Trap Jam by Steven Barwin | Review

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Olivia is living a double life — high-school student by day, drummer by night. Olivia doesn’t know when hanging out in clubs and drinking to appear older and enjoy the music scene became a habit, but she finds herself hungover at school and sneaking alcohol at home. Her bandmates Eddie and Lucas think she is older, and Olivia keeps up the pretence even as her real life starts to fall apart.
When Lucas catches Olivia talking to her friend Raymond in the women’s washroom, he beats up Raymond in a jealous rage. With Raymond unconscious and seriously hurt, Lucas tells Olivia that Raymond’s criminal brother is looking for them for payback. They go on the run, sleeping in a borrowed van and stealing to get by. Lucas keeps Olivia drunk and off-balance, telling her he loves her and pressuring her to have sex with him — even when she reveals she’s only sixteen. Still, through an alcoholic haze, Olivia sees that Lucas is delusional and dangerous. When she finally discovers that the story about Raymond’s brother is a lie, she realizes she has to get out of Lucas’s obsessional trap.


*I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*

The idea for Trap Jam was inventive enough, but there was too much going on for the human brain to properly process. It seesaws between themes of pursuing your dreams, lying, obsession, alcholism, etc., but nothing is fully developed and is terribly chaotic. The writing is really spacey and unfocused, which also makes for a bad reading experience. There were multiple times I’d be reading and wonderded how the protagonist went from playing the drums to randomly riding a bike. There is some diversity in this, if you’re hardpressed for a POC protagonist then Olivia is your girl. I believe she’s either an Afro-Cuban or Dominican – I really can’t remember – and she’s also a female drummer which is cool. To conclude this review, I’d declare this to be a book new, teen readers. If you’re an experienced reader and mature in age then I’d skip it.

The Book Theme Meme

The Book Theme Meme is a weekly meme that pairs books and music hosted by Lila. If you want to participate, here’s what to do:

  • Link back to the originator (Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets)
  • Choose a book or series
  • Choose a song that you feel represents the book (fyi: it doesn’t have to have words, it can be classical or score)
  • Tell us what about the song reminds you of the book. Is it a particular lyric/s? Is it the general feeling of the song? Explain a little.
  • Add your name, blog, and link to your post in the comments!
  • Voila! You’re done!

 Jane & Beneath Your Beautiful

“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth ft. Emeli Sandé, paired with Jane by Michelle N. Onuorah. Both are about revealing yourself to a person you love, while also seeing the truth behind your emotional mask of indifference. It’s a love story about healing and finding you, without losing the ones you love. The song goes:

“You tell all the boys ‘No’
Makes you feel good, yeah.
I know you’re out of my league
But that won’t scare me away, oh, no”

“You’ve carried on so long,
You couldn’t stop if you tried it.
You’ve built your wall so high
That no one could climb it,
But I’m gonna try”

Jane’s character was emotionally distant from everything and everyone. After the horrible childhood she endured, nothing seemed to satisfy her in life – having a master’s degree, being a professor in her 20’s, being stable, etc. – there was always something missing. There was also her lackluster relationships that she could never muster the care to, well, care.

Enters Aiden, who believes he sees himself in her, with her fake smiles and sadness that lurks beneath the depths of her eyes. Although he has his own issues, he decides to win Jane over and infiltrate her iron-chained walls.

“Would you let me see beneath your beautiful?
Would you let me see beneath your perfect?
Take it off now, girl, take it off now, girl
I wanna see inside
Would you let me see beneath your beautiful tonight?”

The chorus is indicative of what I just described above. He’s trying to see the real her and not the mask that she wears as armor.

“Would you let me see beneath your beautiful?
Would you let me see beneath your perfect?
Take it off now, boy, take it off now, boy
I wanna see inside
Would you let me see beneath your beautiful tonight, oh, tonight?”

However, Jane isn’t the only one hiding. Aiden is also hiding –  he hates his job and the man he’s become.

“I’m gonna climb on top your ivory tower
I’ll hold your hand and then we’ll jump right out
We’ll be falling, falling but that’s OK
‘Cause I’ll be right here
I just wanna know”

….

“We ain’t perfect, we ain’t perfect, no.
Would you let me see beneath your beautiful tonight?”

