As the year comes to a close, I took a look back at the books I read and remember those reading moments which evoked various emotions in me. There are some excellent books which left me in thoughts till present, and there are some not-so-good books that I wished I'd liked them better but glad that I read them nonetheless. Without further ado, here is a list of my top reads this year (sequence not in any order and not necessarily published in 2016):

The Trespasser by Tana French
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
I See You by Clare MacKintosh
Yesternight by Cat Winters
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen
Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton
Redemption Road by John Hart
The Longest Night by Andria Williams
The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Favourite Cover:
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

New-to-Me Authors I discovered and liked this year:
Dani Atkins, Tammy Cohen, Jeannette de Beauvoir, John Hart, Jeannie Lin, Clare Mackintosh, Gilly MacMillan, Emily St. John Mandel, Nicole Mones, Naomi Novik, Andria Williams, Ashley Weaver and Cat Winters

Summary Stats:

Total Number of Books Read: 64
Total Number of Female Authors: 48
Total Number of Male Authors: 9
Total Mystery/Thriller: 35
Total YA: 9
Total Historical/Fiction: 13
Total Graphic Novel: 3
Total Romance: 4

Happy New Year & Happy Reading! 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | July 2016 | 288 pgs
Source: Library

Eight years ago, Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her own bedroom when she was thirteen years old. Her mother, Anna, was unaware of the kidnapping as she was sleeping downstairs. Jane, who was ten then was the only witness but given her age and her confused state of mind due to shock, it is natural to dismiss what she witnessed as unreliable. Julie is never found and the Whitakers started to move on with their life slowly until one day a young woman knocks on their door. Julie seems to be miraculously alive and is now back home, finally. As Anna tries to reconnect with Julie she begins to find loopholes and her lies. When a former detective turned private eye starts contacting Anna and shares with her some information he has gathered, Anna begins to wonder about Julie's identity and what does she wants from them if she is not their daughter. 

Good as Gone has a great intrigue opening with the fateful night of Julie's kidnapping. The story then progresses with the Whitakers picking up their life and focuses on Anna's sorrow and guilt despite eight years have passed. While Anna's husband, Tom, is ecstatic and his faith in Julie never wavers after they have found her, Anna begins to show signs of doubts and unease. It is this moment when the author begins to play with Anna's mind as well as the readers. Anna's perspective begins to intertwine with a various of flashbacks which would lead readers into wondering if Julie is who she claims she is. Personally I felt it was a good concept but the writing style was a bit tricky but if you break away from the story for a while and think about it, it is not difficult to figure out the whole picture. 

I couldn't say this is a fully suspenseful story though and is more to unlocking-a-mystery kind of story with a family dynamics theme as background. This book will also question readers how well they know their family members and that some things may not seem as what they are. There are some scenarios which I found to be a bit unbelievable, but I presume this was the author's intention to create more intensity and mystery to the storyline. I enjoyed reading the book, but it wasn't enough to captivate me from the suspenseful angle. 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Entourage is a remake of the U.S. drama series of the same title, with South Korea's tvN bought publication rights in 2015. 

Basically, this is a story about the entertainment industry and how this industry works from the top rank down to staffs who run odd jobs. 

The core characters include five men with different ranks and backgrounds. Cha Young-Bin (starring Seo Kang-Joon) is a rising star actor and is working very hard to clinch more movie contracts that could make him famous. Staying under the same roof with him is his three other friends who have known one another since young. Ho-Jin (starring Park Jung-Min) is now Young-Bin's manager and his life revolves mostly around Young-Bin. Cha Joon (starring Lee Kwang-Soo) is Young-Bin's cousin and an actor who is struggling to make a name for himself but often being duped by many for his stupidity. Geo-Book "Turtle" (starring Lee Dong-Hwi) is unemployed and spends most of his time playing online games; he spends most of his time with Cha Joon since both of them seem to have nothing much to do. Kim Eun-Gab (starring Cho Jin-Woong) is CEO of a management company and Young-Bin is one of his treasured actors. 

As I haven't watched the U.S. version I couldn't comment anything about it but this remake is not a drama which I think would appeal to all. This black comedy drama, aside from the entertainment industry, focus much of its attention on men's friendship (there are some occasional swearing and rude gestures but not too much that would bother me) as well as the tension between managers and staff. There is little romance so if you are going for that you'd be disappointed. Despite these, I quite enjoyed this drama although it took me a while to warm up to the characters. Young-Bin was charming yet at times I found him to be a bit indecisive, thus missing a few contracts. Ho-Jin was a great manager who put Young-Bin above himself; I think he was the only one person whom I really like if I've to choose among others. Cha Joon and Turtle, though funny, they sometimes gave people the impression that they are good-for-nothing. That said, they are also the ones who brought out the most laughter amid everything. 

