Mirrors of Life vividly explores contemporary experiences of black people in America through the emotional tale of a mother and her children. Yvonne is a single mother who is stuck between tragedy and poverty. She finds a release for her pain through her religion and focus on her children. Yvonne’s children are all motivated individuals, though each in their own direction. Each blaze their own path in life, but Derrick is the one that seeks economic equality for his community and finds opposition coming from surprising places. Can Derrick overcome these challenges and change the social and economic fabric of a community set in their ways?
What I found most striking about this novel was the unique way in which it broached sadly common economic and educational deficiencies in minority groups and their communities. Derrick seeks substantial change to address racial inequalities and social justice and does so through his own drive and faith. In a time where black men are killed regularly at the hands of law enforcement, and vigilantes, this novel speaks volumes in its ability to keep the conversation on these topics civil and focused on human experiences.
Derrick, I think, is the main focus of this story. He’s a character that was slow to build but was well developed and stirring. The challenges he faces, they are numerous and varied, and the way he handles them, propels this novel forward at a delightful pace. His mother, Yvonne, is an equally captivating character that I wanted to learn more about. She could have easily had her own novel.
This is a thought-provoking novel that uses compelling characters to bring life to an otherwise familiar story. Mirrors of Life explores themes of family, faith, and love while waxing philosophical, occasionally, on a few topics. If your looking for an intriguing contemporary urban fiction story that addresses many societal issues in a heart-felt yet engaging way then Neal Owens has a novel for you. Mirrors of Life: What is your life in the mirror? is an inspirational novel that made me smarter, if not more aware.
Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07VGLQKTS
Tags: african american, author, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, MIRRORS OF LIFE, neal owens, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, urban fantasy, What is your life in the mirror?, writer, writing
The Cure For Onlyness is a motivational guide to help black men live a life filled with joy, passion and purpose. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Despite the mainstream media generated narrative that suggests black men are in danger of becoming extinct, I personally believe black men are positioned to experience unprecedented levels of success in America today. Now more than ever, black men need to be exposed to optimistic stories that refute the negative media generated stereotypes about black men. My intention with the book was to not only share some reasons for optimism, but to also provide some insights and strategies that support them in becoming optimistic about the future.
You have dedicated your life to empowering men and women. How has your experience helped you write this book?
After overcoming divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, depression and being homeless for 2 years living out of my car, I decided I wanted to share the lessons I learned during those challenging times in my life. Since I was able to overcome a multiplicity of adversities in my own life, I definitely have first hand experience in dealing with adversity. Being able to rebuild my life after all of these challenges gives me credibility and my story gives others permission to challenge themselves to overcome any adversity in their own lives. I’m a firm believer that experience is the best teacher, and my experiences have definitely made me a great teacher.
I enjoyed your view on positivity expressed in this book. What do you find is a common misconception people have about positivity?
Because of the over proliferation of negative news stories, most people are extremely pessimistic about the world right now. I on the other hand happen to be extremely optimistic about the future. A big misconception that people have about optimists is that we are in denial about the challenges facing our world. The truth is we aren’t. We simply choose to focus our attention on the things that are right with the world versus the things that are wrong. If a person is willing to look past negative media headlines they would find there are a lot more things that are right with the world than are wrong with it. It’s really all about perception and the lens through which we see the world. I love this quote by Deepak Chopra, “There are two types of people in the world. Those who believe the world is primarily a dangerous place with only moments of safety, and those who believe the world is primarily a safe place with only moments of danger. I choose the latter.
I found this book to be ultimately uplifting. What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I hope people will feel a sense of optimism in regards to race relations in this country and abroad. I personally do not believe race relations are getting worse in this country despite the current racial tensions we all feel. As an optimist, I see the world through an evolutionary lens and I believe humanity is still evolving. We are evolving in consciousness and ultimately, we will evolve to the understanding that we are all a part of one human family. More specifically, my hope is this book reaches the millions of men of color who have given up on their dreams and let them know they have everything they need already inside of them to create an extraordinary life. I hope my story inspires them to find their joy, passion and purpose in life.
Discover the secrets of thriving as a black male in a world that is rigged against you with this definitive guide to self-improvement for black men!
Do you often find yourself despairing at the abysmal and “doom-and-gloom” statistics of black men? Are you tired of being forced to conform to noxious societal labels and subscribe to stereotypes that don’t serve your ultimate purpose and goals?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this guide might just be what you need.
In this powerful guide, Michael Taylor, an accomplished life coach and entrepreneur, shows you how to shatter limiting beliefs peculiar to black men and hands you the blueprint to living a life of joy, happiness, fulfillment and accomplishment.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: african american, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, Coach Michael Taylor, ebook, education, goodreads, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literature, motivational, nook, novel, passion, read, reader, reading, self help, story, The Cure For Onlyness, writer, writing
Some scars will destroy everything in your path. No one understood this better than Samantha. After being a heartless and disengaged person for most of her life, she has no remorse about what she does to other people. She is perfectly fine deceiving and targeting women. That is until she meets Sasha, who upturns her entire life. Sasha loses some important people in her life for the simple reason that she loves Samantha. However, Sam’s past and her scars will ruin everything. Isis died but who will Samantha be now? Can she make it having lost a chunk of her heart? Can love truly improve a person?
