Melody

Penguin | December 2016 | 368 pgs
Source: Library



14th November, 1980. Annie Doyle is murdered while she is out discussing a deal with Andew Fitzsimons, a High Court judge who would do anything to please his wife, Lydia. Annie's body is quickly buried in their garden, after all nowhere else is safer than your own property, isn't it? Avalon is their luxurious house and no one has access without their permission, especially when the Fitzsimons' reputation is concerned. Avalon is an old estate which has passed on by Lydia's father and her grandfather, and Lydia would hang onto it fiercely no matter whatever the circumstances is. Little does they know that their only teenage son, Laurence, got home early on that fateful night and has questions about their lies.

Karen Doyle isn't convinced that her sister, Annie is dead and is adamant of finding her on her own. The investigations have long been ceased after there wasn't any lead on the case and with Annie's notorious behaviour of a wild loose girl, everyone believes she might have flee her Dublin home and move in some other places with a new identity. Karen thinks otherwise; she knew her sister plus there isn't anything missing from her rented place. The years go by and some circumstances led Laurence and Karen befriended each other. And what happened in the past would begin to unravel slowly and by then the wheels of motion has been set and it is not stopping until another tragedy strikes.

Told from three persons' POV, Lying in Wait was an absorbing read about an unplanned murder go haywire. While this story doesn't have a cast of unreliable narrators, many of them are not particularly likeable. This whydunit kind of suspense has a strong sense of foreboding and intrigue that made this an unputdownable book. As the story progresses, readers will get to know more about these three narrators and their history, and what they would do to protect the person they loved. The ending would absolutely chill you and set you thinking at the same time.



© 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 | February 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library



The Chalk Pit is the ninth installment of Elly Griffiths' Dr Ruth Galloway mystery and though I jumped into this book without any idea of the characterisations or the writing style, I found myself enjoying this book featuring the main protagonist and DCI Harry Nelson working together during their investigations.

When some human bones are found buried beneath the grounds of an old chalk-mining tunnel in Norwich during an excavation for a new development project, Ruth thinks they are probably medieval although she is skeptical about their translucence appearance; a sign that they were boiled soon after death.

On the other end, DCI Nelson and his team are following up on a case of a missing homeless woman named Barbara after a few fellow homeless people reported not seeing her for weeks. There are some rumours about underground societies, ritual activities and even cannibalism but Ruth remains objective. Then two homeless people were found murdered and two more women were reported missing that make Ruth and the police think that there are something more than meet the eye surrounding the underground tunnels and they may have to dig deeper to unravel the mystery.

Despite my limited knowledge of the cast of characters, I found myself absorbed in this book quickly and it didn't take me too much time to get to know more about the characters and I loved it that way considering I was new to this series and on top of it I read it out of order. Ruth and Nelson are two very engaging characters with their past history and their complicated relationship (Nelson has two grown up children with his wife and another younger daughter with Ruth. Nelson stay married to his wife and his relationship with Ruth is considered more like friends. However, something happened along the way which I think might alter these characters' perspective and I'm very curious to see where this would take them in the future books.)

Another thing worth mentioning is the insight of the homeless people while reading this book. The author has covered several aspects about their circumstances and experiences which I couldn't help but to feel for them and while some were poor and not highly educated, a few had actually led a normal life until some situations pushed them off the edge.

All in all this was an intriguing read. Most of all, the dynamic between Ruth and Nelson kept me engaged throughout the book. I'll be sure to check out the other books of this series.



© 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 | February 2015 | 352 pgs
Source: Library



This first novel by Sandra Block is a story about Freudian nightmare and the dark side of memories, family and the strain and bond that connect us all, as well as the discovery of one's own empathy. 

Dr. Zoe Goldman is a resident in training in a psychiatric ward in Buffalo, New York. Aside from tending to troubled patients, she is intrigued by a new patient who murdered her mother. While Sofia's case is disturbing, Zoe on the other end has her own baggage; she was adopted and she wants to know why and how her biological mother passed, especially she has been plagued by nightmares of a fire during her childhood. To complicate matters, her adoptive mother loses her memory to dementia and she has to rely on her own to search for the answers. 

Of course we all know that the truth might not be pleasant and what we know might hurt us; so ultimately Zoe would find out the truth surrounding her past and well, what a surprise it was. 

I read Little Black Lies with no idea where this story would take me so I enjoyed that moment of having the story unveiling itself to me. Zoe was an interesting character with some emotional baggage. Overall, the story was intriguing but I thought there's still room for improvement concerning the characters' development. That being said, Little Black Lies was an intriguing read and I am curious where the author would take us in her next Zoe Goldman series, The Girl Without a Name


© 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 | January 2016 | 288 pgs
Source: Library


The Poison Artist was an extraordinary mystery I read among many others; one which totally engaged me from the beginning till the end with the writer's prose right up to how this story was skilfully crafted and told.