Overall it was an interesting drama; one which allows me to take a deep look inside the entertainment industry and how directors, managers and artistes interact with one another within their jobs. 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Faber & Faber | January 2017 | 352 pgs
Source: Purchased

Peter Swanson's previous novel, The Kind Worth Killing, left quite a deep impression on me and it's one of the best thrillers I'd read last year. When I learnt that he has a new release out I was excited and anticipated for his new book to release and that day finally came.

The story opens with our protagonist, Kate Priddy, leaving for Boston from London to stay in her second cousin's apartment in Beacon Hill. She has agreed to the idea of the apartment swap with Corbin Dell, who has just been transferred to London due to a job posting and they agreed to do the swap for six months. Kate doesn't want to leave her apartment; in fact she doesn't want to leave London at all given that she has panic attacks which often caused her to distrust herself. She has had these attacks ever since she is traumatised by her ex-boyfriend's attack and the suicide he had committed thereafter. Kate's mother thought the apartment swap would allow her to walk out of her dark shadows and see things in a new light, again. Kate has never met Corbin, but he is her mother's cousin's son so they are considered family, even if they are distant.

When Kate moved into Corbin's apartment, she is intrigued by a few of his neighbours. Some appears to be overly warm and friendly, while others seem to be contented to live in their own worlds. But what most shocked her is discovering her next-door neighbour has gone missing upon her arrival. No one knows what happened to Audrey Marshall, since she keeps to herself most of the time but a neighbour, Alan Cherney, claims he saw her occasionally from his apartment window and that Audrey seemed to know Corbin intimately as well. What they didn't know is that Alan also fancies Audrey and he had spied on her often.

With Kate's unreliability state and Corbin's mysterious transfer to London, readers are left with speculations and will plough through the story hoping to find more clues leading to the conclusion. The characterisation played an important role to the story as each has his/her flaw and each holds a puzzle to the story. There were times I often questioned myself who is telling the truth and who is not. The last remaining nine chapters seemed to fly past quickly as they offer readers the full events of what's happened and how.

I enjoyed this suspense thriller, but personally I felt The Kind Worth Telling packs a bigger punch when intrigue and shock value are concerned. While I don't mean this novel lacks any of them, the overall impact wasn't as great as compared to TKWK; however if you are first-time reader of Mr Swanson's books you would be captivated by his storytelling and his characterisations. I know I'm already a fan of his books.

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Also known as Man Living at My House, this drama is a story about family, first love and finding one's loss. 

Hong Na-Ri (starring Soo Ae) works as a flight attendant. Her mother passed three years ago, leaving her a land and she's been living all on her own with no other family members except her uncle, whom she rarely contact. 

As a city girl and with a job which requires frequent travel, she only returns to her rural hometown to visit her mother's grave during her death anniversary. That day is no different, except she spots a young man at her mother's grave, who later introduces himself as Go Nan-gil (starring Kim Young-kwang). He also informs her that he married her mother a few years back and that the land is his after his wife's passing. Thinking that he conned her mother into marriage and the land, Na-Ri decides to move into the countryside house and find out more about this man who claimed he is her stepfather. 

Go Nan-gil, on the other hand, is someone more than he claimed. He definitely has an agenda but no one has to know that, and of course he has every reason to do so. As the story progresses, we see a new side of Nan-gil and his past, as well as his relationship with Na-Ri. I'd my doubts about Nan-gil initially, but I knew my impression on him wouldn't lean towards the negative considering his honest attitude towards his customers being a dumpling restaurant owner and how he genuinely acts towards Na-Ri whenever she encounters some problems. 

Their relationship is further complicated by an entrepreneur who has been eyeing for their land for ages; and on top of it his estranged son, Kwon Deuk-bong (starring Lee Soo-hyuk) is interested in Na-Ri and he will do everything to fight the battles for her, even if he has stopped practising law for a while. 

