Friday, May 30, 2014

Black Chalk Review

Black Chalk

Author: Christopher J. Yates
Average Rating: 3.52/5.0
Personal Rating: 5.0/5.0
Amount of Pages: 352
Finished Reading: May

According to Goodreads:

One game. Six students. Five survivors.

It was only ever meant to be a game.

A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.

My opinion:

I received an electronic copy of this book to review, but in no way does that have an impact on my views and opinion. 

First things first, we need to take a moment for the cover...moment over. The main reason I chose this novel was because of the cover. Now I know what you're all thinking, "Meredith, don't judge a book by its cover!" *wags finger in my direction* To my defense, this time it was different! I fell in love with the cover, because it seemed so mysterious, dark, and twisted. I will admit I was confused about the tower, but it gets explained towards the end of the novel. In other words, don't strain something trying to figure out the meaning of the tower. 

Also, I wouldn't recommend this novel for the younger people out there. This novel is definitely made for adults due to its obscenities and the density of the information that is given. 

One aspect of the novel I highly enjoyed was how the chapters would alternate between the past and the present day. Most of the story takes place in the past, and in the past is where you meet all the characters. You also learn about how the Game came to be, and how it ended. The chapters written in the present portrayed how the events during the Game psychologically affected one of the main instigators for the Game. 

Three characters' development throughout the novel stuck out to me. Jolyon was known by everybody on campus, and was the clear leader of the pack. However, you come to realize and take notice of how his mind deteriorates due to resulting events caused by the Game. He just wants to be free from the whole thing. Chad is a shy, book smart, and socially awkward boy who befriends Jolyon on the first day on campus. As the game progresses his mind can only think of the Game. He only cares about what is next for the Game, and anything else that isn't the Game doesn't matter. He becomes stronger, and refuses to be walked all over. Dee is another friend who takes part in the Game. In the beginning stages of the story we learn that after she writes 500 poems she wants to commit suicide. After her college days, she does a 360 with herself. She stops wearing the black clothing and dyes her hair blond. She plays a major role in the present day chapters of the book, especially towards the end of the novel. I'm not her number one fan for decisions she made in the chapters that took place in the present. I was and still am questioning if the decisions that she made were decided correctly. 

My heart was heavy with boredom, light and happy with the action, shattered when unexpected events and truths came out, and finally patched with hope for the futures of the remaining characters. I have never had a novel affect me psychologically as much as this one did. I felt like I was right there with the characters experiencing the same distress. I highly recommend this novel to everyone, especially from college and up, who are in search for a book that will tear you apart, confuse you, and then gather up the pieces to soldier on to the end with the characters. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

After the Kiss Review

After the Kiss

Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Average Rating: 3.15/5.0
Personal Rating: 3.8/5.0
Amount of Pages: 382
Finished Reading: May

According to Goodreads:

This moment changes everything. 

Becca has been head-over-heels for Alec from the instant they met. He's a brainy jock with a poet's heart; in other words, perfect for her. 

Camille is careful with her words and protective of her heart, especially since Chicago. Then a new boy in her new town catches her off guard with a surprise kiss. 

Too bad that new boy is Becca's boyfriend, Alec. 

Camille and Becca have never met, but their lives will unravel and intertwine in surprising ways as they deal with what happens after the kiss.

My Opinion:

It was extremely random that I picked up this book. I had a completely different book in mind to pick up next, but I came across this novel when I was trying to make room on my bookshelf. I remember buying the novel, but it soon became one of those book purchases that I told myself I would read sometime in the future. And of course, I ended up forgetting about it. I hate neglecting my books like that, but sometimes some novels just get lost in the shuffle. 

I am quite pleased with decision to read this novel, because I was looking for a light read that I could get through quickly. I have been reading some not so fluffy reads lately, and I truly needed a break. I feel like this read is perfect for the summer, even though the setting doesn't take place in the summer. It just gives me that vibe of being a summer read. ( Nothing to do with the fact that I read the novel out on my deck with the sun shining. pshh.) 

