Melody

Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul played two young police cadets in this action comedy and I've to say aside from their cuteness overload, it's also a story of their friendship, their dreams and passion as well as to right the wrong despite their inexperience and various bureaucracy obstacles.

The story opens with the two of them admitting into Korean National Police University where they learn to be a cop and master various martial arts. However, most of the things they've learned are mostly textbook theories and in spite of their two years training, they still find themselves at a loss and just when they're having doubts about being a cop as their career, they witness a kidnapping when they're out partying one night. They manage to track down the location and the kidnappers eventually but they're faced with several obstacles - lack of evidence, inexperienced and such cases have to be dealt with the appropriate departments and bureaucracy. They decided it'd be too late by then and the only option they could come up with is to take matters into their own hands.

(L: Kang Ha-neul, R: Park Seo-joon)

I've been a fan of Park Seo-joon (Fight for My Way and Hwarang are some of his works this year) so naturally this movie captured my attention. While Kang Ha-neul is no stranger to me, I've to admit I'm not really familiar with his works since I can be selective when dramas/movies are concerned and this explains why I may have missed him while choosing a new drama to watch. That said, I was quite impressed with his acting here as a quiet, nerdy cop as I understand he is actually an easy-going guy and one who smile a lot. I totally loved the rapport and the guy bonding moments they've for each other. But of course what moved me most is their passion and their enthusiasm in pursuing justice (human trafficking and selling of young women's eggs to illegal fertility and surrogacy agency are the cases they're investigating here and I think these topics will further raise the awareness considering the seriousness and a problem the world still face today.) Overall I enjoyed the movie and I'll definitely keep an eye on Kang Ha-neul's future works. 


© 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

While You Were Sleeping is a story about dreams, connections, justice and not to mention, love.

At its core of this drama is our protagonists, Nam Hong-Joo (starring Bae Suzy) and Jung Jae-Chan (starring Lee Jong-Suk) who both have the ability of dreaming what might happen in future, usually circumstances involving them. Both share the same fate of losing their fathers when young over a same unfortunate incident, but each doesn't know the existence of each other until the funerals, which both deceased families held their respective wake within the same building. Jae-Chan mistaken Hong-Joo's gender due to her boyish look and her dressing style, for she always wore a baseball jacket and a cap and had her hair cropped really short. They shared their misery, and most importantly Jae-Chan had comforted her in some ways which no one else could.


As an adult, Hong-Joo is haunted by seeing the future deaths of others in her dreams; one including her mother. Jae-Chan, on the other hand, is a rookie prosecutor and together with his younger brother they move house and become Hong-Joo's new neighbour. At this stage, they're unaware of each other and their minds didn't connect with each other's identity given the years passed and that they're both grown up. Their acquaintance only begins when Jae-Chan has dreamt of an accident which allowed him to prevent Hong-Joo's dream from becoming true. What they didn't know is that this course of direction might change or have an impact of other course of events and along the way they'll befriend a police officer, Han Woo-Tak (starring Jung Hae-In) who has the same ability as them.

(Han Woo-Tak, starring Jung Hae-In)

I enjoyed this drama immensely due to a few factors - actor Lee Jong-Suk (so far I've loved most of his works), the fantastical concept of dreams and the inter-connections among the three characters, intense lawsuit cases and last but not least, the romance between Jae-Chan and Hong-Joo (I loved it that fate and their shared abilities have brought them together). I also have to highlight actor Jung Hae-In for his fresh look and the ability to turn heads in his smart police attire. In the story he has a crush on Hong-Joo and while some viewers would expect a love triangle relationship, I've to say there wasn't any because the relationship between Jae-Chan and Hong-Joo are already set in stone (think of how they met and what pulled them together) and plus, Woo-Tak is too sweet and a gentleman to do something outrageous and unthinkable (I've to admit his adoration towards Hong-Joo melted my heart). There are a few other heartwarming and emotional scenes as well but I'm not going to delve into them. Better still, watch it and you and I can talk about it. 


© 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

Random House Publishing Group | July 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library



At first glance, Watch Me Disappear may seem like a psychological suspense but at its core it is actually a story revolving family dynamic and how well you really know your loved ones.

Billie Flanagan had gone missing from a hiking expedition in the Desolation Wilderness a year ago and till present her body couldn't be found. Her husband, Jonathan and their sixteen-year-old daughter, Olive are still coping with the grief of losing her while awaiting for the court issuance of her death certificate, which has proved to be a long struggling wait considering that there is no solid proof and that her death remains a mystery. While Jonathan tries to cope with the loss and hoping for a closure that would allow them to move on with their life through the insurance settlement, Olive, on the other hand, starts having visions of her mother. Each of these visions seems to tell Olive that Billie might be alive and that Olive should try to find her. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan isn't so sure about Olive's visions and thinks his daughter is hallucinating with her grief and denial. Worrying over her emotional stability, he sent Olive to visit a therapist while he himself drinks as he works on a memoir about his marriage, which is part work as a writer to a publishing house and part in loving memory of Billie. And as he finds her laptop and stumbles upon an encrypted folder, his mind wanders in different directions the more he starts unearthing secrets from her past through his little diggings and investigations. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan? What happened to her on that fateful day when she went hiking alone in Desolation Wilderness? 

I've to admit it took me a little while to get engrossed in this story. It had a slow beginning and focus much on the mundane life and relationship within the Flanagan household. The reader also get to know a bit more of Olive, her relationship with her mother as well as bits of her school life. Olive is an angsty teenage girl who will go anywhere to find the truth about her mother's disappearance. Jonathan believes in his family but he hadn't been paying much attention towards Billie and Olive; he was too involved in his work and he didn't want to intrude upon their "girl bonding" moments until there was a time Olive slowly drifted away from that bond. 

