book review

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

beside myself
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

book review

The Doll’s House by M.J. Arlidge

the dolls house
The Dolls House by M.J. Arlidge

 

‘The Doll’s House is M.J. Arlidge’s third book about Detective Helen Grace. The series started with a bang with Eeny Meeny, a brilliant book. Next came Pop Goes the Weasel which was very good but not quite as good as the first. Then came the Doll’s House, and Liar Liar and finally Little Boy Blue is due out soon.

I had read the first two but I’d heard that The Doll’s House was nowhere near as good so I’d never quite got round to reading it. But I recently got a copy of the soon to be released Little Boy Blue and knew that I really needed to read books three and four first. So The Dolls House was pushed to the top of my tbr pile.

If anyone else had written this book I’d probably of given it four stars, but having been blown away by Eeny Meeny I know that Arlidge can do better. This just felt slightly predictable, although it was very well written and left you guessing over who the baddie was. From what I hear The Doll’s House is a little blip for Arlidge, with books four and five heading back to form. But The Doll’s House is an important part of the puzzle, that needs to be read to keep the reader up with the police characters that feature in all the Helen Grace books. But this all sounds pretty negative and yet The Doll’s House is a perfectly decent book, just not as good as Arlidge is capable of.’

The Doll’s House is available from Amazon UK now.