Based on a five-part series novel of the same name and with the time period set in the 19th century during the Joseon Dynasty, this drama tells a coming-of-age story between a young Crown Prince and a girl who disguised as a young man due to her family matters involving the nation's politics. 

19-year-old Crown Prince Lee Yeong (starring Park Bo-gum) has never been interested in the nation's affairs and what's happening in the palace; his cold and aloof attitude is most commonly known to all minister officials and court servants especially after the passing of his mother, the late Queen Yoon. 

Hong Ra-on (starring Kim Yoo-jung) is a 18-year-old girl who earns her living by doing some street performing and writing love letters on behalf of her mostly men clients. Her mother has abandoned her since young for her security purposes (this issue will come to light as the story progresses) and she has little memories of her father who had left home years ago. 

A chance encounter with the Crown Prince has set her heart race for a different reason, for she has mistook him as the lover of one of her male clients, in which is a misunderstanding as from the other end the Crown Prince is trying to find out who is fervently writing love letters to his younger sister, Princess Myung-eun. The next time when Ra-on encounters the Crown Prince, she has became one of the eunuchs in the palace due to an unfortunate incident and their destiny begins from there.

This drama appealed to me on many levels and the main attraction to me is the differences between the Crown Prince and Ra-on not only of their positions but also the disguised gender when Ra-on first met him. Since this is also a story about power and greed, needless to say there are lots of conspiracies and backstabbing in the foreground but I have to say the highlights of this drama is the friendship and sacrifices of the two friends surrounding the Crown Prince and then of course, the forbidden love between the Crown Prince and Ra-on. 

I found myself warmed up to the character of the Crown Prince rather quickly despite his arrogance in the beginning; and of course it doesn't hurt to say he was very charismatic and an eye candy so to speak. Ra-on amazed me with her optimism and her outlooks in life despite several unfavourable circumstances but in the end she always managed to overcome them. I loved the ending but left me wondering about her (ambiguous) position.

(My novel box-set, which I have yet to read)

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

St Martin's Press | August 2016 | 304 pgs
Source: Purchased

Perfect couples. You either love them or hate them. Author B. A. Paris chills readers in this psychological thriller about a perfect couple and what's really happened behind closed doors. 

Everyone is envious of Jack and Grace Angel. They are not only a pair of beautiful couple but they are also loving to each other and wouldn't go anywhere without the other. Jack is a successful lawyer and his forte is handling domestic violence cases; Grace used to work as buyer for Harrods but quit her job after marrying Jack. Financial is never an issue with Jack and he told Grace he could even support Grace's younger sister, Millie, who has Down's Syndrome. 

As the story progresses, readers will know that there is something very wrong with the Angel couple. With the atmosphere thick with tension and a heavy sense of foreboding, this psychological thriller entrances readers to keep on reading despite what happened. Told in Grace's narration between the past and the present in alternating chapters, this compelling story tells a darker side of the human psyche and that not everything is what they seem to be. 

At the risk of telling more the longer I write this post, I felt this book is best read without knowing anything and thus, this review will be short and vague. And what about the ending? All I can said is it was satisfying. 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Random House Publishing Group | March 2016 | 464 pgs
Source: Library

The book opens with our heroine, Agnieszka, worrying over her best friend's safety and the fact that they might not be able to see each other again. For every ten years, a young woman will be chosen to hand over to Dragon; who is known to be a powerful and immortal wizard who will keep their village from any harms of the corrupted Wood. The Wood is mystical on its own; filled with fantastical creatures and botanical plants that would devour humans and make them a changed person even if they could make it out of the Wood alive. 

When the next choosing is approaching, Agnieszka is the one who is chosen, much to everyone's surprise, including Agnieszka herself for she thinks herself ordinary and not as beautiful and talented as her best friend, Kasia. 

What follows next is Agnieszka's attempts in adapting to her new life as Dragon's apprentice as she begins to learn magic and during those moments of togetherness has also allows her to see another side of Dragon; for he is not as cold and menacing as what the others think about him. Agnieszka soon realises that the threat from the Wood is turning onto them quickly and they have to do something before the whole of their village becomes corrupted. 

Uprooted has all the elements a fantasy fan would ask for - folk stories, magic, an original, fantastic world building and interesting characters and premise which will not only makes your heart race but also be moved by the story itself. What I find rewarding is although this is a fantasy, it also seems very much of a real-life story that touches on humanity, bravery and the different conceptions we see no matter what time era is; fictional or not. Agnieszka is a wonderful character and I enjoyed seeing how she developed both mentally and emotionally. Dragon is another character whom I liked but takes time to grow on me, due to his misconceptions in the beginning of the story. I also enjoyed reading the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia; their relationship reminds me more of siblings than good friends and some of their actions touched me a lot. 

