Melody
G.P. Putnam's Sons | July 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 



Phoebe Miller may be a heiress but she's living an unhappy and an isolated life in her exclusive house in a suburban neighborhood in Chicago. Her late father, Daniel Miller, was quite a character and had left a bad name to the Millers. Phoebe hates to be associated with him, and this explains why she keeps to herself and drowns her sorrow in alcohol and ice cream. It doesn't help that she and her husband, Wyatt, have different views when it comes to the baby issue and as a result their relationship is strained. 

It is at this time that she begins to notice a blue car that always park by her driveway and it seems like whoever in the car is watching her. Whether she's being paranoid or not, Phoebe doesn't like the feeling of being watched and it's only when the Napiers family move in across the street that her attention starts to shift. Dr. Ron Napier has an intimidating demeanor while his wife, Vicki, appears friendly. But Phoebe's attention is on their handsome college-bound son, Jake, and it didn't take long that the two began to get close to each other. Phoebe does feel a bit guilty towards Vicki; after all they've become good friends and will confide with each other regarding their marriage woes. Just when she thought she has all the things balanced and work out her way, she receives an anonymous threatening note stating her secrets. 

Now where shall I even begin? There was a lot of things happening in this story; not to mention it was filled with red herrings and all the twists and turns. The characters are not likeable but they do make you wonder about their characteristics and their motives. There are two parts in this story and I've to say the first part was the most intriguing. The second part felt a bit disjointed, though, and I think it's due to the shift of characters and the change of direction (and of course the big surprise reveal). As much as it was all very compelling, I felt the reader has to suspend some belief to fully appreciate the story. Overall it has a catching plot and as this is the author's debut, I'm curious to see what she'll have in store next.  


© 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
Berkley | March 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Library


Marian Engström works as a conservationist and her job requires her to work with rescue dogs and travelling about places amid the wilderness. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta; there she learn her ropes from the adventurous and experienced Tate, who is her mentor turn lover. Working in the remote wilderness can make one lonely, but Marian loves her job and on top of everything Tate makes her feel special. Their togetherness is not long as they go different ways for their assignment and during the course of their separation Marian receives news about Tate's death. 

Tate's death may be accidental as some speculate, but the murder of four women is not. Dubbed as the Stillwater cases, the mysteries remain unsolved and till this day it still haunts the retired forensic profiler, Nick Shepard. Having diagnosed with a brain tumour, he now devotes his time with his wife until he receives a call from Marian. Saddened by the news of Tate's death, Marian's thought has been occupied by the things Tate had mentioned casually to her in the past and some of the stuff didn't sound right to her and for once she wondered if Tate had to do with the four women's murder. Whether to testify her doubts or to clear Tate's name, she decides that Nick may be the person who could unravel the truth with her. 

I really enjoyed reading this novel. For starters, the author's prose is smooth and precise and her descriptions of the snowy wilderness and the role of a conservationist are all well defined. I think some readers may think these may slow down the intensity but personally I appreciate the extra information which allow me to take a deeper look into that profession. As for character- and plot-wise, I think they are well executed, too. I also enjoyed reading about Nick's perspective and think he was a great character not to be ignored. There's even some write-ups about the four victims from Nick's profile and these allow the reader to understand a bit more about the women and how they behaved before tragedy struck. 

Finally, and most importantly, this book also focus on how some male criminals exerting their power over females and too often women fail to trust their intuition when something doesn't feel right (this is not a spoiler but a general portrayal of the four victims' behaviours before the murder. That said, I feel it is an important message which we shouldn't ignore, too.) 


© 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
HarperCollins | March 2019 | 416 pgs
Source: Library 


Helen and Michael are spending a wonderful vacation at Belize with their two children when Helen starts to feel they're being watched. On their way to the airport upon returning home, a van crashed onto their car and the accident left Michael injured and their young daughter, Saskia, in a coma. Although Helen and their teenage autistic son, Reuben, are left unscathed, Helen couldn't help but to wonder if the accident has something to do with her hunch of someone watching them. 

Well, Helen has reasons behind her paranoia. It all happened during her college years when a hiking expedition had gone wrong. To complicate matters, Helen's then-boyfriend, Luke, was buddies with Michael and they'd all planned the hiking trip together with Luke's twin brother, Theo. Michael didn't know Helen then but he knew she had sort of spoilt their trip by tagging along. But as the days go by Michael soon see a new side of Helen. He didn't want to put himself between the couple but at times he wondered if Helen was being abused by Luke after he saw some bruises on her. His questions never got answered as Luke had fallen to his death. Till this day Michael and Helen still question themselves if what they'd done was right. 

But that's not all, throughout the few years Michael has been receiving some letters from the lawyers pertaining Luke's death and all the while he's been ignoring them as they move about. They didn't really think about this until the car accident. Is the accident even connected to Luke's death? And where did Michael go after he's secretly left the hospital?