Dr. Caleb Maddox is a toxicologist and he is also studying the chemical effects of pain. One evening after a fallout with his artist girlfriend, he goes to a bar and encounter a mysterious woman. Bewitched by her quiet and seductive demeanour over a glass of absinthe, he knew he has to find her by every means.

During his search, there were a few missing men who turned up dead and the post-mortems are inconclusive. Henry, who is Caleb's old friend and a medical examiner, has secretly sought Caleb's insight on the chemical evidence left on the victims' bodies. It turned out that one of the victims was at the same bar the night Caleb frequented; the night which he encountered the mysterious woman.

What follows subsequently was a series of searching and finding answers both from Inspector Kennon as well as Caleb. And as the story progresses, Caleb's search for the killer as well as the mysterious woman entwine and the closer he gets to them he finds himself more confused and putting him in an unfavourable position.

The Poison Artist was a lethally gripping thriller which entranced this reader from its first page till the last. The author's writing was precise and well-written; I found the scenes between Caleb and the mysterious woman to be the most engaging and all the time I was both fascinated and wary of her. Caleb, on the other hand, was obsessed by her despite he knew very little of this woman and that too often her appearance in places are deemed to be questionable. Most of all, I liked it that this story threw me off with its surprises, though I think the outcome may not appease to all readers. Still, I would recommend this to readers who love a good mystery. 


© 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


I loved this K-drama. With elements such as a power supergirl with a few buttkicking moves, thrown in some complicated love issues and a super evil psychopath and you will have Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

I will skip the plot since the above about sums up the overall picture of this fantasy romcom. What this drama captivated me is the fantastical portrayal of Do Bong Soon (starring Park Bo-Young) and her outlook on family, friends and life in general. Generally speaking, she is a simple-minded girl with a big heart and a bigger righteousness mind who would risk dangers to protect anyone who's in need of assistance (be it a simple lift of a heavy bulky item or a life-threatening situation.) 

Her love life, however, is a bit more complicated, though. She has been friends with rookie detective In Gook-du (Starring Ji-Soo) since they were teenagers and she's always carry a torch for him since then but that feelings is always one-sided until later, which I felt was way too late since by then she was attracted by Ahn Min-hyuk (starring Park Hyung-sik), a young CEO of a video gaming company. She and Min-Hyuk has a history way before they knew each other; and I loved to see how their feelings for each other develop from a boss-subordinate relationship to being a more-than-friends relationship. Their sense of togetherness most often brought a smile to my face be they flirting or clashing with each other's ideas. 



Then, there is the case of the psychopath who abducts young women to be his "brides". This thrilling plot captivated the crime thriller reader in me and it was interesting to see how this suspense involved Bong Soon and Min-Hyuk ultimately. That being said, this drama gravitate more towards the romantic aspect and I loved it all the same. And oh, that ending! *grins*



© 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

Sphere | January 2016 | 480 pgs
Source: Purchased



City of the Lost is Kelley Armstrong's first book of her Casey Duncan series and I was excited to read it as it features a tough, flawed female detective and a setting of the isolated Yukon wilderness.

The story opens with an intriguing scene of Casey visiting her new therapist. Twelve years ago, Casey had killed a man. While an incident had left Casey both emotionally and physically scarred, she knew that man didn't deserve death despite what he had done. She then moved on and became a homicide detective and she knew someday the crime she had committed will catch up on her. On the other end, Diana, who is Casey's best friend, faces a problem involving her ex-husband who is stalking and abusing her. Diana knew there is a town where they would be safe; Rockton has only about 200+ population and it is meant for people who want to shed their old lives, just like them. They managed to get into Rockton after going through some procedures.

While Diana has a valid reason of escaping from her ex-husband, Casey gained her entrance into Rockton as the new detective in town. Sheriff Eric Dalton is wary of Casey as a newbie but Rockton needs her expertise considering they have their very first murder case. Rockton may deem as a sanctuary for those who want to escape their old life, but are all the residents they claimed as who they are? Or was the horrific murder done by the hostiles; those who lost something when they left Rockton had began to lose their humanity and revert to something animalistic?

City of the Lost is a great first book of a new series with an interesting cast of characters and the atmospheric Rockton made this book stand out from the rest. The plot and the suspense captivated me, but it was the characters who held my interest throughout the story. Casey Duncan is a woman who has a flawed past and one who doesn't shy away from the imperfections in life or in people. Her willingness to get involved with an ex-con who had come clean in the initial stage of the story tells a lot about her personality and her way of viewing things in general, never mind if they have a future or not. Her interactions with Sheriff Eric Dalton came off as a slow start and with doubts so it was interesting to see their attitudes towards each other changed as the story progresses. All in all this was an intriguing story and I look forward to reading her next installment, A Darkness Absolute.


