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“I’m a ticking time bomb. And one day soon everything is going to explode.”

Felicia and Neil have arrived in Level 3 and are supposed to prepare for their divine vocations.

But during Felicia and Neil's training period, a series of explosions rips through Level 3. Tension is high, and casualties are mounting. A rift forms between the pair, one that grows wider when Felicia receives memories from the Morati. The memories cast doubt on the people she loves the most, but Felicia can't stop her curiosity. She has to know the truth about her life – even if it means putting at risk everything she’s worked for in her death.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published August 26, 2014

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Lenore Appelhans

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5 stars
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69 (33%)
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20 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 45 reviews
Profile Image for Lenore Appelhans.
Author 8 books689 followers
February 1, 2014
The CHASING BEFORE playlist so far:

What Else Is There? by Royksopp
Here In Me by Saint Saviour
Demons by Imagine Dragons
Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade
Headlights by Morning Parade
Move Along by The All-American Rejects
Bedroom Hymns by Florence + the Machine
Timshel by Mumford & Sons
Don't by Jewel
No Direction by Longwave
Youth by Daughter
Deadlines and Commitments by The Killers
Bad Blood by Bastille
Hurricane by Ms Mr
River by Civil Twilight
Lies by Cvrches
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,231 followers
August 19, 2014
An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

I really enjoyed Lenore's take on the afterlife in The Memory of After (previously titled Level 2), that we don't go straight to Heaven but that there are levels to our afterlife that we ascend to as we become ready. I also really liked her use of flashbacks as memories to show us how Felicia had spent her short time on Earth prior to entering Level 2. And as far as those elements go, I'm still very impressed with this series...and I'm hoping there's more to come.

I listened to the audio for The Memory of After a month or so ago as a refresher for this sequel, and I definitely recommend having the events of the first book fresh on your mind, though a re-read isn't absolutely necessary since there is a good amount of rehash in this book. Even with a refresher, though, this second installment definitely takes a turn for the unexpected. So much for that sense of tranquility at the end of the first book.

Felicia seems a bit more naive and a lot more self-absorbed this time around, though there is a reason for the latter. I found it increasingly more difficult to connect with her as she grew more and more obsessed with chasing her memories from before, now that she knows there's a big chunk of time missing from her memory. I wanted her to discover the truth as much as she did because so many people seem to be hiding things from her, but her distinct lack of perspective on the situation made it hard to empathize with her.

Especially when she focuses the rest of her time on her relationship with Neil now that they're together again in Level 3. I didn't really ever come to appreciate Neil's character in the first book because even then he seemed like a sanctimonious asshat to me. He proved himself even more so to me in this installment, though I'm probably in the minority for that opinion, especially when I'm heartily in favor of Julian...even if he is the resident bad boy to Neil's near-martyrdom. My biggest complaint for Chasing Before would definitely be the sheer amount of time spent focusing on Neil and Felicia's relationship, especially as their encounters always felt stilted and unpleasant in comparison to the small amount of time Felicia spends in Julian's company. There were certainly bigger fish to fry and certainly more entertaining ways to spend my time than reading about Felicia bemoaning the current state of her romantic entanglements.

Some of what occurs in this book, especially in relation to Felicia, is a tad predictable, but some of it is so unexpected as to be the product of deus ex machina, leaving me with a false sense of consolation, like I'd finally been given the truth but hadn't really earned it yet. At the very least, the turn of events challenges suspension of disbelief, more so than the rest of the novel. I think I would have preferred more background on the angels and their motivations and the various levels of Heaven in order for the story to remain congruous. I'm not complaining about the book -- far from it -- I just want more of this world and to better understand it. Also, it's quite possible that in my haste to uncover the secrets of Felicia's past, I overlooked some of these explanations. (I do tend to get ahead of myself when I'm really enjoying a story.)

I don't think we've seen the last of the Morati and I hope that we haven't seen the last of Felicia and company. The ending to this book was sufficient but not wholly satisfying, especially knowing that Level 3 is not the end, either. I did enjoy seeing the new characters introduced in The Best Things in Death in their roles in the afterlife and seeing how the memories I read in that novella affected my opinions of them in this book. I'm interested to see if the author delves further into this world or leaves it at the mystery it currently seems.

GIF it to me straight:

One of those stories that makes you go, "Hmmmm..."
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews63 followers
December 9, 2014
Note: I know Lenore Appelhans.

It's been awhile since I read THE MEMORY OF AFTER (published in hardcover as LEVEL 2), so it took several chapters before I readjusted to the mythology of the series and remembered what had happened before. Felicia and her boyfriend Neil have both moved on to Level 3, the second level of the afterlife. Unfortunately, the Morati (a group of rogue angels) have moved into Level 3 too.

There were several things I liked about CHASING BEFORE and several things that frustrated me. I liked that we got to meet Felicia's best friend Autumn, who had been murdered before the events of THE MEMORY OF AFTER. Autumn is still working through her afterlife, and though she says she's forgiven Felicia for stealing her boyfriend, there is still an obvious friction between the girls. They also run into Neil's older brother Nate, which felt like a bit much. Maybe if he'd died many years after, but it sure feels like a lot of their peer group conveniently died off. Nate, however, does provide one big revelation: Felicia and Neil didn't die in the car crash like they thought. They're both missing months of memories.

CHASING BEFORE is full of neat twists like that, and they keep coming though the climax of the book. The end of CHASING BEFORE can serve as a conclusion, but I'm excited to see Level 4 and find out what's next. Unfortunately, the exciting twists and things blowing up keep getting bogged down by relationship drama. The issues between Felicia and Neil are very realistic. She wants to have sex; he still wants to keep to his ideal of no sex before marriage. She's prone to jealousy and he's stubborn. But their fights didn't endear me to Neil, who I've never found that swoonworthy.

Level 3 itself is also a mix of good and bad. I liked the character development Felicia goes through as she learns to let go of her life on Earth, even as she's desperate to recover her lost memories and the whole of herself. At the same time, Level 3 is apparently where you learn your afterlife career. Thankfully we don't have to spend too much time in class. There are less flashbacks in CHASING BEFORE than in THE MEMORY OF AFTER, if you're one of the readers that was bothered by those. The past continues to be helpful to discovering what's happening, but it is no longer a focus.

CHASING BEFORE is a breezy read with an intriguing take on the afterlife and a heroine who is both brave and determined. There is a love triangle, for those who hate that, but it is very much in the background. It's probably best if you read THE MEMORY OF AFTER first, but I think CHASING BEFORE can stand on its own.
Profile Image for Jen • Just One More Page.
252 reviews91 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
October 27, 2017

DNF somewhere between 5-8%.

I didn’t even make it to my usual abandonment point of 50 pages / 10% in before I gave up on this one. There were too many clichés, too much overexplaining, too much unnatural exposition, too many obvious-to-you-and-yet-not-to-the-MC plot points, and way, way too many “oh you sweet summer child” moments that I just could not put up with. E.G. “I know my boyfriend and I are both dead and we only died at 18 and we’re still together in the afterlife (because of course you are) but we’ll stay together forever I’m sure of it!!”

*looks in the camera like I’m on the office*

It’s ALSO the kind of book that explains exactly what happened in the last book in the first several pages of the second one, which is nice if you spend several years between books like I do (but otherwise is extremely annoying and condescending), but, seriously. I’m not in the mood to waste a whole book giving the MC the time to realize that being single is not the end of the world.

Gurl. You’re dead. You have all of forever ahead of you, and your boy still won’t share a room with you “until you’re married.”



Goodbye, book. I don’t feel bad not reading you.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
879 reviews251 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 6, 2020
I did not finish this book. I made it 137 pages before giving up.

I didn’t dislike this book, but as I was reading I realized that I just didn’t care. There were characters dying, and all I could think about was how many pages I had left. I was curious about learning more about the afterlife, but the focus was mainly on Felicia’s relationship with Neil (and Neil was as interesting as cardboard), and the attacks from the Morati. I admit, that I didn’t remember much from book one, but after reading my “review” from book one, it sounds like I had similar feelings there. I liked the afterlife, but the ending (and the Morati) was rushed. Since I felt like I was forcing myself to finish this book, I’m just going to stop reading. There’s not really anything keeping me invested, and there are lots of other books to read.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,211 reviews1,649 followers
August 25, 2014
For more reviews, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

First things first, you should know that Lenore is one of my besties. I know some people make the decision not to officially review books by author friends because of conflict of interest and I totally respect that. Personally, though, I still want to be able to talk about the books I read honestly, so that’s what I’m going to do. Obviously, I love Lenore, but I’m going to endeavor to leave that aside here and share my opinions. If you have a problem with that, then *waves*. Anyway, if you enjoyed Level 2/The Memory of After, I think you’ll be pleased with Chasing Before.

You know, when it was revealed, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this cover. It seemed a bit more glamorous than seemed right for a book that’s not about fashionable evil masterminds. Not that Felicia doesn’t like to look good, but she generally has more on her mind than clothing. Now, though, I’m actually really pleased with how well the cover matches the book. I mean, Felicia spends much of the book wearing black, both clothing and heavy eyeliner. Plus, the dark background references her struggle with the darker sides of her personality and she’s reaching out for the orb, which is totally plot relevant, with two fingers and away with two, knowing she probably shouldn’t. Basically, it’s kind of perfect, minus how one eye is closed and the other a little bit open which creeps me out tbh.

Like Level 2/The Memory of After, Chasing Before splits between the afterlife and memories of being alive. However, if you’re not as big of a fan of flashbacks, there’s a bit less of that now. In Level 3, there’s a focus on moving on with your afterlife. Level 2 was very reflective and, ideally, meant to help people say goodbye to their earthly life before ascending to the next level. In Level 3, there’s a whole world with occupations and all of that.

I really love Lenore’s conception of the afterlife, full of such mystery and promise. She draws on various sources to pull things together. If anything, it’s most similar to Dante, I’d say, with the various levels. Though many of the characters are Christian and there are angels, it’s not comparable to any Christian conceptions of heaven. There are also references to other mythologies, like muse being a profession, hearkening to Greek mythology. It’s very cool and imaginative. I love afterlife fiction and I love learning the rules of each level.

Chasing Before is a real page-turner. Explosions and secrets and fighting abound. I was propelled forward quickly, curious to find out what would happen next. There’s a constant sense of menace with the ever-plotting Morati. Plus, I end up sort of torn between wanting Felicia to accomplish her goals and between wanting her to die so I can find out what Level 4 is like… Sorry, Felicia, but I’d really like to know.

From the character side, I am simultaneously in love and frustrated. See, it’s really cool that Felicia’s hooked up with Neil now and we get to meet the guy in all the memories. It’s also awesome that we see how skewed Felicia’s memories of him are. It’s less cool that I have to watch Felicia obsess over such an insufferable, sanctimonious prat. I do think it’s neat that these two obviously (to me anyway) are going to be incompatible ultimately, but that there��s still a connection there that needs to run its course.

Why are they incompatible? Well, Neil is Mr. Selfless and holier-than-thou. Felicia’s one of the most selfish heroines I’ve read, which will probably annoy some people but which I love. Both of them really just want the other person to be something other than what they actually are. They’re in love with an idea, not the actuality. Though their lives may be over, they’re still young and have lots of learning to do. Oh, and I do love the fact that it’s Felicia who’s the aggressor in their physical relationship and Neil who isn’t ready, even if he annoys me.

What I would like to see more of is Autumn, even though I’m not a big fan of her. I think there’s a lot of emotion to be mined there and a lot of things Felicia needed to work through. I don’t think she put the effort towards her relationship with Autumn that she maybe should have, though should is a strange word. The way their story plays out doesn’t ring quite right to me, though I can’t put a precise finger on why.

Lenore Appelhans’ Memory Chronicles are a perfect choice for anyone who likes to imagine the limitless possibilities of a life beyond this one. Chasing Before is fast-paced and almost new adult in its consideration of employment and trying to maintain a mature relationship.
Profile Image for Melody.
373 reviews37 followers
December 24, 2014
Remember last January when I reviewed Level 2 and this past summer's review of the novella, The Best Things in Death? Well, the sequel was equally satisfying! What a trip!

This is the first series I've read that's essentially entirely set in the afterlife and I enjoyed every minute of it. The world building was great in Level 2 also known as The Memory of After but it's taken to a whole new level in Chasing Before. It's phenomenal. I mean, afterlife careers? Ha ha, I loved it. I marveled at this world. It really is quite something.

Yes, I really wish we found out how Felicia died! But it's pretty funny to have been led so far into the afterlife and still be so puzzled. In fact, I especially loved this twist on the afterlife, a place that has all of the answers yet Felicia still had so many. Chasing Before is so incredibly thought provoking. It's a fascinating look at the lengths people will go to get what they want and how blindly open people often are to letting others control them. It's a mind blowing look at characters that easily resemble so many real life people with tunnel vision and conflicts struggling with denial and honesty, trust and withholding, letting go and moving on. Not to mention, betrayal, forgiveness, and acceptance.

