Melody
G.P. Putnam's Sons | July 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 



Phoebe Miller may be a heiress but she's living an unhappy and an isolated life in her exclusive house in a suburban neighborhood in Chicago. Her late father, Daniel Miller, was quite a character and had left a bad name to the Millers. Phoebe hates to be associated with him, and this explains why she keeps to herself and drowns her sorrow in alcohol and ice cream. It doesn't help that she and her husband, Wyatt, have different views when it comes to the baby issue and as a result their relationship is strained. 

It is at this time that she begins to notice a blue car that always park by her driveway and it seems like whoever in the car is watching her. Whether she's being paranoid or not, Phoebe doesn't like the feeling of being watched and it's only when the Napiers family move in across the street that her attention starts to shift. Dr. Ron Napier has an intimidating demeanor while his wife, Vicki, appears friendly. But Phoebe's attention is on their handsome college-bound son, Jake, and it didn't take long that the two began to get close to each other. Phoebe does feel a bit guilty towards Vicki; after all they've become good friends and will confide with each other regarding their marriage woes. Just when she thought she has all the things balanced and work out her way, she receives an anonymous threatening note stating her secrets. 

Now where shall I even begin? There was a lot of things happening in this story; not to mention it was filled with red herrings and all the twists and turns. The characters are not likeable but they do make you wonder about their characteristics and their motives. There are two parts in this story and I've to say the first part was the most intriguing. The second part felt a bit disjointed, though, and I think it's due to the shift of characters and the change of direction (and of course the big surprise reveal). As much as it was all very compelling, I felt the reader has to suspend some belief to fully appreciate the story. Overall it has a catching plot and as this is the author's debut, I'm curious to see what she'll have in store next.  


© 2019 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
Berkley | March 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Library


Marian Engström works as a conservationist and her job requires her to work with rescue dogs and travelling about places amid the wilderness. Her first assignment takes her to northern Alberta; there she learn her ropes from the adventurous and experienced Tate, who is her mentor turn lover. Working in the remote wilderness can make one lonely, but Marian loves her job and on top of everything Tate makes her feel special. Their togetherness is not long as they go different ways for their assignment and during the course of their separation Marian receives news about Tate's death. 

Tate's death may be accidental as some speculate, but the murder of four women is not. Dubbed as the Stillwater cases, the mysteries remain unsolved and till this day it still haunts the retired forensic profiler, Nick Shepard. Having diagnosed with a brain tumour, he now devotes his time with his wife until he receives a call from Marian. Saddened by the news of Tate's death, Marian's thought has been occupied by the things Tate had mentioned casually to her in the past and some of the stuff didn't sound right to her and for once she wondered if Tate had to do with the four women's murder. Whether to testify her doubts or to clear Tate's name, she decides that Nick may be the person who could unravel the truth with her. 

I really enjoyed reading this novel. For starters, the author's prose is smooth and precise and her descriptions of the snowy wilderness and the role of a conservationist are all well defined. I think some readers may think these may slow down the intensity but personally I appreciate the extra information which allow me to take a deeper look into that profession. As for character- and plot-wise, I think they are well executed, too. I also enjoyed reading about Nick's perspective and think he was a great character not to be ignored. There's even some write-ups about the four victims from Nick's profile and these allow the reader to understand a bit more about the women and how they behaved before tragedy struck. 

Finally, and most importantly, this book also focus on how some male criminals exerting their power over females and too often women fail to trust their intuition when something doesn't feel right (this is not a spoiler but a general portrayal of the four victims' behaviours before the murder. That said, I feel it is an important message which we shouldn't ignore, too.) 


© 2019 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 | March 2019 | 416 pgs
Source: Library 


Helen and Michael are spending a wonderful vacation at Belize with their two children when Helen starts to feel they're being watched. On their way to the airport upon returning home, a van crashed onto their car and the accident left Michael injured and their young daughter, Saskia, in a coma. Although Helen and their teenage autistic son, Reuben, are left unscathed, Helen couldn't help but to wonder if the accident has something to do with her hunch of someone watching them. 

Well, Helen has reasons behind her paranoia. It all happened during her college years when a hiking expedition had gone wrong. To complicate matters, Helen's then-boyfriend, Luke, was buddies with Michael and they'd all planned the hiking trip together with Luke's twin brother, Theo. Michael didn't know Helen then but he knew she had sort of spoilt their trip by tagging along. But as the days go by Michael soon see a new side of Helen. He didn't want to put himself between the couple but at times he wondered if Helen was being abused by Luke after he saw some bruises on her. His questions never got answered as Luke had fallen to his death. Till this day Michael and Helen still question themselves if what they'd done was right. 

