Melody

HarperCollins Publishers | August 2017 | 512 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss



This is my first Karin Slaughter standalone book and wow, what a compelling read! 

Twenty-eight years ago, Samantha and Charlotte Quinn witnessed the murder and death of their mother. Zach and Daniel Culpepper, who broke into their house were actually looking for the girls' father, who is also Pikeville's most well-known and notorious defence attorney. His clients involve robbers, rapists and even murderers and for this, Rusty Quinn has often received death threats but nothing is serious until this tragedy. After their mother's death, Sam and Charlie Quinn fled for their life but each meets with a different destiny as one fight back while the other escape. Nevertheless, that fateful day remains a permanent scar for both Sam and Charlie, physically and emotionally as they grown into adults and each goes on her own way. And the Quinn family is never the same, again. 

Now twenty-eight years later, like a good daughter Charlie follows Rusty's footsteps as a lawyer. Then a mass shooting incident left Pikeville in shock and in rage. Charlie isn't supposed to be at the scene, but she did and it left her traumatised by the sheer violence of it and worst of all being the first witness of the school tragedy. Kelly Wilson, the seventeen-year-old schoolgirl is found guilty for murdering the principal and an eight-year-old girl. As all evidence points to Kelly, Charlie is left with a bit of doubts as the murder weapon couldn't be found and on top of it Kelly's intellectual mind appears to be slightly lower than her peers. Faced with this tragedy which reminds her of the past, Charlie turns to her estranged elder sister, Sam. And both of them will soon discover that Kelly's case would unleash the shocking truth which destroyed their family many years ago. 

Well, let me say The Good Daughter surprised me on many levels. Not only it was a good psychological suspense filled with intrigue and twists but it was also filled with heart, too. I've to confess it wasn't an easy read either, as there was violence and it made me ache reading what happened to the young victims as well as the Quinns sisters. Ms. Slaughter knows how to craft her story well and it shows in her writing, the tone and yes, the character development (of Charlie and Sam) too as this is very much about Charlie's story alongside the mass shooting incident. Reading about the Quinns family also struck a chord of various feelings in me; first empathy followed by a wave of melancholy which left a lump in my throat towards the finishing. It is rare that a crime thriller have that kind of effect in me. I'll have to check out her other stand-alones and her series books as well. 


© 2017 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

Grand Central Publishing | June 2017 | 288 pgs
Source: Library



Small Hours is Jennifer Kitses' debut novel and a compelling domestic drama that explores a couple's search for a new life and how a misstep devastates the family thereafter. 

Two years ago, Tom and Helen fled their home in New York to live in Devon; a former mill town and now an exurb. With its quiet community and away from the pressures of the city, they (especially Helen) are hopeful that this new place would give them some bliss and some peace where they could raise their young twin daughters who are three. Before the move, both Tom and Helen struggled to keep their jobs during the economy crisis but failed. Both of them eventually found something but not without a price. For Tom, a 90-minute train ride is essential for his journey to and from work aside from a demanding boss at a newswire firm. While Helen has the flexibility of working at home for her designing projects, her job often requires her to work last minute changes on short notices regardless of the hours. As they juggle between work and family, the stress begins to take a toll on them until Helen snaps over an incident on one fateful September morning. Tom, on the other hand, has been trying to keep his infidelity a few years back under wraps until it comes to a stage whereby he has to make a decision whether or not if he should let his "other family" go or to remain as part of his life. 

Small Hours is an addictive domestic drama which tells what many working parents are facing today - to find balance between work and family on top of the financial stress. However, it is also a story about secrets, bad choices and decisions and how they will destroy the fragile equilibrium of a family bliss if one is not careful. Tom and Helen, both in their early 40s which is neither too young nor too old, are stuck in a situation where they don't have many job opportunities that work in their favours. Most of all, there aren't much communications in between their busy life so it is not surprising to see one party succumbs to temptations while the other break under pressure. While there aren't twists and turns (or murder) in this novel, it was interesting (and intriguing) seeing the story unfolds through Tom's and Helen's story alternatively in a span of one fateful September day until the conclusion. It was thought-provoking in a way, and I was glad I picked this up.


© 2017 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


Harvill Secker | June 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased


First of all, I want to thank Lark (Lark Writes...on books and life) for reading this book with me and it's been fun doing this buddy reading and comparing notes with her. (I'm definitely looking forward to our next buddy reading, Lark!) Without further ado, here's my review of The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. 




For seventeen years, Isa, Kate, Thea and Fatima are each occupied with their own life after leaving Salten in Reach, except for Kate. After all, Kate lives there all her life with her late father, Ambrose and her stepbrother, Luc. The old mill house by the marsh once brought these girls, who are now women, many unforgettable teenage memories. They are close like sisters, and they enjoyed their countless Lying Games which had fooled so many of their peers and adults alike but one thing is clear, which is no lying to each other. Their high school days at Salten House are full of scandals, and people steered clear of them, knowing they are liars and not to be trusted. The lies they weaved varies from harmless to shockingly ones, until an incident surrounding a mysterious death had them leave the school and they never looked back since. 