The Blame Game wasn't what I expected in the first place. Yes, it's a thriller but it also explores the family dynamic and how an act from the past may make an impact to the present, which in turn lead to some life changing consequences. The story is narrated by Michael, Helen and Reuben and there are flashbacks as well. Though I was curious where this story will take me, truth be told it was Reuben's POV and how he viewed things outside his world and the relationship he's had with others is what I enjoyed the most among the three characters. Overall it was an OK read; I think I'd have liked it more if the pace was faster and more gripping. 


© 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
William Morrow | July 2019 | 352 pgs 
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 


Having read two of Paul Tremblay's books (A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World) and enjoyed them, I knew I've to read this even though short stories are hardly my usual fare. Yes, this is a collection of nineteen short stories ranging from psychological suspense to literary horror all packed in this anthology and knowing the author's stories can be bizarre in some ways (I mean this in a good way) I read this book with a thrill of anticipation. Although I can't possibly write out the blurbs and thoughts of all the nineteen short stories, I can tell you a few which are my favourites. 

Growing Things - This is an imaginative tale about the mysterious growing plants and two sisters from his previous novel, A Head Full of Ghosts

Where We All Will Be - Zane was told his brain is different since young. Growing up with no major issues, he is astonished to find that one day his father seemed like another person and kept muttering about getting "There". This one has a bit of the apocalyptic vibe and that ending sent chills down my spine. 

The Teacher - Mr. Sorent is one teacher you'll never forget and that's all I'm saying. 

Notes from The Dog Walkers - Initially this read like ordinary notes from the day of a life of a dog walker but then it slowly spirals towards an array of madness when the topic changes as you go along. 

Her Red Right Hand - This is a story about a girl called Gemma and her ailing mother and how her mother's death led her into sketching and creating a hero-like figure. Think Hellboy. 

The Thirteenth Temple - I don't want to divulge too much of this since it read like a sequel to A Head Full of Ghosts. This is also the last short story of this collection and I liked how the author featured the two sisters in AHFOG in Growing Things as the beginning and finally ending it with The Thirteenth Temple

I think short stories are hard to write and even harder to review. They don't often have the kind of details and well-defined developments like fictions do and the author has to input some extra "punch" to their stories or narrating them in various writing formats and I've to say Paul Tremblay did well in these two. 

As in short stories collection, one may have some favourites and dislike a few others. There are also some which made you race through the pages, while some will make you think hard of the message behind it and still comes up with not much of a verdict (partly due to the ambiguity of it; which the author often does with his stories). That said, each story is unique and though I'm not really a fan of short stories I'm glad I read this because it's Paul Tremblay's. 


© 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
Farrar, Straus and Giroux | May 2017 | 336 pgs
Source: Library


This book caught my attention because of the diversity of the characters (a Korean-American heroine, a Caucasian hero and the heroine's BFF is a gay) and most of all it is literally a tribute to Korean rom-com dramas so being a fan of the latter, I couldn't possibly turn my attention away, right? 

So the book opens with the introduction of our heroine, Desi Lee. She's smart and actively involved in various clubs and sports in school. Heck, she even set her goals into getting Stanford. The only problem - she's never been good with the opposite sex and it's no wonder she has never had a boyfriend. The confidence she has for other things immediately diminish whenever she meets a guy she fancies. 

Desi lost her mother since young and she is very close with her father. One thing she couldn't understand about her father is his love for Korean dramas. She finds their storylines cliché and formulaic and no matter how different the two protagonists are or how they were thrown in difficult circumstances, they always end with happiness tied with a big red bow. Her opinions in Korean dramas start to change after she encounter a guy named Luca Drakos. Moody and ever elusive, Luca is also an expert in Arts and Desi is immediately drawn to his charisma. What she thought of the romance in Korean dramas has a plan in making a relationship work and she decided to work out a list by following their "tactics". 

Now while I find this book entertaining, hilarious and even adorable at times, I do have a few issues concerning Desi's plans. While there are positivity in a few of them, there are one or two issues which had me shaking my head. I think it is understandable of Desi to come up with some plans of having Luca to take notice of her, but it is totally not right to lie and manipulate and this is the point which I couldn't agree with her. Onto other topic, it was refreshing to read about the dynamic between Desi and her father; their interactions and the moments they shared tell a lot about their father-and-daughter bond and I found this perspective endearing since I've read so much about the relationship between mother-and-daughter but rarely this. Overall this was an 'OK' read to me and while I didn't like this book well enough, I'll still read the other books by this author.

* This is a scheduled post as I'm currently taking a short break off of blogging. Comments and blog hopping will resume thereafter. 


© 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.