Posts By: Giselle

Monday, October 03, 2011

Review: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

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Raw Blue
Kirsty Eagar
Published June 29th, 2009
by Penguin Books Australia

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.

And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

Well apparently I’m the only one in the world who didn’t absolutely love this book. It’s not bad by any means. I still genuinely enjoyed it, I just didn’t completely fall in love with it.
Raw Blue is a deep and dark story about a girl who went through a traumatic ordeal and she’s taken up surfing as an outlet to take her mind off of it all and, in a way, punishing herself for having been a victim. Like the title says, this is a raw story. It’s dark. It’s deeply impassioned and very fragile. Though it never becomes overwhelming; you can feel Carly’s anguish throughout the whole story, but it’s more than pointless teenage angst, it just feels true. You feel sympathetic and not just towards her, but the side characters as well. They all give Carly reason and esteem to help her move forward.
The protagonist, Carly, has a very strong voice in this story. She hides behind surfing and cooking, just trying to hold everything together. I loved how real she was. She wasn’t reckless or superficial, she just was. I loved her way with people and her thought process throughout the story. She’s anti-social but she still cares very deeply for the few people she lets in her life – even if she doesn’t realize it.
Ryan, the love interest, is also perfect because he’s so imperfect. He’s got flaws. He’s a human being. Not a perfect guy with a perfect life. How refreshing! I also like the way he spoke. It was very Australian-ey (or so I’m presuming anyways).
I did however have a hard time with the surf speak and local slang. I know next to zero in the subject of surfing. I live in Canada – says it all. So all the parts when she was in the water pretty much all went over my head. The story was not affected by it though. Surfing is a big part of the book, yes, but those parts were still not relevant except for demonstrating how surfing is a way of life for some people; An escape; A craving. There was some non-surf jargon that was also new to me, though I found it more endearing than troublesome. It gave it Australian charm.
When I went into this I was expecting a lighter read. A romance of some sort. Not really chick-lit but definitely not this deep. I think it’s the main reason I didn’t love it. I wasn’t prepared and I kept waiting for the story to progress. But overall, this book definitely is a great work and Kirsty is amazing with words. If you haven’t, I suggest you give it a try.

3/5 hot espressos

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Posted by on 10/02/2011 • 20 Comments

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Laini Taylor Published September 27th, 2011 by Little, Brown & Company

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that…

In My Mailbox (3)

Posted by on 10/02/2011 • 96 Comments

“In My Mailbox” is a meme, created by Kristi at The Story Siren, that features books I’ve received/purchased/borrowed during the current week.  (click on images for Goodreads synopsis) Hello my lovelies. Well will you look at that, October has showed her head. Summer is over 🙁 But that means Halloween is just around the bend – which sets the perfect mood for creepy books like Mara Dyer that I have finally received.  I hope you’re all happy with your haul this week, I sure know that I am.  Some of these I’ve waited a long time to get my hands on and I’m super excited to get into them. I have received for review: 


I have won in giveaways:


I have bought:

I have…

Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Posted by on 10/01/2011 • 13 Comments

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)Kelley ArmstrongFirst published April 12th, 2011by HarperCollins

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn’t know much about her background – the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip – but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town – from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend’s hidden talent for “feeling” out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that…

One Woman’s Trash Giveaway Winner

Posted by on 10/01/2011 • 0 Comments

Thank you to everyone who entered! I’ve selected a winner who has chosen Wake by Lisa McMann. Winner was picked by random number generator.

Congratulations to Sophia Chang of Sophia The Writer

Sophia’s choice:

WakeLisa McMann

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control. Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness…

Fresh Batch (Oct 2nd-8th)

Posted by on 10/01/2011 • 4 Comments

This week’s hot releases

Fresh Batch features some of the hottest releases this upcoming week. These are exclusively chosen by Giselle.

Flavour of the week:


           Carrier of the Mark                                         Leigh Fallon

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that…

Remembrance by Michelle Madow: Review, Interview & Giveaway

Posted by on 09/30/2011 • 55 Comments

I’m very happy to have author Michelle Madow stop by Xpresso Reads to talk about her debut novel, Remembrance – which you must definitely check out if you haven’t already. To add fun to the mix, Michelle has offered up an ecopy of her book to one of YOU! That’s right! *Throws confetti*

Interview with Michelle Madow

Q.What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved writing, but decided to write for the goal of publication about two years ago when I turned the first chapter in for homework in my Intro to Creative Writing class. I was surprised when my classmates and teacher loved it and wanted to read more! Their enthusiasm made me believe I could succeed in finishing a novel if I put my mind…

Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Posted by on 09/30/2011 • 5 Comments

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2) Darynda Jones First published August 16th, 2011 St. Martin’s Press

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife…