Friday, 16 May 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.

Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Published May 1, 2014 by Hot Key Books
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3 stars
From the blurb: It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died young, and so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand what Laurel is going through.Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people – Janis Joplin, heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse… It’s like she can’t stop. She writes about her new high school, her new friends, her first love – and her shattered life.But the ghosts of Laurel’s pas can’t be contained between the lines of a page forever. She must face up to them – before they consumer her. 

Laurel is fourteen and just starting at West Mesa High, in Alberquque, New Mexico. Two years ago her parents separated. Six months ago her older sister May died. After May’s death her mum moved to California and now Laurel spends one week at her dad’s followed by a week with her Aunt Amy.

At first I quite liked Laurel’s voice but after a while I thought she sounded quite young, even for a fourteen year old. This contrasted with the end of the book where some of her conversations sounded more mature. I wasn’t sure if this showed growth in her character, or if the way she wrote was different from the way she interacted with people in real life as she really seemed like two different people.

I was expecting it to have more of a nineties-vibe after hearing that Laurel chose to write to Kurt Cobain and that she and May liked his music, but this was set in the present day though it took some time to figure it out (she eventually writes to people who have died in recent years). I did like all the background info on the people she writes to as most of them are not people I have researched.

Towards the end I felt a bit more emotional, I even cried, and then felt quite down. This is just such a sad, depressing story, and one with quite an obvious issue, though the reveal is dragged out for quite some time.

I’m not having a lot of luck with books that I’m excited about this year. I’ve read such wonderful reviews of Love Letters to the Dead, I adore the cover, I loved the sound of the letters, but for some reason I could not connect with this book and I’m at a loss as to what else I can say about it. I will add that I think it's odd it's been blurbed by Chbosky as this book is extremely similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, unfortunately that is another popular book I was not a fan of at all (I’m aware that the two authors are friends).

Thank you to Hot Key Books for my review copy.

So, as I mentioned, I love the cover of this, it’s such a dreamy sky, and I wanted to recreate it on my nails.
I started with 1 coat of Ulta 3 Lily White.

Once dry I sponged a bunch of different polishes over the top, starting with the top of each nail and working my way down. Here’s a list of polishes: Ulta3 Black Satin, Chi Chi Going All the Way, Ulta3 Berry Blue, Nail it! Cornflower, Nubar Rockin’ the Garden, L.A Colors Illusion, Zoya Caitlin, Ulta3 Gumball, Barry M Strawberry Ice Cream, Illamasqua Load.

Once dry I dotted on some white acrylic paint for the stars and used a very fine brush to do the 4-pointed stars.

I love this look, it’s similar to a galaxy mani only without any shimmery or glittery polish, but it still makes me look at my nails every 5 minutes!


  1. I don't think this would work for me at all because of the young voice and the dark subject matter. I'm not one for issue or grief books, so I'll be skipping this for sure. BUT THOSE NAILS. So beautiful, Mandee! I wish you loved in the States so I could ask you to do my nails for prom! :)

  2. Wow those nails are STUNNING! I had better luck with this, but I also felt drained of emotion and just sort of down after reading it. Laurel's voice definitely sounded young to me too, and I do think I would have enjoyed it more as a teen (the age I was when I read Perks for the first time). When I first finished the book I also wondered whether Chbosky was bothered by how very similar the two books were, but I guess since she is open about him a source of inspiration and they're friends he must not mind. Wonderful review and nails Mands - hope you have better luck with the next book you're excited about (or at the very least that it provides inspiration for such lovely nails! :D)

  3. I enjoyed this review, and felt fairly similarly about the book, including the fact that I didn't like Perks very much, either, but I really do like the cover, for the most part (especially the font, background) and I adore the amazing way you recreated it. Your nails are stunning! Excellent post.xx

  4. I have felt like all the books I was really excited for are letting me down too - but at least the nails look great!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  5. That's so sad that all your most anticipated reads of the year are letting you down =(
    I hate when characters seem a lot younger than they are. I've heard so many so/so reviews on this one I keep going back and forth about whether or not to read it. Beautiful nails!

  6. Thanks for the honest review, Mands. I recently read this book too and was quite disappointed also. However, that manicure is just divine! So, so pretty!

  7. This may be interesting! I like the cover and your nails are the best:) perfect galaxy manicure:)

  8. OMG I am totally in love with your manicure, it is freaking beautiful and gorgeous. I wouldn't be able to stop looking at my nails if that was me! You are one talented lady! I thought this was set in the early 90s too, but a bit weird how it's got recent ones in there. It feels all wrong for the timeframe.

  9. I'm sorry that books that you've been really looking forward to having been working out for Mands, that's always a shame when that happens. I still really like the sound of this book, so will give it a go one day. Also pretty nails!

  10. I decided to pass on this one, I didn't want anything sad or depressing. I didn't finish the audio of Perks of Being a Wallflower, I wasn't liking it. It is odd that she wrote letters to people who passed in the 90s even though this is set in modern day. Still not a book for me.

  11. Woah, your nails are so awesome. Fantastic! I bought this book when it came out...I need to check it out soon. I think I'll like it because Perks is my favorite book and I don't mind sad/depressing.


  12. I love the nails, Mandee.
    Anyways, this book sounded really sad and depressing which is why I put off reading it in the first place. I can't handle such sad stories for some reason. I don't think the main character even sounding younger than 14 would sit well with me to be honest, especially since she also seems to have mature conversations.
    I'm sorry this wasn't a 5 stars read for you, Mandee.
    Thank you for the lovely honest review.

  13. You're the second person I have seen who compared this to Perks, I'm getting a little nervous to read it now. It just looks so intriguing. I'm hoping to enjoy it, but if it reads a lot like Perks to me then I am sure this will bother me. Great review, love the nails!

  14. It's a bummer you didn't enjoy this more. I quite liked it, but it was an incredibly sad story. I just love books told in letters and really liked the backgrounds of the people she wrote to. I agree that the story is extremely close to Perks. Like, too close. That was my biggest complaint of the story.

    On the nail front, I absolutely ADORE this manicure. It might be my favorite one you've done (although it's too hard to decide). I love the stars and the way you nailed the fading sky. LOVE!!!

  15. I wanted to read this one, too, but I have a feeling I won't be able to connect to the character. I read other reviews for this one, and it seems the letters are written in such a way it feels like a pre-teen is writing it =( Plus the fact she's always talking about Sky. Nevertheless, it made you cry somehow, and that's something! I'll check this out when I have nothing else to read. Thanks for the review!

    Plus, those nails? Absolutely stunning. I wish I was as creative with mine, but alas, I think the last time I even bothered painting something on it was a decade ago, when I was experimenting behind my mom's back. Haha!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  16. Oh my!!! Those are gorgeous! I havent read this book yet :( your nails had me excited for this book haha

  17. The nails look amazing! Not only does it suit the book cover but it goes well with nails as well. That's disappointing that you didn't like it as much as I did. I liked this book but I wasn't amazed by it either. Nice honest review. I like how it's a review book and you don't feel intimidated into giving it a higher rating.

  18. I can't BELIEVE how frabjous your nails look and how they match the cover to PERFECTION. Do you dabble in Art as well as Nail Art by any chance?!

  19. This book was amazing. I loved savoring the words and I loved watching Laurel begin to heal and become her own person. I can't wait to share this one with my high school readers.

    Alaska Brown Bear Hunts grizzly

  20. Undoubtably one of my favorites reads this year. Make sure you have some tissue handy though, you're going to need it.

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