Melody
Atria Books | September 2018 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested and tried for the brutal murder of six women from 1998 till 2001. It caused an uproar then and till present the mention of Lilith Wade's name still sent shivers to some and hatred to others. There is even a book, titled The Serrated Edge: The Story of Lilith Wade, Serial Killer, which chronicles about her murders and her victims and even mentioned about her sad youthful past; in which she was then diagnosed with some mental disorder and have raised some discussions whether or not if her circumstances would've been different should she was paid more attention back then. Nevertheless, murder is still murder and so Lilith is put on a death row conviction. 

Lilith has two children and one of them is 30-year-old Edie Beckett, who is the narrator in this story. A recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job, she has a detective to thank for for putting her life back together after Lilith was sentenced and for getting her a job. Edie doesn't mix around much, and would prefer having her brother, Dylan, for company than anyone else. As much as this codependent relationship is unhealthy, Edie also has a disturbing secret - an obsession with Lilith's victims' families and finding out how they've moved on after a family member's murder. Edie will go to any lengths to dig about their life and she is always careful when covering her tracks. However, her fixation on one man, Peter Lipsky, had her crossing a line and the next thing she knew, he is found murdered. 

With Edie's connection to Lilith and that there are some evidences that pointed towards Edie, she becomes a fugitive and this makes her wonder who would've known about her fixation on Peter. With her mother behind bars and her nonexistent social life, Edie is sure someone is trying to frame her but who and why? 

Having read Kate Moretti's previous novel, The Blackbird Season, I was hooked by her storytelling, her writing style and most of all, her characterisation which I felt are well drawn. In Her Bones is no exception when it comes to writing style and characterisation, but the slow pace and some repetitiveness are a drawback to this psychological suspense. The first half covers mainly of Edie's obsession, her diggings and befriending Peter; while perhaps these are essential to the plot, the reader got a sense of some repetitiveness but fortunately the pace picked up thereafter. I also liked it that there are some excerpts from The Serrated Edge which allow some insights and interviews surrounding Lilith's murder cases. In general, I'd say this is a story that will leave the reader questioning about obsession and the toxicity of familial ties, and whether or not if bad traits or habits could be inherited, as what Edie fears from the beginning. 

© 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
Doubleday | May 2018 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



Caroline and Francis are working on their marriage and have planned for a short getaway as a reconnection of their relationship. And instead of staying in a hotel or a resort, Caroline's plan is a house swap with someone for a week so they can stay at the owner's house and vice versa. Since all the transactions were made online and keys arrangements were made individually, each party didn't get a chance to meet in person and it was fine with Caroline. 

Flashback to two years earlier alternatively, the reader gets to know that Caroline is cheating on Francis and her lover, Carl, is a colleague who is a few years her junior but have actually separated in the present time. Francis, on the other end, has a pill addiction and Caroline isn't aware of his habits until she found his hidden stash one day. Caroline decided to keep mum for a while and Francis is suspicious of Caroline's movements as she always claim to have a party or a girls' outings at times, leaving their young son Eddie to him or with her mother. Like Caroline, Francis remains quiet and hope that his suspicion is all speculations.  

As much as Caroline and Francis prefer to keep on with the pretense and "enjoy" their current status, things or circumstances start to pop up unexpectedly and this is when a strange woman starts to barge into Caroline's life now and then and trying to be friends. Caroline also begins to see bits of items in the rental house that remind her of the memories she'd had with Carl. Caroline knew no one but Carl who will understand the sentiments of these items which they'd once shared, so she starts questioning about the strange things that start to appear around her and wonder if Carl is back into her life again after what'd happened then. 

The House Swap has an intriguing plot but the beginning was a slow burn but once it hit the second quarter mark it read like a breeze. I didn't particularly like any of the characters here (with the exception of little Eddie, poor boy); and what seemed like a domestic thriller read more like a drama as it shifted back and forth surrounding mostly on Caroline's life and how 'Away' (present) and 'Home' (flashback) affect her emotionally. Francis, her husband, may seem like an important role in this story but unfortunately there isn't enough backstory about him and how/why he is addicted to taking pills. The ending wasn't what I'd suspected, although I thought it was a bit far-fetched. Still, it was overall an average read to me. 