The ending is really about them finding solace in the Creator and not being afraid to love one another without walls, without barriers, without a net, but just with the full ability of their hearts. It’s a beautiful song and a beautiful book.

The Monday Musts: #2

The Monday Musts is a weekly meme hosted by Jessica at Lovin’ Los Libros in which we talk about our must reads, must listens, and must sees of the week!

MUST READS

Three enticing novels!

 The Knife of Never Letting Go – older, but I read it this year and fell in love.

The Young Elites – great book

Shadowshaper – diverse and informative about colorism, gentrification and political issues  with a dosage of fantasy.

MUST LISTEN

I previously wrote a short post about the racial issues that are currently happening in the United States. Since there have been more incidents of police brutality and unprovoked killings of black people, along with the killing of police officers in retaliation, since that post I felt this song would be perfect. This song just embodies the black male mind, in my opinion.

MUST SEE

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! I LOVE this show! I’ve watched it at least 40 times.

The Get Down doesn’t get a lot of love or recognition compared to other shows on Netflix, but  it’s amazing! The story takes place in the late 1970’s in the birth place of Hip Hop: Bronx, New York (It’s a borough so technically I wrote that wrong).

I gotta be honest, it took me forever to watch this show. I added it to my list on Netflix but kind of forgot about it. There was Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and so many other Netflix originals I was watching that I kept bypassing this one. However, once I finally watched it I was transfixed!

This series is so wonderfully done. It’s about a lot of things, love, loss, leadership, music, social issues (that are still happening today), race, politics, history, and anything else you can imagine.

 I recently began listening to hip hop/rap this year. I remember the days where it felt like I was the only black person alive (that I knew) that enthralled by it, but this year has been my awakening to this beautiful, poetic art form of expression. And I don’t mean “mainstrem” rap which is truly garbage,  (I know why I never listened to it) but the hip hop that sparks social change and speaks on truly important issues and struggles.

This show won’t be for everyone – it’s very musical and mostly centered around disco and hip hop (for season 1 at least) – but I think everyone should give it a try before counting it out. It’s also overflowing with diversity of black and Latina characters. The main cast members are:

Justice Smith (played in Paper Towns as Radar – isn’t he cute)

Shameik Moore (played in Dope lead character)

Jaden Smith

Jimmy Smits

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Herizen Guardiola
It’s such a fun show:

Set in the late 1970s, when New York was at the brink of bankruptcy and disco was dying out, the rise of hip-hop is told through the lives, art, music and dance of a group of young people in the South Bronx. Also includes elements of the 70’s: Star Wars, Kung Fu, etc.

 

The Book Theme Meme

The Book Theme Meme is a weekly meme that pairs books and music hosted by Lila. If you want to participate, here’s what to do:

  • Link back to the originator (Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets)
  • Choose a book or series
  • Choose a song that you feel represents the book (fyi: it doesn’t have to have words, it can be classical or score)
  • Tell us what about the song reminds you of the book. Is it a particular lyric/s? Is it the general feeling of the song? Explain a little.
  • Add your name, blog, and link to your post in the comments!
  • Voila! You’re done!

Gasoline & Cinder

“Gasoline” by Halsey paired with Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Both have a very Asian inspired theme that’s also futuristic in feel. The song is basically the life of Cinder, although altered a bit. The song goes:

Continue reading

The Playlist Shuffle Tag

It’s not something I write about often – or ever – but I LOVE music with a serious passion. Everything from Classical to Rasta Reggae (let’s hope this playlist reflects that *fingers crossed*), so thank you so much  the orang-utan librarian and Beth @betwixt-these-pages!

The Rules:

Put your music on shuffle and list the first 15 songs to play (no cheating) then tag 10 others to do it as well.

Here goes nothing…

Whatever Lola Wants – Sarah Vaughn

Good start. Although it’s not my favorite Old Time Jazz song (not even close), Sarah Vaughn had a magnetic voice.

Until the End – Breaking Benjamin

What can Breaking Benjamin really do wrong?

JM – Strand of Oaks

7 minutes of awesomeness

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The Haters by Jesse Andrews

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For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.


