ISBN-13: 9780062216915
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 21 October 2014

Format: Hardcover, 288 pgs
Source: Publisher

Sometimes the Wolf is a crime thriller, but it is also a story between father and son and how time distance and danger would test the limits of their relationship. 

Patrick Drake was a Sheriff but a bad decision and a reckless action had thrown him into prison. He was supposed to lead a normal life, raising his family in a small mountain town at Silver Lake, Washington, and catching bad guys, but fate seems to have another plan laid out for him. His wife passed away and he was faced with financial woes. What's a desperate man to do at that point? As foolish as this sound, he had turned to smuggling drugs and got caught. He spent twelve years in jail, and now he's out of parole under his son, Bobby Drake's watchful eyes. 

Bobby used to have dreams. He has a basketball scholarship to Arizona but he has to forgo his dream since his father’s guilt. As if that's not enough, he's now deputy sheriff in his father’s old department, and despite all those years have gone by, most people in their small town still remember his father's deeds. However, the Drakes are far from having peace as not long after Patrick’s release, a threat from his past reappears. 

The opening is quite a stunner with the murdering scene, but left enough intrigue for readers to find out what it has to do with the Drakes. What also makes this story a compelling read is the element of trust. Should Bobby trust his superior, who's used to work with his father? And most importantly, does he think his father had killed two men and had those drug money stashed away? Like a lone wolf being hunted, Bobby soon finds himself like that wolf he and Ellie, a Fish and Wildlife staff, who tried to track down after it has made its appearance at Silver Lake in fifty years. 

Filled with tension and mystery, Sometimes the Wolf is a gripping thriller not only about the crimes and murders but of family intrigue, deception and loyalty as well. Mr. Waite captured those tense feelings through his wonderful prose which I find captivating. There is something about his writing that I find quite different from other thrillers; it's like there's more finesse and artsy in his style and I find it refreshing. The way he described the relationship among the three Drakes men (Patrick, Bobby and Morgan, who's Bobby's grandfather) truly defines that saying about blood is thicker than water, no matter whatever the circumstances is and to me, that melancholy feeling is just so great given the premise. However, despite the beauty, I was somewhat skeptical towards the ending, for I felt something was amiss but I'm willing to let it go because, well, sometimes things are better if one left unsaid. 

ISBN-13: 9780425251270
Publisher: Jove Books
Publication Date: 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback, 304 pgs
Source: Personal Library

It'd been a long time since I've read a contemporary romance. Several years ago, before I started this blog, most of the books I read are romance. Contemporary romance, historical romance, romance suspense, paranormal romance. . . you name it, they are on my read list. Then I found myself in this wonderful blogging community, and it has allow me to explore other books which I don't think I'd be reading without all the lovely reviews and recommendations. Thank you, my bookbloggers friends, for sharing those books! 

Back to this post, I want to say reading It Happened One Wedding reminds me why I love reading romance in the first place. Witty, sexy and romantic; this book has all the right elements of a good romance story. 

Sidney Sinclair is a career-minded woman. She takes pride in her job as a director at a private equity firm and while she scores in clinching business deals, she finds it lacking when it comes to the love department. She has decided that men who are commitment-phobic or playboys are off from her list. 

Special agent Vaughn Roberts is the man who fits right on her list. Confident, flirty and good-looking, Vaughn is the man Sinclair who'd avoid at any costs but fate decides otherwise and they are thrown into close contact since they are best man and maid of honour for their siblings' wedding. You see, Vaughn's younger brother, Simon, is to marry Sidney's younger sister, Isabelle. 

Sidney is stuck with him no matter she likes it or not, until Isabelle walks down the aisle. Vaughn, on the other hand, is determined to win over this cool and confident redhead. After all, he has not encountered a woman who would say no to him until her. 

What makes this story a fun read is the exchanges between Sidney and Vaughn (they've some witty dialogues there.) As you can imagine, they didn't leave a good impression with each other initially and I liked the fact that they didn't fall in love at first sight. I think love at first sight do exist, but I'm a little skeptical about it. Thus, when I read that Sidney and Vaughn didn't fit into that category, I was curious on how and what it takes to make their relationship grows, especially since they rub each other off the wrong way the first time they met. 

But of course, sincerity, trust and respect play a huge part in a relationship and as the time goes, Sidney and Vaughn can't help but to be attracted to each other. But what's so memorable about the romance is Vaughn changed his mindset about commitment and the things he'd done for Sidney simply made my heart melt. Yeah. 

I really enjoyed reading this love story between Sidney and Vaughn. They had me chuckle over their squabbles; and they had me smile over their exchanges and the things they have done for each other. I also liked reading about their siblings, Simon and Isabelle, whom I felt are humble and down-to-earth people. Their sweet romance may not be the core of this book, but they do play a part in putting Vaughn and Sidney together. 

It Happened One Wedding is the third book I read by Julie James (after Just the Sexiest Man Alive and Practice Makes Perfect, that is) and I have to say each book didn't disappoint me. Ms. James is one of my favourite romance authors and I know I can always count on her books if I want something romantic and fun to read.

