Melody
June is coming soon and that means school holidays and a short vacation is in order. I'll be taking a short break off of blogging next week for a short trip and I need your help in selecting a book for this purpose. I'll read the top TWO choices (just in case I finished one, well you never know, right?) based on the most votes. And as for the rest, I'll still get to them at some point. :-)

Here is the list of books to choose from (click onto each link for more info of the book):

I Found You by Lisa Jewell


Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney


The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle


The Breakdown by B.A Paris


Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances


Thank you and happy reading! (You may also wish to cast your vote under the comments section if you like.)  

Melody
Penguin Publishing Group | April 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased



What I love about Julie James' books is her characters, their sharp and witty dialogues and how they always make me smile at the end of the story. 

Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd are both FBI agents. Once a lawyer and an Army Ranger respectively, they are both good in their works and their outstanding performance continues to shine when they are trainees at the FBI training squad at Quantico. Jessica and John have their own strength and weaknesses during those tough training sessions and whether if it is a personality clash or a streak of rivalry between them, most of the times they don't see eye to eye and their dislikes for each other finally ended after they go their separate ways after their graduation, thinking that there is little chance they would see each other again considering the different location they are working.  

As fate would have it, they meet again six years later. As if that is not enough, they are to be partners for a high-profile undercover sting. It is a challenging assignment and that involves a charismatic and a well-liked Florida politician who takes bribes to solve entrepreneurs' "problems" through his connections in various aspects. It is both bad news and bad timing for Jessica and John. For Jessica, she has just divorced with her Hollywood producer husband and for John, this would be his last undercover job if he is selected for FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team. He has recently split from his cheating girlfriend and that feeling was made worse especially since the other guy is one of his good friends. With so much at stake and with Jessica's and John's complicated relationship, it is easy to think that their camaraderie would be nil but the plus side of this assignment is they get to stay at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation for their role as a pair of interesting business partners who want to invest an eatery place but are met with several difficulties which obstruct their plans. And this is where they would approach the corrupt politician for his help. 

While it was fun reading this enemies-turn-couple kind of story, it wasn't really the "how?" but more of the "why?" that made this story such an interesting read. I loved reading the dynamic between Jessica and John; from the beginning of their (heated/competitive) exchanges to the camaraderie they shared working with each other until something has changed alongside their assignment. And, there was another obstacle towards the end which I felt would delight all romantics after reading those last moments. 



© 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

Set in the capital city of Seorabeol during the Silla Dynasty, this drama depicts the coming-of-age story of a group of youths and how they later became elite knights called "Hwarang" (also known as the Flower Knights for their pretty face). 

The beginning of the story was an important setup of the plot, as we see the friendship between two peasant youths named Moo Myung (starring Park Seo Joon) and Sun Woo (starring Lee Kwang Soo). Moo Myung has no family except Sun Woo; and Sun Woo is hoping for a day that he could find his father and younger sister, Ah Ro (starring Go Ara). At that time, the young faceless King Jinheung (starring Park Hyung Sik) is a mysterious figure and the Queen fiercely protects his identity to avoid political plays and assassinations for his throne. Sun Woo is killed as a result of catching a glimpse of the King's face unknowingly after he heard his title being called out by his General. Moo Myung vows for vengeance and take up Sun Woo's identity after he has found Sun Woo's family. Ah Ro, on the other hand, is elated that her elder brother is back but she has that queasy feeling about him as there are times she feels her heart flutters. 


What follows after is the Queen commands a knights group be formed for the future Silla. A few youths from the noble families joined the group due to their 'True Bone' bloodline while some are 'half breed'. Sun Woo became one of the Hwarangs due to some complicated connections while the hidden young King joined under a fake name, Kim Ji Dwi, for other reasons - a means to be a stronger person in terms of everything as well as getting closer to Ah Ro after he has fallen for her at first sight. 


The rest of the story follows the trainings of the Hwarangs, the conspiracies within the Royal Court as well as the love triangle involving "Sun Woo", Ah Ro and King Jinheung. And of course, the bonds within the Hwarangs is another highlight as we see their relationship changes from enemies to being camaraderie (the 'True Bone' and 'half breed' don't get along due to their status differences). I had an enjoyable time watching Hwarang for many reasons: a well-crafted plot with a cast of wonderful characters, the portrayal of courageousness, humanity and wisdom in "Sun Woo" (especially for his love for Ah Ro), the bromance between "Sun Woo" and King Jinheung and finally, how each Hwarang has become a changed person after all the consequential events happened in Silla. Being a fangirl I couldn't help buying a copy of the drama photobook as keepsake (never mind if it is in Korean as long as there are pictorials, right? And it also includes the main characters' picture cards, yay!)



