Friday, March 20, 2015

Review | Dust To Dust by Melissa C. Walker

Dust To Dust by Melissa C. Walker
Series: Ashes #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Borrowed
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 

When Callie McPhee miraculously recovers from a tragic accident that should have taken her life, she thought her connection to the ghost world would be severed forever. And that she would never see Thatcher—the ghost she fell in love with in the hereafter—again. But when she receives unexpected signs from Thatcher, she's led down a dark road toward the angry souls who once tried to steal her soul's energy for another chance at life.

Now Callie must prevent the real world and the spirit world from colliding, and that could mean saying good-bye to people she'd never imagined she'd lose.
  (excerpt from Goodreads) 

This is the second book in the the Ashes Series. 
There are minor spoilers for the first book in this seriesso proceed at your own risk.  
I have tried to keep spoilers limited to what is included or alluded to in the summary. 

Dust to Dust by Melissa C. Walker

My Thoughts:  As the book begins, Callie is back on earth after the big reveal in the previous book. She continues to heal from injuries she sustained months ago, but she is mentally and emotionally different now - she isn't a risk-taker anymore, she isn't loud or overly-outgoing, and she is reeling from the heartbreak of losing Thatcher, her ghost Guide from the Prism. Callie has the support of her father in more ways than ever and they are mending their relationship, plus she has her boyfriend Nick and her best friend Carson by her side. Things are progressing well except that Callie has been experiencing unusual dreams and visions, and she is also wondering if she could be sensing Thatcher in the space around her. 

Callie is overjoyed when she realizes that she can sense Thatcher around her (she still has strong feelings for him), and she eventually learns that he is there to protect her...but from what?  


I enjoyed both Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust, which makes me happy because I'm such a big fan of Author Melissa C. Walker. This book is an easy continuation with an easy transition from one book to the next. To me, the two best plot lines in Dust to Dust are the good vs. evil plot thread with the poltergeists from Prism and the love triangle with Callie, Nick, and Thatcher. I loved these parts of the story because I genuinely didn't know what the final outcome would be until it was down to the wire. 

1. The poltergeists figured out in the first book that they could harness Callie's energy and use it to their benefit, causing all sorts of trouble both in Prism and on earth. NOW they are trying to take this a step further and cause permanent changes to things on earth, which can be devastating for some people, including some of the people that Callie loves most. Callie is willing to do anything in her power to stop these poltergeists and keep people safe, including risk her own life. 

There are instances of pure meanness by the poltergeists along with some pretty neat action sequences. This led up to a scene in which Callie had to make some big decisions - saving some that she loves could possibly risk losing others that she loves. There is plenty to go along with this plot thread and it is probably the driving force of the book, but getting too detailed here is not necessary. I just found it an interesting arc across the two books, I liked the trickster-antics of the poltergeists and their manipulative ways, and I appreciate all that they brought to the series even though they were the actual bad guys. 

2. This love triangle was so tricky! It was tricky in the first book and it was no less tricky in this installment. I'm not sure that I've come across a situation like this before in my own reading and I was actually surprised by how everything ended up - I liked it. I think there is more resolution than I could have hoped for. Still, with any love triangle, there is heartbreak and that is present here too. (I'm interested in seeing how readers respond here.) 

I also liked: 

3. The new character, Dylan. Most of the characters returned from the first book, which is always fun, but Dylan is a fresh, quirky voice in this book and it is actually very needed. Dylan's position in the story is quite original, he is funny, and he brings relief to the story during a couple of scenes that need it. 

4. Relationships. I love the way Callie and her father have a fresh, restored relationship after her accident, as if her brush with death has opened their eyes to how precious life is. This isn't a topic that is explored very often in young adult books from my experience, and I love seeing it written in a way that feels authentic and realistic across both of the books in this duology. I also love the relationship between Callie and her best friend, Carson. Carson is a little on the sometimes-annoying side, but Callie is too at times - what BFF isn't every now and then, right? What these two have is a friendship that transcends those annoying and trying times and appears quite genuine, a real love for one another, and I love that representation in this series. This is one thing that I notice consistently in Melissa C. Walker's books - great friendships. 

Melissa C. Walker's Ashes Series is certainly a departure from her contemporary young adult, but I enjoyed it. I think that if I'm honest, it's most fair to say that I love the contemporary the best, but this series is definitely fun. I love her take on the afterlife and ghosts, and I love that she is always able to bring a very subtle spiritual undertone to her stories without being annoying or hurtful. Dust to Dust is a fitting sequel to Ashes to Ashes - I loved these characters and I do feel that they are all where they should be, doing what they should be doing. I recommend Dust to Dust to readers that enjoy stories involving ghosts, great friendships, and restored family relationships. 


