Here's part two of my top reads of 2017. In case you have missed my previous post, here's the link

(Not in any particularly order)

7) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Great story and an unforgettable one. Celeste Ng's writing and her storytelling skills are superb. (Review here)

8) Final Girls by Riley Sager
Read like a horror yet it isn't one. Fast-paced, intriguing and filled with intensity. A real page-turner. (Review here)  

9) The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
A beautiful, moving story with a great setting. Lisa See sure knows how to move her readers with her writing and her unforgettable stories. (Review here)

10) The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter 
Karin's books are always emotionally intense. Loved the premise behind that suspense. (Review here)

11) Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
A refreshing read from the other psychological thrillers in the market. And the ending totally blew me away! I dare you to read it and guess the ending correctly. (Review here)

12) The Lost Girls by Heather Young
A great debut by this author; skillfully crafted and beautifully written. Suspenseful and emotionally driven at the same time. (Review here)

There you have it. What are your favourite books of the year? 

© 2017 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.
It's that time of the year again in which you will sit in front of your laptop and trying to figure out which books would make it on your favourites list. As usual, I'd had a hard time picking on ten twelve books as I think I have a good reading year this year. I had read more books as compared to the last and I think my reading momentum sped up a lot due to the many good books I read, not that I'm complaining. 

Without further ado, here is part one of my favourites list of the year (not in any particular order):

1) Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Because it's Wonder Woman, enough said. (Review here)

2) Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Emotionally driven and intense plots. A book which made my heart race and ache at the same time. (Review here)

3) The Dry by Jane Harper
Good writing and an unputdownable read. And I WANT her next book like... NOW! (Force of Nature to be released in February 2018) (Review here)

4) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
An unexpected read but oh one which filled me with tears and joy. Eleanor is one extraordinary character. (Review here)

5) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
Just wow. Great characterisations, great plot. Totally blew me away. (Review here)

6) A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas 
A great fantasy series which had my heart race and ache at the same time. (Review here)

(To be continued...)

© 2017 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.

Harlequin | September 2017 | 256 pgs
Source: Library

What a delightful read this is, set in a snow-covered country ranch in Wyoming.

Raine McCall is a simple, free spirited woman who lives in Mustang Creek with her daughter, Daisy; a dog named Samson and a Maine coon cat named Mr. Bojangles. The day before Christmas Eve, she receives an email from Mick Branson who proposed a dinner with her to discuss a work opportunity as well as to catch up on old times. Mick is a hotshot movie executive and he had worked with her ex-boyfriend, Slater Carson, on a documentary featuring the historical and the present Mustang Creek. Since no eateries will open on Christmas Eve, Mick will go to Raine's place and discuss the plans over her homecooked chili cheeseburgers and a bottle of wine. Raine has no problem having Mick at close proximity, after all they are friends and most of all they are different in so many ways. She is more of a country girl while Mick lives a sophisticated lifestyle given his status and his work. Surely there wouldn't be any romantic sparks between them.

On the other end, Mick is finding an opportunity to spend more time with Raine aside from the business talk. He also likes the serene ambience and the beauty nature of Mustang Creek which allows him some distance from his busy life. Despite their differences, Mick is attracted by Raine's simplicity and her straightforwardness and he is interested in a relationship with her but is Raine willing to give him a chance?

With a beautiful snow-covered setting and an interesting cast of characters, A Snow Country Christmas is a delightful read filled with many heartwarming moments. For starters, I was captivated by the beauty of Mustang Creek through the author's detailed description. Living in a small country with summer all year around, I could only imagine the beauty of winter through books and pictures and not to mention choosing a place during the year end for our vacation, if possible.

Back to the book, this was a light read with lots of warm moments and the sentimental value of friends and family as there is absolutely no conflicts to the story (not that I wished there was but everything was nice and perfect here; even Raine's relationship with his ex-boyfriend and his wife was a cordial one and they were often kept in touch and still visited each other's house occasionally.) The relationship between Raine and Mick may seemed to progress a bit fast to me but I suppose it is because they have been friends earlier and that this is a holiday romance after all. A lovely read during this festive period and this will mark as my last book review of the year. I'll be taking a short break off of blogging until the end of the year but I do have two posts scheduled for next week for my top twelve reads of 2017.

Last but not least, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

© 2017 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.

HarperCollins Publishers | September 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

Candis Terry's Tangled Up in Tinsel is the third book of her Sunshine Creek Vineyard series and despite I haven't read any of Terry's books I'm glad this works well as a stand-alone although I'm quite curious of the backstories of a few characters who made their appearance in this book. I suppose I'll have to catch up on the previous installments someday. 

This book features one of the Kincade brothers whose family owns a vineyard which was passed down by their late parents. Parker Kincade has been stressing over his new restaurant despite it is still under renovation. He has decided to remodel and revamp their old barn as a restaurant not only as a new concept but also to continue the legacy of their late parents who had worked hard in building and running the vineyard. Aside from this, Parker also needs to consider having the revamp done before his brother's wedding as the latter wants the place for his perfect Christmas wedding. But the biggest problem of all is having a stunning woman who appoints herself as his new chef before he's ready to hire one. 

Gabriella Montani has been watching Parker serving food to his customers at his food truck for some time. When she knew he is opening up his own restaurant soon, she took the initiative and apply for the chef position since being the first stands a higher chance of succeeding, right? Plus, she needs this job and a chance to prove to herself as well as her father that she could do it without his fame and reputation as a well-known chef. She managed to impress Parker through her enthusiasm and her skills but she is also attracted to him (and vice versa) even though she has not met any man who has ever lived up to her expectations. As Gabriella sees more of Parker she also sees a new side of him which he rarely show to people, not even his family members. Will Gabriella allow herself to be swept up by this attractive man, ever? 

Truth be told, I'm a little skeptical about holiday romances (in real life anyway). It's so easy to fall in love and be sentimental especially during the festive season; after all Christmas is about giving love and it's hard not to be affected by that "love is in the air" aura. That said, I'm still a romantic and it's especially heartwarming to see two people who are so different in their family background and personalities find the courage and abandon whatever their fears or insecurities to accept a relationship with the other person. This story is such a case as Gabriella and Parker are so different when their family background are concerned. Parker comes from a big family while Gabriella is living all by herself with no siblings. Parker has some issues with his past while Gabriella is trying to find her own feet without feeling she has to live by her father's fame and reputation; and most of all she has not much faith when relationship is concerned after seeing through their parents divorced. Although it was desire which has brought them together in the first place, ultimately they discover something more of each other as the days go by but are they willing to put away their issues? There are many books with similar plots but the point is it is about the characters as well as the "feel" and the concept of "love" which is essential in a holiday romance book and I'm glad the author is able to capture my attention with that holiday magic moments with elements of family bonds, friendship and love in this story. And the bonus is the book adds in a few recipes, too (Ricotta cheese cookies with lemon icing, Sweet onion carbonara, Mascarpone sorbetto with rosemary honey and Mac and Cheese.)  

© 2017 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 | August 2017 | 256 pgs
Source: Library

Fifteen years ago, Miranda Rader was a wild girl from the wrong side of the tracks; aside from that she lies for her benefits and it is no wonder no one believes her when she asked for help on a particular night. Drunk and left stranded on the roadside after a row with her brother’s friend, she hitched a ride with a young couple who looked they were off to somewhere fun. Apparently the guy had an agenda as the next thing Miranda knew she and the other girl were bound prisoners in an isolated place. She managed to make her escape and made a promise to the other girl that she would find help but alas, no one believed her. Miranda didn't know what happened to that other girl and that fateful night has been haunting her all the way towards her adulthood. 

Now a PD Detective at her hometown in Louisiana, she is known for her honesty, integrity and steady hand in a crisis and has worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community. When she and her partner, Jake Billings, are called to investigate a brutal murder of the town most beloved college professor, Miranda finds a piece of evidence which chilled her to the core - it was an old newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. Further investigations have pointed to the murdered professor as a victim of a vengeful murder case, after all he seemed to have charmed many women with his good looks and charisma. Perhaps he had broken one vengeful woman along the way and ended up murdered in cold blood? It was a good assumption but that piece of old clippings keeps nagging on Miranda’s mind. Why did the professor keep that clippings? And most importantly, what is the motive behind his death? 

The Other Girl was a fast-paced and an intriguing suspense thriller, and it had me thinking and guessing even though I had a hunch what might have happened. Then again, there are some things which I felt was out of place and disrupted the flow of my reading experience. The chapters are written in a timeline format with a few flashbacks thrown in between the chapters and while I have no problem with this format, I thought the writing was somewhat choppy and then there was the romance between Miranda and Jake. Truth be told, I couldn't connect with them being in a relationship as the feelings they have for each other seemed to be cold and hot to me. Perhaps this was the author's intention but I felt it was unnecessary since nothing major happened between them and I didn't catch any romantic vibes among them. 

Overall it was a fast and an enjoyable read except the parts which I had stated. The ending was a little too convenient for my liking but still it was satisfying. I would definitely check out this author's next release.

© 2017 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 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library

This story is set in the 1940s between Hickory, North Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland where the people are affected by the WWII and many of their young men were sent to fight the war. With their life restraint with food and gas rations, they all try their very best to get by while hoping that the war would end quickly with victory. This is the backdrop of the story and at its heart of it is twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello and her journey as one mistake has altered her life forever. 

