Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson #bookreview.

Hello everyone! Maureen Johnson, my all-time favorite author released her new book, Nine Liars! Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review of the book. Let’s get into the review!

Book: Nine Liars
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Fiction, Murder Mystery
Age Limit: 16+
Trigger Warnings: Death, Panic Attacks/ Disorders, Murder

Goodreads Summary:

Senior year at Ellingham Academy for Stevie Bell isn’t going well. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London. Her friends are obsessed with college applications. With the cold case of the century solved, Stevie is adrift. There is nothing to distract her from the questions pinging around her brain—questions about college, love, and life in general.

Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends to join him for study abroad, and his new friend Izzy introduces her to a double-murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house and played a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed the next day, murdered with an ax.

The case was assumed to be a burglary gone wrong, but one of the remaining seven saw something she can’t explain. This was no break-in. Someone’s lying about what happened in the woodshed.

Seven suspects. Two murders. One killer still playing a deadly game.

My Review:

This book is a companion in the Truly Devious series. You don’t have to read the other four books, but I suggest reading them as they are classic cozy murder mysteries! This book is set in London and the story starts in 1995 where The Nine are going to the manor’s house for a party. At first, I felt that introducing so many characters in the story at once could confuse the reader. But, that was not the case. The author did a great job of establishing the characters and giving their personalities an identity.

In the book, there are statements from the six characters that were very interesting to read and a great addition to the story. There are character developments of Stieve and her friends. At some point, I observed that the author diverted a lot from the main murder and shifted the focus to Stieve’s love life. So, that did not blend well. Stevie and her friends visit London as David invites them. The author shares the history of London which blends with the main murder. I really like the way she linked real history and murder.

Maureen’s world-building in this book was immaculate. It gave off dark and gruesome vibes while reading the book. I really enjoyed it and could not stop thinking about the story. I guessed the killer when there were 150 pages left. It is a very quick-paced read as I finished reading this in 3 days and didn’t even realize that it was a 450-page book! Sometimes a book can be unnecessarily long and it can bore in between, but this was not the case here. One thing after the other the story unravels smoothly. Lastly, I would like to say that, I would like to kill David soon. Read the book and you will know what I mean.

What I Liked:

  • The whole story is set in London.
  • The blending of the history of London with the murder.
  • Character build-up was so good, did not confuse me while I was reading.
  • Dark and gruesome vibes in the story.
  • Quick-paced read and the story unraveled smoothly.

What I Did Not Like:

  • The story kept diverting from the main murder and focused on the main character’s love life.
  • I guessed the killer when there were 150 pages left, which is fine but then it kind of ruined the surprise element.

Other Books In This Series:

The first three books are a series, and The Box In The Woods and Nine Liars are companions. You can check out my review for The Truly Devious Series and The Box In The Woods.

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was my highly anticipated book of 2022 and I am so happy that I read this book. I must say that this was a bit different and not my favorite from other books in the series, but yes this book is worth reading! Let me know in the comments if you have read this book.
Happy Reading!
Rabhya.

The Maid: Book Review

Book: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Genre: Fiction, Murder Mystery
Age Limit: 16+
Trigger Warnings: Death, Murder, Bullying

Goodreads Summary:

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had united with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

My Review:

Firstly, the main character Molly the Maid. She is a very innocent person who has not seen the true world. When you will be reading, the main character won’t understand the true meaning behind the conversations, but the reader will understand the meaning. I was not a fan of this format particularly. It is like the character is up for a surprise in the case, not the reader. I did not like Molly the Maid since I found her irritating at times. I felt sad for Molly at times as she was not accepted by her co-workers. I really loved Grandma’s advice throughout the book. Molly keeps recalling her dead Grandma’s advice throughout the book which was nice to read.
Coming to the story. I think this was a solid murder mystery. I really liked that the whole story took place in the hotel from a Maid’s point of view. The ending though did not have the wow factor. Throughout, the story was going pretty smoothly (minus the character’s behavior), but I expected a better ending.

What I Liked:

  • The whole story is set in a hotel.
  • Recalling her grandma’s life lessons.

What I Did Not Like:

  • Molly was irritating at times
  • The character is up for a surprise, not the reader
  • The ending did not have a WOW factor.

What You Should Read Next:

  • The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
  • The Guest List by Lucey Foley

My Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This was an average read for me. Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Happy Reading!
Rabhya.

