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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Fact File Review

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Hello fellow bookworms! This is my first review of 2018, and I’ve decided to spruce it up a bit this year to make things a little bit easier for myself, and hopefully for all you lovely readers as well! Reviews, while they are a great way to reflect back on a book you’ve just read, are a pain to write, and can sometimes be very long winded and a bit boring to read. My new-and-improved recipe for reviews is a fact file format to quickly break down my favourite and least favourite parts of the book, as well as briefly reflecting on the writing style and storyline. It will be easy to skim through, and will save me a lot of writing time, especially with an extra busy uni schedule! So, without rambling on much longer, I have just finished ACOTAR and have to talk about it!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre is a huntress.

She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price…

Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feeling for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.

Feyre must find a way to break a spell, or lose her heart forever.

My Review

Genre: Fantasy/YA (Contemporary Beauty & the Beast retelling)

Setting: The Mortal Lands & Prythian

Predictable?: Parts of the story were semi-predictable because it is modelled around Beauty and the Beast, but there were a lot of twists and turns, especially towards the end, which were quite unpredictable

Plot Pace: A but slow starting, but the middle and end really picked and there were points I didn’t want to put it down!

Favourite Character and why?: Of course I loved Feyre! Tamlin took some warming to but I did really like his character by the end, and I automatically fell in love with Lucien! Rhysand is also a curious character, I’m not quite sure to feel about him, it’s a love hate relationship at the moment, we’ll see what the rest of the series brings!

Least Favourite Character and why?: Amarantha was a nasty, evil b****, some of the things she did was disgusting!

Favourite part of the book?: The beginning when Feyre first got into Prythian was great, I love setting the scene for the main parts of the book, especially fantasy novels when you get the world building! The end as well, of course, was incredible, and I am very excited to start ACOMAF!

Least favourite part of the book?: When Feyre went back to the Mortal Lands, I understand why it had to happen, but I preferred the parts in Prythian, and here’s to many more!

Well written?: I’ve never read any Sarah J. Maas books, but her writing is amazing! The world building is on par with Cassie Clare, I cannot wait to see how it develop as the series continues.

Emotional?: There were parts that made me laugh, there were parts that made me squeal, and there were parts that made me cry… an emotional rollercoaster, and longing for more!

Gripping?: Absolutely! I wish I had less work to do so I could’ve read it faster, but very gripping!

Review round up: Perfect for all lovers of fantasy, but not suitable for younger readers! If you love Cassandra Clare and other YA fantasy writers, or have enjoyed Maas’ writing in the past, definitely pick this one up!

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

I hope you like the new review format, I’d live to hear your thoughts! Also, what do you think of the ACOTAR series? No spoilers please (obviously!) but would love to know your opinions on the series!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Atomic Number Sixty’ by Dave Johnston

I was sent a copy of Atomic Number Sixty to review, and accepted because it was a fairly short novel, and had the possibility to be action packed. There were ups and downs in this book for me, but the end was definitely exciting!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


‘Atomic Number Sixty’ by Dave Johnston 

Holly Holloway is locked in a dusty room, strapped to a ticking bomb. 

What would you do, if you only had one hour left to live?

My Review

Atomic Number Sixty is a thrilling novella that follows Holly in two different times; before and during her time with a bomb strapped to her. The events are unpredictable with a definite climactic ending. The way the chapters are written make you want to keep reading until the end, as they are short and keep switching between times. Everything was extremely fast paced an logical, with everything adding up at the end of this very short but rollercoaster of a novella.

Holly was an easily likeable person from the beginning, which was good seeing as the book followed her as the main character. The book being a novella, it was difficult for any real character developent to take place, but Johnston still managed to get plenty of personality in what little time he had. As much as the situation was not incredibly realistic, and the development of characters, there was a certain sense of realism in the story, which I feel was made by the points when Holly was living life before being strapped to the bomb. 

I was definitely kept guessing until the very end, and was not expecting the massive twist at the end, which really topped this novella off for me. I don’t often read novellas, becase they are short and don’t have a lot of room for development, but what I really like about this one was it was fast paced, down to the point, and still managed to get key points and characteristics in too. The entire part of the book that was explicitly focused on Holly and the bomb was well written, because it completely hid the fact that anything would happen apart from her blowing up. 

I would definitely recommend this for any lover of thrillers, and anyone who needs a quick read. It is possible to read this in one sitting, and addictive enough as well!

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘The Darkest Secret’ by Alex Marwood

The Darkest Secret is a fairly recent release, only being published earlier in 2016, but I just couldn’t wait to read it! However, because of the amount of work I had to do, I made my way through it quite slowly, but my reading definitely had nothing to do with the gripping plotline!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


‘The Darkest Secret’ by Alex Marwood

When three-year-old identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?
Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…

My Review

The Darkest Secret is a mystery thriller book set in England, and follows several characters in their telling of different parts of the story. Set at different times, the weekend Coco goes missing and the weekend of her father’s funeral, the reader slowly gets to unravel the mystery from each character’s perspective. Everything that happens is logical, and everything added up at the end, which is always a satisfying end to any nivel, especially thrillers! Of course, with every good thriller comes unpredictability and the all important climactic ending, which both made a strong appearance in this novel! In fact, one major plot point that tied everything together happened on the very last page, which definitely kept the suspense going until the very end, literally!

There were so many characters involved, which sometimes made it difficult to keep up with who was who, but also madenit more exciting, because there were more witnesses with stories of their own to tell. My favourite characters were Milly/Mila and Ruby, because of their sisterly relationship that developed over the course of the novel, and the genuine nature of their characters. All of the characters were very well developed and felt quite life like, but it also helped that the circumstances in which everything happened was quite realistic as well.

I was always kept guessing throughout the book! It started off quite slow, and the main plot points didn’t really start to kick in until about half way through the book, but once they did I was turning every possibility over in my head. My favourite part of the book was when Ruby and Milly are going through the jewellery, as I found that to be the point where everything kicked off and really started rolling along a lot faster. The cliffhangers at the end of chapters were written particularly well, because the following chapter would always be jumping to the other part of the story on the other weekend, so it kept me reading to find out what was going to happen. It could also get quite emotional at times, especially towards the end when everything came to light.

I would definitely recommend this to any mystery fan, especially if you want to be hanging on until the very last page. Make sure you give this book the time it deserves, unlike me, as it would be very possible to read in one sitting because it is so gripping!

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry

I picked this up in a second hand book shop ages ago and only just got round to reading it! I was quite a quick read for me but I’d heard so many good things about it, and the film, so ai thought I’d give it a go and it definitely lived up to it’s reviews.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry

In a perfect world, Jonas begins to see the flaws…

It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in the community wants for anything. Everything needed is provided. And at twelve years old, each member of the community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders.
Twelve-year old Jonas has never thought there was anything wrong with his world. But from the moment he is selected as the Receiver of Memory, Jonas discovers that their community is not as perfect as it seems.
It is only with the help of the Giver, that Jonas can find what has been lost. And it is only through his personal courage that Jonas finds the strength to do what is right…

My Review

The Giver is a young adult dystopian fiction novel set in a world where you are put into families as children instead of being born into one, given a job instead of choosing one, and having your wholelife dictated by the government. When they skip Jonas in the Ceremony of 12, where he is to be given his role in chosen by the Committee of Elders, he panics, until at last he finds out he will be the next Receiver of Memory. The events are unpredictable, as is usually thr case when entering a dystopian world in a novel, and the ending was climactic and at the same time slighly confusing, which I guess is why it extends further into more books. The plot was fast paced, constantly making me want to find out about this world being laid out in the book, and was written very logically with a lot of thought going into the new world creation.
The named characters were fairly thin on the ground to give the reader focus on Jonas on The Giver. I thought that the Giver was an interesting character for all of the knowledge he held and the concept behind why he exists in the first place. Despite the charcaters existing in this made up world, the main characters did feel quite real in the way that they were written. 

