Her Tale was Told in Whispers by Mutch Katsonga is a haunting coming-of-age story about a young man who becomes fixated on a girl named Marcy who he witnesses being bullied at Knoxridge High School when they are teenagers. He does not join in bullying Marcy, but he doesn’t stand up against the bullies either. Then one day Marcy disappears, and when she reappears briefly, he feels regret for not defending her against the bullies. A short time later, he leaves Knoxridge High after a disturbing incident, and it is many years before he sees Marcy again. When Marcy vanishes from his life yet again, he is determined to find her. But will learning the truth of what really happened all those years ago change everything?
This was an intriguing story that kept my interest from the beginning all the way through to the end. As I read the book, I had many questions that I wanted to find the answers for, which kept me turning the pages. I liked the consistent element of mystery and uncertainty in the story. All the threads started to come together at the end, with the reader learning the true significance of many of the previous events. I liked that there was a surprise twist at the end which I did not expect. This book is a short novella that can be read in a few hours.
While I enjoyed this story, I felt that the flow of the story felt a bit disjointed, going from the time when Marcy was fourteen being bullied in high school, then recalling events from her earlier childhood, and then jumping to when Marcy is twenty-one years old. Also, I wanted more details around who was the narrator, where the story was taking place, and in what time period.
With those minor distractions aside, Her Tale was Told in Whispers is a riveting mystery novel that follows the lives of some very intriguing characters. With a rich atmosphere and easy storytelling, I think this would be a perfect book for fans of young adult literature.
Pages: 103 | ASIN: B085FW88BT
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, bullying, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Her Tale Was Told In Whispers, kindle, kobo, literature, Mutch Katsonga, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing, young adult
Bullying: What Are We Really Scared Of challenges our current response to bullying and explores successful ways of dealing with bullies. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was able to get inside the head of a bully, learn all the secrets as to how they bully and why. Stemming from this, I was able to devise an action plan to stop bullies from hurting me. After many years of implementing this plan, learning that it worked every time, seeing the world was in such a state with bullying problems, saddened, I felt it was imperative I shared the secrets to defeating the bullies to help victims with this worldwide problem.
What were some ideas that were important for you to focus on in this book?
Divulging the truth about bullying, that it is not just the schoolyard bully or domestic violator, but that bullying is in every aspect of our lives. Exposing their secrets and sharing how easy it is for bullies to be retrained during counselling from being a physical violator to a psychological abuser because that is when they are most dangerous. Demonstrating, with examples, how easy it is to fall victim to bullies and what to look out for to be safe from the manipulations of bullies. Explaining to victims that the Justice system is more often than not, a lame duck when it comes to seeking help from them so they don’t fall into the abyss of depression when it fails to help them. Most importantly, I wanted to empower victims to be self reliant, to help themselves to stop the bullies in their lives.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about bullying?
That bullying is scary, that once they fall victim to a bully it will never stop, that they cannot defeat it and no one would believe them.
Do you have plans to write other books on this topic?
Yes, I am in the midst of writing a book for younger children (ages 3-8) to help them understand bullying and what they can do to stop it.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: abuse, author, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books to read, Brenda Turner, bullying, Bullying: What Are We Really Scared Of, children, ebook, education, goodreads, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, novel, parent, read, reader, reading, school, self help, story, teacher, writer, writing
In Brenda Turner’s book, Bullying (What are we really scared of?), she explores the subject of bullying. This self-help book leaves no stone unturned, giving insights into the psyches of both bullies and their victims. By sharing snippets from her life, societal facts, and even information from court proceedings, she paints a clear picture of how bullying has evolved over the years.
As you read this book from page to page, you come to understand the different types of bullies, what motivates them, and how to defend yourself against them. And I must say, never has an author laid out such a clear and actionable defense plan before.
As a person who has been bullied before, I deeply relate to the situations painted in this book. From all the stories and statistics that she provides, I can clearly see that the author not only has extensive personal knowledge of the subject matter but also that she constantly does the necessary research to understand it better. She even goes as far as attaching links to research materials.
