My Life Without Me By Jaclyn Aurore

    My name is Jamie, and I am brilliant. Or at least I was. Now I don’t know what’s what anymore.


    Living in a swirling fog of absent memories, Jamie struggles every day to remember who she is and where she’s going. While her classmates are discussing the latest book craze, she is tracking her own life in a journal.

    Each day brings new challenges, especially when Callum McKenzie appears, bringing with him a brief glimpse of clarity. Whenever the exchange student from Scotland is near, Jamie’s unusual amnesia recedes, allowing her to experience university life with ease.

    Unfortunately, Callum’s presence in her life is as unstable as the fog that threatens her. He knows more about Jamie’s life than she does, but he never sticks around long enough for her to figure anything out. It’s only a matter of time before she forgets everything altogether.

    - - - - -

    Rating: 2.5/5 Penguins
    Quick Reasons: sickening, overly sweet insta-love; who kisses strange men in bathrooms just after meeting them?!; weird plot, with very little explanation; random “tie ups” that made little sense in the grand scheme of things; a lot of this felt like the author was seeking an easy, but unique, out for the plot-corner she wrote herself into; I was curious enough to keep reading, but...


    I just... I didn't like this book. I mean, yeah—I was curious enough to want to keep reading. I pushed through the weird, the random, and the confusing to get to the end...but I don't feel like the lead-up was nearly as climactic as I'd been expecting. I was waiting for some huge ball to drop, some major secret to be revealed. Instead, I got weird tie-ups and a sense the author wrote herself into a corner...and couldn't figure out a way to get out of it.

    I've been trying to study for midterms, and write these papers. I don't have time for romance.


    So, first off: I felt literally nothing. NOTHING. For Jamie. Which isn't surprising, as she doesn't even really know enough about herself to care about herself throughout this book. But come on, book! Seriously?! You couldn't give me a character like Jamie that I could actually connect with and feel something for? It's interesting, thinking about it now—this is one of several books I've read recently with characters who have amnesia/memory problems. I don't think I've honestly liked ANY of those characters enough to care about what they go through in their books. Why is it so difficult to make a likeable character who also has memory loss? I don't get it.

    Callum I liked...to a point. But again, we weren't really given enough of him/his personality to make a complete judgment. These two characters felt more like paper dolls than humans: dress them up, choose their facial expressions...but you'll only feel something if you knick yourself on their sharp edges. Except this book? HAS no sharp edges. There were no “jump” moments; there were no large epiphanies or huge reveals that led to heartbreak for me. The read was...pretty flat, which is disappointing, as I'd been hoping, from the blurb, for some sort of epic romance/self-discovery journey.

    After a few more classics like Video Killed the Radio Star, Piano Man, and Bohemian Rhapsody, along with a couple of songs that I don't recognize, like a random track about liking big butts and not lying about it, and a tune by Michael Jackson that I probably should recognize but don't...another person from our table is called to the microphone.


    Speaking of...there were a LOT of things in this read that didn't make sense to me, and felt sort of half-explained. A lot of the time, it seemed as if the writer got bored with her story halfway through, so threw in some “twists” that were meant to spice things up but really only worked to confuse readers more. I mean...in a book that, for the most part, remains pretty much in the realm of realistic, suddenly casting out the “dark magic” reveal near the end? I couldn't shed my disbelief fast enough to follow that line of thinking. Count in the fact that it's not mentioned really anywhere else, save a brief moment when Jamie makes a quip about it being “magic” or “evil forces”...you can see why this was hard for me to swallow, I think.

    This was, overall, a very disappointing read. The only reason I even kept reading through it was because I wanted to know what happened—my curiosity was piqued pretty early on. But...the answers I found at the end? Not nearly as satisfying as I'd been hoping for. I don't know that I'd recommend this—even as someone who adores weird reads, this book was almost TOO weird. It's confusing, abrupt, and not easy to lose yourself in. But...those are just my opinions. Perhaps you'll think something different. Jaclyn Aurore This book was left on my book stores door yesterday evening.And who ever left it made me cry like a baby.This book has something which i would like to share.We all cry sometimes when some thing sad happens to a character we love but this character actually made sure no one is sad when she dies and everything is taken care of . Jaclyn Aurore I struggled with this one. The title is intriguing, and the cover is attractive. The situation as set up is certainly intriguing: Jamie, a first-year university student, is struggling with amnesia that affects her short-term memory, leaving her, for instance, sitting in a classroom unable to remember the class, the assignment, or her schedule - sometimes even her own name. The opening of the book is quite disorienting to read from within Jamie's point-of-view, and I could imagine how terrifying it would be.
    In that first chapter she meets Callum, an international student from Scotland, who comes to her rescue and gives her a notebook to write each day's events and memories in. Callum also tells her that he and Jamie share names, backstories, and physical appearance with the main characters of a YA bestseller that rivals the Harry Potter books (though I think John Greene might be a better parallel) in popularity. This book is (also) titled My Life Without Me.
    It's a fascinating setup, and of course one asks: how is the author going to resolve this? Is this story going to be meta-textual? Is it going to be fantasy? Is it a thriller/horror where Callum is lying to Jamie? (Whenever she tries to read the book, she can't remember what she just read, so she has to trust him on this. Or not...)
    Then for several chapters, it's a not-particularly-interesting love story. Callum is a hot guy with a motorcycle and tattoos! He designs a tattoo for Jamie! They go to a picnic! He ghosts her! She goes to a frat party and almost gets assaulted but Callum saves her! He ghosts her again! She falls into a frozen creek while following him into the woods! He takes her to a doctor and claims to be her husband! He moves her into his shared house! He ghosts her again! He refuses to explain anything!
    It felt quite repetitive, and while hot tattooed motorcycle guy is probably a reasonable lust object, there wasn't much building of a relationship I would want to succeed. Although stuff happened, it felt repetitive: Callum ghosts Jamie, she does something risky or self-destructive, he rescues her and refuses to explain stuff.
    I was more interested in the amnesia plot thread. Jamie slowly reconstructs that her amnesia began after her high school graduation prom, which raises all sorts of possibilities: was she roofied, was there a traumatic event, an accident, or what? Her parents are in denial about the amnesia, and she has pretended to have recovered, for their sake. So do they know more than they've told her?

