White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler

White Chalk

By Pavarti K. Tyler

Genre: Literary Fiction, Coming-of-age

Five stars

Chelle suffers through a life where she feels no one cares about her, and she doesn’t feel that way without basis. At fourteen, one of the most difficult years of many people’s lives, she endures poverty and an abysmal family life. Chelle’s mother struggles to support her and her father without any time or heart left for her sensitive daughter. Her father wallows in the throes of alcoholism and when he is home, everyone avoids his fury and humiliation. To cope with all the pain, Chelle turns to an illicit relationship with a teacher, the only one who seems to care, and her self-harm rituals that punish her body to revive her heart.  Hope dawns in Chelle’s life when the hot, edgy new boy takes an interest in her. But what is left for her when every hope she has turns to dust?

Pavarti has written a beautiful, horrible, gut-wrenching tale of grim reality. Truthfully, I never understood the mindset of someone who harmed themself or how they could possibly find solace in it. I understand now. In brilliant, vivid detail, Pavarti shows us how Chelle’s life crushes her delicate heart and drives her to cut and burn her body to take control of something. Though the character may be fictional, I know her story is real to many. This felt like someone’s biography. I cried.

Each character felt like someone real, struggling with their perspective, dreams, and disappointments. No character took the role of villain in this understanding perspective, though many committed crimes. Chelle seemed propelled through life, reacting and acting on her external stimuli without any real understanding, like a child does. Truly this story broke my heart and reaffirmed my determination to be the annoying, uncool, pestering parent I should. I know that if I should encounter a person who has gone through or is going through self-harm, I will be better equipped to reach out to them. Bravo, Pavarti!

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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Restoration by Elaine D. Walsh

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Restoration

by Elaine D. Walsh

Genre: Women, Contemporary Fiction, Drama

Convicted serial killer Randall Wright’s crimes included more than murder. He also destroyed a family. But death by lethal injection is the worst punishment the state of Florida can give him, so Tess Olsen, one of the “other victims” can exact no retribution. Randall Wright didn’t kill Tess in the traditional sense, but he did kill her dreams, wreck her ability to connect to others, and destroy her family.  Why did her mother, Alish, fall in love with a murderer when she had a stable, happy family? Why did she leave them all for this monster? And why did she not see the evil he wrought on her daughter? How could he deceive Alish so, and how could she be so blind?

Tess, now an adult, still struggles with the pain of her broken family and smothered artistic spark. She lives a hollow life of temporary flings with men and a career of restoring artwork instead of creating her own. Will Randal Wright’s execution set her free from the fear that still strangles her? Can she find a real relationship with the chivalrous art critic, Ben, who pursues her heart and not her body? Will she ever be restored?

Elaine writes a gripping story of the far-reaching destruction that an evil person can wreak whether they live in freedom or not. She also explores the terrible layers of wrong in divorce and the different ways it affects the survivors. Tess’ sensitive nature is prostrated by the betrayal of her mother, plunging her into an existence of helplessness and misery. No other family member is tortured so much as Tess, but Randall Wright didn’t return their kindness with horrors either.

Though dark and brooding, the tale also zings with the energy of Tess’ hope for release and thirst for justice. She hopes for Randall’s death and for her mother’s eyes to be opened. Ben gives her hope for a bright future of love, though she wrestles with her confidence that she deserves such a life. The characters around her also begin to open her up and relieve her of some of her icy suffering as they show her kindness and care about her.

Restoration is a deep and varied tale that highlights the best of people and the worst. I thoroughly enjoyed Tess’ journey through her psyche and her wrestle with herself.

I approve this title for Awesome Indies. http://awesomeindies.net

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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One Insular Tahiti by Thea Atkinson

One Insular Tahiti

by Thea Atkinson

 Genre: Psychological Drama

Luke is a spirit between one life and the next, washing around in the sea of time and memory waiting for the moment when he is reborn. At the mercy of the whims of the current, he flows through his own life and the lives of others from his past life and future life on a bizarre train of feeling and thought (that seems a lot like my regular thinking patterns…eee). The moment that he longs for, his own rebirth, is approaching. He yearns for his mother, Astrid, who suffers through a painful life that he wished to be. His wish to be born as her child tipped the scales between her life and death and she survived. He then adds her experiences to his own in his drifting, joining her in her painful struggle through life until the moment of his birth.

Don’t worry. Thea explains right at the beginning of the book what “One Insular Tahiti” means.

One Insular Tahiti is both beautiful and awful, comforting and repulsive, heartwarming and disgusting. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be. Luke’s life and Astrid’s life are not lovely journeys through happy times. They suffer through some of the worst events and afflictions a person can endure. These sorrows make their joys all the sweeter.

I don’t believe in reincarnation myself, but I am always fascinated by other ideas about the afterlife. I can’t help but compare my own beliefs to the beliefs portrayed by the author and imagine how the story would be different in my hands. The philosophy of life and death is very different from my own, but I could put myself in the place of the characters and see just why they believed the way they did.

Thea’s writing is vivid and gripping. I found myself itching to move on to Luke’s birth, hoping as he did that the next chapter would be it. I joined him in his feeling of dread when he saw another awful epoch of his past life rush in again, and in his elation when he encountered moments of joy.

These characters were so real that I wondered if they came from experience of  the author or someone she knows. Afflictions that I know nothing about, but wonder about, are explained in a moving manner. The writing really made me feel I had seen through someone else’s eyes, understanding their feelings and motivations. I really liked that! It didn’t change my beliefs, but it did make me feel I gained sympathy for others’ perspectives.

I really enjoyed One Insular Tahiti and I would highly recommend it to adults who are prepared for its depth and dark themes.

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Insular-Tahiti-reincarnation-redemption-ebook/dp/B0042RUKSE/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Insular-Tahiti-reincarnation-redemption-ebook/dp/B0042RUKSE/

http://www.amazon.fr/Insular-Tahiti-reincarnation-redemption-ebook/dp/B0042RUKSE/

http://www.amazon.de/Insular-Tahiti-reincarnation-redemption-ebook/dp/B0042RUKSE/

http://www.amazon.esInsular-Tahiti-reincarnation-redemption-ebook/dp/B0042RUKSE/

http://www.amazon.it/Insular-Tahiti-reincarnation-redemption-ebook/dp/B0042RUKSE/

Kobo

http://kobobooks.com/ebook/One-Insular-Tahiti/book-Ogo9c1wR9EaRY1R9z8dDmg/page1.html

Smashwords

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/33915

Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction; call it what you will: she prefers to describe her work as psychological thrillers with a distinct literary flavour. As in her bestselling novel, Anomaly, her characters often find themselves in the darker edges of their own spirits but manage to find the light they seek.

She has been an editor, a freelancer, and a teacher, but fiction is her passion. She now blogs and writes and twitters. Not necessarily in that order.

Please visit her blog for ramblings, guest posts, giveaways, and more http://theaatkinson.wordpress.com

or follow her on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/theaatkinson

or like her facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Theas-Writing-Page/122231651163413