One thing that intrigued me was the writing style that McVoy used throughout the novel. There were two character perspectives that she would flip between. The first one was Camille who was written in second person and did not follow the capitalization rules that we are all used to. The second character was Becca, whose voice was written in prose with the use of  first person. I thought it would take me longer to grasp the two different styles, but there were only a few times that I had to go back to read a sentence or two over to understand what was going on. I know there are several books out there that have been written in prose, but I found it unique how this particular novel switched between the two contrasting styles. 

My one pet peeve about the story line was how there was no confrontation between the two girls involved in the triangle. They were part of this dance crossing in front of each other, but never coming together. I'm a girl who loves to see some action with this sort of thing. I'm not saying I like cat fights, but I do enjoy when two characters come together to confront the issue at hand. 

I believe After the Kiss takes the common topic of a love triangle, and puts a creative twist on it with the stylistic way of writing. I do not believe my time has been wasted reading and getting to know the characters. This novel is a light read that lets your mind relax and time fly by. I would recommend this novel to any who are looking for a quick read, and stories involving romance. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow) Review

Billy Tabbs (& The Glorious Darrow)

Author: Michael P. Michaud
Average Rating: 4.0/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Finished Reading: May

According to Biting Duck Press:

A youthful vagrant, Billy Tabbs has been living in the streets for as long as he can remember, scratching out a pitiable existence in a city that doesn't much care if he lives or dies.
Amid rumors that his kind are disappearing from the alleyways and the overpasses, Billy is recruited into a bizarre homeless sect living in the underbelly of high society. It is here where he meets Darrow — the mysterious and volatile leader of an organization committed to escalating acts of civil disobedience; an organization meant to force the people of the city toward equal respect for all inhabitants of society.
Following a brazen public initiation, Billy is accepted into the group, soon becoming a valued member. However, as their movement gains popularity, and their own numbers continue to swell, can they avoid becoming that which they’d originally set out to fight? Compounding this disturbing trend is the growing divide among their leadership, with their ideology ever teetering between violent and non-violent activism.
My Opinion:
I received an electronic copy of this book to review, but in no way does that have an impact on my views and opinion. 
This novel is the debut novel of Michael P. Michaud. For a debut novel, I was pretty impressed. I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading it. There was not a real attention grabber that would grab my attention for an extended amount of time. I found my mind drifting to other things that I needed to finish, or just zoning out in general. One thing that really irritated me was how the chapters were not consistent in length. I am not saying that every chapter needs to be exactly the same, but I felt like there were chapters that could have been made into separate chapters. 
I bet you're wondering how this novel got a four out of five star rating. I have this rule for myself that I must finish a book no matter how terrible it may be. Like I've said, I thought this novel was going to be torture to get through when I began reading. However, I set myself down one day to read it, and really focus my mind on it. A little over a third of the way in I started enjoying it. I began to understand what was going on, and I started thinking about what the outcome would be. Events began to take place, and more characters were being introduced resulting in the speed of reading to pick up. 
My favorite character out of the novel would be Darrow. Darrow is the leader of the House of Darrow. I feel like he embodies the concept of greed and desire that so many people fall victim too. He starts out with good intentions, which allows him to gain a small following. He is able to provide an abundance of supplies for his followers. The small organization begins developing, and pretty soon it expands considerably. Darrow sees this as great progress, and begins to desire an even larger impact on the society they are fighting against. All this desire and greed eventually goes to Darrow's head causing him to lose sight of what he originally built his organization on. 
Overall, I'm glad that I stuck with this book, because it did end up being a wonderful book. It was refreshing to read, because it wasn't about vampires or girl falls in love with boy who lives next door. The novel was difficult at first to grasp, and at times difficult to swallow due to events that took place. I would recommend this novel, especially if you are looking for a novel that isn't the norm right now.