Melody

Crown/Archetype | June 2017 | 304 pgs
Source: Library


The story opens with our protagonist, Audra Kinney, fleeing from her abusive husband as she takes their two children with her in a car. As they make their way across Arizona to their destination in California taking back roads to avoid attention, a local sheriff pulls her over with an accusation of committing a traffic offense. Audra, who is trying to keep a low profile, stops her car and before she could react the sheriff begins to ransack her trunk and pull out a bag of drugs which she has never seen before. Audra is then forced to be detained by the sheriff while he calls his colleague, a deputy officer, to take away her children to somewhere safe so they could interrogate her properly. 

However this is not what the sheriff and the deputy officer have in mind. They plan to take away her children to seal a deal and they will frame Audra for false accusation and possession of illegal drugs. It is their words against hers and Audra, who used to have a history of alcoholism and depression two years ago, will find herself fighting her way for freedom and most of all, to get her children back. But no one believes her except a man named Danny Lee, whose wife had encountered the same experience five years ago but Danny wouldn't have the chance to see them again as his wife committed suicide and their girl couldn't be found.  

Here and Gone was a compelling read; it is also a story which I could imagine would be every parent's nightmare. My heart went out to Audra as I felt her worries and her fear. I rooted for her throughout the book and I was glad she was a fighter. Danny was a more intriguing character given his ethnic Chinese identity and his gangster-like past which got him into troubles at times. The two of them makes an odd combination, but Aura and Danny have the same goal of finding whoever who took their children thus they find trust in each other eventually. This book was a refreshing break from the other books I read lately since it was about corrupt authorities (a rare feature from what I read but such a disheartening thing to think of!) Though it was a fast-paced and intense thriller, it was also an emotionally driven story surrounding a few innocent children and their mothers who are wrongly accused. I'd had a wild reading ride as I followed Audra from places to places as she raced against time to either escape from her past or to find her children. Sean, her eight-year-old son, was quite street smart and I loved how the way he protected his younger sister with the dangerous situations they were in. Definitely not an easy read with a topic of kidnapped children (fortunately they were not abused) but this will be one of those books which will make you want to keep your children safe and close.


© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody


Mira | January 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library



This is my third Kubica book and I've to say this book was a bit different from her other two books I read in terms of the pacing and the overall story structure.

Narrated by Quinn Collins and Alex Gallo alternatively, these two characters found themselves onto a different journey when unexpected circumstances are thrown into their path. Quinn is a twenty-ish young woman living with her roommate in downtown Chicago when one day she finds her disappears from their apartment without a trace. Esther Vaughan isn't one who wander about or one who loves living a wild life so Quinn question over Esther's disappearance and how well she really knew her roommate after she has discovered a few haunting letters addressed to "My Dearest" among her possessions. Is Esther hiding something from her? 

On the other end, eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher at a coffeeshop in a solitude small-town Michigan. Living with his alcoholic father and occasionally running errands for a woman with agoraphobia, Alex has been living a mundane life until a young woman steps into the coffeeshop one day. Drawn by her mysterious and her quiet temperament, he soon becomes friends with her but the girl whom he named Pearl doesn't share much of her info with him. Who is she and what's on her agenda? 

Don't You Cry is not a fast paced book filled with intensity like other psychological suspense; this is more of a character-driven story and allows the reader to take time to know the characters as the story slowly unfolds. Truth be told, I wasn't sure where the story direction is initially because Quinn and Alex don't seem to have any connections with each other. Their search in finding the truth surrounding the two young women in their life seems to be their common ground and that's it. However, the story did take a turn and surprised me in the end as it wasn't something I'd expected. Overall it was a suspenseful read and if you don't mind the slower pace then this book is for you.



© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody

HarperCollins | September 2017 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss



Unfolding over the course of 24 hours, Best Day Ever is a domestic thriller that tells a pair of couple's marital woes and their psychological tug of war which led to a twisty conclusion. 

Paul and Mia Strom seem to be a perfect couple in everyone's eyes. Paul works in an advertising firm holding a managerial position and Mia is a beautiful, stay-at-home housewife. They have two perfectly healthy young boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. Mia used to work as a copywriter but quit her job after marrying Paul. Paul ensures that the family is well fed and that Mia could concentrate on her role as a housewife. Being a perfect husband he is, he plans a weekend getaway at their lake house just the two of them; and it would be the best day ever for them.  

However, tension arises before they get to their lake house. To complicate matters, Paul doesn't see eye to eye with their lake house's neighbour, Buck. He even wonders if Buck and Mia are having a secret affair. But that's not all, Paul seems to have anger issue and is unfaithful to Mia on several occasions. Mia finally decides that enough is enough and that she should take matters into her own hands and take back the freedom she's always craves; after all Paul is nothing as compared to her parents' financial status. On top of that, Mia's father despises Paul and didn't approve of their marriage in the first place. 

Best Day Ever is a page-turner and will question the reader how well you really know the person whom you are closest to. To begin with, Paul is a narcissist, a womaniser and a male chauvinist who loves control over everything else. A few chapters in, he sent off a bad vibe to the reader through his dark ugly thoughts and bad behaviours. Paul may be an unlikeable narrator, but being the focal point his role is what set the pace of this story and like watching a train wreck the reader knew something bad would happen yet it's hard not to see the other way and read what's going to happen next. Mia, on the other hand, is a character whom the reader could not underestimate. She may be meek in the beginning, but one could never tell if she has a hidden agenda. 

