Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book Review




book synopsis Callie dies in a tragic accident and finds herself in the afterlife which is not at all what she pictured. She’s stuck in a realm called the Prism which is where one goes after they die and before they go to heaven. The point of being at the Prism is that you learn to move on and let go of your former life and help the loved ones you left behind to heal and be at peace. Her guide Thatcher helps her to deal with her feelings and tries to help her learn about the Prism and the whole haunting process on earth. She struggles to see her dad, best friend and boyfriend in so much pain and she has a hard time letting go. Soon she meets some ghosts who are angry and have not yet moved yet and they will do whatever they can to stay on Earth. The things they tell Callie conflict with what Thatcher has told her and she struggles with letting go and moving on or trying to cling to her old life.

good books to read I’m familiar with the author’s contemporary novels, though I haven’t read them, and my interest was certainly piqued to learn she was writing something a bit more supernatural. The premise seemed interesting to me because I’m fascinated by “after life” kind of stories so I picked it up when I was in a pretty bad reading slump. My feeling overall was that it was an “okay” to “good” book but it was perfect to get me out of my reading slump because it’s so out of what I normally read. I read it all in one day and just COULD NOT STOP. It’s hard to explain because I know that it sucked me in but it wasn’t necessarily because it completely blew me away. I’ll break it down:

Things I enjoyed

 + the world building: I was very fascinated by Melissa’s version of the afterlife. After you die, you kind of hang in this balance and you are supposed to “haunt” your loved ones to help them move on and then you move on yourself. The way Melissa wrote the afterlife just completely set the mood and I enjoyed learning how the “moving on” process went and how things work in the Prism. We learn everything through Callie’s guide, Thatcher, and it really started to get interesting when some characters emerged who DIDN’T move on and started telling Callie conflicting things from what Thatcher was telling her. I kept wanting to figure out the truth and see if Thatcher was keeping things from her about the whole process.

+ Callie’s own moving on story: Callie’s death actually became more devastating to me as she went and haunted her old life. The scene with her dad really choked me up. Even though Callie was a bit much to handle for me personally, I did cut her some slack because of the fact she’s dead and has to watch her old life  — especially when she starts to find out something about someone close to her. I enjoyed watching her try to grapple with the fact that she’s in this afterlife and decide what to do with the information she’s presented with. Her emotions were very strong and I couldn’t even imagine having to watch your loved ones mourn you and feel so connected to your life. It got even more complicated when she starts hanging out with some of rebel type ghosts because we watch her struggle with the idea of moving on or staying like that forever so she can be “a part” of her old life still in a way and not let go of it. ALSO, part of the story was that Callie seems to have more energy and be a bit “special” comparatively to the others. THAT was pretty interesting and I was dying to find out why.

+ how the ending sets up for book 2: MAN. Game changer kind of ending and I think the story has the ability to be super interesting because THINGS.

Things that were MEH

+ the pacing: While I was interested in the worldbuilding personally, it was just very uneven. It was pretty slow moving in the beginning, which I don’t even mind, but it seemed like the end just because VERY break neck. All of this info came at us and all of these things happened and there was just so much. Wish it had been a little more even. I was intrigued from the beginning so I was committed but it definitely had pacing issues.

+ Callie: I couldn’t figure that girl out. It was hard to get a sense of who she was before and all I knew of her was what we got to know in her time of grief when she was dead. I didn’t feel like she was all that developed for my taste and I really didn’t like connect with her. I think her confusion and grief over dying stood out to me and leapt off the page but that’s about it. Something was off with her voice but I couldn’t even begin to try and explain that. I also found her very naive in ways to an almost unbelievable point. I mean, CLEARLY there was something different with her and she just shrugged it off.

