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 :)

The Boys of Summer Blog Tour: Review

23 Mar 2013

The Boys of Summer
by C.J Duggan 
Publisher: Self-published 
Release Date: December 17th, 2012
Format: Kindle, 321 pages

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.

 Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins. 

 To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets. 

 How did she let her friends talk her into working? 

 After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos. 

 All with the one boy she has never been able to forget. 

 It will be a summer she will always remember.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a relaxing, ‘Summer-y’ book, and even longer since I’ve read one by an Aussie author! The Boys of Summer is the perfect book to read by the pool, or while you’re sunbaking or taking a break from your busy life; it was certainly my guilty pleasure!!

The Boys of Summer and I actually got off to a bad start; Tess was a pathetic and slightly annoying character. She was always relying on her friends to stand up for her, and never even attempted to stand up for herself. Her dialogue was childish at times (I don’t know if it was a 90’s thing, but did 17 year old girls honestly say BOY COOTIES?!). She was so selfish I was tempted to just…stop reading because I couldn’t tolerate her any longer. By page 44, I hated her. HOWEVER, all my hatred towards Tess disappeared when the ‘Onslow Boys’ made their appearance; from then on, I didn’t care how even though it's set in the 90's I couldn't tell until halfway through; I didn’t care how the dialogue sounded fake sometimes; I didn't care how Tess's character was so contradicting...I JUST FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure most teenage girls (who read) love books set in Summer where the main character develops a crush on a hot, charming, unattainable  guy while on holiday ? Well, I certainly do J By the halfway mark, I didn’t care about the flaws…I was so invested in Tess’s Summer experience, there was no room in me to find any faults in the book. Tess’s massive crush on Toby was so relatable (I mean, haven’t we all had a crush on an older, out-of-our-league kind of guy when we were in our early teens/pre-teens?). Every time Toby smiled at her, I genuinely felt her happiness and I was gushing. Every time Toby looked at her and she blushed, I grinned. And every time Toby did something that sent mixed signals to Tess, I felt her confusion and pain.  This one is certainly a book filled with FEELS.

Other things I loved about the book include the year 12 muck up day theme, which was so similar to the theme for my friends’ schools last year. I liked how I’m finally able to go “YES. I KNOW WHAT THIS IS LIKE” unlike with books set in USA where I’m always so envious of the activities that take place over there!

In a nutshell, GO READ THIS BOOK. It’s a fast read, so no one has an excuse to not read this J  Tess & Toby’s Summer romance is one that is not to be missed!

 A massive thank you to YA Bound and C.J Duggan for providing a copy of  The Boys of Summer for review! 

Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

20 Mar 2013

by Jamie McGuire 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia / Atria Books 
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Format: ARC

Walking Disaster is Travis' POV. 

How much is too much to love? 

 Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

 In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. Just when he thought he was invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees. 

 Every story has two sides. In Jamie McGuire's New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster Abby had her say. Now it's time to see the story through Travis's eyes.

I remember last year, in the midst of my HSC year, I became addicted to a certain book. I couldn’t concentrate for a whole two days at school because I couldn’t stop thinking about this particular book. I think I also suffered a book hangover upon finishing; it was just so addictive! That particular book was Beautiful Disaster, one of my favourite books of 2012. I was ecstatic when I received a copy of Walking Disaster, one of my most anticipated books of 2013, for review. While Walking Disaster certainly met my expectations for the most part, I have to admit it did lack the addictive quality that I loved about Beautiful Disaster, but it was still immensely enjoyable nonetheless J

Walking Disaster is pretty much Beautiful Disaster from Travis’s POV. I loved Travis’s voice; it was so distinct and authentic, I really didn’t want the book to end! There are some extra scenes that truly confirmed Travi’s undying love and devotion to Abby…and even though he’s impulsive, violent with a serious need of anger management, I loved how throughout the whole book, he was constantly trying to rein in his anger for Abby’s sake.

It’s fantastic I got to see everything through Travis’s eyes, but at times, when he was devastated or terrified, I couldn’t exactly feel the same way because I knew what would happen. I knew how everything would end and it prevented me from really empathizing with the characters. It’s such a pity especially since I did love the rare scenes when Travis expressed his emotions so strongly. There was also the problem with Abby; I found her to be an independent and capable  heroine in Beautiful Disaster and I never found any of her decisions to be overly annoying even if I didn’t agree with them. However, through Travis’s POV, I felt his pain, his anger, his confusion and I hated Abby for being such a b*tch to Travis. She was selfish and either completely dense or just irritatingly ignorant to her surroundings. Either way, I wanted to throttle her and kick Parker into the next universe!!

My review might sound like I didn’t like the book, but I genuinely loved it. It’s just Beautiful Disaster was so perfect that when I compare any other book, I can only find faults… I honestly think Ms McGuire is a very talented author; I mean, not every female author can make a male character sound so realistic and likeable despite having so many unfavourable flaws. All you Beautiful Disaster fans MUST read this book! You won’t be disappointed! 

A massive thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing an ARC of Walking Disaster for review!