All in all, Uprooted was a wonderful read. Naomi Novik is also the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire series and although I haven't read any of them, I was glad I read this standalone and would check out her Temeraire series in the near future. 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Scholastic Inc., | September 2016 | 256 pgs
Source: Purchased 

This graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier tells a story about the dead and the Mexican culture of honouring the day of the dead. But that is not all, it also tells a story about sisterly love, friendship and conquering your fears. 

Catrina and her family are leaving their home in Northern California to a laid back old town in Bahia de la Luna (this place was inspired by the foggy coastal Northern California where the artist grew up.) The reason for the move is that Cat's younger sister, Maya, is suffering from cystic fibrosis (a genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs, making breathing difficult and leading to frequent infections. There's no cure for this and at times patients need breathing tube to administer more oxygen and that extra nutrition have to be delivered through a port in their bellies while they sleep) and that they think Maya will benefit from the cool, salty air blows in from the sea. 

Cat isn't pleased about the move at first; after all she misses her friends, the convenience and the familiarity of her home town but she tells herself she will get used to it for the sake of Maya. They got to know their neighbour and their son, Carlos, who seems to know a lot of things about ghosts and finding the places of seeing them. While Maya is thrilled and is determined to meet one, Cat wants nothing to do with them. As Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) comes where the ghosts reunite with their loved ones, Cat tells herself she will go, for everything as well as for Maya since her condition doesn't allow her to. 

What turns out eventually is not only Cat conquers her fear but also getting to know more about the deceased who roam about in Bahia de la Luna (they aren't scary at all and are such friendly and enthusiastic ghouls). Raina Telgemeier wonderfully captures the (windy and foggy) atmospheric setting and Cat's emotions and her reminiscences of her late grandmother. And finally I have to share this note from Raina: "Making peace with your ghosts is as profound as the idea of life itself. And at the end of the day, love transcends life and death."

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Random House | May 2014
Source: Library

OK, I've to admit my curiosity was piqued after reading several positive reviews of this book. With the story mostly set in Singapore and that it was written by a Singaporean author, I felt the more I should read it. For this review, allow me to use a few Singaporean slang (or Singlish) since I felt it appropriate considering that's the prose of this book (don't worry, the author includes footnote). 

To begin with, Crazy Rich Asians is a fun read. So what is the story about, har*? Basically, it's a story about some very rich families and their family dynamics and most of all, a love story between a crazy rich guy, Nicholas Young, and a clueless woman, Rachel Chu, who doesn't know his family background, lah*. Actually there shouldn't be any problem when love is concerned, after all what matters most is your love for your partner and vice versa, right? Wrong! At least not when Nicholas' family is concerned. Given their power, wealth and their society status, it seems natural to want someone who is of a good match in terms of wealth and background. Although Rachel holds a good position as a college professor (like Nicholas, except they are in different departments teaching at NYU), what sets her apart is her nationality (she's a Mainland Chinese) and that she comes from a single parent family. The real challenge begins when Nicholas decides to bring Rachel to Singapore to attend his best friend's wedding and "all hell breaks loose" when his family members (including a string of extended meddling relatives) decide to know (dig, to be precise) more about Rachel's background and there are enough gossips, clashes and backbiting to rip a person apart. 
"Well, first of all, you must understand that there are two kinds of Chinese. There are the Chinese from Mainland China, who made their fortunes in the past decade like all the Russians, but then there are the Overseas Chinese. These are the ones who left China long before the Communists came in, in many cases hundreds of years ago, and spread throughout the rest of Asia, quietly amassing great fortunes over time." Pg 33
Aside from the complications of the couple's love relationship, this story also gives readers more than a glimpse of the mindset and status of these rich Chinese families; about the difference of old money and new money, and some conservative mindsets when family roots are concerned.

Urm, so Crazy Rich Asians may seem like a chicklit fiction (I don't like this definition, lah*) to some but it was actually quite a funny and entertaining read (at least to me) and an "eye-opening reading experience" (to foreigner readers). While there is nothing new about the family dynamics issue (Aiyah*, I suppose it happens everywhere), it is the culture, the society, the language (as well as all those local dishes mentioned) that set this novel apart and made it such an interesting read. There's also a second book, China Rich Girlfriend, and although it looks interesting (it follows Rachel's story and her birth origin), I guess I'll read it when the mood strikes, lah*. (I'm blaming it on my TBR pile and a library book I've borrowed lately.)

* har / lah is a common and a favourite form of expression to emphasise especially towards the end of the sentence. They don't really mean anything. 

* Aiyah - "sigh," "well," "oh man...," or "blah".

For more Singlish, visit this link.

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.