As this is told over a course of 24 hours, there is a strong sense of urgency and intensity when deceptions and doubts begin to set in both Paul's and Mia's mind. While there was closure towards the end I couldn't help feeling a bit raw over everything happened in the book. This is another domestic suspense novel you have to read if you are a fan of this genre. 


© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody

Kensington | April 2017 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



I read Charlie Donlea's Summit Lake a while back and thought it was a good read but his latest, The Girl Who Was Taken, was even better.

In August 2016, Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald disappeared from a beach party in their small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. Both are high school seniors and though they aren't the best of friends, each is popular with her own cliques of friends and while Megan is a good student with big dreams, Nicole is wild and an attention seeker who would do anything for the sake of fun and rebellion. Two weeks later, Megan miraculously escapes from a secluded bunker which kept her hidden from the world but not Nicole who remains missing.

A year later Megan shot to fame through her book about her harrowing escape and how her survival becomes an inspiring story to many. Nicole's older sister, Livia, still feels regret for not answering Nicole's call on that fateful night and as a fellow in forensic pathology now, she is hoping that one day soon Nicole's body and answers will be found through evidence of forensic science and a closure for good. What Livia didn't expect is a young man's body lying on her exam table and he is the first clue to Nicole's disappearance since Nicole was acquainted with him before tragedy strikes. Casey's death isn't a suicide as speculated by the police and the more Livia finds out through her job she finally came to a conclusion that Casey was murdered but what happened to Nicole? Driven by this new discovery and that urge of finding the truth surrounding Nicole's disappearance, Livia approaches Megan and hoping that she would help her out in giving her a more specific account of what really happened that night and if their cases are connected to a few other missing girls as well.

The Girl Who Was Taken wowed me in many ways. For starters, it was a fast-paced and a very suspenseful read. I was sucked into the story quickly and while I was intrigued by Nicole as a person as well as her disappearance, I was also drawn to Livia as a fellow in forensic pathology and the challenges she has to face on job as well as her wish in finding her younger sister. The author has done a great job in detailing Livia's profession and while I was fascinated by all the works and challenges, I was also aware that it isn't a job for everyone as it requires both courage and meticulousness (and not to mention a strong stomach) as well. Overall it was a compelling psychological thriller mixed with a dose of forensic science and I can't wait to find out what is in store in Charlie Donlea's next book. 


© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody

Mira | September 2016 | 288 pgs
Source: Library



Once again, I've the pleasure of having Lark as my reading buddy and this time around she had chosen Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra, who is an Australian author. This is a story about two different young women; one disappeared while the other is an impostor. 

In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared on her way home from work. On the surface, Rebecca seemed like any other ordinary girl who enjoyed life; she'd been having a good summer break with her best friend, Lizzie, and crushing on an older boy at work. Then before her disappearance, she has a feeling of being watched and that she could feel a presence in her room at night. No one knew what happened although Lizzie claimed Bec was not being herself before her disappearance. The case remains unsolved. 

Eleven years later, a young woman took over Rebecca Winter's identity after she was caught shoplifting and in desperation claimed to be the missing Bec. The impostor bore some resemblance to the missing Bec so no one suspected anything and soon she is living the real Bec's life. The impostor has nothing to lose as she has an unhappy life and didn't feel loved by her family. However, her new life is short-lived as soon she notices that her welcoming family and friends aren't quite as they seem and most of all, whoever took Rebecca Winter is still at large. What really happened to the real Bec and what would the impostor do under this circumstances?

Only Daughter is one of those suspense novels that leave you entirely clueless and curious from the beginning and you couldn't help but to keep reading until that final page. This story is told from two POVs alternatively - 16-year-old Rebecca Winter before her disappearance in third person narrative and the impostor in present time in first person narrative. Both characters are intriguing in her own way and while I felt sorry for the impostor's life and that she has to resort to impersonation to have a new life, it is the real Rebecca who I was really interested in from the beginning. She is a bit mysterious and most of all I felt something is off with her parents but yet I couldn't put my finger on what really bothered me. While I felt some parts seemed a bit far-fetched, still it has that foreboding feel and will keep the reader riveted until that very last page. Overall it was a suspenseful read though I felt some parts need more developments. 

And finally, here are my answers to Lark's questions related to the book: 

1. What did you think of the ending, and did you see it coming? (Because I didn't!)

I certainly didn't see that ending coming! It was a good twist, but I've some questions on the motive and didn't fully understand why but that said, it was a very suspenseful thriller. My curiosity towards the two Rebeccas was what drove me flipping the pages quickly! 

2. Between the real Bec and her impostor, which character did you end up liking better?  

Hmm. That was a good question and one which is difficult to answer without giving much thought. Honestly, I sympathised with both of them; each girl faced some difficulties in her life but most of all, it seemed the impostor suffered the most because of what she's been through with her family whom she felt unloved by them. As for the real Bec, she may seemed to have everything in life but she lacked emotional happiness. I think both girls have their strength and flaws and it is difficult for me to pick a favourite character. 

Now go visit Lark's blog to read her thoughts and my questions to her relating this book! 


© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.