Books I’ve Read And Enjoyed Recently

Hey, people. Happy Women’s Day, before I start with anything else. And this year, please make sure your that feminism is intersectional (i.e. including people across all sections of the society), because we’ve come far enough and we can’t let anyone feel left out.

Back to the list.

This year, as of today, I’ve read 25 books. Even while I’m aiming to read at least ten books a month, this aim is becoming harder and harder to achieve as I get close to my final examinations. But I don’t like to make excuses, so I can definitely assure you that I’m not losing my mind in any way (fingers crossed). But, yes, it has become increasingly difficult for me to make time for my favourite activity – the only activity that gives me solace when I get tired of the real world – and that has been heartbreaking. But, I guess it’s going to be even harder in the future, so I’ll definitely not give up reading books anytime soon.

Sorry, I got carried away. But, now, I present to you a list of books that I’ve really enjoyed recently.

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

A brilliant fantasy based on the 20th century China which is not a game for the light-hearted. Because this book deals with war, and all the disturbing and nightmarish things related to it, the monsters wars create and the lives they poison. I felt myself flinching and putting this book down time and again, because it is not easy but it is rewarding in the end.

I cannot explain how terribly I craved reading about schools based in semi-fantasy lands, deep friendships and an imperfectly-perfect protagonist, who is so real and lovable that I can’t put it down in words. This narrative is so expansive and large, that it is difficult to find any flaw in it. I, personally, felt euphoric reading about such an unforgettable world-building. It is simply magnificent, and brilliant at all levels.

I look forward to reading the sequels soon, but not soon enough, because of, you know, heavy subjects matter.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Great danger is always associated with great power. The difference between the great and the mediocre is that the great are willing to take the risk.

R.F. Kuang, The Poppy War

Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

This story does not have heroes; it has two friends-turned-foes, hell-bent on inflicting revenge on each other, even if it leads them to murdering several innocents in the way. The ball is in your court: which villain would you be cheering for?

This book has a good pace, and Schwab’s impeccable writing makes it so easy to get through. The only downside is that you’ll crave for more in the end, so much so that you might end up picking up the sequel right after finishing this.

I love the characters, because morally-grey and morally-compromised, vindictive and unstoppable hombres do the trick for me in fiction. That is all I want: a couple hundred pages of passion and malice. Gimme more.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Because you don’t think I’m a bad person,” he said. “And I don’t want to prove you wrong.”

V.E. Schwab, Vicious

The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute by Stephen King

This was my first from Stephen King, and will definitely not be my last. It is gripping and scary, because we’re talking about Stephen King here (duh).

There are frightening and cruel parts to it, which I found rather unpleasant to get through. But, that’s just it: that is the fun. It was disturbing and dark, in the most unforgettable way, and I loved it. Some parts did feel stretched out and it didn’t have to be 500-pages long. But, I did end up enjoying it.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It came to him, with the force of a revelation, that you had to have been imprisoned to fully understand what freedom was.

Stephen King, The Institute

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Gemina is the sequel to Illuminae, the first book in the series The Illuminae Files. This isn’t just a book: it’s literally a file, a collection of written records, conversations, graphics, diagrams, drawings, audio transcripts and chats. It is so innovative and interesting to read, and listening to the audiobook was a different level of experience altogether.

While I don’t like the stereotyped characters so much, and queer rep is compromised here, I definitely love the overall story and the world. I would wish to see more works based in this universe in the future.

It is unforgettable and a one-of-a-kind work. And it’s sassy.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

And now, born from the ashes, she’s a warrior in bloodied black.

Amie Kaufman, Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

Yay, you’ve reached the end! Bye xx

ARC Review: A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan #2) by Arkady Martine

C.W.: death, PTSD

Rep.: lesbian MC.

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

Thoughts

A Desolation Called Peace is an exquisite and de luxe sequel, that definitely lives up the hype that its prequel received. Intricate, sophisticated and entertaining – this follow-up to A Memory Called Empire is definitely the superior one of the two books in the Teixcalaan series. Crafted with adequate amounts of mystery and fun, along with its definitive portrayal of xenophobia, colonialism and cultural chauvinism, this book is simply elegant to the core.

The grandeur of these books can only be appreciated by a few. The craft of storytelling is close to perfect here, and the writing is too beautiful to be forgotten. This is an amazing space opera that should not be missed this March.

