Mystery/Suspense · Thriller


Title: The Stranger Game

Author: Peter Gadol

Pages: 304 pages (Paperback)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller(Psychological)

Publication Date: 5 October, 2019

Publisher: HQ an imprint of Harper Collins

Buy Links: Amazon(IN)Amazon(UK), Amazon(US)Bookdepository

Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.

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When Ezra, Rebecca’s long term boyfriend goes missing she comes across the game that is sweeping the city. It requires you to follow a complete stranger without getting caught. Not on social media but in reality. In person.

The rules of the game are simple.

You pick a random stranger to follow.

You don’t get involved.

And you never follow the same stranger twice.

But as Rebecca penetrates into the innocent world of the Stranger Game, it proves to me more sinister than it previously seemed.

Rebecca in her isolation and unsteady reality is a character that grows on you.
The plot grabs your attention and the eerie setting keeps a you hooked throughout. The plot development was slow which can be attributed the specific writing style. But the climax could have been better.

The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol is an offbeat psychological thriller(/suspense). This book really would be appreciated by the fans of The Woman In The Window.

My Rating: 3.5/5

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Mystery/Suspense · Thriller


Title: Don’t Tell Teacher

Author: Suzy K Quinn

Pages: 384 pages (Paperback)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller(Psychological)

Publication Date: July 11, 2019

Publisher: HQ|An imprint of Harper

Buy Links: Amazon(IN), Amazon(UK), Amazon(US), Bookdepository

School should have been the safest place…

For Lizzie Riley, switching her six-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.

But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds, and there are bars across the classroom windows.

Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And why do the children seem afraid to talk?

Lizzie is descending into every parent’s worst nightmare: her little boy is in danger. But will she be able to protect him before it’s too late?

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‘Don’t Tell Teacher’ by Suzy K Quinn is a dynamic psychological thriller. With short crisp chapters it kept me hooked throughout.

The story is simultaneously narrated in two alternating timelines. One is the present where Lizzie and Tom has relocated and Tom is going to a new school that seems to have bars on windows, padlock on gates and very high walls. After joining which Tom comes home with peculiar marks on his body and starts getting seizures. And another timeline is the previous one where Lizzie falling in love with Olly. The abusive husband that Lizze will later have to escape.

Don’t Tell Teacher is told in 4 alternating POVs. Lizzie’ s and Kate’s being the main. Lizzie is the mother and Kate the social service worker who as taken Tom and Lizzie’s case.

The writing is easy and gripping. Suzy successfully creates a creepy vibe that keeps you on your toes and you are bound to jump up on your bed at even the slightest unwarranted sound around!😂

It was a quick read and took me only two sittings to complete. I’ll give Don’t Tell Teacher a solid 4 stars, which was a treat from the beginning to end.

My Rating: 4/5

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Title: David Mogo, Godhunter

Author: Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Pages: 360 pages (Paperback)

Genre: Own voice Fantasy

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Abaddon

Buy Links: Amazon(IN)Amazon(US), Amazon(US)

Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.

Nigerian myths and legend intertwined with storyline, David Mogo Godhunter starts on a promising note. The plot is authentic and interesting.

When heaven bursts and Gods fall off to earth, David Mogo, a demigod takes it on himself to help people of Lagos with the godling infestation. But soon everything swirls down…

I absolutely loved the world building and the atmosphere Suyi set the novel in but struggled with the pace. It feels like(actually is) 3 novellas strung together. I genuinely feel that if I had an idea about it earlier or had the time jumps been cushioned, it would have had more of an impact.

Written in first person pov, the characters and their languages will fascinate you. All over, I’ll recommend David MogoGodhunter if you’re looking for an own voice African fantasy.

Also, can we take a minute to appreciate the gorgeousness of the cover art. Such a beauty.

My Rating: 3.75/5

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Title: Soul Of The Sword

Author: Julie Kagawa

Pages: 464 pages (Paperback)

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: June 27, 2019

Publisher: HQ|An imprint of Harper

Buy Links: Amazon(IN)Amazon(UK)Amazon(US)

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.
Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

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Soul of the Sowrd, is the second installment to the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa and I bow down to her for that spectacular world building! The descriptions of both, the creatures and the atmosphere were set so very vividly. Rooted in Japanese mythology and folklore, Soul of the Sowrd is dark and engrossing!!