While this book is thoroughly comprehensive and relatable, I still feel a lot more could be done to pull a reader in. For instance, how the source links are placed in the middle of text with neither warning nor acknowledgment is quite destabilizing. Also, the text seems to get away from the title of the chapter. In this regard, I would have preferred shorter, clearer, and more concise paragraphs. However, I still feel that the author did a good job of breaking down such a complex topic.
However, what I truly love about this book is its action-based approach. The fact that it doesn’t paint victims as helpless individuals but rather as people who can fight back and defeat their oppressors is quite refreshing. In my opinion, it is this single quality that transforms this book from a hopeless doomy piece into a hopeful one.
Apart from hope and the triumph of good against evil, another recurring theme in this narrative is the importance of the family unit’s independence. In this regard, the author iterates again and again the dangers of the government dictating how parents should run their households.
Pages: 420 | ASIN: B0794TXPPN
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, Brenda Turner, bully, bullying, Bullying: What are we really scared of?, ebook, educational, goodreads, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, self help, story, writer, writing
Bully Friends by Kelechi Uchendu is an uplifting and inspiring book about how to deal with bully friends, and how to cope with the way they’ve treated you. The book also tells you how to stop yourself from becoming a bully friend. The book explains how having good friends can change your life in a positive way. Kelechi Uchendu provides examples of bully friends, coupled with real-life experiences to let the reader know that they aren’t alone. At the end of every chapter is a page for you to write down your own experiences and ways you think you can improve your friendships.
Providing real-life experiences is great for young readers as they can relate to them. It helps the reader to not feel alone or like the author doesn’t truly understand what they’re going through. The pages to write on at the end of each chapter is great for the reader to identify the similarities between their situation and Kelechi’s so they can stop it. Overall, Bully Friends is a good book for young-adults to read so they know how to avoid bad friendships. Reading a book like this is good for kids to notice the toxic friendships they may have, so they can find better, nicer, and supportive friends.
Bully Friends is one of the most useful books that I’ve read this year as it gave me tools that I can actually use. Kelechi Uchendu covers almost every way a bully friend can abuse you mentally so her readers can avoid those situations. The relatable experiences and helpful advice can help to change anyone’s life for the better.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B08D3YH1B9
Metal Like Me by D. W. Saur is a sweet story about acceptance. The author has lovingly crafted an endearing story that will inspire children to learn about diversity and inclusion. Kids will learn that being unique is a gift and we must all embrace it. It does not matter if others are like us or not, as long as we are comfortable with ourselves and not afraid of showing the world who we are. There is no one thing that defines us and we all have different sides. Children will benefit from the life lesson presented in this story, that if others are not willing to make an effort to get to know us then we must step up and put the effort to know them. That’s how we can celebrate true friendships and meaningful relationships. Metal Like Me approaches the topic of bullying in a unique way that makes it easy for parents and children to start a discussion. I definitely recommend this well written, short and easy to understand book as it will teach children a positive way to identify themselves. The illustrations by Danielle Green are beautifully simple with a rough sketch like illustration that will make it easy for kids to relate to. The fantastic artwork excellently captures the unique voice in this charismatic children’s story.
Pages: 50 | ASIN: B0863JJ2WG
Tags: art, author, book, book review, bookblogger, bullying, children, childrens book, D.W. Saur, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, illustration, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, Metal Like Me, nook, novel, picture book, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
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
Tags: african american, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, bipolar, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, bullying, ebook, education, family, fantasy, fiction, Four Years of Despair, goodreads, health, ilovebooks, indiebooks, inspiration, Jalesa Morrison, kindle, kobo, literature, mental health, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, relationship, self help, shelfari, smashwords, society, story, teen, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
Hurtysy is dealing with a unique hedgehog problem. Anyone that touches her gets hurt by her quills. And because of this, Hurtsy is sad and feels bad. In this story Hurtsy meets several animals that are hurting one another and Hurtsy wants to show them how to love, but she can’t because of her sharp quills. Hurtsy must use some bravery and ingenuity to solve this prickly problem.