© 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
Bloomsbury Childrens | May 2017 | 720 pgs
Source: Purchased



Where shall I even begin? This third installment of A Court of Thorns and Roses series evoked so much emotions in me and as much as this book wrapped up Feyre's story, I wasn't ready for it to end (However, Sarah J. Maas stated that there would be more tales of Prythian in 2018. Yes, that makes me a very happy fangirl.)

Now this book is a hard one to review; not only to avoid spoilers but also there are so many things happening and most of all, it was about war and vengeance and we all know how dark and nasty they are. So many lives are at stake and at times sacrifices are to be made under such circumstances. And of course, we also see Feyre, High Lady of the Night Court, what she would do to save Prythian and all from the King of Hybern's invasions. This is an epic finale about deceits and conspiracies, about power and courage and finally, about love, hope and giving. And my dear reader, this is as far as I could say. I thank the author for giving us such a cast of wonderful (unforgettable) characters and that intense, emotional roller coaster ride throughout the reading journey.

Related links:
A Court of Thorns and Roses (#1)
A Court of Mist and Fury (#2)

(This series are not suitable for younger readers as they contain mature content.)


© 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

Based on the Japanese manga Kanojo wa Uso o Aishisugiteru by Kotomi Aoki, this drama tells a love story between a genius music composer and a high school songbird and their music/love journey filled with obstacles and how they overcome everything ultimately. 

Kang Han-gyeol (starring Lee Hyun-woo) is originally a bass player of "Crude Play" but he left the boy band group before they made their debut and instead works behind the scene as their music producer under an anonymous identity "K". Han-gyeol is actually a private, sorrowful person who has not much interest in anything else except music. His devotion in music causes his neglect and a breakup from his girlfriend, who is a popular singer from the same company. 

High school student, Yoon So-rim, (starring Joy) has a beautiful voice and her passion for singing has earned her some reputation in school. Together with two male classmates, they would sometimes sing and perform for the class, much to the dismay of their teacher. So-rim then met Han-gyeol during a chance encounter, and the former was mesmerised by his music when he asked for her phone on a whim to record the song he'd just composed. So-rim fell in love with him at first sight and decided to find him. She finally found him during a singing competition but she was too nervous to sing although she did hum a few lyrics of his song to capture his attention. Initially Han-gyeol isn't really interested in her due to her age and the fact that they were somewhat "strangers". However, So-rim's optimism, determination and her passion for music won him over in the end. 


So-rim finally got into the music industry thanks to her beautiful voice, and together with her two friends they formed a group called "Mush & Co.". However, the entertainment industry is not only a place for talents but popularity and earnings count too so all the artistes' personal life, flaws, gossips and weaknesses have to be covered up. Here we get to see the inside-out of the entertainment industry and how the artistes have to hold onto that pristine image and finally, what some would do to stand on their own and fight for their rights if that means abandoning their reputation and all. 

The Liar and His Lover doesn't really have a dramatic plot which would get you antsy and there are even times which I felt the pace was somewhat slow, but it was an inspiring story about following one's heart without fear and pressures. And as for the romance between Han-gyeol and So-rim, I could only have one word to describe it - sweet. So did I enjoy the drama? Yes and though it didn't have that intensity of a melodrama, the beauty of this drama lies with that simplicity feel and the purity of love. 


(Check out this OST MV by Joy of "Red Velvet")




© 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
Scribner | March 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library


"... Man becomes wiser and more mature through life experience. The same can be said of tea." ~ Pg 173


I knew I wouldn't pass up a book with that title; and all the more knowing that it is a work by acclaimed author Lisa See. In this story, Lisa takes readers on a journey to a remote village at Nannuo mountain in Yunnan and the introduction of the Akha people (Akha is one of the few ethnic minorities in China). Filled with rich culture and traditions of the Akha, this story also includes some snippets about tea farming/picking and this little information delights the tea lover in me.

The book opens with our young Li-yan sharing her dreams with her family. Being the only girl and the youngest in the family, she often receives the least attention but that doesn't mean she couldn't dream of the world outside Spring Well village, where her home is. Teacher Zhang, one of the Han majority people who is exiled from the city capital to live in their remote village after a revolution sees the potential in Li-yan and offers to teach her more of what they are learning and although Li-yan's parents forbid it in the beginning, they give in with the thoughts that she would represent the village and be the leader amongst the women in the near future. And then comes a day when a stranger steps into their village in seek of a special tea that would change not only Li-yan's views in general but her life, too.

As the story progresses, we also see a grown up version of Li-yan; this is the part where she has lost her loved one and her baby daughter through many heartbreaks and sufferings. This is another scene which made me ache for her loss, apart from another concerning the babies and the Akha tradition but I'm not going to go into that; it was all too heartbreaking. What Li-yan had gone through also played a part in her to venture a journey out of her home into the big modern world, hoping to find her birth daughter due to an unforeseeable situation and to earn some money of her own. It is also at this point when she finds love again when she least expected it.

