Synopsis

A potted history of the golden years on Broadway; told by those who worked the theatre life and lived to tell the tale.

Review

There are very few things in this world that can cause a frisson of excitement to creep up my spine and make my hair stand on end. The most powerful of this small selection is the musical. There is something about them that can reduce me to the eighteen month old girl who turned to her mother whilst watching her very first stage production and said “Mummy, I want to be one of those girls up there.” Sadly, for me, the dream ended at eighteen but my love of theatre never wavered.

With It Happened on Broadway, I got to see that it wasn’t just me who had that same love and passion. As each of these people who were associated with musical theatre on Broadway shared their story I realised that I was living my dream through the telling of their reality. Granted, this wouldn’t have been my first choice but it was magnificent all the same.

What the writers’ have cleverly done is allow the colourful cast charm you with their tales, yet it is the editing that has told the diverse story off Broadway. For some, it would be a hard concept to conceive that a simple musical can help pinpoint a time in social, political and cultural change but the link between theatre and the aforementioned topics is inextricably linked. It is the fresh look at it from this angle that makes It Happened on Broadway such an interesting read.

Whether musicals are an interest of yours or not, this book has enough fascinating tales to keep even the most ardent theatre hater enthralled. For those who love musicals, this is a no-brainer. Buy this book. It is, quite frankly, amazing.

It Happened on Broadway An Oral History of the Great White Way by Myrna Katz Fromer and Harvey Fromer is available now.

It Happened on Broadway

Hello Book Bloglets,

How are we all? I hope this last week has been splendiferous. I had a rather wonderful week. I was approached by an author about reviewing his book (Peter Jones, for all those asking) and because I already had the book and planned to review it anyway he sent me a copy of his previous release as a thank you. I love it when authors get in touch so any of you lovely writers out there please do not hesitate to email me.

Other than that I was sent a copy of The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth from BookBridgr (thank you very much) and it came with a delightful birdcage charm. It really made my Thursday because as we all know I am a sucker for book post. It makes me happy.

Besides that, I befriended an author whose book I recently reviewed. It turns out we live not five minutes from each other. What a small world.

Anyway, on to the important stuff – what I read this week.

The Shape of Shit to Come by Steve Lowe

It Happened on Broadway: An Oral History of the Great White Way (review to be posted 09.12.14)

Half Bad by Sally Green (review to be posted 10.12.14)

Half Lies by Sally Green (review to be posted 13.12.14)

Melt by Selene Castrovilla (review to be posted 12.12.14)

So I think I have done quite well. A lot of blog posts lined up. I am feeling the reading groove people. I am currently reading two books. The first is Hazel by Julie Hearn. I love Julie Hearn’s books. She wrote a book called Rowan the Strange which I read with a few students a few years back and they were fascinated by it. So far, Hazel is pretty damn good.

I am also reading Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsmann. I’ve only just started it but I hope to have it read and reviewed for Thursday.

I’ve been rather ambitious with the books that I plan to read this week in that a) there are a lot of them and b) I have decided to make a start on my books due for review in January. I have never been this organised but hey ho, I’m gonna give it a go. The books on my TBR pile this week include:

This is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

Love Gently Falling by Melody Carlson

I am also doing a paired reading with Clare over at A Book and Tea. We are both planning on reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg this week. Is it strange that I am now intimidated by my own list?

In other great book news I have to let you all know that I have done it. Yes, it took weeks of effort and hard work but I have finally broken the barrier. My NetGalley percentage rate currently stands at 30.2% – whoop whoop.

My next goal is 33% – Let’s hope that with all of this week’s reading I can achieve it.

Happy reading folks

L x

Title: Losing Heart

Author: Donna Brown

Pages: 83 pages

Synopsis

Helen is waiting for her pager to buzz. With every hour that passes she loses a little bit more faith; the buzz that she is waiting for will save her life. When her pager finally beeps it is to let her know that there has been a matching donor found to give her a new heart.

However, with this new heart comes dissatisfaction. Helen feels like the life that she is living isn’t doing justice to the gift that she has been given. She decides to live life to the fullest.

There is only one problem with this plan and that is Marian. Marian is the mother of the heart donor and she seems intent on forcing herself into Helen’s family. And there is damn little that Helen can do to stop her.

Review

Ok, I know I have moaned about my dislike for the short story but after reading Losing Heart you could have knocked me over with a feather. It was damn good. It felt like a much longer story. Every detail was so concise and believable. The character of Marian was truly terrifying in her subtle intensity, her deviousness and her furtive and underhand actions.

The really clever thing about Losing Heart and indeed Brown’s writing is that she made the character of Helen so reprehensible at the beginning, her attitude and animosity and sheer nastiness made her very unlikable but you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Helen’s whole life was controlled by this conniving woman and Helen became trapped in her own life. This is pretty powerful stuff!

So far, Losing Heart has been one of the best short stories that I have read this year and is going into the ranks of books that have helped change my mind on this form of writing. Well done Donna Brown.

Losing Heart by Donna Brown is available now.

You can follow Donna Brown (@_mrs_b) on Twitter.

Losing Heart

Synopsis

A satirical (if not frighteningly accurate) look at the scientific developments that have the potential to shape our future.

Review

I will never claim to be one of life’s great thinkers. I hold a fair level of intelligence and I can hold my own in topical debate. However, the dirge of my academic life has always been science (closely followed by maths). I just never took to it as a subject. In actual fact I failed my GCSE exam in it but shrugged it off in a “That’s life” sort of way.

As I have gotten older I admit my curiosity has peaked (not enough to re-sit my science GCSE – this was recently offered to me by my former science teacher who is now my colleague in my place of employment) and I take a more active interest in how science shapes our lives.

This inquisitiveness led me to The Shape of Shit to Come. I must say that this is a brilliant book – not just because of the fascinating topics that it covers (robotics, space travel and jellyfish to name but a few) but also because it is damn hilarious. The chapters are peppered with funny little intrusions from the authors and quite frankly their ludicrous interludes provide comic relief to, what comes across as, some seriously scary science.

I still wouldn’t say that I am totally clued up about all the recent advances in science but I know I won’t be put off by books about these contentious issues either. If science is your passion then this is definitely a book for you. If, like me, you have a growing scientific curiosity then give this a try. What you may lack in smarts when it comes to understanding the technical stuff you can more than find amusement in the writing style.

The Shape of Shit to Come by Alan McArthur and Steve Lowe is available now.

The Shape of Shit to Come