Every page of this wonderful children’s book is artistically drawn and each piece of art is bright and colorful and fits the tone of the story. Throughout the story Hurtsy is followed by a thought bubble which shows her inner feeling; which is often different from what she is showing to others. I thought this was a unique way to show kids how sometimes our external appearance hides our internal emotions. I really like how this book was able to help kids visualize a complex idea like this.
The story is told in rhyme which flows nicely. The words are easy to understand, but this is a book that adults will want to read to kids because of the aforementioned complex emotional ideas delivered in this book. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern the thoughts from the person as Hurtsy interacts with her own thought bubble.
This is a very cute story that delivers an important message in a unique way. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to teach their kids about emotions, talking about them, learning tough lessons, and reconciling differences between people.
Pages: 26 | ASIN: B07D734LK3
Tags: alibris, animal, art, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, bullying, childrens book, cindy graves, early reader, ebook, education, emotion, fantasy, fiction, friends, goodreads, Hurtsy The Harrowed Hedgehog, illustration, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kids, kids book, kindle, kobo, learning, literature, nook, novel, parent, picture book, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, story, teacher, writer, writer community, writing
Aeon Rises follows Justin, an average teen, as he stumbles upon otherworldly beings that are trying to kill him. How did you come across this idea and how did it change as you were writing?
I wanted to write a story that would be fun for middle school or high school student to read. A scifi story with characters they could relate to and who they could identify with. Even though I was a secondary teacher for over thirty years, it had been a few years since I retired and I was sure some of the slang and habits of teens had changed some over that time. I enlisted the aid of a class of eighth graders to read portions of the story and give me specific feedback about the teens characters. Their feedback was incredible and guided my writing of those individuals in the story. The changes they suggested made the Justin, Kevin and Myah much more true to today’s teens.
Justin isn’t exactly an average teen, he has an aversion to most electronics. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to Justin’s character development?
Due to his inability to play video games or watch the same shows most others his age took for granted, Justin faced a fair amount of ridicule and bullying from his classmates, except for Kevin. I drew on my own experiences growing up being the brunt of several bullies, but I wanted Justin to rise above it and, though it still hurt, not give in to the abusers. He relied heavily on Kevin to get beyond it all, and then he learned about his abilities and his importance. That made everything else pale in comparison, even though he could not rub it in his tormentor’s faces. Aliens are a secret after all.
The Skutarans see Justin as a threat and want to destroy him. What were some sources of inspiration for you when creating their race?
I watch a lot of scifi movies and read a ton of scifi books as well. I simply took characteristics of evil aliens I have read or seen over the years and blended them into traits of the Skutarans: Arrogance, Hyper Ego, superiority complex, all combined with advanced alien technology. What more could you want in an evil overlord alien?
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have recently been recovering from a major surgery, which has affected my ability to focus on anything for long. It is only in the past few weeks I have been able to start thinking about a new novel. To get back into practice, I am working on a short story about ice miners on Europa, a moon around Jupiter. From there, I have an idea about fusing scifi and fantasy in a story about aliens digitized into a LOTR style movie who are discovered by a fan of the movie and their collaboration to rescue the aliens from the orcs, wizards, etc. and return them home again.
Justin Madrid always considered himself an average nerdy freshman in high school, and an outcast because intense migraines prevent him from playing video games or watching television. Even looking at a phone screen hurts. But when the aliens, disguised as local librarians, started trying to kill him, everything changed. And now it is up to Justin and his cool new power to save the earth from invasion.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, aeon rises, alibris, alien, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, bullying, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, jim cronin, kindle, kobo, literature, lord of the rings, lotr, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, space, space adventure, story, teen fantasy, teen fiction, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult