Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Summary:
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.
Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead-to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse-though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?
It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was-lovely and amazing and deeply flawed-can she truly start to discover her own path.
Review:
This latest read was a reread for me. I thought Contemporary January was the perfect chance to reread this book because I remembered loving it so so much while reading it the first time. This was a good story of a young girl going into high school and trying to figure out who she is. It’s a story that tells of grief, of what it’s like to lose a sibling and dealing with all of the feelings that come with this.

“I think it’s like when you lose something so close to you, it’s like losing yourself.”

There were a lot of things that this story tried to deal with. I think it did many things right, like the whole grief dynamic in the story. Laurel is a young girl trying to figure out how to move forward now that her sister has died, along with that her parents have split up and her mother has left. I really related with Laurel and her feelings toward her mother because I also had an absentee mother. I thought it was well done, her feelings toward her mother. Also, her feelings toward her sister were so raw and realistic and I loved it.

“When we are in love, we are both completely in danger and completely saved.”

Sadly, certain parts of this story were pretty cringy. Laurel was pretty self-destructive and not always ways that I understood. There were just things I didn’t like that I don’t want to get too far into. Things that could have been written a bit better. Things involving the parts with drinking, sexual assault, and things of this nature.

“Maybe when we can tell the stories, however bad they are, we don’t belong to them anymore. They become ours. And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to just be a character, going whichever way the story says. It’s knowing that you could be the author instead.”

Overall, I’m disappointed that I didn’t love this book as much as I did the first time. Despite that, I still think it’s a good story. There was a bit too much telling instead of showing. I feel like part of this is because of the way this story is told. Laurel tells this story in the form of letters to dead famous people. So she is essentially telling these people what’s going on, but I think it could have been a bit more ‘show don’t tell’. I think part of me wanted to like this story more than I did, sadly. Though there were tons of quotes that I really enjoyed, some of which will be inserted in this review.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Book Tag – Halsey

halsey book tag.jpg

Hi lovelies!

Back at it again with another book tag. I love Halsey so when I saw this book tag done on Downright Dystopian’s page I knew I had to play too! This tag is originally created by Paper Riot. Now, onto the book tag!

castle

Amanda- Aelin Galathynius for sure. She’s from Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. She’s kickass and doesn’t take anything from anyone. She even has the choice to not become queen and abandon her throne but steps up and shows the world that she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Antonia- Definitely Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. I just loved watching her grow throughout this series.

coming down

Amanda- I’m going to say all of the scenes written by Lynsay Sands. Sexy vampires from Atlantis? Yes please.

Antonia- Hmm… this is a tough one because I read a TON of romance. I’ll say anything by Julia Quinn because her love stories are just the best.

control

Amanda- The Darkling, for sure. He’s from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy. I don’t know what it is, but momma loves some Darkling.

Antonia- Queen Savilla from The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. She’s the queen of the endarkened (demons) and is simply evil. I just love that she has no redeeming qualities. She’s terrifying and awful and makes a fantastic villain.

drive

Amanda- This was the hardest one for me out of all of these questions. I’ve decided to go with the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Our main character is forever trapped in a love triangle between the (mostly) marriage material  Joe Morelli and the sexiest man alive, Ranger. I wouldn’t say that there’s a lack of communication, more like a stalemate. They communicate but not enough for Stephanie to be able to actually make a decision between the two. (Though I don’t think I ever want her to actually make that final choice.)

Antonia- Kvothe and Denna from The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I really enjoy them together and wouldn’t mind seeing them actually get together in the future but they keep so many secrets and they’re both so mysterious that it gets in the way of them ever actually having a relationship.

empty gold

Amanda- Tamlin and Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I talk about this in my reviews for this series, linked here. Though I’m sure many people feel this way. This is the couple that popped into my head as soon as I read the question. I loved them so much in the first book and then Tamlin just, ugh.

Antonia- Ember and Riley from The Talon Series by Julie Kagawa. I wanted them to be together for the first couple books so bad then somehow I ended up loving Garret so much that I stopped wanting her to be with Riley. (I still love Riley though.) And me changing my mind about characters that drastically really doesn’t happen often.

ghost

Amanda- This may be biased because of my pregnancy hormones. But when I read the breakup scene in the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova I literally spent a solid hour crying. To the point where my husband wasn’t sure what to do with me and just hugged me while I cried for an hour. I’m pretty sure he thought I was never going to stop.