Synopsis

Lsel Ambassador Mahit Dzmare and her cultural liaison Three Seagrass unite again as a mysterious alien race lurks around the Teixcalaani space. Out of options, the empire recruits the pair in their last bid to communicate with the dangerous enemy. Meanwhile, Mahit tries to break out of political ambitions and intimidations of the leaders of her station.

Characters

Mahit Dzmare: the main protagonist is trying to figure out a way through all the politics around her.
Three Seagrass: Mahit’s only solace and romance.
Nineteen Adze: the imperial highness, facing a new threat in her Empire.
Nine Hibiscus: yaotlek, the Empire’s fleet commander, face-to-face with an unimaginable enemy.
Eight Antidote: the eleven-year-old heir to the throne.

Plot

The plot is appreciable. The chapter-length felt a tad too long sometimes, but it doesn’t affect the story much. The ending is tear-jerking. The overall length of the story is sufficient. 

A division of the story into smaller chapters might have helped the book more. I’d love to see a more thorough exploration of each character’s emotions and life-journey in the future. I’d also like to see more of their past lives being discussed in the next installments. The telling-not-showing style of the author is sometimes tiring and difficult to follow.

Final Thoughts

An amazing follow-up, which will definitely please the readers of A Memory Called Empire.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A big thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sharing this ARC with me in exchange for an honest review.

These Books Are Over-Hyped (a.k.a. Books That Don’t Deserve The Hype)

Since it’s February and I’ve got almost nothing to lose, I thought about trashing some books. In case you didn’t know, I love criticising books. But that thing is sometimes tiring. I’d rather blabber hate about the books that I don’t like, because…well, we’re in the 21st century and we’ve got other things to be cautious about (shade on you, COVID).

Just note this – these are not the books that I hate (those atrocities will be covered in another article) but these are the ones that I hate and they have a lot of hype (acclaim) around them. Hope I have cleared that up.

I don’t like Normal People

A boring, boring book that thinks it’s unique: my takeaway from this book. I wasn’t able to finish it because I felt my brain cells waving a goodbye to me as I went on.

Maybe I can be a bit humble and say that it just wasn’t for me. But everyone will know that I’m lying. I just hate this book, and I definitely think that you shouldn’t read it.

Firstly, the writing style…because perhaps Sally Rooney thought that her yucky writing style would actually make us fall love with it, but no. It isn’t cute, or remotely extraordinary. It’s just shitty and unworthy of all the hype. Period.

I don’t want to read sex scenes comprising two awkward and unlikable characters. Because that’s just disgusting. I couldn’t go on. And I wouldn’t ever again.

What’s the deal with A Wrinkle In Time?

Another book…that’s just mediocre. Or just below average, considering my taste. Sci-fi and fantasy – two of my most favourite genres – meet in this lackluster middle-grade read. I couldn’t stand it.

I hate when authors mess up my favourite genres. I mean, why would you mess up a fantasy, for god’s sake? I hate that this book has so many unwarranted religious elements in it, as that would surely not please some readers like me. I couldn’t relate, and it felt unnecessary.

The writing style was not in my league. It was just boring…yet, outrageous.

The characters? Unlikable and weirdly stupid, considering the choices they make.

The Selection sucks

The world in this book doesn’t make sense. The protagonist is not relatable, at all. I can’t seem to care about it at all.

Maybe, I did like it the first time I read it. I mean, I didn’t hate it then. But, now, I don’t want to continue with the series ever again. I wouldn’t like that…at all.

The love triangle was not good. I couldn’t stand it (duh). And I don’t know how people can read it and like it.

I think I have PTSD.

Perhaps, The Night Circus was just not for me

Alright. There are some books that I don’t understand why I don’t like. I would love to know, but I just can’t.

This book was the first book I ever read. I liked it at the time, but the second time around, I didn’t find anything special in it. I know, it’s just me. And I’m sure some people will like it, so they probably should read it anyway.

But, again, not for me. I don’t understand the hype. And I found it…undeserving.

To Kill A Kingdom is the boring fantasy ever

I genuinely thought I’d like it, since it has an enemies-to-lovers trope. But, no, odds were not in my favour when I read it.

This one was awfully predictable and difficult to get through. I don’t think I read the same book as those people who really liked it.

It deserves – and, so I gave it – 2 stars. Life is difficult sometimes, and we have to make difficult choices. But this one was a tad too easy.

That’s it for this list. Hope to see you soon. Peace out xx!

ARC Review: The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

C.W.: rape, kidnapping, brutality

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

Thoughts

The Good Lie is suspenseful and spine-chilling, and a perfect epitome of what a mystery-thriller ought to be. It keeps the reader at the edge of their seat, giving little away from the brilliant mystery that builds up piece by piece, and unveils it in the end, through an intelligent plot and writing by A.R. Torre.

For me, as a reader, a perfect mystery-thriller must have the following aspects: early foreshadowing that doesn’t give away any secrets, unpredictability, complexity of the ‘main plot mystery’ and a unique way to deliver the climax. This thriller fulfilled all those requirements, along with having complex and morally grey main characters who are still easy to vouch for and a perfect length, which means that it will be easy for readers to finish it in one sitting.

Synopsis

Dr. Gwen Moore, a psychiatrist and an expert on killers, is hired by defence attorney Robert Kavin to draw the profile of the Bloody Hearts Killer, a notorious murderer of six teens in the state of California. However, he is representing the suspect and the alleged killer of his own son, also a victim of the Bloody Hearts Killer, who he claims is innocent. But, for Gwen, the lies have only just begun, and there is a deep sea of secrets to uncover.

Characters

Gwen’s career as a psychiatrist and the stresses and risks that come along with it are explored. Her relationship with Robert has a catch, and both of them are visibly distrustful of each other. More individual character-depth could have helped the story, but it all worked out at the end.

Plot

Again, the author has intelligently constructed the plot of the story. The foreshadowing is perfect. The sub-plots, such as Gwen and Robert’s relationship, Gwen’s struggles with her own clients and Robert’s grief, are sufficiently explored. A wider plot range could have helped the story a bit more.

Final thoughts

It is mysterious, steamy, unpredictable and enjoyable. There is almost nothing more one can ask for in a book.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for sharing this ARC with me in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Genre: YA, fantasy, adventure.

C.W.: not needed.

Rep: Jewish protagonist.

Jacob Portman’s grandfather sees things. He speaks of monsters and an imminent danger to his life. His family does not believe a word he says, and neither does Jacob, until one day, when Jacob sees those monsters killing his grandfather. He barely believes in what he saw and others too dismiss his claims as a false notion.

When he discovers a few strange photographs and a letter from a stooping lady called Miss Peregrine among his grandfather’s things and remembers that he told him on his dying breath to go to Wales, Jacob finally gives in to his gut, and travels to the country with his father. There, he discovers an eerie ruin of an old building, and gets transported back to the year 1940 and the day September the 3rd. He uncovers an orphanage for peculiar (special) children, under the headmistressship of Miss Alma Peregrine. He makes friends, discovers unique secrets and fights dangerous enemies, all along with finding his own identity and peculiarity.

I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.

Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)

If I hadn’t watched the movie before reading the book, I would say I was pretty surprised by how interesting this book turned out to be. Being an avid craver of all kinds of adventure, this book was especially a savoury treat for me.

I loved the world building, the pinch of mystery, the story progression and the overall plot. I’ve come to admire all kinds of schools/homes for special children in the literary world. The weirdly unique picture collection in this book is adorable too. That is perhaps what makes this book a bit interactive, which I crave.

A Picture From Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A Picture From Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

On the downside, I’d say there is plenty to note here. Firstly, the book length could have been a bit longer, since the plot was quite complex and there was ample to unbox here. We could have had more of the characters. Character building, other that the narrator’s, was not developed enough for me to consider it memorable. The theme of friendship could have been more adequately discussed. And most people will find it difficult to get into in the beginning.

However, this book is part of an anthology, which will have a total of six books. I’m excited to get into the second book, but that will not happen soon enough.

Overall: definitely recommended for YA adventure fans.

The Best Fantasy Books I Read In 2020

Fantasy is the favourite genre of mine. I’ve arrived at this conclusion after years of reading and writing, because there is nothing more tempting for me than living in a different world from my own.

Escaping to the fantasy world is a coping mechanism for me, because, just like many of you, I can’t deal with real-life drama everyday, and sometimes it is just boring to exist in this reality. So I’d rather me exist in a utopian world, even if for just a while, than stay in this one and probably lose my mind out of stress and tension.

The Folk Of The Air (Series)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Wicked King by Holly Black
The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black
How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories by Holly Black

I’ve been stubborn about many things, but about nothing more than my assertion that this series is the love of my life. There you go. You can’t change my mind, that I know for sure.

It was a blessing, a blessing from the universe, that I discovered this author. I didn’t know how invested I would become in this story. And, yes, it’s more than a story for me.

