Bit Players, Bullies and Righteous Rebels: S.M Stevens

So once again, going to start with review with an apology. To all the writers, and authors that have sent me bits to review, I am getting round to it! It’s been a tough couple of weeks and to get over it all I hid from the world (including mylittlebookblog) to give myself a chance to recover. Although it’s not all okay just yet, I am feeling a lot better and have been easing myself back into the blogging slowly! I was sent this book as part of a set by the lovely S.M. Stevens, and reviewed the first book a couple of weeks back! Once again it’s all got a bit theatrical here at mylittlebookblog as here I am reviewing the second in the trilogy. Thank you again to the author for sending the trilogy of books to me and sorry it’s taken a while to get round to it! Remember if you have a book you would like reviewing do not hesitate to send me a message through the contact page on my ‘Review Requests,’ page! Anyway, right, I won’t waste any more time, the stage is set, the actors are ready, the curtain is about rise, get ready for the show!!

Sadie Perkins just wants the Crudup High drama club’s spring musical to go smoothly, but the original production of “Wuthering Heights: A Modern Tragedy” is threatened when an anonymous texter starts bullying Sadie’s gay friend Foster, the lead in the play. And Sadie’s boyfriend Alex is suddenly acting homophobic, making Sadie wonder if she really knows him at all. On top of that, she has to add a controversial, secret song-and-dance number to the show behind the director’s back, to impress the professor from the Yale School of Drama. Find out how it all ends up in this sequel to “Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers”. Stevens has done it again and has created the perfect book for teen lovers of musical theatre and show choir. Once again, a book of dance, drama, show business, friendship and musicals! Wow, such a lot packed into one extremely thoughtful book, strung together with well built up characters and a strong message to boot.

Once again the book has extremely strong characterisation; Sadie as the main character has grown in stature and comes across as a strong and more mature character. I really wanted to see her thrive in the first book, and through this book she has really grown into herself and has become more of character in her own right rather than an unlikely main character. Additionally Alex has grown from a side-character to a main character, and although the story revolves around his potential involvement in the bullying, I couldn’t help but be happy that he has matured and become his own person, and equalled the strength of Sadie as a character. Once again the supporting characters are just as well described, especially Foster, who the story revolves most around. By bringing forward a supporting character and revolving the story around them it makes the story feel like an episode in a popular teen show such as a Glee; this add s a modern feel to the story and adds a popular culture edge that will bring in and entertain young adult readers. This is further mirrored in the way that the songs for the play are modern songs adapted to the drama that was unfolding on the stage. Once again by imbedding modern songs in the book it adds a modern edge and I was equally impressed that the author could take such a classic book as ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and bring it so up to date. Once again it was nice to be able to sing along to the songs, and look them up to listen to the rhythms and get a real feel as to how the musical would have been like. Once again it makes the book a lot more interactive and allows you to really get involved with the story. Additionally I loved the addition of a storyline that looked at the difficulty of bullying. It is in an incredibly important issue in schools, and to tackle it in the book although a tiny bit clichéd really worked here and was dealt with, with maturity and understanding. It also allows for a really interesting ending that pulls all the strings together, whilst also taking the reader by surprise. By the end I had worked out who the bully was however it took me a little while and the way that the characters deal with said character is a little mean, but it helps to bring an end to the destruction.

Like the first book once again the book entwines a little mystery, with friendship, trust, confusion, love and overall drama. The characters have a real sense of truth to them and are well bodied making it easy to imagine them. I thought that this book was a little more glee-like which didn’t appeal to me as much, however I still greatly enjoyed the story and the mystery that the ‘bully-storyline’ created. The discrimination towards Foster is handled with dexterity and is very relevant in today’s world and in Steven’s tackling such a tough topic it only help to show how skilled she is as a writer! For me the book was a little short however for younger readers, it is the perfect length to keep the attention and to pull the reader along to the very last page! Brilliant, and definitely worth a read if you love theatre!


Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers: S.M.Stevens

Theatre lovers brace yourselves; if you love theatre, drama, young adult fiction, or just enjoy a sing or a dance, this is the book for you. Goodness! It’s all got a bit theatrical here at mylittlebookblog. The first thing to say is thank you to the author for sending the trilogy of books to me. I am currently sinking my teeth into the second and already absolutely love it! (So expect a review soon!) As I always state in these reviews, I could not run this blog without the support of such incredible authors, and having received five books in the past week or so I am extremely busy reading and reviewing! Remember if you have a book you would like reviewing do you hesitate to send me a message through the contact page on my ‘Review Requests,’ page! Anyway, right, I won’t waste any more time, the stage is set, the actors are ready, the curtain is about rise, get ready for the show!!

Finally, a novel for teen lovers of musical theatre and show choir! Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers takes you deep into the heart of a high school drama program, with its creativity, camaraderie, politics and, well, drama. Join Sadie Perkins in her quest for a lead role, as the Crudup High School drama club makes its own musical out of Twilight. Intrigue abounds. Why does Sadie’s rival Lucey really get the role of Bella? What’s behind foreign exchange student Nigel’s interest in high school theatre? And where does the show’s director, Mr. Ellison, disappear to three days before opening night? With everything falling apart, can the cast even pull off the show? What a story! This book definitely has the reader racing to find out what will happen to this loveable cast of characters. On the front of the book it reads, ‘A must have read for fans of Glee, High School Musical and Twilight.’ I completely agree with this, it has a Glee-like-feel that really sings throughout the entirety of the book. When I first read the premise of this book, I wondered how well theatre could be made into a fiction narrative and was interested to see how well it works; well let me tell you, it works incredibly well here!

