Deceived by Heena Rathore

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What’s it about?

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, unwittingly 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 unforgiven betrayal.

Review

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First of all, I was completely sold when I saw the cover of this novel. It’s such a strong image, I knew this would have to be an interesting story and I wasn’t wrong in my assumption.

The prologue of Deceived contains a very interesting insight that makes it possible to make a distinction between a psychopath and a sociopath. It ends with the instruction to look out for the listed traits for one or the other throughout the novel and I was keen to make my own discoveries of these personality disorders… I didn’t need to be told twice to dig into the story.

The story has a brilliant opener with an old newspaper article reporting a 13 year old girl’s disappearance after she seemingly has killed her parents. The girl, Elisabeth, is one of the voices in this novel and she will make an appearance now and again between chapters of the present. I was clueless how she fit in to the present story but I was quite hooked on her storyline and paradoxically, even though she’s a bad character, I was still concerned for her well-being.

In the present day we follow Allison Stone, a girl whose mother and baby brother were murdered 9 years prior. She lives with her best friend Sam and Max, her dog. There’s so much interaction with her dog that at times he felt like a real person to me. He stole my heart easily, as well as her best friend Sam. It’s great to have such a good friend who you can call no matter what. Sam would drop everything and come running to the rescue. I never really did warm up to her boyfriend Danny, however, even though she’s so in love with him that she goes to live with him. As soon as she moves in, things are starting to get really weird and it looks like her family’s tormentor is back and she’s next on his list. It doesn’t help that her cousin Steve has moved back as well and he’s got his investigating hat on. Will that keep the killer in check? I wouldn’t place any bets :-).

I found the story interesting and there was a lot of creepiness and unease, especially when I read the diary entries from one very disturbed individual, as well as the onslaught of unsettling events happening to Allison in an attempt to destabilize her. It gets worse even, there’s quite a bit of violence in the final act that made me cringe. Unfortunately I did figure out who was behind it all quite early on and I didn’t even have to put much effort into it. I would have liked it to have been a bit more inconspicious and to have seen a few real herrings planted perhaps. What I really couldn’t see though was what Elizabeth’s connection to the story was, if any. I was amazed how this plotline morphed into the present one in the end.

Overall, it wasn’t as spectacular as I expected but it was a good, enjoyable read nonetheless and a great debut. It reminds me a lot about another novel written by a bestselling author, which has been getting a lot of praise and they both have a few similar elements, only this one is for the readers who can take it just a little harder.

I received a free copy of this novel from Citrus Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Woman of the Hour by Jane Lythell

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What’s it about?

StoryWorld is the nation’s favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the scandals and backbiting that happen off-stage.

But then simmering tensions erupt at the station, trapping Liz in a game of one-upmanship where she doesn’t know the rules. As the power struggle intensifies, can Liz keep her cool and keep her job? Does she even want to?

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the glamorous, pressurised world of live TV.

amazon uk amazon com

Review

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Liz Lyon is the woman in Woman Of The Hour who showed me the other side of what we usually see on our tv screen. A job at a television station is something that seems galaxys away from your ordinary joe’s life, it speaks to the imagination, something one can only dream of and seems nothing but exciting, glitzy and glamerous but is it really all glam and shine? I believe that you’ll have a much more realistic image of the tv world after finishing this novel.

Liz is a woman trying to hold her own in a world dominated by men. Her job? To comfort, put out small fires, deliver bad news, stand up for her people against angry publicists and mitigate time and again between several characters with quite a bit of an ego.

She’s got a diverse cast of characters under wings, there are 8 of them: there’s tv presenter Fizzy, cook Ledley, agony-aunt Betty, researchers Simon and Molly, astrologer Gerry, runner Ziggy and an intern new-comer Harriet under her supervision. Their problems become her problem and believe me when I say that they all have their big and smaller problems that she’ll have to solve. While she’s juggling to placate and appease everyone, she too has her own personal problems. I really liked that insight I got into her as a mother and in another role than in the work place.

Personally, I thought the television world was much more of an individual scene, but if this is anything like the real thing then they are more tightly-knit than in a normal (male dominated) corporate environment like the one I’m working in so I was pleasantly surprised in that respect but it really isn’t a gift to Liz to have to choose her battles and be the middle woman every time again.