The story definitely kept me guessing because a lot of concepts were left in the dark until the very end. My favourite part of the book was when Jonas and The Giver have their first meeting, as a lot is revealed about the world they live in and why The Giver has his job. I think these scenes werebwritten particularly well, because I imagine it can be difficult to portray the transferral of memory, by Lowry did this very well. The book did strike up some emotion in me, especially finding out about Release from the community.

All in all, The Giver was a very well thought about book, with interesting concepts which would interest any fans of The Hunger Games or Divergent series’. I would definitely recommend this is a good, interesting, quick read for lovers of dystopian young adult fiction.

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany & JK Rowling

I preordered my copy of Cursed Child back on September 10th when it was announced and was first in line to collect my copy on July 31st at 10am (I couldn’t get to a midnight release party 😢) and then gobbled it down in about 7 hours in one sitting. Basically, I was incredibly excited for an extension of the magical world created by JK Rowling and I was not disappointed!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany & JK Rowling

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

My Review

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the official rehearsal script book of the new play showing in London written by Thorne, Tiffany and Rowling, and continues the magical fantasy genre of the seven books that come before. Set in the Wizarding World, the reader gets to experience the continuation of life from the Deathly Hallows epilogue, particularly focusing on Harry and Ginny’s youngest child, Albus, and Draco’s son, Scorpius. The events that happen were definitely not predictable, and the ending was very climactic. The plot was fast paced and logical, yet it could sometimes get a tad confusing as, having the time turner as a big part of the story, it wasn’t always chronological. Despite the sometimes confusing timeline and some very ‘out-there’ concepts (yes, I’m talking about the trolley witch for those of you who have read it!), all threads added up at the end.

I loved the introduction of the new characters, especially Albus and Scorpius and, because the story was primarily focused on them, their character development was very well done! The relationship between these two characters also caught my attention and being well thought out (again, if you’ve read the book you probably know what I’m talking about!) As a continuation of the Harry Potter series, of course the characters came back to life as soon as I started reading, but also the newly written characters also had the same life that Rowling out into all of her characters in the previous 7 novels.

The story definitely kept me guessing! I had been subjected to no spoilers (#KeepTheSecrets) so I really had no idea what to expect! My favourite part of the book was, aahh I’m not going to say because I’m keeping the secrets! There were some pretty wacky moments though. The more action packed scenes were written particularly well, as were the more mysterious ones. There were times when I laughed and I did cry once or twice as well! The story was definitely gripping and kept me turning the pages way into the night!

I would recommend to any Harry Potter fan who has always wanted a continuation of the characters stories, and who are prepared for some wacky outcomes!

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘The Killing Files’ by Nikki Owen

I was sent a copy of The Killing Files from Harper Collins and after reading the first installment in the trilogy- Subject 375- I was sucked in and had to more…

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘The Killing Files’ by Nikki Owen

No matter how fast you run, the past always catches up with you
Dr Maria Martinez is out of prison and on the run.
Her mission? To get back to the safety of her family.
Little does she know that this might be the most dangerous place of all…

My Review

The Killing Files is a sci-fi thriller which follows Maria, now on the run, and her mission to escape both The Project and MI5. Set in various places but mainly in her home country of Spain, the novel is written in a similar style to the first, whereas the present and the future are happening at the same time and meet at the end to create the chronology of the book and make sense to the reader. The events, especially towards the end, were definitely unpredictable, making the ending climactic and exciting, setting the reader up for an incredible end to the trilogy. The plot was fast paced and everything was logical and well researched by the author.

My favourite character, besides Maria who you can’t help but root for, was probably Chris, as he brought out the more relaxed side of Maria, and also Patricia, who did the same. Like ‘Subject 375’, most of the characters had well developed back stories which made them a lot more realistic.

The story definitely kept me guessing, and this was increased due to how the story was structured, beginning with Maria in an unidentified location that you only find out about towards the very end of the book. The best part of the book, in my opinion, was the end when the story got very exhilarating and everything started to be revealed and discovered slowly and pieces were put together.

I would definitely recommend The Killing Files to anyone interested in the thriller or sci-fi genre, as it definitely follows both down to a tee!