+ The ending: As much as I said I LIKED it up there because of the potential it brought with it, I totally had an inkling about it and thought it was maybe a bit predictable.

book reviewsAshes to Ashes was the sort of book I needed to get me out of my rut because it was a different kind of read for me being paranormal. I read it all in one day because I was fascinated by this version of the afterlife and thought the mood of the afterlife and Callie’s grieving was written really well. However, there were things that definitely detracted from the story like pacing and Callie herself in ways. I wouldn’t say this is a MUST READ but I found it to be an entertaining read. I’ll be reading the conclusion to this duet for sure though!

short book review

Ashes to Ashes Melissa C Walker

afterlife stories, books like Touching The Surface & The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, paranormal/supernatural books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Did you find the setup of the afterlife interesting? Did you guess the ending? Any predictions for book 2? Have any of you read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels and do you think I’d like them?

The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I love your comment about being sucked in and reading this in one day even though it wasn’t necessarily an amazing book. I always find those books to be the toughest to review! I’m stingy with my stars… Usually this type of reaction from me would get 3 stars. I pretty much reserve 4 and 5 star ratings for books that I love enough to read again in the future. But there is something to be said for the quick reads that draw you in, even if they don’t end up being favorites. Great review. 🙂

  2. I started this one and made it about 80 or so pages and then stopped. It wasn’t holding my interest and I think that’s because of the pacing and Callie. After reading your review, I might pick it back up again. Or I might hand it to one of my students and get an opinion from one of them. I recently finished reading The Catastrophic History of You and Me and LOVED it. I’m almost afraid that picking Ashes to Ashes up again will be even worse because it’s so similar lol.

  3. I heard quite a lot about Ashes to Ashes, its a book that I really want to read because stories about the afterlife intrigue me. I haven’t read too many books about it, but those I did read where okay reads. Not mind blowing, but definitely good and enjoyable reads. Ashes to Ashes really seems like a good read, and what you said about the word building makes me want to read it even more.

    I haven’t read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels either, though from what I’ve heard from others they’re supposed to be great reads (I really need to pick up one of her books one of these days).

    Great Review Jamie! I’m going to see if I can find myself a copy of this book. 🙂

  4. I’m a big fan of Melissa’s contemporary novels, so I knew I’d be picking this up. It’s definitely different from her other books. I haven’t read anything like this from Melissa, so I’ve been hesitant, and your review and others make me even more hesitant. I’ve heard similar criticisms about Callie and the pacing…That said, I know Melissa’s writing really draws you in – I always find that I finish her books quickly because she really writes in an addictive way…I’m really interested to see what I think.

    Thanks for your review. =) You should definitely check out Melissa’s other books when you get the chance. I think you’ll find them very different and more to your liking? Unbreak My Heart is one of my fave contemp YAs out there.

  5. I am super excited to get my hands on this book. The idea of the Prism sounds so interesting and refreshingly different, which I am a fan of. I swear, the world doesn’t want me to read this book because I can’t find it ANYWHERE, but it will happen. I’m glad I know about the pacing thing beforehand, though, because I know that’s something that would probably bother me otherwise. Also, READ UNBREAK MY HEART.

  6. Never heard of this book before, thanks for sharing 🙂 Looks like a interesting book to read 🙂

  7. I wasn’t particularly interested in this book, mostly because I rarely read paranormal and because I rarely read about the afterlife. But the way you’ve written about it, and how it seems very different from the usual paranormal afterlife books, has gotten me a little bit more intrigued. I might be willing to check this one out at some point, if I happen to see it at the library!

  8. I am a sucker for books about the afterlife — but while I say that, I really haven’t read tons of them, either. But they just fascinate me! I’ve had my eye on Ashes to Ashes for a while, though, and your review makes me even more curious. That’s too bad that something was off about Callie – I totally get where you’re coming from though, about a character who just feels a little “off” and somehow unbelievable. But I’m dying to know what is up with the ending now! Thanks for being so thorough in your review, Jamie, I can’t wait to check this book out for myself. 🙂

  9. This does sound unique and I really like that you were impressed by the world building!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  10. I can’t say I’m a big afterlife story fan, so I think this one isn’t for me. Especially since it has a slow plot. I’ve read so many ghost stories so even if I am still an enormous paranormal fan, ghosts are my least favourite supernatural creature to read about. Great review anyway!

  11. Paranormal/afterlife is not my cup of tea, but I loved your review of this one. Your in-depth review really helps determine whether or not a book might be of interest for someone.