Deceived by Heena Rathore P.


Title: Deceived
Author: Heena Rathore P.
Citrus Publishers, June 2017
Genre: Psychological thriller
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


How well do you know your loved ones?

A young 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?

My Review:


The author’s publisher contacted me about reading an eARC of the book among other things for the release. I was excited to work directly with the publicist and when I found out the book was a thriller, I was sold. I love mystery and suspense, so I was eager to give this one a try.


I have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled with a lot of the characters. Ally was a good protagonist and I was able to relate to her through her anxiety. Her father, Stephen, was a great character too. I loved seeing the dynamic between father and daughter.

Steve, Ally’s cousin, appears to help solve the murders even though he stopped talking to Ally when it all happened. They make up after so many years lost, but that’s it. I expected the two of them to get close again, have a lot of scenes of the two of them figuring out the mystery together, but there was barely any of that. After they made up, they only spoke once in a while and that was it. I almost felt as though there was no point to having them be distant in the first place.

I absolutely love Sam, Ally’s roommate, and Max, Ally’s dog. They were the most loyal, trusting, and caring about Ally and everything else. They were crafted really well, as was the killer. His crazy tendencies was very well done.

One nitpick I have about the characters are the names. Ally’s father is named Stephen and her cousin is Steve. Ally’s boyfriend is named Danny while Steve’s assistant is named Donny. I got used to it after a while, but it did get confusing at times. I kept reading “Danny” as “Donny” if I went too fast and then I found myself wondering why Danny was helping Steve. Nothing major, but I felt as though better names could have been chosen.



We follow multiple characters throughout this story, each chapter being a different POV. However, the protagonist is Ally, a young woman still grieving over the murders of her mother and younger brother. She has her roommate and best friend and her father, but she’s mainly just trying to move on with her life.

She ends up meeting a guy, Danny, and moves in with him despite her friends not being too thrilled about it. She then begins to realize that he isn’t exactly who she thought he was.

I thought this was such a clever plot and an interesting twist on the typical stalker-killer. We saw through the eyes of the killer, yet that didn’t give anything away. It leaves room for the reader to figure it all out alongside the main characters.

With that said, I did still manage to figure it out long before the killer’s identity was revealed. Things were just a bit too fishy and there weren’t any red herrings. There wasn’t much else for me to go on so it was pretty easy to figure out who the culprit was long before it was revealed. It was predictable because that was the only lead that was given to us, but the author did a great job not revealing any information.


The author has a clever way of getting her words across. I found her writing to be easy to follow along and enjoyable to read.

Alternating POVs was a good choice as well. Sometimes they can get confusing when you’re following multiple characters. Not only were we following four characters-Ally, Steve, her journalist cousin, Elizabeth, the 13-year-old who killed her parents, and the killer himself. Elizabeth was from a different timeline. However, it was all well done and written in a certain order so that you wouldn’t feel lost.


I found this novel to be enjoyable and edge-of-your-seat gripping. The writing style and POVs really made the novel what it is and the killer was crafted so well. The novel ended up being much darker than I thought. Somethings the killer did bothered me a bit, but I also have a weak stomach. So take that as you will.

Deceived by Heena Rathore P. gets…
4-stars4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Denial. It’s the only thing that keeps most of us from losing our sanity.” –Heena Rathore P., Deceived

In other news, I’ve challenged myself to read five books between Sunday, February 19 and Sunday, February 26. Feel free to join me and check out my daily updates on Twitter, Tumblr, and my Bookstagram!

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The Magnus Covenant by Toni Pike

The Magnus Covenant by Toni Pike book review by Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads

Title: The Magnus Covenant 
Toni Pike
Genre: Religious Thriller
How I got the book: I got a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Goodreads):

The fate of the world is in the hands of one man and the covenant holds the key.

The Reverend Jotham Fletcher is in Rome to give a lecture on his PhD thesis about Simon Magus at the church where he fell to his death beside the Roman Forum. Magus was a cult leader mentioned in the Bible and his libertine sect disappeared by 400 AD.

But did it really die out?

A robed man is pushed from the belltower of the church at midnight and Jotham becomes the prime suspect. His lover Antonella, an expert on ancient documents, has a shocking secret. Rumours fly about a papyrus scroll that mentions Magus. A ruthless Catholic Brotherhood will stop at nothing in their hunt for the Simonian Sect. And a reclusive billionaire has the chance of a lifetime to get his revenge.

Jotham is kidnapped, tortured and on the run. He races from Italy to England to Sweden. But the body count continues to rise and so does the heat in this non-stop thriller that will leave you breathless.

