LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira | Review

Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Book #: Standalone
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: May 2014, by Hot Key Books
Pages: 323
Author’s Website and Twitter
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Rating: 
αρχείο λήψης (4)

Goodreads 

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.

In a voice that’s as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl’s journey through life’s challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

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THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher | Review

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Book #: Standalone
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Publication: October 2007, by Penguin
Pages: 288
Author’s Website and Twitter
Source: purchased
Format: paperback
Rating: αρχείο λήψης (5)

Goodreads 

Clay Jenkins returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Bakera–his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

This is a desperate, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful novel.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

 

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HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter | Review

Title: Heist Society

Author: Ally Carter

Book #: 1 in the “Heist Society” series

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Publication: February 2010, by Hyperion Book CH

Pages: 287

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: jcombine_images

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“I’m the guy who happened to be home the night Kat came to steal a Monet.”

Review

To begin with, I would like to say that I wasn’t too excited to read this book. The reason I picked it up is that I was searching in the library and nothing else seemed to click at that moment, so I thought I might as well take this one. I’ve heard quite a few good things about it after all, so it should be worth something.

After having read the book I am really not sure what I think about it (!) There were moments when I really liked reading it and was very absorbed in it and other moments when I was contemplating giving up on it. The first moments were certainly more, though, so I would say that in general I did like this book!

The story started off interesting, but I had a couple of problems with it along the way. Not that it became boring, but it kind of lost me at some points. We had to do with thieves and they were constantly talking about great thefts and using a specific “thief-slang” or code words, that had me feeling a little bit lost. I also felt sometimes, that I couldn’t keep up with the story. They would all figure something out, but it often took me more time to understand it. I mean, I don’t like always being faster than the main characters, but being left behind is also not very nice. I kept reading though, because the story was quite interesting and original, even though I was apparently missing some points.

I found the characters of the book very well created and described. I had a clear picture in my heads of who was who, and knew all of their characters and how they would possibly react in certain situations. I also loved the interaction between them all! Because they were all different from each other, they made up the perfect team. We have realistic, witty, sarcastic, funny and bitchy characters, and to have them all interacting together was really lots of fun!

As far as main characters (Kat and the love interest, Hale) I also think they were quite interesting, but nothing extremely special. Kat’s point of view was comfortable to read from, but I did liked Hale’s character more. He kind of had more spunk, while Kat was more quiet and forgettable. Something that I found weird about all characters was that the were around 15 years old, but I kept forgetting that. The way they were all described seemed to fit more for 20-somethings than for 15-year-olds. I don’t really think Kat’s thoughts or the actions of all of them were that of teenagers, so I basically think their age should have simply been switched to a few years older.

So, in general, I cannot say I was blown away by this book in any aspect. It was mostly fun and comfortable to read, but not something I will remember about in a couple of years.

First Line

No one knew for certain when the trouble started at the Colgan School.

Mini Review

Somewhat confusing at times – I felt sort of lost.
Characters were quite good, but still nothing that will blow you away!
All in all good, but forgettable.

Recommend it for…

  • Fans of mystery
  • People looking for something easy to read

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DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan | Review

Title: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

Book #: Standalone

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Publication: October 2010, by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 260

Author’s Website and WebsiteTwitter

Rating: qcombine_images

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.”

Review

To be honest, the first thing that pulled me into this book was because its cover. It is honestly what I would call the perfect Christmas-y/Winter-y cover. Then I read the synopsis of the book, which also seemed really interesting. Plus I’d heard a couple of people saying they liked the book. So for all these reasons I decided to read the book.

Unfortunately I have to say that I was disappointed. This book was really not what I expected it to be. I was expecting to read a cute little Christmas story about two people exchanging dares through a notebook. Kind of like the movie Love me if you Dare! And even though that was theoretically the story, there were so many things missing.

First, the love story was just awful. It had no swoon moments and I didn’t feel any connection between the characters. This was as far away from an “epic love” as possible. And I felt like the two characters were just mildly interested in each other. We have two characters that are completely opposite to one another, like we often do in contemporary books (opposites attract and so on…). The problem was, that they didn’t even realise they were different and there were practically no witty dialogs, snarky comments and all these things you expect when you have two characters who are different. Their interaction was just blah.

Secondly, the so-called “dares” that each one of them had to do were just meh. There wasn’t anything particularly interesting about them and for dares I would expect them to be more daring! For example Dash had to get a note from Santa Claus and for that he had to wait in line for two whole hours! How exciting and daring (NOT!)

Lily was one of the most annoying characters I’ve read about. I thought she was acting like a spoiled 12-year-old! She was nagging all the time about her Christmas being ruined and was completely immature throughout the whole book. On the other side she really loved animals and Christmas and freaking rainbows! I just didn’t feel like her character was real and I just wanted to scream at her!

Dash was somewhat better. Although he was also really whiny, but that was not really a problem for me. What did annoy me, though, was that he was constantly trying to show how supposedly smart he was, citing books all the time and basically being a pretentious arrogant.

What I liked about this book was that each of the two authors wrote from one of the two perspectives (David Levithan wrote Dash’s perspective and Rachel Cohn wrote Lily’s). I have to say that I enjoyed Dash’s perspective more, but that might have to do with the fact that I generally liked his character more.

In general, I was really disappointed by this book because it had so much potential! Two characters getting to know each other through a notebook and sending each other dares? It could have been an amazing book! *sigh*

First Line

Imagine this: You’re in your favorite bookstore, scanning the shelves.

