Book Review: Deceived

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Title: Deceived

Author: Heena Rathore P.

Pages: 350 pages

Plot: How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiving betrayal.

Thoughts: Let me start by saying that this is Heena Rathore’s debut novel and I was blown over by the plot, the writing and the suspense build up. ‘Deceived’ is a psychological thriller tracing the unsolved murders from the past and the recent ones. The story starts with a news article from the 1970’s about a missing teenage daughter who is the prime suspect of her parents’ murder. In present, the story revolves around Allison, whose mother and brother were brutally murdered when she was a child. She lives with her roommate Sam and her well trained pet dog Max, until one day when she decides to move in with her boyfriend Danny. Steve, Allison’s cousin who is also a journalist decides to trace the recent murders with a motive to find the killer of his aunt and cousin. The more he finds out the dangerous it gets…

At the beginning of the novel the author has given clear distinction in traits of a psychopath and a sociopath that helps a person with a non psychological background like me to distinguish the trait of the characters in the book.  I simply loved the way the story was narrated from different perspectives. The journal entries from the psychopathic murderer were the most chilling part of the book. The outcome of the darker side of love, obsession, betrayal and revenge makes the book a must read for all the psychological novel lovers. . This book couldn’t have had a more appropriate cover. I simply loved it. I was expecting a little more from the ending since the buildup was phenomenal. Never the less the book was a page turner and I could barely put it down.

I would recommend this book to all the people who love psychological thrillers. I am sure this won’t disappoint you.

Ratings: 4/5

PS: – Thanks to the Citrus Publication and the author for sending a copy of this book for an honest review.

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Book Review: Finding the Angel

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Title:  Finding the Angel

Author: Rubina Ramesh

Pages: 139 pages

Plot: All She wanted was love…
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
All He wanted was to trust…
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
All They need is to find The Angel…
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft.
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?

Thoughts:  “Finding the Angel” is a novel by Rubina Ramesh, the founding member of The Book Club. And there was no chance that I would miss reading this book.

‘The Angel’ mentioned in the title is a rare artifact that goes missing from the Ranuat Dynasty home and the entire plot revolves around finding it, with a passionate love story between a love stuck art curator and an arrogant prince running parallel. Shefali is an art curator by profession who has lost her parents at an early age. She is a person driven by love. A modern day prince, Aryan Ranuat is a charming, womanizer who is arrogant and has major trust issues due to his father. Both are damaged in their own ways. The flames spark between them from the minute they meet but as fate has it they can’t be together, neither can they be apart.

The passion shared between the leads clearly comes across to the reader. I loved how courageous and bold Shefali’s character was. More than the suspense the love story made an impact on me. The book was correctly paced with no pointless descriptions. It was crisp and to the point. The narration manoeuvred between past and the present. I wouldn’t say that the transition was seamless. It was confusing at few points but after reading a bit more the time of incidence taking place became clear.

I loved the story and I personally think that it would make a great Bollywood movie. Once I started the book, it was very difficult to put it aside. I would recommend this book those on the watch out for a royal love story with a suspense angle to it.

Ratings: 4/5

PS: – Thanks to TBC for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

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Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty

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Title:  Truly Madly Guilty

Author:  Liane Moriarty

Pages: 415 pages

Plot: Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

Favorite Quote: “There is no special protection when you cross that invisible line from your ordinary life to that parallel world where tragedies happen. It happens just like this. You don’t become someone else. You’re still exactly the same. Everything around you still smells and looks and feels exactly the same.”

Thoughts:  Truly Madly Guilty, won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards in the Fiction category. I have read a few books by Liane Moriarty and they were pretty interesting so I decided to give this book a read.

This book is about an incidence that takes place, out of the blue which changes the course of life for three families. Who thought a simple BBQ would turn into a fateful event disrupting the normal lives of three families and will leave their marriage, friendship, survival at stake? Will they be able to cope up? Revive? Get back to being normal? Read the book to find out.

The story maneuvered between two months after the BBQ and the day of the BBQ. The mystery is well built but I felt that the revelation didn’t live upto the mark. I was quite a bit disappointed by it since I was anticipating a breath stopping, sharp gasping suspense. The story did seem a little stretched and could have kept the interest of the reader higher with a tighter edit.

There are three couples Sam and Clementine, Erika and Oliver, Vid and Tiffany whose POVs are clearly dissected. Understanding each character and their thoughts, feelings and behivour was effortless. I especially loved Erika’s character and her complicated friendship with Clementine. I really liked the characterization and also the fact that wherever relevant the odd behavioral habits of the individuals were backed up with a psychosocial explanation.

Over all the narration is the strength of the book, there are a few high moments but the story line could have been better.

Ratings: 3/5

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Book Review:The Doppelgänger

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Title:  The Doppelgänger

Author:  Prateek Yadav

Pages: 170 pages

Plot: The perfect plan for the perfect heist-a team of con-men, foolproof disguise and a painting worth millions, nothing could have gone wrong. But something did… A man finds himself on a bus to Manali with nothing but some cash and severe memory loss. Embarking on a frantic hunt for his identity, he begins to discover that his presence in Manali isn’t an accident. The closer he gets to the truth, the more elusive it becomes. Ghosts from his past haunt him as he finds himself trapped between his doppelganger, the police, a sadistic gangster and his own dwindling sanity. The journey of the search for his identity ends up being a race for survival.

Thoughts: What if you wake up to find yourself in a bus and you don’t remember getting on it in the first place? What if you don’t remember who you are? Scary. Isn’t it? The Doppleganger is a psychological thriller that trails Sameer, who finds himself on a bus to Manali with no memory at all. He starts a search to regain his memory with the clues he finds in his path and discovers himself at the epicenter of a labyrinth of odd events, murders and circumstances.

The Doppelgänger is Prateek Yadav’s debut novel and he has done a great job with the story plotting. I personally got intruded in the story post page 50, but then on the suspense lived until the end.  The author tricks the reader in drawing a conclusion and believing it only to find out that it wasn’t true. I was constantly trying to fit Sameer’s identity as either good or the evil doopleganger. The characters are well explained to be easily understood by the reader. I loved the fact that the story had a crisp editing that kept the essence of the book alive.

For a debut psychological thriller, The Doppelgänger is a great attempt.

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: – Thanks to TBC for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: Behind Closed Doors

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Title:  Behind Closed Doors

Author:  B.A. Paris

Pages: 304 pages

Plot: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Thoughts: Behind Closed Doors was a semifinalist in Goodreads’ best mystery/thriller 2016 category. I would start by saying sorry for subtle spoilers in the review, but I had to let it out.

The book is about a married couple Grace and Jack, who are perfect in the eyes of the world but have a very unusual dimension of life inside the house. Grace is an epitome of a perfect wife for the world, but she is carrying the burden of secrets she dare not share with anyone. Jack is a handsome and a successful lawyer, who specializes in defending victims of domestic violence. But appearance can be deceiving.  Grace had a younger sister, Millie, who was born with a down syndrome. She was soon going to move out of the boarding school and move in with them. But Jack has some special plans that give Grace nightmares.

Bravo to B.A. Paris for writing such an amazing debut novel.  The plot was unlike any other suspense novel I have read and I loved the narration, flow and the characterization. The narration was fast paced, gripping and consuming. It was so well plotted and narrated that shivers and panic ran down my body a couple of times.  I simply loved the characterization. I loathed the psychopath Jack’s character to the core and felt protective about Grace. I loved how seamlessly the story swirled between the past and the present creating a confluence in tale at a point.

I especially loved the end conversation between Esther and Grace. How understanding and sharp Esther was. Also, even Mille could identify Jack’s evilness and how her act instilled fresh hope and courage in Grace. I read this book over a period of two days and I must say that my heart was at peace only when the book ended. The book left me with a lot of after thoughts mainly if Grace could have planned an escape sooner?

All the mystery/suspense lovers watch out for this one.

