Based on a webtoon of the same name, Cheese in the Trap is a romantic comedy featuring the relationship and the university days of lead characters, Hong Seol (starring Kim Go-eun) and her senior, Yoo Jung (Park Hae-jin), as well as a few other characters surrounding them. 

Hong Seol is a diligent girl who works hard not only for her studies but for her family, too. Although her family opens an eatery shop, life is not a bed of roses and she does part-time jobs to make ends meet. During a students' gathering, she met Yoo Jung, who is a senior but their encounter didn't leave a good impression on each other. Yoo Jung is everything Hong Seol isn't; he is good-looking, excel in his studies as well as athletics and most of all, he comes from a wealthy family.

Despite their differences and their opinions of each other, they later became friends and then finally a couple. Many of their friends do not understand why Yoo Jung will fall for Hong Seol, including Hong Seol herself but she is positive that their relationship will work and that most importantly she does like him. However, Yoo Jung doesn't seem as what he looks for he has a dark side with people who hold grudges against him.

Cheese in the Trap may be a romantic comedy but personally I felt it was more of a character study. Needless to say, Yoo Jung is one of them but we also get more than a glimpse of other supporting characters' behaviours when they are tossed with certain circumstances. Jealousy, rivalry competition, envy is amongst the most common emotional traits we see in this drama. But that is not all, there was also the sentiments portrayed by secondary character, Baek In-ho (starring Seo Kang Joo), who has fallen for Hong Seol despite she and Yoo Jung are together. In-ho and his elder sister, Baek In-ha (starring Lee Sung Kyung) are long time friends of Yoo Jung, but there is a (bad) history between them and viewers would come to know how their relationship came about as the story progresses. 

Speaking of In-ho, he is the character I loved most in this drama. Used to be a childhood friend of Yoo Jung, he has dreams of becoming a pianist but a fight damaged his hand. Even after recovery, he has lost hope in pursuing his dreams; and Hong Seol (whom he fondly called her "Dog Fur" because of the mass of her hair) was the one who encourages him. In-ho is also the only character whom I felt changes the most from the beginning till the end. I liked the way he was towards Hong Seol - warm, caring and protective.

Yoo Jung, on the other hand, is a guy whom you will like initially but his "hot and cold" behaviours will mess with your mind. Apparently, he had some issues when he was a teenager but I'm not going to delve into that. I had some doubts about him all the while while watching this drama; that is, is he really true towards Hong Seol?  

And that ending... I wished I'm able to discuss it with someone. (Well, if you've watched it, do share your views with me via email.) I'm currently watching Cunning Single Lady, an older drama (2014) starring Seo Kang Joo (again). His character here is a rich, easygoing guy who has fallen for a colleague - a divorcee and an older woman who is eight years his senior. 

(All pic images credit to Google Images and KDrama Stars)


Bantam Press | June 2016 | 352 pgs

Source: Purchased

Sharon Bolton is one of my favourite authors. I adore her Lacey Flint series and while this book, Daisy in Chains, is a standalone, in my opinion it is very much on par with her LF series and what most drawn me to this story is the charismatic serial killer, Hamish Wolfe. 

Now Hamish is not your typical monster in any other thrillers. For starters, he is good-looking, charming and used to be a leading cancer surgeon before he is convicted of murdering three women. As for the fourth woman, her body is never found and no one knew if she's alive or dead for she seemed to have disappeared into thin air after her family reported her missing. Why she is under Hamish's crimes is because she shared the common "evidence" of the other three victims - that they were all large sized women. While most of the UK nation fears and despises Hamish, there are people who feel he is innocent. Despite the label of being a murderer, Hamish gets countless letters from his "fans" every day; many of them are women and they proclaimed that he is the man of their dreams. 

Maggie Rose is one of the women who is fascinated by Hamish but for a different reason. She is a successful lawyer and a bestselling true-crime writer. She is also reclusive and enigmatic and doesn't do interviews nor does she release her photograph to the media. No one really knows what she is like but in truth, Maggie looks to be forty and has a head of blue hair - bright, turquoise-blue hair that falls a little below her chin. But that is not all, Maggie is also well known of taking a few high profiled cases and had overturned the convictions. However, she is selective so that's why to-date she has only taken less than ten clients. Sandra Wolfe, who is Hamish's mother, approaches her after Maggie has saved her dog and invited her to meet the rest of the group who stands by Hamish. 

