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on September 9, 2011
This young adult fiction is the first of its kind being that it is written about Samoans with supernatural powers and by someone of Samoan descent. A milestone never reached thus far by any Samoan (and quite possibly any Polynesian for that matter). Wendt is an amazing descriptive writer and always places the reader in each scene. The love story between the two main characters Leila and Daniel) is sure to please the avid romance reader and leaves you wanting more. Here's an excerpt from her book: "Against my will his beauty took my breath away. He was tall enough that I was sure even my 5'11 height would have to crane up to look in his startling emerald green eyes. Red and gold in the morning sunlight with thick raven brows, one of them flecked with a slight scar, his tousled burnished red-brown hair...He was broad but lean, like a rippling basketball player." A page turner that will have you hooked from the beginning.
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on September 10, 2011
This book totally swept me away. I was apprehensive as to what to expect and was totally blown away at how brilliantly Lani depicted the wonderful myth I was told when i was young. Bought it to life and I found myself talking sometimes screaming at the book "NOOOO!" "GET UP!" "Nawww" "YEAHHHH" lol. Such a wonderful book, Made me proud to be Samoan.

I think I fell in love with Leila and Daniels love as much as they fell in love with each other lol as corny and silly as that sounds ... Congratulations Lani you are truly a wonderful Samoan writer ... You make Samoa proud and make other Samoans proud to be Samoan just cause your writing its obvious the love you have with your culture and with your island and its people Mostly you just made Samoa sound so desireable and delicious I didnt think that was possible lol... GOod for you Lani and keep up the good work. Cant wait for March 2012 ... Hoping secretly someone with a creative and brilliant mind will put this to a movie cause I think "Watch out Twilight" !!! lol !!! WELL DONE LANI !!! Lome from Melbourne Australia !!! (newest adoring fan)
PS. I think I found the best Christmas present for all my girlfriends !!!!
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on November 1, 2011
I picked this book up becuase my grandparents spent two years in Samoa as missionaries and so the country has always, in a sense, been a part of our family history though we ourselves are not Samoan. Reading Telesa though has allowed me to feel as if I have been to Samoa and have experienced it myself.

The main character, Leila, was great, prickly and very likable despite her owly behaviour as her driving force is to find a place where she fits, where she can call home. The love story between Leila and Daniel is sweet and very believable (though there are times that if I were Daniel I would have socked her one right in the nose!) and the relationship Leila has with her mother Nafanua is so well done.

I give this book a solid 4.5 stars, only docking a little because I found that the first portion of the book was a bit slow for my taste, though I do understand the need to build a foundation for a story, it still took a bit too long to grab me. But once it did! Wow, could not put it down!!

Very much looking forward to the sequel in march of 2012 and highly recommend this book.
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on April 15, 2012
I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this type of book with the paranormal powers, etc. But I got caught up in the story line, and was hooked. I did think things bogged down in the middle of the book, contrary to some other reviewers who felt it had a slow start. I was ok with the pace of the book in the beginning, as characters were created, background and setting were established, and the hints of what to come were dropped. But the frequent repetition of details and actions was becoming tedious, and I kept looking at the % read, hoping the end was in sight. Finally, the action and events picked up again, and the book again was demanding 'just one more page' before I set the Kindle down.

I realize the author intends to set up a draw to purchase the next book, but I was not happy with how the ending was handled. Yes, there were some major occurrences (I do not post spoilers) that took care of some things, but there were entirely too many loose ends, and unresolved issues at the end of the book. For as much time as I had invested in reading it, I did not expect the ending to be cut as if Leila had chopped it off with her machete.

Another comment is on the excerpt from "When Water Burns". The same careful editing was not applied on this sample, with many typos. Things like "Daniels truck" when it should be a possessive "Daniel's truck". But the one that stopped my reading like a speed bump over and over again was the lack of a space after a period.It can be very distracting. But I will venture this still needs the editor and proofreader's touch before it is published.

I didn't intend this to sound like a negative review, because I still rated it as a 4. If the ending hadn't been so abrupt, the rating would have been a 5. Many others have sung praises of the book, and they are mostly correct - a well written, captivating book that I would recommend.
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on March 12, 2012
Such an exciting, emotional and enjoyable read! Lani Wendt Young is now one of my favorite YA authors. She has trapped me in her world of Tesela with so much originality and enjoyment that I could not put the book down for long.

Daniel is a very special young man that is perfect for an even more special young woman. Leila and Daniel are what is a perfect depiction of fate in progress. No matter what happens around or between them, they are there for one another in a very touching tale of Tesela.

Looking very forward to the next in the series!
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on October 27, 2013
Telesa-- The Covenant Keeper
by Lani Wendt Young

The main character, Leila, is the by-blow of an American father and some sort of voodoo priestess. She travels to Haiti to live with her mother's side of the family who are all very hush-hush regarding a woman she's never met. It's a very teenage-girl novel, complete with deprecating self-talk and falling in love with 'the cutest boy at school'. The book glamorizes temper tantrums, over-reactive violence and strangeness vs individuality.

