My So Called Afterlife series by Jamie Ayres

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18 Things

18 Things (My So Called Afterlife #1)
Jamie Ayres
Published: 24th January, 2012
Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: The Fantastic Flying Book Club

Summary:

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

What I liked: While some of the writing wasn’t very prominent or intriguing, the writing for the beginning of the book drew me in very quickly with they way it seemed to ring with me, and other parts did the same. I liked that style, it just really worked with me. Not saying that the rest of the writing was terrible or anything, but some parts just didn’t have the magic that the beginning of the book and other parts had for me. I liked Olga, how she was a girl who loved math and she was also a big fan of Star Wars (I mean, good movies, yeah?). Plus, the girl had some snark to her through the book and I really liked that. Her journey through her 18 things that she was to do was in essence a bucket list, but it made for a great story to see how the events changed her. She did many changes in her relationships with other people over the course of the year this takes place in, both friends, and family. I think that, along with doing all the other things on the list, helped Olga go through her grief and eventually move on.

What I didn’t like: Paranormal aspects? What paranormal aspects? Even though this book is marketed as a paranormal book, it isn’t until the end we get the paranormal aspects for the book. That, may I say, was a rather big let down.  It really should have been introduced in earlier so it wasn’t the last ten percent of the book. It just made the ending feel more unsatisfying than anything. Olga is also a math whiz, so I expected her to quote prominent people of math instead of literature like she did. It really seemed to go against her character in that aspect (and I mean, I’m an English Major and I wasn’t aware of some of those quotes). Plus, the teenagers in the book? I have lived in places around the people you would expect to talk the way those guys did but man, I’ve never heard teenagers talk like that. It just struck me as more ironic than anything when I read the way they talked. They didn’t remind me of any teenager that I’ve really ever known, so felt off to me, and that really affected my reading sometimes.

Overall Review: While this book did have an unexpected dose of Christianity in it, I never found that it took away from the book. It had to do with Olga, it was her faith so it did make sense for that to be in this book, but it never bothered me. Olga was a girl who’s journey to learning how to live for herself again was an important and fun thing to read about. It read more like a contemporary book until the end where the paranormal kicked in, but it did have a wonderful spread of messages through the book (and yes, some of those were religious but again, that didn’t bother even though it wasn’t my religion). Overall, when you approach this novel with more of a contemporary than paranormal set of expectations it’s easier to read.

Recommend?: More for fans of contemporary, but if you go into it with an open mind and don’t expect anything based on its paranormal genre you should be good!

Goodreads: 3.5/5 Amazon: 4.2/5 Barnes&Noble: 4.7/5

BookDepository | US Paperback | Audible | UK Kindle | UK Paperback

My Rating: 3.6/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 3.9
Idea: 3.5
Story: 3.4
Characters: 3.6

18 Truths

18 Truths
Jamie Ayres
Published: 28th January, 2014
Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: The Fantastic Flying Book Club

Summary:

Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. His mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart. Unfortunately, a series of mistakes threatens everyone around her and plants Olga in the center of cosmic events much larger than she ever imagined.

Only one thing is certain: the chilling truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched.

What I liked: I liked how this one starts off, and most of the story that we get. The twist about Olga and Nat was one that led to them both to becoming spirit guides in the world that Ayers has set up for the story. I always sort of thought Purgatory and Limbo were the same, but apparently not? So that was interesting. I also liked how the angels and demons play a role in the story of Olga trying to rescue Conner (who got a prologue in the beginning and who we learned was far less than the perfect guy Olga painted for us in 18 Things). This one also does live up to being a paranormal book, with many aspects of it showing so, definitely reviving the book from the lack of everything that it needed to be one in the first book. Olga shows us a different side of herself as well, one that is a bit more reckless than what we knew her as in 18 Things, thanks in part to some of Nate’s actions when they receive their first assignment as spirit guides.