Tess is living with her mother in a little Italian neighbourhood in Baltimore. The DeMellos and the Russo family have known each other for years and Tess is engaged with Vincent Russo and they are planning for their wedding once Vincent has his own pediatric practice and Tess has graduated from nursing school. Both of them have been hanging on to these dreams until Vincent is sent to Chicago to help with the infantile paralysis epidemic there. A couple of weeks he has promised has turned to months, and while Tess has been understanding all this while she couldn't help feeling a little insecure given this difficult time with minimal communication. When her best friend suggested a short trip to Washington as a break, she decided to give it a go after much thought but an evening of drinks has turned her life upside down. 

Pregnant and filled with guilt, Tess decided to end her engagement with Vincent. She fled to Hickory, North Carolina without telling anyone except her best friend and her mother, hoping that the baby's father would offer her some financial assistance. To her surprise, Henry Kraft offered her marriage and she agreed, after all what does she has to lose? But living in the small, rural town in Hickory isn't easy. Many of the Hickory residents treat Tess like an outsider despite they all admire and respect Henry. The Krafts own a family furniture factory and while Tess doesn't have to worry about her life financially, she feels unhappy and trapped in the marriage with Henry treating her like a stranger. Most of all, he is secretive and often stays out all night. Tess also finds some stacks of money hidden in their bedroom by chance and begins to question herself about the man she married. Henry seems like an honorable man but is it simply an act? And most of all, what is he hiding away from her? 

The Stolen Marriage isn't a psychological suspense or a crime thriller although there is an element of mystery interwoven in the story. The author has done a great job in her research and setting up the story and issues like interracial marriage, out of wedlock pregnancy as well as the polio epidemic are some of the difficulties faced during that time period and I could imagine what it was like living in the 1940s. The characters are well developed and fleshed out and I couldn't help but feeling emotionally invested while reading about Tess's journey. The ending surprised me but it was a good closure, though. All in all it was an addictive read and I'll be sure to check out the other books by this author.  

© 2017 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.

A grim reaper and a woman who is able to foresee death; toss in with a few complicated murder cases and that is Black. Yes, these about sum up what this drama is about and I have to say I enjoyed this drama immensely.

Black (starring Song Seung-heon) is a grim reaper whose soul has taken over the dead body of a detective, Han Moo-gang. Also known as reaper 444, Black is known to be cold-hearted and ruthless in the underworld. Why his soul possessed Moo-gang's body remains a mystery but is also part of its core of the story as it slowly unfolds.

Go Ara played as the woman who could foresee death by the dark shadows surrounding the victims' bodies. Kang Ha-ram has had this ability since young and she sees this more as a curse than a blessing. After losing her father and with a mother who doesn't show her enough attention, Ha-ram lives alone and with a pair of sunglasses as her companion, her life is a simple one as long as she pretends she doesn't see all those dark shadows around her and that she minds her own business. Her peace of mind is shattered after knowing the death of her teenaged crush, Moo-gang.

What follows is Black having to get used to the mortal world and engaging Ha-ram as "his eyes" so he could locate other lost roaming souls. Ha-ram, on the other end, is happy enough to see Moo-gang is back on his feet again although he seems cold and distant towards her. As the duo work together, the crime squad has a few cases on their hands which Black later discovered are connected to Moo-gang's and Ha-ram's childhood.

What I loved about this drama is because it has all the elements I love - fantasy theme, intricate suspense plots and last but not least, romance. The story is well crafted and there are lots of twists and turns when the murder cases are concerned and what amazed me is while each of the case seems isolated (and mind-boggling at times), they are all linked nicely towards the end. And I especially enjoyed the tender moments between Black and Ha-ram; Black may be in denial over their so-called relationship but his concern and his actions speak volumes and I think it is romantic despite their exchanges stated otherwise. All in all it was a great fantasy and suspense drama alongside a great cast of characters. I was sorry to see it ended and would have given this a 5-star rating if the ending was better explained but nevertheless still a satisfying one. Recommended. 

© 2017 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.

Crooked Lane Books | September 2017 | 288 pgs
Source: Library

Liza Cole is a suspense thriller novelist and was once hailed as a promising author after one of her books became an international bestseller. Unfortunately, her subsequent books didn't sell as well as all have hoped and Liza could only think of these two things which are constantly on her mind - her wish to be pregnant and the disappearance of Nick Landau, her husband's best friend and law partner. David, her husband, seems distraught over Nick's disappearance and as much as he supports Liza undergoing a fertility treatment, his mind and attention aren't entirely focused on her and she knew that. Meanwhile, Liza is also pressurised from her editor to write a book that could land her back on the bestseller list and her deadline is approaching. With so many things on her mind, Liza begins to find escape and comfort in Beth, her latest heroine of her book. 