He looks up at me with his night-colored eyes, beautiful and terrible all at once. “For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”

I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”

He grins up at me. “They missed.”

Holly Black, The Wicked King

The characters are the ones who have me smitten. Jude Duarte: I can’t unrelate to this girl. Cardan: don’t get me started because, honestly, you’re not ready for that conversation.

But, seriously, this series has all the elements indispensable in a YA-fantasy: brilliant plot, extremely interesting characters, and above all, heavenly plot twists. And, your girl lives for plot twists.

Jude, a human, tries to earn her place in the the land of Faeries, Elfhame. However, Prince Cardan, the wickedest of them all and a hater of humans, poses as a challenge, and maybe, a distraction.

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Lunar Chronicles (series)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This series is, quite frankly, a wild ride and I have so many emotions attached to it. I cried, I wailed, I laughed, I reveled, but above all, I emerged a happier human being.

I can’t say what the books are about. Really, physically, I can’t say. Because it is an insane pastiche of adventure, mystery, science-fiction, so on…phew. It’s so delightful, so engaging, so perfectly crafted, that I can rant on and on until you buy a copy of it too.

She would be brave. She would be heroic. She would make her own destiny.

Marissa Meyer, Winter

Basically, these are four books as science-fiction reboots of some of our favourite fantasy fairy tales. Cinder is the story of Cinderella (not technically Cinderella, but that is where it gets the inspirations) set in a post-apocalyptic world. Scarlet (book two) is the reboot of the Red Riding Hood’s story. Book three, Cress, is the reboot of Rupenzel, and book four, Winter, is the reboot of the tale of Snow White.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. These are retellings of our favourite fairytale characters, except that the heroines are badass, and their boyfriends are lit. The villain is one of the most interesting ones I’ve ever read, so you have that too.

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The House In The Cerulean Sea

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

I’m sorry. I don’t think any of my words can do this book justice. Because this book deserves the world. It can’t be described. The feeling can’t be described.

But since it is my job to describe, I think that the closest words would be: delightful and magical. And everyone’s supposed to read it. I don’t know, you’re just supposed to.

Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as your remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.

T.J. Klune, The House In The Cerulean Sea

This book is about prejudice. It is about family and unlikely friendships. It is about innocence, in every sense of the word. It is about hate, the hate we brew within ourselves for the things and people we don’t understand. And it’s queer af, so you’ve got that covered.

Linus Baker is a hard-edged employee in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. His life changes when he is given a new case to investigate, that of the six children living in the Marsyas Island Orphanage, with their caretaker Arthur Parnassus.

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Infernal Devices (trilogy)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Confession: I’m guilty of prejudice against Cassie, just because I judged her work by the poor adaptations of it. I didn’t read the Mortal Instruments series, and I don’t plan to, because it was spoiled for me (blame it on the shitty CW Shadowhunters). But, no, I won’t miss out her other works, even if it kills me.

I was late to the party, but I was there, that’s all that matters. Because, Cassie is a damn good writer. I might not care for Shadowhunters per se, but it’s her characters that kill me.

You know,” Gabriel said, “there was a time I thought we could be friends, Will.”

“There was a time I thought I was a ferret,” Will said, “but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? Because I didn’t.

Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

William Herondale was my first literary obsession. You will understand me, if you just read this. Just a heads-up: Cassie’s books have the ability to make you roll on the floor laughing, to crying your eyes out the next instant. And her epilogues aren’t a child’s game. So, tread lightly, son.

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐💜

That’s it for this list. Excuse me while I reminisce, while sobbing my heart out.

The Best YA-Contemporary Books I Read In 2020

Young Adult is one of my favourite genres out there. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by reading fantasy (as I almost constantly do) and need a dose of reality, I pick up high school, YA contemporary books. But, YA is a genre that certainly needs to have an ingredient. And that is representation.

No book is good or memorable as long as it does not have representation. And for me, representation includes all kinds – ethnic, racial, LGBTQIA+, regional, gender, differently-abled representation. As long as books have adequate, non-stereotypical representation, they will always have a place in my shelf.

Following are some of my favourite YA books, perhaps even some of my favourites of all time.

Radio Silence

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Rep: queer, asexual, bisexual, gay, Indian, South-Korean, immigrants, biracial.

CW: nothing major.

I have proclaimed it several times before, online and offline, that this is my favourite YA book, of all time. No questions asked. There is no other book that can replace this one, because it is hard to think that there can be another book so delightful as this one. And, there isn’t. I promise you there isn’t.

Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.

Alice Oseman, Radio Silence

I’m almost tearing up, thinking about how truly seen I felt while reading this book, and how relatable it was, at all levels. Being labelled as a ‘nerd’ or a ‘bookworm’ is not comfortable for me, and so was it not for Frances Janvier, our protagonist. She is the only fictional character I can relate with at a spiritual level. And I hope you undertand how that feels.

People move on quicker than I can comprehend. People forget you within days, they take new pictures to put on Facebook and they don’t read your messages. They keep on moving forward and shove you to the side because you make more mistakes than you should.

Alice Oseman, Radio Silence

This is a story about friendship, period. There is nothing more intoxicating than platonic love, not even a steamy romance (which we have had enough of, by the way). This is also a story about unity despite differences. It is a story about listening to your heart, and doing what you feel good doing. This is a story about life, which is not determined by your score sheet, but by your personal choices.

I couldn’t quite believe how much I seriously loved Aled Last, even if it wasn’t in the ideal way that would make it socially acceptable for us to live together until we die.

Alice Oseman, Radio Silence

And, representation. I don’t know if I can list out the extent of queer rep in this book. Our protagonist is a British-Ethiopian, bisexual girl. The male protagonist, Aled Last, is asexual. There is an Indian girl, an Asian, gay boy, and a lesbian girl. Talk about unity in diversity.

I wasn’t sure how anyone could mistake an Indian girl for a British-Ethiopian girl, but there it is. Gotta love white people.

Alice Oseman, Radio Silence

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

We Are The Ants

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Rep: gay.

C.W.: depression, suicide, bullying, assault, violence, homophobia.

This book is sad read. I have seen people disliking this book, or perhaps accusing it of stereotyping its characters. But what I love about this book is the existential question it poses, and the very subtle answer it gives at the end. Which is not tasteful for everyone, but for me, it was just what I needed to read.

Depression isn’t a war you win. It’s a battle you fight every day. You never stop, never get to rest. It’s one bloody fray after another.

Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are The Ants

The content warning features depression as a major topic dealt with in this book. Henry Denton, our protagonist, deals with constant bullying and depression, especially after his friend killed himself. After he gets abducted by a bunch of aliens, he is presented a choice – to press a button that will prevent the planet from ending, or not. At first, he is very much sure that he wouldn’t press it, because of his spiteful feelings towards his family, friends and the world in general. What follows is a journey, towards acceptance and self-love. What do you think he does at the end?

Your entire sense of self-worth is predicated upon your belief that you matter, that you matter to the universe. But you don’t. Because we are the ants.

Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are The Ants

I wouldn’t say that this book isn’t difficult to read. It’s sad, uncomfortable and disturbing at times. But, if you look at the silver lining, the small moments that give you hope, there is nothing that would make you not love this book.

What if I don’t give a shit about the world?”
“I’d say that’s pretty fucking sad.”
“Why?”
“Because the world is so beautiful.

Shaun David Hutchinson, We Are The Ants

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Heartstopper (VOL. 1, 2 & 3)

Heartstopper Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman

Rep: gay, lesbian, asexual, bisexual, transgender.

C.W.: bullying, homophobia.

Heartstopper is a three volume, YA queer comic series. Other books are due to be released soon, but as of Jan 2021, we have 3 delightful graphic novels at our dispense. Inside these pages, there is a story so important, yet beautiful, charming and enjoyable, for you to read.

You can’t tell whether people are gay by what they look like. And gay or straight aren’t the only two options.

Alice Oseman, Heartstopper

Alice Oseman brings us another deliciously queer story, this time with a gay and a bisexual protagonist. This book has all the things you need: it is fun, extremely woke and unapologetically proud. And, I don’t know about you, but that’s what I had signed up for.

A comic strip from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

This is a love story, a romance, but this time, boy meets boy. Because love is…well, love.

There’s this idea that if you’re not straight, you have to tell all your family and friends immediately, like you owe it to them. But you don’t. You don’t have to do anything until you’re ready.

Alice Oseman, Heartstopper
A comic strip from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Rep: gay.

C.W.: bullying, homophobia, depression, PTSD, drug abuse, assault, violence.

This is another story which was equally endearing and heartbreaking. It is a story about friendship, because friendship breaks all barriers. It is a story about acceptance. It is a story about coming to terms with old trauma.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Our protagonist, Charlie, is a quiet and sensitive boy. The book is written in the form of letters, sent by Charlie to an unknown person. This is his journey through friendship, loss, heartbreak, and acceptance.

