Melody

ISBN-13: 9781408857885
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Publication Date: May 2016
Format: Paperback, 640 pgs
Source: Purchased



[Contain slight spoilers for A Court of Thorns and Roses]



I enjoyed reading A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) last year; the first book of a new series by bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, who is also well-known for her Throne of Glass series. This second book picks up where it left off from ACOTAR and I've to say it is even better and more intense than the first installment. 

In A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre continues to face challenges but most often she has questions about her position after her return to the Spring Court and then there is the bargain she had made with Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court after a horrendous battle with the fearful Amarantha (a commander from Hybern) who had left her emotionally broken. 

Though a High Fae now with powers, Feyre remains human at heart and she still couldn't forget what she's done to two innocent faes during her battle with Amarantha and to this day she still has nightmares thinking about her and the powers she had had over her during the battle. 

If the first installment is about Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, then this second installment is all about Rhysand and his role at the Night Court. I mentioned before that I would love to learn more about him and I was glad I have gotten more than enough information about him here. If I had any speculations of him as a person in the past, then this book answered all my questions about him and what made him as he is at present. In fact, what I have learned has far exceeded my perspective of him and it was truly a great reading experience to me because he is such an interesting character. I enjoyed reading more about his world and the few people who are working alongside with him - his Inner Circle, he called them. These secondary characters are significant to the plot and not to mention they made this story so much interesting given their personalities and their history. The world building, the different species of the fae world (be it High Lords, High Faes, Illyrian warriors and spymaster, lesser faeries and other creatures alike. And then there's the King of Hybern) were all so imaginative and a joy to read but truly it was the connection between Feyre and Rhysand, and her role at the Night Court were what made this installment so much outstanding. I also loved it that this book surprised me on many different levels and the emotions they evoked in me while reading a few heartbreaking scenes - simply wow. And mentioning more would be a great spoiler so this is all you got from me. 

Yes, as you can tell I was totally captivated by this second installment. That ending was really something; and I can't wait for the next installment to release quickly!  

Melody

ISBN-13: 9781848541825
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 
Publication Date: May 2016
Format: Trade Paperback, 432 pgs
Source: Purchased



Where shall I begin? There are so many issues and events happening here that they made my head spin (in a good way). John Hart is an excellent writer and an excellent storyteller as well. The plot, the characterisation as well as the suspense are stunning and though this is a thriller, it is much more than the conventional whodunit or any of those unreliable characters who mess with our minds. No, this book isn't that but simply a great suspense story but oh, how it had captured my attention right from the beginning till the end! 

To begin with, Elizabeth Black has been with the police force for thirteen years and she's seen through many horrible crimes and dead people. She couldn't forget the case whereby she single-handedly rescued a girl from a locked cellar and shot her two kidnappers dead. She is labelled as a hero but the state cops think otherwise. They feel eighteen shots is unjustifiable even for criminals. But there are also people who thinks Elizabeth is a heroine for the act she has committed in order to save the girl. As for Elizabeth, this case haunted and emotionally affected her. 

However, this story tells more than the abduction case. Adrian Wall, an ex-cop whom Elizabeth has admired since young was put behind bars for a murder crime. He is finally free after thirteen years of torture and abuse in prison; Elizabeth believes he is wrongly convicted but evidence said otherwise. Gideon Strange, a fourteen-year-old boy is waiting for a chance to avenge the death of his mother and Adrian is the person he is waiting for. And somewhere deep in the forest, a body is found on the altar of an abandoned church. The method of murder matches Adrian's thirteen years ago. 

Redemption Road is one of the best thrillers I have read thus far this year. This novel is brimming with tension and suspense; and it evoked so much emotions in me. It is a dark story; filled with horrible deeds and more horrible people but there is also a bright side to it as well that made my heart ached with the love and compassion some characters did for their loved ones. Yes, this is a book about righteousness, justice and redemption but it is also a book about love and faith. I wished I could say more about this book yet I know any more I said would be a spoiler. This is a story filled with twists and turns and is a must-read for all crime thriller fans. 

