Deceived by Heena Rathore

Deceived def

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

3-half-star-def

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.

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Blank bookcover with clipping path

What’s it about?

Two women. Two versions of the truth.

Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May.
And only another life will do…

amazon uk amazon com

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Blood Sisters starts off as a creepy thriller – think stalkerish things – but gradually turns into an interesting and entertaining mystery.

Ali(son) works as a lecturer teaching stained glass creation and comes in contact with a lot of people. There’s a sense of threat seeping through the pages right from the start and I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from, it could have been either one of Ali’s students she teaches in class in the evenings or one of the inmates she teaches at the prison where she recently started to work. But who? I even doubted her in the beginning, thought she was being paranoid for no good reason but no, the threat is very real and serious.

Thankfully, the tension is broken with alternating chapters that follow Kitty, a disabled woman bound to a wheelchair after an accident. She doesn’t remember what happened and can’t talk so we only hear her thoughts throughout the story. Her world circles around Friday Mum, and carers she gives nicknames. When Flab Face turns up she has a crisis and she doesn’t even know why. The author did a great job voicing Kitty’s thoughts in the way she did and it consistently felt authentical and true to form.

The connection between the characters becomes apparent soon enough because the past flashbacks show they know each other and around the halfway point they finally meet in the present and that’s when the story suddenly unfolds a little bit more like a mystery; what happened in the past comes more and more to the forefront for both of them and the one who’s threatening Ali is a bit pushed from centre stage, even if just for a little while.

Kitty starts having small flashbacks about her past (okay those might have come a bit earlier if it were up to me because all that mention of the past was nagging at me, I was so curious for a long time already) and when it was perhaps a bit of a steady flow of events at first, not giving too much away yet, Blood Sisters certainly knows a twisty and turny road towards the end. The author did a great job creating doubt about both Kitty and Alison and how it all went down exactly in the past. The plotline of the person threatening Alison all this time is believable and was inserted into the other storyline in a swift and natural way. The author also kept quite a few secrets to hit you with in the end. All in all, a novel that kept me well entertained and an author I’d like to read more books from.

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

Author spotlight: The Bluebell Informant by Nick Tingley #Guestpost

Author spotlight 2

The Bluebell Informant

What’s it about?

How do you catch a killer who is already dead?

One year ago, the Bluebell Killer killed his last victim. He was shot and killed, leaving behind a legacy of twenty corpses and a name that people will fear for years to come…

A year later, a man is shot in the back of the head and left in a field of bluebells.
Is it a mugging gone wrong? A copycat killer? Or is the Bluebell Killer still out there, waiting to pounce on his next victim?

For DS Evelyn Giles the solution is simple – it’s just another dirty politician caught committing an unforgiveable crime. But with the evidence stacking up against him, Giles’ suspect has one more surprise in store for her…
And his words will throw everything she knows into question…

‘It’s not over yet.’

The past is coming back to haunt DS Giles. She’s already sacrificed much for the lie. The only question is how much more will she suffer for the truth?

amazon uk amazon com

About the author

Nick Tingley

Nick R B Tingley is the author of several short stories and novels.

Born in Dartford in 1987, Nick discovered a passion for writing from an early age although a strong interest in history and archaeology led him to study at the University of Exeter for four years.

Praised for his masterful story telling, Nick won the Inkitt Fated Paradox Prize in 2015 with his short story, Dressed to Deceive, and has been working diligently on his debut novel ever since.

Under the name of Nicholas Tingley, Nick produced a short collection of war poems entitled Grey Skies and Broken Branches, which he released on the anniversary of the start of the Great War.

Known for his dark and probing insights into the human condition, Nick’s work often deals with corruption and falsehoods, peeling back the veil to reveal how everyone, no matter how pure, can be susceptible to their darker side…

Connect with Nick Tingley

 

 Want to know some more?

Why it all started out as a prequel

The Bluebell Informant follows the story of Detective Sergeant Evelyn Giles who is launched into a nationwide conspiracy when a simple murder turns out to be part of a much deeper plot. With all the twists and turns, shocks and intricate plots, you might be forgiven for thinking this debut novel started out as a story in its own right.

But you’d be wrong.

In fact, The Bluebell Informant is the second DS Giles book I’ve written, but the first to be released in the series. What started out as a short novella that I wrote to gain a better understanding of my characters, very quickly grew into something much bigger, and ended becoming the launch pad for this exciting series.

So how did this come about?

Well, it all started with what will be my second Giles novel, The Court of Obsession. I’d written a book that I was very happy with – it had an intriguing murder and a gradually evolving plot – but it did suffer from one or two minor flaws.