Beth is a new mother and she suspects her husband, Jake, is cheating on her while she is home caring for their newborn, Victoria. Jake, on the other hand, feels Beth is experiencing postpartum depression and booked her an appointment to see a psychiatrist. While Beth continues to spy and stalk on her husband's lover once she has found out he has an affair, she couldn't resist being attracted by her psychiatrist. Although she still loves Jake, she couldn't help feeling a bit triumph that she could play at this game, too. Still, she couldn't get her husband's lover off her mind and she decided that murdering her is the only way that could solve the problem. 

While Liza and Beth are two different women with different characteristics, Liza soon finds herself get caught up by Beth's story until the lines between reality and fiction blur. Meanwhile, Nick's body is finally found in a river with David labelled as a suspect. Liza knows she has lots of questions concerning the few people surrounding her, including herself, which may lead up to the truth of Nick's death and she has to find the answers quickly; just like Beth has to find a resolution to her committing a murder. 

Without revealing too much, all I can say is my emotions were going everywhere reading this mind-bending novel within a novel. It was gripping and intense, and both stories were also well executed with each story being told alternatively. Readers who worry that they might get confused would be glad to know that the fonts differ with the two stories and that Liza's story always have her name printed in the beginning of each chapter. 

As much as this is a psychological thriller, I can also say that this story is a case of characters study as well, as Liza and Beth have their flaws and they keep me wondering throughout the book. It is not hard to figure out the truth once you have your mind set on the story, though to be fair I think the author has left enough clues for her readers. This is a well constructed suspense with two parallel stories which left me thinking about it long after the book is closed. 

© 2017 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.

Holiday House Publishing | September 2017 | 400 pgs
Source: Library

Set in a near-future society (in this case in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) where mixing human DNAs with animals genes is used to be a norm, fashionable statement but is now considered as an unrecognised act and a violation against humanhood. This genetic transformation through injections of the animal's genes to the human's body is called Spliced and those who are spliced are called Chimeras. They often bear some characteristics of the animal of its genes they are affected, if not by its appearance, e.g. having a faint coat of fur on parts of their body or having a different skin tone and texture, etc. Still, they are humans overall, just that they are something different. 

Sixteen-year-old Jimi and her best friend, Del, have known each other since they were children. Jimi lives with her mother and her elder brother, Kelvin. Her father had passed due to a flu pandemic and Del lives with his father, who is a cop and he could get abusive at times. They are all aware of the chimeras; and most of them steer clear of them to avoid any trouble. At that time a law for the Genetic Heritage Act (GHA) hasn't been passed and as long as they keep their distance from each other they are safe. 

Del, on the other hand, thinks the idea of being a chimera is cool. He still misses his dead pet salamander and as the days go the thought of getting himself spliced grows. Although Jimi sympathises the chimeras and the contempt they are receiving, she still doesn't understand why Del is obsessed with the idea until one day Del goes missing and it struck her that Del's relationship with his father has worsen and she fears he may get himself spliced to spite his father, considering the latter harbours strong negative feelings towards the chimeras. Jimi's search for Del intensifies as the story progresses and she befriends a few chimeras along the way through a few mishaps which has made her think differently of them and humanhood as a whole. By then, the law for the GHA has passed and the chimeras are no longer viewed as humans. In short, they have lost all the rights of a person and are viewed as mixies, or even animals. Given this circumstances, humans have the right to discriminate or mistreat them and it fuels Jimi's determination in searching Del, with the help of her new friends. 
"...what's so great about being one hundred percent human anyway? You look at what humans do to each other, what they do to chimeras and to animals and to the planet. Chimeras are people, regardless of any law, but for some of us, 'human' just isn't a club we want to be a part of." ~ Pg 104
"I never meant to leave humanity, and I don't think I did. To me, being a chimera is about more fully joining the rest of the world, not about being any less of a human. And it's about being able to choose who and what you want to be." ~ Pg 239

Intense and emotionally driven, Spliced allows readers to imagine the future world of the genetics engineering and most importantly, the meaning of humanity. The characters are fleshed out and developed and I found myself cared for some characters the more I got to know them. The first part of the story focused much on the friendship between Jimi and Del, as well as the uncertainties and the tension between the residents and the chimeras. The second part sped up and focus more on the interactions between Jimi and her new friends, their search for Del and lastly, the risk and the challenge they have to face with the chimeras haters, who would do anything to wipe them out. 

While reading this book, it occurred to me how timely this story is with the underlying tone of bias and the subject of discrimination. I rooted for Jimi all the way; for her courage, her fierce determination in searching for Del and lastly, her compassion and her protectiveness in her new friends, the chimeras as a whole. There is a small twist I certainly didn't see at the end, but it didn't alter my overall view of the story. Although it seems to have a closure, I'm hoping there is a sequel to it. 
"Humanity isn't about DNA. It's about kindness and decency and treating others with compassion. ... It's time to stop bickering about who is a person, who qualifies as human and remember what it means to be human at all." ~ Pg 352

Note: Jon McGoran has written several thrillers for adults and this is his first book for young adults. He has also written a few books under pen name, D. H. Dublin.