Now Isa, Thea and Fatima have put their days at Salten far behind after they left Reach, until they received a text that said "I need you" from Kate. They don't use that three little words except in direness situations, so they knew in their heart something have happened and they have to go back to Salten and to Kate to confront their past. It turns out that a human bone was found, and the police is investigating it. What really happened in Salten? And why does Kate needs them now after all those years of silence?  

If you are a fan of Ruth Ware, you would know that she has a way of building the suspense and intensity from the beginning until the truth is revealed. Though The Lying Game still has that aura of mystery and suspense, the attention here focuses more on the characters development and the tight-knit relationship and trust among the four women. It also has a strong sense of parenting love and this often shows on Isa's fussing over her six-month old baby (which I found to be a bit overwhelming at times.) 
While the pacing was a tad slow (until towards the last third of the book) and different from Ware's previous two books (In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10), the surprise at the end still threw me off and that was a good thing. Overall it was a good read and I can't wait to hear what the author has in store for her next book. 

Before ending this review, Lark and I asked each other two questions and here's my answers to her questions:

1. What did you think about this Lying Game that the girls played, and would you have played it when you were their age?
There are two forms of lies - one with an intention to deceive/harm others while the other with a well-intention purpose. And then there are some who think lying is fun, to gain attention and to see how a person would react to their false statement. Our four characters here belong to the last but they didn't realise that the lies they spun could sometimes hurt a person's reputation and worse, has led to a huge consequences. And I think they've gone too far if someone was hurt because of it. 

Truth be told, I was quite an introverted person when I was their age. Telling small lies, such as forgotten to bring our homework etc might have worked at times but I doubt we could get away if we spread something outrageous and malicious in school (during our secondary school days, everyone almost "knew" everyone on the same class level and bad news always spread the fastest, not that someone had done something really bad then.) So while telling small lies are inevitable at times (e.g. "inventing" anything to distract my daughters), I don't have the mind (or guts anyway, present or past) to play something outrageous or malicious that would hurt a person. 

2. And what makes Woman in Cabin 10 your favorite Ruth Ware novel?
I always have a thing for locked-room mystery. Woman in Cabin 10 satisfied all my reading expectations of a psychological suspense thriller. It has an unreliable character who thinks there's a murderer on board on their exclusive small cruise liner and that claustrophobic feeling with nowhere-to-run was such a thrill to read. I felt that the plot was well crafted too, and it kept me on edge throughout my reading journey. 

Please visit Lark's blog to read about her thoughts on this book and her answers to my questions. 


© 2017 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

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | January 2017 | 304 pgs
Source: Library



SFPD homicide detective Gavin Cain is overseeing an exhumation work when he receives a call from his superior, Lieutenant Nagata. The casket they are digging and a cold case will have to wait. Cain has finally found something which might shed some light on the case they have been working on for years, thus he is perplexed why he is being called for until he realised it is a request from San Francisco's mayor, Harry Castelli. 

When Cain meets Harry, the latter shows him a short note and four photographs he received. The four photographs offer some depictions of what's happening when they were taken, though the actual event isn't clear and they could only speculate. But that's not all, whoever sent these stuff to Harry wants him to take his own life or worse revelations will come by the end of the week. As Harry races against time with FBI agent Karen Fischer to unravel the truth and hunt for the blackmailer, they would soon realise that there is more than meets the eye and that the casket he is digging may connect with Harry's case. 

I read Jonathan Moore's The Poison Artist a while back and was impressed by his storytelling and his writing style. The Dark Room continues his signature of the above and I've to say TDR was more tense and have a multi-layered plot which I didn't see coming from the beginning. Part suspense and part police procedural, I was hooked from the opening featuring a determined homicide detective Cain while he opened up a cold case thirty years ago. With a few pages in, the reader could tell that he is an uncorrupted cop who would not allow himself to waver and crumble under pressure, and certainly not from the powerful mayor Castelli. Aside from that, he is also a considerate and attentive lover when his girlfriend, Lucy, is concerned. One could easily see why considering Lucy was one of the victims and the only adult survivor of a school mass shooting four years ago. That incident led Lucy from a shining talented pianist to a timid woman who hides in her house 24/7. Cain's camaraderie with his two other subordinates and their investigations add intrigue to the story and I found these scenarios are just as intense as the plot as they encounter difficulties and danger as they dig deeper. I'm glad to hear his next release, The Night Market, will be released in January 2018. I'm definitely looking forward to that. 


© 2017 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

Orion | November 2016 | 368 pgs
Source: Library



Lovemurder is the second book of the Valerie Hart Series and though I haven't read the first book I found myself engaged in this compelling thriller featuring San Francisco Homicide detective Valerie Hart. 

