Well hello lovely people of the internet,

Today is exactly one year since I uploaded my first post on LisaTalksAbout.com and I just thought I would celebrate that by writing a little blog post.

I started writing a few years ago. It started as a way to get into the music industry but by playing to my strengths. I started writing for a music website called More Than the Music; an all female staffed website that encourages women in music. I was writing album reviews and getting sent to gigs to write live pieces. Before I knew it I was promoted to sub-editor and had my own weekly news column. Last year I was promoted again to the post of Live Reviews Editor. It has been a great ride and I work with some amazing ladies who are contributing to the music/journalism industry.

During my time writing for More Than the Music I was taken on as Music Editor for Different Scene; a lifestyle website targeted at gay men. Sadly, Different Scene is now defunct. Some great things came out of working for Different Scene, mainly it was through writing for them that I met my boyfriend – we were both the token straight people on the writing staff.

My blog started last year when I was signed off work for six months. I became seriously ill due to medication I was taking to help control my Ulcerative Colitis. Throughout the years I had many people in my life telling me to blog it or write it down but it was my boyfriend that encouraged me to set up my own blog. Being signed off work was awful but I couldn’t really do much of anything but read. I was too weak to go out most of the time and after half an hour of doing pretty much anything I would have uncontrollable shakes. Ergo, the logic was to read and review books. Besides music, reading had always been a passion of mine so the fit seemed logical.

There have been some ups and downs of blogging about books. I have made an enemy of the postman. He hates delivering me books and has actually laughed at me when my post wasn’t literature based. I also think he may be stalking me because he now gets my mail (which is addressed to my home address) redirected to my work address. Strangely, this hasn’t stopped me buying books. Ahh, bygones.

The ups of book blogging are the lovely people in the book blogging community. Before I set up my blog and before I got sick I had done a few reviews for Shaz’s Book Boudoir and I am so very grateful to her for affording me the opportunity to do so; Sophie at Reviewed the Book is so lovely and always charmingly honest in her reviews; Jenny in Neverland is someone whose opinion I really admire. Her reviews are really well written. However, my favourite book blogger and friend has to be Clare from A Book and Tea. She is such a lovely person and her I Want it Wednesday posts are some of my favourite.

Besides making friends with some bloggers I have also had the privilege to converse with some amazing authors – Kirsty Greenwood, Juliette Sobanet, Andy Miller, Nikki Moore and Nicola Doherty to name a few. Furthermore to this, it took less than a year for one of my reviews to appear in a published book. My review was published in Girls on Tour by Nicola Doherty. That was a highlight for me.

One year in and I still love blogging as much as I did when I first started doing it. Here is to the next year.

Happy Blogging Birthday to me!

Ooooh as a side note, you can now follow LisaTalksAbout on Facebook. Please hit the like button 🙂

Love L x

The Blurb

Haven’t you ever told a little lie in the name of love?

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

The Review

I’m going to be really honest with you, I requested Faking It from NetGalley based entirely on the book’s cover. I’d never read anything by Leah Marie Brown before and on the cover was a picture of the Eiffel Tower and since I am a bit of a Francophile I decided that I wanted to read it. This is one of those serendipitous moments in the life of a book lover because damn this book was really good.

Faking It was a quick light-hearted read that constantly left me with that feel good feeling. It follows the adventures of Vivia who has recently been dumped by her fiancé, Nathan. To get over Nathan she decided (well is encouraged by her best friend Fanny) to go on the honeymoon to France. Vivia had many expectations of her trip to Europe but none of those expectations included falling for fit cyclist Luc, learning things about herself and having a life epiphany.

In hero Luc, Brown has created the most fanciable male in a story that I have read in a long time; I send Leah Marie Brown many a kudos for sending him into my life.

If I’m honest there was one small thing that did bother me about the book. I felt that there was an awful lot of product placement that was unnecessary. This didn’t bother me enough not to read the story and it really is just a personal preference. I would still implore people to pick up Faking It because it is a really entertaining read that is damn good fun. Vive le livre!

Faking It by Leah Marie Brown is available now.

Follow Leah Marie Brown (@leahmariebrown) on Twitter.

Faking It

Title: Ibiza Nights

Author: Lucy Lord

Pages: 32 Pages

The Blurb

A short story from the hilarious author of A Girl Called Summer – find out what Summer was up to before her Ibiza adventures!

Summer has been seeing her boss, David, on the sly for a few months now. But while David is keen to make things public, Summer isn’t quite so sure. With a night out with old friends on the cards, Summer needs to decide whether she can take their relationship to the next level, or if she needs to break free for good…

A cracking short story that takes place just before the events of A Girl Called Summer.