This novel held a lot of drama and intrigue, there’s plenty of lies and deceipt, affairs and blackmail going on behind the scenes of StoryWorld. This is not my usual kind of read perhaps but I still enjoyed watching their life and world from the sidelines and it was written in an easy and compelling fashion. After reading this, I’m not really all that jealous about her job anymore though :-).

Many thanks to the author, Jane Lythell, for sending me a free copy of her novel. All opinions are unbiased and my own.  

The Killer On The Wall by Emma Kavanagh

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What’s it about?

The first body comes as a shock.

The second brings horror.

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare.

When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.

Who is the Killer on the Wall?

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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I loved The Missing Hours so much that I really jumped at the chance to read Emma Kavanagh’s new novel The Killer On The Wall. Maybe my expectations were too high after the previous one because in this novel I did find a few things that kept me from falling in love like the first time.

There are 2 investigating characters in The Killer On The Wall: Mina who’s a detetective and Isla, the woman who found the first victims of Heath McGowan at the Wall 20 years ago. Isla has dedicated her life and work into the research of psychopaths brain scans. She has tested and MRI’d plenty of convicted killers and she now even sees the Killer On The Wall eye to eye because he agreed to her request.

Then new victims are made with the same MO as before. Coincidence, I think not! But is it a copycat or did Heath instruct someone in prison to mess with the community of Briganton after all these years?

The author makes a lot of suggestions and steered me into one direction for a suspect on the outside only to change direction again in another chapter. I felt myself on a carousel after a while. Although I read this novel with lots of questions on my mind too, most of what was offered didn’t really convince me as a motive and I wasn’t really buying any it. I didn’t know who, why or how but I trusted my own instinct and definitely knew there was something wrong with the picture that was being proferred. When all was finally said and done, the ending was not entirely surprising for me, simply because so many were already suspected and dismissed. What I found a bit strange was there wasn’t much of a motive for the actual killer either and I had high hopes actually for an explanation why these people, and these people in particular, were targeted.

I’m afraid I have to admit that on top of this, I also had a bit of difficulty to fully connect with Isla and Mina, although from both of them I liked detective Mina most. She’s unrelentless in her perusal through boxes and in her investigation she doesn’t want to give up even if it means taking risks and doing unfavourable things. She’s looking for the truth and she will find it, even if it means she’s got to put her own feelings aside.

My overall conclusion is that this was a okay read and there’s no question that she’s a good writer but this one just didn’t tick all the boxes for me. I’m not giving up though and I still look forward to reading her next novel.

I received a free copy of this novel through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Follower by Koethi Zan

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What’s it about?

SHE’D DO ANYTHING FOR HER HUSBAND.

Julie has the perfect life. A kind boyfriend, loving parents and good grades. She has everything ahead of her.

Cora’s life is a nightmare. A psychopath for a husband, a violent father and a terrible secret. There’s no way out.

But one night, their worlds collide.

Locked in an isolated house together, they must work out what has happened – and who they can trust to set them free.

From the bestselling author of The Never List, this is a breath-taking new thriller about the wife of a kidnapper and her relationship with his last victim.

You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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This novel is very character driven. There are three characters (Julie, Cora and Adam) who are the main focus but there was actually one that I felt this novel was really most about and – here’s a surprise – it wasn’t the girl kept captive. Don’t get me wrong, I felt for Julie, the girl that got abducted and locked up in a room with boarded up windows. Her ordeal was horrific and although nothing graphic is mentioned, it doesn’t take much to feel the impact of her situation. Fact is, she gets only a few scraps to eat from Cora turning her into a severely emaciated girl. She certainly isn’t the lively girl from before, her days turned monotone and all she’s able to do is think about the best tactic to escape. I was happy to see that even in the most dire moments she never loses the fire within completely and she’s quite smart too in the way she’s thinking, how she tries different tactics to please her captor. I read her chapters and was very on edge every time because I knew she would only need a moment. I was waiting with her for that break, that opportunity to attack and be free again after all these months. Unfortunately, that moment doesn’t seem to come along as all angles are covered…

No the one I’m talking about is Cora, the woman who brings her food and who Julie tries to appeal to and engage in conversation every day. When I met Cora I thought she was pure evil to let this happen. When her husband James is away she could set her free if she wanted too. Then it became clear that these women share a bond. Even though Cora can move freely, she is just as scared for her husband and after a while it dawned on me that there was a time when she was just a normal kid. The only thing that made her different from you and me was her tragic life and the fact that nobody believed in her, was her friend or lover. I couldn’t help but feel pity and just when that feeling of empathy overruled, I was catapulted back to the present situation. I wanted her to still have some good in her, I wanted to believe in her, but all I saw was someone cold and detached, evil. How did it come to this, how can she be like that? All is explained in chapters in between, going back and fro present and past, working its way slowly up to her encounter with James, her husband and leader of a cult.

James’ voice isn’t very prominent but it was rather horrifying to read that she’s falling for him. It’s clear he kind of brainwashed her, or perhaps she wanted to believe in what he was telling because she never had anyone who believed in her and just wanted to belong. Again, I felt understanding and sympathy with her past self, alternating with anger for her present character. She dreams of living a quiet life on the farm and having a loving family. With a father who never gave her the time of day she finally sees someone who can give her the life she longs for. She starts believing and becomes his follower. They believe that The Revelation will come. What that entails will be revealed slowly, after I already feared the worst.

A final mention is for Adam, an ex-cop with an – unhealthy – obsession for finding missing girls and this case in particular for his own personal reasons. Adam is on a mission to rescue someone but who is he going to rescue exactly? I was a bit confused how Adam got on Cora’s trail because she wasn’t missing and I thought I spotted a few plot holes there in his explanations but nothing that put a downer on my reading experience.

This is Koethi Zan’s second novel and although it wasn’t as mind-blowing as The Never List (which I gave 5 stars) and has a different approach, it was intriguing and played with my feelings brilliantly. The characterization of Cora and Julie was very strong and on point and I could have given it 4 stars but I don’t think I really want to read it again, it’s not a very uplifting story after all, hence my 3.5 stars.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen

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What’s it about?

They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. But she was not alone. When Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere of the joint FBI-BCA violent crime force stumble upon the case, they discover a horror far greater than anyone expected—a string of murders on the High Line, all of them young women drifters whom no one would notice.

But someone has noticed now. Through the bleak midwinter and a frontier land of forbidding geography, Stevens and Windermere follow a frustratingly light trail of clues—and where it ends, even they will be shocked.

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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I didn’t realize this is book 6 already in the Windermere series. I was too awestruck by the cover and blurb when I decided to request this one. No fear though, this works perfectly as a standalone.

I can cut this story down into three distinctive parts easily. The first one is really setting the stage. I was nose diving into a whole unknown world to me, a world of people who ‘ride trains’ for what seems to be for years on end. Young men, but also girls, runaways. Two of these girls are Ash and Mila. They found each other and promised to travel together, but then crystal lured Mila into breaking that promise. Now one of them has ended up dead, the other torn with guilt and swearing revenge. But who did this? Are the rumours true that she heard?

“You don’t ever surf trains on the high line. You’ll either die from exposure during the winter season or the ghost rider will get you.”

The second part is where it gets really good. The FBI got their hands on a picture of the victim when someone finds it on the phone of her date but get this: the guy had nothing to do with it. So not only do they have to figure out how it got on his phone but they also have to trace back who killed a girl. The only lead they have is another picture of two girls, looking very alive I might add, and one of them has purple hair. A fast-paced game of cat and mouse ensues and had me turning the pages faster than before. Not only are the FBI looking for the girl who might know something more, they are also looking for a ruthless killer. The same girl is also looking for this guy. It’s bound to happen that they’ll all meet up at some point but will the FBI get there in time? Someone’s had a head start…

The third part is told from the viewpoint of the rider mostly and was extremely tense and breath-taking to read as I followed this guy’s steps trying to stay out of the hands of what seems like a whole cavalry coming after him. I swear that the story got better and better towards the end and this part was undoubtedly my favorite one and if I could rate only this part it would be a 4.5 stars. The meaning of cat and mouse certainly got to an all high here. The descriptions of his surroundings were also so vivid, I could just about imagine the stormy weather, the rocky scenery and dense territory as he tried to hide from the helicopters and search parties.

This book didn’t steal my heart in an instant. I had a hard time connecting to the FBI agents Stevens and Windermere at first and really missed their personal stories which were non-existent in this novel, but as the plot unfolded they grew on me and in the end I loved how gutsy Windermere turned out. She totally won me over.

I received a free copy of this novel through First to Read in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

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What’s it about?

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead.

Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her.

Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is – and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon UK | Amazon US.

Review

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I haven’t read B.A. Paris’ widely praised novel Behind Closed Doors yet so I was able to start this novel with an open mind. It might not be a bad thing in this case because a lot of people might compare the book to the first unintentionally.