When Valerie got called to a crime scene the last thing she expect is to find herself seeing Katherine Glass again. Known for her beauty, intelligence and ruthlessness in crimes, Katherine is being convicted for six counts of assault and murder. While Katherine is put behind bars, her other accomplice known as The Man in the Mask (or 'Lucien Chastain' if that is what he is named) is still at large. The latest murder case bears all the hallmarks of the previous six victims; and as if that is not enough there is a note from Katherine's ex-accomplice addressing to Valerie with implications that sent shivers down her spine. Valerie had seen the footages of their previous crimes six years ago and till today it still haunts her. But she is a cop and to stop more killings she has no choice but to confront Katherine, again, and get her to decipher the messages which the killer has sent her.  

Lovemurder is one compelling serial killer thriller. Each character is flawed and that nothing here is all black and white. Valerie and Katherine are two interesting women who will make the reader wonder about their inner world, their personal demons and their state of mind. Valerie is a devoted detective and despite after six years Katherine still get under her skin. Katherine is an intelligent and a manipulative woman who seems to understand the fragility of a person's mind and one who knows how to make good use of it. 

Lovemurder is not only a dark, riveting thriller but also an exploration of Valerie's and Katherine's mind. Their exchanges is one of the engaging parts of this story, alongside the killer's murder attempts. Katherine's ex-accomplice, however, is more of a shadow and his identity is a mystery; and although I understand his real self would be revealed towards the end it didn't come off as a surprise to me. The plot and the characterisation are well balance so overall this book kept me on edge. I'll be interested to read the The Killing Lessons, which is the first book of the Valerie Hart Series (these two books can be read out of order since the cases are standalone). 


© 2017 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

Imprint | May 2017 | 352 pgs
Source: Library



This is the first book of The Traitor's Trilogy and it's a tale revolving around secret identities, espionage, lies, wars and of course some romance what with that title. 

16-year-old Sage Fowler is unlike any other young ladies in Demoran. Raised by her uncle after her parents' pass, she is often viewed as a courageous yet an obstinate girl who would not be married. With her unruly temper and wit, she is then apprenticed to a matchmaker, Mistress Rodelle, and their current task is to wrangler other young ladies to be married off for political alliances on their way to the quinquennial Concordium. 

With a treason to overthrow the king and a kingdom on the brink of war, Captain Alexander Quinn and his army are assigned to escort these brides-to-be across the borders alongside a spy mission as they make their long journey towards the capital city of Tennegol. Although not a beauty like the other young ladies, Sage caught the attention of the captain through her intelligence and her quick response to matters. Already disguised as one of the "brides" for mingling and observing the other girls for the matchmaking assignments, Sage is glad to help their escorts on a spy mission and as fate could have it, she finds herself attracted to a soldier and vice versa. But with so many uncertainties and dangers lurking around, Sage doesn't know who to trust the more she finds herself deep into the infiltration. And most of all, would she even come out of the mission alive? 

The Traitor's Kiss fulfilled my fantasy fix and I was so glad to discover this new trilogy series featuring a brave heroine (yay, girl power!) and an unforgettable love story that have me anticipating for the next book. Right from the beginning I knew this story would keep me engaged not only with the world building (Demoran is one of the many nations which is divided by class and very often connections are established through matched marriages within and outside Demoran) and the characters but also there are enough espionage and twist that had me on edge alongside the action. I liked a few characters here, and I found myself rooted for Sage and her brave soldier. Though the end read like a standalone without an intense cliffhanger, still I couldn't get enough of this story. I hope the second book will release quickly. 


© 2017 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


Quercus | January 2017 | 416 pgs
Source: Purchased



Nowadays I'm a bit skeptical with titles that have "The Girl" on them, especially psychological thrillers. It isn't a bad thing, really, just that I feel they are overused and that very often they have unreliable characters and this book is no exceptional, although I felt the cold setting of the house at One Folgate Street more frightening. 

Told from the past and present between Emma and Jane, this story revolves around these two women and their stay at the beautiful house at One Folgate Street. Built by a minimalist architect by the name of Edward Monkford, the projects he designs and develops always bear his signature of high quality and are built with intelligent, high technology systems. His works has won him numerous awards but to property agents and clients he could comes off a bit... austere. 

Both Emma and Jane are looking at houses for rental; the former told from the past and the latter at present time. They decided the house on One Folgate Street after been through many house sightings. For starters, the house is bare with minimal furniture and there are rules and regulations to follow (i.e. no books, no throw pillows, no photos or personal effects of any kind) and the oddest of all, their applications have to be approved by Edward and those forms come with a set of questions ranging from anything house related to their personal opinions on various matters and if these "requirements" don't set off any alarms I don't know what would. So that begins the story of Emma and Jane, and the eccentric Edward. Emma and Jane came off as unreliable due to their traumatic past and both of them find Edward charming but cold. As the story progresses, their personality start to change too as they try to adapt to their new environment and all that requirements. 

I got the feeling that The Girl Before wouldn't be a fit for all readers (it features some sexually suggestive scenarios and there are also issues on control and submission). At times I wondered if the characters are experiencing Stockholm Syndrome under some circumstances and it was all very perplexing, considering the decisions they made. Then again, who did I really believe considering many of the characters here are unreliable? The twist wasn't what I expected (I confessed I was too invested in the dynamics between the two women and what they have gone through instead), but I figured if one pay enough attention it wouldn't come off as a great surprise. Overall it was a riveting, suspenseful psychological thriller but disturbing at some point. 


© 2017 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

Flatiron Books | April 2017 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



This book is a romance about romances. With a romance plot set side-by-side with another fictional romance, this story tells a tale about a bond between two sisters and their dreams set during the 1930s in a small town of Lynn, Massachusetts and another in Romancelandia, featuring a charismatic privateer (or a pirate) and a proper young woman on her way into entering the society. 

Since young, Neave Terhune knew she doesn't fit anywhere; she's not as sociable and glamorous like her twin sister, Lilly. Despite their characteristics differences they are each other's confidante, playmate and business partner when they first launched their cosmetic business during their teenage years (never mind if it's small and most of their clients are the neighbourhood housewives and school girls). Neave may live in Lilly's shadow but she is smart whereas Lilly has a sharp eye when it comes to makeup and fashion. They have an older brother, Snyder, who's into comics books and a younger sister, Janey. 

Neave loves reading but her books are limited, let alone choices thus she is glad to take up the job of reading to old Mrs Daniels because she has a lot of books. Neave isn't allowed to read romance due to her age, hence she is excited to find a copy of The Pirate Lover when Mrs Daniels is not looking. She is fascinated by the world of Romancelandia, and most of all she is fascinated by the gutsy Electra Gates as she met her equal, the infamous privateer Basil Le Cherche. All the way throughout Neave's adulthood, that romance copy continues to stay with her even after Mrs Daniels's passing. The two sisters are still as close after Lilly remarried for the second time and that's when the trouble starts when Lilly's husband starts to get violent. 

With Electra's story parallels to Neave's, the reader will see the similarities between these two women as they met their own dangers and challenges. There's even a bit of the supernatural element as there are parts narrated by Lilly from the afterlife (this is not a spoiler as it begins right from the start), including Neave's protector, Mr Boppit the dog. It was an unusual story but yet a wildly original and an entertaining one and I loved it (I even enjoyed Electra's story and reading it has inspired me to look out for more pirate romance books.) 


© 2017 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

Fight for My Way is a drama about dreams, inspirations and love among four young people who have grown up together and how they go on to attain their goals after through some tears and loss.

Ko Dong-man (starring Park Seo-joon) took up taekwondo since his high school days and had won a few awards. However a painful past involving his opponent, Kim Tak-su (starring Kim Kun-woo) made him quit the sports altogether. His childhood friend, Choi Ae-Ra (starring Kim Ji-won), has this dream of becoming an announcer and unfortunately her hope of being an announcer is often dashed either due to her limited qualifications or meeting her rival/stumbling block in Park Hye-ran (starring Lee Elijah), who is Dong-man's first love and a well-known anchor.

On the other end is a pair of couple, Kim Joo-man (starring Ahn Jae-hong) and
Baek Seol-hee (starring Song Ha-yoon) whose relationship is threatened by not a third party but one assuming too much and taking the other party for granted. Too often, we overlook at things and think otherwise until something happens and by then it might be too late to recover the loss we may have implied upon ourselves.

And of course the highlight is the romance between Dong-man and Ae-Ra, considering they are the lead characters and they have come a long way to becoming lovers; but unlike Joo-man and Seol-hee it is the fear of losing the other which is the obstacle since Dong-man has overcome the past and find his confidence again now in mixed martial arts fighting. It has taken Dong-man a while to be back on that RFC ring and Ae-Ra is scared that there would be no second chance this time around after his previous injury. But Dong-man has a dream to fulfil and to compete with Tak-su once again in an equal fight. 

I enjoyed this drama. It was inspirational in a way and the chemistry between Seo-joon and Ji-won sizzled. Dong-man and Ae-Ra's romance was overloaded with sweetness and would make any romantic swoon with pleasure. There are also bits about family bonds which are heartwarming. Overall it was a nice romantic comedy with some kicks, pun intended. And I was glad to see Park Seo-joon back on screen after his previous drama, Hwarang, which I enjoyed so much. Now onto The Bride of Habaek, a romance fantasy featuring a water god and his mission on earth.


© 2017 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

St Martin's Press | May 2017 | 336 pgs
Source: Library



Although there are some underlying tone of domestic issues and unhappy marriages what with that title, this book actually revolves around the friendship of three women - Kate, Aubrey and Jenny. Kate is beautiful, wealthy and wild; Aubrey comes from a poor broken family and through financial aid she arrives at Carlisle hoping that it'd change her path thereafter; and finally there's Jenny who is intelligent and ambitious. Despite the clash of personalities, the trio are roommates and friendship blossoms quickly until they are inseparable. 

Right from the start, we know something bad is going to happen as the author takes her reader immediately to a scene twenty years later that portrays two nameless characters locked in a tense situation with one urging the other to jump off a bridge. As in most cases with problematic couples, it's always the husband who comes to mind first whenever his partner dies under mysterious circumstances.