The Review

After three previous short stories (LA, New York and London Nights) we finally meet Summer in Ibiza. Ibiza Nights focuses on main character Summer who lives, loves and works in Ibiza. She is a writer, she runs a crèche and sometimes she caters for the rich and the fabulous but she doesn’t feel good. Part of Summer feels this way due to her seedy relationship with her employer, David. She enjoys him but doesn’t want to be with him. Unfortunately for Summer, David wants the opposite.

Ibiza Nights is another short story chock full of exposition; it is preparing us for the full length novel A Girl Called Summer. Once I pick that up to read all the threads of the previous story will come together.

In Summer, Lucy Lord has created a likable character who you want to find out more about. Ibiza Nights leaves Summers story of a cliff hanger. Nothing overly dramatic but you do want to find out more. I will definitely be picking up A Girl Called Summer to get me ready for my own (possibly rainy) summer.

Ibiza Nights by Lucy Lord is available now.

Follow Lucy Lord (@LucyLord1) on Twitter.

Ibiza Nights

The Blurb

‘My name is Flick and these are the images of my disconnected life, my forgettable weeks and unforgettable weekends. I am one of the disaffected youth.’

Marooned by a lack of education (and lack of anything better to do), Will Flicker, a.k.a. “Flick,” spends most days pondering the artistry behind being a stoner, whether Pepsi is better than Coke, and how best to get clear of his tiny, one-horse suburb. But Flick senses there’s something else out there waiting for him, and the sign comes in the form of the new girl in town—a confident, unconventionally beautiful girl named Rainbow. As their relationship develops, Flick finds himself torn between the twisted loyalty he feels to his old life and the pull of freedom that Rainbow represents.

The Review

Having previously read (and loved) Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin I was excited to see what her previous novel had to offer. Fortunately for me, Flick is an excellent story.

Without trying to make comparisons between this and Golden Boy (because believe me it would be a difficult thing to do – it would be like comparing a tree with a unicorn) I do have to comment on the growth that you can see in Tarttelin’s writing. That is not to say that Flick isn’t well written – it is ridiculously good – but having read both books in the wrong order I can definitely see how Tarttelin’s writing has matured.

Flick has all the angsty high school drama that you would expect from a cast of characters who are all still in their teens – and then some. To liken it to a teenage Trainspotting wouldn’t be wrong. It has all the elements required to be similar to the Irvine Welsh classic – starting with the sassy narration.

Flick, our protagonist, has a disaffected way of looking at life. Having lived the working class life his whole life he sees no glorious future in staying in his home town. However, dreams for bigger better things are not something that the working class kids should aspire to – because for the people of small seaside town of Cleveland, it just ain’t gonna happen!

Tartellin’s voice as a writer is amazing. You feel compelled to read her stories because she has such a gritty grip on the nuances of her characters, their situations and the society they live in. She is one of the better contemporary writers we have and more people should know about and celebrate her work.

Flick by Abigail Tarttelin is available now.

You can follow Abigail Tarttelin (@abigailsbrain) on Twitter.

Flick 2

The Blurb

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEEL TRULY ALIVE?

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

‘I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.’

The Review

Some books are read for fun, some for education, some of them are read for escapism but then a book like Reasons to Stay Alive comes along and it falls into that elusive category – books you NEED to read. There are people that would question as to why they need to read a memoir. My answer to this is because Reasons to Stay Alive is so much more than a memoir of a person but it is an insight into one of the scariest most heartbreaking illnesses that there is – mental illness.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert on mental illness but I can only go with my own experiences – both as a spectator and (at times) sufferer of panic attacks to know how harrowing it can be. Matt Haig has opened the door to anyone who has no personal knowledge of this chronic condition.

In my own personal case I can justify my panic attacks; mine are down to suffering from Ulcerative Colitis. My IBD closes me off somewhat. Long journeys, walking to the local shops that are literally three minutes away – in fact, travel in general causes a stir in me that I find difficult to control. Going out is like a military operation. Routes are planned ahead with maximum places to stop in mind should my IBD play up. It probably won’t but that doesn’t stop the slow crawl of panic. The reason I am telling you this is because in Haig’s book he wrote my experience. Not something about me but his experience is exactly what I go through on a daily basis. It was eye opening and I felt – for want of a better word – ‘normal.’

The difference between Haig and I is that I know when my brain closes off and I can’t find that ceiling to the panic. Haig, it seems, does not have that luxury. That he deals with mental health issues on such a vast scale (everyday, no less) makes him a superhero in my eyes. Equally, I am eternally grateful to him for writing a book that, without a shadow of a doubt, will help those who read it. It helped me.

Whilst Reasons to Stay Alive is a book about mental health disorders should be depressing it is somewhat ironic that it leaves you feeling upbeat and positive after reading it. Matt Haig, in his almost painful honesty, may have written the book of 2015.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig is available now.

Follow Matt Haig (@matthaig1) on Twitter.

Reasons to Stay Alive