Flatiron Books | February 2018 | 336 pgs
Source: Purchased

Jane Harper's debut novel, The Dry, was stunning both in the characterisation and the plot set in the quiet suburb of Kiewarra, Australia. Plagued by the drought and with the intensity accelerated like the searing heat as the story progressed, I was quickly caught up by the suspense, the police procedural and all. Of course I was also intrigued by the lead character, Federal agent Aaron Falk. He is both an interesting and a flawed character, and knowing that he will be featured again in Harper's latest release, Force of Nature, I knew I MUST read it. 

The story opens with a group of ten going for their company's retreat. What supposed to be a fun, get together event has turned out to be a missing person case as one woman from the women's group decided to go on her own after a disagreement, leaving the rest upset, annoyed and panicky especially after they learned they might have picked a wrong turn. And Alice Russell, the missing woman, is known to be arrogant and bitchy at times so it is no wonder the others hate her guts.  

To complicate matters, Falk and his investigative partner, Carmen, had requested Alice's help in digging some information on their company's financial statements and any fishy contracts as they suspected the family-run film has some unknown deals yet they need evidence to support their findings. Falk and Carmen began to wonder if they have somehow gotten Alice in trouble, after all the top management, the Bailey siblings, have joined the hiking groups too. As if things aren't complicated enough, there are speculations that the son of a late convicted murderer may be roaming within the range and it is not known if he is dangerous or not (after all he is believed to have some dealings in drugs). 

This book, as the title suggests, showcases the various danger in the wilderness which is outside of human control when the women's group tried to fight their way out after realising they are lost and soon find themselves caught up in a web of secrets, distrust and resentments. Unlike The Dry, this book focus more on the characterisations and less of police procedural and despite the different style and setting, I enjoyed this immensely as Ms Harper's writing continues to shine in this second book. I also find some issues happened in the story to be thought-provoking as well so overall it was a great read to me. I wonder what Ms Harper has in store for her next book and I can't wait! 

© 2018 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.

William Morrow | March 2018 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Carol Goodman's latest release, The Other Mother, is a story about motherhood, love, delusions and madness.

Daphne Marist and Laurel Hobbes are two new mothers who suffer from postpartum depression. The former has intrusive thoughts about harming her baby (which she didn't but the thoughts terrify her) while the latter has a history of depression and mental illness. They knew each other through a supporting group with other women who share the same issue. Their daughters even have the same name - Chloe. Daphne and Laurel hit it off quickly despite their clashing personalities. Daphne is meek while Laurel is attractive and authoritative. Both husbands aren't really supportive given their condition and this has somewhat make them closer despite Laurel's disapproval opinions of Daphne at times. She thinks Daphne has no backbone although she is flattered when Daphne tries to dress and look like her.

Daphne, on the other hand, devises a plan to leave home with Chloe for fear that her husband would deem her unfit to be a mother and appeal for child custody. After seeing an ad for a position of an archivist to a writer, she decides to use Laurel's name for the application. After all, Laurel has the credentials and Daphne sees no harm in imposing as her friend. Tucked in the Catskills, Daphne's new employer's mansion seems like a fairytale with its lush landscaping surrounding it. The only thing that dampen the beauty of it is the mental institution just beyond its border. And Daphne is very much intrigued with Schuyler Bennett, her new employer, as well as the papers she is working on. Daphne's job is to help in organising the paperwork, which consists of Dr. Bennett's (Schuyler's father, who was once the director of the mental institution) records of the patients and his personal journal of the patients' condition. Daphne then become entranced by a particular patient who seems to have borderline personality disorder and soon she finds herself caught up in a labyrinth of deceptions and insanity as reality blurs with madness.

The Other Mother, like its content, was a bumpy ride filled with insanities and confusion. With the story split into three parts with three different voices and their personal journals in between accounting the events that happened at some point in their life, what seems to be an intricate story turns out more like a bewilderment tale of doubts and confusion at times. The first part of the story was the best as it showcase the friendship and struggles between Daphne and Laurel. The events happened in the mental institution was another interesting aspect, but I was kind of bothered by some of the doctors' mentality towards the patients. And most of all, the ending and the truth perplexed me as it seemed a little rushed and too far-fetched to me. Overall the story was promising; the structure of a psychological suspense was there and it would be a great read if the execution was better.

