Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Blog Tour: Rapture - Author Interview!

20 Jun 2012

HEY GUYS! So, today is my stop on the Aussie blog tour for Lauren Kate's Rapture, the thrilling conclusion to the internationally best-selling Fallen series! I'm sure you've all heard of Fallen / Torment / Passion / Rapture, right? If you haven't...well..I'm sorry to say, you've been living under a rock! The series has the MOST GORGEOUS covers EVER! And arguably one of the best teen romances too!<3 Anyway, I'll be sharing with you an interview with Lauren Kate. A massive thanks to Random House Australia for organising the tour, and of course, the lovely Lauren herself, for dedicating her time to answer these questions!<3

  Who would you rather spend Valentine’s Day with? Daniel, Cam, Roland or Miles?

The choice is too easy for me…Cam is based on my husband, so I want to spend almost all of my time with him. Daniel and Miles are all yours, ladies! Though good luck fighting off Luce.

How did you come up with the names of your characters? Is there perhaps a story behind their names?

Lucinda’s name means light, which symbolizes the ultimate destiny of her story. Daniel is named for the book of Daniel, where we see the first angel acting of his own volition, independent of God. Gabbe’s name takes a cue from a certain archangel. Cam’s name is also taken from a catalogue of fallen angels: Cambriel. Pennyweather Van Syckle-Lockwood is named after two friends of mine, who’d just started dating and are now married.

 In Passion Luce ‘travels’ to numerous different cities in the past. I loved each time period and felt each setting was rich with description and detail. Did you undertake research when writing about those different time periods and places?

Lots and lots of research, which for me was easiest to do by reading novels with exciting historical settings. You’ll see notes of Hemingway, Bulgacov, Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and of course Shakespeare in Passion’s historical locales.

What are some of your favourite angel books?
For research I read a trilogy on the devil through history by Jeffrey Burton Russell that was unbelievable. I also love Harold Bloom’s Omen’s of Millenium.

If you could pick a song to represent Luce and Daniel’s relationship, what would it be?

You Look So Young by the Jayhawks always springs to mind. Many readers have told me they love thinking of Luce and Daniel while listening to Christina Perry’s A Thousand Years—and I agree.

You know, after reading Lauren's answers to so many Cam/Daniel -related questions, I really starting to like Cam more than Daniel now! I think it's safe to say I'm officially a Cam fangirl :) hahahaa<3 Anyway, I really hope you all enjoyed the interview! :)

Find Lauren:

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Showcase Sunday 17-06-12

17 Jun 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky @ Books, Biscuits and Bites. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, the aim of this meme is to showcase our newest books!

Rapture by Lauren Kate
I FINALLY have this! I read the first 80-ish pages, and it's not really grabbing my attention; but I'm really looking forward to how the series will end! Oh, and the Aussie Blog Tour for Rapture is currently being held- my post will be up on the 20th :) So watch out for it!<3

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
SQUEALL! I've been DYING to read this ever since reviews have started pouring in - although I have to admit, I'm not a fan of the AU cover....but still, I bet the content will be SO MUCH better <3

Unrest by Michelle Harrison
Hmm...I haven't heard much about this; but it's told from a male perspective and based on the blurb, it seems like the main character has some kind of connection with the 'spirit world'. Now, that sounds AWESOME. 

Spark (Elementals #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
HDSUAHDIAHDISA SPARKKKKKK! I think I might've had a mini-heartattack when my friend Lana gave this to me yesterday! Seriously, she is THE BEST FRIEND EVER. She won Spark from the competition Brigid held on her blog a few weeks ago, AND being the MOST AMAZING FRIEND that she is- decided to let me read it first (she wants to stay away from books until her exams are over!) Oh, and she even agreed to bring the package to school so we can open it together but unfortunately the package *accidentally* teared soo...she opened it without me! LOL Anyway, I LOVE YOU LANAAAA<3 And guys - go follow her on twitter - she LOVES books as well and is the most awesome person ever <3 
Oh, and I FINISHED THIS LAST NIGHT!<3 SOOOOO AMAZING! I officially love Gabriel<3

Deadly Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Werewolves? MURDER? I'M IN! So incredibly excited to start this soon! Oh, and the US title for this is HEMLOCK :)

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
JODI. PICOULT. Enough said. She's one of my FAVOURITE authors! Seriously- I LOVE her books! And guys, if you haven't read any of her books, I highly recommend picking up Nineteen Minutes and The Pact; the latter is possibly my favourite stand-alone novel to date. I'm still not over how heart-breaking it is!!