Melody

ISBN-13: 9781509820832
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: February 2016
Format: Paperback, 96 pgs
Source: Purchased




This short story by Rainbow Rowell is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day and the tale revolves around Star Wars fandom and how friendship/kindred spirits come about when one least expects it. 

Eighteen-year-old Elena is a Star Wars fan. To be exact, it was under her father's influence that she only saw the original trilogy. Anything other than that isn't exactly the "real" movies, at least this is what her father thinks. Well she doesn't mind it anymore if she did watch them now that their parents are separated. And with the new Star Wars movie releasing, she knew she wants to experience the excitement of camping outside the cinema and exchanging news and sharing thoughts with other fans till the opening night. Alas, the queue isn't what she has expected. She is aghast to find she is the last in line but truth be told there are only three people, including herself. 

The two guys in front of her, Troy and Gabe, may be out of her league but over the four days she was with them, she learned a few things about them, especially Gabe. 

Kindred Spirits may be a short story (62 pages) but the characters are quite well developed. I enjoyed the exchanges Elena had with Troy, who is such a huge Star Wars fan that his enthusiasm almost put her to shame. And then there is Gabe, a quiet guy who may not seemed to attract anyone's attention initially but he will grow on you the more you read about him. 

All in all, it was a sweet story about friendship (and potential relationship?) and not to mention Star Wars fandom (well, you don't need to be a fan to enjoy this book). Aside from the cute story, what I admire about Ms. Rowell is the way she could spin off stories out of our ordinary and sometimes mundane lives into something unforgettable and special. I just wished this story could be a bit longer.

And oh, there is an extract of Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard at the end of this book which I think is a story about friendship between two sixteen-year-old girls and how a girl named Suzanne, who is so different from them, will turn their lives upside down. Since it was an extract I wasn't sure where this story will lead but I'm hoping that it would be a book which has some intrigue (or a mystery) in it. 

Finally, before I end this review, I thought I would voice out my confusion over the book cover. The yellow sticker stated "For Older Readers" but it didn't contain any content which seem shocking or inappropriate to me. 



Misc. Musings:

I have been slacking in my reading lately. No, it isn't the book(s) but life as well as a few distractions which have kept my reading attention elsewhere. Last week was test week and I was so glad it was over. A few things also include playing Candy Crush on my mobile as well as re-watching Descendants of the Sun for the third time. This time around, I am watching it with my husband and I have a hunch it is his curiosity over the popularity that is speaking louder than the drama itself, ha. 

I am currently reading John Hart's Redemption Road and aside from the great storytelling, it is a book filled with suspense, emotions and questions which have me thinking about righteousness and justice. No, wait. There are many more issues which will set your mind thinking over what is right and what is wrong but yet they aren't really straightforward. This is my first John Hart book and I am enjoying reading it; his writing and his storytelling is excellent in my opinion and I am glad to have discovered an author whom I know I would be reading more in future. 


(My pic on Instagram. Come find me @melody_lee)

Once again, I am finding joy in writing and receiving snail mails. They are such a rare things nowadays (at least to me, aside from the book mails) that a letter would make me squeal in delight. To-date, I had received three mails (including a postcard which is not featured here) from Jenclair, who is a bookish friend from A Garden Carried in the Pocket. We share similar taste when books are concerned. :-) 


What are you reading? Hope you have a great week! 
Melody

ISBN-13: 9781785651731
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: March 2016
Format: Paperback, 320 pgs
Source: Purchased



This story is basically about multiple identities, secrets, deceits and of course murders often go alongside with them when thrillers are concerned. Thrown in with one or two unreliable characters and The Passenger would have you turning the pages quickly if you are a fan of those mentioned above. 

It all started when Tanya Dubois's husband, Frank, is dead. She'd found him at the bottom of the stairs and assumed he had fell down on his own after he'd suffered a few cases of vertigo lately. She'd tried resuscitating him but knew he's a goner. She claims she has no alibi and that we readers have to take her word for it. She has an affair with her chiropractor during her marriage to Frank and although her relationship with Frank is simply so-so, at least she finds some life and some financial security (even if it isn't much) being with him. 