This being said, I still find it difficult to give this novel one single rating. I loved how the story developed towards the end but I must admit that the pacing was not super fast for a good part of this book, as most of the story relays all the extremely aggravating events that were happening to Cass without much intensity. The events were growing weirder exponentially but I never really felt fearful or tense by what happened to Cass. I was also expecting certain things simply because of its genre so my expectations didn’t make me doubt certain events as much as probably intended. I know I’m being mysterious here but it can’t be helped.

Right from the start and all through The Breakdown Cass feels extremely guilty for having driven past a woman in a car one stormy night only to hear the next day she was murdered. What’s worse is the fact that she even knows the woman who was murdered because they had lunch together some weeks before.

Cass starts to fear the murderer saw her and might think she saw him. Especially when strange things start to happen around the house. She gets mysterious phone calls for example. At the same time she starts to forget certain things. Her mother died of young dementia so of course she’s wary now that she might suffer the same. She’s never told her husband for fear of him not wanting to marry her any more if he knew what might be waiting for them in the future, so now she’s trying to cover it up as best as she can. Only things get way, way! out of hand. Her paranoia, her guilt and fear made this a perfect mix that kept me wanting to read on and on and on. Is she really suffering from a breakdown, is it dementia, is the killer onto her?

I can’t tell which one it is (or isn’t) but know that this one had a superbly crafted plot and the story knows a big revelation, thanks to a little thing called serendipity which changes matters drastically in how they stand up to that point. Cass finally becomes a woman who is no longer crippled by fear but goes looking for those most needed answers. More surprises are just around the corner and the ending was splendid. Let me correct myself, the ending was excellent, gripping and did I mention splendid?

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wrong Number by Carys Jones #BookTour #Review

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What’s it about?

A missing husband. Mysterious calls. And the biggest lie of them all.

Read with caution – you may never want to answer your phone again…

Will and Amanda Thorne are living the dream until, one day, their phone rings. Within 24 hours, Will is missing and Amanda’s world is shattered.

Who was on the phone? Where has Will gone?

Amanda is determined to find her husband and is drawn into a world of drug dealers, criminal masterminds and broken promises.

As the truth becomes clearer, she has to face the terrible possibility that she may never have known her husband at all…

Buy links

Amazon | Google Play | iBooks

About Carys Jones

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Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

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Review

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I’ll be honest, there were great parts and okay parts for me in this book. The last half of this book was definitely the most engaging part in my opinion. Let me go over this in detail. The prologue was amaze-balls but it also made one thing very clear to me and that’s the fate of Amanda’s husband. The following chapters were a flashback to Amanda’s picture-perfect life, with her picture-perfect husband Will. No children yet but I’m guessing they would have been picture-perfect too. Then one day she gets a call, someone asking for a man who obviously doesn’t live there. She doesn’t pay this a lot attention but the next day when she wakes up her husband Will is gone. Which is normal. He goes to work every day, only that day he didn’t kiss her goodbye, he got out of the house earlier than the alarm even went off and, what she soon discovers, he never arrived at work nor can he be reached.

The chapters that followed were a bit slow-going, especially since I already knew his fate by that time. It didn’t hold the desired tension and the only thing that kept playing in my head was WHY? Why would a man with a perfect marriage walk out like that? I kind of willed her to remember the phone call but she’s so naive that there was a longish lead-up towards remembering that call. But then things finally accelerate when she teams up with her ex-boyfriend Shane, who happens to be a rising detective, and when they jump in his car following a lead the pace definitely picks up. The situation Amanda gets herself into is an unexpected dangerous one. I was under the impression this would be more of a classic psychological thriller but this one was definitely action-packed. The reason why he left the house and went missing was quite mind-blowing. Didn’t expect this plotline at all and neither did I expect the gun-blazing ending.

Wrong Number had a good plot and the writing was easy and enjoyable. The dynamics with Shane were particularly great, they have so much history together and he’s nothing like her husband but you can feel they have unfinished business. The opposites between Shane and Will will definitely make you want to choose your favorite man so in the end I was quite satisfied with how things played out. There is however also an unfinished thread and I admit I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t given a nice little ending because it was a recurring plotline and quite an important and intriguing one too. It’ll be resolved in the sequel of this book and I can tell you that it holds a lot of promise. It might be even the key to liking it even better than this novel.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Check out the other blog stops of this book tour:

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