© 2017 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.

Simon & Schuster | April 2017 | 336 pgs
Source: Library

I've always love reading a locked-room mystery and what's more the setting of this story is in a luxurious cruise, Queen Charlotte, which is on its maiden voyage to Southampton. 

At its core of this story is the murder of eighty-six-year-old Lady Emily Haywood and a priceless Cleopatra emerald necklace, which, according to legend, places a deadly curse on whoever brings it to sea. Before Lady Em set her foot on board the cruise, she'd already made known to whoever's concerned that she'd be wearing the necklace. Although it was bought by her late husband, it is also a known fact that the necklace was a tomb loot. Lady Em had then decided to donate it to the Smithsonian Institution after giving some thoughts about it and it seems there wouldn't be such a case considering the circumstances.

On board the luxurious cruise are several passengers who are connected to Lady Em in some ways; they're her personal assistant who's been working with her for twenty years, as well as her financial adviser whom she has known so well due to a long working relationship with his family, beginning with his grandfather. There're also some passengers who are on board either thanks to a stroke of luck (like winning a lottery or winning a church raffle) or some simply conducting some lectures engaged by the entertainment director for the cruise trip. These are people from all walks of life and although each projects a respectable demeanour, some of these passengers harbour a secret and most importantly, they've a hidden agenda and their personal evil goal to fulfill until the death of Lady Em ruined their plans. To complicate matters, there's also the ship owner who intends to keep things quiet since he has invested lots of money and efforts in publicising Queen Charlotte, which is believed to have outdone the splendour of Titanic minus the ill-fated tragedy, that is. 

Unfolding over the course of six days on board the cruise, this is an addictive mystery filled with intrigue and a cast of unlikeable characters who would make you doubt their credibility as the story unfolds. While the mystery itself is intriguing, it is actually the characters who stand out the most in its entirety and I'd had a fun time analyzing them alongside with my guesses. 

© 2017 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.

Penguin Publishing Group | March 2013 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

This is my third Simone St. James book and my love for her books continues to grow the more I read them.

London, 1924. Jillian Leigh, an Oxford student, is required to take a short leave after receiving news from a lawyer that her uncle Toby had passed and that she is to travel to a seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings since her parents are tied up with their work. The coroner had ruled Toby's death as an accident as there wasn't any evidence that there was foul play; plus Toby was a renowned ghost hunter and he travelled to places for his ghost hunting assignments. It is likely that he'd fallen to his death from a cliff while he was pursuing something in the dark and lost his footing. 

When Jillian settles in the boarding house where Toby used to stay, she begins to encounter a few unsettling incidents which convince her that an angry spirit might be the cause of those terrifying experiences. Known as Walking John to the Rothewell residents, the two-hundred-year-old ghost is believed to haunt Blood Moon Bay and no one dares to roam the woods or anywhere near the sea once darkness falls. Walking John may seem frightening but in fact his story was a sad one. John Barrow was a smuggler and had lost his beloved son to a drowning accident. Filled with grief, he shot himself after shooting one of his crew when the latter tried to move his son's body from him. This probably explains why his spirit roams and haunts Rothewell. Jillian knew Uncle Toby came to this place because of it. 

As Jillian ponders over her uncle's mysterious death, Scotland Yard inspector and former RAF pilot Drew Merriken has a few queries over the case and during the course of investigations the two of them found themselves attracted to each other. As they begin to search for answers surrounding Toby's purpose and his visit to Rothewell as well as the legendary resident ghost, they soon learn that Rothewell harbours some spine-chilling secrets which have nothing to do with the supernatural and most of all the reason Jillian is connected to the case. 

Once again I found myself engrossed in Simone St. James's wonderful storytelling and her skillful writing in this atmospheric read with a combination between the dark of the World War and the superstition of a creepy seaside village. While there isn't any war scenarios, the horror of it still lies in the minds who'd gone through the battles; like inspector Drew Merriken who rarely mention it but still evoked many emotions in him whenever the topic is brought up. The setting was well written and gave off that creepiness vibe with the tales of Walking John. What I enjoyed about this story is aside from the writing and the characterisations, the author leave her readers in suspense as one couldn't tell if Toby's death is the act of a vengeful ghost or a flesh and blood murderer until the truth hit you towards the end. I also loved it that there is romance element amid this dark, suspenseful tale but I found the attraction between Jillian and Drew happened a bit too quickly. That said, I still found myself rooting for them as they raced through their investigations. A perfect book to read especially on a stormy night. 

© 2017 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.

Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul played two young police cadets in this action comedy and I've to say aside from their cuteness overload, it's also a story of their friendship, their dreams and passion as well as to right the wrong despite their inexperience and various bureaucracy obstacles.

The story opens with the two of them admitting into Korean National Police University where they learn to be a cop and master various martial arts. However, most of the things they've learned are mostly textbook theories and in spite of their two years training, they still find themselves at a loss and just when they're having doubts about being a cop as their career, they witness a kidnapping when they're out partying one night. They manage to track down the location and the kidnappers eventually but they're faced with several obstacles - lack of evidence, inexperienced and such cases have to be dealt with the appropriate departments and bureaucracy. They decided it'd be too late by then and the only option they could come up with is to take matters into their own hands.

(L: Kang Ha-neul, R: Park Seo-joon)

I've been a fan of Park Seo-joon (Fight for My Way and Hwarang are some of his works this year) so naturally this movie captured my attention. While Kang Ha-neul is no stranger to me, I've to admit I'm not really familiar with his works since I can be selective when dramas/movies are concerned and this explains why I may have missed him while choosing a new drama to watch. That said, I was quite impressed with his acting here as a quiet, nerdy cop as I understand he is actually an easy-going guy and one who smile a lot. I totally loved the rapport and the guy bonding moments they've for each other. But of course what moved me most is their passion and their enthusiasm in pursuing justice (human trafficking and selling of young women's eggs to illegal fertility and surrogacy agency are the cases they're investigating here and I think these topics will further raise the awareness considering the seriousness and a problem the world still face today.) Overall I enjoyed the movie and I'll definitely keep an eye on Kang Ha-neul's future works. 

© 2017 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.


While You Were Sleeping is a story about dreams, connections, justice and not to mention, love.

At its core of this drama is our protagonists, Nam Hong-Joo (starring Bae Suzy) and Jung Jae-Chan (starring Lee Jong-Suk) who both have the ability of dreaming what might happen in future, usually circumstances involving them. Both share the same fate of losing their fathers when young over a same unfortunate incident, but each doesn't know the existence of each other until the funerals, which both deceased families held their respective wake within the same building. Jae-Chan mistaken Hong-Joo's gender due to her boyish look and her dressing style, for she always wore a baseball jacket and a cap and had her hair cropped really short. They shared their misery, and most importantly Jae-Chan had comforted her in some ways which no one else could.

As an adult, Hong-Joo is haunted by seeing the future deaths of others in her dreams; one including her mother. Jae-Chan, on the other hand, is a rookie prosecutor and together with his younger brother they move house and become Hong-Joo's new neighbour. At this stage, they're unaware of each other and their minds didn't connect with each other's identity given the years passed and that they're both grown up. Their acquaintance only begins when Jae-Chan has dreamt of an accident which allowed him to prevent Hong-Joo's dream from becoming true. What they didn't know is that this course of direction might change or have an impact of other course of events and along the way they'll befriend a police officer, Han Woo-Tak (starring Jung Hae-In) who has the same ability as them.

(Han Woo-Tak, starring Jung Hae-In)

I enjoyed this drama immensely due to a few factors - actor Lee Jong-Suk (so far I've loved most of his works), the fantastical concept of dreams and the inter-connections among the three characters, intense lawsuit cases and last but not least, the romance between Jae-Chan and Hong-Joo (I loved it that fate and their shared abilities have brought them together). I also have to highlight actor Jung Hae-In for his fresh look and the ability to turn heads in his smart police attire. In the story he has a crush on Hong-Joo and while some viewers would expect a love triangle relationship, I've to say there wasn't any because the relationship between Jae-Chan and Hong-Joo are already set in stone (think of how they met and what pulled them together) and plus, Woo-Tak is too sweet and a gentleman to do something outrageous and unthinkable (I've to admit his adoration towards Hong-Joo melted my heart). There are a few other heartwarming and emotional scenes as well but I'm not going to delve into them. Better still, watch it and you and I can talk about it. 

© 2017 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.

Random House Publishing Group | July 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

At first glance, Watch Me Disappear may seem like a psychological suspense but at its core it is actually a story revolving family dynamic and how well you really know your loved ones.

Billie Flanagan had gone missing from a hiking expedition in the Desolation Wilderness a year ago and till present her body couldn't be found. Her husband, Jonathan and their sixteen-year-old daughter, Olive are still coping with the grief of losing her while awaiting for the court issuance of her death certificate, which has proved to be a long struggling wait considering that there is no solid proof and that her death remains a mystery. While Jonathan tries to cope with the loss and hoping for a closure that would allow them to move on with their life through the insurance settlement, Olive, on the other hand, starts having visions of her mother. Each of these visions seems to tell Olive that Billie might be alive and that Olive should try to find her. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan isn't so sure about Olive's visions and thinks his daughter is hallucinating with her grief and denial. Worrying over her emotional stability, he sent Olive to visit a therapist while he himself drinks as he works on a memoir about his marriage, which is part work as a writer to a publishing house and part in loving memory of Billie. And as he finds her laptop and stumbles upon an encrypted folder, his mind wanders in different directions the more he starts unearthing secrets from her past through his little diggings and investigations. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan? What happened to her on that fateful day when she went hiking alone in Desolation Wilderness? 

