Melody


HarperCollins Publishers | February 2017 | 432 pgs
Source: Library



I'd read a few Karin Slaughter's books in the past and she is one of the best authors I've come across for writing dark and compelling suspense thrillers. Although some of them aren't always easy to read when the subjects are concerned, Ms. Slaughter manages to capture the realism and sensitivity behind those dark horrifying tales that make you feel for the characters and think what you'd do under those circumstances. 

This novel revolves around missing girls, secrets and the relationship between two sisters who have distanced from each other and reunited again under a circumstances which reminds them of a horrifying past incident and how it comes back to haunt them again. 

Claire and Lydia lost their eldest sister, Julia, when the latter was sixteen years old. A missing case and her body was never found. She was last seen at a bar and was later accounted by a friend that she left alone thereafter. No one knew what happened to her and the years move on. As the remaining two sisters grow up with their family being torn apart after Julia's disappearance, they began to distance from each other. Claudia sees Lydia as a girl who smokes pot and living a wild life so she didn't believe a word she had said then, until another case of a missing girl and the murder of Claudia's husband bring back the horror and the heartbreaking past back into their lives. Now the two estranged sisters have to form an alliance to unravel the truth and bring down the evil perpetrator who has murdered countless girls cruelly and destroyed their family. 

Pretty Girls was a really dark, intense psychological thriller with all the thrills and chills. Both suspenseful and heartrending, this story wasn't an easy read with all the horror and the violence inflicted on the female victims. Karin Slaughter didn't pull any punches when it comes to writing such scenes, and I cringed every time I read how the poor girls are cruelly abused and tortured. This aside, I've to applaud Ms. Slaughter for creating two compelling and strong-willed characters who will fight for justice and survival just when I thought the situation was bleak at times and that finding evidence could be a challenge to them. Claudia and Lydia touched me with their fighting spirit and their love for Julia; this was what drove me to read on despite the dark subject and not to mention the riveting plot and my wish to see the case resolved and that justice will prevail in the end. 



© 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

This legal thriller and melodrama (2015) caught my attention thanks to an entertainment magazine article I read about actor Yoo Seung-ho and his latest work, I'm Not a Robot. Since I'd enjoyed that drama I thought it'd be good to catch up on Yoo's previous work and I'm glad to say I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I've to say his acting skills in this drama was even more impressive due to the intense story plot as it requires (lots of) emotional acting skills.

In a nutshell, this drama is about the relationship between a father and son, power and conspiracies, as well as revenge and justice. There are bits of romance too, but I've to say the romance is a bit too short and bittersweet but a beautiful one. To begin with, Seo Jin-woo (starring Yoo Seung-ho) has Hyperthymesia, a condition which allows him to remember things in detail. When his neighbour's daughter was murdered, Jin-woo's father became a suspect since he was last seen in the woods with the girl's body. The thing is, Jin-woo's father is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and his memory comes and goes at times. Apparently he lost his direction home after buying a mobile phone for Jin-woo (which he had bought a few and has forgotten) and he couldn't recall anything and why he was in the woods.

Secondary characters such as lawyer Park Dong-ho (starring Park Sung-woong) and antagonist Nam Gyu-man (starring Namkoong Min) are this story's "backbone" as both of them played an important part in Jin-woo's story; the former is both an ally and a foe to Jin-woo, considering his father was the indirect cause to the death of Jin-woo's mother and brother when the latter is the real murderer and due to his family's power and wealth, they could easily persuade/bribe others to take on their side. Jin-woo later became a lawyer since he felt he could trust no one and this begins the tug of war between justice and power.

Nam Gyu-man vs Seo Jin-woo

Remember may be too dramatic at times but I enjoyed seeing how the story unfolds and it kept me on edge at most times. I felt for Jin-woo throughout the story; it seemed like his journey was full of bumps and heartbreak. Park Dong-ho is a character who will grow on you as the story progresses. Despite living around gangsters since a teenager, he has his own principles and at some point I was even moved by the things he has done for Jin-woo. As for the antagonist, Nam Gyu-man is a character whom you'd love to kick his butt because he is simply cold-blooded and evil. Due to actor Namkoong Min's outstanding performance in portraying the twisted Gyu-man, this has won him an Excellence Award for Actor in a Miniseries at the 5th APAN Star Awards (2016) as well as nominations for Grand Prize at the year-end SBS Drama Awards and for Best Actor at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards (2016) (info from Wikipedia).

All in all this was an intense legal melodrama supported by a cast of interesting characters (not to mention the great performance of the artistes who played their respective roles) and an unforgettable plot which had me glued to the screen unfailingly for the past two weeks. Recommended.


© 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


Michael Joseph | January 2018 | 480 pgs
Source: Purchased



If you've read Me Before You and After You, you'll be familiar with Louisa Clark and this book continues her story, in which she left for New York from London to work with the wealthy Gopniks family. Although this book still read as a stand-alone, I'd suggest you start with Me Before You first for the backstory so you'd have a better understanding while reading this book. 

To avoid any spoilers for readers who haven't read Me Before You and After You (in which why I didn't link up my reviews but you may search for them on my blog homepage if you're interested), my review for this book will be vague but I'd share my thoughts and how this book made me feel without revealing too much details. 