When it comes to Felicia, there were so many revelations in the book but one of my favorites is without a doubt the connection she has with the Morati. All of that aside, I'm not going to lie, I was pretty bummed that Felicia kept pushing Neil to room with her after he already told her he didn't feel comfortable doing so. She could very well be with this boy literally forever and she can't respect his wishes to wait? Usually the "No means no" saying applies to girls saying it to boys so even though I wasn't a fan of the predicament she was putting him in, I did appreciate the gender flip here. We don't see that enough.

I also really liked how well developed not only the characters were, major and minor but how fleshed out the relationships were. They felt so real. So genuine, whether good or bad. I loved it. I knew something was up with Felicia's best friend, Autumn and was excited to see this nagging feeling fully recognized in the end. I was not expecting there to be so much death in this book but Lenore is ruthless with her characters and it makes each and every moment so thrilling. Everyone is a suspect. Everyone is a victim. Every chapter hangs on a cliffhanger and glues you in your seat easily making this a day read. It's a murder mystery in heaven.

Can we talk about the title for a minute? It' SO fitting. I'm big on titles and I was very intrigued when it was announced that this series would be retitled (or at least the first book to fit the new direction for the packaging of the sequel) and I must say, Chasing Before is absolutely perfect. It matches Felicia and her journey as she navigates the present and wonders how the past influences her every move.

What an incredible journey she must go on to get to a place where she can grow to become a better person without making the same mistakes that plagued her in Level 2 and without letting other people's thoughts and decisions determine her own. Without spoiling anything, sure, Felicia is pretty special but she still had a ton of growing to do even before all of that was revealed to her and she sure has plenty more to do. But that's the beauty of this. She has forever to continue to figure it out. She was chasing before instead of after but she's ready for after. That is gratifying. It's been such a pleasure watching Felicia as a novice in this eternity in Chasing Before. What a solid sequel this was.
Profile Image for Chiara.
868 reviews220 followers
May 18, 2015
A copy of this novel was provided by Allen and Unwin for review.

It’s official. This is the first book that I have read and am about to review that I did not like. It was not amazing, or really good, or good, or even okay. I did not like this book.

In my review of Level 2 (or The Memory of After as it is known now), I said that I wasn’t a huge fan of Neil and that I didn’t really understand why Felicia was so obsessed with him. If I thought Felicia was obsessed with Neil in Level 2 – oh boy, I did not know what was coming in Chasing Before.

To sum this book up: Felicia pining about Neil, or fighting with Neil, or reliving memories of Neil. Neil. Neil. Neil.

Neil, the most self righteous sanctimonious character I have had the displeasure of reading. So, this WHOLE TIME he hasn’t wanted to do the deed with Felicia. He won’t even sleep in the same bed because of course THAT’S A FREAKING SIN. And then SPOILER we find out he had sex eons ago and is a goddamn born again virgin END SPOILER I can’t stand liars, I can’t stand people who always think they are better than others thereby making others feel lesser. I also cannot stand manipulative people. I’m pretty sure if you look up ‘manipulative’, there’s a picture of Neil. He uses Felicia’s feelings against her all the time. For example, they’re having a fight (one of thousands), and to shut her up he tells her he loves her – for the first time. Of course, all fighting ceases because Neil loves her. Ugh. I CANNOT STAND NEIL.

More than I can’t stand Neil though (but not by much) is how much I can’t stand Felicia. She pines over Neil, even though she’s pretty aware of what a jerk he is. She even thinks it a few times. And she is attracted to Julian (who I’ll get to in a moment). HELLO. WHEN YOU’RE ATTRACTED TO SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT WITH, THAT PROBABLY MEANS YOU SHOULDN’T BE WITH THE PERSON YOU’RE WITH.

And dear lord the self deprecation. ‘Oh, Neil is too good for me’, ‘I’ll never be good enough for Neil’, ‘Neil wouldn’t do this’, ‘I’m so bad, how can someone so good like Neil ever love me?’. NEIL IS A DOUCHE. A really douchey douche. He makes Felicia feel like shit over the most ridiculous things, and the lies and all the manipulation are vomit inducing.

Felicia is like the anti-heroine. She relies on the men round her and completely bases her self worth off their opinion of her.

Julian is the only good thing about this book. He’s sexy and supportive and everything he has ever done has been for Felicia. He is so unselfish, so the opposite of Neil, so the right love interest for any girl who thinks she deserves something good (OH HO WHICH FELICIA DIDN’T, I SEE WHAT HAPPENED THERE).

There was no plot in this book, which irked me to no end. Oooooo evil angels doing absolutely nothing. One showdown with one evil angel and then that’s it? What the actual hell? What was the point of this novel, except to drag out the Felicia-Neil drama? I’ll tell you – there was no point.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy Chasing Before at all. I feel like I completely wasted my time reading this novel.

© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity . All rights reserved.
Profile Image for Donna Parker.
337 reviews13 followers
June 12, 2014
I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

We’ve seen memes or bumper stickers of this…and of course, for those with insomnia it’s one of limited options. It’s also the opening line of Level 2 now known as The Memory of After, the first book of The Memory Chronicles by Lenore Appelhans @lenoreva (Simon and Schuster). And a chilling thought.

Appelhans’ unusual and complex vision of the afterlife hooked me and I wanted to know more.

The Memory of After and the second in the series, Chasing Before (not out until August 26 2014, I was lucky enough to get an ARC/Advance Reader’s Copy) examines life and what comes next.

I guess I tend to live for the here and now, but this got me thinking about Heaven or Hell or any kind of afterlife.

What if Heaven is a lot like Earth? What if relationships and friendships are just as astonishing yet complicated? What if you have to go to school and choose a career to have a fulfilling afterlife?
What if there are still good guys and bad guys and what if you still can’t always tell which is which?

Dealing with memories, it’s understandable Chasing Before has a tendency toward the sentimental, but thankfully it never went to preachy.

Without going into spoilers this is from the viewpoint of Felicia Ward who, in life, was a lovely, bright, and musically gifted youth. She had family, friends, a boyfriend she had met through church, and a promising future. Felicia seemed to have it all, except for the dying young part.

Lenore Appelhans has based this YA series on memories, which at first seems odd given that her intended audience is so young and I wondered, are memories even important at that age? Then I realized memories are extremely important to young people because they can’t imagine getting old and they can’t imagine how many memories they will accumulate by then.

As I read more of Chasing Before (due out August 2014) I started thinking, Appelhans isn’t just showing us the importance of memories, but the power of memories, the pull they have on us. I suppose you could go further and wonder if we live too much in the past? Are we addicted to memories, as they are in these books? Do memories, both good and bad have too much control of our lives?
Is that why we’re so terrified of illnesses like Alzheimer’s?
Are we just a sum of our memories?
I hope we’re more of a continuum; making new memories to replace or be companions to our other memories.