As mentioned before, if you're expecting this to be a psychological suspense then you'll be disappointed because this is leaning more towards the issues of family dynamic, marriage and relationship and what you tell yourself about the people you love. That said, the story has a few twists and turns and like Jonathan and Olive, I was totally clueless and dying of curiosity over Billie's disappearance until the final page, which left me speechless as my mind finally settled on the last three paragraphs. This is a well written story which will prompt a discussion (because I sure want to discuss that ending with whoever had read the book!)



End note: I googled Desolation Wilderness out of curiosity and was surprised to learn that it isn't fictional (OK, perhaps it's only me who didn't know this fact) and is located in El Dorado County, California. (More info here from Wikipedia)



© 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

Penguin Publishing Group | April 2014 | 384 pgs
Source: Library



After reading Simone St. James's The Broken Girls (my review will be posted nearer to its publication date, which is March 2018), I was totally wowed by her writing style and her storytelling and thus begins my search for her older books. This book is one of them.  

Set in England 1919, our protagonist Katharine "Kitty" Weekes flees her home to escape from her abusive father. With no money and no education, she lied her way into getting a job as a nurse at Portis House. A remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War, Kitty decided that this would be an ideal place for her hiding as well as getting paid. Her eldest brother had gone to war and there isn't any news of him so she is well on her own. 

Portis House was once a magnificent private estate owned by a Swiss family. There wasn't any news of the Gersbachs when the estate was took over by a Mr. Deighton who later refurbished it into a hospital. Portis House seems to be understaffed with nurses and orderlies and Kitty is accepted partly due to that reason and that the Matron who is in charge was away when her application came in. Kitty is initially glad to have found a place to settle in, but soon that relief has turned to nightmares as not only she has to face the challenging work of attending to the patients but also the Matron who seems to dislike her and give her the worst duties such as cleaning the men's lavatories and doing night shifts with little rest in between. But the worst is, Kitty feels something in Portis House. Aside from the eerie noises from the old plumbing and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms, she also hears footsteps at times but whenever she turns her head to look there isn't anyone. 

As the days go on, Kitty notices that the patients all seem to share the same nightmare yet no one dares to speak of it. What most intriguing is Patient Sixteen who is kept in a room by himself and only nurses who have clearance by the Matron could attend to him. Kitty will soon learned that he is once a war hero and that they will later form an alliance to uncover the truth about Portis House and what really happened to the Gersbachs. 

Silence for the Dead was a good read but not as good as The Broken Girls (TBG). Don't get me wrong, this book has good writing and an engaging storyline which has the Great War as the backdrop (not precise but still part of the scenario) but I think if I'd read this book before TBG, my opinion would've differ (I suppose that shows how much I enjoyed TBG). That said, this book has great characterisations and I enjoyed reading the interactions between Kitty and a vivid cast of supporting characters (I really felt for the soldiers. One would think they must be mentally ill to be admitted to Portis House but as you read more about them, you'll come to know that there is more than meets the eye.) It even has a slight romance element which lighten a bit of the dark atmospheric mood. A must-read for readers who love some supernatural theme in a mystery and do look out for The Broken Girls in March 2018. 



© 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

Little, Brown and Company | March 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library


It all started on one particularly wine-soaked dinner party. Lucy and Owen invited a couple over to their house for some chitchat and mingling and their conversation has somehow steered towards relationship and open marriage. Lucy, the ever practical and sensible woman she is, balked over the idea for she couldn't imagine a normal couple would agree with that kind of suggestion. Lucy and Owen have been living in Beekman for a while where it is a town filled with stay-at-home moms who would team up to cook the school lunches and the dads would make things like pickles and cheese and ground their own spices for dinner parties. They're simple just like that. 

Lucy and Owen have traded their cramped Manhattan apartment to Beekman partly for the laid-back atmosphere but also for the sake of their autistic son, Wyatt. Lucy and Owen may not be a perfect couple but they do try their best to make their life happy and stress-free, which is challenging due to Wyatt who requires attention most of the times. As much as Lucy is dumbstruck over the open marriage issue, there is a small part of her which is intrigued by it. After their friends left their dinner party, Lucy and Owen casually discuss about the matter once again and ultimately they've come to an agreement of trying it out for six months. They named this short marital experience as 'The Arrangement' with some ground rules; which is no snooping, no leaving and no falling in love. They think a break from monogamy now could give them a moment to refresh their marriage life and come back as a happier and a more loving partner. But what follows is a series of events which they've never anticipated, and towards the end they'll have to ask themselves if 'The Arrangement' benefits their relationship or is it simply "the grass is always greener on the other side"? 

At times entertaining and at times thought-provoking, The Arrangement was an addictive read about a couple's bizarre experience to revitalise their marriage and ended up learning a few lessons along the way. As much as I found the open marriage issue appalling, I think there are some parts like middle-aged and dealing with challenging children is both relatable and spot-on. While I don't agree with 'The Arrangement' plan, I held on to the story because it was entertaining (I've never read anything like this before), hilarious (the dialogues and some events could be funny at times) and most of all, I wanted to know what happened to Lucy and Owen and hoped that they'd walk out from that experience to be wiser and more understanding towards their other half. Aside from Lucy and Owen, there are also a few characters that made this story interesting with their own stories and yes, they're somewhat connected to Lucy and Owen in some ways. Overall it was an entertaining read though I can't fathom why Lucy and Owen would think 'The Arrangement' is a good idea initially. 


© 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.