Ratings: 5/5

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Book Review: The Other Half Lives

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Title:  The Other Half Lives

Author: Sophie Hannah

Pages: 560 pages

Plot: Ruth Bussey knows what it means to be in the wrong – and to be wronged. She once did something she regrets, and was punished excessively for it. Now Ruth is trying to rebuild her life and has found a love she doesn’t believe she deserves. Aidan Seed is a passionate, intense man who has also been damaged by his past. Desperate to connect with the woman he loves, he confides his secret: he killed a woman called Mary Trelease. Through her shock, Ruth recognizes the name. And when she’s realized why it’s familiar, her fear and revulsion deepen. The Mary Trelease that Ruth knows is very much alive…

Favorite Quote: Make decisions based on hope, not fear.

Let me start by mentioning that Sophie Hannah is a UK based, internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction and now I know why. ‘The other half lives’ is a dark psychological mystery novel filled with jaw dropping suspense.  This book is title ‘The dead lie down’ in the US.

Like the other books from the Spilling CID series, detectives Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse are trying to investigate a murder which may or may not have happened. The story mainly revolves around Ruth Bussey, Adian Seed, Mary Trelease. Ruth is recovering from a setback of the past when she meets Adian Seed a picture-framer and both of them fall in love. Mary Trelease is a painter with her own set of damages. The story is a little confusing at start but its picks up when the police finds out that Mary Trelease is alive. I did feel that the book could be wrapped up in 350 pages.

The narration of the story mainly switches between the third person, Ruth Bussey and Charlie Zailer. The story is very well weaved, narrated and plotted with a strong characterization. I was not able to guess until the end what is going to happen next. The plot clearly highlights the fact that circumstances can move people to state of mental imbalance in an irrevocable way.

I especially liked the choice of the title ‘The other half lives’. I would strongly recommend this book to psychological mystery loves who don’t mind reading big books!

Ratings: 4/5

 

 

Book Review- Never Let Me Go

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Title:  Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Pages: 288 pages

Publication: Vintage Books

Plot: As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

Favorite Quote: “Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it’s a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.”

The protagonist Kathy, age 31 was a student of boarding school Hailsham, a school for special kids. All the kids in this school have a similar destiny already set for them. (I don’t want to reveal the plot twist; hence this is all I am going to say) Ruth and Tommy are Kathy’s confidants. The book revolves around their friendships, dreams, love, different phases of life, etc. The plot is very unique yet connectable. (I am finding it very difficult to not spill out any beans)

The writing style is very creative and interactive. It seems like the protagonist is talking to the reader throughout the book. At certain point the protagonist goes into an elaborate description of things, which is interesting at first but gets mundane later.

I had a lot of questions and alternate measures that people like Kathy could opt for towards the end. They could have rebelled, made their own destiny and not accepted what had already been planned for them. I wish there was some explanation offered by the author.

To sum it up, the book plot is one of a kind with great a narrating style.

Rating- 3/5

Book Review: Surpanakha

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Title:  Surpanakha

Author: Hariharan Iyer

Pages: 304 pages

Publication: Notion Press

Plot: Educated, young, no-nonsense bearing, able administrator-these are the equalities that won Sesha the loyalties of the people after three years of rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. An allegation that he was the mastermind behind the murder of 73 Kannadigas threatens to bring him down but he is miraculously saved at the 11th hour.

Even before he can relish his victory, Sesha is slapped with the charge of sexually offending a young nurse. This time around, the case is strong and his supporters are uncertain. Worse, his teenage daughter calls him ‘vile’ and walks out of the house. While Mythili, his wife promises her full support, her secretive activities-undertaken with the help of a retired cop-is cause of concern for Sesha.

Will Zarina, the human-rights activist, succeed in bringing him down? What about the insinuations of a celebrity lawyer that he is casteist and anti-minorities? When the young nurse is found dead, the case becomes even more complex. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And who is the mastermind?

This political thriller describes the current state of the country very well. The media involvement in law cases, protesting activists, loopholes and corruption in the system as a plot setting is realistic and quite gripping. Honestly I am not much into politics, but this book kept me glued from start till the end. I wanted to find out whether Mr Sesha is innocent or has he really committed the crime. There are two major plot twists amongst the many which will make you feel closer to the truth but again you will have to wait to find out.

