Melody
Mantle | May 2018 | 448 pgs
Source: Library


First of all, I want to say this is a dark book which features some heavy and disturbing issues (i.e. pedophilia, rape, abuse and murder). I read through it with a heavy heart due to the subjects and that how a young mind's thinking and a few bad choices could lead to some unexpected consequences. 

Set in a small village in an English countryside during the 90s, this story is about the disappearance and murder of an eleven-year-old girl Billie Brooke. Thera Wilde was her best friend and she is the narrator of this story. 

Before tragedy struck, Thera and Billie loved playing imaginary games; sometimes they would pretend they were detectives and solve cases. At other times, they would simply play with their other friends, Hattie and Poppy, but Thera found them boring and mean. On one occasion Thera played the Ouija board and that was the time she thought she had seen four black dogs and a girl with blonde-brown hair while they were playing near the wheat fields. The thing is, the other girls with her didn't see anything. After Billie disappeared, Thera made it a personal mission to find the truth and this set a chain of events which would change all their lives thereafter. 

Dead Girls isn't your typical crime thriller as it doesn't have that edge-of-your-seat intensity or complex characters whom you might doubt or hate. Well, of course there are some unlikeable characters but this isn't the main focus here. Right from the start, I felt the connection with Thera not because she is the narrator but because of her voice. She has a way of captivating her audience with her speech and thoughts but there are times I found them confusing (or contradictory) as she may seemed to be childish at a time and matured the next. Still, I've to say Thera is both a smart and a fearless girl for an eleven-year-old. Once she set her mind into doing something, she would make sure to follow it and accomplish it in the end. Generally, it sounds like a good thing but Thera's mission is no ordinary task. Her mind is set on finding Billie's murderer and what she did to herself both worried and terrified me. 

I suppose I'd have to be vague about my thoughts from this point on because I've so much to talk about it yet I couldn't to avoid any spoilers. As mentioned, this isn't really a fast-paced thriller but one which focus on character developments, Thera's thoughts and the things which are set in motion through her perspective and her morality. There is a side of paranormal aspect based on Thera's "communications" with the dead girls, but one is never sure if this is only in Thera's head or otherwise. I liked this ambiguity for some reason; and my favourite part is the reminiscence of Thera's childhood when the Tamagotchi (Nano Pets) and the Spice Girls were all the rage during that time. I'd have given this a 5-star rating if not of that ending. That said, I enjoyed this book due to the author's writing and I found it refreshing to feature a young narrator in a crime suspense which is rare in my opinion. 


© 2018 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

Rora Oh (starring Kim Sung Ryung) is a renowned scientist on artificial intelligence. She lives with her only young son, Nam Shin, until her father-in-law separates them and take him under his care. There have been some disputes in the family and Rora still couldn't accept the news that her husband had committed suicide. Devastated after the death of her husband and now the separation from her son, Rora creates an android which looks like her son. She has been modifying the android throughout the years as she watches her young son grow up into an adult. She treats Nam Shin III (starring Seo Kang Joon) like her own son; and the two of them lives happily in the Czech Republic until she hears the news that her real son was in Czech Republic and had gotten into an accident and is comatose.

Fearful for his condition and to protect his place in the PK Group (after all he is the third generation heir to the large corporation), Rora decides to monitor her real son's condition with the help of a doctor friend and meanwhile having Nam Shin III to take over his place. Nam Shin III has soon learned the habits and demeanours of the real Nam Shin and no one can tell the difference except for a few who knew the truth.

Kang So Bong (starring Gong Seung Yeon) used to work as a security guard to the real Nam Shin until she was disgracefully dismissed. Angered and vowed to get her dignity back, she barged into his office and meet up with Nam Shin III. Of course the android didn't know of their feud, and So Bong is puzzled by Nam Shin's strange behaviours. She soon became his bodyguard once again, and learns the truth behind everything and finds herself falling in love with Nam Shin III as the days go. The day Nam Shin wakes up starts all the complications; and someone in PK Group will do anything to stop Nam Shin from succeeding the place, right from the day when he planned Nam Shin's "accident" in Czech Republic.


Gah. I'm still in a hangover mood as of writing this. I enjoyed and loved it so much! There are so many things I loved about this drama - the plot, the characters and most of all, the romance between Nam Shin III and So Bong. I guess the romance between a human and a robot might raise eyebrows to some, but I thought their romance was very sweet and Nam Shin III is a perfect "gentleman" who would melt any girl's heart (or maybe I'm biased since I'm a fan of Seo Kang Joon). Well if only the real Nam Shin would be like him. That said, I also loved the A.I. element as well as the impressive technology surrounding it. Overall I thought this was an enjoyable sci-fi fantasy (from a critic POV). 