© 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
William Morrow | August 2018 | 417 pgs
Source: Library



Set in the 1950s amid the Korean War, this debut novel by Crystal Hana Kim revolves around our three protagonists and the choices they are forced to make during the war times and how it shaped their destinies thereafter. 

Sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, together with her widowed mother and ailing brother, live in a refugee village after their home was invaded by the Communist-backed army from the North. With the grim circumstances and so forth, Haemi finds some solace in her childhood friend, Kyunghwan, as they will meet for some late night drinks and exchange sentiments. Although Kyunghwan has feelings for Haemi, he put his mind on finishing his studies first so he isn't aware that his older cousin, Jisoo, already has his sights set on Haemi. 

As much as Haemi dislike the idea of marrying for security, deep in her heart she knew she has no choice and on top of it, Kyunghwan doesn't seem to have any plans. So Jisoo married Haemi before joining the fight, and Kyunghwan has left Busan to begin a new journey of his own. Haemi by then is a mother to three daughters and while her marriage to Jisoo remains stable, it isn't really a happy and a fulfilling one. What she felt for Jisoo is more towards a feeling of affection than love and at times Haemi will reflect on her decision in choosing him and what would happen if she had chosen Kyunghwan. 

Throughout the years, Kyunghwan remains single and his feelings towards Haemi hasn't changed. His return to Busan sent a ripple in Haemi's once quiet life and though she remains unaffected on surface, she is consumed with guilt as she finds herself still drawn to him. 

If You Leave Me may seem like an ordinary love triangle story, but it is rich in culture and the life of living as refugees set in the war times was well portrayed and heartbreaking. Crystal Hana Kim's writing is beautiful and lyrical, and the characters are fleshed out and relatable. I'd had a few thoughts after finishing the book and I think our three protagonists are all sad victims of war which in turn led to decisions and then more decisions and consequences. This was an absorbing debut novel and I'll be sure to check out Kim's future releases. 



© 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
The Ghost Detective (今天的偵探)

Plot Synopsis by AsianWiki Staff 
Lee Da-Il is a private investigator. He was formerly in the military, but a whistleblower case led to his discharge. Jung Yeo-Wool becomes his assistant. She is a fearless woman. They work together to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a younger sibling. They also work together to solve other cases, some involving ghosts.

I binge watched these two dramas for the past few weeks and thus neglected my books. Well I still read, but my progress was slow. Now that I was done with them, I'm back to my regular reading mode (unless I was sidetracked once again). Anyways, back to the topic. The Ghost Detective was a horror thriller and I thought it has a good premise. The lead character, Da-Il (starring Daniel Choi) became a ghost while solving a kidnapping case; he was buried alive but his soul wanders around. Yeo-Wool (starring Park Eun-Bin) lost her sister to a paranormal incident and had requested the police to look into the case but was rejected. She encountered Da-Il and was the only person who was able to see him. They worked together to find this ghost who manipulated and killed several people, including Da-Il's mother and Yeo-Wool's younger sister. 

The paranormal aspect was an intriguing one, but there are some scenarios which I found confusing, though. I was particularly skeptical about Sun Woo-Hye (starring Lee Ji-Ah), the ghost because she was actually a twelve-year-old girl but over the years her body was in comatose and was kept alive through a respirator. Her speech and mentality were like an adult at times, and she was a real devil. The supporting characters were intriguing as well, as they involved a shaman cum medical examiner and a meticulous cop who seemed to have a little crush on Yeo-Wool. The romance element was minimal, but I liked the chemistry between Da-Il and Yeo-Wool. Despite a few shortcomings, overall I thought it was an entertaining drama. 

(3.5 stars)

Jugglers 

Plot Synopsis by AsianWiki Staff
Yoon-Yi (Baek Jin-Hee) works as a secretary and has held her job for the past 5 years. She is loyal and devoted to her work. Yoon-Yi also runs an internet community website for secretaries. One day, her boss's wife mistakenly assumes her husband is having an affair with Yoon-Yi. The scandal spreads throughout her company. Her boss though does not correct the misunderstanding to coverup his own real affair he is having with someone else. Yoon-Yi is placed on a waiting list for a new position and she is devastated.
Meanwhile, Chi-Won (Daniel Choi) is scouted for a managing director position in the Video Business Department at YB Ad. He carries a trauma related to a fire incident when he was young. He is not interested in socializing with other people and he does not a have a secretary. Yoon-Yi is assigned to work as Chi-Won's secretary at YB Ad, but Chi-Won tells her that he does not need her. Yoon-Yi tells him otherwise and that she will work hard for him. One evening, Chi-Won's boss invites him and Yoon-Yi out for dinner. Yoon-Yi gets drunk and Chi-Won takes her home. It turns out the house where she lives is the same house where the traumatic fire incident occurred when Chi-Won was a child. Next to the front door, he sees a flyer looking for a tenant for a second floor room. Chi-Won decides to rent the room to overcome his trauma.

