Melody
William Morrow | March 2019 | 320 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss


I've not read all the books by Carol Goodman but so far I've enjoyed those which I'd read. Her books usually feature a cast of intriguing characters with an atmospheric setting and this book is no exception.

Alice and ten-year-old Oren are on the run. Despite the raging snowstorm and with nowhere to hide, Alice knew she has to run away from the abusive relationship she has with Davis not only to save herself but for Oren as well. The last call she's made is to a social worker and she's promised Alice that she'd arrange someone to pick them up to a local shelter. 

Mattie, a woman in her fifties who lives by herself in the middle of the woods, has been the one who's given the task by the help hotline for circumstances similar to Alice's. Mattie is experienced and is well connected; plus she's always available for a late-night pick up considering she's alone and her only companion is her dog. So Mattie's responsibility is to bring Alice and Oren to a local shelter and let them handle things from there. But an incident at a convenience shop and the bad weather made her bring them home for the night. Mattie's act may be out of kindness and compassion, but she didn't tell them that Oren reminds her of her little brother, Caleb, who died thirty years ago. 

However, Mattie isn't the only one who's withholding elements of the truth. Alice has her own secrets as well and as the snowstorm whirled around them, binding them within the small compound, each woman's past come unraveling and they've to face what they've gone through in order to be free and alive. 

After reading the blurb of The Night Visitors, I'd had a few assumptions how this story direction is going to be, but after reading further those initial thoughts became something else as somewhere along the line there's a hint of supernatural element mixes in this thriller. This little surprise didn't really disconcert me as I know the author sometimes do add in such element in her books which I think is intensifying in another whole new level (and on top of the gothic and creepy atmosphere settings which she usually love to write). As of characterisation, Mattie surprised me in many ways while Alice is hard to grasp at times. Her mistrust in people feels real and believable considering the abusive relationship she's had with Oren's father. And Oren is a smart boy; his love for Star Wars will bring a smile to every SW fans. Overall this isn't my favourite Carol Goodman book but I liked it well enough to recommend it. 
© 2019 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
Penguin Publishing Group | January 2019 | 384 pgs
Source: Library


The story opens with Seraphine Mayes uncovering a family photograph while she's going through her late father's belongings. Seraphine's father, Dominic, fell while fixing the roof; leaving his three grown up children behind. Seraphine has lots of memories of her childhood living at Summerbourne, their family estate on the Norfolk coast. After all, she and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer there.  

Looking back at the photo she's holding, she realises that something is amiss. The photo was taken on the day the twins were born; and it showed their late mother, seated between her husband and their older brother, Edwin. However, she was captured holding just one baby instead of two. Seraphine has never seen her mother; from what she knew their mother threw herself from the cliffs just within hours of their birth. No one really knows what happened that day. In order to uncover the mystery surrounding the photo as well as their mother's death, Seraphine decided that the best person she could ask is Edwin's au pair, Laura. But first, she needs to track down Laura since there hasn't been any news of her since the tragedy at Summerbourne. And the mystery soon gets more complicated as Seraphine finds someone leaving her warning signs to stop her investigations. 

This first novel by Emma Rous sucked me in right from the beginning till the end with a cast of intriguing characters and a well developed plot. And, I've no idea what to categorise this book as it combines mystery with domestic noir. As readers, we learn about this story through Seraphine's and Laura's eyes set in present 2017 and 1991 respectively. Both perspectives and timelines are an interesting read, but I was more drawn to Laura's voice. Laura works as an au pair partly because she wants to prove to her mother and her mother's partner that she could be independent while earning some money for her studies. She has no experience as an au pair but she's well liked by Ruth and young Edwin. And the more she gets to know the family she soon realises that Summerbourne not only has history but secrets as well. And speaking of Summerbourne, I've to say it is a character on its own. I was enamoured by its coastal beauty and the countryside atmosphere. Although this is very much about the mystery surrounding the missing twin in the picture, actually I felt it is much more on the family dynamics and the relationship between the Mayes' family and Laura. An impressive first novel and I'm definitely will be on the look out for the author's next release. 


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Melody
Amazon Publishing | October 2018 | 300 pgs
Source: Library



FBI special agent Clarke Sinclair has been searching for serial killer, Simon Cross, for years. Simon has his "rules" when it comes to his victims. First off, they've to be redheaded women. And as a tease to Clarke and her partner, Sam, he'd send pictures he'd travelled across the country as "clues"; but of course he's always a few steps ahead and as if to goad them, he'd only target for his next victim until Clarke discovers the previous one. Clark is still searching for his latest victim, Anna, when news that another girl has gone missing; this time around she's a blonde instead of a redhead. 

Clarke knew it's Simon's work and that his MO has changed considering that the boyfriend of the blonde woman has gave them an account of a man who'd approached them before Bess disappeared thereafter. Needless to say, Clarke is perplexed over the change and it seems like the clues he continues to send is messing up her mind. As Clarke races against time to track him down, she soon realises that the closer she gets to the truth, the deeper she falls into his trap and that what's all happened may end it with her. 