© 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

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | April 2017 | 304 pgs
Source: Edelweiss via Publisher (Advance Reading Copy)


Ashford, Vermont, 1975. There was once a Sandeskis family living in a sleepy town where they resided among abandoned mills and factories. Burntown, as they called this town, was their home and the Sandeskis were a happily family. Miles was a respected professor and during his free time, he would make mechanical animals and talking dolls for his young daughter, Eva. But his greatest invention was a plan which was passed on by Miles's father; a machine which would allow the living to communicate with the dead. Then came the Great Flood which Eva believed that was what killed her father and her brother, Errol. Eva and her mother, Lily, left their place and lived off the grid in a campsite on the river's edge with three mystical women who called themselves "fire eaters". These women knew how to breathe and eat fires through a herb they called "devil's snuff" and it also allowed them to see the future through their vision.

Eva, now known as "Necco" on the street, has been hiding away her life ever since her mother passed. According to Lily, her father was murdered by someone called "Snake Eyes" (or the Chicken Man) who wanted her father's invention. But Eva never believed what she was told and thought her mother was under depression and grief, until her mysterious death and Eva's boyfriend being murdered signified that there is indeed someone out there who is looking for her and wants her father's plan.

Along the way, Eva befriended two people; Theo, a high school senior who is scrambling to find her lost bag containing some drugs and money she owes a drugs dealer and Pru, a woman who works as a cafeteria lady at a Catholic School and runs errands for a circus as her other secret life. Pru knew Theo because she has been relying on her for her "vitamins" for some time but she hasn't heard from Theo for awhile and she needs her stuff to get her going. As the lives of these three different women intersect, they knew they have to rely on one another to get their life in order and most of all, to escape from "Snake Eyes" who has begun to close in on them.

Jennifer McMahon's stories never fail to surprise me; each of them is different and I knew I can always count on her for a good escapism read. Be it supernatural, fantasy or thriller, she has a knack for capturing your attention through the various worlds she created and soon you will find yourself engaged in her characterisations and premises, never mind if the subjects might seem bizarre or not. That is how Jennifer McMahon's books are and I like the different style and topics she imply in them. While I was fascinated by Burntown and the imagination of a great machine which could allow the living to communicate with the dead (it sounds creepy!), it was these notion - "one's hope to dream and dare to make them true" and "girl power" which spoke volumes to me. Eva, Theo and Pru have their flaws and I liked how they overcome their issues and daring to dream under difficult circumstances and of course, through the support of their friendship. Pru might be a secondary character but surprisingly, she was my favourite character among all. I liked that she finds her courage and dreams despite she thinks she is fat and worthless; and what she did in the end brought a smile to my face. Burntown may not be my favourite McMahon book but it was quite an inspiring read in my opinion.


© 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

Macmillan | January 2017 | 496 pgs
Source: Library



Rattle is a book which is neither easy to read nor write after turning that last page. It was hard to articulate my thoughts and put them into words as aside from the horror of the crimes, it also features a medical condition of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (Stone Man Syndrome); a rare debilitating disease that causes sufferers to grow a second skeleton which literally traps them in a prison of bone (this definition was extracted from the author's note. For more info please click above link.)

And on top of it all was a terrifying serial killer, named the Bone Collector, is a psychopath who leads two lives - an ordinary man who's like anyone else and a caretaker of his family's macabre museum in another. Aside from abducting little children who seem to have some skeletal deformities, his other modus operandi is leaving rabbit skeletons around either as a clue or as a taunt, nobody knows but Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy is adamant to trace him down and to see that the children are returned safely back to their parents.

But that is not all, two sets of parents (with their children missing) face some marital problems; most of which is one parent is not attentive enough to their family and even DS Etta Fitzroy doesn't escape from her own woes - a stillborn baby and an older broker husband who doesn't really want children. However, Fitzroy's characteristic shine in her devotion to her work amid her personal life.

As for our antagonist the Bone Collector, he remains as a shadow and readers know very little of him until the last quarter of the book; and by then the intensity was full-blown and readers would be caught up by the cat-and-mouse race. Overall, Rattle was quite an unsettling read with a creepy psychopath and his evil deeds and while it was a thrilling read to me, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending. Perhaps there is a sequel to it? I hope so.


© 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 | January 2017 | 400 pgs
Source: Library



It all started with the stained sheets. Dawn and her husband, Rob, had rented a vacation house by the beach for four days and when Dawn later found out that she would lose $200 of the deposit due to the stained sheets, she lost her cool. Miranda, the host, thinks otherwise and thought Dawn has agreed to the terms since she has not heard from her. From there, they started firing each other with accusing emails and texts, calling each other names and proceeds to stalk each other's life online.

But behind these battles hide a bigger façade as Dawn and Miranda each has their family history and secrets to hide from their spouse respectively. For Dawn, she came from a family who offered her minimal love and attention and her teenage life was a mess; hooking up with boys and such until she met her current husband, Rob. Rob didn't know about her past and Dawn sees her marriage as a new start, until she sees Miranda as a threat and she feels she needs to resurrect the old Dawn as she was.

Miranda, on the other end, is a doctor's wife and though her financial status is far better off than Dawn, she relies on the rental income so that she could continue to send money to her 27-year-old son, Thad. Miranda knew Thad is still using drugs on and off and that he also requires money for his art works but she is not willing to cut him off completely the way her husband, Larry, did. Thus, she views Dawn as a threat after the latter has left several nasty and negative reviews on websites and defame her reputation as a trusted host.

As these two different women are set to ruin each other's life, what they didn't realise is their behaviours and the deeds they have done are spiralling out of control and in no time their secrets would be laid bare and would shatter everything they have built all this time. This Is Not Over is a refreshing multi-layered tale about a mundane domestic disagreement which has gone haywire and though what Dawn and Miranda did to each other are way overboard, in some ways some of their behaviours are relatable as at times we will encounter some frustrating or annoying matters and people and whether or not we would let things slide or keep them to heart and make ourselves miserable. Dawn and Miranda aren't likeable characters, that's for sure but they are unforgettable and their stories will remind us about causes and consequences.


© 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

Atria/Emily Bestler Books | January 2017 | 352 pgs
Source: Library



Everything You Want Me to Be is a stunning psychological thriller which explores one's identity and makes you wonder what one would do for love.

Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress. She's been spending her life playing many roles for the people around her; she will be the person what the others want of her and she is good. However, her life changes the day she knew 'LitGeek' on a website. And when she was found brutally murdered in a remote barn in her small town community, many speculate if it is 'LitGeek' who had killed her in cold blood. After all, who knows the real identity hiding behind that screen? Or is it Hattie's boyfriend who had done it? He was clearly in love with her and is his love for her has became an obsession? Finally, is Hattie a manipulator? Did she manipulate people to get what she wants?

Narrated by Hattie, Del (the town's sheriff) and Peter (Hattie's English teacher) and through chapters alternating between the present and the past, this story chronicles the one-year timeline surrounding Hattie's life and the truth about her death. Mindy Mejia entrances the readers right from the beginning through Hattie; a character we don't know if we should trust initially. Hattie may be a people pleaser but she does has a dream to fulfil - living in New York and be a successful Broadway actress. Pine Valley is too small of a town and she is not a farm girl at heart.

This is a well written tale with a balance of suspense and a case of characters study. Hattie was an interesting character; she may be a 17-year-old girl but at times she thinks like an adult. I liked her devotion in the plays and her love for reading. Speaking of reading, there are bits of references of Jane Eyre and Macbeth here and there which may delight fans of these two characters, especially the latter since there are scenes of Hattie rehearsing for the play and some culture is infused into the story as well (e.g. In the backstage world of theatre, some believe that the play is cursed and will only refer the title as "The Scottish Play").

Filled with twists and many unreliable narrators as the story progresses, this book was unputdownable for me as I raced though the last few chapters in one sitting to find out what really happened to Hattie and why she was murdered. It was a great read in terms of the intensity and the suspense but then it left me feeling raw and sad after knowing what happened.


© 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

Random House Publishing Group | December 2016 | 368 pgs
Source: Library
Translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel


Camilla Grebe has written five crime novels with her sister Åsa Träff; two of which were nominated for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year and this novel is her solo American debut. Aside from these, she is also the co-author of the popular Moscow Noir trilogy. The Ice Beneath Her is both an exceptional and a gripping psychological thriller but I have to admit the murder crimes were much too violent to me although they aren't described explicitly.  

When the Swedish police arrived at the scene of a murder, they were shocked to discover an unidentified woman brutally murdered in a posh suburban home. What also makes this brutal crime so disturbing is the violent act of murder resembles an unsolved case ten years ago. Unlike the cold case, this time around they have a suspect and he is the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO, Jesper Orre, as the murder scene took place at his house and he is nowhere to be found. 

Homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson find nothing more informative of Jesper except that he has a playboy reputation and many of his employees and the Union dislike him for his cold management practices. They suspect his characteristics and an affair gone wrong might drive him to being a cold-blooded killer. To gather more clues and to understand the motive of a murderer's mind, they turn to Hanne Lagerlind-Schön, who is once a brilliant criminal profiler but had "retired" ten years ago. No one knows of her unhappy marriage and the sickness which is slowly creeping up onto her, but she is eager to share her expertise with the police again despite her husband's opposition. While the police is glad to have Hanne's assistance, Peter isn't so glad as he and Hanne had had a love affair before and Peter left Hanne without an explanation. 

Two months earlier, Emma Bohman is searching for Jesper too. Emma and Jesper's chance encounter had led to a swift romance and they were inseparable since. However, Jesper wanted Emma to keep their romance quiet as he didn't want to bring attention to the media considering his position. Emma yielded to his request but with Jesper's disappearance, she is both confused and lost and thus begins her search for her runaway lover. 