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘All Is Not Forgotten’ by Wendy Walker

I received a copy of All Is Not Forgotten from the publishers because I was absolutely captivated by the description! This crime thriller novel sounded amazing and I couldn’t wait to read it, and it did not disappoint.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘All Is Not Forgotten’ by Wendy Walker

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

My Review

All Is Not Forgotten is a crime thriller novel that follow Jenny and her family on their mission to uncover the perpetrator of a terrible crime in which Jenny was the victim; rape. Given a drug to help her forget this awful incident, Jenny decides she wants to reverse the effects so she can identify her rapist. The narrator of the novel is her therapist, explaining to us exactly what happened on the night and how he works with Jenny and her family to struggle through this difficult time. There are many side characters introduced into the story which makes things all the more exciting, as there are more possibilities as to who could have committed the crime. The events throughout the story were in no way predictable, which made for a climactic ending, with all loose threads coming together to explain all that went on that night.

I felt as though all of the characters were very well developed, especially the main members of the family, but even the side characters had their own back story’s written for them! My favourite character was probably Jenny because I felt that her story was so impressively devloped that it was a lot easier to connect with her. Saying that, all of the characters did feel very real to me, especially, as I said, because they were so deeply developed.

The story definitely kept me guessing, despite taking me so long to read, as I was constantly trying to work out who the culprit was! The best part of the book, I found, was the depth that the author went into in the character’s therapy sessions, and how much research that must have been done to make those scenes so accurate.

In summary, the book definitely did it’s job on telling s great crime thriller, especially with character development being at 110%. I would definitely recommend this as a great summer read to keep you entertained.

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi

I received When Breath Becomes Air from NetGalley, and I don’t usually read memoirs but I’m really interested in hospital fiction and I had heard really good things about this, and it did not disappoint!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live. 

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away? 

Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

My Review

When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir about a neurosurgeon who develops a life changing form of cancer in the late stages of his surgical residency. The book follows him through his early life at school and how he decided what he wanted to qualify as, through his years as a surgical resident and how he battled with cancer. When he unfortunately dies before he can finish his story, his wife continues his unsaid words in the most beautiful way. There are some moments which got slightly confusing when he talks quite philosophically, but some parts where very eye opening and meaningful as well.

I don’t read memoirs often, but after reading this, I don’t know why that is. Kalanithi’s writing was so expressive and it didn’t feel forced or exaggerated in any way. I think it was also a more hard hitting read to know that everything actually happened in real life. The people within the story came to life for me through his writing, especially for us as readers who are unlikely to have met them.

I really enjoyed every part of this book, I don’t want to say I preferred on part over the other. Part 1 was so insightful, talking about his life before being diagnosed and how he would always work that little bit harder, push himself to achieve his goals. Part 2 showed how brave and determined he was to battle his cancer and continue to save lives as a surgeon. I think this part really made me think about how something like this can happen to anyone, and how we should take each day as it comes and live it to the full because we never know what’s round the corner. The whole book speaks to this, among many other, morals, and it is one that will stay with me for a long time. I must commend the epilogue as well, written by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, for her continuation of his story, both before and after he died, when he got to weak to write. Her writing made me sob uncontrollably, and, again, it was so hard hitting because it was true, but everything was described with such detail and compassionately written, it would be difficult for anyone to read it and come out the other end with a dry eye. To say that I’ve learnt something from this book would be an understatement. I think the easiest thing to do is read it and find out how many hidden  morals there really are within it.

I would definitely recommend this book, mainly to memoir lovers, or anyone who likes hospital fiction (guilty!) but also to people who are looking for a book to remember because of it’s meaning and the way it will change your life, maybe in such a subtle way that you don’t notice, but it’s there.

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Shtum’ by Jem Lester

Shtum is a book I was approved from NetGalley, and was one of those ‘I’m going to request this book because it is highly recommended by a lot of people even though I’m not really sure I’m going to enjoy it’ books. I was wrong. I’m am very pleased I decided to request this book, and actually go through with the reading of it, because it was something special!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Shtum’ by Jem Lester

Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.

When Ben and Emma fake a separation – a strategic decision to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal – Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben’s elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.

A powerful, emotional, but above all enjoyable read, perfect for fans of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.