Mini Review

Recommend it for…

  • Anyone wanting to read a Christmas-y story. Although you might want to try something else…

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THE DUFF: DESIGNATED UGLY FAT FRIEND by Kody Keplinger | Review

Title: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Author: Kody Keplinger

Book #: Standalone

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Chick Lit, Contemporary

Publication: September 2010 by LittleBrown/Poppy

Pages: 280

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: combinhe_images

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“Your sense of humor needs some work, then,” Wesley suggested. “Most girls find my jokes charming.”
“Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.”

Review

This was everything I’m looking for in a young adult romance book!

I was kind of disappointed by the chick lit young adult genre, because I haven’t liked any of the books I’ve read so far. But this one totally changed my mind! The main character, the story, the love interest, everything was exactly how I wanted it!

What I liked about the main character, Bianca, was that she was not only stubborn (which is something that we often see with female protagonists), but she was also pessimistic, sarcastic and cynical. Generally a very refreshing point of view to read from! The love interest was the typical “bad boy” / man whore that we read about again and again. I kind of wish there was something more special about him, but I cannot say that I didn’t find him enjoyable and fun. There were definitely a good dynamic and a lot of witty dialogs between those two. What I also very much enjoyed were the secondary characters, like Bianca’s friends and her father, that were far from stereotypical and made the story that much more interesting.

The storyline wasn’t anything very special on its own. I actually think I’ve seen a movie where a girl is being told that she’s the ugliest of her friends, so it was not the most original plot. The thing that made it special was Bianca’s character and if it wasn’t for her, this would be a typical love story and would have nothing interesting about it.

I could definitely see this being turned into a movie, as it’s one of the best romance/chick-lit books I’ve read!

First Line

This was getting old.

Recommend it for…

  • a quick and easy read
  • fans of sassy, cynical characters

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THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen | Review

Title: The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Book #: Standalone

Publication: May 2004 by Penguin Group Inc.

Pages: 374

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: combine_images

A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” 

Review

I wasn’t intending to read a Sarah Dessen book right now, but Heather from Bookables created a Sarah Dessen book club and the book for this month was the truth about forever, so I decided to join.

After reading “This Lullaby” (my review is here) the previous month and not liking it, I was a bit hesitant going into this book. As I started reading, though, I thought that it was much better and started getting my hopes up! Which only led me to a bigger disappointment in the end…

It was going okay, really, until I realized how irritating Macy, the protagonist, was! She wasn’t so annoying from the beginning of the book, but after the middle she was starting to really get on my nerves! She couldn’t make up her mind to do anything! She hated her job, but didn’t quit it, she liked this guy, but didn’t do anything about it, she wanted to talk to her mom, but never decided to do it… the list can go on and on!

Apart from Macy, I really enjoyed every other character of the book. Wes, the love interest, was a really great guy, funny, cute, artistic, anything a girl can ask for! Delia, who was the woman running the catering job, where Wes was working, was also a very interesting and refreshing character. She was exactly the opposite of what we would call a control freak; she actually wanted chaos and was feeling uneasy when everything was going well!

The story of the book was very predictable and quite boring I would say… It was also a lot similar to “this Lullaby”, which makes me think that most Sarah Dessen books must have a similar storyline… I could be wrong here of course!

Generally, I do still believe that this book is better than “This Lullaby”, but in the end I was so irritated and frustrated by the main character, that I ended up giving it a lower rating! I don’t think I’m going to be reading any more Sarah Dessen books any time soon!

First Line

“Jason was going to Brain Camp.”

Recommend it for…

  • Romance Lovers
  • Chick-lit readers
Add it on Goodreads

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LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green | Review

Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Book #: Standalone

Publication: December 2006 by Speak

Pages: 231

Author’s Website and Twitter

Rating: comjbine_images

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
Synopsis from Goodreads.com

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.” 

Review

There have been hundreds of reviews written about this book, so I’m just going to keep this one short. There are also hundreads of quotes in this book. The one above is just one of the many good ones I had to choose from.

The first thing I loved about this book was Pudge’s sense of humor and his character in general. I was practically laughing out loud with how sarcastic and cynical he was being towards pretty much everything. Then, when “The Colonel” (Pudge’s roommate) and Alaska make their appearence, the humor in the book becomes even better.

John Green’s writting style is, in my opinion, extraordinary. He manages to write stories with a deep meaning to them, but giving them in a way that is easy and fun to read. I also think his books apply to a very wide audience, from young adult to adult readers. In this case, I also liked the “before-after” style in which the book was written. It was leading to an important part of the book, that you knew was coming, but didn’t know exactly what it was going to be.

Generally, I liked the “before” part of the book more than the “after”. The ending though was also very good, so it just had a low curve in the middle. Other than that, there isn’t anything negative I can say about this book. An extraordinary young adult, contemporary standalone!

First Line

The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a give-away party.

Recommend it for…

  • an easy, but at the same time deep and meaningfull read
Add it on Goodreads

My Video Review (no Spoilers)

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THIS LULLABY by Sarah Dessen | Review

Title: This Lullaby

Author: Sarah Dessen

Book #: Standalone

Publication: March 2004 by Speak

Pages: 345

Rating: jcombine_images

When it comes to summer relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those lovesongs are all about?

Synopsis from Goodreads


“Wherever you will go, I will let you down, But this lullaby goes on.” 

First time I picked up a Sarah Dessen book and I can’t say I’ve been blown away by it.

It wasn’t a bad book I guess.. Not particularly good either. Remy’s character was the most interesting part of the book. I really liked her and felt liked her I knew. Her character evolves throughout the book and I think she’s a very realistic character. As for the other characters of the book, I don’t like I’ve learned a lot about any of them. I can’t even say much about and he has quite an important role in the book.

I can’t say I was bored reading the book. The thing that kept me going was the easy-going writing style and the lightness of the book, as I found that the plot wasn’t of great interesting. I will pick up another Sarah Dessen book in the future, propably not right away though!

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