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Love Defined

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In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood…but learn they all still have some growing up to do.

Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith.

Raised a Catholic, Alex is considering becoming a member of her best friend Jack Page’s church—against her family’s wishes—but she can’t quite take the final step of baptism. Jack loves Alex and doesn’t understand her hesitation, and Alex wonders if Jack’s love is a blessing or a distraction to test her religious conviction.

Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime.

For her twenty-second birthday, Lori’s grandfather presents her with a summer vacation in England. While preparing for her adventure, she meets British musician Colin Watson online and quickly falls for him. They plan to hook up when she lands in London, but her grandfather forbids it. Due to complicated family dynamics, Lori must regretfully comply with his wishes, though she vows never to forgive him.

Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places.

When Andy runs into an old crush, she decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with sexy Miles Webber. But when she confides in Alex, her friend warns her Miles only wants her for sex. Andy becomes angry and devises a reckless plan to distract Alex’s attention from her relationship. Things don’t go quite as she expected, though, and Andy is left facing a crushing moral dilemma.

As the summer unfolds, three young women learn love and faith go hand in hand, not everything is black and white, and sometimes in a fast-paced world you have to slow down, breathe a little, and find your own definition of love.

181 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 24, 2015

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About the author

Leila Tualla

11 books68 followers
Leila Tualla is a Filipino-American memoirist, poet, and Christian author. Leila’s books include a YA Christian contemporary romance called, Love, Defined and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. Her poetry is featured in two mental health anthologies, Letters of May and We are Not Alone: stories of mental health awareness. Leila is a contributing blogger for Daughters of the Deep, a faith based ministry and Echoes of the Struggle, a blog that aims to discuss political, racial, and personal views from today’s changing and volatile climate. She is currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes, titled the Token Asian writes. Leila lives in Houston, Texas with her first generation Mexican American husband and two miracle “Mexipino” babies.

Social Media Links:
FB: www.facebook.com/leilatuallam
Twitter: www.twitter.com/leilatualla
Instagram: www.instagram.com/leilatualla
Blog: www.tuallaleila.blogspot.com

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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews.
157 reviews16 followers
March 25, 2017
Right from the get go, I knew this was going to be an intriguing YA book. The cover of Love Defined by Leila Tualla, confirms this marvelous contemporary story of three college girls on the brink of discovering their new adult lives in the working world.

Author Tualla sets the stage where we are hooked into some kind of distressing event that is causing a lot of emotional tension between the girls.

Backing up three months to the start, we are introduced to college girls that have been friends for eternity, but even though their personalities are being constantly defined by age and life, friends stick together no matter what.

Three different girls, three different storylines, but uniquely blended together with some of the chapters opening with one of the girl's quotes, directing our attention to the storyline at hand and moving it forward.

I have to admit I loved Alex's story, as she developed strength and maturity in her devotion to God. Her struggles were real, but her faith continued to grow and deepen as her friend's problems spiraled out of hand.

I loved the style of the author's writing, as Love Defined is as true to life as you can get. This is not a sugar coated book, but definitely a Christian story that is probably happening all over the world to young adults and older teens, over and over again. Although, as in real life, we don't know what will happen in the long run with these girls, Tualla does give us a satisfying ending, knowing that God is faithful and His love endures. As the author reminds us: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13

There must be a sequel to this book!
Profile Image for Joan.
3,543 reviews61 followers
September 6, 2017
This is a hard hitting novel for older teens and college age readers. It is a realistic look at three young women navigating their journeys of faith in a world of recreational sex and quick hookups. Tualla explores the issues of friendship, what it really means to be a Christian, forgiveness, and more. Each of the three college students must face life transforming events. It was heartening to see how they stuck together and supported each other, even when the action of one was not approved by the others.

This may not be your typical young adult Christian novel. It deals with sexual issues, not hiding the sexual experiences of one of the characters. There is also swearing included, although it fits the character. Tualla had portrayed well the uncertainties in faith and relationships college students face.

