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 :)

4 Reasons why you should read The Grown Up

30 May 2016

Gillian Flynn’s books are by far, the most unpredictable, dark, fucked up and psychologically and emotionally draining thrillers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Yes, I love them to bits. They always make me question my morals, empathise with the villains to the point that when I pointed out Amy’s reasons for orchestrating her own kidnapping in Gone Girl was….understandable on some level, my mate gave me a “you’re fucked in the head” look. So yes, Gillian Flynn’s books are an automatic must buy for me and that’s exactly what I did when I discovered ‘The Grown-Up’ was released.

The Grown Up

by Gillian Flynn
Released November 5th 2015
 Find Gillian Flynn on:
Website FacebookGoodreads
As this was a very short novella, instead of writing a review, I’ll simply give you 4 reasons why you should pick up this book.
  1. It’s written by Gillian Flynn. 
If you liked any of Flynn’s previous full-length novels, then you must pick this one up. It fucks with your head that same way Flynn’s other books did.
  1. It’s a short – around 80 pages – and speedy read!
Worried that you won’t finish your Goodreads Challenge before the end of the year? Getting tired of reading a 350 page novel that was sent for review? Well, definitely give this a go! Not only will this count as 1 book on your Goodreads Challenge, but you also won’t get sick of reading it because you’ll be done in literally 20 minutes.
  1. Nothing is as it seems.
As with the other books, nothing is as it seems until the last 25%. Remember; don’t believe everything you’re told!
  1. You’ll think about the storyline and ending long after you finish reading the last sentence. 
There are books I rate 5 stars but I’ll never think about again. There are also books e.g. Gone Girl, Harry Potter, The Pact, ACOTAR that I will re-read once every few months because they’re just so damn good. The Grown-Up is one of those books where I’m still wondering what the hell happened at the end and if Flynn will release an official statement to clarify the ending.
I don’t know about you, but I’m eagerly anticipating Flynn’s next full-length novel. I’m 100% positive it won’t disappoint :D

Discussion Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

29 May 2016

Almost 2 years ago, in the midst of exams, as per usual I decided to procrastinate by catching up on my overdue reviews. I had previously asked my mate Lana if she wanted to participate in a “discussion review” with me since we both share the same appreciation and love for books but often our tastes differ. One particular example of this is our opinion on The Fault in Our Stars. I read the book and didn’t like it. Lana read the book and loved it. We watched the movie together; once again she loved it and I hated it. So what is it about The Fault In our Stars that just didn’t resonate with me? And what is it about the book that Lana felt a strong connection to? Well, read on to find out!
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When I first watched the trailer, I felt goosebumps all along my arms- usually an indicator that something is worth watching/listening/reading. I thought maybe the movie adaption would be vastly better than the books, so with my expectations set incredibly high, I watched the advance screening of The Fault in Our Stars on the 23rd May 2014 with a few close friends.
Pretty much the entire cinema bawled their eyes out from the halfway mark, and I, being the black sheep, simply just sat there emotionlessly. I remember thinking “Is there something wrong with me? Their acting’s terrific, the music, dialogue, sequence of events are all perfect, BUT WHY DO I FEEL NOTHING?” I have since officially come to the conclusion that there is probably something wrong with me. Ah well, at least I’ve cried previously in other movies/books. That counts for something right?
Without further ado, here is our discussion review of The Fault In Our Stars.
Shirley: Okay Lana. I know I’ve asked you this a BILLION times, but why do you love The Fault in Our Stars so much? I’m pretty sure you’ve read countless cancer-related books in the past, but why is this particular one the most memorable/the one you talk about the most?
Lana: Well, I know whenever I ask friends about why they loved TFIOS so much, they’d usually just respond with a well-known quote from the book or just tell me how much it made them cry. But it was never about memorable quotes or how the book made me tear up. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons why I loved the book so much had to do with the quote which the title was based off; a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where Cassius tells Brutus, “the fault… is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”.  *Shirley: WTF. YOU STILL REMEMBER JULIUS CAESAR FROM YEAR 12? Woman…what are you doing with your life….What some of us fail to realise (or are too stubborn to admit) is that we have faults. We have weaknesses. For me, this book was more about the human condition and the realisation that even the seemingly best of them fall. To me, this was portrayed perfectly in the characterisations of Augustus Waters and also Peter van Houten (<< was that how you spelt that dude’s name? lol). I guess basically why I loved this book so much was because it made me realise we are all flawed in some way. We are all perfectly flawed. And that’s perfectly fine, and we should learn to accept those flaws.
Shirley: Wow...that was very....deep...and...philosophical.

 Do I get to ask you a question now like… what faults did you find in TFIOS?? (Get it? Ahaha…)
Shirley: Yeah…no.. Lana. NOT funny.For me, reading is a leisure; it’s what I do because I LIKE it. Nowadays I read mainly to procrastinate, de-stress and to escape reality i.e exams. This means that I want a book that I can read easily, without having to constantly go “Oh hey, I did not understand a single sentence —
Lana: Whut
Shirley: -- that was written because the vocabulary was too sophisticated” –
Lana: TOO SOPHISTICATED?! But you came top 10 for English in high school D: Too sophisticated….
Shirley: Woman….that’s called bullsh*ting my essays!
ANYWAY, teenagers don’t talk that way and I know because I was one when I read the book. If I’m going to camp next to a freaking dictionary every time I read something for pure entertainment, then I might as well go read a philosophy textbook. Even law textbooks are easier to understand than this particular one.
Now here’s the domino effect. If I can’t understand what the heck is going on, if I’m constantly either looking up words in the dictionary or re-reading each paragraph to confirm the meaning, then I’m not going to be invested in neither the storyline nor the characters. If I don’t feel a connection with the characters, I can’t understand the book the way Lana does. Whatever impact it’s meant to have on readers, it stopped short with me.
So basically when it was time for me to cry, my brain was still processing what led to whenever was happening in the present time. I just couldn’t feel it, ya know?
Lana: But I have to agree with you about the way these kids spoke (aha, look at me calling them kids… I’m getting so old Shirley… L don’t put this in lol), and this was the main (and only) disappointment I found. Hazel and Augustus are meant to be like what, 16/17/18? I know literally no one who talks like that in real life, and I hang around some pretty smart people.
So since you didn’t like the book, how’d you find the movie? Did you have the same thoughts regarding the movie as you did when you were reading the book? J
Shirley: Honestly, I found the movie MUCH better. I could actually understand what was going on! Shailene was brilliant yet again, and I was so glad I didn’t find the on-screen Hazel annoying. (Did I mention how I every time book-Hazel said something, I would roll my eyes because everything that came out of her mouth was either overly dramatic or just plain annoying to me?) Oh and Augustus was rather charming. I never liked book-Augustus, but hey, I may have fallen for onscreen-Augustus :P
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What about you? I’m guessing you LOVED it based on your fangirling moments during the movie, and how you were crying throughout the last quarter.
Lana: Haha, hey it was a very tear-jerking last quarter!
Shirley: Yeah….I noticed when the chick sitting one seat away from me was crying ridiculously loud… (Sorry to whoever was sitting there! Ahhaa)
Lana:I loved the acting in the movie, especially the portrayal of Peter Van Houten (spelling??) by Willem Dafoe. I thought Shailene and Ansel’s performances were excellent considering the nature of their characters, and I felt that the point in the movie from when they (SPOILERS) visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam until the end was just amazing. So much emotion was encapsulated into each scene and you weren’t just watching the movie and comprehending their emotions (that yes, the characters are sad, or yes, the characters are in love), you were actually feeling their emotions within yourself as well. Performances like that are such rare things; for an actor to be able to elicit such a strong response from the audience.
Shirley: Interesting…I did enjoy Willem Dafoe’s performance – I thought he portrayed Peter Van Houten’s dismissive, cynical character extremely well. I thought Shailene and Ansel’s acting were brilliant, but I guess it still wasn’t enough to elicit tears and feelings of heartache from me? I dunno…I’m a walking oxymoron, I loved their acting but I didn't cry. I’ll leave it at that.
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And did you dislike anything from the movie?
Lana: What I probably hated the most about the movie was the soundtrack.
Shirley: O________O
Lana: If anyone knows me, they’d know that as important the acting is to the movie, the soundtrack and music score should be equally as important as the acting, probably even more. Music is supposed to complement what’s on screen. I have to admit, the soundtrack choices weren’t that great. For example, (SPOILERS) when Hazel and Augustus landed in Amsterdam, they played Boom Clap by Charli XCX. Not that there’s anything wrong with the song, but it just seemed weird having a synthpop song playing while they’re in a timeless, beautiful, elegant place such as Amsterdam. I was expecting more of something classical, or even just an instrumental score to go with that scene.
Shirley: Yeah okay, you music prodigy. I wasn’t even paying attention to the music! LOL
Lana: *sigh*Typical Shirley…. Anyways, I know you didn’t particularly love the movie, but did you like it enough to recommend it to everyone?
Shirley: I guess I would? I’ll probably say something along the lines of “If you like a beautifully crafted tearjerker movie, you should give it a go. Hopefully you’ll love it much more than I did.”
But then again, everyone knows about The Fault In Our Stars now! They don’t need me to recommend it – they’ll watch it of their own free will :)
Lana: Haha, true that. Uh Shirley…we’re on 1600 words now. Maybe we should wrap it up?
Shirley: LOL Yeah, we should!
Soooo guys, our question to you is: What did you like/dislike about TFiOS (both book and movie.) Did you cry? Were you left heartbroken? Have you recovered yet? Let us know in the comments!