18 THINGS

Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! I have a long list of books I’ve read in the past year that I haven’t been able to review, so I’m mixing them up with books that I’m reading and are on my TBR. Today I’ll be reviewing 18 Things by Jamie Ayres, that I read a while ago and only scanned over it again to remember character names and certain details. I remember the story clearly.

18Things

 

BOOK:  18 THINGS

AUTHOR: JAMIE AYRES

GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/PARANORMAL

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

 

BOOK BLURB:

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.

MY REVIEW:

Olga’s been in love with Conner since they were little kids and never told him, so they grew up being best friends. Conner dies tragically while they’re out sailing, and Olga is unable to save him, though injured herself and subsequently rendered unconscious. She can’t help but blame herself, thinking she could have done more to save him. The fact that she wanted the girl he asked to prom – popular, head cheerleader Tammy, to know she could have him with her any time she wanted when they planned that fateful day, made it worse. Unfortunately, when she goes back to school after his funeral, a few anonymous and cold-hearted classmates leave notes in her locker blaming her too.

In an effort to escape her pains, physical and emotional, Olga takes the bottle of pain medication the hospital prescribed her when she was discharged. After the ‘pill incident’, her parents insist on therapy. Her therapist Dr. Jill recommends a bucket list of 18 things to do during the year until she’s 18 to help her move forward with the healing process.

It’s while waiting for one of her sessions that she meets Nate Barca, who was court-ordered to therapy. A friendship begins. Olga finds Nate attractive, which she bothers her, because she still loves Conner. She appeals to God for answers – through prayers and pleas many times. How am I going to get through the year? Why didn’t God take me instead of him? I’m not going to give away much more because of spoilers.

I loved the idea and premise of the story. Reading how Olga, Nate, and her friends helped construct and get her through the bucket list was fun. Most of the characters were well fleshed out, although a couple were kind of cliché. Nate was my favorite and who I felt had the most personality. The book has references to God, scripture, and prayers, but it’s not added in a preachy way; it’s an important part of who Olga is and how she ‘deals’.

The ending shocked me – but didn’t, I guess. I had suspicions about how it was going to end in the beginning, but as I kept reading I said ‘Nah’ and forgot about them. When I finally reached the ending, I thought to myself – ‘Wait, what?’ … and had to go back to look for the clues that had me suspicious in the first place!

Overall, I think this is an interesting and clean read for young adults, and would recommend it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4/5 HEARTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

AyresJJamie 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 jamieayres.com.

 

 

 

For The Family of Someone Like a Brother…Any Help Appreciated.

Petie 003Hello to all my beloved blogger friends. I hope everything is going well for you all today. Things have picked up for me as well. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I received the Dragon Loyalty Award which I humbly accepted, but I have some other positive news I will share a little later.

This post is not about me though. Remember how I mentioned losing my close friend Petie to a brain hemorrhage and flying out to Puerto Rico for his burial with his sister after the wake in NJ? Those expenses were nearly $10,000.00, if not more, and we have come to find that Pete did not have any life insurance or real savings. While the family was able to raise some of the money, they fell short. Fortunately, the funeral services involved on both ends are willing to work with the family so they can pay off the debt.

You all know that I’ve lost several people since I started this blog, but Pete was like a brother to me. I can’t even express to anyone how much I already miss him. The thought of how much more burden his family has to bear with the added financial expenses makes me insane. I’ve never reached out for anyone else the way I’m reaching out now. That’s how much I love him and his family.

I’ve started a fundraising effort at GoFundMe to try raising some of the money still needed to completely payoff the debt. I did so after consulting with his sister, who is, by nature, a very private person. I assured her that the writing and blogging community was a family in and of itself and I would do so with the utmost respect. I donated at the wake, and was the first to give at GoFundMe. Any donation would be appreciated, if only a dollar. I know times are hard for us all, trust me. If you are unable to give to the fund, I have faith that my great friends here will still help by sharing this with other bloggers and writers.

I have included the link here .

Thank you all so very much for always being there. Please Re-blog and Re-tweet, if you can. Love you guys.

Just Gotta Grieve a Little

Thank you my beloved blogger friends for bearing with me these past few days (actually, it has been one week exactly). It has been a horrific one. Not only did the father of a man who is like a brother pass away on the morning of the 10th, I received a call on the 11th that the son of yet another one of my co-workers (2 years younger than my own 25-year-old daughter) was found dead that morning by his father, who had tried to wake him up for work (out-of-state).

I try really hard to keep promises that I make, and I kept looking at my Series posts so I could add to them and just had no words to type. I couldn’t focus. I don’t have it in me to talk about my journey right now. I’m not trying to be selfish at all. I still want to share it with all of you. It’s a journey I’m very proud of, considering where I am now as opposed to where I was. I just need a few more days; as wonderful as you have all been with me since I started this blog, I hope you can understand.

All I’d done for the past week is cry and mourn. I cried for my friend who lost his dad and hasn’t handled the loss well. He could barely function on the day of the wake. Afterwards, I offered my shoulders, my ears and as many hugs as he wanted while we packed his bags for his international flight that would take his dad home to his final resting place.

I cried and mourned for my friend who lost her son so suddenly; I can’t even fathom that loss. I panic at the very thought. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children and yet it happens all too often. This young man left two adorable twins, a little boy and a little girl.  The wake for this young man was the same day as my friend’s dad, so I couldn’t make it; plus it was not in NJ. There was a memorial held yesterday, which I very much wanted to attend. Unfortunately, my body was in a lot of pain the night before and into the next day. I slept fitfully throughout the night and even my friend (another co-worker), who was going to be my ride, didn’t think it was a good idea for me to go. Deep down, I know he’s right because I would have been much less likely to be able to contain my emotions properly, even if my body wasn’t acting up. Plus, I’m a mother; a mother with a daughter only a year older than her son was. No way would I have handled that well. No way at all.

Anyway, thanks for listening today. I’m glad to be back and happy that I was able to ‘grieve’ just a bit here with you. Before I go to bed tonight, I’m going to say some extra prayers and maybe even read a bit from my Bible. Everyday, I realize more and more how much I have to be thankful for.

Until next post, love you guys!