The story was told in two parts with a different timeline. The first was focused on the three young women and their college life at Carlisle. Here we read about their busy life as they juggle between their studies and their personal life. Wild parties, flirting with boys, drinking and drugs taking seem to be the norm when Kate is concerned. Aubrey is her follower and while Jenny doesn't always approve of their behaviours, she loves her two friends dearly. Unfortunately, a terrible accident happened to an innocent young man during a squabble and that guilt hangs onto the three women till their adult life. The case is closed with the conclusion that the young man was suicidal after he was being forced to stop playing hockey due to his leg injury but of course Kate, Aubrey and Jenny knew better.

The second part moves on to their marriage life and the continuation of their dynamics and each woman now harbours a deep secret and not even their husbands knew what happened on that fateful night which involved their wives (whether directly or indirectly). As one of them dies under a mysterious circumstances, a new police chief in town is asked to look into the case and the past of these women's life is being looked into once again and this time around, it's even more complicated as there are marital woes and deceptions and it's no longer the women's affair alone anymore. Did one of their husbands get murderous? 

This was an average read to me although the premise kept me on edge and I was curious to see how it all played out in the end. And of course I wouldn't turn down on a story filled with secrets and betrayals with an Ivy League setting. Most of the characters are unlikeable and unreliable; I didn't feel any connection to any of them though I felt pity to one or two of them under some circumstances. Overall it was an engaging read and I'd say it's more of a case of characters study and behaviours. 


© 2017 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

St. Martin's Press | June 2017 | 400 pgs
Source: Library



As the title indicates, this is a psychological thriller about the different implications of each individual the way they see things and how far one would go to save oneself and to make others believe his/her side of the story. 

Summer, 1999. Kit is an avid eclipse chaser. He is the kind of person who would travel to anywhere to witness and capture that phenomenon of nature; and his girlfriend Laura follows him to a festival in Cornwall for this purpose. This is Laura's first and Kit shares her excitement as well. However, after they've witnessed that grand moment Laura stumbles upon an act which would lead her and Kit as witnesses in a trial. While Kit only sees what happened after what Laura has witnessed, it is a matter of trust and then it's Laura's words against the perpetrator during the trial since the statement of the accuser isn't clear. The battle rages on and finally a sentence is announced. 

Fifteen years after that unforgettable aftermath, Laura and Kit continues their life as a married couple but that fear of being stalked and having the past catches up on them never cease. As the story progresses, their fear intensifies and thereafter there is a change of the dynamics and momentum which would result in a twisty conclusion. 

He Said/She Said is an outstanding literary psychological thriller I've read thus far this year. The author sure knows how to build the intensity/suspense gradually and that shows in this book because it was a slow read from the beginning (I almost gave up at some point but now looking back I was so, SO glad I didn't!) and when the real excitement begins there's no stopping it and you couldn't help but to follow that ride. And the characters are well developed and is narrated by Laura and Kit between the present and the past alternatively. Aside from the suspense we also see the dynamic between Laura and Kit and how they cope under some circumstances. I've not read anything like this (that excitement and that tension!) in a while and this deserves a 5-star for the well-drawn characters, the plot and not to mention that killer twist which really took me by surprise (a really good twist and not just because.) Highly recommended! 



© 2017 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 Publishers | February 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library



The Possessions is an extraordinary story of a woman named Eurydice "Edie" who has an even extraordinary profession that allows her to reconnect with her clients' lost loved ones. Known as "bodies" among their profession, they wear discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills they called "lotuses" to summon the spirits. Edie has been with the Elysian Society for five years, which is an unusual record for her. In this field, she finds success with her careful detachment and avoidance of personal contact with her clients while she seeks refuge in the lotuses' anesthetic effects. She has had no problem channelling into the dead world until Sylvia Braddock. 

Sylvia is believed to be drowned in a lake and her grieving husband, Patrick, goes to the Elysian Society hoping to find a "body" so as he could reconnect with his deceased wife. Edie should be aware of the rules set by the society, but for some reason she is drawn to the mystery surrounding Sylvia and then there is that tube of lipstick passed on to her by Patrick; an object belonging to Sylvia and that it might help to bring her closer in channelling Sylvia. As the days go by and the more Edie knows Patrick through the sessions they have had, she finds herself drawn to him and his history with Sylvia. What happened to the Braddocks couple and is there more to Sylvia's death? 

Part mystery, part supernatural and part love story, at its core of this story it is about one's desire and obsession and how it changes not one but several people's life as the situations arise. Sara Flannery Murphy has written a very unusual tale in The Possessions; I find her writing and the premise absorbing and most of all, the profession of being a "body", in which one could communicate with the dead and this reminds me so much of one of the Chinese beliefs that it is possible to contact the spirits of the deceased through a medium among others

Although I found it to be a little creepy beneath the premise, surprisingly there are also moments which are filled with hearts and melancholy despite the darkness/morbidness of death. The Possessions was an original and an unforgettable tale indeed and I look forward to this author's future release. 