Filled with Akha culture and with a setting from Yunnan to Kunming and Guangzhou, Lisa See has spun a bittersweet and an unforgettable story about the relationship between mothers and daughters, the agriculture of tea (in particularly pu'er tea) and the art of tea drinking as well as loss and finding hope, and last but not least, finding one's roots. I found myself invested in the characters Lisa created through her beautiful writing style and the sensitiveness of some issues which either made me think or feel. There are so much more I wanted to say about this book and I guess my 5-star rating is suffice to say how much I loved this 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
Trapeze | February 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library



Daniel Cole started off his debut thriller with a bang featuring one of the most horrific/gruesome murder crimes I'd read to-date - a body with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, thus earning the nickname "Ragdoll" by the media. Assigned to this case are DS William "Wolf" Fawkes and DS Emily Baxter; both of them with the Metropolitan Police with Wolf leading the investigation.

Wolf had a history about abusing a defendant on trial after the sentence. Naguib Khalid, dubbed "The Cremation Killer" had set twenty seven young female prostitutes ablaze after they were heavily sedated in twenty-seven days and though Wolf made his arrest, contradicting surveillance reports and conflicting forensic evidence rendered Khalid a not-guilty sentence which made Wolf lost his cool. Wolf doesn't really care about protocols and as long as he knows he is right about the suspect, he would do anything to bring him down.

Four years later after losing his marriage and that he was vindicated from that infamous trial incident, he's back into his position with a bigger and sensational "Ragdoll" case waiting for him. But this is not all, Wolf's ex-wife, who is a TV journalist, received a list of six names (with Wolf being the last on the list) and the dates which the killer may strike next and this sent the whole media and nation into an uproar. With the clock ticking away and the pressure from all directions, the Metropolitan Police has to race against time with the killer to ensure that no more lives are being lost to the sadistic killer who seems to be a few steps ahead of them.

Ragdoll was a fast-paced thriller filled with intensity and actions with a dose of dark satire. Wolf made an intriguing, flawed character right from the start. His partnering with DS Emily Baxter filled the pages with their love/hate opinions of each other as well as their investigations. They are not romantically linked, yet Wolf's ex-wife assumed they are, which was one reason that shattered their marriage aside from their different life and perspectives. While I enjoyed the developed characters in Wolf and Emily, surprisingly it was Emily's trainee, Edmunds, whom I found the most interesting among all. He is smart and meticulous in his own way, and his devotion to the investigation definitely worth an appreciation from all but I felt his role was a bit underrated.

While this was more of a police procedural and I liked it that readers are offered more than a glimpse of how the media has much influence when controversial matters are concerned, I felt it'd have been better if it includes the killer's perspective and how his mind works. Then again, it may be the author's intention of portraying him as a dire and mysterious figure. Wolf and Emily are set to return in a sequel in 2018 and I've high expectations considering it's clichéd bigger, darker, more shocking but at the same time it's funnier, more poignant and more personal (these are from the author's words.)



© 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


Orenda Books | July 2016 | 320 pgs
Source: Library



When Bella returned to The Old Vicarage (an English countryside where her childhood home is) to attend her mother's funeral, she didn't expect she would receive a more shocking news than her mother's passing. She learned from her father that she was in fact a stolen child; her life with the Campbells was all a lie although her "parents" treated her well. Henry Campbell took his own life the following day after Elaine's funeral and this left Bella with more questions although he eventually left her a letter to tell her who her real parents are and the old address they are residing. Bella has always thought Elaine's behaviours to be a bit strange given her temperamental moods but she hasn't expected they were linked to her, while Henry was the one who's always appear distant which Bella later came to realise it was partly because he was guilt-ridden.

Bella knew she has to find out more about her real self and her true family, so she set on her journey to Cornwall to find the Tremaynes family; part of this info which Henry had left her with. It wasn't easy in the beginning, after all Bella's husband could be quite controlling when her welfare was concerned. His controlling behaviour irked Bella and left her suffocated at times, and all along she's been getting used to David's fussiness but this time around she was adamant that she would leave without David to go searching for the truth.

What follows thereafter is Bella (or Morveren, her real name) has finally found her old home but things aren't as what she has expected. For starters, her mother is ill and couldn't get anywhere without a carer. She doesn't speak and it seems like her mind has shut down after losing her daughter. Dawn, who is Bella's elder sister, took over all the responsibilities since their alcoholic father left them after their mother's deteriorating state. But there's something more to Bella's abduction, and it was a shocking revelation although it didn't gravitate towards the conventional thriller scenes as I'd expected but it led to another direction which had me stumped in a good way.

Although In Her Wake wasn't a fast-paced and an intense read like a thriller, what I liked is this story was haunting and it was beautifully written. It was also an emotionally charged story about two broken families as well as the bonding between sisters and despite all the loss and grief, there is still hope towards 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.