Dust to Dust will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Paranormal - Ghosts
Romance: Love Triangle, interesting resolution.
Great Friendship 
Restored Family RelationshipGreat Setting: Charleston  

Dust to Dust by Melissa C. Walker
will be available for purchase on May 5, 2015.



Have you read any of Melissa C. Walker's books? 
Do you have a favorite? 
I LOVE THEM. I have a few left on the backlist. 


On Resurrecting My Contemporary Event

Hi everyone! 

You guys see this picture to the left? The one with my toes and my Coke and my Kindle? This is the cute picture I was using last year for my 2014 Contemporary Event, which was scheduled for July - I LOVE doing these every year, reading the contemporaries, talking about them, all of that. Some years have been more successful than others even though I haven't been doing it for that long. 

Last year, I was all set to do Contemporary Month by myself technically for the first time, which was totally fine. I picked July because, summer books yessss. (Although we all read contemps anytime, obviously.) And then life happened in the form of THE BIG MOVE on July 14th. Like, we found out that we had to move a couple weeks before then and we packed for like a week and then we moved on July 14th and then unpacked for the rest of the month. 

Event = completely ruined. 

Contemporary Month basically fizzled out before it even gained any momentum, because this move was unplanned and my family needed me - sometimes things like this happen in life. I mean, the name of the event was REAL LIFE HAPPENS, how appropriate, right? I was so sad about it then because I just love stories about real life, I love talking about them on my blog so much, and I just felt sad that I had three full boxes of contemps + a Kindle-full and there. they. sat

Until two days ago! 

In looking around lately at things that make me happy and keep my bloggy-momentum, I want to do my Contemporary Event. I love it so much. With things up in the air with my Dad, I'm not 100% sure what this event will look like yet exactly, to be honest. But I want to do it anyway. I unpacked my three boxes of contemporary books, and many of them were books that were to be given away - a few are from publishers (better late than never, right?) and some are books that I can give to new homes because I also have a digital copy. Also: 

Some of the contemporaries I want to read and talk about are books that I have for review and oops I'm a little behind, no better time! Some are summer books, perfect timing! Some are books that have been recommended to me and doggone it, I just want to read them. Some are rereads, and in some cases some are series I want to binge/finish. I want to review, I want to make lists, I want to have discussions. 

So, help me out here:  I don't know that it needs to be contained within one month exactly. Should it? Should there be one month of just contemporary? Or should there be other things in there too? (Probably.) Should it be spaced out over the length of summer? (This would give me wiggle room when I miss days, like with my Dad's physicians appointments and plus there are a lot of books, you guys.) Spacing it out would give me the time to take my time and blog the best that I can, which is my favorite way. BUT would people get tired of it? I doubt it, especially if they know it is an event, especially if I mix it with some other stuff - if it is over the summer, it shouldn't be the same thing over and over for the entire three-ish months. Variety, see. I have not done it this way before. If I do it this way, it will be new. 
ALSO: I'd like to use the same picture from up there! What do you think? It reminds me of where my old home, it's from my backyard and I'm a little homesick. Is that lame? Should I do a new one? Real life happened to me, and the name of the event was/will be REAL LIFE HAPPENS, so should I stick with the picture I didn't get to use or should I do a new one for 2015? TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND BE HONEST. Totally honest. 

That was a lot of stream-of-consciousness, but I guess what I'm asking is: what are your best ideas for my contemporary event? (That's presumptuous, isn't it?) In the past, I've always done one month of flat-out contemporary. I'm thinking that switching it up may be the best thing for me, but what do you guys think? I want you guys to be participants in the discussion, to talk to me about these books. You guys are much of the reason that I love contemporary in the first place, so it's important to me that you are with me

So, thoughts? Be honest, but please be nice about it! 

Review | Ashes To Ashes by Melissa C. Walker

Ashes To Ashes by Melissa C. Walker
Series: Ashes #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Publish Date: December 23, 2013
Source: Lauren from Love is not a triangle - Thank you! 
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 

When Callie's life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven.

Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were fictional. Here she meets a striking and mysterious ghost named Thatcher, who is meant to guide her as she learns to haunt and bring peace to the loved ones she left behind.

However, Callie uncovers a dark secret about the spirit world: The angry souls who always populate ghost stories are real, dangerous, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay on Earth, threatening the existence of everyone she ever cared about.

As she fights to save them, Callie will learn that while it may no longer beat, her heart can still love-and break.
  (excerpt from Goodreads) 

Ashes To Ashes by Melissa C. Walker

My Thoughts:  I just love Melissa C. Walker's stories. I've been excited to read Ashes to Ashes since it was gifted to me, not only because I love this author but because I was curious about how she would transition from contemporary young adult stories to paranormal. 

