Synopsis

My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends is a collection of stories that celebrates the powerful friendships between women and the sheer utter heartache of when those relationships end.

Review

I was drawn to this book based on its subject matter. This may seem a rather obvious thing to say but admittedly I do tend to pick up books based on their cover – sometimes over content.

You see, I too had a powerful friendship that ended and this book, I hoped, would provide me some solace. Thankfully, it did.

The book is made up of several writers experiences and whilst none of them were the same as mine, some of the views expressed by the writers hit a little too close to home.

Losing a best friend is hard. It is like someone has cut off a limb, in some respects it is like the person has died. The chasm of sadness is unbearable.

I won’t go into my tale of lost friendship here – even though after nearly three years I am still bruised by it – it is a story that probably does deserve to be told but open wounds are still raw.

One of the most poignant things that I took from this book was when one of the contributors said “friendship is a verb.” It is. It takes both people to work at it. It is not something that just happens.

If you have ever experienced the emotional turmoil of losing a best friend then give this book a read. It may just give you a sense of comfort to know you are not the only one.

My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends by Jessica Smock, Stephanie Sprenger and Galit Breen is available now.

For more information please visit www.herstoriesproject.com or follow on Twitter @herstoriestales

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Synopsis

Raina has been sent to live with her family in Toronto. From the fast paced (and arguably self destructive life) that she was leading in New York, Raina suddenly finds herself under the watchful eye of aunt, under the constant scrutiny of her new teachers and, most painfully, under the hateful gaze of her older sister Leah. Leah blames Raina for the destruction of her engagement to ex-fiancé Ben.

Through a series of serendipitous events, Raina finds herself acting as a matchmaker of sorts. She operates under the pseudonym matchmaven and becomes rather successful. Yet her biggest challenge comes when her sister Leah begs to be set up. Can Raina keep her secret identity hidden? Can she continue to be a successful matchmaker? And, rather importantly, can she do all this and pass her high school exams?

Review

This may shock people, and please feel free to frown at me, but I did not like Emma by Jane Austen. I couldn’t connect with the character; I felt that she was a meddlesome flibberty-gibbet. Strangely, I love Clueless (for those of you not in the know Clueless is a 1990s modern adaption of Emma – where have you all been?) and I will admit, I really enjoyed Playing with Matches.

To begin with I was a little overwhelmed by the detail that was given. There was a lot of back story and exposition thrown at you and it was a little hard to take in at first but once I got used to the pace of the book I began to enjoy it.

As a reader, I couldn’t help but start to like Raina. She has flaws, we were continually reminded of them by her family, teachers and peers who made her out to be a horrible person but the things that she did – making romantic matches for people, spending time with the elderly and becoming friends with the bookish nerdy girl – you couldn’t help but fall for this underdog.

The story developed pleasantly and with each thing that went awry you heart swelled with a desire to see Raina succeed. The character was warm-hearted and loveable.

One of my favourite aspects of the book was Jewish element. Not being Jewish myself, I felt like I was on a guided tour of Jewish customs on dating and marriage. It added a whole extra quality to the book that I found educational and entertaining in equal part.

This is a perfect introduction for a younger audience into the styling’s of Jane Austen. And, like me, they might just enjoy this more than Emma.

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen is available now.

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You can follow Suri Rosen on Twitter @surirosen

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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