Ah. What to say about this book? I've mixed reactions with it so let me start off by saying what appealed to me first. I liked the author's writing style. I also have to say I'm a fan of multiple narratives (just not too many to confuse me) and an alternative timeline so this book had my attention because it has three narrators and the timeline alternating between the 90s and 2018. The past tells the story of Simon Cross when he was merely an eleven-year-old boy and his relationship with a seven-year-old girl called Adelaide. They were both foster children to a couple. The present 2018 was focused more on the banter between Clarke and Sam, and not to mention their tracking of Simon. 

Onto my other reaction. I guess I wasn't that connected with Clarke despite she was an intriguing character. I didn't mind her flaws, but she seemed a little self-loathe and carried too much emotional baggage. Her banter with Sam showed a side of their mentor/mentee relationship, but it became repetitive at times. The twist and the ending didn't really surprise me, but I thought it was still good. I'd still recommend this book if you go for intriguing characterisation and a layered story. 


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Melody
Hodder & Stoughton | October 2018 | 160 pgs
Source: Library


This latest novella by Stephen King revolves around a man (who has an unknown mysterious condition) and his resolve in bringing a small town together despite the residents' prejudice and some differences. 

On surface, Scott Carey looks like any other ordinary man who has weight issue. But what other people wouldn't know is he's been losing weight constantly and no matter how heavy or light his clothings are, his weight always remains the same. What most terrifying (and worryingly) is, his weight will decline as the days go but his size will look the same. 

Scott consulted his neighbour, Bob Ellis, who's a retired doctor about his strange condition and the latter has absolutely no idea what it is. He suggested Scott to go for a thorough checkup but he refused, stating that he wouldn't want to be scrutinised like some weird creatures. Scott promises to monitor his condition though, but it seems his condition is not getting any better. 

Aside from this, Scott has issues with a lesbian couple next door whose dog regularly drops his business on his lawn. Missy and Deidre own a restaurant but business isn't that good. Scott has no problem with Missy, but Deidre is another matter. She is blunt and cold; and no matter how nicely Scott tells her about the dogs' problems, she appears defensive and the case remains unresolved. Scott also notices that the residents shun and avoid the couple like a plague and this gives him the thought that perhaps he can try to dismiss all this prejudice and unhappiness (including his own) considering his days to zero pound is nearing and he has nothing to lose anyway.  

Elevation was a short read yet it was moving and inspiring in a way. The story is simple and the characters are mostly one-dimensional (considering it's a novella) but the more I read, I felt a bit of connection with Scott. I felt his worry, his frustrations and his hopelessness with his condition, but I also felt his determination in wanting to change the mindset of the residents; including his own as well as the couple's opinion of him. Deidre was another interesting character; she may seemed like an annoying character from the start but I liked it that she doesn't care what others think of her, even when it seemed the whole community is going against her and her business suffered at one stage. Aside from the prejudice, there's a bit of political underlying tone but I thought they add some entertainment to the tension among the community. Overall, it was a quick read and though this is not King's best, it radiates a feel-good vibes without the heaviness of the respective topics. 


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Melody
Bantam Press | December 2018 | 320 pgs
Source: Library

"Rumours are like seeds, scattered on the wind. There's no telling where they'll land, but land they will. Settling in cracks and crevices, the roots take hold. The seeds sprout. It doesn't matter if they're true or false. The more times they're spoken, the faster and stronger they grow. Like beanstalks, waving in the air." ~ Pg 74


Single mum Joanna Critchley and her six-year-old son, Alfie, live in a small town in Flinstead. Joanna works as an estate agent and although she and Alfie's father are cities apart, she sometimes wonders if things would be different if they are married. Joanna rarely mix around with other mothers when bringing Alfie to school, partly because she has no time to gossip around but most of all, she doesn't want people to be curious of her status.

Then on one occasion she happens to hear a casual comment from one mother. There is a rumour about a notorious child killer is living in their small town under a new identity. Forty-eight years ago, ten-year-old Sally McGowan stabbed a five-year-old boy. The news shocked the nation and though she was believed to come from a shattered family with an abusive father, not all are willing to forgive and forget the crime she committed.

With the years passed and no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman, no one really knows about her whereabouts until this rumour arises. Now Joanna doesn't want to be sucked into this gossipy circle, but Alfie is having trouble socialising in school and Joanna knows one way is to mingle with the mothers' group so hopefully this will help Alfie to be closer with their children. Joanna intends to forget about that rumour, but a conversation at a little book club she's in had made her brought up the issue and soon Joanna finds it has got out of hand as the thought began to take root in everyone's mind. Did Sally McGowan really exist among them under a new identity? If the rumour is true, then who is she and how far will Joanna go to protect her family when she realises what it is she's unleashed? 

The Rumour was one addictive and an unputdownable book which had my attention from the beginning till the end (also a reminder how scary a rumour can be and how it'd hurt people, no matter the purpose is intentional or not). Throughout the book, the reader get to see through things from Joanna's perspective, but I felt there are also many points are seen through a mother's perspective generally. The fear and worry, as well as the care and concern a mother has for a child are all well depicted not only between Joanna and Alfie but Joanna and her mother as well. Onto the plot, there are enough red herrings that will make you suspect anyone; and as if that's not enough the author throw in not one but two twists which had me shaking my head in wonder at the outcome. A great read for a debut novel and I'll be looking forward to the author's next release.


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