Jam Sessions follows a middle school boy named Phillip who has to forge a new path for himself through a new school that he’s transferred to in the middle of the school year. Phillip struggles with bullies, but finds a creative outlet in Mr. Filter’s class where he starts the day with a writing prompt that sends Phillips imagination soaring. Now, if only he could apply that creativity and passion in his real life.
Jerry Harwood has created a cast of characters that are both easy to dislike and easy to empathize with. Chuck and his friends are easily unlikable and I loved Ashley, Daniel and Jaylan. I really liked all the teachers too, especially the language arts and P.E. teachers. I did feel like Phillips mom should have played a bigger part in the story, but it didn’t hurt the story in any way. From the first time we meet Chuck I thought that he was just a pain in the butt kid who likes to be a bully and embarrass people. Chuck and his gang of hooligans didn’t really evolve much but that honestly worked for the story because they continue to be the fundamental antagonists.
Jerry Harwood does a great job detailing what a panic/anxiety attack feels like, I could almost feel and see Phillip having his attacks. It was great that he found a way to cope with his attacks. Even at the beginning when the author is describing Phillip and his mom running away from home, everything is perfectly detailed. When Phillip is standing in the back of the room on the first day of school, you could feel him praying that he is invisible and then realizing that he really had been during that class because not one person had cared about him being there or noticed his presence. It was sort of sad.
The story flowed easily and was well written. I enjoyed the small cartoon characters at the beginning of each chapter and I liked how short the chapters were. I read the book in one sitting, because it was an enjoyable read and I loved that Phillip was able to turn things around which gave the book a feel good ending.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B0868XNSH9
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, bully, children, childrens book, contemporary, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, Jam Sessions, Jerry Harwood, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, middle school, new readers, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, school, story, urban fantasy, urban fiction, writer, writing, young adult
Published in 2017, David Crane’s dramatic Sci-Fi novel, Demon Heart, is set in Osaka, Japan. It explores the roles of light and darkness in shaping the human experience. It is a powerful narrative about Naoko Kitamura, the protagonist who realizes that she is half-demon. Living amongst human beings, the character learns how to manage this dark side – by controlling the intensity of her powers.
Crane’s readers realize that learning one’s true identity has a significance in their life journey. All the challenges faced by Naoko, prove her strength and ability to achieve victory, regardless of all the tough circumstances at play.
I give this book a 5-star rating for numerous reasons. First, it was cathartic to read it in first person narration, as this made me feel closer to Naoko, the protagonist. It was easier to understand all the psychological battles within her mind, by progressing with her thoughts, throughout the story.
Furthermore, the book gives an account of the themes of good and evil, and the basis of human existence. Naoko reveals to her characters the importance of accepting one’s identity. Suppressing the shadows and demons within us only leads to chaos. If she wasn’t aware of her true identity, it’d be difficult for her to understand the origin of all the darkness around her.
Through the writing of Crane, the readers perceive demons from a different light. We have been taught, so often, that demons are destructive, and don’t want the best for humans. This is quite clear when Naoko is expected to keep her true identity a secret. Human beings cannot handle the intensity of divinity thus, they shouldn’t know much about this world. Keeping it a secret is also psychological since humans would not have the capacity to understand the healing powers of a demon-hybrid.
However, Naoko manages to engage the readers’ empathetic sides, as she thrives to create a balance between good and evil in the world. She is indeed one of the genuine police officers, who attempt to create this balance, while greatly fighting against evil.
This book also teaches its readers about Japanese cultures, traditions and beliefs, and it is a great narrative for readers like me, with a keen interest in the spiritual realm.
The story captured my attention, right from the title, and I’ll be sure to give it a second reading due to how much I related with the protagonist and her experiences.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B074DSSBPY
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, crime fiction, david crane, DEMON HEART, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, japan, kindle, kobo, literature, magical realism, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, urban fiction, writer, writing
Bradley, a grumpy old man, goes into his favorite liquor store one night to get a bottle of wine. Not knowing of what is awaiting him, everything changes when he is shot by a mugger. It would be obvious for Bradley’s story to end with his death but he wakes up in his former school where he used to play basketball and meets Pete who explains to him that his life is not over yet and how linear time works. Bradley is given another chance to live and face all the things he regrets from his younger age and makes amends but this will happen in the body of a young African American teen named DeShawn.
The author introduces his readers to the life of Bradley in a unique manner that I found to be full of gripping twists. The plot is easy to follow and captivating. The readers can feel the confusion of Bradley when he wakes up in his former high school in a different teens body, yet he is in his seventies. This opens the reader to another world of intriguing possibilities and a unique view at what things would look like if something of the sort happened like what Bradley faced. Pete is a representation of the state between heaven and hell. The conversation between Pete and Brad is philosophical and riveting. When Brad is given another chance to go back, make amends and face his regrets, it superbly sets up the story to explore possibilities, and the plethora of possibilities is what makes this novel immensely engaging.
Every piece of this book has been crafted carefully and the story line is fascinating. More than just being a great book, it creates a bond between two different worlds; the Midwestern life of Bradley and the “hood” life of DeShawn. Regrets uses a unique idea to explore the choices we all make in life. The author has also done a marvelous job of addressing the issues that most African Americans face in America and he advocates for Black Lives Matter in a fictional yet realistic way. I highly recommend this book.
Pages: 319 | ASIN: B0892P99KN
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
Overall, the book has equal amounts of action and a story that is well balanced. It does a fantastic job of bringing together all its characters and tying their situations up in a satisfying way that is sure to appeal to any fan of paranormal fiction.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B07NY31HNK
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The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birth of a Hero by author Dawnette N. Brenner is about a 12-year-old boy named Joshua who finds himself thrust into a magical land full of danger.
This book made me really emotional. Not only does the book cover a tough but important topic, how kids deal with divorce, but the quotes from anonymous children talking about divorce were heartbreaking. It really is important to remember that kids can be affected in different ways and often see more than people think, and like Joshua, often feel guilt. And on top of that, the book is also dealing with mental illness as Joshua is a pre-teen dealing with bipolar disorder. Having a book that deals with subjects like this is very important, and I feel that Brenner handled the subjects really well. This is the kind of book that readers can definitely connect to, both in how you deal with struggles and watching the struggles of others.
Brenner has done a fantastic job of entering into the mind of a child. The imaginative world that Joshua finds himself in is a great representation of the kind of imaginary places children make up to escape to. I loved how the land of Ice Plants and Norkels has not just a dreamlike quality but really captures how imaginary worlds are distorted versions of what we see and know. Things like Thragons that seem close to familiar but are a magic of their own. The imagery she uses really brings the fantastical world to life. The back and forth switch from the magical realm to the real world is disorienting, but it is clear that this was intentional as we watch Joshua dealing with the world around him.
Joshua is an incredible character who is dealing with a great deal both internally and externally. This book is a magical way of showing and handling tough subjects for your adult readers. I found this book to be enchanting to read, even when it made me want to cry, and I would highly recommend it. I would definitely give this book 5 stars for its unique creativity, and the extraordinary way it deals with its subject matter. I look forward to reading book two!
Pages: 186 | ASIN: B074PK4GHW
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, Birth of a Hero, 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, dawnette brenner, divorce, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, nook, novel, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, science fiction, shelfari, smashwords, story, teen fantasy, The Ancient Sacred Tree, urban fantasy, urban fiction, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult