G.P. Putnam's Sons | June 2020 | 368 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 

Gillian McAllister's latest release is written in sliding door concept - a dual scenarios depicting the path the protagonist has decided to take after an unfortunate incident. 

Joanna and her friend, Laura, are having the best of their time at a bar when a stranger, who called himself Sadiq, invites them for a drink after their casual acquaintance earlier. Joanna didn't mean it to happen, but Sadiq seems eager to chat and when Joanna ignores him, he tries to grab and pull her towards him. Shocked, Joanna doesn't know how to react for a while until she moves away from him. But that isn't all, after Joanna leaves the bar she got the feeling that Sadiq is following her. While hurrying down the staircase she thought she caught a glimpse of Sadiq's red trainers and that's where she makes a snap decision; she turns and pushes him. Only that it isn't Sadiq but a random jogger and he tumbles down the steps and lies motionless, facedown on the ground. 

What happened thereafter is two scenarios - "Reveal" and "Conceal", depicts the cause and effect depending on Joanna's choice. If she calls the police, the man will live but that would put her own innocence at risk. She might be charged of assaulting and with no witnesses around, it'd a tough case to fight. But if she leaves quietly and pretends nothing has happened, the man will die but would she be able to go on living with guilt as she lies to her husband and friends? 

The Choice was a captivating read that not only the readers will find themselves get caught up by the dynamic plots but will also question themselves at the end in regard to the moral dilemma surrounding this story. While this isn't a typical psychological thriller, it sure is a thought-provoking novel that tells the different consequences through a split-second decision and how it'd change the life between the perpetrator and the victim. While I find this sliding door concept to be a refreshing read, personally I'm not a fan of it as I think it takes away some of the thrill and the focus (the real action of the event somewhat feel lost to me, if that makes sense.) 

Character-wise, Joanna didn't really leave a deep impression on me since I didn't really feel connected with her (maybe it's the concept) but I did feel what she'd gone through with both scenarios. That said, I'd still recommend this book if you love this kind of concept.

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Park Row | June 2020 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

I've enjoyed Kimberly Belle's previous novel "Dear Wife" so much so that I knew I couldn't miss this latest release by her. 

Charlotte used to work as an attendant at a gas station where she met Paul and they fell in love. Paul is an architect who had lost his ex-wife to a drowning accident four years ago. Charlotte's marriage to Paul had caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town; aside that Paul is eleven years her senior, there are also talks about her humble past and his late wife's mysterious drowning which has made people wonder considering she was a skilled swimmer. Charlotte has chose to believe in Paul and ignore the others and of course, it'd absolutely do no good to her baby after she finds out that she is pregnant. 

But her inner peace is shattered after she found a woman's body floating around the same spot where Paul's late wife was tragically drowned. Charlotte didn't know the woman since she didn't see her around, but she recognised her talking to Paul the day before. When she questioned Paul about her, he claimed that he didn't know her even though he told the police he's never met the woman, which Charlotte knew was a lie. As much as she wants to cover for Paul and give him the benefit of the doubt, she couldn't help but to wonder about his lie and the reason behind it. How well does she know Paul? And why did Paul travel all the way to an isolated cove to find an old childhood friend, Jax? As Charlotte unravels the mystery upon mystery, she didn't know if she should trust Paul or worse, is he a murderer? 

I suppose I'd high expectations of this book after reading Dear Wife and despite the author's writing remains engaging, this story failed to captivate my attention as much as Dear Wife. For starters, I didn't feel connected with Charlotte. The plot was all right, though I felt it'd been done several times and the feel of suspense lessened after I'd a sense where the story is going. Though it was narrated between Charlotte's present and some flashbacks of the teenage past of Paul's and his friends, the development of the latter felt rather rushed. That said, the author's writing is good and I'll look forward to her future releases and reading her older books as well.