In the first instance, I hated my main character – and I mean seriously hated. There is nothing more upsetting for an author than hating your own character, and this was one of those instances. It wasn’t that Giles was a particularly unlikeable character – she just wasn’t particularly real to me. Throughout The Court of Obsessions, I was making references to events that had happened to Giles before hand, but I didn’t really have a solid idea of how that back story had occurred.

In the second instance, there were aspects of Giles’ character that I couldn’t get my head around. Here I had a highly intelligent woman, a competent and highly decorated detective, who was completely distrusting of her colleagues and opted to go off on her own rather than rely on anyone else.

How did she get to this?

It wasn’t long before I decided that I needed those answers before I could carry on any further. So I began writing, The Bluebell Informant, on a nice warm day in May. I’d taken a walk along the river Eden and, as I marched through the fields and trees, an idea slowly formed in my head.

I was going to write a prequel novella – not for anyone else’s benefit – just so that I could better understand my character. I wasn’t even going to release it – it was going to be one of those mysterious works that I referred to every once in a while but never shared with anyone else…

There was only one problem. Well – two actually. My novella was actually quite good. I mean really good. The more I wrote for it, the more involved I got in the story. Pretty soon, my novella wasn’t a novella at all – it was a fully-fledged crime novel – a tantalising murder case complete with thoroughly likeable (and several completely unlikeable) characters who just seemed to leap off the page.

I began to realise that The Bluebell Informant wasn’t just a project to help me understand my character better. It was an essential first chapter for what was about to come. What started off as a prequel novella had developed into the most important part of what will become the DS Giles series…

… the beginning!

So, anybody agree with me, sounds interesting right? I see the beginning of an interesting series here! 

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King's Daughter def

What’s it about?

‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I would have been a lot more understanding of my mother. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When the notorious child abductor known as the Marsh King escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

amazon uk amazon com

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

The Marsh King’s Daughter is actually an old fantasy story by Hans Christian Anderson and the author shares this old tale through several chapters in between the main story. Anderson’s story is about the child born from a Marsh King and an Egyptian princess, a girl who has two forms, frog by night and a beautiful girl by day. I won’t give away the rest though but you know how these stories go… you’ll see the similarities in the end and it’s so amazing that she used this fairy tale in her own story.

The Marsh King’s Daughter tells the story not by the girl abducted but, quite uniquely, through the voice of their offspring, a girl – now woman – called Helena who has a husband and two children herself in the present day.

This was an utterly fascinating story told in alternating timelines through Helena’s life in the present day, where she deals with her father’s escape from prison, and her first twelve years living with her mother and father in a cabin on a ridge in the wilderness. They lived in a self-proficient way and they were very resourceful which was displayed in many many ways. There was no electricity and maybe this was the thing she missed most of all when looking back. She still remembers the highlight of her fifth birthday when her mother made her a real birthday cake, made using a duck egg and bear grease. She got a doll from her mother as a present too which she shackled and used for target practice later, and from her father she received her first knife. Her father learned her to hunt, snare and trap, he learned her to swim and he gave her first tattoos. When she talks about her father I felt she genuinely loved him and looked up to him, he was her hero and she was a real daddy’s girl, and I wondered how she could be responsible then for him being in prison. In the present day though she knows the police won’t be able to catch him and she sets out to find him and lock him up again. She once was his ‘Little Shadow’ but she’s determined to outwit him at his own game again, she has learned from the best after all.

Sparsely scattered through her accounts at first but more and more so later on, situations and reactions from her father in the past were mentioned that made me frown upon and where I once even felt some kind of sympathy and perhaps even thought their life as a family wasn’t all that bad, it became crystal clear that I couldn’t be more wrong. The author made me take an enormous u-turn in my understanding of this fellow. It was a struggle though for both of us to face the reality and for her in the end, to see that he wasn’t all that she thought he was. It was a perfect love-hate relationship and the suspense in this novel is mostly brought on by the questioning if she has what it takes to stop her father. Does she really take after her father in the end?

The world building in The Marsh King’s Daughter was incredibly detailed and atmospheric, it must have taken lots of research and it was amazing to be immersed in this rugged landscape and very basic life. Her love for her three-legged dog pulled on my heart-strings plenty of times. The only scene I didn’t read entirely was the one where she and her father go deer hunting. I know it was a scene that was in line with the story but it was too difficult for me to read about this. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed the rest of the story though. In the beginning there’s a lot to learn about her past but towards the end, when we finally learn why and how they left the ridge, it was followed by such a high rise in tension and it didn’t let up anymore.