As I read I found myself casting who would play whom in the movie, if they make one (please make one!). Jamie Campbell Bower would make a fantastic Julian except being typecast as an angel-type guy. Or Max Irons?

For Felicia, perhaps Emily Browning or Emilia Clarke (with her natural hair colour). Max Thieriot or Matthew Atkinson for Neil. When I’m reading books and thinking of casting that means I really like it.
I wanted to know more about the characters and what would come next for them, I guess I’ll have to wait until the 3rd book; there’s going to be a 3rd book, right?

So wonderful to see all these terrific YA novels, it raise your spirits to know that young people are reading. Definitely recommend this for anyone 12 or up. Check out more at: TEEN.SimonandSchuster.com

And remember, those who touch our hearts stay in them forever.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,104 reviews458 followers
August 22, 2014
**I received this book for free from Edelweiss/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Genre* Young Adult Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.0

*My Thoughts*

Chasing Before picks up approximately four months after the end of The Memory of After aka Level 2. Felicia Ward is our protagonist. She presumably died before her 18th birthday, and ended up in Level 2, a place that exists between Earth and Heaven. Level 2 is a place where you are able to access memories of your life, deal with your past, and then move on.

Chasing Before takes us to the next level. Literally. Level 3 is a place where you are supposed to learn your vocation like healer, demon hunter, muse, or seraphim guard, and then continue on with your afterlife. Upon arriving in Level 3, Felicia and Neil discover that Level 3's world has been thrown upside down by the arrival of the Morati. There is a war brewing, and Felicia may be the key to the Morati's defeat or their ultimate vengeance against heaven.

**Full Review Posted @ Gizmos Reviews*


*Recvd 02/14/2014 via Edelweiss & Publisher* Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
April 4, 2013
The dynamics of what it means to be a good or a not good person, what is moral and amoral, what's important in terms of the things we hold on to in our memories and what it is we can make for ourselves in the future = gold.
Profile Image for Linda Joplin.
488 reviews4 followers
February 27, 2015
Quite a story. I kept thinking I would read one more chapter, and then stop for the night; but each chapter ended with a bang and I had to keep reading. Great job, Lenore!
Profile Image for Anna.
3 reviews9 followers
January 28, 2018
Both this book and it's predecessor, The Memory of After, were purchased at the same time, so I felt a sense of obligation in finishing Chasing Before, despite my lukewarm feelings for the first book. I feel as though this second book warmed me up to the series, but I'm still not certain about it. I can't say for sure whether I found the second entry better, or if I had grown accustomed to this world and the main character, Felicia.

I realized early on one of the foibles of writing about the afterlife. Regardless of your religious beliefs, I would dare to say that everyone has their own conceptions about what lies next. While I was able to maintain a certain suspension of disbelief, I still got caught up on minor details. Being in a campus setting, training for an afterlife career, felt like a step backwards after moving on from Level Two. I can say that it wasn't an insurmountable hangup and I was eventually able to enjoy the concept, as little as it was explored.

Unfortunately, the biggest deterrent from this book was Felicia's relationship with Neil. I had to stop MANY times to remind myself that I, a 29 year-old, was not the target audience for this book. My annoyance with Felicia was much the same as I have felt toward teenagers, whose simple problems feel like the entire world to them. I was exhausted having to read her constant woes over Neil -- a character who, despite having a real presence in this book, still did not feel more than two-dimensional. It felt that barely a paragraph could go by without her obsessing over him or shaming herself for not being good enough for him. It bordered on torture. While I am happy that a point was made for Felicia to have the realization that her memories in Level Two created a picture perfect version of Neil that he could never live up to, I feel like there could have been a more elegant ( and less aggravating ) means of getting there.

Overall, I would give this book a half-point toward the better as a sequel, but if the first book felt like a chore, there isn't much reward in finishing the second.
Profile Image for Debby.
583 reviews539 followers
April 18, 2021
2.5 stars

I start this review with pain in my heart because I wanted to like Chasing Before so badly. I really enjoyed The Memory of After in spite of a few quibbles, and I've met Lenore on multiple occasions. She's awesome! So awesome that she's the one who gave me this audiobook! And sadly, I didn't really like it. I didn't hate it either, but it was just a bit meh.

First off, I shouldn't have listened to this on audio. I should have read it in print. Right away, I realized that Cynthia Holloway is not the narrator for me. Her voice is high pitched, whiny, and couldn't hold my attention. I've been listening to quite a few audiobooks this year, and for the most part, I've had absolutely no problem staying focused on them. Something about Holloway's voice made me want to tune her out. I got distracted really easily. And I don't know why, really. Partially it's the tone of her voice, I guess, and I may have been listening to it while having too many other things on my mind. I should have stopped and switched to print, but I don't own a copy and I'm on a book buying ban, so that wasn't really an option. If anything, I do want to try rereading it in print sometime, because Chasing Before definitely deserved more of my attention.

But the story wasn't that great either that it could save itself from the narration. Now, I'm willing to bet that that's partially because this was supposed to be the second book of a trilogy - but the third will likely never ever happen. I was confused, for the most part, about what happened in this book. Felicia and Neil got to Level 3, but apparently, this level of the afterlife involves training for a certain profession, which then becomes your role for the rest of your afterlife. Professions include muses, who travel to earth and inspire the people there (I...think...), or fighters, which I have completely forgotten the names of, who hunt down demons and send them to hell. Now, I'm very confused by this concept of afterlife professions. Shouldn't your afterlife be about... umm... "living" in peace? Getting to do whatever you want? For eternity? Granted, it may be boring after a while, but to be forced into a job, so that you'll retire one day and move on to Level 4? It felt like such an in-between step. To have multiple levels of heaven is okay, in fact quite creative when you think about the parallels to Dante's Inferno, but at the end of the day, it felt endless and repetitive, and I wish we could have seen more of what came after this. I'm still confused about this world and though I like a lot of its creative elements, I feel like it lacks a certain cohesion.