This novel is narrated by three voices - Peter, Hanne and Emma. As the story progresses, we see Peter and Hanne race against time to find their answers leading to the perpetrator while battling their own internal struggle whether or not to be with each other, again. Emma's narrative was chronicled in a way that begins her relationship with Jesper right to the time she goes in search for Jesper. I found this parallel narrations was what makes this multi-layered story a compelling read even though halfway through the book I suspected where the direction was going but still the outcome surprised me. I hope this book will begin a new series featuring Peter, Manfred and Hanne, though I thought this was a great stand-alone, too.


© 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
Lake Union Publishing | April 2014 | 304 pgs
Source: Library



Catherine McKenzie has a way of building intensity no matter whatever the topics are. Last year I read Fractured; a book about family dynamics and the plot simply blew me away. Hidden is no exceptional but this time around she focused more on the complexity of relationships, personal choices and the responsibilities one has towards his loved ones.

Jeff Manning isn't comfortable of firing anyone, especially if the employee used to his superior. Feeling lost and clueless, he consulted Tish on how to deal with this matter with tact. Tish works in the HR department but in another office building. How Jeff and Tish are close was part of the premise of as both of them are happily married to their spouse and have their own teenage child. Despite the distance, they communicated via phone texts or through office emails and nobody knew about their relationship, not even their colleagues and most of all not even their spouse. While most of our minds would wander if their relationship is leaning towards infidelity, the thing is they are more emotional attached to each other than being physical.

Then on that fateful day after Jeff has asked Art to go, he met an accident on his way home. Needless to say, Claire and their teenage son, Seth, are devastated. On the other end, Tish is devastated too but unlike Claire, she couldn't express her grief openly. However, due to company's practice and being a HR personnel she "volunteers" to attend Jeff's funeral on behalf of the company and from there it opens a can of worms for both women.

But that is not all, Catherine McKenzie brings that relationship complexity up a notch as we see Jeff with his estranged older brother, Tim; as well as Claire's who used to go out with Tim before Jeff and she became a couple. 

Narrated by Jeff, Claire and Tish and with chapters alternating between the present and the past, Hidden is an engaging story with a subtle sense of mystery that explores the relationship between a married couple as well as questioning readers if a man and a woman (especially if both are married) be in a platonic relationship without complicating matters? This book would make a great book club discussion and will keep you thinking long after you have finishing reading. 


© 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

Defendant (aka Innocent Defendant) is one of the most exciting dramas I have watched to-date this year (most probably will go onto my favourite list in 2017). Defendant will appeal to fans who like crime/legal thrillers, actions and even melodrama and after watching many dramas with a romance genre in it, I was eager for a change and I was so glad Defendant came up timely. 

The plot basically centers around prosecutor Park Jung Woo (starring Ji Sung) and his plans to escape from prison before he is sentenced to death for a crime of murdering his wife. However, Jung Woo suffered a temporary amnesia and has no idea what happened to that fateful night his wife was murdered and why he was the murderer. While many evidence points to him as the perpetrator, Jung Woo is sure he is being falsely accused because his last memory tells him otherwise. How he ended up in jail he absolutely has no idea. Adamant to find out the truth and to regain his memory, he began to plan his moves and has suffered numerous punishments and sacrifices before he could attain his goal of escaping. But his biggest challenge is to regain his innocence and finds the real perpetrator before he gets to him first. 


As this drama aired only two episodes per week, you can imagine how antsy I was to have to wait for a new week every time the last episode of the week ended. It was that good and I haven't had this kind of anticipation since Descendants of the Sun (totally a different genre, but you get the idea.) What I liked about this drama is aside from the actions and thrills, there was also emphasis on morality and empathy (even the comradeship between Jung Woo and his cellmates are heartwarming. And, no stereotyping. You would be surprised by the baddies here.) Ji Sung's acting was as stellar as his previous work and I always look forward to his new project. The plot and the characterisations are well crafted and every time a new situation (twist) happens, it gave me the thrills and I would anticipate what Jung Woo would do. This was a great thriller with a great cast. 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 | July 2016 | 352 pgs
Source: Library



In 1935, a six-year-old Emily Evans went missing from her family's vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. The Evanses family was devastated; years gone by without any news on Emily's disappearance and her two older sisters, Lilith and Lucy, remained living at the same lake house throughout their old age despite everything; each harbouring her own thoughts and vigil for the lost sister until only Lucy remained. As the time went by, Lucy knew she had to tell her story of what happened during that devastating summer of 1935 before she passed and so a journal was written. This journal, together with the lake house, would be passed on to her grandniece, Justine.

Justine, a single mom, is surprised over the inheritance but she sees the lake house as an escapism of her messed up life, juggling between a manipulating boyfriend and her two daughters. However, the lake house is no sanctuary and in no time she is challenged by the dilapidated state of the house during the winter period. Her only neighbour is a strange old man and though he seems helpful, Justine suspects he knows more than he's telling concerning the Evanses girls and that summer of 1935.