My Review:

The Magnus Covenant was an interesting read, to say the least. The religious aspect of it was a fun twist and created a whole new meaning to the usual standard murder mystery.

Jotham goes on quite the adventure as he tries to figure out what exactly is going on. In the end, you find out the reason behind everything and Jotham, despite everything he went through, realizes that he needs to stop it.

Like Jotham, I felt as though I didn’t really know what was going on in the story. There was no clear motive right off the bat. Being a mystery, that’s fine. We’re supposed to figure that out.

However, I even had a hard time following the characters. There were a lot of page breaks switching between each character’s point of view (especially in the beginning of the book), but the point of views were all third-person. So there weren’t any need for page breaks and sometimes the character switch went to a character who wasn’t part of the main cast, which confused me even more. A lot of characters were introduced at the beginning and it was hard to follow.

The book was a quick read and each chapter was about three pages long. But there were sometimes about five or six page breaks and it made the story jarring to read.

While I liked the characters, Jotham, Antonella, and even Iago at the end, I couldn’t relate to any of them. When someone died, I didn’t care. The dialogue was a bit bland at times so often I had to reread what they said because I found myself not paying attention.

Overall, the plot drew me in. I was curious about where the story was going to end up, who killed who and why. It was a unique thriller and a fun mystery to follow, but I think I would have been into it more with a different set of characters.

The Magnus Covenant by Toni Pike gets out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“There was a subdued round of applause. It was far too polite, as if they were not there for the lecture but for the fireworks that came afterwards.” –Toni Pike, The Magnus Covenant

About the Author:

After graduating from the University of Sydney, Toni progressed from being a veterinary surgeon to a high school teacher and then a public servant in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Her husband Jon was in the Air Force and, while raising two beautiful children, they had several years living in England and America. Toni’s main passions are family, writing and travel – in that order.

Connect with the Author:

Website | TwitterAmazon | Goodreads

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When A Story Is That Good

When I lost the Internet in my house last week, I ended up spending my time away from the screens. No video games, no laptop for writing or blogging, I couldn’t even use my phone aside from texting.

I forgot how much I relied on the Internet, but I found other ways to entertain myself. There’s more to life than technology.

I spent a few hours reading an old book I got a long time ago. I remember reading it when I was younger, but I didn’t really remember anything about the actually story or plot.

It was a quick read, so I figured, why not?

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon book review by Rachel PoliI read A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon. Nixon wrote mystery, suspense stories. They were quick reads, but they were the type of book that kept you constantly turning the pages. You know, you want to skip to the very end just to see what happens.

I got so into the book. I haven’t read such a thrilling suspense story in a long time. Kris sat beside me re-reading Harry Potter and she tried talking to me a couple of times, but I ignored her every time. I either didn’t hear her, or I decided to finish the paragraph before responding. But then after that paragraph, I would just continue to the next and the next and the next.

Once I got to page 76 in the book, I read a line of narration that said, “A sudden thud shook the back door.”

It’s such a simple sentence. It’s not very descriptive, but it’s described enough.

At this point, I was halfway through the story, so I was very much wrapped up in the characters and plot. So of course, I felt for the characters. What was the loud thud? They’re in a huge abandoned home in the middle of a storm, in the middle of nowhere. Of course, the door shaking is going to freak anyone out; especially if someone is trying to break in.

Needless to say, when I read that line, one of the doors in my house slammed shut.

I sat up abruptly on the couch and peered out into the kitchen. I didn’t see or hear anything. I looked at Kris and she was still reading her book as though the sudden slamming didn’t bother her one bit.

I tried to get her to get up and check it out, but she thought I was being nuts and told me there was nothing wrong.

I had assumed the door that slammed was the basement door. Kris said it was the wind, but I said there was no wind anywhere. The windows were closed in the kitchen and there wasn’t anything in the basement. We didn’t even have the fan on.

Then she asked me to get her cookies. I agreed. I was hungry and I the door slamming was nothing, right? Maybe the dog or cat ran into the door or something. They’re both very clumsy and walk into walls all the time.

But if I went into the kitchen, I would have to pass the basement door.

I was already freaked out from the events going on in the book. So even something as small as a door slamming was making me uptight and nervous, especially since that exact thing just happened in the book.

I was brave, though. I went into the kitchen. I peered down the basement stairs, but it was dark. I couldn’t see anything. Either way, I sighed in relief. I was being crazy.