As middle books often do (though, again, a sequel to this is up in the air), this book focused on the characters and the love triangle of doom. And that, in combination with the grating narration, is what keeps me from appreciating this novel. Felicia is super annoying, because all of her life revolves around Neil. Neil wants to be a muse? I want to be a muse. Flashback: Neil, you won't marry me at 18?? WHYY??? In the afterlife: WE SHOULD LIVE TOGETHER. YOU DON'T WANT TO LIVE WITH ME? BUT TWO DOORS AND A HALLWAY SEPARATE US, NEIL, THIS IS ABSOLUTE TORTURE. Oh my god, Felicia was super annoying. And Neil is just boring as all hell. It's not that I hate him, he just bores me. Here he's keeping secrets from Felicia, and while she should be getting annoyed with him, she just keeps clinging to him and letting his lies and avoidance slide. That's so ridiculous. Meanwhile Julian is being awesome and all Julian-like, and she keeps herself from giving in because she's a dumb-ass who hates amazing kisses. *pouts* Though I will say that I appreciate the lady in the story being the lusty one - it was a nice switch from the usual YA.

Now, again, I do kind of understand the arc that she's going through. She's put Neil on a pedestal as the example of goodness incarnate, and because of her own past sins, she wants to follow his example and has some idea that being with him will make her good. It's an interesting theme of morals and righteousness and fighting your personal nature. But it's delivered in such a grating way, not only because of the narration, but because it just drags on too long, and we don't get to that conclusion - when she realizes that nobody's perfectly good, that Neil can't fix her, and that she should be herself and be with someone who complements her (FREAKING JULIANNNNNNNNNN). *cough* I have some harsh feelings about this. It makes me so sad, because I can perfectly tell where this book is going, but without a follow-up, it's just not there. And it's sad. Neil sucks. Felicia's annoying. Julian deserves better. *sigh*

Summing Up:

I wish I'd liked this better, and I still feel like I might in print. This narrator is one for me to avoid, so at least I've learned that much. I'm sad because Chasing Before has all the tell-tale signs of a middle book, but the sequel will probably never come. The world building left holes, the character arc has not come full circle, and the love triangle is still swaying to the wrong side. I appreciate the themes of goodness, forgiveness, and letting go of your past, I enjoyed the creativity of this afterlife of limitless potential, and I believe that these characters will ultimately grow in amazing ways. But I'm scared we'll never see that. And thus what I'm left with in this book is a bunch of little annoyances, which may have been necessary for the full journey, but none of the subsequent rewards. Should a sequel ever come, I will be first in line to read it though. It still has a ton of potential.

GIF it to me straight!

Dear Felicia, about Neil...

Recommended To:

Those who are a little more immune than I am to romantic melodrama.
Profile Image for Love Brookes.
3 reviews32 followers
December 8, 2020
First off, I didn't finish it. I got about 20% of the way through until I was too annoyed to keep reading.

What was I annoyed by?


Felicia. Is. So. Annoying. Look, I don't care that your oh-so-perfect boyfriend is amazing and wonderful and the best ever (which he is NOT) that doesn't mean you're going to stay together forever. She is naive to the absolute max, and whines on and on about how Neil is too good for her. It's basically like she can't be her own person, and is just a constant, nonstop, etc., etc., etc. complainer. I cannot stand her.

Neil. Is. A horrible. Person. And it might be because I'm an atheist, but the whole perfect Christian boy thing is really not working for me. He won't even SHARE A ROOM with Felicia, because she's terrified and doesn't want to be alone, because...??? It's not right??? To sleep in separate bunk beds??? Because it's the same room??? Give me a break. Neil is manipulative, dishonest, and I absolutely hate everything about him.

Julian. The only good character. WHY DON'T WE SEE MORE OF HIM?!! Probably because he's actually NOT a whiny brat or a jerk.

Sorry to be so harsh, but wow, this book was awful.
Profile Image for CJ.
629 reviews34 followers
February 2, 2018
This is a good story but I can't help thinking this girl would be so much better dumping the boyfriend. I am not saying go for the guy who keeps telling lies but loves her, but to stay with someone totally disapproving and unreliable as her boyfriend just because sometimes he actually shows affection for her is just too disturbing to accept. This girl is strong; she can stand on her own two feet without the emotional drag the boyfriend keeps pulling.

Next question? Just when is the third book in the trilogy coming along? I want to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Richa.
430 reviews141 followers
July 18, 2014
Originally posted on City of Books

We don’t erase the past. Our triumphs, our failures, our loves, our betrayals – they all provide the clarifying context that makes life more meaningful. Without our roots we might be carried off by the first wayward wind.

But we also need to realize we can fly.

I've got to admit this is the first series where I've seen a blend of dystopian and paranormal. Though Chasing Before focuses more on the paranormal, with the Morati still being a problem even in Level 3. This book is primarily about development, of both the characters and the plot.

Felicia has escaped to Level 3 along with her boyfriend Neil, and she's relieved to be free of the Morati. But soon enough, she realizes they have ascended up to Level 3 with her, and still pose a major threat. On top of that, she has no idea what happened to Julian, the angel boy who rescued her. Felicia and Neil both have a lot to discover about themselves and about their time on Earth, but both deal with the truth in their own way, which creates a rift between them. They need to figure things out before the Morati manage to destroy more lives.

Level 3 confused me even more than Level 2 did. People go to training classes and pick careers. They have jobs! The idea of afterlife careers seems quite ridiculous to me. I mean, you're dead, aren't you? I'd do what the hell I wanted. The impeccable order and organization on the level really surprised me, considering the situation.

Felicia really bugged me in this book. She's entirely fixated on retrieving her lost memories, and honestly doesn't seem to care about any consequences of getting them back. And the whole love triangle thing with Neil and Julian annoyed me to no end. You're with Neil, don't freaking kiss Julian. And if you want Julian, break it off with Neil. Don't string both of them along for who knows how long!

Neil I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, he's really sweet and genuine. He cares about the people around him, and he's so compassionate. You don't see many YA guys like that anymore - most of them are pretty jerk-like. Kinda like Julian. Neil is one of a kind. And his ability to calm a whole hall of people down with his voice... wow. I wish I could hear him sing. But on the other hand, his rigidity pissed me off. Yeah, he's a devout Christian with very firm beliefs. But I totally empathizes with Felicia on this one. He's dead, why can't he just share a freaking room with his girlfriend? It's not like they have to actually do anything he doesn't want to, and it's not like they're going to get married in the afterlife. Sometimes Neil and Felicia just don't get each other, and I'm surprised their relationship has lasted this long.

Julian is probably the only character I fully like. Okay, so I tend to gravitate towards the bad ones. But Julian's very straightforward about who he is and what his intentions are. He doesn't play a stupid cat and mouse game like Felicia and Neil. And I could tell he really cares for Felicia, I wish she'd see that too. I'm hoping for lots more Julian in the next book!

