#blogtour House Of Spines by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone1 @OrendaBooks #HouseOfSpines

House of Spines blog poster 2017

My Review:

House of Spines by Michael J Malone sucked me right in from the very beginning. Who hasn’t daydreamed that one day they found out that they had an inheritance from some very rich relative that they had never known about?? So when Ran, who was down on his luck and trying to make a living as an author was told that he now owned a very large home in the posh part of town, complete with swimming pool, housekeeper and a very large library, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the story.

Ran was very isolated before his inheritance, his wife left him after he suffered a breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar, with both parents dead the only people that he had regular contact with were his agent and his neighbour. So a move was something that Ran was happy and able to do and short notice, so short that he didn’t take his medication with him. So when he started to see strange things in his new home and becomes convinced that there is a woman who lives in the lift of his new home we are never quite sure whether the woman is real or whether Ran is suffering another bipolar relapse after stopping his meds.

Malone writes Ran’s descent into madness very well, and it was hard not to get caught up in it at times. Suspicion and paranoia cause Ran to isolate himself further and soon isn’t sure who he can trust. When his cousins attempt to manipulate Ran into agreeing to sell the mansion that has become his home will Ran have the strength to stand up to them?

I really enjoyed reading House of Spines, it’s a cleverly written book that I’m still trying to work out!

Blurb:

House of Spines front

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

About The Author:

Michael Malone Photo

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

 

House Of Spines By Michael J Malone is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

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