Book review | 8: The Game is On by Swapnil Khamkar

8: The Game is On


Title: 8: The Game is On
Author: Swapnil Khamkar
Genre: Fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery- Thriller
Publisher: Srishti Publications

Publishing date: 10th December, 2017
Pages: 160

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars


*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


History holds a lot in its pages. But till when can truth be hidden?
Neel is a cop investigating the mysterious death of a famous film director. In the middle of a divorce case with his wife Avantika and amidst thoughts of resigning from his job, will he be able to find the culprit?
A five-hundred-year old sunken ship belonging to Vasco da Gama is discovered off the coast in Oman. It is well known that the ship sank with thousands of artefacts in it. Out of them, eight artefacts are missing in specific. Do they have some connection with the film director’s death?
Neel tries to unearth the truth behind the missing artefacts to find clues to questions nobody else can answer. Join Neel as he tries to find the truth behind 8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!

My Take:

8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!

This line was what sold me to the book. There’s so much scope in that one line. When I picked it up, I braced myself for a thrilling ride but the book wasn’t that.

The author was in great touch with the baseline of the story, the history part was well researched and smartly inserted in the story. Although the book could have done wonders only following this story line, I don’t know why Neel and Avantika’s stupid marital problems were added. In 1/3rd of the book, it turned from a decent thriller to a crappy romance story. Being cops them acting this way was so unwarranted, even after being in the same profession if this is how they react to situations and if this is what almost fails their marriage then God help their relationship.

Because of their story being introduced, the main story took a back seat. Where 3-4 pages were needed to find the first artifact, the last was found in a paragraph of 3 lines. Also, Raghu, their senior, sends Avantika with Neel and Jay (sidekick) to help their relationship. Excuse me? This is an international issue where you already have an incompetent officer (Neel) and you add his love interest, who by the way does nothing for the case, she either keeps making coffee or keeps romancing Neel in a real cringy way.

Neel was tried to be portrayed as this naturally talented officer who is really good at his job but the way he is written, he instead comes across as a really mean and arrogant person, who is incompetent but tries to hide it by talking people down and taking credit for their work.

The first story of the director is left hanging in order to pursue the artifacts storyline then that is forgotten because of Neel and Avantika (if you could not figure out, they frustrated me because they took a lot away from a story that could otherwise have been really good) and then we are again introduced to the first story line as a conclusion after rushing through the second one.

The climax was really anticlimactic, it seemed more of the TV series CID style. There were a lot of editing mistakes as well and then I looked at the name of the publishing company. I don’t know why but all the books that I have read from this publishing company are riddled with mistakes.

The idea and research that went behind it is really great, which is why I would love to read more from the author. You can see that he really has a great vision, this being his debut novel I feel the pressure to add romance to make it sell-able actually backfired.

Why would I pick it up?

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For a quick dose of history and a short read.

Buy this book-



Book Review | Velvet by Sacha Lanvin


Title: Velvet
Author: Sacha Lanvin
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Self Published

Publishing date:
Pages: 73

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars


*eBook received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Young women are being murdered in France, and it’s up to the talented Commissaire Laurent Lefevre to put a stop to the increasing violence.

In a fast-paced game of cat and mouse the respected Lefevre must match wits against serial killer Lucas Ivan whose nefarious acts terrify the countryside.
While battling his own demons, Lefevre manages to hunt down the cunning Ivan and deliver him to the justice system. Satisfied that the reign of terror is over, the hero retreats from public life to rest and mourn his own painful losses.

But he hasn’t heard the last from Lucas Ivan.

During a deadly freak accident on Christmas Eve the killer escapes from prison, and the exhausted Lefevre must find the courage and strength to try and end Ivan’s bloody career once and for all.

My Take:

I love mystery/thrillers so there was no reason I was going to pass this one up. Although this follows one of the classic storylines of a retired or on vacation famous detective solving the case, this book sure has a lot more going for it. 😀


The best thing about the book was the actual mystery, the actual case and how everything fell into place. Even though it was obvious to me who the killer was since the person was introduced, which was almost at the beginning; (not going to give that away, read the book 😛 ) the “why” was what kept me hooked in.

In just 73 pages the author managed to put in layer upon layer of twists while also letting the characters have their own stories. I would have loved for this to have been a full fledged novel rather than a novella because after I put it down, I was left wanting for more.

At first I thought that the story would somehow revolve around the Commissaire Laurent Lefevre and the serial killer Lucas Evans because the synopsis talks about them majorly but they are just the beginning tone of the book. I feel that the synopsis doesn’t do justice to the story because the story is much more than that and focuses on entirely a different case. The synopsis seems to be about a complete different book because the story the summary revolves around is not the focus of the book, actually nothing is mentioned about the actual story.




I do believe that more pages would have done wonders for this book. The author had a different (in a good way) story line, an unique way of murders, interesting and strong characters, nice element of mystery but lacked in plot development. If there were more pages the book could have teased the reader about the killer without giving the killer away. The coincidence or whatever it was that helped seemed a little too obvious.


The investigation itself wrapped very fast towards the end so it seemed rushed. Many things were unanswered.

For eg-The killer murders one of the victims in the bathroom and the door was locked from the inside and there were on other exits in the bathroom. The victim’s daughter was home. How did the killer get in and how did he get out of the bathroom, why didn’t the victim make any noise? Nothing is answered.


First murder


Second murder

It started out being detailed with the first murder and then the amount of details kept decreasing, eventually some of the murders were just mentioned in passing as the book neared the end, the amount


One of the murders in the end.

of details given in the first murder was leading me to believe this was going to be the only murder, some time was spent even on the victims family, the second murder followed close suite with the details but then there were no detailed descriptions of the other ones. I do believe that the book started out as a novel hence the good amount of details in the beginning but somewhere in the process the author decided to turn it into a novella and cut back on details hence cutting out the actual strength of the story.

The motive of the murder is the only answer you get but you are left with tons of investigative questions. The wrap up should have included how the killer got access to all the victims.

The writing style is good, I liked how the details were worked into the sentence rather than describing the props and then mentioning the scenes.



Screenshot_2018-09-18-09-14-18-1The book requires a bit more editing, there were a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Like: pause for pulse, what is if something had happened for what is something happened, we for we do to, grief for grieve, swarms for swam, etc.






The story has something very good going for it, few extra pages, a little proofreading, a little plot development, and a lot of answering can make it a 5 star.

Why would I pick it up?

Image result for detective reading gif cartoonFor a good mystery book that is a quick read.

Guest Post | Writing Believable Characters by Brenda Chapman

“Writing Believable Characters”

By Brenda Chapman

Human beings lead messy, complicated lives. To be believable, characters in novels need to mirror the conflicted personalities of very real people. Without ambiguities and nuances, a character runs the risk of becoming a one-dimensional caricature.

Creating believable characters can be accomplished by writing internal dialogue that shows the struggles going on inside. The reader is allowed into secret places that build understanding and often empathy even if the character chooses the wrong path. In the case of murder mysteries, the muddier the victim’s life, the more opportunity there is to reveal them as a fully formed and complicated person. This holds true for the killer as well. Skillful writing can lead readers into feeling sympathy for the villain while denouncing their actions.

Dialogue is a second tool in a writer’s kit that can make a character believable. A writer needs to be attuned to language patterns and expressions used by real people. The trick is giving enough dialogue to make a character come to life while writing concisely — distilling a conversation to information that moves a scene forward.

The decision to write a story in the first or third person has tremendous impact on revealing character. In the case of first person, the reader receives all the information filtered through the lens of the narrator. The character who is telling the story becomes like a friend confiding a narrative from their viewpoint. They can toy with the reader’s emotions and build a connection. This point of view is easiest for writing internal dialogue but can pose a challenge for developing secondary characters since readers do not have access to their thoughts and feelings in the same way.

Writing in third person lets the author into the internal lives of as many characters as they wish. Characters can give their thoughts and feelings about other characters and can give insight into their own motivations. This point of view can feel less intimate than first person, however. The reader is not privy to the internal workings of one character to the same degree.

Another way to make characters believable is to ground them in the routines and concerns common to everyone. A character might drink coffee in the morning, take the bus to work, eat tuna fish sandwiches for lunch, disagree with their boss. Every detail builds to create a whole person. The objective is to make readers believe the character is real and to care what happens to them.

I am always tickled to have readers talk about my characters as if they exist. Some tell me that they’ve stayed up all night reading because they need to know what happens to them. As a fiction writer, creating imaginary but believable people out of words alone and making readers feel something for them is nothing short of magical when all the pieces come together.

Brenda 1 publicity photo 2016Brenda Chapman is a Canadian crime writer who has penned three series and a few standalone novels. She currently has seventeen books published since her first release in 2004, entitled Running Scared, which was the first of four books in the Jennifer Bannon young adult mysteries.

Brenda is now writing two separate series for two different publishers— the Anna Sweet novellas for adult literacy with Grass Roots Press; and the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series for Dundurn Press.

Her books have been shortlisted for several major awards including the 2006 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award for Children (Hiding in Hawk’s Creek), two Golden Oak Awards for adult literacy (The Second Wife and The Hard Fall) and two Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards for novella and crime novel of the year respectively (My Sister’s Keeper and Cold Mourning).

The fifth in the Anna Sweet mysteries entitled No Trace was released in September 2016, with the sixth, Missing Her being released this fall. The fourth in the Stonechild and Rouleau series entitled Shallow End was published in March 2017. Watch for the fifth entitled Bleeding Darkness to be released in May 2018.

Brenda is a former special education teacher and senior communications advisor, now writing full time. She lives in Ottawa.








Review | Passenger 19 by Ward Larsen

Passenger 19 (Jammer Davis, #3)

Title: Passenger 19
Series: Jammer Davis (Book 3)
Author: Ward Larsen
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

Publishing date: 5th January, 2016
Pages: 368

My Rating: 4/5 stars


*e-ARC received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Jammer Davis has spent most of his life investigating aircraft accidents. When a small regional jet disappears over the jungles of Colombia, it is a tragedy like dozens of others he has seen…but for one terrible detail—his young daughter, who was enroute to a semester abroad in South America, is listed on the passenger manifest.

A distraught Davis rushes to Bogotá and bulls his way into the inquiry. When the wreckage is located, it becomes clear the crash was unsurvivable. As the investigation gains momentum, the facts go astray. Two pilots had been shot before the crash, along with one passenger. The possibility of a hijacking looms large as the search begins to focus on two passengers who boarded the plane, yet their remains cannot be found.

Davis uncovers an even more sinister plot behind the entire disaster—one that goes to the highest levels of the United States government. But how could it possibly involve his daughter?

My Take:

This was a tension filled and full of suspense ride, I was on the edge of my seat and the near end kept me pumped up for the ending. ❤

The only problem I seem to have with this book is that I don’t think in real life, Jammer would have been sent to investigate a crash site where one of the casualties is his daughter, what about the emotional side overriding the rational side of the mind. You can make some serious mistakes when emotional. Jammer slightly curves from making said stupid mistakes.


I loved the knowledge I got from the book. I have never read anything about investigating aircraft accidents and this book was a really good introduction for me in the subject. 😀 😀

The book was fast-paced which added to the thrill of the story. In the start it was a bit slow but as the story progressed the pace picked up and it became more action packed and unputdownable.


Even after having so much going on I loved how well the characters were written. I really appreciate when the characters aren’t neglected while making the thriller more thrilling.

I wanted to read it one sitting but it was late at night and apparently I fell asleep. The first thing I did in the morning after I woke up was finish reading this book and I sure was rewarded. 🙂

In a nutshell it is a very informative, interesting, thrilling and fast paced read.

Why would I pick it up?