Sweet Stranger and Me is a perfect drama for audiences who go for the romance genre; and even though there is some intensity regarding the land disputes they are considered mild in my opinion. I think female audiences would be wowed by Nan-gil's charismatic character because he portrays quite an alpha bad boy image but yet he isn't entirely one to speak of due to his simple mannerism. Overall it was a sweet romantic comedy and a great distraction to me considering I've been reading a few thrillers lately. 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

Amazon Publishing | October 2016 | 349 pgs
Source: Library

Secrets and insanity. Yeah, I think these about sums up what's happening in this story. I've to admit I'd have given this book a miss (perhaps it's the cover) if I didn't read the reviews from a few of my book blogging friends. 

This story is told from two POVs - Julie Prentice and John Dunbar and a non-linear time frame. Julie is the bestselling author of The Murder Game* and is happily married with two kids. However, she is bothered by a stalker and has since moved to Mount Adams in Cincinnati. But the new place doesn't offer her much peace as she has hoped. With a tight knit community and a set of (ridiculous) rules to comply, she feels like an outsider except for John, whom she feels an instant connection with since she has moved into Mount Adams and it makes better that they just live across from each other. They run together often, too, but that's because Julie has no running partner and that it's always safer to run in pairs, especially after what Julie had gone through to shake off from her stalker. 

John Dunbar, on the other hand, sympathies Julie's situation yet he is drawn to her (more like BFF) although he loves his family and is a devoted father, too. His friendship with Julie begins to bother his wife and with that tight knit community it's easy to blow things out of proportions even if a small act could appear innocent and harmless. 

Fractured is one addicting fast-paced psychological thriller. Well, I can't really say it's a hardcore thriller since it seems more like a case of character study packed with some marital issues. Most of the characters are unlikeable, though I did sympathise one or two of them. Mount Adams itself is an interesting setting where everyone seems to know what's everyone doing (thanks to a self-nominated Chairwoman/housewife who seems to think she is responsible and owns the whole of Mount Adams with her controlling rules and regulations) and I think this overall atmosphere adds more intensity to the already foreboding setting. Readers are aware that some bad things have happened but don't know what and why until the truth hit them as the story slowly unfolds. This is a well crafted layered story; one I didn't expect and although it is good storytelling the characters left me feeling sour and hollow.

* The Murder Gamewritten by Catherine McKenzie as Julie Apple (yes, she's Julie Prentice in Fractured) is another book readers wouldn't want to miss. A fiction based from a fiction, how cool is that? 

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.

St. Martin's Press | October 2015 | 336 pgs
Source: Library

Murder at the Brightwell is Ashley Weaver's debut and the first book of her Amory Ames series.

Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who have married Milo Ames for five years. Milo is charming, but he is notorious for his playboy reputation and his carefree behaviour. Amory was supposed to be engaged to Gilmore Trent but being a foolish young girl that she was she chose Milo as she felt he was reckless and exciting while Gil was calm and reassuring. She was attracted by Milo's charming unpredictability but their relationship has turned lukewarm over the years. However, her relationship with Gil remains amicable and they have not contacted each other in a while until he turns up at her house one day unexpectedly.

Gil Trent doesn't want to trouble Amory but he thought she might help change his sister's mind regarding her relationship with her fiancé, Rupert Howe. When Rupert was found dead mysteriously, all speculations point to Gil as he seems to be the person who has something against Rupert. Amory may have accidentally overheard Gil's heated disagreement with Rupert, but she believes Gil isn't the kind who would kill a person out of spite. In order to clear Gil's name, Amory decides to do her own investigation. It is also at this time that Milo turns up at Brightwell unexpectedly and causes a bit of flutter within the group.

Although Amory doesn't like some of Gil's and Rupert's acquaintance at Brightwell, she thinks no one has enough reason for murder but with so many incidents happening thereafter she is not so sure anymore. She decides to seek a little help from Milo; for she finds him useful especially gathering information with his charms and eloquence from the few aristrocrats' wives. When another guest is found dead, Amory is sure there is something more than meets the eye and she is more determined to unravel the truth.

Murder at the Brightwell is a delightful read set in the 1930s amidst the upper class British society. It has a tad of Agatha Christie feel and I found myself immersed in the story quickly due to the smooth flow and that the mystery really intrigued me. Amory is a likeable character full of modesty and courage; and her relationship with Milo fuels up the story and would keep readers rooting for them despite the cool demeanour behind them. All in all it was a satisfying read and I'll be looking forward to the rest of this series.

© 2016 Melody's Reading Corner (, 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.