Narrated by Lucy and Justine alternatively, The Lost Girls is a haunting and riveting story about the Evanses girls and the mystery surrounding Emily's disappearance. This novel also examines the bond and loyalty between sisters, and what defines promise and regrets as the story slowly unfolds. This is a great debut as it is both skilfully crafted and beautifully written; I found myself lost in Heather's (and Lucy's) story not only it was suspenseful but also the emotions that grasped me from the beginning till the end. I didn't really like any of the characters but they captivated me. I will be looking forward to this author's next 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

Mira | July 2014 | 352 pgs
Source: Library



Mary Kubica's The Good Girl not only is a well crafted psychological thriller but it also allows readers to see another side of an interactive communication between a captor and a captive of an abduction case.

Mia Dennett is a high school's Arts teacher and also the daughter of a prominent judge. When her co-worker reports her missing one day, her mother, Eve, knew something is wrong. It is unlikely of Mia's character to go somewhere unannounced or do something outrageous, however her father thinks otherwise and concluded that Mia might be out somewhere partying, after all she is a grown woman and he even deemed her as a juvenile delinquent during her teenage years. Eve, on the other hand, points out that she was young and was just being a teenager at that time.

Gabe Hoffman, the detective tasked to the case is adamant of finding Mia and her captor and when Mia is eventually found, he is still trying to unravel the truth behind the abduction, especially since Mia doesn't remember much of what happened to her and why she is calling herself Chloe instead of her birth name.

Narrated by three characters and accompanied by events what happened before and after, this character-driven story leads readers through a surprising end of an abduction case filled with emotions and a bout of family dynamics. The plot was great but I wasn't entirely enamoured by the way the story was told. At times I had to refer back to the beginning of the narrator's chapter to see who was narrating and whether if it was told before or after the incident especially if I had to resume my reading after stopping in the middle of a chapter, but well perhaps that's just me. That being said, I still think this style worked and even the narratives that tell the 'after' events were vague and you wouldn't really know the real motive until the end.


© 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
Carina | April 2016 | 356 pgs
Source: Library


Is it just me? It seems like domestic issues are the trend in psychological thrillers lately. Don't get me wrong; I haven't gotten tired of reading them yet. They are a thrill to read, but a BIG No-no in reality. That said, I still find myself getting all riled up reading about them in fiction, such as Between You and Me.

This story hugely focus on a controlling spouse and domestic abuse and like many other books out there of the same issues, this wasn't an easy read and there were times I either shook my head in sympathy or just wanted to hurl the book across the room after reading parts of the controlling behaviours. But wait... while the first half of the book was difficult to read (and not to mention repetitive at times), the second half took a turn and this is when things became intense and exciting. Sal and Charlie are both interesting characters and each of them has their own narrative through alternating chapters.

To say what changes the dynamics would be a spoiler, but this is one of those books that requires a reader to be patient and immerse in that kind of strained atmosphere until that pent-up emotions led to a twisty turn towards the few remaining chapters of the book. I felt the twist was good but not enough to 'wow' me; granted I read a review which briefly mentioned that core element and that there are bits of clues towards the end if one pay enough attention. That said, it was still a satisfying read to me.


© 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

Little, Brown and Company | August 2013 | 290 pgs
Source: Library



Megan Abbott's Dare Me is a book filled with friendship, teenage angst, lies and secrets within a high school's cheerleading community and a suicide case that would turn a few girls' world upside down.

Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy are best friends; Addy has always been Beth's trusted lieutenant while Beth is captain of the school's cheerleaders squad. Awed and feared by the other girls, Beth rules the squad until a young new coach steps into their circle.

Coach Colette French may be young, but she has a cool demeanour and have high expectations of the cheerleaders. Her arrival causes a ripple effect amid the squad; while most girls appear to be star-struck by their new coach, only Beth remains unsettled and nonchalant. Addy could only think of their eagerness to impress attributes to seeking approval from an adult like Coach Colette; after all the new coach first draw Addy and the other girls into her life, except Beth who stands her ground.  Then, a suicide case led to a police investigation on the new coach and her squad and from then onwards, the intensity escalates and would lead readers into questioning some issues surrounding the perpetrator's acts and the consequences thereafter.

I wish I could elaborate more of the issues but it is hard without spoiling the story. However, I could say that Megan Abbott has a way of capturing teenage girls' voice and portraying their inward world perfectly into words. At the end of the story I simply had no words to describe how I felt about everything - the plot, the shocking truth and the impact still lingered in my mind long after I closed the book.


© 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 | January 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased


That ending. Alright, I have to confess it was that hashtag #WTFthatending on social media websites which had me moved aside all my fifteen library books and dived straight into this, my purchased copy, and let me just say - this isn't your typical psychological thriller you have read and that once you have started this book you just have to keep flipping through those pages. 

So it all began with Louise, a single mom, who kissed a man called David in a bar. They were drunk; and Louise has never fully felt a sense of freedom ever since her divorce until that one evening she had had with David. She enjoyed being with David, even if she knew he is married and that she might never see him again. But she did. In fact, she would be seeing him often at the psychiatric clinic where she is working because he is to be her new boss. 