This was an outstanding read, one I can highly recommend!

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

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath def

What’s it about?

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

amazon uk amazon com

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I’ve eagerly anticipated the next installment in the Erika Foster series – the 4th novel already if you can believe it – and the author’s outdone himself with this one! It really is very strong competition for my favorite one which was, to this day, The Girl In The Ice, his first novel and the one that immediately turned me into one of Erika’s biggest fans. Only now I’m just not all that sure anymore, this one’s got so much going for it and could very well take first place!

Social media is a dangerous place, anybody can pose as another person and this plotline is effectively and thoroughly proving this point. It’s a very actual theme with people being more and more online and on social media platforms so it was an amazing idea to make this a plotline and Mr. Bryndza spins it in such a harrowing way that it really made my blood run cold when thinking of the possibility of this really happening. It’s easier to acquire info on someone than you think apparently. I’m certainly making sure I’m protecting my profile and identity to those I don’t know after finishing this novel!

I felt there was a lot of change in this novel for Erika, both on a personal level and professionally, and I’m pretty sure this adds to the recipe of success that’s making this one another exceptionally good read. Erika’s still the same person as before of course, efficiently bulldozing her way into an investigation that isn’t hers but she’s more the likeable Erika from the first novel again, having shaken off a bit of that previous harshness. Everything is shaping up for her in this novel and I think she’s starting to really feel better with where she is in life. I am pretty sure it’s against police procedure to make certain promises to the parents of victims, but there’s not a single hair on her head that isn’t convinced she won’t succeed in catching this killer. Of course I knew she would succeed but how was unclear and made me scratch my head more than once.

At the beginning I had some doubts about the killer’s identity, it could be either of two characters brought to my attention, but soon enough the killer’s POV took away any doubt. The police are doing great work but the killer stays out of their scope and reach. He’s like a ghost on the internet and he avoids all CCTV cameras so how are they going to find him? Your guess was as good as mine, all I could hope for was that he would slip up and Erika would see this mistake and pound on him.

And then there’s a tension that’s creeping in when you see that someone in his vicinity is developing an infatuation for this person. I wanted to warn her, to shoo her away from him but the heart doesn’t always see what it must. She’s getting in some very dangerous territory there. It was like I was watching a trainwreck waiting to happen. It didn’t help exactly that I could hear what he was thinking, it was very frightening :-).

Last Breath was full of suspense and drama with very well-developed characters, an enjoyable revisiting of my favorite characters and an outstanding plotline with an ending that would definitely have showed a spike in my heartrate if it were measured. Catching a killer is definitely not without danger!

You can read this as a standalone but I recommend starting with the first novel for the introductions to these people, they’ll grow on you even more. Needless to say I think but I look forward to number 5!

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

Deceived by Heena Rathore P. #Guestpost

Deceived def

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.

About the author

thumbnail_Author Profile Picture

Heena Rathore Pardeshi is a novelist, novel critic, as well as a book reviewer. She is also the Editor In Chief at a publishing house and an acclaimed YouTube Podcaster. An award-winning writer, she has won several NaNoWriMos and JuNoWriMos since 2014.

A fan of crime-thrillers, apocalyptic fiction and slasher movies and series, she draws inspiration from the works of legendary writers such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Sidney Sheldon. She’s also a fan of Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan.

An introvert and freethinker, Heena prefers neatness to chaos – in her fictional themes as well as in her real life. She has a special place for German Shepherds and books in her heart.

Heena is twenty-six years old and lives in Pune, India with her beloved husband, Vishal – a successful entrepreneur, in a house full of books, music, and love. Heena passionately creates vivid fictional worlds; some to read and cherish, and some to live in.

Connect with Heena

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Guestpost

How Reviewing Books Helped Me Write My Own Novel

In the words of Stephen King, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I’ve been reading books all my life. I read fairytales as a child, a lot of romance novels in my teenage years and then gradually moved on to more mature genres like mystery, thrillers, dark fiction, science-fiction, etc.

In the summer of 2014 I decided to create a blog and start reviewing the books that I read, mostly because I kept forgetting certain things about the books I read ages ago. After a few months of reviewing, I was given the opportunity to read books and review them on my blog.

I was beyond myself when the first author who asked me to review their book approached me. I felt so happy and unreal that someone wanted my opinion about his or her book. That someone cared about what I have to say.

That was when I started reviewing books in the real sense. I felt very responsible and humbled while reading that particular book. I paid a lot of attention to each and every single sentence because this book was special. And then I wrote the review, making sure to include all the points I noted while reading the book.