Umm...not sure if I'll be reading this; it's not really my type of book, plus I haven't read the first book either :S 

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan 
VAMPIRES! I can never get enough of VAMP stories<3 I really hope this won't be a disappointment!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! I found it on my doorstep THIS MORNING! So excited to start it <3 I NEED SYDRIAN AWESOMENESS<3

An enormous thank you to HarlequinTeen, Simon & Schuster, Allen & Unwin, and Penguin for the above awesomeness<3

What goodies did you receive this week? Leave links! :D

Author Interview: Julie Kagawa

12 Jun 2012

HEY GUYS! I'm here today with an AWESOME interview with one of my favourite authors ever - Julie Kagawa! I actually received the answers to my questions a while ago(like a month ago!)- but either I was half-asleep and accidentally missed it, or I was checking my emails on my iPad and the attached file didn't show up OR...I don't know what happened- but basically, I only realised the answers had been sent back to me a few weeks after I should've received them :S So, my apologies to the lovely people at Morey Media who sent back the answers but never received a reply (I'M REALLY SORRY!!!) :/ ANYWAY, I hope you all enjoy the interview!

Julie Kagawa
April 24th 2012
Harlequin Teen

Many readers have commented on the vast difference between The Iron Fey series and
The Immortal Rules. Whether it be the characters, setting, or atmosphere, everything is so
different. How hard was the transition?

I think the most challenging thing about transitioning from fey to vampires was the world
that they lived in. In The Iron Fey, the Nevernever had this surreal, dreamlike quality to
it, and everything was magical. In The Immortal Rules, the world is bleak, stark, dismal,
corrupted, and extremely dangerous. Much like the vampires themselves. While it wasn't
terribly difficult creating a new setting, the challenge came from the fact that this was our
world, the "real world," and I couldn't simply "magic" something into making sense. A lot of
research went into making the setting as realistic as possible, because if the readers didn't
believe that this post-apocalyptic, vampire controlled world could exist, they'd lose all faith
in the story itself.

Now, I'm personally a huge fan of ALL your characters ( Ash, Allie and Kanin are definitely at
the top of the list!)! How did you go about writing the characters from The Immortal Rules?
Are they perhaps based on people you know? And who was the most difficult character to

I do have fun creating my characters, though none of them are really based on actual people
(unless you count me, as all authors have a little bit of themselves in every character).
My characters are far more likely to be inspired by anime, manga, and video games. In
The Immortal Rules, the most difficult character to write was, shockingly, Zeke. Allie was
stubborn, snarky, and a wise-ass, which comes easily to me, and Kanin was dark, brooding,
stoic and mysterious, which is my favorite type of hero. Zeke, on the other hand, was (gasp)
good, kind, easy-going, and loyal. He didn't have a mean bone in his body, but he was also
a leader who could command respect and fight if he needed to. The challenge was finding
the balance between kindness and strength, because I did not want to make him weak or
a pushover. He has a strong moral compass, and his faith in mankind is unshakable, but he
will also stand between someone and a charging rabid without blinking an eye.

I've always been fascinated by the world you've created- I always imagine myself living in the
Nevernever, and as for The Immortal Rules, you've created such a dark and ruthless world.
How did you come up with these unique worlds?

For me, setting is probably the most important thing to consider when beginning a new
story. I think of setting as a character in itself, with the same quirks, flaws, and personality
of any protagonist. Or really, antagonist, because the world is usually trying to do the
characters harm in the story. In the Nevernever where the fey live, I wanted the world to be
beautiful and dreamlike, but also a little scary and surreal, much like the faeries themselves.
The Nevernever wore a pretty mask to hide its monstrous true nature, to lure mortals in. In
The Immortal Rules, there is no mask; this world is savage, bleak, desolate, and extremely
dangerous. Its everyone for themselves out here, survival of the fittest. They are very
different, and this is why setting is extremely important to me. Both worlds are used to set
the atmosphere and the tone of the whole book.

The Immortal Rules has been optioned for a film. Firstly, CONGRATZ! When I read the book,
it literally played like a movie in my head, so I personally cant wait for more news! Now, do
you have an ideal cast?

