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

(Not in any particularly order)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
It's that time of the year again in which you will sit in front of your laptop and trying to figure out which books would make it on your favourites list. As usual, I'd had a hard time picking on ten twelve books as I think I have a good reading year this year. I had read more books as compared to the last and I think my reading momentum sped up a lot due to the many good books I read, not that I'm complaining. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(To be continued...)

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Harlequin | September 2017 | 256 pgs
Source: Library

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

HarperCollins Publishers | September 2017 | 368 pgs
Source: Library

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

St. Martin's Press | August 2017 | 256 pgs
Source: Library

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

St. Martin's Press | October 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.