Callie lives with her Dad in Charleston, South Carolina. She loves her Dad, but their relationship is a teensy bit strained as they were never able to make a great connection her mother died. She has an amazing best friend that she absolutely adores, and she loves her boyfriend Nick. Callie is on her way to see Nick one day when she is involved in a tragic car accident - Callie ends up in Prism, which is an in-between place between earth and eternal afterlife. Since Callie is now a ghost, she is paired with a guide, Thatcher, who will help her haunt her friends and family. This sounds kind of awful, but what it means is that she actually helps bring them comfort which helps them move toward accepting her death and moving on with their lives in a healthy way; in this way she can also move on to her own peaceful eternity in what appears to be the book's version of Heaven, called Solus. 


So Callie takes to haunting her friends and father, slowly, appropriately, with the help of Thatcher...and then she befriends the wrong crowd while she's in Prism, which sets things on a bad course. She is attracted to these people because they remind her of herself, always looking to have a good time and seeming to enjoy (after)life. They teach her some haunting techniques that Thatcher has already warned her against, they show her some fun places, everything they do is fun. Callie doesn't listen to Thatcher when he advises her to stay away from these ghosts, she doesn't listen when he tells her not to do the haunting that they teach her, she doesn't listen to him on several different counts. She actually breaks quite a few of his rules, with Thatcher coming to her rescue time and time again. It seems like she's almost constantly toying with the grieving processes of the people she loves and risking her entry into Solus. When Callie was living, she was a risk-taker and rule-breaker, always pushing the limits on things to get an adrenaline rush. This was not my favorite characteristic of hers while she was living, but it was a part of who she was, so it did not come as a shock to me that she would push and bend the rules over and over while she was in Prism and place others around her at risk. Callie does not have the best track record on thinking through things. She is impulsive, but it is not in the way that I usually love about characters. 

SO...her attraction to trouble didn't surprise me. Callie's impulsiveness blinds her to some of what these new "friends" of hers have planned for her, and it is Thatcher to the rescue again when these poltergeists stir up trouble that she cannot get out of alone. These particular ghosts, the poltergeists, have an interesting backstory and while they're the bad guys and I didn't particularly love them - I do have to admit that they did add much to the story and I think their placement there is needed. 

Callie does end up mellowing out by the end of the book, which is twisty by the way! After everything she goes through in Prism working to help her friends and her father to accept her death, and realizing that some of her methods of doing so weren't the correct way - the process chilled her out a bit, which is SO GOOD. The Callie at the end of the book is calmer, not the same risk-taker, just different. Some of this is probably attributed to the romance, I would have to guess. 

See, before Callie dies, she is crazy about her boyfriend Nick. After she dies, Nick is one of her main concerns - she is constantly wanting to check in on him, to be near him. He isn't coping well back on earth and she wants to soothe him with her presence, to haunt him into being okay. I love her care for him and her attentiveness to his well-being. Thatcher helps her, but now that Callie has moved into Prism because she isn't alive anymore, she knows that she can't be with Nick...this leaves room for a natural development of feelings for Thatcher. Thatcher feels similarly, he cannot help it, but he does try to hold his feelings back for a time. So here we have this sticky love triangle with one girl that loves and grieves for a living boy back on earth and yet is also falling hard for a ghost-boy in Prism. I always wonder about these love triangles, how they will play out in future installments - obviously someone has to be the losing guy, but there is the whole paranormal vs. living situation playing out here. Interesting to see how this one will end. (Personally, I do like both Nick and Thatcher - I do not have more feelings toward one than the other!)

Also note: this book has a fantastic friendship between Callie and her best friend. I love this. Writing great friendships is something that this author does very well. 

I liked Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker. I am an instant-read fan of her books, so this makes me happy. It is fun reading a non-contemporary story written by an author that I love, so fun to see how she branches out. It's easy to see the contemporary-ness in there, but this is definitely paranormal. I absolutely love the Charleston setting, so charming to this Southern girl, and I also love the way the author places an underlying spirituality in the story without making it a book about religion. This author has a knack for being able to do this perfectly, and I adore that about her. I recommend Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker to readers that enjoy young adult stories involving ghosts and great friendships. 


Ashes To Ashes will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Paranormal - Ghosts
Romance: Love Triangle. 
Great Friendship
Great Setting: Charleston  

Ashes To Ashes by Melissa C. Walker
is currently available for purchase.


Have you read any of Melissa C. Walker's books? 
Do you have a favorite? 
I LOVE THEM. I have a few left on the backlist. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kindle Round-Up

It's been a while since I've done a Kindle Round-Up! I've been playing around on Amazon this morning and I've had a little fun. Here are a few that I found on sale. 

Also, I've got a little giveaway going on HERE to win a book of your choice, open worldwide. Check it out! 

If you know of any good sales that you think I would like, pass them along! I WANT TO KNOW! Happy Spring-is-almost-here! -Asheley




$2.00-2.99 Note: An Ember In The Ashes is a pre-order but it is on sale! 





PREORDER: *An Ember In The Ashes pre-order is currently on sale for $2.99!