We get a few new characters in this book of course, since it's a new level. And an old character returns. I won't say who! But definitely with all the new additions, I can say one thing - no one is what they seem. What I really liked about this book is that you never know who's on what side, and when it all comes together in the end, it's epic. There's a lot of mystery surrounding the plot and the missing memories, and Felicia gets way more shocks than she's prepared for. So did I!

Overall, I enjoyed Chasing Before more than the first book, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's next. But I'm also hoping the characters shape up a bit more, because I can't stand annoying protagonists. If you've read the previous book, you'll definitely want to pick this one up ASAP.

*Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC for review*
Profile Image for Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads.
369 reviews100 followers
August 29, 2014
After absolutely enjoying Level 2, now renamed as The Memory of After, I couldn't wait to finally read the sequel, but it pains me to write these next words: Lenore Appelhans's Chasing Before disappointed me. It was like being told to expect fireworks and then being handed a sparkler instead. Still nice and fun, but not nearly as exciting.

Felicia frustrated me in Chasing Before. I could understand why she was so driven to recover her lost memories, but what I hated was just how dependent she was on Neil to feel secure about herself. The Morati were threatening the peace and security of Level 3, but Felicia was more upset that she wasn't spending enough time with Neil. Girl, you need to sort out your priorities! Felicia drove me crazy at times in Level 2/The Memory of After as well, but I thought she would have learned from her mistakes by now.

And the romance! Ugh. I was never a Felicia and Neil shipper in the first book and I'm still not. I just feel they have no chemistry together, which was unfortunate because most of the novel is centered around their relationship, which definitely becomes strained in Chasing Before. After learning that the Morati tampered with her memories of the night she died, Felicia is unsure of her past and wants answers, but Neil doesn't feel the same way. He just wants to move on and choose a fulfilling career for their time in Level 3.

After replaying her memories of Neil when Felicia was still alive so often in Level 2, she has placed him on a pedestal. I felt she was more in love with this perfect version of him that she had in her mind than who he really was as a person. Neil doesn't support her decisions in Chasing Before, and he completely shuts her out when she tries to ask him about his past, but I think the real deal-breaker for me was learning he's an utter hypocrite who preaches ideals that he's already broken.

Neil was so set in his ways and unwilling to compromise that it always made Felicia feel like a bad person for not feeling the same way. And because Felicia was always seeking Neil's approval, it often seemed like she couldn't truly be herself because she didn't really see herself as good enough for him in the first place. I don't mind a little tension to add drama in a novel, but if a girl can't be comfortable around a guy she supposedly loves, then something is obviously not right. And it seemed like Neil didn't even try to understand her!

That being said, I still really do like the concept for The Memory Chronicles series as a whole. Level 2 was such a futuristic take on the afterlife with the hives and video networks that I couldn't wait to see how Lenore Appelhans had envisioned Level 3. It was very surprising that while Level 2 was so technologically advanced, Level 3 felt rather like a university campus where humans trained for special careers and lived in dorm-like rooms. I just really wish that Felicia's narration had been less centered around Neil because it limited how much readers could learn and explore Level 3.

With the Morati hiding in plain sight and posing as humans, I was definitely suspicious of every new character whom Felicia met. When I wasn't having problems with Felicia, Neil, and their relationship, it was the suspense of learning who was the villain that really drove me to turn the pages of the book with an addictive need. (And, okay, I was so totally on the lookout for any scenes with Julian, too.) I wanted to fall in love with Chasing Before, I really did, but when your expectations don't match the outcome, it hits you harder and this is just one of those times.
Profile Image for Maranda Russell.
Author 22 books65 followers
March 5, 2017
I really enjoyed this short series, but I really wanted Felicia to end up with Julian rather than Neil. I didn't like Neil all that much, too goody-goody while still managing to treat Felicia crappy at the same time. Also hard to believe a guy would be in love with a girl and continually turn her desire to get more intimate down, especially once he found out there was no "Christian" afterlife so to say. Other than that, really liked the books though. Cool vision of the afterlife!
Profile Image for Kelley.
529 reviews75 followers
August 6, 2014
Last year I read and enjoyed Level Two (renamed The Memory of After), so I was excited to be approved for Chasing Before on Edelweiss. And in true Kelley fashion, I whet my appetite for the series with the recent novella, The Best Things in Death, which reminded me of some of the things I really appreciated about this series. So how did Chasing Before measure up?

There were themes I really enjoyed.

This is the only YA book I’ve read so far that really incorporates Christian religion in a way that I experienced it as a teen; it’s not a Christian series, but one of the main characters is a dedicated Christian and there are things like youth group and the idea of “saving yourself for marriage” and things of that nature. Things I grew up with, and so could easily relate. Having a crush on the boy who leads the church’s praise and worship team — handsome, talented, and a role model — is something I’m um (ahem) familiar with.

Appelhans’ version of the afterlife evolves in this book, moving on from a place where everyone just lies in these pods and relives their — and others’ — memories constantly. I was eager to find out what awaited Felicia in Level Three, and it was not really at all like I had expected. We saw some interesting new and familiar faces, and Felicia was posed with a very interesting challenge. That was the main thing that kept me reading, because just like Felicia, I need to KNOW, MAN!

But sadly, this book frustrated and disappointed me, too.

I was impressed by Neil’s resolve to stick with his firm religious beliefs, and I know that is one thing that impressed Felicia, too. But when things obviously changed, and he was stubbornly sticking to ideals that had no more bearing, it drove both Felicia and me crazy with irritation!

I also had a hard time believing that one level of the afterlife would be a friggin school and that you would eventually have to pick a career that you’d do for — what, the rest of eternity? But between Neil being stupidly stubborn and Felicia clinging to him for some unknown reason, I found myself just sighing a lot.

I wish there had been more of the mystery solving and interesting parts, and less of the focus on their tenuous relationship. I’m still curious to see how this whole series plays out, so I’m hoping this is just a case of second book syndrome. It wasn’t terrible, but I think just the good things were overshadowed by the annoying things — for me.
Profile Image for Amber at Fall Into Books.
524 reviews75 followers
September 2, 2014
Let me start this review by saying that the world-building, descriptions, writing, pacing, and plot were all fantastic. Had it not been for the completely unlikable characters, I would have enjoyed this book immensely. However, reading from Felicia's bratty point of view really ruined things for me. Instead of letting the mysteries unfold and being excited to find out what came next, I found myself sighing and checking to see how many pages I had left before I could end this whinefest and read something a little less obnoxious.