Jugglers is basically a story about office employees (in particularly personal assistants) and the difficulties and challenges they often encounter while working alongside with their bosses; and at its core it is an office romantic comedy which I found both sweet and entertaining. I've to admit I watched this because of actor Daniel Choi. I was quite charmed by his charisma in The Ghost Detective and I was glad to see another side of him in Jugglers as he played a cool and an unsociable boss but ended up falling in love with his PA. 

What I liked about this drama is aside from the romance element (so, so sweet and romantic, sigh), it portrays the everyday life of a PA and what they do for their bosses. From running the office to running personal errands, they are the personnel who represent their bosses and at times, they have to grit their teeth to accomplish tasks which are beyond their duties. While not all bosses are making use of their authority and taking their PAs for granted, there are still some who do that like Yoon-Yi's ex-boss in this drama. 

Aside from Yoon-Yi's and Chi-Won's perspectives, I also enjoyed the story between Wang Jung-Ae (starring Kang Hye-Jung) and Hwangbo Yool (starring Lee Won-Geun). June-Ae was a shy, working single mother who struggled to make ends meet, while Hwangbo was a young director living a king's life. It was interesting to see the changes in them as the story progresses; and I felt for Jung-Ae throughout the drama because she led such a sad life. Fortunately there was a HEA for her in the end. I enjoyed this one much more than The Ghost Detective, perhaps this was a romcom and it had brightened up my mood amid my girls' school exams period (it was over as of writing this, thank goodness!)   

(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.
Melody
Kensington | May 2018 | 304 pgs
Source: Library



This is Charlie Donlea's latest release and after reading his previous two books and enjoyed them, I'm glad to say he's now on my favourite authors list. I like how he constructs the stories and most of all, the implementation of a certain professionalism to go with the investigations. In his first book, Summit Lake, it revolves around journalistic inquiry and then there is forensic science in his second book, The Girl Who Was Taken. This book is more about the making of a real-life documentary film and what it takes for our filmmaker protagonist to investigate and help clear a woman who is convicted of murder. 

Sidney Ryan has been receiving letters from Grace Sebold for some time; each letter asking Sidney to look into her case or at least hear her side of the story after she has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison for the crime of murdering her boyfriend, Julian Crist. Julian and Grace had traveled to St. Lucian for a friend's wedding reception and part of their vacation. Based from a few witnesses' statements, it appeared that they'd had a little disagreement and when Julian was found dead at the bottom of a cliff, the St. Lucian police is quick to target Grace as a suspect and create all the evidence to match their claims. At that time, their statements seemed valid and so the case is closed and a sentence is passed.

Sidney has successfully uncovered two cases involving the wrongly accused in the past so she is interested in hearing Grace’s story. Plus, this is her chance of putting her documentary on a huge TV network channel after a series of webcast in the past. She is ambitious and she is adamant to succeed thus she is working very hard with her research. However, the more she looks at all the gathered information it seems something is off and that some issues were even overlooked during the original investigation. With the popular viewership and the public outcry to reopen the case, Sidney thinks her documentary, The Girl of Sugar Beach, would wrap up nicely with only a few episodes to go until she receives a letter telling her she has got it all wrong.  

If I enjoyed his previous two books, this book was even better. I think the idea of a true crime documentary is enticing and in this case the author has upped that enticement with the filmmaker to investigate a case alongside with the documentary making. The plot had me hooked all the way as it was multi-layered, and it kept me guessing if Grace was indeed innocent or if there is more than meets the eye. The characters are intriguing and are well developed; and there are times when I thought I'd some ideas where the direction was going, the outcome surprised me. A well crafted and well executed story and I'd recommend this to fans who love a good suspense. 


© 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.