Louisa Clark has changed so much the last I read her from Me Before Me; and with each book she becomes a better person yet she is who she is deep down. In this book, it is all about people's connections (no matter if it's long distance or the neighbours living in a posh apartment building) and also about following one's dreams. Here, we also read about the mega wealthy people and their lifestyle, as well as their mentality and insights on a few certain things, like friendship and of course, what power and money could do to right the wrongs, in some way or another depending on one's perspective. 

I especially liked the second part of the story, whereby Louisa interacts with an elderly woman who is a bit grumpy yet generous in so many ways. She also has a pup named Dean Martin, which she dotes on him like a baby. As much as I loved Me Before You (which will always remains as my favourite), I find the strength of this book is about not losing yourself while finding a new you. I loved how this book made me laugh, cry and inspire me in so manys. A must-read for all the romantics and for anyone who needs a uplifting read. 


© 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


Century | December 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased


Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of an eleven-year-old girl Holly Michaels. He was barely eighteen years old then and the news had caused an uproar in his small hometown in Red River County, Florida. Dennis's adolescence years were considered an unhappy one. Living with an abusive father and a mother who could barely help herself, his only friend was Howard Harries, whose father is a police officer. Officer Eric Harries doesn't trust Dennis; he thinks he is a bad influence to Howard and whatever bad things Howard did, he would blame it on Dennis's responsibility in leading his son astray. It is also Officer Harries who was the first who interviewed Dennis after Holly's body was found. Whether if he has a personal grudge against Dennis, nobody knows.  

Now an adult and still serving time for murder on Florida's Death Row, Dennis is the subject of a true-crime documentary and while there are people who detest what he had done, there are also supporters who feel he is wrongfully convicted. Samantha, a schoolteacher who lives a thousand miles away in England, is both fascinated and obsessed by Dennis's case. She begins to write him letters, while on the other hand campaigning for his release with the other supporters. And Dennis replies to all her letters; soon their relationship takes on to another level and Samantha decides to leave her old life in England to be with Dennis, even if they are separated by a pane of glass. Soon, Dennis ask Samantha to marry him and she say yes. Thereafter, the campaign is a success and Dennis is released but Samantha begins to notice a new side of him which have her wondering if she has made a terrible mistake in supporting the campaign and marrying him. 

The Innocent Wife is Amy Lloyd’s debut and is the winner of the Daily Mail First Novel Competition. While I'd enjoyed this gripping psychological suspense, I also have a few issues with it. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into the specifics but here are a few issues which bugged me generally. For starters, I don't understand why Samantha is attracted to Dennis, or a convict in that particular? (Sure, he is handsome and charismatic, but...) Whether if Dennis is guilty or not, Samantha gave me the impression as being reckless and compulsive for leaving everything at home to meet a stranger. Even at the point where Samantha is suspicious, she doesn't leave right away. While I understand this is part of and allure of the plot, in reality it is totally a different thing. These aside, it was a compelling read - both character-driven and plot-driven. The ending threw me off a little, but then it wasn't too hard to guess if given much thoughts to it. I'm curious to know what Ms. Lloyd will have in store for her next book. 


© 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've to say this black comedy drama between prisoners and the correction officers will either be a hit or a miss to viewers. For starters, it isn't your typical prisoners stories with lots of chaos and fights. Sure, there are still some scenes about those (after all, it's set in a prison and some bullying and fighting are inevitable) but basically it is focused more on the emotional connection between inmates and inmates, inmates and officers, and even officers and wardens (hope this make sense). To be exact, this story depicts the friendship and connections within a group of inmates locked together in a cell and at its heart of the story is about the downfall of a popular baseball pitcher, Je Hyeok (starring Park Hae Soo) and how he survives in prison and get his groove back through the help of his inmates and a few officers. So if you are expecting lots of fighting scenes and actions in this drama, probably this drama isn't for you. 

To begin with, Kim Je Hyeok (starring Park Hae Soo) committed a crime out of justice for his younger sister. He managed to save her virtue, but unfortunately by doing so he had assaulted and injured the man. As a result, he receives a 1-year sentence in jail. His best friend, Lee Joon Ho (starring Jung Kyoung Ho) is a correction officer in prison and you could say Je Hyeok is lucky to have him on his side. 

But that is not all, what also makes this story interesting is the other inmates who share the same cell as Je Hyeok. Each of them has a past and a story to tell - there are a few who are serving time for the crimes they did, but there are also some who are wrongfully convicted and are awaiting for a chance for retrial (their interactions are one of the highlights to watch - some are amusing while some are touching but nevertheless they show their bond and the things they will do for one another). And, you would probably think that a correction officer would be cold and oblivious to the welfare of the prisoners but not so in this story. One may argue that they are not following protocols (no matter whatever the reason is), but who can really judge when compassion and humanity are concerned? 



Prison Playbook (aka Wise Prison Life) may be a slow-burn at the beginning and not much of an action film but I liked it that it was inspiring and heartwarming in some ways. I'd recommend it if you prefer something different out of this genre. 

(Watch trailer here.)


© 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.