Antonia- For me, this will always be Lyra and Will’s breakup at the end of The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I was around twelve when I first read it and cried for days. I still cry hysterically every time I reread it.

haunting

Amanda- Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. Every once in a while I say to myself, “you know what was a good book, Love Letters to the Dead. I should read that again.” I have recently bought it on my Kindle (I got it from the library the first time.) and I’m planning to reread it soon.

Antonia- All of them. This is actually a huge problem for me because I continue to think about books long after I’ve read them; it actually keeps me up at night. It’s why I reread so many books over and over again.

hold me down

Amanda- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I’m super not sorry about this either. The whole series is being written and released from Christian’s perspective. I have the first two and am waiting for the third to be released. While I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed, I will absolutely be buying and reading the third so I have all six books.

Antonia- Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I actually need to catch up on this one but since I first discovered these books I’ve been a little obsessed with them even though there’s now 29 books in the series and Kenyon’s still writing.

hurricane

Amanda- If you read my posts on a regular basis you should already know the answer to this question. Looking for Alaska by John Green. If you haven’t read it read my review here.

Antonia- Beastly by Alex Flinn. This will forever be my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptation. I reread it at least once a year and it always just gives me this light, happy feeling inside.

is there somewhere

Amanda- Every and all of the couples we find in The Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest. This is a 50+ book series that spans over a ridiculous amount of years, several generations, and many worlds. Every couple we meet and read about has to go through some (usually life-threatening) struggle before they get their happy ending.

Antonia- Adrian and Sydney from The Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. One of my favorite book couples but they struggle so much to keep their relationship going when both vampires and humans judge them for it. At one point Sydney’s actually institutionalized by her family for it.

new americana

Amanda- I try not to use the same book over and over when I do these tags, but I can’t help it for this. I would LOVE to be part of the Night Court squad from A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, reviewed here. It’s from the ACOTAR series, but we don’t get to meet them until the second book, so I’m using that one.

Antonia- The Demigods from The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. Awesome magical powers? Check. Funny and amazing and need to be my best friends? Double check.

roman holiday

Amanda- Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in our Stars by John Green. See my review here to get a more detailed post of my thoughts on this book. I love Hazel and Gus together because they’re both just kids that had to grow up too fast and spent too much time thinking about death. Then they found each other and had a bright spot in their lives, a reason to live if you will.

Antonia- Amanda and Chris from Beheld by Alex Flinn. I talked about them in my review (here) and I just loved them together so much I think I actually squealed while reading it.

strange love

Amanda- Chaol from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is a good one for this I think. So many people hate him after certain events in the series. I understand why he did what he did and still love him even though it cost him his relationship with Celaena.

Antonia- Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore. I’ve read quite a few reviews from people who didn’t like her which kind of astounds me because I adore her.

trouble

Amanda- Rose and Mason from the Rose Gardner Investigations by Denise Grover Swank. I wanted to put them for an OTP with obstacles, but honestly I don’t think they’ll end up together no matter how much I want them to be.

Antonia- None. Toxic relationships are pretty much an instant DNF for me. I’ve read about a lot of flawed relationships (e.g. Quentin and Margo from Paper Towns by John Green) but nothing that I would actually consider toxic. Even with examples like Quentin and Margo, I enjoyed reading about them but still didn’t ship them.

walk the line

Amanda- Shadows of the Immortals by Marina Finlayson. This series is a super interesting twist on the Gods (from all different cultures) which is a topic I really like. I couldn’t put this series down once I started it.

Antonia- Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. This is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon and is still one of the most unique fairytale retellings I’ve read.

young god

Amanda- This one is easy. Lyss and Hal from Cinda Williams Chima’s Shadowcaster (reviewed here) are both totally falling in love (if they’re not already in love) with one another. But neither will admit it.

Antonia- Hazel and Frank from Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. They get together later on in the series but for pretty much this entire book, they both are secretly pining for the other. It was adorable.

gasoline

Amanda- Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites series by Marie Lu, reviewed here. I hate to even say this because I love her but I also really hate her. I guess I love to hate her. Okay, I lied. I don’t hate to say it. She’s totally my favorite destructive character.

Antonia- Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. He’s so focused on his revenge the entire time that he ignores the chance to make a better life for himself but at the same time, his revenge plot is absolutely insane and amazing at the same time.

