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: Stitch - Review

29 Oct 2012

by Samantha Durante
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: August 2012
Format: e-ARC

Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

Stitch was certainly one interesting and unpredictable novel for me. A blend of sci-fi, dystopian and a little paranormal, Durante has created a compelling story that kept me guessing until the very end. And boy, was it impossible to guess the twists! However, while there was nothing essentially *wrong* with the book, I was unable to give it my full attention and *enjoy* it as much as I would've liked.

The actual plot of the story wasn't revealed until more than halfway through, and I was really surprised by the turn of events! The plot was extremely complex and quite riveting, but for me, it was  a little confusing at times. As exciting as the twists were, I had touble keeping up with what was happening and it seemed that certain subplots were introduced, but never entirely developed at the expense of focusing on the larger plot, which was revealed later on. There was also a lot of alternating between different...time periods and dream/reality which also contributed to the confusion.

The beginning was unfortunately a little slow for me; the pace didn't pick up until at least half-way, by which time I was losing interest. It was regrettable that I couldn't enjoy the climax, nor the last 30% of the story, but I have to admit, the revelation and events during the last part of the book was meticulously though out and I applaud the author for that. It was just a pity I lost interest by that point :(

Alessa was a character I found a little difficult to connect (mainly because it was written in third person, and I'm VERY picky about third-person narration), but as the story progressed, I started liking her a bit more. She was a loyal and loving friend, determined to protect those she loved and fight for them. Her romance with Isaac, unfortunately didn't feel real nor natural; but I'll blame that on the fact that she and Isaac hardly spent any time together in the book. I just hope there will be more chemistry between the two in the second book! (I like my dose of some sexy romance ;P)

While I had some issues here and there, overall, Stitich really is a book worth spending your time on. Ms Durante has managed to intricately intertwine several genres to create one exciting story! Don't be put off just because it's self-published; who knows, you may end up enjoying it immensely!

You can see you full schedule HERE.

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

28 Oct 2012

by Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Format: ARC
Purchase: Book Depository 

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed. Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse. But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to not talk for a whole day? Perhaps a week? Or maybe an entire month? Being the noisy person that I am, I can hardly survive not talking for 3 hours (the usual time frame of my exams) let alone a whole month. And yet, that is what
Chelsea managed to do. Not utter a single word, a single syllable for more than a month.
Quite an accomplishment, eh?

One of the best things about the book was relationships between Chelsea and her friends. I enjoyed her interactions with her newfound friends, Asha and Sam, immensely - they were such kind and support friends. The kind of real friends everyone deserves to have. Chelsea's romance with Sam is extremely sweet and heart-warming; the way the relationship developed between the two as they got to know each other better, made it all the more believable!

 I was also interested in the friendship between Chelsea and Kristen. Being 'best friends' back when Chelsea was still a member of the 'it' group, Kristen soon shunned her after Chelsea rattles out a huge, never-to-be-spoken secret. At first, I found Kristen to be superficial; I never really thought she liked Chelsea much, and only ever cared about her popularity. But as the story progressed, and the more she humiliated Chelsea, the more I felt she really did miss having Chelsea as a friend. It felt like she wasn't gaining any satisfaction from making Chelsea's life a living hell, and yet, she just...couldn't stop. I guess I quite liked what became of their friendship the end of the book- it wasn't a happily-ever-after obviously, but it was like, they were finally about to be on the same page :)

I love thought-provoking books, especially ones that manage to teach a lesson. Readers will be swept away by Harrington's beautiful writing, reflecting upon Chelsea's actions and her past life that was full of parties and gossip. I loved how Chelsea's character develops as the story progresses; she manages to see the wrongs of what she did and tries to become a better person. I was exceptionally pleased and proud of Chelsea's growth! She's definitely a character I will always love :)

Thought-provoking and achingly sweet, Speechless is a real page-turner. I can't believe I haven't read Hannah Harrington's debut, Saving June yet,  but I have no doubt I'll love it too! Speechless is a novel I would recommend to anyone- it's a relatively quick read so do yourself a favour and read it SOON! :)

Blog Tour: Amarok - Author Interview

26 Oct 2012

Welcome to my stop on the Amarok blog tour hosted by Spencer Hill Press. Today, I have an interview with Angela Townsend.

by Angela Townsend
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: November 2012

Dragged across the tundra by an evil mountain man and his enormous black wolf, Emma learns that love can be found in the most unexpected places…
Emma's life has been hell since she moved from sunny California to a remote Alaskan town. Abandoned by her father and living with the guilt of causing her mother's death, she makes a desperate dash for freedom from her abusive stepfather. But when her car skids off the icy road, her planned escape leads to further captivity in a world beyond her imagining. Dragged across the tundra by an evil mountain man and his enormous black wolf, she learns that love can be found in the most unexpected places. Amarok, as she's nicknamed the wolf, is a young man from the gold-rush era enslaved by an ancient shaman. Emma's gentle touch and kind heart win his love and devotion. When a vicious madman--trapped in bear form by the same Shaman--attacks the travelers and injures Amarok, Emma must find the strength to face her fears and free the wolf she's come to love. But that means she must face down the evil shaman, a Siberian mammoth hunter from the ice age, and he has no intention of giving up his power to her.