Ben Burgess Jr writes Wounded with a passion that will make you feel the characters devastation. It is sad to watch Sam be the person she is, knowing full well she could be different. The stories of Sam’s childhood are told with vivid emotion and pain that the reader cannot help but empathize with a person who is still a scarred little girl inside. Even when she messes up, the reader still remains on her side. This book will keep you hoping that love will finally show up and conquer all. When you think it finally has, unseen twists will have you reeling.
It is evident that Samantha’s character took time to sculpt. She is deeply complex and multidimensional. This only increases the frustration when other characters do not see these sides too. She is an extraordinarily broken person but the enthusiasm with which she executes her bitterness is inspiring. The friends, among other supporting characters, are developed enough to make them interesting but allow Sam to remain the driving force in this novel.
The emotive way in which this book has been written, along with a vibrant use of language, makes the writing simple yet captivating. However, I felt like the story was wrapped up a little too quickly. I wanted to see more of the process that led to Samantha’s change and I felt like the death of Isis should be broken down as we simultaneously witness the birth of a new Sam.
This book pulls you in right from the beginning. You will find yourself hoping for a better Sam right from the first page. Wounded will inspire an emotional investment. After this emotional roller-coaster, at least you will get a happy ending.
Pages: 224 | ASIN: B07TT13N13
The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Phoebe Douse: S3A2 by L. Samuels
The Farthest-Reaching Ball: A Memoir of Motherhood by Sandra Bowman
Silver Award Winners
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
Tags: action, adventure, african american, author, award, book, book award, book review, bookblogger, childrens book, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, history, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literary award, literature, mystery, nonfiction, nook, novel, picture book, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Anyone who has been or is married knows that it is work and often the perspective of one partner is completely different from that of his/her partner. This book delves into the difficult topic of two married partners who are not on the same page, which leads to the wife, Karen, seeking what she needs, both physically and emotionally, outside of the marriage. As the old adage says, what is done in the dark will come to the light! The infidelities are revealed, and Karen and her husband Chris must deal with the fallout. The interesting part about this story is that the reader gets to experience their marriage from both perspectives. This is so revealing about the way that two partners can see things completely differently. It also gives us a better understanding of the complexities of a relationship. Just because someone is unfaithful does not mean that they do not love their partner, which is sometimes counter-intuitive.
The characters in this book are raw, honest, and truly flawed, which often makes them more relatable. It is too easy to wrap up characters in pretty packages that often feels more comfortable to the reader, Burgess is not afraid to show the human side of the people he creates. As a reader, I found myself often shaking my head at Karen’s behavior, but I also appreciated the real, honesty with which she was portrayed.
I’ll tell you one thing for sure, that woman gets some major action in this book! Burgess is not scared of a sex scene so be prepared for some very descriptive erotic moments. I felt that this added to the realness and rawness of this book rather than detracting from it. Don’t worry, Chris gets some action too!
I also really enjoyed the supporting characters in this book. Chris and Karen’s different set of friends are flawed in their own ways and not always the best influences. They are great additions to the story and a part of helping the couple along in their conclusions. There are times that they definitely added fuel to the fire, but, again, this is a realistic reflection of life and friendships and how they can impact your decisions in your own life.
This book has a fantastic and unexpected arch. It is so realistic and raw! I really love the journey this author takes us on through the perspective of these two people. It really shows how life’s difficult twists and turns can turn out to be exactly what we needed to get where we need to be. I highly recommend this read for anyone who has ever experienced the drama of a loving relationship falling apart and how it can actually lead to the right path.
Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07V4G3BL8
Primary Storyline: A family’s predilections treat their PTSD in delusion only. Subtextual Storyline: The extent of crutches people have to cope with life.
Al Wynn is determined to provide a good life for his family. However, he finds himself in situations that threaten that resolve. He’s only human and makes bad decisions like everyone else, but Al has qualities that help him every time. He’s determined, nothing can keep him down and he endeavors to be a better person. But can Al survive the numerous beat downs life has handed him? Will Nella come back home? What will become of his contracting gig?
Al Wynn tells a tale of a young man who overcomes all sorts of odds. The story flows seamlessly and takes the reader through every wave. The writer pulls the reader in with simple language and a relatable story of a young-mans life as a minority. This book provides an accurate account of what it is to be black in America. However, there is always an underlying tone of hope through redemption. That one does not have to follow down the wrong path. The trick is to get up stronger and wiser every time life beats you down.
Sometimes, you have to take what you want. What I’m saying young man is sometimes you have to make things happen, that you want to happen in life.
This is a piece of advice given to Al when he gets out of jail and sums up Al’s life from that point on. He makes it through life by using his head and simply taking whatever job he wants. His family is cared for because Al has kept these words with him throughout. This is great advice and is applicable in so many areas of life. It is also one of the many things the reader will learn from this book. The writer is over 70 years old and his wisdom shines through. It is not just the story of Al, it is a bundle of simple maxims to live by.
The book, while well written and structured well, could use some trimming. I thought that there was some unnecessary dialogue which was confusing. However, it is an enjoyable and enlightening read. The grammar and syntax are excellent and tone is just right for this book.
An environmental trap is the perception that a future can be determined by the surroundings in which one resides. This book is a sort of guide to getting out of that trap. The Environmental Trap is a tale of the trials of human life. Most of the things that happen to Al can happen to anyone. The lessons in the book can be applicable to anyone regardless of race.
Pages: 536 | ISBN-10: 1466938595
Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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