© 2017 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

Kensington | March 2017 (Reprint) | 320pgs
Source: Library



Charlie Donlea's debut novel was a joy to read as it has all the elements of a good psychological suspense. Filled with intrigue and a sense of urgency in terms of pacing and the unravelling of truth surrounding the murder of a female law student, Summit Lake had me on edge throughout my reading journey and I was glad to find a new author and whose books which I'm going to add to my wishlist in future. 

Alternating between the past and the present, this is a story about the life of four law students and the chronicle of a journalist's journey into breaking a mystery and seeking justice and finding peace alongside her search of unravelling the truth of Becca Eckersley's death. At first glance, Becca's death is pointed to a house robbery case gone bad after the police couldn't find any concrete evidence that indicated it was a homicide. While the local police commander is skeptical about the conclusion, there is nothing much he could do about it especially the case is being handed over to the state detective's bureau. The case remains that way until Penn Courtney, the editor of Events magazine sent their journalist, Kelsey Castle, towards Summit Lake to dig into Becca's case and write an article on it. While Penn's initial purpose is to get Kelsey back onto her feet after an assault incident has rendered her emotionally traumatised, what they didn't expect is there is indeed something more about Becca's case and Kelsey is adamant to find out everything as not only she wants justice for Becca but also she might overcome her dark past and find peace again considering she came out of an assault incident alive, unlike Becca. 

Summit Lake was an absorbing read. I was engaged in the picturesque town of Summit Lake and Becca's busy college life as well as her tight-knit friendship with fellow students - Brad, Jack and Gail. Becca is a social butterfly and is well liked by her peers. Guys find her attractive but Becca is often clueless at how her friendliness and her warmth might spark some misunderstanding among those who harbours deep affection in her.

I loved it that the story was perfectly crafted as the chapters alternate between what had happened and Kelsey's current findings and how eventually these two intersected towards the end to reveal that final picture. The characters are well developed too as the story progresses, giving readers the gist of each character's personality and how an event has changed each of their lives and led to no return. I'd have given this a 5-star rating but I wasn't convinced by one particular scenario thus a 4.5 star (Spoiler Alert - highlight to show: Becca was heavily pregnant at a stage and yet no one even noticed.) That said, it was still a suspenseful read and I'll be sure to check out the author's latest release, The Girl Who Was Taken



© 2017 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

HQ  | March 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library


Sometimes I Lie is the second choice of a poll I conducted awhile back and I want to thank you again for helping me with the selection. 

In this book, we have Amber Reynolds as our unreliable narrator and she's in a coma. However, readers are able to read her thoughts through her subconscious mind although she remains comatose. We also learn that she hates her job working in the radio industry and most of all, she dislikes Madeline Frost, a well-known radio presenter of Coffee Morning because of the way she treats her lowly and coldly. Amber has also received a verbal warning from her boss that if she hasn't 'reconnect her ties' with Madeline, she'd be the one to leave her job. 

Back at home isn't entirely a bed of roses for Amber too as her relationship with her husband, Paul, has gone lukewarm. Worse, she suspects Paul of having an affair and that she is jealous that her younger sister, Claire, is getting chummy with Paul. What with her drab situation and her unhappy adolescence stage, it is easy to see why Amber is miserable and resentful so much so that she wants Madeline to be out of her life. 

Narrated in three different timeline 'Now', 'Then' and 'Before'; each timeline chronicles the events and emotionally state of Amber between her current circumstances of being comatose, the incidents occurred at home and at work before her coma and several diary entries respectively. While it was a boldly plotted thriller filled with many twists which had me reeling, I had mixed feelings about this book. Most of the characters here are unlikeable but this is not the main thing which got to me. I think my main issue probably lies with the twists, which was funny (and not to mention unthinkable) since that this element is at times essential in a psychological thriller but it was hard to say it without spoiling it. That being said, it was an unputdownable read and I think this would make a great reading group discussion.


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Melody

I've to admit it was Park Hae-jin who is what made me drawn to this drama initially. A cool charismatic secret agent with the NIS, he portrays many roles as undercover for each mission he's assigned to. You can say he's unattached to feelings and nothing deters him until he is assigned as a bodyguard to popular action star, Yeo Woon-gwang (starring Park Sung-woong). Filling up the role as a bodyguard is easy-peasy to Kim Sul-woo; after all he has another more challenging mission to fulfill under the disguise of Woon-gwang's bodyguard. As in each assignment, there is bound to be some obstacles and in this case it is Woon-gwang's manager, Cha Do-ha (starring Kim Min-jung) who gets under Sul-woo's skin. 


Sassy and smart, Do-ha is also a diligent and devoted manager and although they are working partners they are more like close friends who keep a look out for each other. When the management decided to engage a bodyguard for Woon-gwang, Do-ha isn't pleased but she tolerates Sul-woo. As the days go, the trio's attitude changes. Woon-gwang began to see Sul-woo like a brother, while Do-ha keeps getting mixed signals from Sul-woo. Despite his hot and cold treatment, Do-ha thinks Sul-woo is attracted to her and this makes her heart flutters. 

