Melody


Quercus | January 2017 | 416 pgs
Source: Purchased



Nowadays I'm a bit skeptical with titles that have "The Girl" on them, especially psychological thrillers. It isn't a bad thing, really, just that I feel they are overused and that very often they have unreliable characters and this book is no exceptional, although I felt the cold setting of the house at One Folgate Street more frightening. 

Told from the past and present between Emma and Jane, this story revolves around these two women and their stay at the beautiful house at One Folgate Street. Built by a minimalist architect by the name of Edward Monkford, the projects he designs and develops always bear his signature of high quality and are built with intelligent, high technology systems. His works has won him numerous awards but to property agents and clients he could comes off a bit... austere. 

Both Emma and Jane are looking at houses for rental; the former told from the past and the latter at present time. They decided the house on One Folgate Street after been through many house sightings. For starters, the house is bare with minimal furniture and there are rules and regulations to follow (i.e. no books, no throw pillows, no photos or personal effects of any kind) and the oddest of all, their applications have to be approved by Edward and those forms come with a set of questions ranging from anything house related to their personal opinions on various matters and if these "requirements" don't set off any alarms I don't know what would. So that begins the story of Emma and Jane, and the eccentric Edward. Emma and Jane came off as unreliable due to their traumatic past and both of them find Edward charming but cold. As the story progresses, their personality start to change too as they try to adapt to their new environment and all that requirements. 

I got the feeling that The Girl Before wouldn't be a fit for all readers (it features some sexually suggestive scenarios and there are also issues on control and submission). At times I wondered if the characters are experiencing Stockholm Syndrome under some circumstances and it was all very perplexing, considering the decisions they made. Then again, who did I really believe considering many of the characters here are unreliable? The twist wasn't what I expected (I confessed I was too invested in the dynamics between the two women and what they have gone through instead), but I figured if one pay enough attention it wouldn't come off as a great surprise. Overall it was a riveting, suspenseful psychological thriller but disturbing at some point. 


© 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

Flatiron Books | April 2017 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



This book is a romance about romances. With a romance plot set side-by-side with another fictional romance, this story tells a tale about a bond between two sisters and their dreams set during the 1930s in a small town of Lynn, Massachusetts and another in Romancelandia, featuring a charismatic privateer (or a pirate) and a proper young woman on her way into entering the society. 

Since young, Neave Terhune knew she doesn't fit anywhere; she's not as sociable and glamorous like her twin sister, Lilly. Despite their characteristics differences they are each other's confidante, playmate and business partner when they first launched their cosmetic business during their teenage years (never mind if it's small and most of their clients are the neighbourhood housewives and school girls). Neave may live in Lilly's shadow but she is smart whereas Lilly has a sharp eye when it comes to makeup and fashion. They have an older brother, Snyder, who's into comics books and a younger sister, Janey. 

Neave loves reading but her books are limited, let alone choices thus she is glad to take up the job of reading to old Mrs Daniels because she has a lot of books. Neave isn't allowed to read romance due to her age, hence she is excited to find a copy of The Pirate Lover when Mrs Daniels is not looking. She is fascinated by the world of Romancelandia, and most of all she is fascinated by the gutsy Electra Gates as she met her equal, the infamous privateer Basil Le Cherche. All the way throughout Neave's adulthood, that romance copy continues to stay with her even after Mrs Daniels's passing. The two sisters are still as close after Lilly remarried for the second time and that's when the trouble starts when Lilly's husband starts to get violent. 

With Electra's story parallels to Neave's, the reader will see the similarities between these two women as they met their own dangers and challenges. There's even a bit of the supernatural element as there are parts narrated by Lilly from the afterlife (this is not a spoiler as it begins right from the start), including Neave's protector, Mr Boppit the dog. It was an unusual story but yet a wildly original and an entertaining one and I loved it (I even enjoyed Electra's story and reading it has inspired me to look out for more pirate romance books.) 


© 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

Fight for My Way is a drama about dreams, inspirations and love among four young people who have grown up together and how they go on to attain their goals after through some tears and loss.

Ko Dong-man (starring Park Seo-joon) took up taekwondo since his high school days and had won a few awards. However a painful past involving his opponent, Kim Tak-su (starring Kim Kun-woo) made him quit the sports altogether. His childhood friend, Choi Ae-Ra (starring Kim Ji-won), has this dream of becoming an announcer and unfortunately her hope of being an announcer is often dashed either due to her limited qualifications or meeting her rival/stumbling block in Park Hye-ran (starring Lee Elijah), who is Dong-man's first love and a well-known anchor.

On the other end is a pair of couple, Kim Joo-man (starring Ahn Jae-hong) and
Baek Seol-hee (starring Song Ha-yoon) whose relationship is threatened by not a third party but one assuming too much and taking the other party for granted. Too often, we overlook at things and think otherwise until something happens and by then it might be too late to recover the loss we may have implied upon ourselves.

And of course the highlight is the romance between Dong-man and Ae-Ra, considering they are the lead characters and they have come a long way to becoming lovers; but unlike Joo-man and Seol-hee it is the fear of losing the other which is the obstacle since Dong-man has overcome the past and find his confidence again now in mixed martial arts fighting. It has taken Dong-man a while to be back on that RFC ring and Ae-Ra is scared that there would be no second chance this time around after his previous injury. But Dong-man has a dream to fulfil and to compete with Tak-su once again in an equal fight. 

I enjoyed this drama. It was inspirational in a way and the chemistry between Seo-joon and Ji-won sizzled. Dong-man and Ae-Ra's romance was overloaded with sweetness and would make any romantic swoon with pleasure. There are also bits about family bonds which are heartwarming. Overall it was a nice romantic comedy with some kicks, pun intended. And I was glad to see Park Seo-joon back on screen after his previous drama, Hwarang, which I enjoyed so much. Now onto The Bride of Habaek, a romance fantasy featuring a water god and his mission on earth.


© 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

St Martin's Press | May 2017 | 336 pgs
Source: Library



Although there are some underlying tone of domestic issues and unhappy marriages what with that title, this book actually revolves around the friendship of three women - Kate, Aubrey and Jenny. Kate is beautiful, wealthy and wild; Aubrey comes from a poor broken family and through financial aid she arrives at Carlisle hoping that it'd change her path thereafter; and finally there's Jenny who is intelligent and ambitious. Despite the clash of personalities, the trio are roommates and friendship blossoms quickly until they are inseparable. 

Right from the start, we know something bad is going to happen as the author takes her reader immediately to a scene twenty years later that portrays two nameless characters locked in a tense situation with one urging the other to jump off a bridge. As in most cases with problematic couples, it's always the husband who comes to mind first whenever his partner dies under mysterious circumstances.

The story was told in two parts with a different timeline. The first was focused on the three young women and their college life at Carlisle. Here we read about their busy life as they juggle between their studies and their personal life. Wild parties, flirting with boys, drinking and drugs taking seem to be the norm when Kate is concerned. Aubrey is her follower and while Jenny doesn't always approve of their behaviours, she loves her two friends dearly. Unfortunately, a terrible accident happened to an innocent young man during a squabble and that guilt hangs onto the three women till their adult life. The case is closed with the conclusion that the young man was suicidal after he was being forced to stop playing hockey due to his leg injury but of course Kate, Aubrey and Jenny knew better.

The second part moves on to their marriage life and the continuation of their dynamics and each woman now harbours a deep secret and not even their husbands knew what happened on that fateful night which involved their wives (whether directly or indirectly). As one of them dies under a mysterious circumstances, a new police chief in town is asked to look into the case and the past of these women's life is being looked into once again and this time around, it's even more complicated as there are marital woes and deceptions and it's no longer the women's affair alone anymore. Did one of their husbands get murderous? 

This was an average read to me although the premise kept me on edge and I was curious to see how it all played out in the end. And of course I wouldn't turn down on a story filled with secrets and betrayals with an Ivy League setting. Most of the characters are unlikeable and unreliable; I didn't feel any connection to any of them though I felt pity to one or two of them under some circumstances. Overall it was an engaging read and I'd say it's more of a case of characters study and behaviours. 


© 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

St. Martin's Press | June 2017 | 400 pgs
Source: Library



As the title indicates, this is a psychological thriller about the different implications of each individual the way they see things and how far one would go to save oneself and to make others believe his/her side of the story. 

Summer, 1999. Kit is an avid eclipse chaser. He is the kind of person who would travel to anywhere to witness and capture that phenomenon of nature; and his girlfriend Laura follows him to a festival in Cornwall for this purpose. This is Laura's first and Kit shares her excitement as well. However, after they've witnessed that grand moment Laura stumbles upon an act which would lead her and Kit as witnesses in a trial. While Kit only sees what happened after what Laura has witnessed, it is a matter of trust and then it's Laura's words against the perpetrator during the trial since the statement of the accuser isn't clear. The battle rages on and finally a sentence is announced. 

Fifteen years after that unforgettable aftermath, Laura and Kit continues their life as a married couple but that fear of being stalked and having the past catches up on them never cease. As the story progresses, their fear intensifies and thereafter there is a change of the dynamics and momentum which would result in a twisty conclusion. 

He Said/She Said is an outstanding literary psychological thriller I've read thus far this year. The author sure knows how to build the intensity/suspense gradually and that shows in this book because it was a slow read from the beginning (I almost gave up at some point but now looking back I was so, SO glad I didn't!) and when the real excitement begins there's no stopping it and you couldn't help but to follow that ride. And the characters are well developed and is narrated by Laura and Kit between the present and the past alternatively. Aside from the suspense we also see the dynamic between Laura and Kit and how they cope under some circumstances. I've not read anything like this (that excitement and that tension!) in a while and this deserves a 5-star for the well-drawn characters, the plot and not to mention that killer twist which really took me by surprise (a really good twist and not just because.) Highly recommended! 



© 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.