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For the thrilling read. 😀

Review | The Guardian Stones by Eric Reed

The Guardian Stones


Title: The Guardian Stones
Author: Eric Reed
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publishing date: 5th January, 2016
Pages: 260

My Rating: 2/5 stars


*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


941 Britain: Children are vanishing from the village. Is it the powers of an ancient stone circle at work, or a modern predator? In mid-1941, children evacuated to the remote Shropshire village of Noddweir to escape the Blitz begin to vanish. It was not uncommon for city children faced with rural rigors to run away. But when retired American professor Edwin Carpenter, pursuing his study of standing stones, visits the village and discovers bloody clothing in the forest, it is clear there is a more sinister explanation. The village constable is away on military duty so the investigation falls to his daughter Grace. Some villagers see the hand of German infiltrators bent on terror. The superstitious, mindful of the prehistoric stone circle gazing down on Noddweir, are convinced malevolent supernatural powers are at work. And Edwin, determined to help Grace find whatever predator is in play, runs into widespread resentment over America’s refusal to enter the war. This atmospheric mystery will appeal to readers of Rennie Airth, Maureen Jennings, and both Ann Cleeves and Ann Granger.

My Take:

The premise of this book is very interesting. I liked the historical aspect of the book and the setting was interesting. The descriptive parts were well written. 😀

The main characters are likable, the supporting characters are well thought out too. All part of the plan. 😉 What I didn’t like about the character introductions was the attention to details. I kept getting confused about how old a certain character was and that kept me from fully paying attention.

The mystery isn’t much of a mystery, it’s still there but not as much as I would have liked. It had a horror aspect and can be categorized into horror. Some scenes had this chilling air leading to the end and those were the interesting reading bits. 😉 🙂

This was an okay read for me. It wasn’t gripping enough to hold my attention, my attention kept wandering from the book. I put down the book many times and picked it back up because I still wanted to know how it ended. It was a good thing that it keeps you intrigued for the end so that you can’t put it down. 😛

Why would I pick it up?

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For an interest evoking read. 😀

Review | Dark Turns by Cate Holahan

Dark Turns


Title: Dark Turns
Author: Cate Holahan
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publishing date: 10th November, 2015
Pages: 336

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars


*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Nia Washington is an incredibly talented ballerina. She fought her way up from the streets and was nearing the pinnacle of her profession when an injury and a broken heart derailed her career. Taking a temporary job at an elite boarding school was supposed to give her time to nurse both body and soul. It was supposed to be a safe place to launch a triumphant comeback. It is anything but.

Shortly after she arrives at the beautiful lakeside campus, she discovers the body of a murdered student, and her life takes a truly dark turn. It’s not long before she is drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a ruthless killer. And Nia isn’t the only target. She must use all of her street smarts to protect her dancers, save a wrongfully accused student, and rescue the man she loves.

A stunning and suspenseful tale of passion and betrayal, Cate Holahan’s Dark Turns will take readers deep into the mind of a murderer and the woman who must put an end to the killing.

My Take:

This is a gripping read. I was always interested in Ballet, not as something to learn but as something to watch. I always wondered how painful dancing on your toes would be so never dreamed of being a ballet dancer yet was enticed by how graceful the dancers looked.

Screenshot_2017-06-13-14-00-53-1Having the touch of ballet actually drew me to the book. The cover and synopsis already had my attention but the ballet aspect made me grab the book. I would have read it anyways. I love mystery and thrillers. ❤ 😛


Screenshot_2017-06-13-14-03-56-1A nice touch, actually a smart move, was naming the chapters after ballet moves and starting the chapters with instructions of the said moves and the moves resonating with the chapters was quiet clever. 😀

The author created such interesting characters, it’s hard not to love them. Aubrey is such a well written character, she was the best character in the book, despite all the evilness, she is an enjoyable character. Nia is a bit naive, being a dancer herself she ought to know the competition between dancers, the power struggle but she doesn’t seem to.Screenshot_2017-06-13-14-02-45-1

This book seems to have a lot going on- career ending injury, murder, pedophilia, betrayal, deception, jealousy, love, hate, you name it. None of them seemed forced and made the story what it is. It was a quick read for me, I read it in one sitting because the book didn’t bore me even once. ❤

Though a bit predictable, this was a very interesting read. The mystery isn’t that much of a mystery, the suspense didn’t hold up till the end, nothing shocking but a decent read. If you are looking for something challenging then this might not be the book for you otherwise you are sure to enjoy a light mystery read. 😉  It had its unique elements and those bode well with the story making it more likable. 😀 😀

Why would I pick it up?

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For a fast paced, interesting read.