The Blurb

Like every actor, Ivy Meadows know that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm – not her flying cauldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-weilding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career – and her life.

The Review

Once again I have read a book that has proven to me that not choosing a career as a police detective was a good choice. Murder mystery Macdeath confounded me! This clever mystery story interweaves the Bard’s play Macbeth with its own narrative. Art begins to imitate life much to the panic of protagonist Ivy Meadows.

When I first started reading the book I didn’t think I would like the story, however, once I saw the cleverly assembled jigsaw of a mystery I began to get really intrigued and tried constantly to figure out who the killer was. Needless to say, I did not figure it out.

Whilst all the threads were woven with regards to the mystery, I still feel that there is more to learn about Ivy Meadows. Fortunately, Macdeath is only part one in a series of mystery stories so hopefully we will learn more about her in future books.

Macdeath by Cindy Brown is available now.

Macdeath

The Blurb

Ethan can’t remember exactly when he stopped speaking or why. It is only when he meets Polly that he begins to wish things could be different. She is fun and exciting and helps him to see how vivid and colourful the world is.

Can Polly help Ethan to find his voice again?

The Review

Ethan’s Voice is a lovely, sweet and unusual tale of a young boy who is a selective mute. After a traumatic event Ethan has stopped talking altogether. His parents have tried everything to get him talking again but to no avail. It is controlling his life so much that Ethan is now home schooled. He is alone and has no friends.

Along comes Polly, a girl of a similar age to Ethan. She quickly understands the situation and doesn’t pressurise Ethan into speaking but she does provide him with some much needed companionship. It is this friendship which makes Ethan’s Voice such a beautiful read.

The book isn’t over dramatic, some of the things that happen within the narrative are simple and lovely and I think it is this that sets it apart from a lot of YA fiction. It is not dark or harsh or depressing; it has a hopeful quality that a lot of modern day stories often lack due to our jaded MTV culture. It is an impressive debut novel from Rachel Carter and I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for us all.

Ethan’s Voice by Rachel Carter is available now.

Ethans Voice

The Blurb

Former child star Fiona Hume left the biz a decade ago, after she left rehab. She retreated to Baltimore and bought an old mansion downtown with dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece – maybe creating an artist’s studio for herself. And living an artist’s life.

That was the plan.

Ten years later, Fiona’s huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road. Each piece was destined for a project, but all she’s got so far is a piece of twine with some antique buttons threaded down its length.

Her money has almost run out. She will soon lose her house and will be forced back into acting.

So it is that Fiona comes to rent out a room to a local blacksmith, Josiah. Little by little, Josiah magically transforms Fiona’s home into something beautiful. She comes to life again. Her relationships heal and she experiences, perhaps for the first time, what it means to be human, what it means to be loved, and what it means when we let go and allow the wondrous workings of forces far bigger than we are to take over.

The Review

I didn’t like A Thing of Beauty. A little blunt but it had to be said. The concepts of the story (or parts of it) were interesting but others just fell flat. For example, the main thread of the story about an ex-actress who has become a recluse due to a troubled time after being a childhood star would have been a great storyline had it been fully developed. I think that is what failed the story most, the under-developed storyline.

There were other glaring flaws – the main one being the over descriptive nature of the narrative. If I had been the editor I would have advised Samson to go back and remove the unnecessary descriptions of things as it became very tiresome. The old adage of ‘show, don’t tell’ needs to be applied to this book too. Samson described every street that her main character rode down on her bike and whilst this may be titillating for those who live in Baltimore it was just tedious for me.

The story did get better. About midway through I actually felt like there was a (much needed) shift in pace which made the latter half less exasperating. However, there were still glaring holes in the story such as Fiona’s collection of weird things – it was never fully explained why she did this. We never learned that much about her friend that died or why it had the impact it did on Fiona’s life. Everything seemed to be on the cusp of being explained but then never fully explored which was frustrating.

I guess this serves me right for choosing the book based solely on the prettiness of the cover.