And as if that isn't complicating enough, enter Adele Martin. Adele is David's wife and she is beautiful and elegant. Louise and Adele bumped into each other literally one day and from there it begins their friendship. Louise knew who she is, of course, after all she had seen Adele with David once to meet Dr Sykes, who is the senior psychiatrist at the clinic. Now Louise and David have tried to put that one night togetherness out of their heads, and while Louise is uncomfortable being friends with Adele, she couldn't not be friends with Adele. Not only she has no excuse to end their friendship (well to do so might arouse suspicion) but also there is a vulnerable side of Adele which kind of fascinates Louise. Adele has also asked Louise not to let David know about their friendship and while this perplexed Louise at first, she began to see something is wrong from Adele's speech and behaviours when David is concerned. Her behaviours have left Louise puzzled because the David she knew on their first night is different from the way Adele portrays of him. And as Louise becomes drawn to this odd couple she knew she has to know more about them individually to a point of becoming an obsession. 

And from here I have to cease saying more because anything I wanted to say might be a risk of spoilers. This book is dark and is mind boggling. The plot is different from any psychological thrillers I have read and it was original... and disturbing. This is one of those books you have to read for that 'oscillating' feeling as your mind will waver to and from and have you guessing until you will come to realise that you are walking on the wrong path and by then the truth has hit you, hard. I simply had no description for it and well, this probably explains how that hashtag comes about. This is possibly one of the most unsettling thrillers I read this year (and half of the year isn't even over, mind you.) 
 


© 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

Random House Publishing Group | July 2016 | 416 pgs
Source: Library


We live because we are remembered. ~ Pg 388


Valley of the Moon is a time-travel fantasy with a time period set between 1906 and the 1980s. Alternating between two core narratives, this story tells a timeless love and the vast farm community in Greengage, Valley of the Moon.

It is San Francisco, 1975. When Lux first stumbles upon Valley of the Moon on a full moon with a heavy fog surrounding her camp site over the Sonoma landscape, she thought she has wandered into a site meant for a history show, considering the people she met wore their clothings like they belong in another era. But no, she also realises that the farm is huge and that the way they behave and speak make them seem like they do live in another time. And they are.

Valley of the Moon, California - 1906. Joseph Bell, the person who is solely in charge of Greengage, has great plans for their community and he also believes in equality in status and class. In his mind, he feels that everyone deserves a better life and fairness, just like his late mother had devoted to many causes including education and women's rights. He bought the luscious valley which later became Greengage; a home not only for himself and his wife but also a tribute to his late mother and her ideals. The farm flourishes, but an earthquake shattered the community and the residents find themselves forever trapped within Greengage, with a towering bank of fog that hung at the edge of the woods. They had lost two men who had tried to enter the fogbank; they even did a few experiments with their domestic animals and they died, too. Until Lux steps in from that fogbank alive and into their hearts. Lux later discovers that only she is able to come and go and that she will come to a stage when she will be torn between these two different worlds she is in.

I was sucked into Melanie Gideon's world of Greengage, despite that I am not a huge time travel genre fan. The past and the 1970s and 80s settings were what most enticing to me, for I love reading anything which is historical. While the 20th century doesn't seem like decades ago, it still brings back memories and nostalgia for readers who are familiar with that time period. But, this story is more about Lux's and Joseph's life and the struggles they faced in their own time. Lux has had issues with her father since she was a teenager; and then there is the challenge of bringing up a five-year-old boy as a single parent. And being able to travel through the past appears to be her escapism. For Joseph, aside from his dreams he is a futurist who sees beyond and hope for something much more better; which is why he sees Lux as his guide to a "new world".

The ending was filled with melancholy; one which reminds us how time waits for no man.


© 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 | January 2017 | 400 pgs
Source: Edelweiss via Publisher



Janie Chang's latest book is a coming-of-age story with an element of spiritual fantasy set in Shanghai, China during the 1900s.

When Jialing was seven, her mother abandoned her and left her alone at the Western Residence along Dragon Springs Road. Rumoured to be a haunted courtyard, Jialing didn't encounter any ghosts but she did befriend an animal spirit, Fox, who could change into its animal form or a human form simply by her whims. Now Jialing has a very unhappy life; having born with a mixed blood (as an Eurasian) she is often cast as a 'zazhong' and faces contempt from both the Chinese and the foreigners. Through Fox's advice, she befriends Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, whose family who have just moved in next to her courtyard. Jialing later becomes the bond servant to Anjuin's grandmother, one who holds the highest authority within the Yangs household.

