Melody
Scared E Cats Books | April 2019 | 214 pgs
Source: Author

This is the first book of J.P. Choquette's "Monsters in the Green Mountains" series. Set in Vermont's wilderness -- a place called Shiny Creek Trail, it is a perfect hiking trail for many hikers and hunters alike but there was an unfortunate incident happened in 1897. An 18-year-old boy was reported missing during his hike with a group of friends and till the present day in 1917, his body is still not found, leaving behind many questions unanswered as well as fuelling the interest of many hikers who want to unveil the mystery behind Shiny Creek Trail. 

In September 1917, a group of four friends decided to hike at the place looking for answers. Paul Rogers and Allan Warning are photojournalists and they thought this trip might give them something to feature about and help a bit with their career. Allan's wife, Deidre, is excited about the trip but Jane, who is Paul's wife, is skeptical but eventually decided to give it a go. The hike is supposed to be an adventure but it ended up leaving one person dead and two others missing. Paul ends up in Vermont State Hospital for the Insane, for he claimed there is some monster -- a man beast, roaming in the woods. Is Paul really delusional? Or did they encounter something horrifying in the woods? And this begins his plan in escaping from the hospital right to the end of searching for Jane and his friends in Shiny Creek Trail. 

Told in multiple narrations (mainly on Paul and Jane) and alternating between the beginning of the hike and two months later after the incident, the story mainly delve into the territory of the unknown as well as the complexity of friendship among these four friends and their state of minds when confronting unexpected circumstances. It is a survival story with a vague hint of supernatural element, although I think it revolves more on the legendary monster reminiscent of the Bigfoot. Overall it was a fast-paced read and if you like intrigue with a little mystery, then this is the book for you.


© 2019 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
Harvill Secker | August 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 


I've read all of Ruth Ware's books (except The Death of Mrs Westaway) and I've to say she's at her best creating a gothic and creepy atmosphere. This book has a few of my favourite features: intrigue, suspense, an isolated remote location and an ambiguous hint of supernatural element. 

So the book opens with our protagonist, Rowan Caine, writing a letter to a Mr Wrexham appealing for his help. Rowan is currently in a cell awaiting trial for murder and she thinks Mr Wrexham might help clear her name than the other lawyer they'd assigned for her. But she needs Mr Wrexham to first hear her story and the tale begins. 

I'll try not to delve too much into the blurb since it's best to dive into this book "blind" and all I can say about this is, Rowan works as a live-in nanny for the Elincourts family at their luxurious 'smart' house they called Heatherbrae House. It is located at the Scottish Highlands and is rather remote, but the Elincourts have remodelled the old house from the predecessors and now it is equipped with all the modern conveniences of various technologies one could think of. Rowan is impressed by the overall package the Elincourts offer, but she definitely didn't anticipate that this dream house will soon become her worst nightmare. 

I've to say the writing style and the suspense are the strength of this story. Ruth Ware surely knows how to build intensity well and this book already had my full attention right from the beginning despite the slow-burn and that I didn't really like any of the characters here. Rowan was a complicated character whom I couldn't really describe through words. She could be infuriating at times; yet there are moments that you couldn't help but to feel sorry for her, too. There are also certain scenarios which may make you think about her credibility; and all these factors are what most drawn me to the story. 

Onto the weaknesses, truth be told, I think this story would be perfect if not of a certain factor leading to the ending. The ambiguity works well in my opinion though, but I felt that particular factor was a little letdown despite the huge buildup of intrigue from the beginning. Still, this was a compelling story which I found hard to resist; and last of all I'll never look at smart houses the same way ever again.



© 2019 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
Farrar Straus Giroux | May 2019 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 


I didn't really enjoy Maurene Goo's previous book (I Believe in a Thing Called Love) as much as I'd anticipated. However, I do like the way how she manages to capture the emotions and thoughts of the teenagers' mind into words so I'm giving her latest book another try. 

Lucky (not her real name) is a successful K-pop star and she is touring around Asia for her performances. Hong Kong is her next destination and she has her eyes set on making her debut on The Tonight Show in America. But with her name and fame, she often find it a challenge to sneak out to do the things she loves. However, on one particular night she has a craving for a hamburger so she decides to sneak out secretly. But then she hasn't thought about the sleeping pills and the anxiety pills she'd taken earlier. 

Jack Lim is interning at his father's bank while waiting to get into college. But his passion is photography and to fuel his love for this, he took up a side job taking pictures for a tabloid magazine. No one knows about his side job except his roommate, Charlie. So Jack has received news that a certain male celebrity is staying at a fancy hotel and on his way out after the assignment, he runs into a girl wearing the hotel's slippers. Appearing dazed, he decided to help the girl, not knowing that he's spending some time with a bigger celebrity (well, he's not into K-pop so he has absolutely no idea who she is.) When Jack finally realises who she is towards the end of the evening, he wonders if he should fulfill his dreams or protect Lucky's privacy and miss his chance for the work he loves so much.

This is a cute and sweet story which I find is a great escapism from my usual reads. The story plot is simple and the reader get to read Lucky's and Jack's story over the span of one day in the city of Hong Kong. I'm not a fan of insta-love but I can see why Lucky and Jack are attracted to each other. And through Lucky's experiences, the reader also get a glimpse of the life of an idol and some of the sacrifices they've to make behind that glamorous image which I feel is a fact surrounding the K-pop industry today. Character-wise, I think the developments were great and although this was more of a character- than a plot-driven story, it was still an entertaining read. 


© 2019 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
Riverrun | May 2019 | 480 pgs
Source: Library 

Although this is the second installment of DS Alexandra Cupidi series, I'd think this counts as the third since the main character in The Birdwatcher (presumably the prequel?), appeared in this book as a supporting character. As with the previous book (Salt Lane), I enjoyed this book immensely and I'm glad to report I've added William Shaw as one of my favourite authors. 

The book opens with 17-year-olds Benjamin and Joseph (also known as Tap and Sloth respectively) stealing two mobile phones from a bloke whom they assumed is harmless. It turns out that the man is dangerous and that the phones hold a significant deal which he couldn't miss. Now he is on the trail of the two boys and he'd do anything to get his phones back, even if it means murder. 

On the other end, DS Alexandra Cupidi and her partner, Constable Jill Ferrier, are called to an investigation involving a severed arm which was stuffed inside an art exhibit at a Margate art gallery. Cupidi couldn't find any clues as to pointing it as a homicide case; and although she couldn't understand the artworld and how they view the artworks, she couldn't dismiss the thought that something is very wrong behind that particular artwork! As Cupidi and Jill continue digging for more information, they find themselves loaded with more questions than answers. Who does that arm belongs to and is the owner dead or alive? And what's the reason behind for putting that arm into an artwork? 

What seemed like two different cases in this book is actually one whole picture pieced beautifully by the author's superb writing style and his brilliant storytelling. As with the first installment, I found myself immersed in this story full of intrigue and suspense, yet there's a dose of heartwarming scenes as well as I was moved by the friendship between Tap and Sloth. Both of them are so different from each other in terms of personality and race, but their family status and the misfit they face in school drew them together and become tight friends. 

Another factor which drew me to this series is the professional partnership between Cupidi and Jill. I've learnt quite a few things about Cupidi in the first installment; and this book allows me to take a deeper look about her relationship with her 17-year-old daughter (Cupidi is a single parent) and a part of Jill's personal life and thoughts as well. 

Despite the two different story directions and the two sets of characterisation, I've to say both are equally engaging and well executed. In some cases when such circumstances happen in the books we read, we more or less favour a certain character or setting more than the other but in this case I can't pick a favourite and this shows how much I enjoyed this book (series). Highly recommended to all fans of suspense and thrillers. 


© 2019 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
Random House Publishing Group | January 2019 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 


This book was brought to my attention thanks to Jenclair's review. I've to admit I rarely seek out nonfiction or guidebooks alike but I'll pick them up if they received good reviews and/or if fellow bookbloggers recommend them. Hence, here it is. 

Now the book title sounds like a textbook but do not let it deter you from reading it. Benjamin Dreyer is Random House's longtime copy chief and obviously he knows all the works and styles of writing good English. Contrary to the seriousness of the book title it may sound, Dreyer's writing doesn't come across as too dry or boring and although there is a certain level of authoritative tone which I find is inevitable, there are also some parts that show his witty side as he shares with the reader about the experiences he'd encountered when working with authors or conversations with the people he'd met with. 

Generally, this book offers lessons on the ins and outs of punctuation (are you confused on how and when to use semicolon? Well, you can find the answers here!) and grammar, the appropriate way of writing numbers, proper nouns, a list of frequently/easily misspelled words, as well as a few others which are essential and relevant to good writing. Dreyer's guidelines are clear and precise, and truth be told, I don't think I've ever enjoyed reading a guidebook that much like this. And I think (yes, it's OK to begin a sentence with "And" or "But") with the commonly use of social media, emails and other communicative tools aside from the usual formal writing, it is necessary for the writer to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. Long story short, this is a book for everyone who wants to improve their writing skills as well as for anyone who has a passion for the language itself. 


© 2019 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.