I've to admit it took me a little while to get engrossed in this story. It had a slow beginning and focus much on the mundane life and relationship within the Flanagan household. The reader also get to know a bit more of Olive, her relationship with her mother as well as bits of her school life. Olive is an angsty teenage girl who will go anywhere to find the truth about her mother's disappearance. Jonathan believes in his family but he hadn't been paying much attention towards Billie and Olive; he was too involved in his work and he didn't want to intrude upon their "girl bonding" moments until there was a time Olive slowly drifted away from that bond. 

As mentioned before, if you're expecting this to be a psychological suspense then you'll be disappointed because this is leaning more towards the issues of family dynamic, marriage and relationship and what you tell yourself about the people you love. That said, the story has a few twists and turns and like Jonathan and Olive, I was totally clueless and dying of curiosity over Billie's disappearance until the final page, which left me speechless as my mind finally settled on the last three paragraphs. This is a well written story which will prompt a discussion (because I sure want to discuss that ending with whoever had read the book!)

End note: I googled Desolation Wilderness out of curiosity and was surprised to learn that it isn't fictional (OK, perhaps it's only me who didn't know this fact) and is located in El Dorado County, California. (More info here from Wikipedia)

© 2017 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.

Penguin Publishing Group | April 2014 | 384 pgs
Source: Library

After reading Simone St. James's The Broken Girls (my review will be posted nearer to its publication date, which is March 2018), I was totally wowed by her writing style and her storytelling and thus begins my search for her older books. This book is one of them.  

Set in England 1919, our protagonist Katharine "Kitty" Weekes flees her home to escape from her abusive father. With no money and no education, she lied her way into getting a job as a nurse at Portis House. A remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War, Kitty decided that this would be an ideal place for her hiding as well as getting paid. Her eldest brother had gone to war and there isn't any news of him so she is well on her own. 

Portis House was once a magnificent private estate owned by a Swiss family. There wasn't any news of the Gersbachs when the estate was took over by a Mr. Deighton who later refurbished it into a hospital. Portis House seems to be understaffed with nurses and orderlies and Kitty is accepted partly due to that reason and that the Matron who is in charge was away when her application came in. Kitty is initially glad to have found a place to settle in, but soon that relief has turned to nightmares as not only she has to face the challenging work of attending to the patients but also the Matron who seems to dislike her and give her the worst duties such as cleaning the men's lavatories and doing night shifts with little rest in between. But the worst is, Kitty feels something in Portis House. Aside from the eerie noises from the old plumbing and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms, she also hears footsteps at times but whenever she turns her head to look there isn't anyone. 

As the days go on, Kitty notices that the patients all seem to share the same nightmare yet no one dares to speak of it. What most intriguing is Patient Sixteen who is kept in a room by himself and only nurses who have clearance by the Matron could attend to him. Kitty will soon learned that he is once a war hero and that they will later form an alliance to uncover the truth about Portis House and what really happened to the Gersbachs. 

Silence for the Dead was a good read but not as good as The Broken Girls (TBG). Don't get me wrong, this book has good writing and an engaging storyline which has the Great War as the backdrop (not precise but still part of the scenario) but I think if I'd read this book before TBG, my opinion would've differ (I suppose that shows how much I enjoyed TBG). That said, this book has great characterisations and I enjoyed reading the interactions between Kitty and a vivid cast of supporting characters (I really felt for the soldiers. One would think they must be mentally ill to be admitted to Portis House but as you read more about them, you'll come to know that there is more than meets the eye.) It even has a slight romance element which lighten a bit of the dark atmospheric mood. A must-read for readers who love some supernatural theme in a mystery and do look out for The Broken Girls in March 2018. 

© 2017 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.

Little, Brown and Company | March 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

It all started on one particularly wine-soaked dinner party. Lucy and Owen invited a couple over to their house for some chitchat and mingling and their conversation has somehow steered towards relationship and open marriage. Lucy, the ever practical and sensible woman she is, balked over the idea for she couldn't imagine a normal couple would agree with that kind of suggestion. Lucy and Owen have been living in Beekman for a while where it is a town filled with stay-at-home moms who would team up to cook the school lunches and the dads would make things like pickles and cheese and ground their own spices for dinner parties. They're simple just like that. 