Describe Amarok in 10 words or less? 
An extraordinary adventure....Alaska has never been so magical!

What inspired you to write Amarok? 
I love learning about ancient man and especially the Ice Age. I thought it would be fun to write about an ancient time period and the people who lived in it.  

Which character were you able to relate to the most? 
Why I relate to Amarok in many ways. I think life can be beautiful but at times it can be harsh and very unkind. I think sometimes in life we all have to live in "skins" that don't fit us. 

You grew up listening to ancient tales and legend. Could you share some of your favourite ones?
I love the story of Finn McCool  

Finn McCool was an Irish giant that lived in the county of Antrim. One day he got into a fight with a giant from Scotland.Finn built a bridge made of hexagon shaped rocks to connect Ireland and Scotland so they could fight each other. When Finn saw Fingal he realized he could not beat this bigger giant, so he decided to out smart him. He wrapped himself up in a blanket and pretended to be asleep. When Fingal arrived at Finn's home he was told by Finn's wife that her husband was not home but he could wait for him to return shortly. Fingal  took one look at the baby giant wrapped in a blanket and said " if that is Finn's baby son is that big---Imagine how big the father is". Fingal decided to beat a hasty retreat back to Scotland tearing up the Giant's causeway as he went. The myth is an old tale that explains how "The Giant's Causeway" a rocky outcrop on the coast of Antrim near the town of Bushmill was created.

Who would you cast in a movie adaption of Amarok? 
Someone like Taylor Lautner from the twilight series. 
Shirley: YESSS!!! I'll watch anything with Taylor Lautner in it! hehee

Can you tell us anything about your future projects?
I am working on a series of sequels to Amarok! stay tuned....

Thank you so much for stopping by! 
Thank you so much for having me!


Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana.  As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places.  Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology.  Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing.  A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars.  Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.  She resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.


For the full tour schedule, click HERE.

Book Review: Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson

25 Oct 2012

Losing Lila
by Sarah Alderson 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Release Date: August 2nd 2012
Format: Paperback

Alex and Lila are on the run, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Unit, which is somehow tracking their every move. While Alex is determined to keep Lila safe and her ability secret at any cost, Lila's only thought is of finding a way back to California so she can rescue her brother and mother from the military base where they're being held. Struggling to control both her growing power and her deepening feelings for Alex, Lila decides the time has finally come to stop running and start fighting. Together with Alex, Demos, and the others she's come to think of as family, Lila plans not only to save her brother and mum, but also to completely destroy the Unit and everything it stands for. But the plan requires Lila to return to California alone, and to make friends with the enemy - and in doing so, she risks losing everything: Alex, her family… even her life.

Welll…our most beloved heroine, Lila is back with another action-packed adventure with her incredibly awesome Psy friends and the totally swoon-worthy, twelve-pack owner who can instantly make any girl melt with a simple glance, Alex. Uh-huh. I think I seriously died a little when I read this book- those scenes involving Alex…were just…lust-worthy. Imagining some very naughty scenes involving him and youself Lila was inevitable. I mean, it’s completely impossible for a girl to control her raging hormones when Alex is involved…and when there’s a scene involving Alex going SKINNY-DIPPING? Oh Good Lord, I DEFINITELY died during that scene.

So Alex aside (I think I’ve rambled on enough about him), the plotline was as exciting as ever! There was so much action, humour, and some mind-boggling revelations being revealed throughout the book- it was literally unputdownable! Something was happening in every chapter, on every page; and it was just impossible to set it aside for dinner or sleep. There was that certain pull, that made you almost desperate to find out exactly what would happen- because, quite truthully, some parts were just impossible to guess!

As for Lila, I absolutely loved her character in the first book, and here, she’s as amazing as ever! The only problem I had with her was some impulsive decisions she made and while it may have worked out well, I still wish she’d consulted someone else before recklessly deciding to do things by herself. And Jack! The guy is as protective as ever…even when he’s unconscious! Like I mentioned in my Hunting Lila review, if I had a brother, I want him to be just like Jack J  The secondary characters were all as fun and amusing as ever as well, especially Suki and Nate. Their idolisaton of Alex and bubbly personalities made sure there wasn’t one dull moment when they were around. Everything they do instantly puts a smile on my face J

Losing Lila is a sequel that did not disappoint – I was completely hooked from start to finish. How Sarah Alderson manages to catch me off guard every 2 chapters, I honestly don’t know. If you loved Hunting Lila, you’ll be sure to LOVE this! Definitely a favourite of mine this year!