Simon & Schuster UK | April 2018 | 448 pgs
Source: Library

This book is possibly the most unforgettable book I read thus far - a well structured storyline, great characters development and a complicated, multi-layered plot to boot. Thrown in some secrets, deceits, frauds and two murders and you have the story of Our House

Fiona and Bram Lawson is an ordinary couple living in a suburban neighbourhood at Trinity Avenue with their two young sons. Fi and Bram have owned their home there for years and have no intention of selling. Until one day Fi comes home to find a family moving into their house and Bram couldn't be reached. Thinking it is all a mistake, Fi tries to reason with the family who has claimed ownership of their house but with transactions evidence and solicitors statements, there is no way such a drastic mistake could be made, right? And where is Bram when she needs him most?

Bram has broken Fi's trust by committing an affair. Although they are still legally married, they are actually separated and have set up a co-parenting plan they called "the bird's nest" custody arrangement. Each of them rotates to see and care for their sons, and they maintain their shares to keep the family up and running. Unlike other separated couples, they still talk amicably and no one would have noticed their "unusual" marital status from afar. Why Bram left Fi in a ditch is a mystery, and this is what the core story is all about and all the truths will be laid bare through Fi's story told in a podcast interview and Bram's through a written document (as a confession in the end). And this is all I can say about it because you have to read their account and let me say it is quite a journey; both for the Lawsons couple and for you as a reader. If you think you have read enough domestic suspense to guess everything, this might be a book to challenge what you have read of this genre because the plot is multi-layered and oh that ending just left me feeling dumbstruck. Go read this book and let me know what you think about it. 

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Avon | March 2018 | 416 pgs
Source: Purchased

Eighteen years ago, Louise Wandsworth left home and ran away to France with Mike Hughes, who was her karate teacher then. She thought Mike was her everything, and that no one else understands her more than he did but she was wrong. He left her life in pieces and Louise is never the same person again.

Now at 32, Louise thought she has moved on from that terrible past. She did find someone but deep in her heart what feelings she has for a person has died away the day Mike did those horrible things to her. And when she is back in Malvern she discovers that not only Mike is alive and kicking but he is now involved with Chloe Meadows, a teenage girl just like what she was those eighteen years ago. Determined not to let history repeating itself, she prepares herself for the confrontation and assure herself that this time round she would not allow Mike to get away scot-free.

Wendy Harrison is Mike's ex-wife and has a record of hurting Mike in the past. Living alone with a dog and a restraining order from the court, she now has her eyes fixated on Louise after going through her social media platform and "befriended" her friends. She has harboured a deep hatred towards Louise and thinks she is responsible for her wrecked marriage with Mike. She decides to seek Louise out under the guise of a potential client where she is working and take things from there.

Told from three viewpoints between Louise, Wendy and Chloe, this book portrays issues of pedophilia, obsessive love, psychological manipulation and how far one would go to protect themselves and those around them. The dark subject centering around pedophilia is mind-blowing and disturbing at times but I thought the author tackled it delicately and through her fleshed out characters it all made this story so real and scary. While one may think Louise is the star of the story, personally I felt Wendy took the centre stage right from the start. She is unpredictable and one could never guess her intentions. She question readers with her characteristics and makes one wonder if she is truly a victim or a manipulator? (No spoilers here.)

Reading this book was like riding a roller coaster, I never anticipated the turns and it kept me wondering about the twists until I found myself at the end of the ride, and by that time all I felt wasn't totally a relief but more questions on the improbable coincidences and the credibility surrounding the ending but overall I thought it was an intense read. 

Based on the quotes inside the book, many have claimed this is the best C.L. Taylor has written. I couldn't comment or compare since this is my first Taylor book but it definitely had me intrigued to check out her other books.

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Why does the time always passes so fast when one is having a good time? Hello, June! Wow, it's almost half the year already and it seems like the New Year just passed by us yesterday. Back to the topic... Yes, I'd had an enjoyable time during my blogging break and for the inquiring minds, we went to Kuala Lumpur last week. To be exact, we spent most of the days shopping, eating and of course not to leave out a day to a trip to Sunway Lagoon in Subang Jaya (one of their well-known attractions). It is a water park/theme park suitable for all ages and it was our fourth trip there already. Since we'd forgotten to bring a waterproof phone pouch for the water activities, I'm afraid we didn't take any pictures but I did find a few pics which were taken during our previous trip for your viewing pleasure. 

We also had a few great vegetarian cuisines and we couldn't help watching Rampage and Solo Star Wars at the local cinemas, too. Rampage was a little touching towards the end and both movies are OK, though, if you ask me. 

Relaxing by the pool. (No, I didn't read much. How could I when the pool was right there in front of you?)