I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have.

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I can say that this book made me uncomfortable many a times. It’s heartbreaking and sad. But, again, as long as there is hope, there is no journey too difficult.

So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

There stories are high school, coming-of-age stories. And considering I’m a high-schooler too, I can’t see why I wouldn’t have liked them in the first place.

The Spiciest Mystery-Thrillers I Read In 2020

2020, the year of disappointments, is finally up, and so is the reading year. This year, on Goodreads, my reading challenge was not too ambitious, but I managed to make the best of it. I picked up several books which I weren’t able to stand after a while, and I had to give up on them. The ones I managed to finish were the ones that did not annoy or gaslight me time and again.

Mystery-thrillers tend to be a hit or miss game for me. I would either like them a bit too much, or would hate them more than the most embarrassing moments of my life. This year, I managed to find and read some exceptional mysteries and thrillers.

Here is a list of the best ones.

Verity

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Verity by Colleen Hoover managed to climb up the list of my favourite mysteries of all time. And, mind you, I’ve read some pretty messed up stuff in books, but none as graphic and perturbing as the stuff in this book. While this book stole my peace of mind, I just can’t help but say that this is one of the best ones in this genre out there. But, of course, my taste is a bit raunchy, and whether you would like it or not, would depend on your similarity to my taste.

To those who don’t know, Colleen Hoover primarily writes romances, with a touch of troubling content. But she had not ever written something as disturbing as this. In this book, she has written a full-fledged mystery, with a steamy romance in the midst. But, what happens when you find out that your own wife had done some messed up stuff that no wife or mother can do?

This book has one of the most intricately crafted plot twists I’ve ever read. If you don’t start writhing after reading them, call me up and I’ll return your money.

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

Stevie Bell had to find her way back home when up came the best teenage detective ever: Pippa Fitz-Amobi. I can riot and rant all day, because this book did not receive the hype it deserves. It deserves those full-on five star ratings and 100 pages long reviews with a collection memes and appreciation posts. I can go on and on.

There is nothing better, more satisfying, than reading a book so perfectly plotted and played out. And while I rant about the plot, let me also bring it to your attention that representation. Representation, ladies and gentlemen. If the r-word doesn’t trigger you to shelf this book, I don’t know what else will.

Sal Singh was convicted of Andie Bell’s murder. Pip has something else to bring to the story, now.

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

If an alien would appear in my room right now, and ask me for my last wish before chopping me up, I’d ask them to recommend a book to you people. Because, if you haven’t read We Were Liars, and call yourself a mystery fan, then you’re just lying to yourself, my friend.

This book is a tiny masterpiece. Who knew that a book so little could rip the shreds out of me? Who knew that there were plot twists? I will never forgive myself for not picking this up sooner. Don’t repeat my mistake.

An island. A troubled family. An inheritance issue. A bunch of cousins. A lot of fun. And, a deadly mistake. What is real and what is not?

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

This book is as much of a horror as you would call it a mystery-thriller. The atmosphere is always ominous, dark and chilling. No one knows which girl would end up dead next in this book.

Written as two parallel storylines, this book is crafted in a dangerously addictive way. There was no way I was going to put this down. And if you truly know me, you would know that I live for books with names after places, buildings, or geographical features. And this book was named after a motel, there was no way I wasn’t going to pick this up.

Years ago, Viv Delaney disappeared in this motel, just as so many other women did, who were found dead later on. But Viv was never found. Now, her niece returns to the same town to find her. But, what is wrong with the Sun Down Motel?

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Guest List

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Devilishly perfect for the fans of Agatha Christie’s An Then There Were None, this book is an extremely enjoyable piece of mystery with a generous number of plot twists.

Just as ATTWN was set on an island, this book too is set on an island off the coast of Ireland. And, damn, you see that cover? It’s a thunderstorm, and I love them. Just give me a book with rain in them, and I’ll give you the sun and moon.

A wedding is supposed to take place on this island but something is horribly fishy. There are blood stained notes, seemingly-unbreakable friendships and a villain in the midst. There are horribly-crazy blokes, falling apart relationships and terrible secrets from the past. There is success, ambition, fame, contemplation, and arrogance, all mixed with trauma, depression, jealousy, spite and murder.

What else do you need?

My Goodreads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


There you go! I love 2020 for letting me discover such great mysteries. I’m a sucker for them, and they are probably the only thing I need to survive any pandemic.

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