So what was the difference when I read books before and when I read them now for reviewing?

I was extra attentive to not let any important stuff go past my eyes, to not miss any plot holes, or any mistakes, or a brilliant quote or a lovely paragraph that sang the wisdom of life.

So all in all, I paid a LOT of attention to the text in front of me, and so I’ve been doing, with each and every single book, I’ve read since 2014.

It’s been three years and I have read and reviewed more than 200 books, but nothing has really changed. I’m still as attentive today as I was on that first day (or for that first book). I still feel responsible and it is this feeling of responsibility that made me a decent reviewer.

Being attentive is what helped me pick up on and absorb those tiny technicalities, those subtle strokes of ingenuity that made the books so engrossing. As I discovered later, I had unknowingly picked up on those very things, which are taught in Creative Writing workshops.

I learned all the main writing techniques like plot progression, breaks, tension build up, chapter breaks and splits, character arcs, suspense building, etc, etc, etc. I learned all these things from reading the books attentively, from reading the books for reviewing.

Reviewing taught me how the opening of a book should be, how dipping the middle can be and how brilliant an ending could be. Reviewing taught me how to keep the tension flowing from one chapter to another, how to keep the reader engaged in those dreaded middle parts of the book and how to present false hope and engage red-herrings. Reviewing taught me how to make or break an ending by either revealing too much or saying too little.

Reviewing taught me how to write a book. Period.

That makes books better.

I’ve never officially learned writing, yet when I started writing my own book it was like I already knew whatever there was to know, to begin with. Then I learned the rest of the things as I went along. I was able to complete my book (a task in itself) because I knew the most important thing: what works and what doesn’t.

So if I have to give credit to just one thing or circumstance in my life that made me a writer, or rather a strong writer, then reviewing books will be it.

I’m feeling really excited after this guestpost because she is so right! I think it really helps if you start out as a blogger/book reviewer. That blurb also really got my attention and that cover with the little trail of blood dripping down her leg, my god, I totally love that cover! So I’ll be reviewing this one in June, I can’t wait to read it! So what do you think about all of this? Yay or nay?

Little Bones by Sam Blake

Blank bookcover with clipping path

What’s it about?

Attending what seems to be a routine break-in, troubled Detective Garda Cathy Connolly makes a grisly discovery: an old wedding dress – and, concealed in its hem, a baby’s bones.

And then the dress’s original owner, Lavinia Grant, is found dead in a Dublin suburb.

Searching for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women.

Meanwhile, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic – and now he’s in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again?

Struggling with her own secrets, Cathy doesn’t know dangerous – and personal – this case is about to become…

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

Review

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

This novel kept me in suspense about what was going on for a very very long time. It’s all extremely mysterious and it takes at least two thirds of the novel before the coin finally dropped and I got the bigger picture on how all the puzzle pieces fit (perfectly and brilliantly) together. There was definitely more going on than I ever expected.

To start, there’s the ongoing investigation of the little bones found in the hem of a wedding dress passed on to Zoe from her mother – who she doesn’t have any contact with now – by her grandmother. The big question of course is who put them there and why.

While they’re investigating these bizarre findings and waiting for DNA results, there’s also the seemingly unrelated story of an old lady called Mary who is taken under the wing of social worker Emily and her husband, psychologist Tony Cox. Mary is quite an enigma in this story but like in a perfect chess game, her pawn is put into position on the exact right moment and from that moment on everything seemed to be happening in a rapid succession of events. At the last moment there’s also the unrelated thread of the chase of some criminal with the name of Angel Hierra inserted in a terrific way as well. I didn’t really know why he made an appearance in the story and at first I wasn’t as invested in his storyline as I was in the other plotlines because they’d already spun their threads. I wondered about him and his significance to the story but when the cascade of revelations finally came upon me… My mouth almost dropped open when I saw how it all made sense.

I found myself easily caught up in the novel. It’s loaded with intrigue and I know I’m repeating myself but there’s so much going on all at once, I couldn’t help but want to get to the bottom of it all as fast as I could. If you’re looking for a story that isn’t laid out straightforward right from the beginning but keeps you guessing at what’s going on and who that person is who put bones in the hem of a wedding dress, this one’s certainly up for the task.

It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. It’s the first novel I read that is set in Dublin, Ireland and I was a bit fearful whether I’d ‘get’ everything but I didn’t have any problems at all, so this was a positive experience in every respect.

There’s already a sequel out in the Cathy Connolly detective series called In Deep Water which is just as well because this one ends with a cliffhanger that is begging for more.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher, Bonnier Zaffre, in exchange for my honest opinion.