What happens next is a series of events where we see Tanya on the run; changing her names and shedding her identities as she travels from places to places. At this stage, the reader would assume that  Tanya is guilty but yet there isn't evidence to convict her as being guilty.  In fact, at some point the reader would start to wonder if she's fallen prey to a cleverer deceiver, who has taken her in when Tanya is in trouble. To make things complicated (and not to mention intense), she also gets acquainted with a man whom she later finds out is a cop. What is her chances of being a free woman again? Is she truly a murderer or not? 

Well, I've to say The Passenger took me by surprise throughout my reading journey. The first three quarters of the book intrigued me due to Tanya's methods and reasons for changing her identities and her facial appearances as she runs from one state to another. Sometimes her reasons were deemed to be paranoia but other times they were horrifying that I began to wonder about Tanya; which is the whole point of this story. At times I pitied her and then I would find myself changing my mind after reading a few more chapters. It was quite an emotional ride in a way but yet also a dilemmatic one, too; in which you ended up asking more questions than having answers. I was sure I felt lukewarm about the plot until I got to the end, which had left me quite surprised and above all, had me wondering about a few things. Overall it was a compelling read but to readers who are going for a more action-packed thriller this might seem a bit disappointing. 


Melody

ISBN-13: 9781910751411
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: November 2015
Format: Paperback, 440 pgs
Source: Library




This is the third instalment of Angela Marsons' DI Kim Stone series and although I have yet to read the first two books I'm glad this could be read as a standalone.

The story begins with DI Kim Stone being assigned to be in-charge of an abduction case whereby two nine-year-old girls are kidnapped. Truth be told, it is one of the girl's mother who'd requested for Kim to lead the investigation since they are friends going way back to their foster care days but had lost touch as they each go through separate ways. As much as their friendship is estranged, Karen trusts her friend's capability and competence and she knows Kim would do a good job despite everything. 

Elizabeth, the other lost girl's mother, is friends with Karen and since their girls are close with each other and that both families are financially loaded, they become easy target for the kidnappers. However, this is an abduction unlike the others. Though the kidnappers still demand for a ransom, they've raised the stake by playing an auction game and which family pay the most will get to have their daughter back; the family who didn't succeed will lose their daughter. It is a sick abduction case and Kim knew their games very well because they'd lost a girl through the same tactic a year ago. Like Charlie and Amy in present day, Emily and Suzie were both kidnapped but only Emily returned. No one knew why Emily was released and Suzie's mother always think that she'd failed because she didn't raise enough money. Suzie's body is never found. 

Not wanting history to repeat itself, Kim treats the current case with extra caution; first the media blackout and that no extended families or friends to know about anything. Still, it is all a challenge as Kim often finds herself crossing paths with a nosy reporter who is believed to have indirectly caused a teenager's death due to her inappropriate article. Kim despises her for releasing the information of the teenager's condition while his gang leader wants him dead for leaving the gang. Tracy Foster claims she is innocent and that the timeline didn't match with her article when it was released so Kim has this task to look into as well. 

I've to say Lost Girls is an intense, well-crafted crime thriller and unlike other abduction stories I've read in the past (the abduction part really got to me and my heart really went out to both sets of the parents.) Kim is an unforgettable character, in terms of her personality and her work ethic. She is one tough detective but she also shows readers her softer side when the girls are concerned. All the characters are superbly portrayed; each showing their strength as well as their flawed side. Even our heroine, Kim, has her dark past and I'm very curious to learn more about her and to find out how she's become what she is today. 

Aside from the plot, this story also tells us the side of parental love, about gang culture and finally, what drives a person to extreme pressure and insanity under certain circumstances. There's definitely a few things to ponder about in this story but what really stands out is the parental love and the courageous acts of the girl(s) during dangerous situations.