Lucy and Owen have traded their cramped Manhattan apartment to Beekman partly for the laid-back atmosphere but also for the sake of their autistic son, Wyatt. Lucy and Owen may not be a perfect couple but they do try their best to make their life happy and stress-free, which is challenging due to Wyatt who requires attention most of the times. As much as Lucy is dumbstruck over the open marriage issue, there is a small part of her which is intrigued by it. After their friends left their dinner party, Lucy and Owen casually discuss about the matter once again and ultimately they've come to an agreement of trying it out for six months. They named this short marital experience as 'The Arrangement' with some ground rules; which is no snooping, no leaving and no falling in love. They think a break from monogamy now could give them a moment to refresh their marriage life and come back as a happier and a more loving partner. But what follows is a series of events which they've never anticipated, and towards the end they'll have to ask themselves if 'The Arrangement' benefits their relationship or is it simply "the grass is always greener on the other side"? 

At times entertaining and at times thought-provoking, The Arrangement was an addictive read about a couple's bizarre experience to revitalise their marriage and ended up learning a few lessons along the way. As much as I found the open marriage issue appalling, I think there are some parts like middle-aged and dealing with challenging children is both relatable and spot-on. While I don't agree with 'The Arrangement' plan, I held on to the story because it was entertaining (I've never read anything like this before), hilarious (the dialogues and some events could be funny at times) and most of all, I wanted to know what happened to Lucy and Owen and hoped that they'd walk out from that experience to be wiser and more understanding towards their other half. Aside from Lucy and Owen, there are also a few characters that made this story interesting with their own stories and yes, they're somewhat connected to Lucy and Owen in some ways. Overall it was an entertaining read though I can't fathom why Lucy and Owen would think 'The Arrangement' is a good idea initially. 

© 2017 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.
Picador | July 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

High school student Lucinda Haynes is found murdered in the suburb Colorado on a wintry morning. Her death shakes the community in Jefferson High and while some guessed she was sexually assaulted, no one really knew the truth of her death; not even the police. 

Surrounding Lucinda's mysterious death is our three protagonists with their narratives written alternatively. Cameron Whitley, a boy who is both fascinated and obsessed with her to the point that he would watch her secretly. Jade Dixon-Burns, a girl who hated her openly and practised witchcraft (more like basic voodoo) hoping that she would be gone from her life and never expecting that what she'd wished had turned up something sinister. And then, there is Russ Fletcher, a cop assigned to look into Lucinda's death. He knew Cameron's father back when the latter was a cop but an incident had sent him leaving home. Russ also finds himself having problems with his wife and his brother-in-law. 

Although this is classified as a suspense, it is more like a case of characters study with murder as the backdrop. While the mystery element is still there, this story is navigating towards more of the inner thoughts and struggles of the three narratives who are more or less related to Lucinda. Each of these characters is flawed and appear as somewhat unreliable. Truth be told, it took me a while to get into the story. The slow setting, the characterisations and not to mention there wasn't much intensity and police insights relating to Lucinda's death. However, the author's writing is beautiful and lyrical and I think it is fitting to the story, which I came to realise later that this is more on the reflections of the three characters before and especially after the tragedy surrounding Lucinda's death. A different read from your typical psychological thriller and if you don't mind the slower pace and more on characters study then this is the book for you.

© 2017 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.

Bitter Lemon Press | August 2016 | 224 pgs
Source: Library
Translated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai

Tsuneo Asai is a section chief at the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Middle aged and a workaholic, Asai's second marriage to Eiko is considered bland and harmonious when their relationship is concerned. As much as Asai adores Eiko, he doesn't really give much thought when Eiko's life is concerned. Given that Eiko is a homemaker, he allows her much freedom in pursuing her interests whenever he's away at work, and it doesn't bother him as long as Eiko is at home when he's back from work. Eiko's interests always waver and it took a few different attempts before she finally decided on taking Haiku class. Because Eiko had suffered a mild heart attack a few years ago, she is especially careful not to exert herself physically and always keep her emotional state in check. As a result, her marriage with Asai is nothing more than a companionship. Asai has gradually adapted to their sexless marriage and didn't think much about it until the day Eiko passed. It appears that she has suffered a heart attack while climbing up a steep road. The place she visited is quite a distance from their home and Asai has no idea what she was doing at a strange place, let alone risking her health climbing up that steep road. And this deep sense of curiosity has prompt Asai to dig into his late wife's mysterious death, and by doing so he finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into an obsession until there is no return.

Part mystery and part satire, A Quiet Place was an addictive read about a man's curiosity and obsession that drove him to committing something which is irrevocable. While I found the plot to be simple and common, what captivated me was the prose, that subtle sense of foreboding and last but not least a deeper understanding of the culture of Japanese bureaucracy and how they usually work through interpersonal relationships as well as their work hierarchy. A great exploration of a person's mentality under duress and not to mention an intrigue mystery which had me hooked from the beginning till the end. Recommended. 

© 2017 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.