[From the book: Women with postpartum OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) - having intrusive and disturbing thoughts, sometimes about harming their child - are advised NOT to read the first-person stories until after they have recovered.]

© 2018 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 | 384 pgs
Source: Library

[I know Christmas was long over, but this is a library copy which I'd been eyeing for a while. Plus the story wasn't too Christmas-y so...]

Although this is the fourth book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, it could be read as a stand-alone. 

Colbie Albright is a bestselling author of a YA fantasy series by the pen name of CE Crown. With the stress of writing another manuscript and dealing with her family who is always in need of her, she feels a break is in order and thus she decided to book herself a trip to somewhere where she can relax and be herself. A place where it's away from New York and no one would be able to reach her easily. San Francisco isn't her first choice but it is the next best option since a number of flights are either delayed or cancelled due to the hurricane. Within an hour of arrival, she is shoved into the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain, thanks to a dog named Daisy.

Spencer Baldwin is doing his friend a favor by walking her dog when Daisy pounced onto a gorgeous woman. Fortunately for him, the woman waves it off and has a good laugh over the situation. Attracted by her warm and easygoing demeanour, he has a good chat with her and after learning that she is looking for a place to settle, he tells her that there is a studio apartment available in the building where he is staying. But he leave out the fact that he is the owner of the building and that he is working on a huge project involving apps and drones. In short, Spencer is a tech geek who has both the look and wealth but is staying low profile due to an article which has exposed his private life and a past failed relationship.  

Colbie and Spencer do not know about each other's real identity initially and this is what made this book such a fun read. Both introverts and devoted of their work, they are in many ways similar to each other. Due to this reason and the fact that Colbie wouldn't stay long and that Spencer is more into his work than in relationship, they become comfortable with each other as the days go by until they began to realise that they wanted each other to be part of their life. Are they able to make their relationship work despite their job demand and the long distance? 

I've enjoyed most of Jill Shalvis's books and this is no exceptional. She writes fleshed out characters who are relatable and it is so much fun reading about them and their life experiences. 

© 2018 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Penguin Publishing Group | March 2018 | 336 pgs
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

In 1994 Vermont, Deb Sheridan was strangled and dumped in the middle of the former sports field on the abandoned grounds of Idlewild Hall (a former girls' boarding school which was closed and abandoned since 1979) on Old Barrons Road. She was twenty then. Her boyfriend, Tim Christopher, had spent twenty years in the prison for the crime though he'd claimed he was innocent. Fiona, Deb's younger sister was seventeen then and the murder had torn the family apart. Despite twenty years have passed and Tim was put behind bars, Fiona who is now a journalist with Lively Vermont, still harbours doubts about the truth surrounding Deb's death since no footprints or tire tracks were found and there was no logical way how Tim could dump Deb's body without leaving any traces. Her curiosity is further sparked when someone is restoring the abandoned Idlewild Hall. Who is the new owner and what's the motive for this restoration project? Fiona Sheridan is keen to find out, after all it is near the site where her elder sister's body was found. 

In 1950, Katie Winthrop, Roberta Greene, CeCe Frank and Sonia Gallipeau are students of Idlewild boarding school. Most students are enrolled there for a reason and they aren't entirely good - they are either sent there for misbehaviours, complicated family issues or no one wants them. Nevertheless, the four girls bonded quickly regardless of their personality differences or their personal baggage. They are the Idlewild girls who aren't intimidated by talks and rumours except for one thing - they are all scared of Mary Hand; a specter who is believed to haunt the Idlewild ground and that her baby was buried in the school's garden. As they live in fear surrounding Mary Hand's rumours, it was until Sonia's disappearance that allowed the other three girls to set their fear aside to look for the truth regarding their missing friend. What really happened to Sonia? 

These two different incidents in two different timeframes may not seem to have any connection but they do in a way, as Fiona found out towards the end as she searches the truth surrounding Deb's death and then stumbled upon a truth of the past along the way. There are many dark sides to this story - the creepiness of Mary Hand and her hauntings, the horror of the Nazi and the women's concentration camps back in the 1940s (this is Sonia's story but I'd leave it to you to find out yourself) and finally, the evil minds of the human beings who would do anything for their own benefits. 

Simone St. James excels not only on the storytelling part but also skillfully connecting the two events and made this both a creepy and suspenseful read as a whole. Needless to say, the book held my attention throughout my reading journey and I'm glad to say I've found a new favourite author after having read her two previous books (Silence for the Dead and An Inquiry into Love and Death). 

