Between You and Me by Lisa Hall
My 3* review:
‘Between You and Me is currently a ‘buzz’ book, lots of people talking about it and ‘that’ twist and how brilliant it is.
It’s disappointing when you start a new buzz book and find that it just doesn’t buzz for you. While I quite enjoyed reading it and wanted to know what would happen I never felt really invested in the book, or the characters. When you know there will be a twist in a book it’s easy to spend most of the time trying to work it out, but I didn’t feel that bothered in this case, which is probably a good thing as trying to spot the twist can be really distracting.
The theme of the book is domestic violence, something that I have a personal interest in. There are scenes of physical and verbal abuse. Having very recently read and loved Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris, it was difficult not to compare the two. Unfortunately Between You and Me comes off worse in my opinion. It felt less credible and the reasons given for Sal staying in the relationship were just not convincing enough, it just didn’t ring true.
Having said that I found it easy to read and I wanted to know what happened, and I would happily read another book by Lisa Hall.
There seems to be a lot of reviews around for this book that give the twist away, so please be careful what you read!!
I was given a copy of Between You and Me by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
I really wish I knew why there are buzz books that I love and others that I hate. I know we all have different tastes but there are many reviewers who I pretty much always agree with, but there are still buzz books that don’t buzz for me that do for many others. I guess life would be pretty boring though if we all agreed!
Beside Myself by Ann Morgan
I really wanted to like this book, it sounded interesting and I really like the cover. But in the end it’s too long and just didn’t really keep my interest. I’d be interested to hear what you felt if you’ve read it.
‘Beside Myself tells the story of identical twins Helen and Ellie. Helen is bright and happy, Ellie is seen as the ‘problem’ child. One day for a game they decide to swap clothes and see if they can trick people into believing that they’re the other twin. It’s a fun game…for a while, but when Helen wants to swap back Ellie refuses. No one will believe Helen as Ellie always told stories, they just think that she is making it up. Even their own mother (who quite frankly is one of the most unpleasant characters I’ve ever read about) just tells her to be quiet. And so Helen becomes Ellie and Ellie becomes Helen.
The story is told from the point of view of Ellie (who was Helen). each chapter swaps between present and past to tell the story of how Ellie ended up alone and bitter.
Mental health problems run through the book, which can only be a good thing as it raises awareness and understanding. The author manages to write about Ellie’s descent into madness well, showing the crazy thinking and behaviour that results. It is at times hard to read, but I think it is accurate.
So why am I only giving Beside Myself three stars? I did not like the flipping between past and present with each chapter. It seems to be a very trendy thing to do at the moment, and sometimes it works well but and sometimes it doesn’t. While the concept of the book was interesting, I felt that the book would have been much, much better at half the length. It just went on too long and too much happened that wasn’t quite believable. And some of the characters were just not realistic while others appeared briefly just to help fit the storyline at some point further on in the book.
If Beside Myself had been half the length I think that it would be a really good book. I’m giving it an extra star because I think that the mental health aspect of the book is well done, realistic and helpful to increase awareness of the manic highs and crashing lows experienced by people with bipolar. But with a few changes I think that Beside Myself could of been a much better book.
I was given a copy of Beside Myself by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
Beside Myself is available from Amazon UK
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
I read Little Black Lies in September 2015 but still remember it really well which has to be a sign of a good book. This was definitely in the top end of my top ten reads for 2015 too and has been reduced on Amazon UK.
‘I don’t often give five star reviews, they are a rating for a book that totally blew me away. This book didn’t blow me away, yet I have no hesitation in giving it five stars.
Little Black Lies is incredibly well written, the story flows well and the characters are well developed and interesting. Catrin, the main character, is not particularly likeable, yet one can’t help but empathise with her. The story is told from the point of view of three people, Catrin, Callum and Rachel, each one giving something different and helping to tell the story. I am not hugely keen on books told from different perspectives, but this book doesn’t jump between the three viewpoints, the book is roughly divided into three and they each get their own section, making the book flow much better.
I loved the setting of the Falkland Islands, it’s a place that I have never given much thought to but after reading this book it’s somewhere I’d love to visit. It’s such a perfect setting for this story.
So while the book didn’t blow me away (and I guessed the ‘who dunnit’ quite early on, not that that mattered at all), I really enjoyed reading it and it was so well written that it has to be given five stars. I will definitely be reading more from Sharon Bolton.
I was given a copy of Little Black Lies by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
Bricking It by Nick Spalding
A 4* laugh out loud read. Not hugely funny but lots of chuckles. Enjoy!
‘Bricking It is not the sort of book that I normally read. I’m not sure that I can remember the last time I read a book that was classified as humour. I am now converted. I am normally a crime/thriller kinda girl and it was actually so nice to read a book where I wasn’t wondering who would die next, or who would turn out to be a murderer, and where I laughed out loud. I also quite liked a nice, happy ending with no shocks or dramas.
Bricking it follows two siblings who inherit a very run down farmhouse, they decide to do it up and sell it on, hoping to make a huge profit. The whole book focuses on the process they go through. Doesn’t sound very interesting really does it? But it kept me interested and chuckling along, it was a fun and easy read.
I’ll probably go back to reading a crime book next, but I think that a break from that genre is very healthy and I’ll definitely be looking at other books by Nick Spalding to provide some light relief.
I was given a copy of Bricking It by the publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
Bricking It is available from Amazon UK
Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge
Well I’m so pleased that I made the effort to read The Dolls House and Liar Liar before reading Little Boy Blue as it all made a lot more sense because of it. Helen Grace is a great detective and this is one of my favourite detective series (coming a close second to the Kim Stone books by Angela Marsons).
‘Little Boy Blue is Arlidge’s fifth book in his Helen Grace series. The first book, Eeny Meeny, was brilliant and a hard act to follow. The series has wavered a bit but Little Boy Blue sees a return to form. Although not as gripping as Eeny Meeny the storyline in Little Boy Blue keeps you going, wanting to read more.
I do think that to get the most out of this book you should have read most if not all of the previous books in the series. Little Boy Blue focuses on murders in the local BDSM community, something that Grace knows more about than she wants her team to know. Far more than the previous books, this one spends a lot of time on office politics, which I found frustrating and at times fairly dull, but the reason for it becomes clear in the end.
And talking of the end. Wow. I wasn’t expecting that!!! Little Boy Blue will be a hard act to follow, but one that I hope won’t be too long in the waiting, as I need to know what happens!!
Thank you to the publishers for giving me an ARC of Little Boy Blue via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’
Little Boy Blue is out on 10th March 2016 and is available from Amazon UK
Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge
‘Liar Liar is number four in the Helen Grace series. I have just read number three and four back to back so that I can read the latest release, Little Boy Blue, which is number five.
Book three, The Doll’s House, was a bit of a let down. While a perfectly good book I know that the author can do a lot better. Thankfully Liar Liar is a step in the right direction.
As we learn more about Helen Grace and her team at Southampton police station, the books become even more enjoyable. A bit like catching up with friends and finding out what they’ve been up to.
Liar Liar has plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested and trying to guess where it is all going. I’m pretty sure that you won’t though. And the end…blimey…I wasn’t expecting that. Now onto Little Boy Blue.’
Truth be told I think that I should probably take a bit of a break from Helen Grace before moving onto Little Boy Blue, as good a character as she is she isn’t a lot of fun to be around! But I’ve started it so will carry on and let you know soon what I think of book number five.