But that's not all, throughout the few years Michael has been receiving some letters from the lawyers pertaining Luke's death and all the while he's been ignoring them as they move about. They didn't really think about this until the car accident. Is the accident even connected to Luke's death? And where did Michael go after he's secretly left the hospital?

The Blame Game wasn't what I expected in the first place. Yes, it's a thriller but it also explores the family dynamic and how an act from the past may make an impact to the present, which in turn lead to some life changing consequences. The story is narrated by Michael, Helen and Reuben and there are flashbacks as well. Though I was curious where this story will take me, truth be told it was Reuben's POV and how he viewed things outside his world and the relationship he's had with others is what I enjoyed the most among the three characters. Overall it was an OK read; I think I'd have liked it more if the pace was faster and more gripping. 


© 2019 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
William Morrow | July 2019 | 352 pgs 
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 


Having read two of Paul Tremblay's books (A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World) and enjoyed them, I knew I've to read this even though short stories are hardly my usual fare. Yes, this is a collection of nineteen short stories ranging from psychological suspense to literary horror all packed in this anthology and knowing the author's stories can be bizarre in some ways (I mean this in a good way) I read this book with a thrill of anticipation. Although I can't possibly write out the blurbs and thoughts of all the nineteen short stories, I can tell you a few which are my favourites. 

Growing Things - This is an imaginative tale about the mysterious growing plants and two sisters from his previous novel, A Head Full of Ghosts

Where We All Will Be - Zane was told his brain is different since young. Growing up with no major issues, he is astonished to find that one day his father seemed like another person and kept muttering about getting "There". This one has a bit of the apocalyptic vibe and that ending sent chills down my spine. 

The Teacher - Mr. Sorent is one teacher you'll never forget and that's all I'm saying. 

Notes from The Dog Walkers - Initially this read like ordinary notes from the day of a life of a dog walker but then it slowly spirals towards an array of madness when the topic changes as you go along. 

Her Red Right Hand - This is a story about a girl called Gemma and her ailing mother and how her mother's death led her into sketching and creating a hero-like figure. Think Hellboy. 

The Thirteenth Temple - I don't want to divulge too much of this since it read like a sequel to A Head Full of Ghosts. This is also the last short story of this collection and I liked how the author featured the two sisters in AHFOG in Growing Things as the beginning and finally ending it with The Thirteenth Temple

I think short stories are hard to write and even harder to review. They don't often have the kind of details and well-defined developments like fictions do and the author has to input some extra "punch" to their stories or narrating them in various writing formats and I've to say Paul Tremblay did well in these two. 

As in short stories collection, one may have some favourites and dislike a few others. There are also some which made you race through the pages, while some will make you think hard of the message behind it and still comes up with not much of a verdict (partly due to the ambiguity of it; which the author often does with his stories). That said, each story is unique and though I'm not really a fan of short stories I'm glad I read this because it's Paul Tremblay's. 


© 2019 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
Farrar, Straus and Giroux | May 2017 | 336 pgs
Source: Library


This book caught my attention because of the diversity of the characters (a Korean-American heroine, a Caucasian hero and the heroine's BFF is a gay) and most of all it is literally a tribute to Korean rom-com dramas so being a fan of the latter, I couldn't possibly turn my attention away, right? 

So the book opens with the introduction of our heroine, Desi Lee. She's smart and actively involved in various clubs and sports in school. Heck, she even set her goals into getting Stanford. The only problem - she's never been good with the opposite sex and it's no wonder she has never had a boyfriend. The confidence she has for other things immediately diminish whenever she meets a guy she fancies. 

Desi lost her mother since young and she is very close with her father. One thing she couldn't understand about her father is his love for Korean dramas. She finds their storylines cliché and formulaic and no matter how different the two protagonists are or how they were thrown in difficult circumstances, they always end with happiness tied with a big red bow. Her opinions in Korean dramas start to change after she encounter a guy named Luca Drakos. Moody and ever elusive, Luca is also an expert in Arts and Desi is immediately drawn to his charisma. What she thought of the romance in Korean dramas has a plan in making a relationship work and she decided to work out a list by following their "tactics". 

Now while I find this book entertaining, hilarious and even adorable at times, I do have a few issues concerning Desi's plans. While there are positivity in a few of them, there are one or two issues which had me shaking my head. I think it is understandable of Desi to come up with some plans of having Luca to take notice of her, but it is totally not right to lie and manipulate and this is the point which I couldn't agree with her. Onto other topic, it was refreshing to read about the dynamic between Desi and her father; their interactions and the moments they shared tell a lot about their father-and-daughter bond and I found this perspective endearing since I've read so much about the relationship between mother-and-daughter but rarely this. Overall this was an 'OK' read to me and while I didn't like this book well enough, I'll still read the other books by this author.