In the middle of the trio's connection is the secret mission Sul-woo is engaging and this is where conspiracies and deceptions are child's play in Sul-woo's world but his mission has somehow involved Woon-gwang and Do-ha and it is up to him (or with the other two) to straighten things out before all hells break loose.


Man to Man is a combination of action drama and romance and it was such a pleasure seeing Park Hae-jin portrayed as a charismatic secret agent/bodyguard. Despite his cool demeanour he was actually a tender and considerate gentleman behind his mask, and it was refreshing to see this new side of him when he was with Do-ha after they see each other differently thereafter. I was thinking about that ending after the credits rolled and decided it was appropriate though it wasn't really clear cut. I convinced myself it was a suitable ending considering Sul-woo's profession after all. Yes that must be it.

(Pictures credit: Google Image)


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Melody

HarperCollins Publishers | June 2016 | 384 pgs
Source: Library



Jill Shalvis' books are well known to be witty, fun and filled with hearts and I'm glad Sweet Little Lies is no exceptional. 

Pru Harris is one extraordinary heroine. As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, she has met all kinds of people and has handled the boat swiftly under dire weather, but yet it sets her heart flutter whenever she set her eyes on pub owner, Finn O'Riley. Not a person to believe in love and destiny, Pru simply brushes her 'heart pounding syndrome' away to plain silliness and continues her plans to help a few people in which a drunk-driving accident years ago had altered their lives. Pru's parents were social drinkers and although what they'd caused to other people's lives isn't Pru's fault, she couldn't help feeling guilty after what it has caused those affected families. Finn and his younger brother, Sean, are one of the affected families and since the death of their father, Finn has to abandon his baseball scholarship and take up the role and responsibility to support Sean. Their mother had left them since they were young and due to all these, Finn doesn't do anything fun anymore but to focus on his pub business and his younger brother. 

Although Pru feels bad for the O'Rileys siblings, it isn't the reason why she is attracted to Finn. She likes the way how he handles things smoothly, and not to mention his seriousness and responsibility in running his business and taking good care of Sean. And things are definitely looking bright for Pru and Finn the more they spend more time with each other, although Pru initially hasn't have any thoughts about them being romantically linked eventually. She knew she has to tell Finn about what happened and who caused his father's death at some point before their relationship goes deeper, but she isn't ready for that little happiness to end. 

Filled with witty dialogues and interesting supporting characters, this is a wonderful first book of the Heartbreaker Bay series which warmed and touched me in many ways. During my reading journey, I'd been thinking about Pru's dilemma and thinking what a girl should do under this circumstances. Of course the truth is always the best policy, but for Pru it is always the lack of good timing and most of all, the fear of losing a good man and a friend.  

I can see why Jill Shalvis is a popular author when it comes to contemporary romance as her characters come to life under her skilful hands and her stories are always heartwarming and yes, filled with sizzling romances, too. Now I've to add her other books of this series to my wishlist and also to catch up on her Lucky Harbor series, too. Oh, so many books so little time! 


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Melody

Flatiron Books | January 2017 | 336 pgs
Source: Library



Luke lied. You lied. 

Four words. Yet they are powerful enough to send Federal agent Aaron Falk back to his hometown in Kiewarra where he grew up in twenty years. Luke Hadler, now dead and survived only by baby Charlotte, is believed to have murdered his wife and young son before ending his own life. Now stationed in Melbourne, Falk didn't want to return to Kiewarra despite what happened to his late childhood friend. Kiewarra has brought him too much bad memories; memories that remind him of Ellie Deacon's death and how he and his father were caught in the middle of it twenty years ago. With no concrete proof, the Falks were forced to leave Kiewarra with much contempt from its residents. Till this day, no one really knew what happened to Ellie on that fateful day she ended up drowned in the river. 

However, Aaron knew he owed it to Luke's parents; after all they treated him kindly like their own back then and he knew they all wouldn't rest until the truth surrounding Luke and his family's death came to light. Together with Sergeant Greg Raco who is looking into the case, they go through what's left of Luke's traces and found out that Kiewarra is filled with buried secrets and deceptions and that one could do anything to protect his back, even if it means murder. 

The Dry was one of the best books I read thus far. Part suspense and part police procedural, this story takes readers to the quiet suburb Kiewarra where its residents are threatened by the drought and how they are trying to make the best for their farming business. We have several suspects and at times they are linked with Ellie's death, considering her death remains a mystery and some residents aren't happy to see Aaron's return. 

This book is brilliant and well written in a sense that the story was well developed from the beginning with both the characterisation and the setting. Then suspense seeped in and the intensity rose like the searing heat; and by then the book was hard to put down because you just want to find out the truth. The Dry is Jane Harper's debut novel but it certainly didn't feel like one. I fell in love with Jane's writing and the way she plotted her story beautifully. I also liked it that how the two mysteries are woven together smoothly yet they are on its own and each has a story to tell. In the end, I was left with a hollow feeling not because the book was bad (I loved it, remember?) but how it affected me to see what the victims' had gone through with their wrongful death. The ending was beautifully done too; and I was satisfied to see not only one but both cases (Luke's and Ellie's) closed as well. Highly recommended.



