Wow! What a year 2015 has been. I have had a brilliant year people. The highlight of my year is that I became an aunty for the first time. My little Millie munchkin is boss and even though she is only 10 months old she loves her books. Win! Win!

So this year I read a lot. I ended the year having read 194 books; 14 more than last year. I nearly completed the 2016 Reading Challenge. The only categories that I didn’t manage to complete were:

A Pulitzer Prize-winning book

A book that came out the year that you were born

A Trilogy

A banned book

I might add these on to next year’s challenge instead.

I read 64 physical books and the rest were on my kindle. 107 of those books were published this year and 25 of them were non-fiction. I read books by 129 authors that I hadn’t read before but I noticed that I favour female authors; I only read 42 books by male authors so I think that I need to be more balanced in 2016.

Another highlight of my year is that my reviews were mentioned in three books. Yay. They were mentioned in:

  • Girls on Tour by Nicola Doherty
  • Picnics in Hyde Park by Nikki Moore
  • Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson

So that was rather lovely.

My Top Ten Books of the year look something like this:

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  2. Soppy: A Love Story by Phillippa Rice
  3. Disclaimer by Renee Knight
  4. The Silent Hours by Cesca Major
  5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  6. Snowflakes on Silver Cove (White Cliff Bay #2) by Holly Martin
  7. Somewhere Only We Know by Erin Lawless
  8. Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1) by Holly Martin
  9. Girls on Tour by Nicola Doherty
  10. The Doris Day Vintage Film Club by Fiona Harper

What was rather disappointing is that I wanted to build my NetGalley percentage up to 40% and dagnammit, I only made it to 39%. My target for next year is to get to 50%. I think this will be doable if I stop requesting damn books…this is not likely to happen but fingers crossed folks.

So thank you folks for giving my reviews a read this year and for all your lovely comments, likes and shares on Twitter.

Love from your fellow book-fiend,

L x

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

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.

As expected, this week did not go as well as I had planned reading wise. Sure I read some, but life somehow took over; what with starting back at work and the Grandrentals visit I didn’t make it through as many books as I would have liked.

This week I read/reviewed:

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside

The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus (Review to be posted 09.09.14)

These Days Are Ours by Michelle Haimoff (Review to be posted 11.09.14)

What also didn’t help is that this week I read two books that I just didn’t like. I hate writing bad reviews and I will never openly attack a writer but I will be honest as to why I didn’t like it. Clare over at A Book and Tea and I had this conversation this weekend. How do you write a review about a book that you really don’t connect with? Is it worse when it is a self published book which shows some very fundamental flaws or is it worse when it has been published in the traditional sense? When you can’t help but feel that some of the things that have bothered you should have been picked up, filtered through and sorted before publication? It is definitely a thinker.

Ultimately, all reviews of books are subjective though so one person’s literary classic is another person’s book for the bin. It is all just personal taste and opinion.

Anywho, this week’s book list is as follows.

Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace – 372 pages (NetGalley)

Joni Mitchell by Malka Marom – 304 pages (NetGalley)

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen – 248 pages (NetGalley)

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – 353 pages (NetGalley)

Love Me or Leave Me by Claudia Carrol – 400 pages (NetGalley)

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – 401 pages (NetGalley)

The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman (From my 100 Books to read list)

I also really want to read Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – I was a bit naughty and bought a review copy off eBay. I just couldn’t wait until next year.

It does seem like a lot of books but I am going to give it a whirl. I am determined to get by NetGalley percentage rate up.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good reading week and please keep an eye out for some book related blog posts that will be posted over the next few weeks. As always, keep an eye out for some pretty cool blogger type peoples – Matt Phil Carver and the lovely Clare who I mentioned before.

L x x