I recommend this novel to college age readers who enjoy a realistic story of friendship in the midst of change. There will be many topics to think about and discuss with friends.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,754 reviews284 followers
August 10, 2015

As we grow into adults and set our future paths , the people we are friends with can often change and sometimes the ones that you love most in the world are the ones that you can end up pushing away first as all of a sudden, they don't fit into the types of people you should be hanging with or you discover that you want different things in life and have different hobbies which lead to friends etc. Love Defined by Leila Tualla is that sort of book and it really reminded me of the Britney Spears movie "Crossroads" where three childhood friends get together on the night after Graduation to dig up an old time capsule which leads them spending time together on a road trip to LA. In Love Defined, we have Alex who is just discovering what it is to be a Christian and she is in love with her friend Jack who is studying to be a Pastor but the romantic cynic in her is scaring her away from making the first step in not only love but also her move in Christianity as her parents are devout Catholics and she was brought up in the Catholic church. Lori has met a guy online - Colin and is headed overseas for the first time but what happens when she goes with her grandfather who starts ti treat her like she is not only a child but also a slut, when Lori has never had a proper relationship before. Can Lori stand up for herself and take her life in her hands for a while rather than stepping down and complying with what her family wants and needs are ?

Third but not least, is Andrea Taylor aka Andy who is the Politician's daughter so she should be all classy and uptight but she is anything but as behind doors with her friends, she lets her hair loose and is a party animal. What will happen though when one night of fun turns into a drunken party where she accidentally sleeps with Alex's bosses son and she falls pregnant ?

The story then leads up with the three of them taking a ride to an abortion clinic where Andy must make the decision of a lifetime and one that will either break or bond the three girls together forever.

Love Defined , was one of those College friendship tales where it's not till something major happens in our life that we can come to appreciate the friendships we have established in life and about the people who care for us most when times get hard.
Profile Image for Lorna Holland.
Author 1 book45 followers
August 24, 2015
Full review now up on my blog: http://www.thewritinggreyhound.co.uk/...

As you can probably tell from the blurb above, Love Defined contains three distinct stories all rolled up into one. It would have been interesting to have three books covering the same events from each girl's point of view, but I did enjoy the existing format even if it was a bit rushed and confusing at times.

Content wise, I was going into this book virtually blind. I thought it was just another pretty standard YA - I didn't realise it had such a strong Christian focus. Now that's not a problem for me, being a Christian myself, but it would have been nice to have had a bit of forewarning.

And I had to wonder, are there really that many young people out there like Alex and Jack, who are so devoted to their faith? Even taking into account that they live in America's Bible Belt, some of Alex's actions seemed a bit forced and melodramatic to me.

So having said that, Alex is definitely the character I liked the least. I admired her conviction and her belief, but she was just too stubborn at times. I genuinely felt for the others, realising how much of a task it would be to get her to admit her feelings for Jack.

Lori's story also annoyed me a bit. Would her grandfather really have behaved like that? I was really rooting for Lori and Colin all along but the way their story ended was really unsatisfactory for me. Though I did like Lori's unexpected friendship with Emma - I think she could definitely have been incorporated into more of the story.

So by far Andy's was the story that interested me the most. I feel like there's a lot more to it than the author was letting on, like the reasons for her behaving the way that she did. They are partly touched on but aren't fully dealt with, and the same can be said for the decision she eventually makes at the end of the book.

I enjoyed reading this book and finding out the girl's stories - it's a good, clean YA book that also manages to deal with some much deeper issues. So whether or not you're religious, I recommend this book to fans of YA literature.
Profile Image for Shannon Love.
Author 7 books17 followers
August 11, 2015
What is love? Is it unconditional? Can it bring out the best and worst in us? Three young women on the cusp of adulthood wrestle with and learn about this word in its many dimensions.

Alex Makapulo searches for the unconditional kind through Christ and her dearest companion, Jack. She knows that her love for the Lord is deep and sincere. But, she holds back¬–unsure if she deserves to be reciprocated. Then there is Jack. Inexperience and lack of faith in herself leave her uncertain of how she feels for him. Is he her best friend or her soulmate?

Her two roommates Andy Taylor and Lori Hanson struggle with their own issues of sentiment. Andy looks for the wrong kind in the wrong people. Her reckless behavior eventually leaves her with another choice. Can she love an individual she has never met enough to put his needs before hers. Will she love him enough to save his life? Lori's dilemma involves devotion to her grandfather–a man she's known her entire life, but hurts her in a soul piercing way. When he seeks her forgiveness, is she able to overcome the pain and anger enough to open her heart to him once again?

