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 :)

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

26 Nov 2013

These Broken Stars        (Starbound #1)
by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner 
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: November 20th 2013
Format: ARC

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets to the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

 Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

 Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder - would they be better off staying in this place forever? 

 Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it. 

 The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

I’ve heard nothing but praise and rave reviews for These Broken Stars long before its release in December this year. All my blogger friends cried their hearts out, loved Lilac and Tarver to smithereens and could not stop recommending this and I couldn’t help but want to try it out myself. Unfortunately, as soon as I read the first page, I knew it would be a struggle for me to finish the book. This is another “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” situation – These Broken Stars just isn’t for me.

These Broken Stars focuses on the survival of our two beloved characters, Tarver and Lilac. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Tarver and Lilac are the only survivors of the Icarus, which is I believe some sort of spaceship that falls out of space and crashes on a deserted and foreign land. So, for 300 pages, Tarver and Lilac are wandering around the land, trying to survive and waiting for help to arrive. All I can say is, it was a very boring book; I wanted something to happen, I wanted a strong plot, I wanted more than two people walking around and making camp every night.

It seems the majority of readers immediately disliked Lilac but loved Tarver. My feelings toward the two of them are neutral. I didn’t hate Lilac, nor did I like her. Same with Tarver, though he probably left a more memorable impression on me. Despite knowing he had to stay away from Lilac due to their difference in status, and after how inexcusably cruel she was to him, he still protected her and stayed by her side throughout the entire journey. I suppose the only time I felt anything more than indifference towards Lilac on the other hand, was when she nurtured Tarver back to health.

I hate to say this, but I got so bored by the book that after ¾, I skimmed the rest of the way through. The major “twist” was completely lost on me. I had no idea that was the twist until I finished and nothing else exciting or unexpectedly remarkable happened. The whole reason behind the strange hauntings and revelation at the end were also lost on me. Unfortunately the writing style made it difficult for me to continue the book word for word. I should also mention that the book is told in alternating POV – Lilac and Tarver’s- and their voices were so similar I had trouble distinguishing between the two.

The only part I liked (or possibly loved…at one point) was when Lilac and Tarver finally admitted their feelings for one another<3 Every touch, every kiss, every moment together after their confession was passionate, and I was so giddy with excitement <3 I couldn’t stop smiling!

This may not have lived up to its hype IMO, but so many of my blogger friends consider this one of the best 2013 debuts. I’m definitely the black sheep here, so I’d suggest giving this a go J

 A massive thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a copy of These Broken Stars for review! 

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

24 Nov 2013

by Lauren Oliver 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Format: e-ARC

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. 

 Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. 

 Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. 

 For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

As a Lauren Oliver fan, I knew I had to get my hands on her latest YA novel, Panic. To be honest, I didn’t think too much before starting this; I didn’t set exceptionally high expectations upon beginning the book, but I certainly hoped it would be as adventurous and well written as Delirium. I think I’ve said this one too many times this year for several books but I must say it again; I was very disappointed with Panic.

Heather wasn’t annoying, immature or unlikable but she certainly wasn’t memorable by any means. I admired her love and devotion towards her little sister, who she obviously cared for more than anyone or anything else in the world. I didn’t care for her at the start and all throughout the first half of the book, but when she risked her life in the game – all for her sister – she left a pretty good impression on me. I didn’t mind Bishop either; I liked how he was in the shadows, assisting Heather throughout the entire game.

However, the other characters (as well as Heather at times) were all...bland. Sometimes they were simply 'sad', or 'happy' ( I kid you not, those were pretty much the words used to describe the characters' moods').It was like, they couldn’t feel any other emotions, or a combination of different emotions but rather, could only be just ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’ . It was difficult for me to sympathise with the characters despite their difficult upbringing and family situations because I personally felt the characters needed to be fleshed out more. This in particular applied to Nat and Dodge who were the dullest of them all.  