Director: Shim Sung-Bo
Cast: Han Ye-Ri, Kim Yun-Seok, Park Yu-Chun, Moon Sung-Geun, Kim Sang-Ho
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Chinese

Based on true events, Haemoo tells a gripping story of a voyage of survival and humanity. 

Set in South Korea in 1998, a fishing vessel sets sail for their catch. The crew isn't in luck, for their catch isn't what they have hoped for. Captain Kang (starring Kim Yun-Seok) is desperate, for the times are bad and if they fail to bring in anything it'd mean the whole crew would be in trouble. 

With nowhere to go, he agrees to transport some Chinese-Koreans stowaways from China on his vessel. When the crew knew that they would be smuggling immigrants, they are worried but they have no choice. Moreover they trust and respect Captain Kang; they knew that whatever he does he always have their best interest. 

Unfortunately, the deal is a doom from the start. Apart from the large group of immigrants that leave them stunned, they are not prepared of consequences should any happens. Captain Kang has to resort to violence, and his action shakes the cores of his crew members. And that's only the beginning of the nightmares... 

Haemoo is a sad, dark and thought-provoking movie that evolves around the subject of humanity, and what drives a man to do under desperate measures. Greed is another factor, as well as lust. There is a little romance to this movie, but it is all sad and a tragedy. Dong-Sik (starring Park Yu-Chun) is the youngest crew in the vessel who falls in love with Hong-Mae (starring Han Ye-Ri), a young woman immigrant who wanted to look for her brother in Korea. Their scene also plays a major part to this film when Dong-Sik tries to protect Hong-Mae from his crazed captain and fellow mates. 

The cast did a wonderful job in their respective role. Two characters really left an impression on me and they are Captain Kang and of course, Dong-Sik. Captain Kang is a man who cares a lot for his crew (You could tell this when he still gives advance money to them even if he has to loan it.) He is simply a simple fisherman who wants to bring home money despite the bad times. He is simply down with miscalculations and bad luck. 

Dong-Sik is another simple-minded soul with a big heart. His falling for Hong-Mae has given him the courage to act devilishly. From the point of love I have to applaud him for the things he has done for Hong-Mae, but from another view it's so sad to see the crew crumbles and became the enemies instead. 

Overall I felt the direction was great, until it came to the ending part. It was a let down and I felt terribly disappointed. Walking out of the theatre I could hear some discussions and sighs from a few audiences. Truth be told, I didn't really get the ending. That said, I suppose it gives viewers a melancholy feel over what all happened to that unfortunate event. 

Note: Haemoo is listed as South Korean's submission for the Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards in 2015.

  • ISBN-13: 9780062088260
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date: 23 September 2014 (Reprint)
  • Format: Paperback, 256 pgs
  • Source: Publisher

Don't you think there's a overwhelming sense of melancholy and sadness just by reading the title itself? I definitely think so, and what made this book not an easy read is it revolves around two girls - twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old younger sister, Ruby, and how they are on the run with their father.

After their mother's passing, they have been staying at their foster home. Their ex-minor league baseball player father, Wade Chesterfield, left them a few years back and they'd been living with their mother since the day their parents signed a paper on the Termination of Parental Rights. The legal document has stated that Wade would thereby relinquish his parental rights to Easter and Ruby. And from then on the girls never saw their father, again. It was then known that their father was arrested for DUI. And now he's appeared at their foster home and took them away in the middle of the night.

On the other end, Robert Pruitt, is a mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta. He is, however, determined to find Wade and claim his due. He and Wade had known each other way back when they were both baseball players. Pruitt is also driven by money to track Wade from a triad boss who believes Wade had stolen a huge amount of money from him.

Brady Weller is the girls' guardian and he has a little history himself; he'd been a police officer and then a detective for almost twenty years. He has found his way being a guardian by trying to undo something that can never be undone. His current job is installing security systems but when he knew of the girls' disappearance, he began a search with the help of his ex-buddy whom he had worked with  together during his days in the police force.

Narrated in alternating voices between Easter, Pruitt and Brady, This Dark Road to Mercy is an emotional read about the two sisters' struggles of living a new life and how fate has put their life in disarray.

What made this a compelling read is what seems to be an impulsive act from the start could spiral out of control into something so unbelievable and horrific. The three narrators are all binded into a complicated race of an unfortunate event which started out by greed initially. Wade is another interesting character whom I felt was a pity that his voice isn't included in this story. However, he plays a crucial role to this story so I suppose by leaving out his voice would probably add to the overall mysterious effect.

I enjoyed reading this story a lot. There are both tender and tense moments; and while I felt sympathy towards Easter and Ruby, there were also times that one has to admire their strength and courage at their age, especially Easter since she feels responsible for Ruby.

What also makes this story memorable is each role may differ from one another but they all have one thing in common, and that is having a second chance.