What I loved most about this book is the strong characterisation. Sadie, the main character, has such a strong build up of features that you cannot help but feel drawn to her. I was rooting for her the whole way through, lacking in confidence, but incredibly talented you cannot help but will her to succeed. When the characters are built up so extensively, the plot hangs together so much better and this is definitely proven in this book! The supporting characters are just as well described, I loved Foster and imagined him as this incredibly dramatic and theatrical actor, with a passion for playing the lead role, and Nigel, a British exchange student with a rough outside core but a soft centre who, much like Sadie, is addicted to theatre and British old-school punk. I could quite honestly go through and create character profiles for each character as they are so well described and created that they all stand very easily on their own which is a great credit to the author. The book also deals with a number of struggles that teens go through and mixed this in with the relief they feel when performing. This allowed the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of the characters, and also added sub-plots that relieved the reader at times from the use of theatre. This allowed time to step away and discover more about the characters, and then apply this back to the drama club. It is a brilliant way of writing the book as it allows for the weaving of different characters and emotions whilst also further exploring the character profiles! In terms of the plot I loved the way that the songs for the play, ‘Twilight the Musical’ were modern songs adapted to the drama that was unfolding on the stage. By imbedding the songs into the book as images, it meant that you could not only read them but also you could easily look the song up and sing the songs along with the altered lyrics, (which I did for all of them!) It makes the book more interactive and allowed me to really understand the play that the students are putting together. The writing is also incredibly fluid and at no point does it become stilted but instead it moves with pace pulling the reader along. I also loved the way that author used Sadie’s playwright mindset, to script parts of the book as you would for a theatre production. It added another texture and form to the book ands helped to embed the theatre links with even more gusto. I thought it was a brilliantly clever addition to the book! The book also has a pretty explosive ending, which I had not envisaged at all; this was well written and well thought out as to not become over-the-top, or absurd, but was managed extremely well, whilst still packing a big punch.

I could not help but sing my praises for this book; it screams drama, theatre, and show business and is definitely worth a read if that’s your kind of thing. I thought it was a lovely book with a real understanding of the genre that it is describing. A light-hearted read with some brilliant writing and an exceptional understanding of drama! *Rippling of Applause can be heard*


Jet: Russell Blake

Code name: Jet 

Twenty-eight-year-old Jet was once the Mossad’s most lethal operative before faking her own death and burying that identity forever. But the past doesn’t give up on its secrets easily. When her new life on a tranquil island is shattered by a brutal attack, Jet must return to a clandestine existence of savagery and deception to save herself and those she loves. A gritty, unflinching roller coaster of high-stakes twists and shocking turns, JET features a new breed of protagonist that breaks the mould.

 I recommend sitting down and devoting a few hours to this breathtaking book; if you don’t someone might moan about the lack of chores being seen to, or the dirty pile of washing that is being constantly added to because I promise you, you’re going to want read this right through to the end. It’s a little different for me as I do not usually read spy novels however this one has definitely given my favourite genres a shake and persuaded me to take up a new style. Russell hits the ground running as soon as the first page with ease and skill. Although I am not a reading spy books generally Blake taught me the world where the spy apparatus, and kill or be-killed moves are an every day occurrence in a way that I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages to digest more.

 The style of writing is clean and sharp with plenty of drama and high intensity situations and Jet is an extremely competent assassin; a mix of high skill with vigour and insolence. It’s really interesting to see a character so competent and strongly developed. She is definitely not a damsel in distress, however Blake has managed to create a realistic and ruthless assassin who also manages to be compassionate and sensitive and have real human qualities. She has depth and feeling that changes her from difficult to relate to, changing to a character that I ended up really feeling for. The descriptions are extremely graphic at time however they have a sense of eloquence without being tedious. The logistics, details and jargon were sufficient without being in excess i.e. the weapons used, and were used cleverly to give a background and flavour of the genre without confusion or becoming monotonous. The plot did jump backwards and forwards which for some readers may prove confusing however it was done cleverly so it was still possible to distinguish the different events and the different characters as a whole. Overall the structure is well formulated whilst the plot is solid and continues to construct the various plot lines and character profiles that grow throughout the book whilst the drama keeps the narrative striving forward with pace and danger.

When I read this book I knew I had found myself a new author to get my teeth into. Being a new reader of Russell Blake, finding the book my accident I was genuinely impressed by the good writing style, the interesting character of Jet, and the winding plot line bringing in new dramas, dangers and ruthless characters. Jet is an edgy action thriller that will throw you to all corners of the world, jet-setting to escape dangers from every direction. Overall we have an interesting foundation, a bucket of action, an stylish deceptive main character and a writing style that sweeps it into a seamlessly excellent book!