At the risk of revealing myself as a grown-up, I believe a book should elevate the intellectual capacity of the reader; teaching without instructing, widening horizons and, yes, promoting cultural understanding. Instead, Young's story just left me slightly queasy.
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on September 27, 2011
If you're looking for a book that has it all then here it is.
Lani Wendt Young's book Telesa is full of suspense, humor, blood pressure raising anger & frustration, action as well as a love story which leaves you hungry for more!
In this book we basically follow our afakasi (half American/Samoan) 18yr old heroine Leila who travels to Samoa in the hopes of finding out more about her mother who died when she was a baby, and to hopefully find a place to belong.
It is when she arrives in Samoa that she realises that her trip may not be the fairytale she thought it would be, and finding out information about her mother seemed to be almost impossible with the stubborn aunty Matile who refuses to have Leila mention her mother to anyone both in and outside of their home.
Just when she thought her trip was going to be a massive mistake she comes across the super jock - Chunk Hunk at school, Daniel who, not only makes a devastatingly disastrous first impression on our heroine, but it is through Daniel that Leila finds a confidant, a sense of belonging & surprisingly to her - love.
Anywho, upon the journey of finding out about her mother, Leila finds herself pulled into a supernatural world involving a sisterhood who control the elements, namely the weather. We see the sisterhood trying to manipulate Leila into fully joining them and force her to do things that go against her moral code. It is from this action of coercion that Leila is faced with a life altering choice.
Will she risk losing the love of her life and join a power hungry sisterhood or will she just go running back to the states to get away from these supernatural beings???

Seriously, you will not be disappointed with this book. Based in Samoa and on the legend of Telesa I found that I really enjoyed this book and was stoked when I saw that it was the beginning of a series.
This book made me laugh out loud more then a couple of times, I found myself getting hard out mad and had to take some slow breaths lol, and I found myself gasping at conspiracies being revealed.

Although this story is based in Samoa please don't let that put you off. You don't have to be a Samoan to enjoy this book.
I highly recommend this book for anyone 14yrs and over. I guess it would be a good book for you and your teen to read and discuss.

Happy reading folks and see you all in March 2012 when the next instalment is released - EAGER! lol!
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on August 24, 2011
It's 5:15am in Hawaii and just now finished the book. What a great read! I laughed, I cried, I felt sad and I even daydreamed along with Leila at the mere mention of Daniel. I downloaded the ebook on the kindle app on my Iphone and I couldn't put it down. I read while breastfeeding my baby in the middle of the night, read while he's asleep, read while on lunch break and I even found myself sneaking to the back room in my office so I can continue reading. It was an easy and fun read and I was NEVER bored. Simone's character had me cracking up. I can see this book turned into a movie. Job WELL DONE Lani!!!5stars from me. Awesome stuff. Now hurry up with the 2nd book will ya?
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on August 18, 2012
I don't know how much my opinion matters, but here goes. I read this book (and the second one) when I saw the cover on a friend's facebook page. She really liked it, so I looked it up and thought the storyline sounded interesting and it was. I was really intrigued by the concept and the mythology. I would really like to know more about Pacific Islander mythology. I even tried doing a Google search on Telesa and all I came up with was references to this book and some hints of there being some actual Telesa mythology. The concept of this book is what earned two of its stars. The problem with this book is the writing and character development. The author's style is juvenile, at best. Her character development did not seem consistent and her obsession with the male physique was tiresome. Information was given about the main character in first part of the book that seemed contrary to information given later in the book. Reading and finishing this book was not about an affection or commonality with the characters, but more a hope of its improvement and curiosity about what will happen to them. I honestly can't recommend this book, but I also don' regret reading it. After all, I did read the second one.
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on December 19, 2011
I don't recommend reading during work hours because you might lose your job. I wouldn't know what to tell anyone if I had gotten fired over hiding in the office and reading a book, that would be embarrassing...LOL I did download the digital copy on my iphone and ordered the hard copy. I couldn't wait for the mail and Thank You Technology I read it in a week!! I don't like reading on my iphone because its so small but I couldn't put my phone down. I was reading every chance I got and even during breaks. If I had just a minute or two I was caught glancing at my phone.

What I loved about the book was it was hilarious. What an awesome character that Simone. I could see some of my friends in the book. I know you don't expect a book to be so witty but Samoans are natural comedians and the wit and sarcasm was captured. I was in love with Leila and Daniels Love story. I was reminiscing as the aspects of the Samoan culture were depicted brilliantly. I absolutely love Lani Wendt Young and her work. I can't wait for the second installment. Where ever I am in the world I am going to own a copy as soon as it drops. Amazon don't know what hit them! I am definitely working on the fan base here in Laie. I feel like I am sharing my childhood with people who would never begin to understand why I am in love with Samoa. I hope the whole world reads it and loves it as much as I do.
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