© 2018 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.

Michael Joseph | January 2018 | 352 pgs
Source: Purchased

This debut novel by C.J. Tudor is part coming of age, part psychological suspense which had me captivated from the beginning till the end. 

Told from a first person perspective and with two time frames shifting back and forth (1986 and 2016), at its core this is a story about a past event which had affected the lives of five teenagers and how it comes back to haunt them when they are adults. 

Eddie Adams and his friends are twelve when they first stumble upon a body in the woods in their neighbourhood in Anderbury. To be precise, the body is dismembered and they didn't really find it accidentally. Directions marked by chalk lead them into the woods and before that, they have had fun conjuring secret codes using chalk and each of them has their own coloured chalk to indicate their identity but none of them is white. So who is this Chalk Man and most of all, why them? 

Back to the present, Eddie is now a teacher and when he receives a letter with drawing of a chalk figure, he knew what happened in the past isn't over and it is finding its way back to the group of five childhood friends who used to be close together. Years and circumstances have distanced them, but Eddie still keep in touch with Gavin (Fat Gav) and David (Hoppo) occasionally. The mystery gets more obscuring when one of the group, Mickey, turns up at Eddie's house and make a proposition of writing a book of the events happened back then in 1986 and then it is like they are back in their teens when the chalk figures start appearing again. This time around it leaves them with more questions instead of answers and it gets creepier as the truth starts unravelling. 

Foreboding and filled with twists and turns, The Chalk Man will satisfy readers who love a good suspense and characters development. Well crafted and well written, the story had captured the emotional and struggles of the characters as they grow from teenagers to adults and Eddie's voice is both addictive and compelling (and oh, what an ending!) A great debut and a new author to look out for.

Before ending this post, I'd like to thank Lark for this buddy read (please also check out Lark's review and the Q&A here). Below is some questions from Lark to me regarding the book: 

1) What did you like best about the way C.J. Tudor wrote this book?
Foreboding, unpredictable and a cast of intriguing characters. Truth be told, I'd no idea where the story is leading and it was so much fun watching the story unfolds. The author has also captured the teenaged life of the characters beautifully; in fact the flashbacks are the draw for me in this book not only it is the beginning of the series of consequences which would happen later but also they capture the voice and the innocence of each teenager's mind.  

2) If you were going to give Eddie and his friends new nicknames, knowing what you know about them now, what names would you give them?
Hmm... that's a tricky one. I'm bad in naming names so I've absolutely no idea what to name them. However, I think Gavin's nickname (Fat Gav) is the most fitting among all given his build. 

© 2018 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.
Hodder & Stoughton | March 2017 | 288 pgs
Source: Library

"The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them that's never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane Roanoke was a troubled girl. Her relationship with her mother was anything but close. When her mother committed suicide when she was fifteen, she had nowhere to go to except to her mother's old hometown in rural Kansas. Lane wasn't close with her grandparents either, but they took her in. Lane then learned that she had a cousin who was six months younger than her. They got along quite well, and Allegra was more than thrilled to show her around the house. However, there was one thing that bothered Lane, and that was the generation of the Roanoke girls before her. From what she'd learnt from Allegra, they either ran away or died and Allegra didn't elaborate much further. Lane finally knew the hard truth one day and left Kansas but Allegra refused to leave, claiming it was her home and everything. 

Eleven years later, Lane received a text from Allegra but Lane never replied or contacted her. It was only later when she learned of her disappearance which had her return to Kansas with a sense of remorse. As much as she dreaded going back, she knew she owe it to Allegra and most of all, she has to find out the truth about her disappearance despite the darkness and ugliness of the Roanoke's family secrets. 

The Roanoke Girls wasn't what it seemed to be at first glance. The blurb offered nothing but a hint of family secrets surrounding the Roanoke girls. It had an atmospheric feeling though it was set in a small town in rural Kansas with agricultural farming as their core business. Told from two different time frames "Then" and "Now" through Lane's perspective, the story was intriguing and Amy Engel's writing was beautiful and had this reader hooked quickly. However, the story then took a turn and the secret was hinted out fairly early and thereafter my reading experience was no longer the same. Learning what the secret (subject) is felt like the rug was pulled out from under me because it was the last thing I'd expected from this story. It was unsettling and disturbing yet the author's writing and the mystery surrounding Allegra's disappearance pulled me back to the story. 