Felicia is one of the most selfish characters I've ever had the displeasure of reading. Additionally, she's bratty and needy. She's unhealthily obsessed with her boyfriend, Neil, and he's no prize, let me tell you. He's a self-righteous, judgmental bigot. The entire book consists of Felicia complaining and whining that she's not good enough for Neil and that he's the only thing that brings out her good qualities. Well, if those are her good qualities, then I'd hate to see her bad ones. Also, I completely disagree with her. Anyone that dependent upon someone else needs to do some serious self-evaluation. With Julian (the only redeemable character), Felicia thinks about others instead of just worrying about her relationship with Neil. She wants to do what's right because it's right, not because it will impress self-righteous Neil. Julian makes her much stronger, and something needs to. She's a completely weak and pathetic character. I really hope that Appelhans has Felicia grow some, and quickly, or I'm going to have to quit what would otherwise be an extremely interesting series. Felicia needs to break up with Neil and learn to stand on her own so that she's a worthy YA heroine. As it stands, she pales in comparison to the actual strong and likable heroines out there.

Aside from the characters, this book is fantastic. I really loved learning about Level 3, and the mythology behind the levels of ascension is intriguing. The plot is also tightly woven and engrossing. Furthermore, the pacing is spot on, and nothing drags or feels rushed. Also, Appelhans is a fantastic writer. Her descriptions really helped me picture the world around Felicia. The unraveling of the mysteries is also handled very well, and the ending ties things up nicely. The romance makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and I really hope that it goes away soon.

Overall, I'd only recommend this book to you if you don't mind really bratty, immature, weak characters. I know this is a YA book, but Felicia is supposed to be 18, not 8. It's time for her to act her age and learn to stand on her own. If you're looking for something different, though, this series definitely fills that requirement. Just be prepared to be super annoyed by Felicia.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,989 reviews231 followers
August 23, 2014
Poor Felicia is not having a very peaceful afterlife. First, there is her battle with the Morati in Level 2. Then, immediately upon her arrival at Level 3, the Morati are back again, as is Julian. There is a lot of internal debate about right and wrong, good versus bad, selfishness versus selflessness. Felicia remains torn between Neil and Julian. In the end, there are still more questions than answers with the added addition of an unsatisfactory feeling that Felicia followed the wrong path. It is a good thing there is another story in this series, as it gives readers another opportunity to figure out this strange new world, its policies and politics, and Felicia’s final role in everything.

Chasing Before is not the type of novel one can pick up mid-series. Readers need to be able to remember everything from the first novel because the second one builds on what was already shared. Unfortunately, there were minimal explanations and world-building in the first book, and there are even fewer explanations in the sequel. If one keeps an understanding of Ms. Appelhans’ version of heaven basic, without scrutiny, Level 3 makes sense. Any attempt to delve deeper however quickly reveals plot holes and many an unexplained area.

Just like the first novel, Chasing Before has many flaws. Felicia remains as indecisive as she was before, but this time there is much agony about her relationship with Neil. When Julian reveals a big secret about her abilities, this only serves to cause Felicia more angst. There is little character development and approximately the same amount of background set-up. The pacing is uneven and does not adequately build suspense. Lastly, the theological discussions are not as frequent but are still a major part of moving up to Levels 3 and 4.

The action is silly. The afterworld makes no sense upon inspection. Felicia is whiny, Neil is weak, and Julian is frustrating. However, none of this prevents Chasing Before from being a rollicking good time. One gets caught up in the emotion and drama and finds oneself thoroughly enjoying the story, sometimes because of the silliness of it all. Readers will fly through the story, anxious to uncover who Felicia chooses and why. They will want to help Felicia discover the hidden Morati, their ultimate purpose and their plans for her. They will want to uncover Felicia’s lost memories and help her find her future role in Level 3 or beyond it. It is the type of novel in which readers will become emotionally involved, which is a great thing when the story cannot bear the weight of a close examination. It may not great literature, but Chasing Before is certainly entertaining.
Profile Image for Kimmy.
1,196 reviews24 followers
August 30, 2014
(From www.pingwings.ca)

Received from the publisher, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Spoiler alert if you haven't read the first book, Level Two/The Memory of After!

“I’m a ticking time bomb. And one day soon everything is going to explode.”

Felicia and Neil have arrived in Level 3 and are supposed to prepare for their divine vocations.

But during Felicia and Neil’s training period, a series of explosions rips through Level 3. Tension is high, and casualties are mounting. A rift forms between the pair, one that grows wider when Felicia receives memories from the Morati. The memories cast doubt on the people she loves the most, but Felicia can’t stop her curiosity. She has to know the truth about her life – even if it means putting at risk everything she’s worked for in her death.

I read the first book, Level Two (now called The Memory of After in paperback) and enjoyed it, overall. I was looking forward to reading this sequel, hoping it would provide answers to a few questions I had leftover from Level Two.

This book was a pretty entertaining read. It answered most of my questions and was full of action. Plot-wise, Chasing Before did a good job of reminding me of the events from Level Two without feeling like an info dump.

While I liked the plot, I struggled to feel anything for the characters. Felicia was interesting and I enjoyed reading as she tried to come to terms with her past, present, and future. I felt more of a connection to her than I did in the previous book. There were other characters that I thought added something to the story (I won’t name for potential spoiler reasons), partly because Felicia wasn’t sure who she could trust, which certainly added to the tension and suspense. Neil, thought, was a character I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I don’t know if this was due to the way Felicia saw him – an idealized version of him, which magnified his actions that didn’t seem to fit with her vision of him as perfect. Whatever the reason, he came off as very ‘holier than thou’ and I struggled big time to believe in their romance and their professed feelings for each other.

There was a sense of finality and closure at the end of Chasing Before, which makes me think this is a duology. However, if I’m wrong and there’s a third book, I’d check it out. Definitely recommended for fans of Level Two/The Memory of After. I think you’ll enjoy this book even more!
Profile Image for Jon.
599 reviews627 followers
August 16, 2014
Check out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more!

I was absolutely dying to read Chasing Before because I am a huge fan of Memory Of After and I devoured that debut a while back. I've been waiting on this book for a while and it was so exciting to finally get to read it. Chasing Before is an interesting sequel that takes focus off Felicia's memories and concerns itself with Felicia and Neil's romance and the Morati more. Once again, I was impressed with the world and story that Lenore has created in her books.

I really wish I had thought to reread The Memory Of After prior to starting Chasing Before because I had trouble remembering what went on in the first book. Appelhans definitely recaps book one sufficiently, but it's been so long since I started this series and it would've been a much better idea to go into Chasing Before fresh.

I really loved how The Memory Of After revolved around Felicia accessing her memories, but Chasing Before grazes over this a bit. Sure, the reader does get to read about a few of Felicia's memories, but they aren't as poignant or as abundant as they were in the previous book. I wish the memories were more concerned with how Felicia and Neil met and fell in love than the problematic moments in their relationship.

