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Love Letters to the DeadFrom 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 did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to 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 begin to discover her own path.

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Love Letters to the Dead spans Laurel’s 9th grade year as she tries to sort through her life—her older sister May has only recently died and the circumstances behind her death remain shrouded in mystery as the novel unfolds, spurring readers on as Laurel relays many different facts about her life.  This is an extremely well written epistolary novel that captured my attention immediately.  I really adore novels told through letters, diary entries, and the like, and Dellaira does a superb job getting Laurel’s voice across using this writing style.

When the novel first picks up, Laurel is writing a letter to Kurt Cobain, and as she begins to relate to him through their shared experiences, she starts to tell the story of her sister, and soon finds herself working her way through multiple letters and truths about the past, present, and future.  With the death of May, Laurel’s family fell apart; her mother now lives in California, and Laurel splits her time between the homes of her father and aunt, yet none know the truth as Laurel does.  And as the story unfolds, readers learn that there are many heavy underlying truths that Laurel must eventually face in order to move from the past and begin living in the present.  I will admit that it took me a little while to warm up to Laurel, but as she pours out her heart, I found it impossible to not connect with her and her experiences, both trials and triumphs.

One aspect of this novel that I truly love is that, as Laurel writes letters to the dead, she connects the dead’s lives, music, accomplishments, and decisions with those that she is currently experiencing.  It flows together seamlessly, and helps bring validity and emotion to the novel as Laurel tells her story, asks her questions, and struggles with the answers.  The letters show how Laurel is on a downward spiral, and as it all comes to a head, we learn what Laurel really knows of the night her sister died, and why Laurel has slowly allowed herself to become someone else as the school year progresses.  It’s an intriguing, heartfelt read that I highly recommend.  Four stars.

4 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on April 1, 2014.

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18811785Two lucky readers will win an ebook of the haunting horror novel, Demonica, by Will Davis in exchange for an honest review.  This novel is AMAZING and will stay with you long after it’s done.  Check out the synopsis below, as well as my 5 star review to get a closer look at this intriguing novel.  Good luck!

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Synopsis:

When spoilt eighteen year old Miranda suffers a terrible accident she survives, but her face is hideously scarred.

Unable to bear what has happened to her, she locks herself away. Her only companions are Veronica, her cruel and beautiful mother, and Nelly, the sympathetic housekeeper.

As time passes Veronica inflicts cruelty after cruelty on her disfigured daughter. Lonely and filled with despair, Miranda is astonished when Bernard, Veronica’s handsome younger boyfriend, takes an interest in her circumstances.

For Bernard believes there is an operation that can restore Miranda’s face. But it will involve committing an unspeakable crime. A decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life…

In the tradition of Angela Carter and Daphne du Maurier, Demonica is a terrifying modern fairy tale.

Read my 5 Star Review HERE.

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To enter this giveaway, you must:

-Be 16 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Fill in the mandatory question on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click this Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

This giveaway is open to INTERNATIONALLY and will end at 12:01am EST on December 19th. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on December 19th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!



{November 30, 2013}   {ARC Review} Demonica by Will Davis

18811785From Goodreads: When spoilt eighteen year old Miranda suffers a terrible accident she survives, but her face is hideously scarred.

Unable to bear what has happened to her, she locks herself away. Her only companions are Veronica, her cruel and beautiful mother, and Nelly, the sympathetic housekeeper.

As time passes Veronica inflicts cruelty after cruelty on her disfigured daughter. Lonely and filled with despair, Miranda is astonished when Bernard, Veronica’s handsome younger boyfriend, takes an interest in her circumstances.

For Bernard believes there is an operation that can restore Miranda’s face. But it will involve committing an unspeakable crime. A decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life…

In the tradition of Angela Carter and Daphne du Maurier, Demonica is a terrifying modern fairy tale.

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This is a novel of betrayal that runs deeper than any other I can think of. A mother who torments her daughter due to a lack of beauty; a daughter to obtains the ultimate revenge in the worst possible way against her mother. Any yet, neither find happiness in their evil ways, and it’s impossible not to hate them, but also impossible not to pity them as the story unfolds. The characters in this novel are awful, absolutely awful, but readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away as they learn of the tragedy that befalls Miranda, watching as she attempts to cope with her lot in life, especially as her mother torments her more each day. One would think that a tragedy like this would change a person, but in the end, it doesn’t, and like the bad accident that starts it all, readers just can’t look away.

I cringe to think that people really do harbor so much selfishness and hatred within themselves that they’d be willing to so utterly destroy another, and yet that’s exactly what Veronica and Miranda do to one another. It’s appalling; but so well written that it pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until the very end.

Miranda’s very matter of fact way of telling her story adds a depth of poignancy that allows readers to truly see her heart, and though it’s hard to understand her actions and her hurt, her soul is bared wide for the reader.  In truth, the story is superbly written. I loved obtaining Miranda’s insights about the accident, and the fact that she knew how petty she was, and commented on it many a time, made her very real to me as a reader. Would I like to get to know her in real life? No. I’d probably be one of those people on the sideline that quietly thought to myself that she got what she deserved, but in the end, no one, not even evil, despicable Veronica–a woman not fit to be a mother—or Miranda—a selfish, unrepentant young woman—deserve what befalls them in the end.

This is a story that will haunt you as you read it, and keep you up way into the night wondering just how far a human can fall to allow these things to happen.  Five stars.

5 stars

Hashtag Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel prior to its release tomorrow, December 1, 2013, in exchange for an honest review.  This is a MUST READ.

Find it on Amazon.



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