On the other end, DS Pete Weston is the one who has had Hamish behind bars and he is going to make sure that Hamish remains in his cell for the rest of his life. However, Pete's personal life is less than rosy for his wife has left him for another man. That man is DCI Tim Latimer, who happens to be his superior. 

What follows thereafter is the acquaintance between Pete and Maggie, and how they began to look into Hamish's case subsequently. Maggie has been taking some notes about Hamish all this while and though she has speculations about his innocence it is only a matter of time that Hamish would convince her through the letters he sent her. 

Daisy in Chains is an extraordinary psychological thriller; one which I felt is intense and highly addictive once you started reading it. The plot and the characterisation are excellent in my opinion; and I found myself both crept out and fascinated by Hamish Wolfe at the same time. I don't think I've ever read a character very much like him. Intriguing, calm and charming, Hamish is the type of villain whom you'd feel some empathy at some point and then have you wonder if he is the man whom he claims he is. I couldn't blame Maggie if she decided to take on his case. Hamish is that kind of man - dangerous yet convincing so there are some doubts about him. 

The story also contains some articles, correspondences between Maggie and Hamish, emails between Pete and Maggie, Maggie's notes on Hamish and two psychiatric reports on Hamish; all in all which I felt add interest to the already intriguing plot. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I think Hamish Wolfe will probably make it onto my most-intriguing-character list this year. 

By the way, reading this book had me wondering about the fascination of some women (both fictional and in reality) towards the bad, evil men. Why is it that there are women who find them appealing? An article in Daisy in Chains (pg 82 - 83) stated: 
"It isn't hard to understand the appeal of a relationship to a man serving time. A wife, or long-term girlfriend, will be an advocate for his cause, driving forward any appeal process. A steady relationship, and its accompanying permanent address, is considered a big advantage when the possibility of parole comes up. A regular visitor will bring money, food and other desirables. Letters and phone calls provide a much-needed break from the monotony of prison life. A prisoner with a woman, especially a good-looking one, gains automatic status within the prison, and there is always the erotic frisson of stolen sexual encounters during visits.
How though, does one explain the appeal for the woman? Why would any woman commit emotionally, and legally, to a man with whom she cannot possibly build a future? Esteemed psychologist Emma Barton explains it as the modern equivalent of medieval courtly love. 'Courtly love isn't real love,' she says. 'It's a romantic ideal. The perfect suitor adores his lady, gives her unconditional love and devotion, and expects nothing in return.' ... She doesn't have sex, but she has sexual tension in abundance and, for many women, it is the thrill of expectation, rather than the act itself, which is so very delicious. Desire is never replaced by duty-sex."


Entertainer is a story revolving around music and the journey of four young lads' challenges while pursuing their dreams and most of all, an arrogant, ambitious manager who has to start his career all over again after a downfall from a prestigious entertainment company and how he has carved out a career for the four newbies in the music industry through hard work and obstacles.

Shin Suk Ho (starring Ji Sung) is the manager who used to work as a director for KTOP but rivalries and a defamatory drove him out of the biggest entertainment company. With nowhere to go and feeling dejected, he thinks he has lost all directions and motivations until he heard a song sang by a high school student, Jo Ha Neul (starring Kang Min Hyuk) through a school speaker. Moved by the song and his voice, Suk Ho decides that this young lad might be the answer for his future. 

Ha Neul, on the other hand, has decided not to sing anymore as he wants to honour his late parents' wish and on top of it he is falsely accused of sexual harassment by his female schoolmate and is now on probation by the court. He was on the verge of suicide until Suk Ho stopped him and told him that he would make him a star and that he would help him to clear his name. 

Suk Ho sets up his own entertainment company, Mango. He also found another three members to form a music band. Though Mango is small and nameless, Suk Ho manages to uphold the business and bring attention to the newly formed music band through the help of a long-time female friend and a songwriter. However, their hopes are quickly shattered as someone from KTOP wouldn't want Suk Ho to succeed and would do anything to bring them all down. 

I've to confess the main reason I was attracted to watching Entertainer is because of actor Ji Sung. I was wowed by his performance on Secret and Kill Me, Heal Me and I'd had high expectations with his latest drama. Although Entertainer didn't have too many melodrama moments and might even be considered slow paced at times, what truly makes this drama stands out is the spirits and determination of Suk Ho and his band members as well as the passion of pursuing one's dreams. There isn't many romantic moments here though Suk Ho and Ha Neul's sister, Geu Rin (starring Hyeri) do have feelings for each other and their little gestures for each other did warm one's heart (I loved it that Suk Ho treasures the green umbrella which Geu Rin gave him during his depression; and the book she gave him - Daddy-Long-Legs, kind of reminds him that they are very much like Judy and Mr John Smith and that she doesn't really care much about their age difference.) 

