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 :)

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

23 Jul 2012

Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: August 2nd 2012
Format: Paperback
Purchase: Book Depository

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

It’s not everyday I read about female teen assassins- and one known as the best in the country at that- so when I read “18-year old assassin Celaena Sardothien “ I just knew I wouldn’t rest until I got a copy! With all the hype surrounding the book, I dived into the book with insanely high expectations i.e. expecting it to be the best book in the universe!- but while it was a phenomenal book, it didn’t quite meet my “best book in the universe” expectation. But I still REALLY LOVED IT!

Celaena is not your average teenage girl. She’s a notorious assassin- the best and most feared in the country. Her skills are lethal, and you’d be stupid to want to spar with her! The girl can knock a guy, trained to battle, in 10 seconds flat. But here’s the thing: while I’m not an expert on assassins, I did expect Celaena to be a little more…reserved and more guarded about her emotions. Never would I have imagined she would flirt outrageously with the Prince, constantly thinking of how “achingly gorgeous” and “beautiful” he is. Truthfully, if it wasn’t for her witty retorts and her deadly fighting/killing skills (which more than enough compensated for her annoying habit of praising the Prince’s good looks), I probably would’ve found her a little irritating. Nevertheless, I admired both her determination to become the King’s Champion, and also her extensive knowledge on everything to do with killing people and the weapons involved! The girl is everything I love in a heroine – sarcastic, courageous and incredibly intelligent!

The love interests were both likeable and certainly worthy of being potential lovers of an assassin! I really can’t believe how tolerant I am of love triangles right now – I didn’t even mind this one! Prince Dorian is the flirty and playful one while Captain Chaol Westfall is more guarded, stoic but equally mesmerizing! I’ve officially chosen my team – TEAM CHAOL. So, I like Dorian and all, but Chaol is dependable, caring and the type who watches and loves from afar. He truly understands Celaena in a way no one else does! I REALLY hope Celaena and Chaol will end up together – seriously, after everything he’s done for her, SHE NEEDS TO REALISE HER FEELINGS FOR CHAOL ALREADY!

There was action- lots of action in fact! All the sparing, shooting, knife/dagger-weidling were so incredibly thrilling to read about! And that duels? EPIC. My mind was actually elsewhere when I started reading this particular fighting scene, but soon, I literally forgot what I was thinking when I became immersed in the duel! The plot was a little predictable – or at least the revelation was. I was sort of expecting it to happen and then ta-da! It did! But despite the slight predictablility, I still enjoyed the plot immensely!

Throne of Glass is everything you’d want in a YA book – a heroine who’s kick-ass both in the fighting and intelligence department, two irresistible guys whose presence actually serves a purpose, and some very exciting action throughout! Definitely grab a copy of this when it’s released- you really don’t want to miss out!! 

Book Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

22 Jul 2012

by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Release Date: July 25th 2012
Format: ARC
Purchase: Book Depository


No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins--the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket--explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Pushing the Limits deserves all the stars in the universe. No kidding. Everything about it was spot on- the pacing was perfect, the characters were so realistic, as were the relationships explored; and the story itself? Mind-blowing and riveting. Once I started reading, I was literally sucked in to their world. It’s almost impossible to return to reality after reading something so dark and heart-breaking yet bittersweet at the same time. Pushing the Limits is officially my favourite contemporary of the year! 

It’s been a while since I read about such realistic characters. Echo is this broken soul, having lost her memories of what exactly happened to her that one particular night 2 years ago. Something dreadful happened; something that resulted in the shocking scars running up her arms. Something she has no memory of. What happened that night has tormented her for 2 years; and on top of that, she’s still grieving the loss of her brother who died 6 months before her ‘attack’. Her raw pain, her suffering really touched my heart. How can a teenager have all this agony buried deep inside her? Throughout the books, Echo had to fight her sanity, and also make so life-changing decisions. It was impossible not to sympathise with her and encourage her on. I admired the courage she showed and at the end of the day, she’s not a piece of delicate glass, to be shattered at a moment’s notice. She’s a fighter. And she fights her own internal and external battles. 

Noah, with the reputation of a bad-boy, is so much more than what you seen on the surface. He’s traumatized after the death of his parents – and the one thing he wants more than anything else? To live with his brothers. I loved Noah. Not because of his sexy, smothering looks, but his true self. He loves his brothers more than anything in the world; he would do anything to get them back. Added to this, he truly understands Echo. He’s willing to go through hell with her, protect her and stay by her side. He’s committed and full of determination to do what needs to be done. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m literally in love with these two characters! They’re far from perfect, but together, they’re a perfect match. 

The secondary characters stood out to me as well. Isasah, Beth and Lila should be give the “Best Friends of the Year” awards- no matter what happened, they continued to support and stay by their best friends. No matter what hardships were being faced, they were always there. Seriously, Echo and Noah were blessed with such encouraging and true friends. It was impossible for me to hate any of the characters; sure, they’ve made mistakes – near fatal ones even- but at the end of the day, I understood why they did it. Their actions may not be forgiveable, but I certainly understood the reason. 

This is not a typical good-girl falls in love with bad-boy drama. It delves so much deeper than that. The relationships Echo has with her parents, stepmother, her clinical social worker, and of course Noah take centre stage. I loved the romance; I loved how well the relationship Echo has with everyone is explored; I loved the issues dealt with in the book; and most of all, I absolutely loved these characters. Pushing The Limits is a remarkable debut that you must pick up. It’s a heart-felt story that everyone has to read!

5 stars is NOT ENOUGH. I say ALL the stars in the universe :)