My Review

Shtum is a contemporary novel which follows issues such as disability, psychology and family struggle. The book is told from the point of view of Ben, the father of severely autistic Jonah. After faking a separation to aid Jonah’s educational tribunal case to get him into a more suitable school, father and son go to live with Georg, Ben’s father. Three generations of male in one house, living around and trying to put up with each other. The events that happen in the story are laid out to the reader as they happen, and the main climax is certainly unpredictable; neither the reader nor the characters know how it is going to turn out, because the situation is so realistic. The ending caught me off guard a bit, although it was a nice wrap up and calm down from the climax of the tribunal case. Shtum is fast paced, there is never a dull moment, and the author has clearly done a lot of research for logical and accurate representations of the characters and the situations.

Character wise, I think it is easier to empathise with Ben, as he is narrating the events, but both Jonah and Georg are very well thought out characters and, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of research must have gone into the book to create those characters. Not only is the storyline realistic enough, but the characters were also popping off the pages here, there and everywhere, they were just so unique and so well developed they could have been standing in front of me.

There is a constant guessing game through Shtum, as with real life events, you never know what turn something is going to take until someone tells you, which is exactly what happened with the tribunal case. It was impossible to know the outcome until the letter came through to Ben. My favourite part of the book, however, was when Ben took the stand in the court to say his bit about caring for Jonah. I though this was very insightful, both in the nature of the book and for the reader to better understand Jonah’s feelings. This was written particularly well, probably, again, through extensive research of living with autism and autistic children. I will say that a scene towards the end of the book did make me cry, but I don’t want to say too much else for fear of spoiling it for you all!

This was a such a gripping story which taught me so much about a lot of things, but was particularly insightful about living and dealing with autism around you and the struggles some people go through in life. Shtum made me a lot more understanding, but also grateful, and, for me, it is a highly recommended read!

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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4.5 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Beside Myself’ by Ann Morgan

I was approved Beside Myself by Ann Morgan on NetGalley, and was quite excited to start reading, and I must say it did not disappoint! An interesting storyline concept written exquisitely well!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Beside Myself’ by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people’s expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex.

My Review

 

Beside Myself could fall under many genre categories, the main ones being contemporary thriller, mystery and psychological, with sub genres in mental health and drama. Set in England (we all know I love a good novel set in my home country!), Beside Myself follows Helen and Ellie, identical twins who decide to swap places, just as a game, and see if anyone will notice. It was only meant to be a game, but Ellie (playing at being Helen) doesn’t want to swap back. With alternative chapters showing us what happened before and now, we get the idea that a swap back never happened, and how this affected both twins in different ways. Ellie (playing Helen) or ‘Hellie’ succeeded in almost everything she did, and grew up to be a successful TV star. Helen (stuck as Ellie) on the other hand, spirals into the horrors of mental illness; depression, self harm and bipolar. She got tired of trying to explain to the people around her that she wasn’t who they thought she was, but it all gets too much. The storyline is quite complex and strange, as the concept seems quite unrealistic, but the way it is written makes it seem like it could happen everyday. This makes everything quite unpredictable, as everything comes together at the end for a climactic finale. This novel is fast paced, with a well thought out plot, and characters that will keep you captivated throughout.

 

My favourite character is difficult to pinpoint, as it was hard to connect with the main characters because of the psychologically complex events happening to them. I found that I had sympathy for Helen in the beginning when no-one believed her when she told them she was not Ellie, and this soon grew to anger with all of the other characters who no longer believed the truth. Despite the concept being hard to deem as ‘realistic’, the writing helped the characters come to life and that was a factor that made the book see more like it could happen.

My favourite part of the book was towards the beginning, when the complexity started to really unfold, because I think that’s when the emotions were felt the most, anger especially. These were particularly well written, as it can’t be easy trying convey a character swap in a novel without confusing the reader! I was completely gripped throughout the book, a definite page turner!

 

 

I would recommend this book to all overs of contemporary fiction, especially thrillers, mystery and those with psychological twist. Some scenes have the involvement of drugs, sex, mental illness and swearing, which makes this book unsuitable for younger readers.

My Rating: 4.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)