As the story progresses, we see young Jialing and Anjuin grown into young women. Their ties and their outlook of life continue to be strong despite the difficulties each of them faces. Throughout these years, Jialing never gives up of searching for her mother. With the country shaken up by political wars and treachery, many people are affected by the unstable economy but ironically it is a fire which broke the Yangs household. With their cotton mill factory burnt to the grounds, the Yangs moved to Ningpo, where they were originally from except their eldest grandson who stays to look for some business opportunity as well as Anjuin and Jialing.

Jialing's search for her mother gives her the opportunity to meet a journalist, Liu Sanmu. And when an unexpected circumstances implicate them in the death of one man who is suspected of being a supporter of an opposition party, Jialing fears the secrets which they have been hiding might catch up on them one day and she wonders what she could do without Fox's enchantments. And most importantly, is she able to stand on her own despite her mixed blood and finds true love one day?

I enjoyed Janie Chang's previous novel, Three Souls, and when I saw she has a new release I knew I have to read it. I enjoyed Dragon Springs Road as much as I did with the first book. Filled with intrigue and bits of spiritual elements, this book is no exceptional and I was glad to note both books are different as this book features the fox spirit (originated from Chinese folklore) while the first was more of one's soul and afterlife. What I liked about both books is aside from the characterisations, readers could also learn about some Chinese history and the difficult times the people face during that time period - a time of great social and political upheaval and the uncertainty surrounding the lower class' livelihood, and how women are of little status due to their gender (much worse if they are poor). Part coming-of-age, part fantasy and part mystery, I was once again captivated by Ms Zhang's imagination and her skills of bringing her characters to life. I am very curious what she would come up with next and I look forward to it.


© 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

Scout Press | January 2017 | 304 pgs
Source: Library



I have never tried white water rafting but after having read The River at Night I have more or less understand much about this recreational outdoor activity and not to mention how challenging (and yes, dangerous) they can be especially for a novice, such as for our four protagonists in this book.

Winifred Allen's life has always been simple and quiet but she still feel crushed by the death of her younger brother and the end of a fifteen-year marriage. Her work as a graphic designer doesn't seem to be any better and when she began to feel stifled by this thing called life, her three best friends coax her into going for an outdoor adventure as a getaway for their annual girls' trip.

Pia is optimistic and a daredevil among the girls, while Rachel and Sandra are more realistic and level headed. Wini feels most connected with Sandra, partly because Sandra understands her and knows all the right words to say, unlike Pia or Rachel. While they are enthusiastic about the trip, Wini feels otherwise. She isn't sure about hiking and rafting in the remote Allagash wilderness. Pia assured her that an experienced guide would be with them and that they have nothing to worry about.

What seems like an exciting excursion suddenly becomes a nightmare after a freak accident leaves the women stranded in the wilderness without their raft and their surviving kits. As they stumble and wander deeper into the woods, they will soon find out that they are not alone. Saviours or not, the women know that they must get out of the wilderness before death gets to them.

The River at Night has all the elements I want in a thriller - actions, intensity, fear factors and not to mention a setting in the remote Maine wilderness. The author skilfully captures the voices of the four protagonists, although Wini remains the narrator throughout the story. But what really drew me in was the setting and that harrowing rafting journey; and then of course, that terrifying turn towards the conclusion (it was something out of my expectations, but didn't lessen the thrill nonetheless). I don't remember reading such a book with that kind of adrenaline rush and had me on edge from the beginning till the end. It is definitely a book not to be missed if you are a thriller reader who wants some adventures to go along with the thrill. 


© 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

Sphere | December 2016 | 407 pgs
Source: Library




How Will I Know You? may seem like any other suspense thrillers but the topics in this book are often thought-provoking and mostly revolve around families, causes and consequences and a murder case with implications pertaining to race.

In a close-knit community of a small town where everyone seems to know everyone's life, they are shaken by the news of teenage Joy Enright's death. Believed to be drown in a frozen pond, the autopsy later revealed that she was strangled first before her body was found at the edge of the pond. Her death is a mystery to all; her parents couldn't understand who would want to harm their daughter and her best friend, Harper, is puzzled over Joy's cool demeanour towards her before her death. Joy's mother, Susanne, has a little secret involving her younger teaching assistant, an African American named Martin Willett and things began to escalate quickly after he is accused for causing Joy's death.

The story's background also tells another tale of Tom, who is a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town police chief, Doug, who is in charge of Joy's case. Doug is adamant about Martin being guilty but Tom doubts his own perceptions as well as his father-in-law's belief. As the story moves along, the truth unravels towards the end will make us question everything we thought we know about the ones we love.

While this is very much a suspense thriller, I thought it was also a story about family dynamics and of perceptions which would either make or break a person. The characters here are well defined and the mystery surrounding Joy's death was a huge draw to this story as readers are well aware from the beginning that Martin is wrongly convicted but what really happened and why? I also liked how the story was told in both 'Before' and 'After' the incident, as well as Martin's narrative throughout some parts of the book, allowing readers to get into his mind and to understand what he has gone through being a person of colour. Overall it was a great read and I would be curious to find out what the author would come up with next.


© 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.