Well, Jesse Andrews an interesting writing style full of humor and sarcasm, which is exactly what a dorky band book needs to entertain me! Here the summary isn’t what’s appealing but what this author can do with seemingly average, boring, geeky story’s and characters is amazing. Oh, did I mention this cover is simplistic genius? Well there it is.

Click cover to pre-order

 

Upcoming Reviews

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Believe it or not…I’m a big reader. hehe. I mean it! Literally I read around 10 to 15 books on a good month, so when I say that my to-review list is backed up, I truly mean it. Currently I have around 50 or so novels to review but let’s be real, I’ll probably only get around to about 12 or 15. Therefore I have decided to just make a post of upcoming post, which basically means it’s the annoying preview before the movie. Be that as it may, I felt that this was a splendid idea to give the few assortment of people who indeed read this blog.

So, after much rambling here’s the list:

  1. Divergent (Trilogy) – Veronica Roth
  2. Game (Jasper Dent, #2) – Barry Lyga
  3. One the Edge of Love (Mama’s Brood, #1) – Shaya Rucker
  4. Metal Love Songs – Shiree McCarver
  5. Love Through Pain – Ancelli
  6. Someone To Watch Over Me – Sienna Mynx
  7. The Taming of the Shrew – William Shakespeare 
  8. Affairs of the Dead (The Reanimation Files, Book 1) – A.J. Locke (Not featured above)

I hope you’re interested in these upcoming reviews, some of the books were awesome and others were mediocre. But in the mean time…

Metal Love Songs by Shiree McCarver

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Metal Love Songs take you on the journey into a woman’s sexual awaking in the arms of the up and coming Dymond’s front man, Chay Kim, and the already iconic musical genius, Craven Summers.

Emotional betrayal and lost love drives Freedom Rose into becoming the first African American woman to front FreeFall, one of today’s most prolific Symphonic Metal bands.


Freedom, Chay, and Craven have all the trappings that success and money can buy except the lost love they can’t forget. It takes an unforeseen accident to bring them full circle to where they began.


 

*Warning: This review will not be like my others, since this is a New Adult novel, I will have adultish comments about it. For once I’m acting my age :d*

I thought this review would be befitting of Valentine’s Day. Personally I hate it, not because I’m bitter, just because I’m not s very affectionate person and I don’t like chocolate or killing flowers for my own amusement. Anyway, this book has love isn’t the title soooo…

I read this book a long time ago – it’s been sitting in my draft section for months – so please bare with me as I complete this short review.

The best thing about this novel wasn’t the romance, the crazy sex scenes, the colorful ménage à trois, or the characters per say – it was the diversity and the not so stereotypical acts of our characters. This novel wasn’t afraid to be real and different, which I enjoyed, but beyond that I can’t give it any real praise.

The main problem I had with this novel was the length. This book was waaaay too long and lacking the necessary action or importance to fulfill the amount of pages presented. The first half of the book was wonderful – Freedom is this awesome chick with a powerful voice and an awesome attitude, which I appreciate in a Black female lead. Craven is sexy and dirty in the best possible way, he’s a real man and is also a musician (we don’t meet him until later in the novel). Chay is confused and literally all-over the place, but he grows on you – also a musician.

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Try to follow me:

Freedom is black —-> heterosexual

Craven is white —-> bisexual

Chay is Asian —-> has this whole, he’s only gay for Craven thing happening

They’re all involved with each other in a ménage à trois.

Does that make sense? Well, it got confusing for me too. But the breaking of stereotypes was awesome.

Freedom being the lead singer in a heavy metal band, along with Chay is ★

I actually enjoy ménage à trois. It’s one of the only times I enjoy erotica. But I don’t like BDSM, and this novel includes A LOT of that. I mean some very kinky shiitake that I pretty much skipped over, along with a lot of the other sex scenes…the dilemma was that that was about 50% of the book. The other 50% can be split between unnecessary filler at 15% and actual plot contribution 35%. This would have been a solid story if it weren’t for all the sex and stupid nonsense that added nothing to it.

This book was free with 500+ pages when I got it, so ★

I did like the story, it was great, but missing too much and adding too much – if that makes sense.

It did have that whole Their Eyes Were Watching God feel with the sexual awakening of Freedom, however the eloquent perfection of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel remains unsurpassed.

Here’s the picture I had for the book – back when I was still doing that.

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