Yumeko, the main pov is innocent and pretty trusting. Her character develops throughout the story as she takes on a new mission. You’ll love her. You’ll feel for Tatsumi. Empathise with him as you get a back story. Also there’s a fair share of supporting characters and you’ll appreciate them for their loyalty and friendship.

The pace and the writing is decent. And though the plot line is somewhat tight with actions and things at stakes, it’s a story, driven by character and their experiences for me. It would be exciting to see how Julie Kagawa decides to end the series with the third and the final book.

My Rating: 4/5

Fantasy · Historical


Title: Upon A Burning Throne

Author: Ashok Banker

Pages: 352 pages (Paperback)

Genre: Mythical Fantasy

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Publisher: Simon and Schuster India

Buy Links: Amazon(IN), Amazon(US)

In a world where demigods and demons walk among mortals, the emperor of the vast Burnt Empire has died, leaving a turbulent realm without a leader. Two young princes, Adri and Shvate, are in line to rule but birthright does not guarantee inheritance: Any successor must sit upon the legendary Burning Throne and pass The Test of Fire. Imbued with dark sorceries, the throne is a crucible that incinerates the unworthy.
Adri and Shvate are not the sole heirs to the empire, there is another with a claim to power, another who also survives. When this girl, whose father is the powerful demonlord Jarsun, is denied her claim by the interim leaders, Jarsun declares war, vowing to tear the Burnt Empire apart – leaving the young princes Adri and Shvate to rule a shattered realm embroiled in rebellion and chaos.

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Upon A Burning Throne is a mythical fantasy divided into four parts that spread over different timelines.

Inspired by the Mahabharata, this story too revolves around a throne. The two princes Adri and Shvate is in the line to the throne ( though considered I’ll suited for one being blind and other alpino) and passes the test of Fire proving themselves worthy. But they are not the only one to pass the test and bloodline doesn’t seem enough to guarantee you an inheritance. And when the daughter of Jarsun too survives the test and claims her right, the empire is thrown into chaos.

Though inspired by the age old epic, Upon A Burning Throne is very much original in its own essence and narrative. The plot is thick with rich characters. And the world building is unique and mystifying. Told through multiple povs the writing is gripping.

Took me some time to get in but the ride after I settled was an experience in itself. Will leave to anticipating the next installment. Definitely recommended.

My Rating

Mystery/Suspense · Thriller


Title: Out of the Ashes

Author: Vicky Newham

Pages: 400 pages (Hardcover)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Publication Date: May 30, 2019

Publisher: HQ|An imprint of Harper

Buy Links: Amazon(IN), Amazon(UK), Amazon(US)

A tragic accident – or a ruthless killer?
When a flash mob on Brick Lane is interrupted by a sudden explosion, DI Maya Rahman dashes to the scene. A fire is raging through one of the city’s most infamous streets, the sight of Maya’s childhood home. And the discovery of two charred bodies in the burnt-out building transforms an arson attack into a murder case.

With witnesses too caught up in the crowd to have seen anything useful, Maya is facing a complex investigation without a single lead. And, when reports of a second, even more horrifying crime land on Maya’s desk, it’s obvious there’s more at stake than she could ever have imagined. She must find the answers – before all of East London goes up in flames.

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I’m currently on a thriller reading spree and ‘Out of the Ashes‘ by Vicky Newham is the hot new, impressive and completely immersive thriller in town that worked it’s pull on me. It’s a page turner that leaves you breathless.

It keeps you guessing on the suspects and the motives! The twists and turns are effortless and does not seem forced. The characters are multi cultural and multi layered. Even being a fast paced plot driven book, the character arcs specially that of our protagonist DI Maya is fascinating. Cultural exploration of not only the characters but of London and East End itself adds an unique taste to the story.

The writing and details are original. I’m definitely looking forward to read more of Vicky Newham’s novel from now.

My Rating: 4/5

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