooks.  Her most recent collection is Westward: Guided by Starfalls and Moonbows.  Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.  For more info, click here.

“Jane Steele”–Review

612JGgVEC0L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_A tenacious orphan takes Jane Eyre as her idol, and justice into her own hands.

“Reader, I murdered him.”

When she was a child, Jane Steele suffered at the hands of her spiteful aunt, including her predatory cousin.  Then she is sent off to a boarding school, where she has to fight to survive more torment, until she decides to escape the school and flee to London.

Years later, Jane is informed that her aunt has died and her childhood home, Highgate House, has a new master, Mr. Charles Thornfield—an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars—who is seeking a new governess for the nine-year-old ward in his care.  Determined to find out if she is the rightful heiress of the house, Jane takes the position and learns of the new residents in Highgate House—Mr. Thorfield and Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield seems far deeper and darker than it appears.

As Jane gets to know the two, she becomes aware of their violent history.  When she begins to fall in love with Mr. Thornfield, Jane faces a dilemma: Can she make him hers without having to reveal her own, murderous past?

This is a satirical romance based on Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.  I’ve not yet read Jane Eyre; however, I’ll get around to it.  I’ve heard positive things about it, after all.  As for Jane Steele, I wasn’t too crazy about the story.  It wasn’t all that bad, I’ll admit.  I liked the dialogue.  The characters were were convincing, but the book just didn’t excite me.  Perhaps you’ll like it, though, especially if you’re a fan of Jane Eyre.  

As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

Jane Steele will be available on April 12, 2016.

*I received this Advance copy in a giveaway, from Penguin Random House, for an honest review.

About the author: Lyndsay Faye is the internationally bestselling author of Dust and Shadow; The Gods of Gotham; Seven for a Secret; and The Fatal Flame.  She lives in Queens with her husband, Gabriel.