The Children's fun place

Zip Line (or Flying Fox). No, I didn't try it. 

Malay festive decorations at a mall.

Mock chicken teriyaki bento set. 

Can you believe these sashimi are vegetarian? They taste not bad, too. We had some other vegetarian dishes alongside the trip but didn't post all. This Japanese vegetarian cuisine was a highlight to me, though. 

The Sunrise view from the Airbnb where we were staying (19th floor).

Night view.

Well that's it and I suppose it's now back to normalcy. With my girls at home for the school holidays, I'm afraid my reading progress will be slower than usual (that applies to blog hopping and commenting so I'd appreciate it if you could bear with me.) So what did I miss and what books are you reading while I was away? I'm curious to know. ;-)

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William Morrow | June 2018 | 288 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

To begin with, I wasn't sure how I felt about this book. This is my second attempt in reading Paul Tremblay's book and I've to say I enjoyed his first book (A Head Full of Ghosts) a lot. This book has a combination of a home invasion horror and an apocalyptic feel yet I couldn't classified it as the latter as no such calamity actually happened (unless you're talking about the [delusional?] human minds and their actions). 

To say anything more in details will spoil the story, but I've to mention this book has great characterisations. I loved the interactions between the father and daughter and their banters; to be exact seven-year-old Wen is Chinese and is adopted by a gay couple, Eric and Andrew. These three people are fleshed out characters and I came to care for them as the story progresses. There is something heartwarming reading about them and I could easily visualize them as real people than fictional.  

Then the craziness sets in as four characters, each armed with menacing weapons, started invading into their once peaceful life. Leonard, Redmond, Adriane and Sabrina believe they have a mission in saving humankind and they need the family of three to help them to save the world. However it involves a sacrifice and this begins our story here. 

Paranoia (or simply madness?) is one word that immediately comes to my mind after finishing the book and even after a day of gathering my thoughts my choice of word remains the same, for I've no other words to describe how I felt about this story. I think this would be a hit-or-miss to the readers due to the blurry theme (Horror? Apocalypse? Psychological thriller?) because nothing is clear cut and there are no answers. Despite these, this story was actually quite addictive as it'll arouse your curiosity and make you anxious to find out what happened to our three characters because as mentioned before, I became invested and came to care for them in spite of the batshit insanity surrounding the story (or is it those four characters? I don't know. This is probably the beauty of this story because it makes you wonder.) All in all, I can't say I liked it but I did enjoy the author's writing. 

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Have you watched While You Were Sleeping? If you did, then actor Jung Hae In shouldn't be a stranger to you. In that drama, he played the role of a policeman having a crush with the female protagonist and although he was a supporting role there, his popularity has risen quickly due to his fresh look and boyish charm. With his increased recognition, it is no surprise he has landed on a leading role in this latest K-drama, Something in the Rain (aka Pretty Sister Who Buys Me Food).

This story explores the relationship of a couple from the stage of friends to lovers but their biggest challenge lies on their age difference and that the woman's family is strongly against their relationship, in particularly the woman's mother as she viewed him as her "son" since they knew his family for a long time. Plus, she has high expectations for her future son-in-law and she feels he doesn't make the cut. Thus, this make Seo Joon Hee (starring Jung Hae In) and Yoon Jin Ah (starring Son Ye Jin) in a difficult position, and all the more for Jin Ah since she and Joon Hee's elder sister are best friends.

But that is not all for Jin Ah; she faces sexual harassment from her superior at work and the company's CEO doesn't want her to blow up the matter and tarnishing its image. On the other end, Joon Hee is estranged from his father and has no wish to come to terms with him and not even Jin Ah could make him change his mind. With the obstacles and others' views that their relationship wouldn't work, could the couple's love survive through everything and have their happily-ever-after?

This drama is a slow-burn and focus much on the characters interactions in the beginning but once it hit the middle mark it has become more interesting as the problems (for the couple) start pouring in. I think part of the challenge between the couple lies in the lack of communication with their family members from the start; then there is the "over-protectiveness" from Joon Hee and Jin Ah's "don't-want-to-bother-Joon Hee" mentality that pose as an issue for them at times, thus misunderstanding arises and so forth. But of course the biggest challenge is the objection from Jin Ah's mother for she is both a conservative and a stubborn woman. From a mother's viewpoint I can see she wants the best for her daughter, not that Joon Hee is a bad choice. On the contrary, he doesn't act like his age and from his actions one could see he is a responsible man and he loves Jin Ah very much. Watching this couple together touched my heart and I was convinced of their chemistry both on-screen and off-screen. The moments they had were all so sweet and those were the scenes I enjoyed best. Overall I did enjoy it and I loved the "real love breaks age barrier" theme.

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