What I didn’t like: The religious aspect that played some part in 18 Things came to be a bigger, much more center-focus part of this book, and unfortunately done in a way that detracted from the story. While very preachy in retrospect, it also managed to make the book feel, well, bogged down by it. I just felt like it could have been more..subtle if you will. Also, why the “love pentagon” (as Olga called it)? I don’t get it? It just didn’t seem to fit in. The triangle I was more okay with, this pentagon I am really not. Let’s not forget that I’m about done with the triangle and how Olga treats them as well. Also, where were the consequences for Olga’s actions throughout the book? I don’t recall any even though she did pretty much everything that could go against what the angels were telling her would basically make her fail and be damned. I wanted consequences.

Overall Review: While Olga seems to have (technically) slid back on her character growth from the first book, it gave her some more depth as we see in some sense what she’s willing to do to get someone she cares about back. While I’m no longer really caring about the romance aspect of the books, I’m still partially curious as to how that is going to go. Overall, I’m looking forward to the third book to see how everything ends up for them in that one.

Recommend?: Since this is much better than the first book, I recommend that you do! Much improvement in some aspects which I was glad for.

Goodreads: 4.1/5 Amazon: 4.7/5 Barnes&Noble: 4/5

BookDepository | US Paperback | Audible | UK Kindle | UK Paperback

My Rating: 3.4/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 3.6
Idea: 3.4
Story: 3.3
Characters: 3.3

18 Thoughts

18 Thoughts (My So Called Afterlife #3)
Jamie Ayres
Published: 27th January, 2015
Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: The Fantastic Flying Book Club

Summary:

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld for her final year of high school anxious for things to return to normal, but fate has other plans.

The new hottie at school reads her thoughts but nobody else’s. Her best friend wakes up from his coma acting like a completely different person. Caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, she must confront what she will—or won’t—do to bring him back and stare down her own perceived inadequacies to face a couple of tenacious demons, figurative and literal.

Everything she thought she knew about reality will change as she walks the line between past and present, fear and faith, love and loyalty.

And by the end of a heartbreaking year, she might be forced to realize “normal” in the conventional sense of the word is the one thing she may never achieve.

What I liked: This book read a lot like a redo of the first book, and in many ways it sort of was, even though things were different this time around as well. Nate’s new ability to read Olga’s mind was an entertaining part of the book in some ways. Conner acts different from the way we knew him in the second book and it led to me having some theories and questions about who it could really be, or what. It was interesting how they don’t have memories of what happened to them before, but it did make the book seem a bit…dull in the beginning. However, eventually things started taking a turn for the better and there were some interesting things that did happen in the second half. Especially the friendship that sprang up between Conner and Nate, I really liked that.

What I didn’t like: I don’t know why it took so long of Olga to figure out something was really wrong. Half a book to get to the more interesting parts? Plus, it ending felt a little too open if this is the final book (I’m not too sure if it is or not though).

Overall Review: A nice addition to the series, and it’s pretty open still at the end which is a little unsatisfying to me if this is the end of the road for these characters. While I did like the direction the second half of the took, it was slow in the beginning but in retrospect it was okay.

Recommend?: If you’ve read the first two, I think you should find out what Olga and the boys get up to in 18 Thoughts.

Goodreads: 4/5 Amazon: 4.8/5 Barnes&Noble: 5/5

BookDepository | US Paperback | Audible | UK Kindle | UK Paperback

My Rating: 3.5/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 3.7
Idea: 3.5
Story: 3.5
Characters: 3.4

Check out the rest of the tour here!

Jamie Ayres

About the Author

Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her online via Twitter, Facebook, or at www.jamieayres.com.

Links:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+

GIVEAWAY*!

  • Print copies of 18 Things, 18 Truths & 18 Thoughts + some bookmarks (US Only)
  • $25 Barnes&Noble gift card (INT)

Winners drawn 26th June, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Books and Ashes is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or unreceived materials that you may win. Books and Ashes does not handle the materials, or have any input on who receives a prize. In the case of a Books and Ashes Sponsored Giveaway Random.org will choose the winner. US and international followers eligible where applicable.

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One response to “My So Called Afterlife series by Jamie Ayres

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