Thank you! Lol, I get this question more and more, and I'm so, so bad at it. Maybe Devon
Aoki, Jamie Chung, or Brenda Song for Allie? For Zeke, I might go with Zac Effron or Chase
Crawford. And Ian Somerhalder would make an awesome Kanin.

And finally; can you reveal ANYTHING at all about the next book? Anything at all?

Only that Allie runs into old friends and enemies, continues to fight her nature, and will
something that will change the entire world forever.

Find Julie on:

*SQUEALS* AMAZING answers, right?!  Between Zac Efron & Chase Crawford, I'd DEFINITELY choose Chase (Don't kill me!!)..but I can't imagine him playing Zeke; mainly because Chase will forever be 'Nate' in my mind :)Oh and IAN SOMERHALDER WILL BE AWESOME AS KANIN! Awwww...even though Zeke was the most difficult character to write about, I thought he was portrayed perfectly! :) 

I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to Morey Media & Harlequin Teen for organising this interview! Without you, I probably never would've been able to interview one of my favourite authors ever! <3 (hahaa I sound like a fan-girl now :D) And of course THANK YOU SO MUCH to the lovely Julie Kagawa herself for answering these questions!<3 

Book Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

11 Jun 2012

by Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 1st 2012 
Format: Paperback 
Purchase: Book Depository

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Evil is a sexy, flirty and dangerous new addition to the YA world. Though it may not be original, it is vastly different from the majority of angel-related books out there.  I was certainly pleased by how different this is from the usual angel book and I loved Higgin’s new spin on angel lore! Delightfully entertaining for the most part, it’s also heart-shattering and occasionally thought-provoking; whether you’re a fan of angel books or not, make sure to pick this one up and give it a try!

Our main character, Anna, grew on me. At the start, I really didn’t like her. She was too… good and innocent for my liking. She’s the type of girl, who, in class, would raise her hand and ask “ Miss, are you going to collect our homework” (which is totally fine of course, but not when I, myself haven't completed my homework :S); she cannot bear to say the word sex; she has  never told a single lie and the first time she does, she immediately confesses that she just lied. There’s more but basically, the point is: She’s too good. BUT, my impression of her changed as her character slowly developed as the story progressed; her character strengthened after discovering her heritage and understanding what’s expected of her.  And after experiencing some pretty intense things, she's finally become the independent, strong type of heroine I admire. I think I just might like her after all!

Now, my favourite part of the book: KAIDEN. The guy is HOTT; and to quote Anna  “He was smokin’ hot. As in H-O-T-T hott…..This guy was extra-T worthy.”  Yep. I totally agree! And you know what’s better than a HOTT guy? An incredibly hot bad-boy – and he ‘s literally bad. His ’job’ is to be a bad influence to humans, and being the son of the Duke of Lust (you’ll learn all about the Dukes in the book!) , his speciality is obviously getting girls to lust after him! And good Lord, he does know how to woo a girl! (especially with his irresistible “bedroom eyes”!) But while he may have the looks, (and girls), the poor guy has never been loved; nor has he ever opened up to anyone about his true feelings. I loved how the more he stayed around Anna, the more he was able to open up to her and show her his true self!

While overall, the book was enjoyable and praise-worthy, I was a little disappointed with the lack of action and a strong, and satisfying plotline. I would expect some sort of action, however minimal, in an angel/ Nephilim  book- I mean, wouldn’t you want to see sexy angels battle it out?- but Sweet Evil was devoid of any sort of exciting action. It was more Anna’s quest to discover her true identity and her heritage. The first part of the book centres around Anna & Kaiden’s road trip to find her father who’s in prison; and the second half…seemed to focus a lot on Anna's balancing her life with her human and Nephilim friends. It would’ve been more satisfying had there been a climax towards the end. But then again, there were some pretty intense and thrilling scenes! (e.g. That bar scene was EPIC. Kind of makes me wish I was 18 already…and those steamy making-out scenes were so swoon-worthy!)

Despite the issues I had, I still found Sweet Evil a fantastic debut! While it can be read as a stand-alone, I’ll certainly be coming back for more J I can’t wait for the second book to be released now!

Showcase Sunday 10-06-12

10 Jun 2012

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky @ Books, Biscuits and Bites. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren, the aim of this meme is to showcase our newest books!