Before The Coffee Gets Cold: Book Review

Book: Before The Coffee Gets Cold
Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism
Age Limit: 16+
Trigger Warnings: Dementia, Death, Grief

Goodreads Summary:

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-traveling offer, to confront the man who left them, and receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .

My Review:

There are four stories, all set in the cafe, where the characters are the same and known. In each story, some or other character wants to time travel back to the past/ future to convey something to the person they want to meet. These stories are very heartwarming and meaningful. You get so connected to the characters. The author has described the cafe in such a way that it makes it so comforting to read these stories. It teaches an important lesson about time and relationships. Even though they can time travel, after coming back, the present does not change, which was pretty interesting to read as even though the characters were able to experience this magical moment, they still had to come back to reality because it does not change. I got so attached to these stories that I will come back and read them again. They were so impactful with such a beautiful message at the end.

What I Liked:

  • The connection between time and relationships
  • Got attached to the characters
  • the rules for time-traveling
  • favorite story: Mother and Child

Other Books In This Series:

What You Should Read Next:

  • Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • Read the sequels of this book!

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a comfort read for me! Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Reading!
Rabhya.

Guide To Book Photography!

Hello everyone! Hope all are doing well. So, some of you may already know that I love photography, especially of nature and books. I do not have a bookstagram account, but I take photos for blog post purposes and for Pinterest! You can check out my Pinterest! I was thinking to do a basic guide/tips on starting with book photography. So, let’s get into it!

Equipment

Camera

When starting with book photography, you DO NOT need a costly camera and equipment to start with. Your android phones/ iPhones are sufficient for taking photos. I personally have a camera but I find myself using my phone camera most of the time. I do have a tripod but I do not use it unless I am using my camera. I won’t recommend any phone brand since all phones have good camera quality these days.

Lighting

I personally do not use any external lighting. Natural light is the best way to capture good-quality photos. Lighting in your home is also sufficient for capturing a well-lit photo.

Composition

Composition is the key to every bookish photo. To make a photo attractive and aesthetic, use objects relating to the story or the book cover. If you see the first photo above, the series is a murder mystery, so I used gloves, a magnifying glass, and an old piece for giving character to the photo. Similarly, in the second photo, there are flowers on the cover. So, I covered the background with some white flowers. You can pick some objects lying around your home and use them in your photos.

Editing Process

Get as creative as you can at this step! All the options are in your hands at this step and you can definitely elevate a simple photo through some editing. I normally use Lightroom and Picsart for editing photos on my phone. If you see the Before photo, I just stacked those books on an orangish paper. But during the editing process, I used many stickers from Picsart and made it aesthetic! Also, you don’t require a premium subscription for any editing app, the free features are sufficient.

So these were some tips/ basics for starting with book photography. You can actually use these tips for taking photos of other things too! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips and tricks that you use for book photography!
Happy Reading!
Rabhya.

Kafka On The Shore: Book Review

Book: Kafka On The Shore
Author: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Magical Realism
Age Limit: 17+

Summary:

Kafka Thmura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophecy.
The aging Nakata, the tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.
As their parallel odyssey unravels, cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghost-like pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbors soldiers apparently un-aged since World War II. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle- one of many which combine to create an elegant and dreamlike masterpiece.

My Review:

It took me a month to finish this book. I wanted to take my own time to consume every page written by Murakami. The story revolves around two characters who are not connected in any way. As we go further into the story a connection starts forming between them since this is a character-driven story. I really loved the character build-up. Simplistic characters going through life problems and all of that is infused with magic. Murakami creates a world for readers so that they can completely lose themselves in it. The story is not meant to end with a banger, it ends for the reader to figure out on their own. I could not believe that Murakami could write such a story. It’s so beautifully written and his writing style is immaculate. Kafka On The Shore was a comfort read for me, I wanted to get lost in the story and escape from reality. Throughout the book, there are magical elements that surprise you and then there are those humane elements that melt your heart.

What I Liked:

  • Infusing magic with reality
  • meaningful and deep world-building
  • comforting and escaping story
  • simplistic characters with diverse elements around them
  • the immaculate writing style of Murakami

My Favourite Paragraphs From The Book:

What You Should Read Next:

  • Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Star Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This has become my all-time favorite book now! I highly recommend reading this meaningful and alluring story! If you have read this book, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Happy Reading!
Rabhya.