I remember really loving the relationship between Felicia and Neil in the first book, but I was constantly annoyed by Neil in this one. I didn't like how Neil treated Felicia and I can't root for a couple in which the relationship dynamic is uneven. Felicia treated Neil with love and care, but I felt that Neil was pushing Felicia away for such ridiculous reasons (considering everything that they'd been through). That being said, I do love this couple still and I just wish that readers were treated to the sweet Neil and Felicia moments that I loved in The Memory Of After.

Chasing Before comes complete with a well-thought out mystery, a realistic romance and imaginative world-building. Lenore Appelhans is an excellent writer and I truly hope that she has more novels in the works because I'd love to read anything she writes. I enjoyed returning to the world of the Morati and watching Neil and Felicia develop into more mature people.
Profile Image for Haley.
708 reviews6 followers
December 29, 2014
4.5 stars

Chasing Before is the second book in the Memory Chronicles, and the sequel to Level 2, which was given a new title: The Memory of After. It’s set on Level 3 of the afterlife. Level 2 was like a hive of white with pod and people could view and exchange their memories of their life on Earth. Level 3 is kind of like a collage campus in which people can choose their career path, which includes: Muse, Guardian Angel, Demon Hunter, Spirit Trapper, Healer, Caretaker, and Seraphim Guard.

Felicia and Neil arrived on Level 3 together and Felicia’s former best friend Autumn is there. Felicia and Neil decide to try for Muse because of their music background, but keep their option open. Some other friends and enemies also turn up on Level 3. Who can be trusted? Some terrible destruction is being caused by Morati angels, but who are the angels doing this? Could Julian be the cause?

Felicia discovers that she may have not died when she thought she did. She and Neil have months’ worth of memories taken from them. She’s desperate to find out what happened between them. How did their relationship develop after the accident? Felicia also tries for a more difficult afterlife career path that could help her uncover the hidden Morati.

I enjoyed this sequel. It was very different from the previous book. There were still a lot of flashbacks of Felicia’s life, but there was more action and more information on angels and the afterlife. There were tons of crazy twists and intrigue. I love books about angels, but this went a different way than my usual angel books. I also enjoyed the world building of the different levels of the afterlife and different jobs.

I recommend this book to fans of If I Stay, The Immortal Series & Riley Bloom series by Alyson Noel, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and other books about the afterlife. Also, dystopia books, including Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Cover Art Review: Felicia is on the cover in a black outfit and the balls are memory orbs. I like the title typeface.

~Haley G

My blog:
Profile Image for Erica.
1,268 reviews677 followers
May 1, 2014
4.5 stars

After the whirlwind ending of The Memory of After, my excitement for Chasing Before could not be dampered. I dived in head first and didn't want to put it down until it finished. Delightful every moment, Chasing Before is a book that exceeds all expectations and takes readers on an epic journey that tugs on your heartstrings.

The return of a certain character I adored in book 1 was a nice surprise (though I suspected it would happen all along and really it was just waiting to see when it would happen). I suppose this is slightly spoilery, but anyone who read book 1 likely had the same hopes as I did. I loved what he added to the plot, and still remains likely my favorite character in this series.

I had some pieces of the plot pegged from the beginning, but overall, Lenore Appelhans kept me on my toes, completely unsure.

I was in firm belief that Neil should just have been killed on about page 2. My dislike for his escalated for a new high. Libby was another of those characters who irked me to no end. I couldn't pin her motivations throughout the entire book.

My biggest peeve? That it ended. When I flipped the last page, I was so sad there was no more story. Shit got real in this one, and I was so sad to say goodbye to the fabulous characters. The ending didn't completely satisfy me . . . there was a lot more I was hoping for. That being said, where it left off worked completely for the storyline, and a lot I think lies with there not being a third book. You can tell the way the story arc was planned that there is a lot of room for more story (and what I would like to think would have happened), but where the story wraps up is fine for now.

Either way, I cannot wait until Lenore Appelhans comes out with another book. The fact that there will be no book 3 saddens me horrible, as this is such a tale of epic proportions and brilliant storytelling.
Profile Image for Heather.
958 reviews91 followers
January 13, 2016
One word entered my mind upon completion: fantastic. I really liked Lenore Appelhans’ Level 2 (which has since been renamed The Memory of After), so when the opportunity to read the sequel presented itself, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next. And this book did not let me down. It’s one of the rare times the second book in the series exceeds my expectations — by far.

Felicia is great. While occasionally I got frustrated with her — her reliance on Neil could get annoying at times (can anyone say codependent?) — I found her spunk, her spirit, and her heart were admirable. While she’s overly tough on herself (who isn’t their own harshest critic?), I felt that kept her real. One thing I love is that, despite being dead, Felicia learns a lot and really grows through the course of this novel.

Neil was a complete jerk for most of the book. I found myself wanting to see her ditch him and get with Julian. Neil was a complete and utter asshole and treated Felicia quite badly. I can’t remember if he was book boyfriend material first time around. He definitely isn’t in this book. Keep him far, far away from me, please. I get that he’s not perfect and struggling with his own personal demons (figuratively, of course), but that doesn’t in any way excuse his behavior. Ugh!

The plot is full of twists and turns. A few were easy for me to figure out — I’m talking about you, Neil! — but there were some good, big, shock-my-socks-off surprises throughout. That was quite nice, I must say.

If you enjoyed Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans — or The Memory of After — then I highly recommend that you read Chasing Before. It has some interesting twists and turns. And it was a book I found myself wanting to read, read, read on through!
Profile Image for Beth.
2,892 reviews194 followers
February 11, 2015
NOTE: This review contains spoilers from book one so if you haven't read The Memory of After yet, you might want to refrain from reading this review until you get up to speed.

Now that Felicia Ward has defeated the Morati in Level Two and been reunited with her boyfriend Neil, she is ready to move on to Level Three and begin what she thinks is her long-awaited, peaceful afterlife.

Oh how wrong she is.

Upon arriving in Level Three, Felicia soon discovers that the Mortai have infiltrated this new level and are sabotaging it with powerful and deadly explosions. Felicia realizes that she must make a choice between seeking answers to the past that she is desperate to remember or defeating the Morati yet again in order to move on to the next level. Another risky choice she must make is realizing that Julian, her complicated former love interest, may be the only person who can help her figure out what to do. Afterlife-changing choices are all around her in Level Three, and it seems like no matter which one she makes, she is going to lose. Will Felicia choose to find answers to her past and risk losing Neil? Or will she follow her heart and risk losing herself?

Read my entire review on my blog.
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