    The writing is competent if not exciting, and Jamie's voice is well-maintained. The author has done something rather brave by establishing the parallel-titled book being a life-changing bestseller and gripping read, and has done something prudent by never quoting any of the passages from it. Jamie is eventually able to read it and retain the memory, and is impressed by it, though oddly undisturbed by reading what is effectively her own life (or the last year of it) - especially as Jamie is supposed to die at the end. (Yes, much more John Greene than J.K. Rowling).

    The problem with the central conceit (life parallels novel), for me, is that Jamie's life and love just aren't that interesting. Callum is a hot guy, Jamie has mysterious amnesia, her parents are clueless, and other than the tattoo artist, other characters are barely sketched in and have little purpose.
    I kept reading (or rather, kept picking the book up again) only to find out how the author would resolve that puzzle: how is it that a work of fiction parallels someone's actual life? And how is that connected to Jamie's amnesia?
    Yeah, that. So.

    ******SPOILER! ******

    A wizard did it.

    No, seriously, that's the answer.

    I wish I knew how to insert a gif of the Simpsons episode with Lucy Lawless, where that quote comes from.

    This story appears to take place in our modern world, there's no worldbuilding that establishes an alt-Earth with actual magic that works and magic-users who can be hired. But Callum tells Jamie (and Jamie needs no corroborating evidence) that the author of the book hired a wizard to make him a bestseller, and for some reason the wizard decided that hijacking the lives of two actual young people was the way to go about plotting and characterization.

    I guess the author just wrote herself into a corner. I almost have to admire the brazen impudence of that ending, disappointing as it was. Jaclyn Aurore DNF Jaclyn Aurore My Life Without Me starts off right in the thick of the action. Jamie is in the midst of one of her fits of knowing completely nothing about what's going on, completely lost, so bad, in fact, that she doesn't even remember her first name. Suddenly, a man appears, a beautiful man, who instantly shows love for her and they share an intimate moment in the bathroom alone as she is at her most weakest.

    If you're thinking this sounds like fairly traditional romance novel fair, you may be right, but Aurore changes things up rather quickly from there, letting you know that Harlequin's got nothing on her. In fact, things don't seem to ever quite fully click between the heroine and her male suitor. Throughout the entirety of the novel we seem to watch as they battle this irresistible attraction they share. This isn't a tale of throbbing members and damsels in distress, this is a tale of a strong woman trying to figure out what happened to her life. If it weren't for the fact that this book seems to work with many of the standard tropes of the romance genre, I'd be more convinced that this is a mystery.

    But where this story truly shines is with the basic concept of amnesia. Suffering from an odd series of selective amnesia that appears to allow her to excel as school, but not remember conversations that happened minutes prior, or an entire summer, or even her own name, Jamie is a mystery from the very start of the novel. The odd connection between her and her relationship with Callum (the aforementioned hot male) and a popular novel within their world called My Life Without Me, serves to only further increase the overall sense that one must reach the end of the book to figure out what's going on, and to figure out if their fated ending is what will truly happen.

    I'll admit, I'm not the intended audience for romance novels of any kind. However, even with that in mind, this was a very quick, fun, and enjoyable read for me, and one that I think fans of the genre will absolutely adore. The writing is fresh, the dialogue is believable, and overall, the story is unique. Check it out! Jaclyn Aurore

    My name is Jamie, and I am brilliant. Or at least I was. Now I don’t know what’s what anymore.

    Living in a swirling fog of absent memories, Jamie struggles every day to remember who she is and where she’s going. While her classmates are discussing the latest book craze, she is tracking her own life in a journal.

    Each day brings new challenges, especially when Callum McKenzie appears, bringing with him a brief glimpse of clarity. Whenever the exchange student from Scotland is near, Jamie’s unusual amnesia recedes, allowing her to experience university life with ease.

    Unfortunately, Callum’s presence in her life is as unstable as the fog that threatens her. He knows more about Jamie’s life than she does, but he never sticks around long enough for her to figure anything out. It’s only a matter of time before she forgets everything altogether. My Life Without Me

    I loved this book! This is a book for people who love to read. It did not rely on all the predictable tropes of the genre. From the moment I started reading it drew me in and I had to know what was going to happen next, what was the next plot point, what was really going on. Usually I don't like first-person narrative books. They feel like lazy writing. But this one was flawless.

    Definitely recommended if you love a good novel. It is not super long, so you can read it in an afternoon. Which is good because you won't want to put it down once you start reading. Jaclyn Aurore I read the first few chapters of this book when it was still on authonomy, and have been eagerly awaiting the release. When I got the first glimpse of the cover, I was irritated, thinking it couldn't possibly do it credit. Judging from the cover, one gets tempted to think it's just another holiday read, a piece of chick lit to flick through on the beach. In parts, that's what it is. It's a romance, and if you don't usually like romance, this probably isn't the book for you. I don't usually like romance, but I read it knowing that it was also a fantasy book. I kept trying to solve the mystery behind Jamie's weird memory loss and her relation to Callum, and came up with a million theories that all proved wrong in the end. The final solution is a tad more simple than I would have liked. Nevertheless, this is a unique story, well-crafted and suspenseful. Jaclyn Aurore This book drew me in and kept me reading til the very last page! Loved it and recommend it! Jaclyn Aurore

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