I think it's been a month since I did my last Showcase Sunday. I didn't actually receive many books since then ( which is a relief since I really don't have time to read them all!) But, the ones I did receive are below! :)

Shadows by Paula Weston
Ooooh ANGELS! And it's by an AUSSIE author :) I can never get enough of angels- no matter how cliched many angel-related books are, I still can't resist picking them up! I can't wait to start this :)
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini 
This arrived a while ago, so I should probably start it soon :/ I'm a little hesitant though; apparently there's a love triangle (which is possibly the single most annoying thing in books) and I had some huge issues with the first book, sooo...I don't know whether I'll like this one or not :S But I think I'll probably read this...after my current read :)
Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
BEST.FREAKING.BOOK.EVER. No kidding. I absolutely LOVE this! You can read my review here. Warning: My review contains excessive gushing and swooning and squealing. I was... a little excited when i wrote it! hahaa
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgens
OMG. KAIDEN.IS.THE.HOTTEST.BAD.BOY.EVER. I'm serious. The guy wins the title of 'ultimate bad-boy of the year'. Or decade. Or century even. It's another angel book, but surprisingly, it's very different from the usual angel books. <3 it! :)
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare 
Hmmm.....I WAS intially REALLY excited for this! My friend (who's also a fan of The Mortal Instruments) bought this the other day as well...but despite being all pumped for it, she still hasn't finished it. From what she's told me, I have a feeling I probably won't like this...I was a bit disappointed with CoFA and something tells me I'll feel the same way about CoLS. 
Anddddddd THE ENTIRE DANCE ACADEMY SERIES! Dance Academy is this REALLY AWESOME Aussie TV show that I only just discovered 2 months ago! I've seen the first season ( and loved it!) but have yet to watch the second ons. I was so surprised when this package arrived on Friday -  I had no idea I won! But YAYYYY! Now I can finally finish the second season! An enormous  thank you to Girlfriend Mag. for hosting this fabulous comp! :) I LOVE YOU GUYS<3

A huge thanks to Text Publishing, Pan Macmillan and Harper Collins for the awesome goodies :)

What goodies did you receive this week? Leave links! :D

Book Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

9 Jun 2012

by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Release Date: June 7th 2012 (UK/AUS)/ May 8th (US)
Format: Paperback 
Purchase: Book Depository

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

If you scroll through many of the reviews on goodreads, you'll find something in common- that is, most reviews describe Second Chance Summer as beautiful. And I have to agree. It truly was a beautifully crafted story of second chances, mending the wrongs of the past and starting over; but at its core, it is an incredibly moving story of love, loss, friendship and most importantly, family.

I absolutely loved the relationship between Taylor and her father. It's quite obvious from the start that Taylor and her family weren't a tight-knit bunch - and while she may be closer to her father, you never got the impression they exceptionally close. But I really love how their father-daughter relationship developed over the Summer- they truly bonded over these few months. Their time together was precious, and all the fun they had- eating ice cream together, doing cross-words, listening to music and learning about the tiny details of each other- were unforgettable. This particular summer was a genuinely memorable one for both of them. 

And speaking of relationships, I also loved Henry and Taylor<3 Their love was sweet, beautiful and completely sincere. He may not be the hottest guy; she may not be the hottest girl, but they were perfect for each other. He understood her in a way that no body else did, and she exposed sides of herself to him, that she would never show to anyone else. They were just...for a lack of better word, perfect for one another. 

As for Taylor herself, I wanted to hate her. I really did. I hated the way she treated her friends. I hated how she handled situations ( running away when she didn't want to deal with a certain situation); and I especially hated how she was always too cowardly to apologize. Yet despite all these traits that I despise, I just...couldn't help but like her. There's something about her pure heart, and the understandable fear of losing her loved ones that had me accepting her flaws and also being able to relate to her. I was able to wholeheartedly understand her reasons for doing what she did, and in the end, I just..couldn't blame her. She was, in the end, a character I was able to connect with very easily. 

This really ought to have been released either early or late this year in Australia- it's the perfect Summer read; it's perfect for reading at the beach, while you relax and let your mind wander free. It's just such a pity it's winter here, and freezing cold; it's possibly the worst weather to read this!  Anyway, weather conditions aside,  I urge you to pick this book up and READ IT NOW. 
Second Chance Summer will have you smiling one moment, content with everything that's happening, and bawling your eyes out the next. For me, it was a sweet, gentle and purely extraordinary read.

Oh, and on a side note, I haven't read Amy and Roger's Epic Detour ( don't worry, I'll DEFINITELY be reading it! ) But I'm curious; for people who've read both, which one do you like better? :)