As I made my way through the pages, I found myself becoming more and more emotionally invested in the characters. I rooted for Alex. Yet, like her roommates, I wished that she would relax and enjoy life a bit more. I hoped that Jack would be that special person for her. But, I understood her doubt. After all, if he wasn't "the one" and she made the wrong move, she could lose him forever. I wasn't sure if I wanted to shake Andy or hug her until she felt loved enough to respect herself and her body. Lori made me think of my younger self, holding grudges that were best washed away with forgiveness.

It's reasonable to say that Leila Tualla did an amazing job. How else could she have captured my heart and my attention so fully? I only hope that she writes a sequel. She has me wanting to follow the lives of her characters and find out what kind of women they become.
Profile Image for Diana.
319 reviews32 followers
August 9, 2015
This story is a real inspiration to all. I loved the characters and felt that the author had written them well. Alex trying to decide about her faith In God. Lori and her trip abroad with her paternal grandfather, and Andy, looking for love in all the wrong places and ends pregnant, this is the year before their senior year of college and they have their lives all planned out.
I loved how the moral issues were brought into this story, and seemed like very real issues that many young adults go through, their questions about their lives and also how Faith in God can play out in their lives, rather they believe or not. I think the friend’s in this story are so lucky to have each other and made this story really interesting to read. To me this isn’t the typical cliché type of book. These characters were all different and yet they have been friends for a long time and did encourage each other and tried to be there for each other.
I love reading books that make you think and feel you have gotten something out of the story, which I did. This will be a book that I will reread and there are some parts in this book that I want to remember. Especially that last quarter of the book. I also love that it is a clean, Christian book.
I did receive this book in exchange for an honest book.
Profile Image for Kathleen R..
1,389 reviews43 followers
August 26, 2015
Overall Stars: 4 STARS


Three friends will need to work through their differences to become best friends once again

In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood…but learn they all still have some growing up to do. Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith. Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime. Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places. (part of Amazon blurb)
I wish I could say that this novel was one of my favourites, but it simply isn’t the type I usually have on my shelves. That being said, I found the style of writing simplistic and the fact that three friends trying to find themselves together as well as individually surprising and well done by the author. As I mentioned beforehand, these types of novels aren’t my favorites which explains my review...

**Received a copy in exchange for an honest review. Read and reviewed by Kathleen for Alpha Book Club**
Profile Image for Joyful.
561 reviews
August 15, 2015
This story is a Christian inspiration of faith in God, moral issues, and true love . I loved the characters, and they are blessed to have each other as friends and roommates. They have known each other almost their entire lives and are there for each other to encourage each other. Alex trying to decide about her faith In God and her relationship with Jack. Lori and her trip abroad with her paternal grandfather, Pete. Andy looking for love in all the wrong places ends up pregnant and going for an abortion. Will she really have the abortion? All this happens just before their senior year of college. Do their lives go as they all have them planned out? I hope there is a continuation of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Peggy.
2,137 reviews37 followers
August 27, 2015
A good read to settle in with on a chilly August night, at least in my part of the states. Characters are lovable and you will enjoy their lives as much as I did. The story plot will have you falling in love with this book. I think, for myself, that this will be a return read for me!

*Received for an honest review*
1 review
March 23, 2017
I'll keep this short > I liked it for its simple narrative yet meaningful and honest insight into relationships between very close friends involving extremely sensitive topics. Sometimes, the journey is rough and ideals are polar opposites, but if the love is there and the bonds are strong, it can keep things rolling...

*Received book in exchange for a review
Profile Image for Sabrina Autumn.
28 reviews
May 10, 2017
Interesting read. The story line was not so easy to follow at first. Apart from some foul language here and there, the novel was like a drama reality story. I may have been the issue because this is not a style of writing I am use to within Christian genre. Nonetheless, it's a novel depicting characters searching for love in all the wrong places and the main character directing them to Christ while waiting for her soul mate and eventually snagging him
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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