A Thing of Beauty by Lisa Samson is available now.

A Thing of Beauty

The Blurb

I just can’t imagine me without you…

50% Friendship, 20% Humour, 20% Betrayal,10% Sexual Content. 100% Honest.

It’s the mid-1990s, and fifteen year-old Guernsey schoolgirls, Renée and Flo, are not really meant to be friends. Thoughtful, introspective and studious Flo couldn’t be more different to ambitious, extroverted and sexually curious Renée. But Renée and Flo are united by loneliness and their dysfunctional families, and an intense bond is formed. Although there are obstacles to their friendship (namely Flo’s jealous ex-best friend and Renée’s growing infatuation with Flo’s brother), fifteen is an age where anything can happen, where life stretches out before you, and when every betrayal feels like the end of the world. For Renée and Flo it is the time of their lives.

With graphic content and some scenes of a sexual nature, PAPER AEROPLANES is a gritty, poignant, often laugh-out-loud funny and powerful novel. It is an unforgettable snapshot of small-town adolescence and the heart-stopping power of female friendship.

The Review

Often times one is grateful to be blessed with just one gift; maybe the gift of the gab or a special talent for acting, or even hunting out a great bargain. It is usually us uni-gifted people that tend to stare down our noses with jealous disdain at the bold and beautiful who can turn their talents to different mediums. One such multitalented lucky duck is none other than Dawn O’Porter.

For many a year have we admired her work as a TV presenter, bum wipe activist (seriously mine has never felt fresher….that was a bit of an overshare), documentary investigative journalist and probably most importantly she has shared her passion for one of the greatest movies ever made – Dirty Dancing. Oh yes, we here at Different Scene have many a reason to love Dawn O’Porter.

And now we have one more.

O’Porter has turned her hand to fiction. Her debut novel Paper Aeroplanes is due for release next week and showcases an extremely strong gift and flair for telling a story.

Set in Guernsey in the mid-90s, O’Porter paints a picture of a simpler time to grow up, not plagued by the incessant bitchery currently found through social media sites and texting whilst reminding us how difficult it was to be young. The story centres on the burgeoning friendship of Renee and Flo whose shared experience of loss, loneliness and embarrassing everyday situations develops the bond and the pace of the story. Without revealing too much this novel helps to remind us the value of friendship and to treasure those around us.

This is a book that everyone should read for all the reasons given already and also because for want of better way to put it – Dawn O’Porter can write. She has proven once again that she isn’t a one trick pony and whilst we should want to throw rocks at her for her excellence and mad skills, we won’t because she is Dawn O’Porter and we love her.

So, do yourself a massive favour, pre-order it, book in a couple of alone hours and lose yourself to a sense of nostalgia in this beautifully told story. You will be awfully glad that you have bought it.

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter is available now.

You can follow Dawn O’Porter (@hotpatooties) on Twitter.

*Originally published on Different Scene

Paper Aeroplanes

Hello Bloggeroonies,

So the past few weeks have been hardcore. Work has been hectic and if I am completely honest it hasn’t been quite enjoyable. Hey ho! On to happier things which are:

  • In about five weeks I am going to become an aunty for the first time.
  • I have lovely books that are going to be read.
  • Errrrrmmm….and I only have four weeks left in work. Whoop!

Anywho, I have had a really slow week because the book that I am reading is really pants but because of my ridiculous rule not to give up on a book I can’t stop reading it. Boo. So this week is actually going to have a throwback review.

I’ve decided to not list the books that I am going to read because to be perfectly honest I cannot be bothered – I’m in one of those horrible indecisive moods at the minute and even after a ridiculous amount of hours sleep I still feel meh!

Ooh also, I feel I should be honest with you all. I failed Banuary. And not just a little bit, I mean I completely, one hundred percent failed Banuary. I hang my head in shame….and start to read my book! Ah well, I’m weak, we all know it!

Anywho, hope you are all ok. Let me know what you are reading.

L x