Hello folks,

Welcome back to LisaTalksAbout.com and my weekly TBR blog. Surprisingly, I managed to read a lot this week. Besides my two promised reviews from last week, which are:

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff

This week I read:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

The Wedding Speech by Isabelle Broom

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

All of the books that I have read this week have been really good which is such a relief because I read some stinkers last week (except These Days Are Ours – that was a damn good book).

I also started a book called The Spook’s Apprentice. It is a book that has been assigned to the year 7 class that I work with in my day job. I have never read it before but it is quite good. This probably won’t be reviewed to be honest but it is quite good.

The latest book that I am reading is called Playing With Matches by Suri Rosen. The review should be posted by Tuesday. It is another NetGalley review copy. I am still determined to get my review percentage up. It currently stands at 22.6%….hmmm – I blame NetGalley. It shouldn’t offer me such fabulous books….but saying that I am glad that it does.

Also, this week I launched a new feature. Short Story Saturday started this week (don’t you just love a little bit of sibilance?). Basically every Saturday I am going to post a review of a short story. I’m not a huge fan of short stories and I have plenty clogging up my Kindle. Please feel free to join in with us by hashtagging your review #ShortStorySaturday.

So, the books that I want to get read this week are:

My Other Ex by Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger (227 pages)

Roots of the Revival by Ronald D Cohen and Rachel Clare Donaldson (216 pages)

Flirting with French by William Alexander (288 pages)

I Looked for the One My Heart Loves by Dominique Marny (366 pages)

Wildlife by Fiona Wood (400 pages)

Twitter Girl by Nic Tatano (288 pages)

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman (Carried over from last week)

Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace (Carried over from last week)

Ok, I know that it is another ambitious list but hey ho, I’ll give it a go.

I hope you all have a great week of reading.

L x

Synopsis

An airborne flu virus has been unleashed in Canada. People who contract the illness are dead within 48 hours. People all across Canada and America have been told to flee. No other advice has been given. Flee. Save yourselves.

Fast forward twenty years. Survivors of the modern day plague are still trying to make sense of the virus that has killed loved ones, severely depleted the population and forcefully created pocketed communities across the land. Some of these communities are peaceful. Some are not.

In a time of much confusion, who do you trust?

Review

Firstly, let me say that Station Eleven is not the type of book I would normally be compelled to read and admittedly I was drawn to the pretty cover. I was thankful when I was an approved reviewer for this book on NetGalley and even more grateful now that I have had the chance to read it.

It is phenomenal. That is a pretty big statement to make but let me tell you my reasons.

This book terrified me. My heart was set racing at several points due to the sheer fear that it instilled inside of me. It made me question things. Like, what if an epidemic like this actually happened? Would I have the strength to survive? To hunt? To kill? Would I fall apart and just wait for death? And rather materialistically – would I be able to survive in a world without all the luxuries that I have become accustomed to? Ah, le problemes du premiere monde!

What was fascinating about Station Eleven is that Emily St John Mandel has managed to create a dystopian future from describing how life used to be. The non-linear tale added to the anguish and the confusion of the situation. What was also very clever about the story was how the lives of the survivors linked without seeming contrived or too neat. I think this was helped by the cast of characters that came and went so seamlessly in the initial post epidemic scenes.

If you like dystopian fiction then this definitely needs to be added to your TBR pile and if it doesn’t sound like your kind of thing then I would still recommend that you give it a go. Station Eleven certainly gripped my attention.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel is available now.

You can follow Emily St John Mandel on Twitter @EmilyMandel

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Title: The Wedding Speech

Author: Isabelle Broom

Pages: 22

Synopsis

Ed stands to give his speech at his best friend Billy’s wedding. It is a time for celebration, to rejoice in the love that Billy has for his partner, Amelia. It is also a time for Ed to say goodbye to the life he once had with his best friend.

Review

Ok. I admit it. For all my bluster about not liking short stories this one did actually tear me up a little. My lachrymal glands betrayed me and I did begin to fall for the characters. The best man’s speech must be a nerve-wrecking thing for everyone. Is the bride going to hear something about her new husband that she doesn’t know or like? Will either set of parents be shocked by the pre-wedding antics of their children? Or will the bride be nervous over what the best man will say about her. For a girl it is a big deal, having the approval of her lover’s best friend. You can see why weddings are stressful times.

Ed’s speech is lovely and without sounding trite it is everything that a wedding speech should be; filled with humour, history and love.

I won’t say anymore about this story in case you do choose to read it. However, I will issue a warning. Have a packet of tissues handy – you are going to need them.

The Wedding Speech by Isabelle Broom is available now.

Follow Isabelle Broom on Twitter @Isabelle_Broom

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What Is Short Story Saturday?

Short Story Saturday is a new feature on my blog. Every Saturday I will post a review of a short story. Why am I doing this, you may (or may not) ask? Well the reasons are as follows.

1) Currently residing on my kindle are over 300 short stories and I don’t give them nearly enough attention.

2) My kindle only has 26mbs left available so I am trying to avoid the heartbreaking decision of which books to delete and hide in the archive section by getting through a lot of short stories.

And finally,

3) I am not a fan of the short story. I know this sounds strange considering how many I have. I think that the short story is a bit of a let-down in the sense that you just begin to fall in love with a character or a storyline and bam the story ends. I would much rather have a meaty, heavy, wrist-breaking tome than a flimsy few pages. However, I am hoping that if I read enough of them I will change my mind and begin to fall in love with the art of the short story.

The Rules

There aren’t many rules to Short Story Saturday. The only obvious one being that the story has to be smaller than your average book. I think I will set a page limit of 100 – 130. If it is any bigger than that then it does not qualify as a short story.

So there we have it, folks. The invention of Short Story Saturday.

Keep your eyes peeled for my first SSS review.

Synopsis

After being dumped by the 19th Katherine in his life, Colin – along with best friend Hassan – decide to take a road trip to help with the emotion recovery of his recent heartbreak. Along the way, Colin – a child prodigy – decided to try and find a mathematic equation to help plot the course of true love. The boys end up in a podunk town where Colin discovers that everything that he thought he knew – especially the things he thought about himself – are not as black and white as he has grown up to believe.

Review

Ok. I admit it. I jumped on the bandwagon. When I read The Fault in Our Stars last year I pretty much purchased every book that John Green had written. Then, in true Lisa style, I put them on my kindle bookshelf and let them accrue layers of metaphorical dust whilst I read a lot of other books but due to my 100 book challenge this book, An Abundance of Katherines, has made it to the forefront and I have now read it. Hazzah.

For those of you wanting to read it (for the same reason or personal reasons of your own) then I will issue you with a warning. This book is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars. If you are looking for a similar read then you have picked up the wrong book. Of course, An Abundance of Katherines does have the inimitable John Green dry humour and wit but it deals less with health woes and more with the woes of being a teenage boy dealing with heartbreak.

For me, one of the great things about this book is the friendship between Colin and Hassan. I felt that there was a silly verisimilitude to their friendship. The way that they mocked each other, they could be angry at each other but they could also be honest and tell each other that they loved or were hurt by the others actions. The story was more enjoyable because of their banter.

I really liked An Abundance of Katherines. Even though my reasons for reading it were admittedly flawed, what I liked about it was that it was so different from The Fault in Our Stars. It probably goes without saying that John Green is one of the definitive voices for a YA generation. What may have been said is that he is literatures equivalent to John Hughes. He just gets how tough it is to be young.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is available now.

You can follow John Green on Twitter @RealJohnGreen

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