All in all it was quite a heart-warming, inspirational story though I wished there are more thrills and more romantic moments. Ji Sung's acting skill continues to wow viewers through Suk Ho's character; a role that reflects his zest and his remorseful feelings at the same time.

(All pic images credit to Google Images)


Sphere | May 2015 | 384 pgs

To begin with, I Let You Go is Clare Mackintosh's debut and what a great debut it is!

On a rainy afternoon, five-year-old Jacob is on his way home with his mother and during that short moment of releasing his hand to brush the strands of wet hair from her eyes, Jacob dashes across the street on his own and out of nowhere a car comes speeding by and knocks into Jacob. The driver drives off without acknowledging anything while Jacob's mother screams in desperation and devastation. Jacob didn't live and the driver is never caught. 

What follows after is Jenna Gray has moved from Bristol to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast to start things afresh. Haunted by the accident and from the loss of her child, she is hoping that a new environment will help her escape from her painful past. 

On the other end, the hit-and-run case headed by DI Ray Stevens isn't going on smoothly and without any clues and evidence after six months the superintendent decides the case as closed. DC Kate, who is working together with Ray, thinks otherwise though and the two of them decide to pursue the case discreetly. Aside from this, Ray also feels torn between his career and his family as there are times he couldn't make time for his eldest son when there are troubles in school and this causes a strain between him and his wife, Mags.

There are many layers to this story and while this is a psychological thriller, the writing style and the plotting are unlike any others and this is one reason why I found myself so engrossed with the book. The characterisation is another great draw of the story as they are well developed and add intrigue to the overall story. I couldn't even begin to describe how many times the story caught me by surprise and how my emotions felt like a roller coaster ride. There were heart pain, anger and then sadness as I devoured those pages looking for a closure - a good closure and most of all, justice and law.

I Let You Go is a well written, well crafted story and is one of the best psychological thriller/police procedural I read this year. And oh, I need to mention that Clare Mackintosh will have a new release out in July 2016 - I See You. That would be on my to-buy list, without a doubt. 


Moorim School is basically a story about a group of youngsters' life studying at Moorim School and the challenges they faced during their academic year there. However, it isn't a "normal" school as it also teaches them martial arts and some great virtues such as faith, loyalty, sacrifice and even communication among the students. 

Yoon Shi Woo (starring Lee Hyun Woo) is a popular K-pop idol but his carelessness attitude as well as his hearing problem led him to a downfall as his agent decided to ditch him for good. He ended up at Moorim School after a near-fatal accident on stage and a fan told him that the headmaster of Moorim School might be able to help with his hearing problem. 

Sim Soon Duk (starring Seo Ye Ji) is a diligent student who works part-time while studying at Moorim School. Her father, who is blind, forbids her to attend Moorim School for some reason so she could only attend in secret. One day, she rescued a guy, Wang Chi Ang (starring Lee Hong Bin), from drowning and it was love at first sight for him. Chi Ang comes from a rich family but is an illegitimate son. He decides to attend Moorim School because of Soon Duk. The last leading character, Hwang Sun Ah (starring Jung Yoo Jin) is the daughter of Moorim School's headmaster and she is one of the top students there. 

While Moorim School may seem like a martial arts drama at first glance, it is much more than that as we see the different life of these four young people and how they come about together through the tests and challenges they meet in school. Needless to say, there are lots of angst among the students, in particularly Shi Woo and Chi Ang since they'd a few misunderstandings prior enrolling the school. 

However, there are much bigger and complicated issues awaiting the four characters as it seems the headmaster harbours a secret surrounding Moorim School and then all hell breaks loose once the secret is out, for it involves the key to attaining a great power. 

This drama surprised me on many levels. For starters, it isn't mainly focus on martial arts (although I do enjoy watching films on that) and I also liked a few characters here, mainly Hyun Woo because he is the one who changes a lot throughout the story. In fact, his transformation to a thoughtful and a selfless person is what most moving in this story. The triangle love between Hyun Woo, Chi Ang and Soon Duk is also the highlights of this story, but they don't really take up most of the story and I liked it that way. 

