Melody
Park Row Books | June 2019 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 


With so many psychological thrillers flooding the books market, it takes good writing, good execution and an intriguing plot to stand out from the rest and I'm glad to report that Dear Wife is such a case. 

Beth Murphy is on the run. She's been planning for a day to escape from home and that day has come. She has everything planned - a new identity and a place far away from Pine Bluff Arkansas, and she'd do anything just to escape from her abusive husband. 

On the other end, Jeffrey returns home from his business trip to find his wife, Sabine, missing. There's nothing amiss in the house and her car has been left behind. Sabine is a successful realtor with good working ethics so it's perplexing to everyone. Her sister, Ingrid, insists that Sabine wouldn't leave without a word although she is aware that Sabine has some marital issues with Jeffrey. Detective Marcus Durand is assigned to look into Sabine's disappearance and as he investigates, he finds that the case isn't what it appears to be. 

As the story progresses, the mystery surrounding Beth's story and Sabine's disappearance become convoluted and suspense mounts. I'll be vague by not disclosing more about this story but I've to say this is one of the best psychological suspense I read in a while as it ticked all my expectations of a good suspense thriller. But don't just take my word for it, go read it yourself and then we can discuss about it. 


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Melody
William Morrow | February 2020 | 400 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss


I'd read Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes and was impressed by her storytelling and her writing skills. The conclusion of that book still stumped me today, and despite some mixed reactions from readers, personally I thought it was quite a good psychological thriller based on the suspense element. Dead to Her, her latest release, may not have a shocking ending which is equivalent to BHE but nevertheless still a suspenseful, riveting read with a dash of voodoo (though not as a main theme, in case you're wondering).  

Set in the glittering Savannah society where the rich and the powerful mingle, the reader is introduced to our main protagonist, Marcie Maddox, who has worked hard to be the new wife of a successful attorney after starting an illicit affair with him a few years ago. But keeping up with her new, glamorous life isn't what she's expected and it seems she has met her new match when her husband's boss, William Radford IV, brings home a sexy new wife from his trip to London. Like Marcie, Keisha comes from a lower class family and like her, they're both second wife to their husbands. Feeling jealous and threatened by Keisha's beauty and her existence, Marcie tries to befriend her with an agenda but unexpected circumstances soon lead to deceptions, conspiracies and murder as they dip further into their classy world of no return. 

This is only the tip of what's going to unravel as the journey is filled with untrustworthy characters and twisty paths which would send your mind whirling (and gasping in the end). One of the highlights is her fleshed out characters; you may not care about them but you do want to know what happened to them ultimately. The dynamic and the interactions between Marcie and Keisha are an interesting read but not all are necessarily appealing but they are crucial to how the story unfolds. Sarah Pinborough has an imaginative mind and BHE and this book are good examples of her talents. 


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Melody
HarperCollins | January 2019 | 368 pgs
Source: Purchased 

Anyone would think that Darcy Barrett is one tough woman based on her demeanour and outlook towards men and life as well as a person who values freedom. But in reality she's simply cynical about men since she has been bitten and moreover she thinks no one would measure up to her childhood crush, Tom Valeska. She has known Tom since she was eight and her family treats him like their own. As much as Darcy likes him, she also knows that he's her twin brother's best friend. And Tom, being loyal and righteous as he is, wouldn't want to cross the line and thus, Darcy's feelings for him is kept buried. Darcy goes on with her life and tries her hands on taking photography as a career but it didn't go on smoothly. By then, she has decided that bartending and learning to take life as it is is good enough until Tom appears in her life once again. 

After Darcy's grandmother passed, she left the twins her tumble-down cottage, with instructions that before selling the property they'll have to bring it back to its former glory. Darcy intends to get away from the place once the restoration begins, but once she sees who has arrived at her porch bearing power tools, she changes her mind for that person is none other than Tom. Throughout the years, Darcy thought he's off limits considering he has a girlfriend (which she didn't know they'd broken off until much later) but that doesn't change how she still feels for him. On top of it, her twin brother, Jamie, doesn't make things easy for her as their personality and opinions clash. He doesn't approve of her and Tom being more than friends either, partly due to the bromance. 

As the story progresses, we get to see more banter between Darcy and Tom but the signals they are sending to each other are mostly mixed and unclear. Darcy was a strong character and she could be blunt at times, but it was Tom's reactions which perplexed me because he couldn't seem to make up his mind if he should be with Darcy despite they have great chemistry together. But that is not all, I felt there isn't enough background covered for the characters but a brief mention here and there. Then there's the ending which I felt was pretty anti-climactic and a bit rushed but overall it still has some funny and sweet moments for the romantics. 

This book is a buddy read with Lark so do check out her review as well. (Thanks, Lark, for being such a wonderful book buddy! Here's to another great year of buddy reads!) 

Below is my answers to her book questions:

1. If you had to sum up Darcy in just three words, what three words would you choose?
Independent, opinionated and witty. 

2. And if you had to describe the romance between Tom and Darcy in just three words, what three words would you choose? 
Roller coaster romance (Both of them experienced the ups and downs before reaching the destination.)





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Melody
Penguin Publishing Group | July 2019 | 304 pgs
Source: Library 

I've read two of Shari Lapena's books so far and thought they were fast-paced and twisty and this one was no exception, although I didn't like or connect with any of the characters and most of all, I didn't know how I should feel towards the ending -- which borders between sympathy and disbelief.  

The book opens with a woman being bludgeoned to death by a hammer. Amanda Pierce was a pretty woman and the residents at the suburb Aylesford are susceptible to her charms, especially the men. When she was reported missing by her husband one day, the police didn't raise too much of an alarm considering there were occasions that Amanda went out of town with her friend until her body was found in the trunk of a submerged car. 

Detectives Webb and Moen are called to investigate Amanda's death. Initial speculation points to her husband, Robert, who appears to be a quiet and reserved man but would he kill his wife out of jealousy? Then there are the wives who aren't pleased with Amanda's flirtatious behaviour towards their husbands. To complicate matters, there's been a few cases of a teenager sneaking into people's houses and hacking their computers. Feeling guilty and out of moral consciousness, the teenager's mother sent out two anonymous letters to the homeowners with her apologies. But her act may have opened up a can of worms, for the news of the house breaking have spread within the neighbourhood and many of them fear their secrets might be at stake. How far would these people go to protect their secrets? And is Amanda's murderer hidden among them?  

First off, let me just say that Shari Lapena really knows how to write an unputdownable suspense. The chapters are relatively short and this allows a faster and easier read alongside the suspense. However, I've some issues with the characters and how ridiculous the story seems to be as it progresses and then becomes repetitive whenever there's a new suspect and so on. That said, it was still a compelling read although this won't be my favourite Lapena book. There are readers who loved it based from the reviews on Goodreads so I suppose I'm in the minority. 


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Melody
First Second | April 2013 | 176 pgs
Source: Library

I've enjoyed Lucy Knisley's Kid Gloves a while back and thought I'd try another of her older release; this time around with a food theme. 

Since young, Lucy isn't a stranger when it comes to food and their sources. After all, she's the daughter of a chef and a gourmet. She followed her mother to markets and farms and every time she visited them, she came home with more information about the various ingredients she's come across. But that's not all, this vibrant, food-themed memoir not only shows us the magic of ingredients (of course there's some recipes included - either Lucy's family dishes or her own inventions) but it also chronicles Lucy's different stage of life through the food she ate at that time and the lessons she'd learned along the way. To top it off, Lucy even dug through her family photos for reference, in which she added a few of them and captions at the end of this book.  

This graphic memoir is a relish itself and all the more you should read it if you're a foodie. Below are some illustrations which I thought would make a good introduction of this book. 


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