Panic read more like an MG book than YA, mostly because of the writing style. I loved the writing style of Delirium, and Pandemonium but this felt like a completely different author wrote it. (Though honestly, I probably shouldn't judge just yet since I haven't read her MG books.) Basically, the entire book was written with short and simple sentences, (and no, I wouldn’t say the sentences were succinct) with absolutely no depth at all. The words 'bad' and 'mean' were used repeatedly to describe people- and mind you, the characters weren't 10 or anything. I'm not sure whether my reading preferences have changed the past few months or my limited vocabulary has suddenly expanded, but this definitely felt like it lacked sophistication and depth.

The storyline was also very, VERY predictable. There was virtually nothing exciting that was revealed throughout the book. I'm not sure if Lauren Oliver purposely made certain parts easy to guess, but it sure as hell didn't take a genius to guess some things.

I can’t say I didn’t like this at all since I managed to finish it but it was very disappointing for a Lauren Oliver book. However, it does seem a large proportion of GR readers liked it, so I suppose you should read it for yourself :)

 A massive thank you to HarperCollins & Edelweiss for providing a copy of  Panic for review! 

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

19 Nov 2013

Crash Into You (Pushing The Limits #3)
by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Release Date: December 2013
Format: Paperback, 464 pages

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

 Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. 

 But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.


It seems impossible for Katie McGarry to write anything less than perfect. Pushing the Limits was my favourite book of 2012, and her newest novel, Crash Into You is hands down my favourite of 2013! I can honestly say that Crash Into You is PERFECTION<3

If you’ve been following me on twitter since last year, you’d probably know I changed my twitter name to Shirley Hutchins – yes, I married Noah Hutchins. A year later, I’m honestly considering entering a polygamous relationship with Isaiah as well; I LOVED HIM TOO MUCH IN CRASH INTO YOU<3 That badass, tattooed punk who can scare the crap out of anyone who ever has the misfortune to bump into him, has a soft, loving and adoringly protective side<3 I always knew he was loyal to his friends but I could never imagine him dedicating himself to a girl (other than Beth of course). I’m so glad he met Rachel and fell in love with her; their scenes together were so electric and hot and intensely passionate and I JUST WANTED TO JUMP INSIDE AND GIVE ISAIAH THE BIGGEST HUG EVER.

I found it easy to relate to Rachel since we have some similar traits. While I don’t suffer from sever and frequent panic attacks every time I’m in front of an audience, I truly despise presentations/talking in front of a large crowd with a passion. I cringed whenever Rachel was forced into addressing a massive crowd. Like Rachel, I also don’t like it when everyone’s staring at me and I’m also relatively shy in front of strangers. So yes, I could understand what Rachel was feeling half the time.  In regards to her family, I hated how she could never be herself around her parents and even worse was how her parents and brothers dictated her entire life.

In the beginning I thought her mother was selfish and self-absorbed, never wanting to actually see her daughter; her brothers never truly cared about her (pleasing their mother was top priority) and the entire family was just messed-up.  However, by the end of the book, my impression of them changed completely J Why? GO READ THE BOOK!

Also some random things I should mention after reading the book:

  •         I need to learn to drive ASAP. I’ll probably never get to race anyone, but drag racing sounds like so much fun<3
  •        MECHANICS ARE HOT (Isaiah is proof – just imagine it gets hot in the garage, and he has to take his shirt off….)
  •        I want an older brother. But not 4 older brothers. I’ll suffocate from the overprotectiveness.
  •       I probably would’ve liked a little more interaction between Isaiah and Rachel’s brothers. I was really looking forward to a face off (4 against 1)
  •       Katie needs to write some extra scenes involving Rachel and her brothers talking about Rachel’s love life. This would be the most hilarious scene ever.
  •        I LOVE ISAIAH<33333
As you can tell, I adored this book! No, adored is an understatement. My love for Crash Into You cannot be expressed in words because THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS FEELING. BEST. BOOK. EVER.

P.S NOAH RACES<3 *faints*

 A massive thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for providing a copy of  Crash Into You for review!