While this story has much sentiments and actions (and oh, a little of fantasy elements when the secret power is concerned), I loved it that there is a message behind it and not to mention a good closure which made me think that sometimes letting go is actually not a bad thing at all, when friendship and love is concerned. 

PS: Thanks, Jenclair, for mentioning this drama to me.

(All pic images credit to Google Images and DramaFever.)


ISBN-13: 9780062418975
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: May 2016
Format: Hardcover, 400 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Morgan Yancy is an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group. During a break after a mission, someone ambushed him and nearly had him killed. Determined to find out who is after his squad member, his supervisor, Axel, decided it would be best if Morgan stays in a low profile while he discreetly track who is behind the attack. That "low profile" place happens to be Axel's ex- stepsister's house which is situated at a remote location at Hamrickville, West Virginia. 

Isabeau "Bo" Maran is the part-time police chief at Hamrickville. Her life is simple, blissful and she's a few good friends and a lovely, devoted dog named Tricks. When Axel called her one day about "housing" his mate, she couldn't say no because as much as she hates the idea of sharing her house with a stranger, Axel's offer for financial assistance to her house loans seems too good to be true; plus Morgan has already showed up on her doorsteps looking quite sickly. 

Bo knew something is up with Morgan's situation since he barely talks about his job and when he does they are usually vague. However, she trusts Axel's decision despite they are not the closest step-siblings. And the more Morgan gets close to Tricks and her as the days go, she realises that Morgan isn't entirely a cold and secretive person as he looks and there might even be a future with him if she decides to accept his job and all. 

Troublemaker begins with a big bang with someone targeting Morgan but the thrill and suspense ended once he lived in with Bo and there begins his recuperating days. However, that intensity is shifted more towards the romantic and warmly side as readers get to read more about his interaction with Tricks and getting to know more of Bo and the Hamrickville residents. As much as I enjoyed reading the interaction between Bo, Morgan and Tricks, there are times I find they are a tad too much, especially how Bo fussed over Tricks (although it's a joy to read from a dog lover's perspective and I really learned a lot more about a dog's behaviours here.) Other issues such as a domestic brawl of one family clearly demonstrated Bo's and Morgan's abilities of solving an intense situation (it was a complicated family with power, wealth and all) but instead I was expecting something more surrounding Morgan's killer and his/her motive. The suspense part did come eventually but it was towards the last two chapters which I felt was too quick and well, a bit anti-climatic. 

While this isn't Linda Howard's best, it was still considered a good read in the romantic department (and then there's Tricks who's adorable and intelligent.) 

ISBN-13: 9781447280057
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: March 2015
Format: Paperback, 304 pgs
Source: Purchased

Emily St. John Mandel. Once again I found myself captivated and entranced by her writing and her intriguing story. I enjoyed Last Night in Montreal and I knew I wanted to read another book of hers so here it is. 

How to even begin describing it? This book has so many issues - deceits, morality and even life. At one point it read like a crime fiction but it was too subtle for that. I finally decided it was a literary fiction with thriller as a sideline and it was a great one for that. 

The story begins with Alexandra Broden, who's with the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, in search of a man named Anton Waker. She believes he is involved in an illegal transaction which had led a girl dead. When she contacted his parents they didn't know anything about their son's whereabouts. 

Anton Waker, on the other end, is trying to salvage his marriage and his consulting job. His company has a new big water project coming up and for security measures they have a security check on the staff involved and Anton found himself in exile thereafter. No one in the company wished to explain to him why he is moved to the mezzanine level with no one to work with or work for and on top of it, his secretary Elena is missing and his fiancée seems to have pre-wedding jitters for she has cancelled their wedding twice. 

Moving on to Elena, it seems she is leading a double life. On surface she is struggling with her working life and her relationship with her boyfriend has become lukewarm but these are mundane as compared to what Alex Broden has wanted her to do - to gather as much information of her ex-boss, Anton, so that once there is enough evidence to prosecute him she would be a free woman, given her circumstances. 

The Singer's Gun is a brilliant story that has many layers and most of all, it offers readers some food for thought such as loyalty and betrayal, and what one would do to sacrifice for love. While this story has a great plot I wanted to mention it was also quite a character-driven story. Anton and Elena seemed to have different goals but on a personal level they are quite similar in a sense that they both wanted nothing but simplicity and normalcy for their life. But of course life often surprises us and this is where the story took a twisty turn and evoked that melancholy, bittersweet feelings which had me thinking of the story all over again.