I got the cookies and as soon as I put the step-stool back, I turned around to grab the cookies off the counter.

Then the door to my parents’ bedroom slammed shut.

Even though I had to pass by the basement door and my parents’ bedroom door, I darted back into the living room with a panic yelling at Kris.

There was nothing in the house, and I knew that, but there was definitely something in the house.

Kris laughed at me, but she decided to humor me and check out my parents’ bedroom.

Sure enough, they had a window wide open and the wind was slamming doors closed.

And that’s all she wrote.

Kris and I got back to reading like nothing happened. Except she now enjoys telling people that story because I freaked out.

At least it was a good book.

Have you ever gotten so into a story that you brought it into reality with you? Let me know in the comments!

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The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones

Via Goodreads
Title: The Serenity Stone Murder
Author: Marianne Jones
Genre: Mystery
How I got the book: I got a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Goodreads):

The peaceful city of Thunder Bay is shocked when one of its most prominent businessmen is murdered with a stone stolen from a nearby church garden. Visiting the city to attend a retreat, friends Margaret and Louise become intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the murder and quickly find themselves embroiled in the investigation. Will they discover that they’ve stepped into something they won’t be able to walk away from? Will the murderer target them next?

My Review:

This book is a fun, quick read at 198 pages. However, being only 198 pages, a lot more could have been added to it.

We follow Margaret and her friend Louise as they travel away from home for a conference. While there, a murder occurs in the local town.

Margaret and Louise are very fun characters to follow around. They make a friend there and she’s a hoot as well. They were all very enjoyable and I would read anything that involves those characters.

The writing style for the characters and narration was spot on. The whole book flowed well and was very easy to follow.

My only problem is that the story was a bit slow. I thought it may have been because maybe the murder was supposed to be more suspenseful than anything else, but it wasn’t really suspenseful at all. Everything falls into place in the last chapter of the story, which is just eight pages, and there were a lot of side tracks here and there that didn’t really have anything to do with the murder at all.

The motive behind the murder wasn’t very impressive, either. However, the murder weapon was something different (other than guns and knives). Because of that, I found the title to be very clever. 

The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Some say it is the most direct path, bypassing the intellect, and going straight for the heart. That’s why music is often called the universal language.” –Marianne Jones, The Serenity Stone Murder

Mystery is a Mystery

It’s hard to explain why we like something. To quote a video game, “I like what I like.” End of story.

But we all have different tastes and interests in things. Why? Because we all have different personalities. Why? Well, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the universe that one.

Some people like to watch TV more so than read books. Some people like eating sweets more so than salty snacks. Some people prefer the mystery genre over other genres.

But why? What is it about reading about people getting killed and solving brutal murders and crimes that get us excited?

Mystery is a Mystery - Why do you like mystery novels? Rachel Poli

It’s cooler than it looks.

Most TV shows chalk up the law enforcement to be a lot more fun than what it really is in real life. It’s glamorous, it’s humorous. Sure, the characters get into perilous situations, but they always get out of it. They always win.

Who didn’t want to be a police officer or a detective when they were younger? I know I wanted to be a spy or secret agent when I was a kid. Then I grew up and realized if that ever came true, I’d be cowering behind my partner the entire time.

The world is a scary place. It’s better to follow the main character around in your head and help them solve puzzles while shouting at the TV screen than actually doing so in real life.

The puzzles.

I don’t know about you, but I love sitting on the floor creating a jigsaw puzzle. Or wracking my brain to solve a riddle. I love look-and-find searches whether it’s words or pictures, I enjoy mazes, and I enjoy playing detective games such as the Clue board game or the Ace Attorney or Professor Layton video games series.

Our brains can work in amazing ways and solving puzzles and riddles is just one of those fascinating ways. It’s not easy, you really have to work and think through it. It’s satisfying when you finally so solve a puzzle. You feel accomplished, you feel smart.

I don’t know about you, but if I solve the murder mystery myself before the end of the book, I do a happy dance.

It’s safe.

Whatever you read in a book, whatever you watch on a TV show, you’re safe. It’s not real.

Even if you’re reading a true crime book, you’re still safe in the comfort of your own home. And whatever crime you’re reading about already happened, justice pulled through, it’s over.

I’m sure there are many other reasons why people love mysteries so much. I think, overall, mysteries are great because it’s so interactive with the audience as they try to solve the crime along with the characters.

I could also ask, though, why do you love fantasy so much? Why do you love romance so much? Each answer is going to be different depending on the genre, depending on the person asked.


Why do you love the mystery genre?

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