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Melody
Atria | March 2017 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



A case of a missing woman. For Virginia Knightly, this is simply one of those many sad stories she has seen or heard given that she is the producer of DC's top-rated evening news program but for some reason she feels empathy and a connection with Evelyn Carney, who has gone missing after she was last seen leaving a busy restaurant after an unpleasant conversation with her husband. Even Evelyn's best friend has no idea what happened and she is equally stumped as everyone else.

As Virginia goes on her way to dig more information about Evelyn and retrace her every last movements, she soon finds out that her personal quest has became a risk to her career as well as her life as someone who has more power and authority intends to keep that news a secret.

The Cutaway may seem like a typical thriller which has our narrator running about and solving her case ultimately, but what makes this book stands out amongst the rest is aside from the suspense, the author also offers readers an insider's look of the TV news industry and what it takes for the journalists to deliver those evening news to us. The story then move on to a more complexity turn when it mixes politics with the media and we all know how big and bad this would play out when something happens.

The beginning of the story focus more on Virginia's role as a news producer, her exchanges with her crew and what they do behind the scenes and I found these all to be very interesting and made me in awe of what it takes to be a successful TV journalist. However, there is a sharp edge to Virginia's voice and while it took me some time to warm up to her, yet from another angle this made her to be a dedicated person and combined with her fierce determination this has become an asset to her job. All in all it was a great first novel and I'll be looking forward to more of this author's work in the near future.


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Melody
St. Martin's Press | March 2017 (Reprint) | 368 pgs
Source: Library



Princess Mayavati of Bharata is believed to be cursed since young. She is known to causes a marriage of death and destruction with her horoscope and due to this she is always feared and scorned at her father's kingdom. Scholarly pursuits and her sister Gauri are the only thing that keep her going but they are short-lived after she knew her father is arranging a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. She is prepared to poison herself when a stranger arrived on time to save her. That stranger is Amar, Raja of Akaran and he is one of the other fifteen suitors for the political wedding, although she didn't see him during the introductions until she decided to end her life. 

With nothing left and Bharata in chaos, Maya is left with no choice but to follow Amar but Akaran is a place like no other for it is divided between the human realm and the Otherworld. Now as Akaran's queen, Maya starts to find some magical power which allows her to explore many impossible and unbelievable tasks; in which some are led to choices she has no way of choosing since each outcome bears a consequences. And most of all, Maya feels Amar is keeping some secrets about Akaran. Can he be trusted? And what are the secrets hanging around Akaran that makes Maya decides to take all the risk in unravelling the truth? 

Roshani Chokshi has spun a magical story in The Star-Touched Queen set in the mysterious and atmospheric Akaran (or Naraka) filled with Indian folklore and mythology and some elements of fate, reincarnation and romance. I had a wonderful time reading this because it surprised me on many levels, especially since I had no idea what to expect of this story initially and it was great fun watching it unfold. There is another book about Maya's sister, Gauri, in A Crown of Wishes. However, the stories are not really connected thus each could read as a standalone.



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Melody

Tom Doherty Associates | March 2017 | 352 pgs
Source: Library


Mia Haas left her hometown in Wayoata to begin a new life in Chicago. The idea of going back home has never crossed her mind until she received a phone call from Wayoata Police Chief, John Pruden. For a moment, Mia thought something has happened to her mother. She used to be an alcoholic and an accident had caused some trauma to her head. She is now living at a care home. But no, the call isn't about her but Lucas, who is Mia's twin brother. 

Lucas, who is a popular high school teacher, becomes a person of interest in a murder investigation of a sixteen-year-old girl named Joanna Wilkes. Joanna was one of Lucas's students, and there are rumours that they were romantically linked. Pruden's purpose of calling is to ask Mia to return to Wayoata to help them with their investigation, considering that Lucas couldn't be found and hopefully Lucas would turn himself in after "hearing" Mia's appeal. But of course Mia wouldn't do that; for she believes Lucas is the last person to have harmed an animal, let alone a person who is his student. Mia returns to Wayoata to unravel the truth herself, and soon finds out that things aren't as easy as she has thought; and on top of it she doesn't know who to trust given some bad blood with one or two residents and that she has lost the rapport with the Wayoata residents given she has been away for such a long while. Nevertheless, she is eager to find another suspect to prove Lucas's innocence but at times she wonders if Lucas is indeed guilty; after all why did he disappear if he is innocent? 

Follow Me Down was quite an addictive read surrounding Mia's quest in searching the truth and while it has an intriguing beginning, the middle tends to drag a bit and I found myself struggling to get through it as Mia "reunites" with the residents, get herself involved with her old guidance counsellor and a few other stuff alongside with her own investigation. I skimmed through bits of the book and continued with my reading earnestly when the momentum picked up once again. Despite the little hiccups I'd had with the book, I was curious to know what happened and I was glad I enjoyed it ultimately.


© 2017 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.