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: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: Guardian of Paradise

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Title:  Guardian of Paradise

Author: W.E. Lawrence

Pages: 297 page

Plot: In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific. But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own. Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.

The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano. Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing. Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

I loved the way Kiara epitomizes strength and femininity at once. The characterization in the book is very strong. The book premise is based on a South Pacific Island of Alofa. The portrayal of Alofa will make you want to pack your bags and visit Alofa right away. The book is high on romance and adventure. It is always interesting to see these two aspects go hand in hand. On the romance front, Kiara and Trevor have a very sweet bond. It is interesting to see how their relationship progresses. Adventure wise, the story is quite predictable yet the writing makes you want to read until the end. In all the book is a very light and fun read.

Ratings: 3.5/5

About the Author: W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. Despite wishing he had taken more courses in journalism and communications, he has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.
Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

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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Links for downloading e-books: Amazon India | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Links for ordering paperbacks: Amazon India | Flipkart

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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.

 

Book Review: Never Never Part Three

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Title:  Never Never Part 3

Author: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Publisher: Hoover Ink

Genre: Thriller, Romance

Length:  92 pages (Kindle Edition)

Plot: New York Times bestselling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated final installment in the Never Never novella series.
Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything. Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were?

Favorite Quote: “Fate is a magnetic pull of our souls toward the people, places, and things we belong with”

Never Never part 1 & 2 had built a great hype amongst the readers. I was eagerly awaiting the third part. I rejoiced the moment when I heard the announcement of the book being published. The first two parts had built a great amount of excitement and speculation. I literally was cursing the publication house for dividing the book in three parts. Let me tell you, I had a lot of expectations from the final book and it was a disappointment in a lot of ways.

The book picks up from the exact spot where the last book ended. (The way the last book ended was really cruel on the readers :P) The book is short and seemed too rushed towards the ending. The writing style of this book is pretty similar to the previous two books which is a good thing.

I wasn’t completely convinced with the justification given by the authors for the memory loss. What about the clues found in the first two parts? The mystery trail was more interesting then the suspense itself. I was expecting a sensible, more convincing and an elaborate explanation. Apart from that, in the first two parts the moments shared between Silas and Chalrie made me go ‘awwwwww’. Personally for me, the third part lacked the same chemistry. I was looking forward for some more heartwarming moments.

The novella series seemed a bit stretched. I still don’t understand the reason for prolonging the book into three parts. One or at the most two would have sufficed the need. If you have read the first two parts and need some sort of a closure only then will I recommend this book to you.

Ratings: 2.5/5 (</3)

Spotlight: Last Vacation

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Title: Last Vacation

Author: Sarah Elle Emm

Plot- Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard
from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

Excerpt:
Megan peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine
before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean Airways
in flight map, she had noted the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John were in
the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the densely populated St. Thomas
could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day, but no matter how she strained her
eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today. Had Maddy hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range. Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest. Where in the world was her sister? “Everything okay, Miss?”Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice. Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table right next to
Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to her?

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