 

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Beach/Pool Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books to read by the pool/ at the beach OR it can also serve as your summer TBR. I’m going to be doing a combination of both because I’ve recently gone a little book crazy and ordered some new books so my TBR list grew by about thirty books (whoops). It’s also the perfect time of year for some of my favorite beach/pool reads so I’m going to list the books that are on my TBR that I would consider to be beach reads for me. Here is my list, in the order of my excitement to read them.

top ten tuesday picture
1. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser – This is one of the books that is on its way to me after my recent buying spree. The description of this book sounds super interesting. One of those books you have to read in one sitting.
2. The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison – This thriller is one I’ve been waiting for it to come out for what feels like forever. I’m super excited to read this. I love a good thriller on the beach, getting lost in the sound of the waves and the excitement of the story.
3. Triangles by Ellen Hopkins – I read this book years ago. But I don’t know where it went. So I bought it again and it should be arriving sometime this week. I love anything written by Ellen Hopkins so when I saw this during the book sale (where I went buying crazy) I had to get it. I got a few other books by her as well.
4. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for almost six months. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Every time I read the back I think, “wow this sounds good, why haven’t I read this yet?” So hopefully I’ll read it while I’m lounging around my aunt’s pool this summer.
5. A Voyage of Founders by Bella Forrest – This is season eight of the Shade of Vampire series. I don’t know what it is about these books, but I just can’t put them down. I’m waiting to read this one by the pool or at the beach, but in reality, I could read it anywhere at any time.
6. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – Afterworlds will be a reread for me. You can check out my review for this book here. I loved this book, but when I first read it I had gotten it from the library. So I recently bought it at the book sale I keep mentioning. So I’m excited to reread it because I remember how much I liked it.
7. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – This is another reread as well as another library find. I bought this on my Kindle before my husband and I moved (drove) across the country. I didn’t end up reading it while we were in the car, but I do want to read it soon.
8. Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts – Another buy from the book sale. I know I’ve read this trilogy, but I don’t remember what it was about. I could have made this list of beach/pool reads out of JUST Nora Robert’s books so I thought I’d include one that I already own that I know I’m going to read soon(ish).
9. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson – I bought this book (and the second) on my Kindle, again before moving across the country. I didn’t end up reading it, but it’s still high on my list.
10. Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich – I wouldn’t be Amanda if I didn’t include this on my beach/pool reads list. I can read any of Evanovich’s books by the water. They’re the perfect beach reads, lighthearted and funny. It doesn’t matter which book in the series you pick, they will all have you smiling and laughing to yourself.

This is my top ten for this week! What’s yours?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Top Ten Tuesday, Books on a Whim

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post where we give our top ten choices on different topics, hosted by THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. This week’s topic is top ten books that you picked up on a whim. The books that weren’t recommended, but picked up without knowing a lot about them. Anyway, here’s my top ten.

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  1. Spelled by Betsy Schow – I picked this book up entirely because I liked the way the cover looked. I’m glad I did because I enjoyed this story a lot.
  2. Thirst series by Christopher Pike – I picked this series up years and years ago because it was about vampires and who doesn’t love a good vampire series. It took me a few years to actually take them off my shelves and read them, but once I did I was very glad. This series was so awesome. I was surprised at how much I liked these books.
  3. My Friend Leonard by James Frey – I picked this book up again based on the cover. I’d read something by him before, so I didn’t even read the back before I bought it.
  4. Talon by Julia Kagawa – She’s another author I’d read before. The cover of this book was very interesting and when I read the description and saw dragons I knew I had to buy them.
  5. The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset – The title of this book intrigued me, then when I read the description it mentioned a town that I used to live close to, along with the faerie aspect of the story. It was a no brainer.
  6. Legend series by Marie Lu – I bought this series on my phone to read. I love a good dystopian series.
  7. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows – This was a book that I got from the library. Another that I picked because I liked the pretty cover. The story was amazing and so unique.
  8. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington – Another library find, the description mentioned a growing tattoo and that hooked me.
  9. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellairra – Okay so I guess I have a problem with picking books based on their pretty covers. This was another one from the library that pulled me in with its pretty cover.
  10. The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis – Once again, the library has my back with the good books. I picked this one up because the author’s name, then I read the description and went home with it.

These are my top ten, that were harder to come up with then I thought. What are your top ten?

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.