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Synopsis: (from
This drama is about a married couple whose betrayal of one another leads to a whirlwind of revenge.
Ji Sun Woo (Kim Hee Ae) is a family medicine doctor. She is married to Lee Tae Oh (Park Hae Joon) and they have a son. She seems to have everything, including a successful career and a happy family, but she is betrayed by her husband and others. Meanwhile, Lee Tae Oh dreams of becoming a famous movie director. He runs an entertainment business with the support of his wife Ji Sun Woo. Even though he loves his wife, Lee Tae Oh falls into a dangerous relationship.
My thoughts:

This drama was actually based on BBC's drama series Doctor Foster and has received the highest viewership and ratings in Korean cable television history to-date. Since I didn't watch Doctor Foster, I couldn't compare the two but I've to say watching The World of Married Couple was as exciting as reading a domestic thriller; the only difference is your dislike for the characters intensify since we are seeing all the actions on screen rather than using our imaginations; and not to mention it easily evokes our emotions, too. 

To begin with, I've to say the first half of the story was very good. It'd me at the edge of my seat (and gritting my teeth) most of the time. Sun Woo didn't seem to be a woman who's unreasonable or one who would act rashly; after all she gave Tae Oh a chance to admit his infidelity but the latter denied and lied. After she'd found further proof of his infidelity, Tae Oh didn't seem to be remorseful and even retorted that there's no wrong in loving and that he loves her and his mistress at the same time. (Well, you can't have your cake and eat it too, right?) To protect her son and her career, Sun Woo decided that divorcing him and gaining the custody of her son are the options, but alas Tae Oh decided to return to their hometown even after he'd married his mistress and has a young daughter. You'd think that he must have gotten over his ex-wife at this stage but unfortunately that wasn't the case. And this is when things start to get heated up and the start of their revenge. 

It was easy to feel empathy towards Sun Woo despite everything, afterall she was the victim and actress Kim Hee Ae has portrayed her role wonderfully through her superb acting skills. Likewise to Park Hae Joon who played Tae Oh; a selfish, despicable man who has no bounds when his own benefits are concerned. And above all, my heart went out to their poor teenage son, who felt like he was a pawn between them, or a "tool" to get to the other. 

As much as this story was centred around the complex (obsessive?) relationship between Sun Woo and Tae Oh, there was also a subplot about another couple (who's their friends and neighbours) with trust issue. Overall, this story depicts the complicated relationship between Sun Woo and Tae Oh, the challenges of a single working mother and at the same time allows the viewers some discussions about the aspect of marriage and how divorce are being looked upon depending on one's culture and the society. I enjoyed the drama, but it could be dramatic at times and again, I loathed Tae Oh for all his doings yet I couldn't help but to pity him towards the end. And speaking of the ending, I was deeply disappointed and it left me feeling baffled. That said, it was still an intense and an entertaining drama with a good acting cast.

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Abacus | November 2019 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 
Translated from the Japanese by Giles Murray 

Keigo Higashino has written two series featuring Detective Galileo and Detective Kaga respectively, as well as a few other stand-alones. Although I've only read three of his books (including this) so far, I've enjoyed his writing style, the riddle-like mysteries and the well crafted plots. This is the second appearance of Detective Kaga after the previous book, Malice

Detective Kyochiro Kaga of the Tokyo Police Department has just been transferred to a new precinct in Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. A newcomer himself, he is assigned to investigate the murder case of a woman who was strangled to death. Although Kaga gives people the impression of down-to-earth and easy-going, deep down he is a meticulous man who has a sharp eye in details and logic, and most of all he knows how to get people to talk through his gentle and cordial demeanour. 

The victim was a 45-year-old divorced woman named Mineko Mitsui who moved to Nihonbashi a few months ago. Upon initial interview and investigation, Kaga understand from a friend of Mitsui that she was supposed to meet at Mitsui's house at 7pm but had last minute pushed their appointment to an hour later due to an unforeseen circumstances. When she reached Mitsui's house, she found the door unlocked and Mitsui was sprawled dead in the living room. The police couldn't find any forensic evidence but Kaga did notice a few interesting items in the house which spurs him into looking at some of the businesses at the Nihonbashi area. As Kaga visits the shops and interviews the owners subsequently, he comes to learn a bit of their stories even if some appear to be unrelated to the case. In the end, Kaga succeeded not only in solving the case but also impressing the reader with his patience and his scrupulous attention and methods applied during his investigations.

As much as this is a crime fiction, it has an intriguing array of characters which would make an interesting study of human behaviorism. Each segment in the book tells the story of a character and although they are rather short and some may appear unconnected to the case, the reader will soon understand about the linkage and the actual role they play towards the end. This wasn't a fast-paced read in terms of actions and thrills but it was an intriguing whodunit and a clever detective whose perspective is very different from his peers. 

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Hodder & Stoughton | October 2019 | 304 pgs 
Source: Library 

Since young, author Lindsay McCrae has the passion for the natural world. Having grown up in Cumbria on the edge of the Lake District National Park was a privilege to him; and he'd take every opportunity as he could to explore the local woodland and riverbank. By age eight, he had already decided he wanted a career filming wildlife. His obsession with wildlife led him to write a letter to the BBC's British wildlife programme Springwatch when he was fourteen. Springwatch is a series that annually showcases the best of British wildlife and young Lindsay had wrote to them detailing how perfect the Lake District would be for a part of their series. The location was basically his back garden; which was home to badger setts, fox dens, birds' nests and a large pond. His letter even included a map detailing the locations of all the wildlife he'd discovered. Lindsay didn't expect a reply from them and imagine his surprise and glee when they replied to say they wanted to make a little film with him that'd appear on the programme. This experience has further fueled his passion and ambition of filming the wildlife.  

Even in his last few years at school, Lindsay would spend every spare moment filming. After leaving school at eighteen, he'd lost his academic motivation and all he wanted to do is watching the outside natural world. Due to his making his Springwatch film and his name had been mentioned so frequently within the BBC Springwatch office, he got a job as a runner. His stint thereafter led to camera-assisting jobs where he gets hands-on experience with professional gear. His career kicked off after a few years and by then he'd travelled all over the UK and had started spending more time filming abroad. 

His dream and the opportunity to film in Antarctica came when he received an email from a producer at BBC Natural History Unit. But it wasn't an easy decision for him initially given the eleven-month duration being living in the harsh environment and being apart from his new wife and she being pregnant. But she was supportive although it gave him second thoughts. Then again, he'd already committed prior to the news so there was no option other than to be apart for the birth and the baby's first seven months. 

After this introduction of Lindsay's dreams and the various obstacles he'd to overcome before he set foot on the other end of the world, the adventure begins when he recounts his experience filming alongside the lines of emperor penguins and in blizzards at times, as well as the amazing things he'd seen through his work. His musings and observations have made me learned many things about our cute and resilient birds, their habitats and their extraordinary lifecycle, such as they will trek up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds (and there are breeding colonies which can contain up to several thousand individuals). As many of us know, they've an unusual reversal role whereby the males will incubate the eggs for over two months while the females return to the sea to feed. Aside from the many fascinating sights and experiences mingling with the emperors, Lindsay also shares with the reader about his living base station, the interactions with a few of his colleagues and of course, the technical details and difficulties filming the birds. I've always fascinated by emperor penguins and their lives in the Antarctic so this nonfiction/memoir was a joy to read. 

(Here are some pictures I took from the book.) 


* This is one of the few library books I'd borrowed before the government declared all non essential businesses to be closed and to stay home, practise social distancing and mandatory mask wearing when outdoors. The circuit breaker measures have extended till 1st June given the numbers have not been going down these past few days and we can only hope for the best and that things will get better soon. How are you coping with the current circumstances? Is the place where you're staying reopen already? Take care and stay well and safe. 

© 2020 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.