© 2018 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
Scribner | January 2018 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



Before the nuclear war and the flu pandemic, Lynn McBride used to live a normal life in Chicago. She lived there till she was twelve before moving to Alaska, and finally to the snow-covered Yukon Territory when the world came crashing down. There were attacks, bombs were dropped and countries got labeled as either enemies or allies but the worst was the flu pandemic. People died and those who haven't gotten it fled and isolated themselves. 

Lynn, together with her mother, uncle, her brother and a friend's son stayed in a cabin hidden in the snowy wilderness for years until a stranger barged into their so-called peaceful life. Jax is mysterious yet Lynn was both intrigued and fascinated by him; especially she viewed him as a link to the world beyond their little settlement. In the end they allowed him to stay a short while, but that short period stretched to a long while until their hideout was spotted by the DCIA (Disease Containment and Immunity Advancement) - a research group on the deadly flu and they seemed to be targeting at Jax. With this question in mind, Lynn decided to follow his trails and soon learned that she was connected to the mystery surrounding Jax. 

The Wolves of Winter pulled me in from the start due to the post-apocalyptic theme. What's so scary about this story is it seems plausible and makes you think about survival and humanity and what you'd do should that happen. It's a frightening thought, yet one which I couldn't help thinking during and after reading this book. Without revealing too much of the plot, all I could say is as much as the topic was a depressing one, there was still a portrayal of hope in it and most of all, I liked Jax as well as Lynn for her fighting spirit and her sense of humanitarianism. An intriguing first novel by the author and I hope his next book won't be a long wait.  




This book was chosen as a buddy read with Lark and like our previous buddy reads, I enjoyed our book talks and the notes comparisons via emails. Reading is fun, but reading it together with someone (or a group) makes the reading experience a richer one. Thank you, Lark! And finally, here's our usual Q&As and my answers to Lark's questions are as below. And don't forget to visit Lark's blog for her review and the Q&As, too!  

1. What did you think of the dystopian world that Tyrell Johnson created and how does it compare with other dystopian worlds you've read about?

I think Tyrell Johnson's world in The Wolves of Winter is a scary, scary one. I don't read a lot of dystopian books, but I thought the author has painted a vivid account of the world destruction through Lynn's eyes (as well as her family members); it's also a portrayal about humans' ambitions and to what extent they would do to accomplish the goals they want to do. As I mentioned, I don't read a lot of dystopian books but one book came in mind while reading this and that book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In fact, there's a bit of The Road "feel" in this, just that the former wasn't specific about the world destruction and it's more about the survival and the relationship between a father and son. It's emotionally driven and McCarthy has captured their moments beautifully albeit a sad one. 

2. What are Lynn's best and worst traits and how do you think they helped her survive?

I think Lynn's best traits are her courage, her determination and her fearless mindset. Without these combinations I think she'd have given up and stay where she is - always in hiding and living in fear. As for her worst trait, I'd say it is her stubbornness. Once she has set her mind in doing something, there's no turning back for her. I suppose this could be a good trait too, depending on the circumstances. 


© 2018 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
Simon & Schuster | April 2018 | 368 pgs
Source: Library




Teddy Cannon is in her early twenties and she's bright and resourceful. With a bad debt and a bookie who is after her family, Teddy has only one place to try her luck at money - casino at Las Vegas. Heavily disguised as she's banned from casinos, Teddy hopes that her capabilities in reading people would win her some money, after all it's about body language and some instinct. She knew because she knew; and she blames her unpredictable episodes of seizures to anxiety and epilepsy but what she doesn't know is she has psychic abilities. She caught the attention of a mysterious man after she's lost everything and he told her that she could get a chance for redemption at the Whitfield Institute; a facility secluded from the mainland and there students master telepathy and telekinesis as well as investigative skills so they could serve for the government agencies after they've passed the tests. 

With nothing to lose, Teddy decided it's the best option considering her current circumstances. Whitfield Institute, like any other schools, have their fair share of elite (so called the Alphas) and misfit students and Teddy finds herself on the latter category with a few others. Among this group is a "weirdo" who could sometimes predict someone's death, a free spirit who could communicate with animals, a girl who could read emotions and empathise through her mind, an awkward psychometric and finally a bad boy who's able to set things on fire. 

While Teddy finds it challenging with the training, her biggest challenge lies on her interactions with her fellow students as well as getting recognition from the trainers, especially one who seems to favor the Alphas. As Teddy slowly adapts to Whitfield Institute, she soon learns that there's a connection with her late biological parents and the Institute and she intends to find out more about them. But what most troubling is learning that someone has stolen three vials of blood from the lab and Teddy's is one of them. Teddy feels someone is hiding some secrets and she intends to find out who and why.  

School of Psychics has an interesting premise at a glance and I was wowed by the author's imaginative psychic world and an interesting cast of characters. However, my interest didn't go beyond the above as I found the pacing was slowed down towards the middle and got a bit repetitive. Since this is the first book I assume there would be more character developments as the story goes so I wouldn't comment too much about it. Another weak point is although this book is marketed as an adult fantasy, there are times it read like a YA due to the students' dialogues and their behaviours. Despite these shortcomings I thought it was still an entertaining read if one didn't expect too much out of it. Would I consider reading the second book? Maybe. I suppose it has to depend on the plot and if there's more character developments as I feel they're essential as the story goes. 


© 2018 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
I'd finished watching these two legal dramas a while back but just haven't got around to writing the reviews. I skipped my usual writing style and did a bullet point format this time round so without further ado, here it is. 

Lawless Lawyer (无法律师)
Synopsis (extracted from KoreanDrama.org)
A former gangster turned lawyer uses both his fists and the loopholes in law to fight against those with absolute power. He is driven by the desire to avenge his mother.
Bong Sang Pil (Lee Joon Ki) is a former gang member, but he now works as a lawyer. He also has one of the top win rates as a lawyer. Bong Sang Pil will take advantage of loopholes in the law. He stands before the court for his mother’s revenge, opposing absolute power.

Likes:

  • An action, legal drama with a dose of romance in one package.
  • Likeable lead characters whom had me rooting for.
  • Kick-ass heroine who was not afraid of challenges and not submitting to power and wealth.
  • Hero who was protective of the heroine, even if it means putting his life on the line. 

Dislikes:

  • Bad villains everywhere.
  • A prominent judge who took advantage of her position to do all evil things to get her to a higher place, even if it means eliminating her minions along the way.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed watching this drama, even if some scenarios seem to be over the top and implausible at times. But it was overall very entertaining, not to mention satisfying seeing that the murderers were brought to justice in the end. Lee Joon Ki's fighting scenes were another factor which drew me to this drama. He has a kind of charisma in him no matter if he's acting in a modern or a historical drama. His role as a vampire in The Scholar Who Walks the Night has left a deep impression in me. I wonder what role he'll play for his next drama.

(4 stars)



Suits (金装律师)
Synopsis (extracted from AsianWiki)
Choi Kang-Seok (Jang Dong-Gun) is the best lawyer at prestigious Kang & Ham Law Firm. He is promoted to a senior partner.
Go Yeon-Woo (Park Hyung-Sik) has a photographic memory and excellent comprehension skills. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but due to his poor background he currently works as a parking valet. To pay for his grandmother's hospital bill, he takes a job to deliver drugs to a hotel room. While in front of the hotel room, Go Yeon-Woo realizes that he is going into a trap. Go Yeon-Woo is then chased by the cops, but he gets into the secretary's office for Lawyer Choi Kang-Seok. At that time, a group of people are waiting to take interviews with Choi Kang-Seok. He is going to select a rookie lawyer for the law firm after conducting the interviews. Go Yeon-Woo is then admitted into Choi Kang-Seok's office. Choi Kang-Seok senses that Go Yeon-Woo is not the applicant they called in for the interview, but he is impressed with Go Yeon-Woo's intelligence & memory. Choi Kang-Seok decides to hire Go Yeon-Woo as a rookie lawyer even though he does not have a license to practice law. Choi Kang-Seok's decision could even place his own career in jeopardy.

Likes:

  • Engaging plot and two charismatic lead characters.
  • The bromance (as well as the mentor and mentee relationship) between Kang-Seok and Yeon-Woo.
  • A few heartwarming scenes that portray the other side of Kang-Seok. He was not cold-hearted and ruthless as I'd first thought.
  • Yeon-Woo hard at work at solving the cases even though he was a rookie and had no legal experience. That shows one's attitude and determination are essential on top of a paper qualification.

Dislikes:

Hmm... I can't think of anything that bugged me as of writing this. That means it's a good thing, right?

My thoughts:

I understand this drama is based on the American television series of the same name by Aaron Korsh. Although I'd not watched the American version, it has piqued my interest after watching the Korean version. 

Onto the topic, I thought it has a great premise and it was inspiring in a way. I was captivated by Dong-Gun and Hyung-Sik's acting skills and thought they had a great onscreen rapport (offscreen too?) with each other. Initially I wasn't too keen with the beginning part as I thought it was slow paced but not giving it up I continued watching it as I hate that half-accomplished feeling (the same goes with books unless they are really bad) and as I kept watching the plot became more interesting and while solving of cases is a must for legal dramas, basically this story revolves around Yeon-Woo's life journey and his working relationship with Kang-Seok. I enjoyed the banter between them; and I thought there are heartwarming moments as well amid the cold atmosphere of the court rooms and the likes.

(4 stars)


© 2018 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.