The first few chapters in the book are narrated from individual character’s perspective. Initially, it was a little difficult to remember the characters and the kind of impression they left on the reader was confusing, but post that the story picks pace and becomes intense and gripping. While most of the characterization is developed well, my favorite character in the book would undoubtedly be Mythlli. Her determination, trust and presence of mind balled me over.

You will only understand why this book is named Suparnakha towards the end. Over all the book is quite a read for all the thriller lovers.

My Ratings: 3.5/5

About the Author: HariharanIyer is a finance professional based in Dar es Salaam. Not content with just a rewarding corporate job, he took to writing a couple of years back. He blogged on media and current affairs for a year at valadyviews.blogspot.com before hitting on the idea for this novel. An idea so powerful that it convinced the accountant in him that he could put together not just a balance sheet but an intriguing political thriller as well. He has definite views on politics, NGOs and media ethics and has tried to package them in the form of an interesting novel. Hariharan lives with his wife in Dar es Salaam while his two sons are pursuing their ambitions in India.

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PS: – Thanks to the author for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

Book Review: Chergui’s Child

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Title:  Chergui’s Child

Author: Jane Riddell

Pages: 278 pages

Plot: Thirty-something Olivia is recovering from a traumatic event five years earlier, when she is summoned to the bedside of her dying aunt, Dorothy. Shortly afterwards, she learns that her aunt has left her a large sum of money. She also receives a letter with a startling revelation. From Morocco to London to the south of France, this is the story of one woman’s journey to make her life whole again.

After Olivia’s beloved aunt’s death, she receives a startling letter from her aunt with some sum of money. After reading the revelations in the letter a lot of unattended emotions and questions come to life. The book is about Olivia’s pursuit to find answers. With Olivia on the quest to know the truth, the readers too will dawn upon a quest with her, feeling an urge to know the truth.

Our protagonist Olivia is has a complex character. She has been through a lot in life at so many different levels. She comes across as a confident, in charge of her life kind of a person at the start of the book, but as the narration progresses, her flaws and psychological concerns come to life. All the characters are flawed in some way and the author has backed it up with an explanation, making the book even more realistic.

Emotions are very well depicted throughout. I specially loved the way author described the various locations in France. I wanted to travel with the characters myself. The book is described from two perspectives. The present time narration is from Olivia’s perspective and the flashbacks are narrated from a third person’s point of view. This adds a remarkable essence to the writing.

All in all the book is an emotionally captivating read. In the end, the book will leave you with a hopeful feeling.

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: – Thanks to the author for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

Book Review: Give It Back

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Title:  Give it Back

Author: Danielle Esplin

Publisher: Mira Books

Plot: This novel follows three characters: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella.

Lorraine:

Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.

Lexy:

Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else.

Ella:

When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine.

But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is.

Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.

About the Aurthor: I’m from South Africa, and moved to Seattle, Washington, in January 2015. I’m 22 years old and I’m trying to live my dream by writing! My home language is Afrikaans, but I’m writing in English. This has been an amazing journey, and I would love for you to be a part of it!

The book is a psychological thriller based mainly in Seattle. I am trying hard not to disclose the plot, so I will tell you all a little about the plot and more about my comments on the book, consciously trying not to slip in any spoilers.

The book is written from three different people’s point of view. Lorraine who is a single mother, diagnosed with cancer, Lexy who is the Au pair employed by Lorraine and Ella, Lorraine’s sister who has come down to Seattle to visit her sister. Two people go missing and the investigation revolves around it. As the investigation proceeds shocking revelations come to light.

After a long time I read a book that kept me guessing until the end. Every time I thought I am close to guessing the mystery, I failed. The characters are very well built. Even though I was not able to relate to a few characters, I was able to understand their personalities well. The story is narrated in the past as well as present and this adds an interesting flavor to the narration. The turn of events are very well carved.  I was hooked to the book from the start trying to get to the end as soon as I could.

The book will be published on April 15th 2016 and I strongly recommend this book to all the readers who are in for a book which keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout. I will definitely watch out for more books by this author.

Ratings: 4/5

PS: – Thanks to the author for sending an ARC of the book for an honest review.