The truth in the end may deem as a resolution to Allegra's case but it offers no redemption quality as far as the story goes, which is a pity. This is not a book for everyone, but Amy Engel is a good writer so I may want to read her YA dystopian series (The Book of Ivy and The Revolution of Ivy). 

© 2018 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 Korean Odyssey is a modern spin-off of the Chinese classic novel, Journey to the West (西游记)in which it depicts a tale of a Buddhist monk and his three divine protectors' mission and their journey to the 'western regions' to obtain Buddhist sacred texts and how they are met with various obstacles and challenges during their pilgrims journey. At its heart of the original story is the spiritual insight of the experiences they encountered and how teamwork and perseverance will push them onto their path towards enlightenment. 

While A Korean Odyssey retains the main cast of the original work, some of them have their roles switched (for the addition of the romance element) and I've to say the idea is a refreshing one. For instance, the Buddhist monk in the original work was re-script as a female human, Jin Seon Mi (starring Oh Yeon Seo), who is able to see otherworldly beings in this spin-off. Her encounter with Ma Wang (starring Cha Seung Won) (based on the Bull Demon King) as a girl is the start of everything after she has freed Son Oh Gong (starring Lee Seung Gi) (based on Sun Wukong), the Monkey King, from the Five Elements Mountain and a contract was sealed between them as a result. Now an adult, Seon-mi become Sam Jang (based on Tang Sanzang) since she was the one who has released the Monkey King from his prison. Son Oh Gong becomes her protector due to the magical bracelet (originally a head band) which bound him to her commands. 

What follows is a series of events which allow Sam Jang to interact with a few deities-like characters (and dispose of a few ghosts snd demons along the way with the help of Oh Gong) but the highlight would be the romance between she and Oh Gong and Sam Jang's summon to destroy a powerful black dragon before it escape into the world and causes destruction. 

While A Korean Odyssey tells a different story from Journey to the West, a few things retain such as the characters' characteristics and their abilities (for obvious reason) as well as the philosophy behind the original story, which is seeking true light in a dark world surrounded by the evils. The romance between Sam Jang and Oh Gong is a bold creation yet an original, refreshing idea. I absolutely loved the additional romance element and how it plays into a bigger scene in this story as it moves towards the finale, whereby one of them has to choose and make a decision surrounding the heavenly summon. A wonderful fantasy with a twist and I'd recommend this to anyone who loves this genre as well as fans of Journey to the West who don't mind a new perspective. (Trailer here.)

(My favourite OST - When I Saw You)

© 2018 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Little, Brown and Company | January 2018 | 304 pgs
Source: Library

This first book of The Searchers series tells a story of a missing girl and the introduction of FBI Special Agent Elsa Myers. 

Elsa was sitting by her terminally illed father's bedside when she received a call from her superior. Seventeen-year-old Ruby Haverstock has disappeared from Forest Hills, Queens, and no one understand why she turned off the security camera at a local café where she worked before her disappearance. She left work on time so the abduction might have happened after that. Elsa interviewed a few of her friends and it seemed no one really knew about her movement before her disappearance. Her ex-boyfriend, Charlie, seems suspicious to Elsa initially due to the fact that he deals with meds (drugs) and will offer or sell them to the girls he fancies but after a few more interviews with her family members, Elsa learned that Ruby has stolen a fake gun from her father and whether if she is acting out of defense or something, again no one knew. 

Together with Elsa's newly assigned partner, Alexei Cole, they began their investigation search and found a person of interest who may have been killing for years. While Elsa's mind is mostly filled with breaking the case and of her dying father, another part of her is tormented by her self-destructive past, her relationship with her sister and her late mother who used to be abusive and controlling when she was a girl. 

Elsa is both a flawed and an intriguing character, and while the story sounds promising, I've to admit I lost my interest halfway through the book and subsequently I plodded along because I hate to DNF a book and wanted to give it a chance. I think one reason is I couldn't connect with the characters, in particularly Elsa since this is a book about her. I felt there was too little of the suspense part and more on her interactions with Alexei and her past (probably this is the first book but well, I'd have liked it more if there is a balance between the police procedural and Elsa's tormented past); which is not a fault but more of a different expectation on my end since I'd anticipated something more considering Elsa was pursuing a missing person case. There are mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads so obviously it is a matter of one's expectation and view. 

© 2018 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.