* This is a scheduled post as I'm currently taking a short break off of blogging. Comments and blog hopping will resume thereafter. 


© 2019 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
Penguin Publishing Group | June 2019 | 400 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 


This latest release by Clare Mackintosh is unlike any of her previous novels. Instead a psychological thriller which she usually writes, this book tackles on an entirely different subject which would not only pull our heartstrings but will question the choices you'll make under difficult circumstances. 

Max and Pip is a happy family with their 3-year-old son. Then little Dylan is diagnosed with brain tumor and despite of various treatments, the medical team has decided that there wouldn't be any cure for him as the brain damage is irreparable. Even if he lives, he'll not be able to walk, talk or to communicate his needs. Given this diagnosis, Max and Pip have to make a decision as to whether they should extend his life through further treatment or to allow doctors to give him palliative care till his final day. Both Max and Pip love Dylan and would do anything for him but for the first time, they aren't on the same page. Each thinks their decision is the best and fits the principle of humanity after seeing Dylan's suffering. Under this circumstances they've no choice but to leave it to the courts to decide. 

The first half of the book is the most difficult to read as the reader follow Max and Pip's thoughts and struggles regarding Dylan's future. There're lots of emotional evoking scenes here that would make you ache for the couple as well as little Dylan. The doctor-in-charge, Dr Leila Khalili, is a great supporting role as the author allows her reader to see another side of her, whether if it's professional or personal. The second half takes on a much slower pace and allow readers to see the two sides of a decision reached. 

This is a beautifully written story, though a sad and an emotional one. I've enjoyed this author's writing and this book stands out all the more due to a similar difficult decision she'd had to make thirteen years ago. As a parent, I couldn't imagine all the pain and the decision one has to make for his/her child. The weight of that decision is too heavy and no one can predicts the future. One would always question if he/she has made the right decision and then there's always these two words lingering in mind: "What if?" 

Like Max and Pip, I was curious to know the verdict of the courts' decision but after closing this book and pondering about the issues, I think no matter whatever the decision is, it is sufficient as long as we feel we've done what's best under that circumstances and being hopeful for the future. 

* This is a scheduled post as I'm currently taking a short break off of blogging. Comments and blog hopping will resume thereafter. 


© 2019 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
Avon Books | January 2019 | 384 pgs
Source: Library


This is the seventh book of A Heartbreaker Bay series but each installment works as a stand-alone, too.

The book opens with our two leading protagonists co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm. Sadie Lane is a tattoo artist who work two jobs to make ends meet. Caleb Parker is a venture capitalist who has learned the hard way of climbing up the corporate ladder. Sadie and Caleb have seen each other around since their workplace is nearby but they rarely talk though they've a few common friends. Sadie doesn't believe in love after being burned from her previous relationship three years ago, while Caleb's focus is on his business. Plus, his three over-protective sisters drive him crazy through their tight scrutiny of his past or potential girlfriends. So when the two meet up close for the first time, love is the last thing on their mind. However, as they co-owned the dog thereafter, which they later named her Lollipop, they couldn't help seeing more of each other and each meeting brings them closer and enable them to see the other's vulnerable side. It didn't take long for Caleb to have his wall comes crumbling down but for Sadie, it's another matter since she has so many things and issues on her plate. How and what'd Caleb do to break down that strong wall she's built? 

This is such a romantic story about two different people finding each other. Plus, there're so many things to like about this book. For starters, there's Lollipop. She's adorable and made me want to hug her tighter after reading her sad, pathetic days before Caleb and Sadie. Then, there's Caleb. He has personality and charisma, though perhaps he doesn't notice the latter since he was a victim to bullies and was so insecure when he was a boy. I loved reading about his past and seeing how he's changed with the help of his mentor. Finally, there's Sadie and although I liked her strong spirit and her independency, they're times she frustrated me due to her insecurities and her sense of inferiority. 

Anyway, it is satisfying reading how they overcome their own inner obstacles and accepting each other. I think my favourite of all is reading the dialogues because they can be so witty. Jill Shalvis is one of my favourite romance authors and I'd recommend her books anytime should you're in need of a romance fix. 



© 2019 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
Tom Doherty Associates | July 2018 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 


Liv and Morgan are two best friends happily living their lives when an automobile accident took away one of them. When Liv wakes up in the hospital with all the bandages, she thought it's a mistaken identity when everyone thinks she's Morgan. Yet when the bandages come off, it's not her face but Morgan's. Trying to grasp what's happened, she decided to keep quiet and to observe, while hoping it's all nothing but a horrible nightmare. When the truth finally sets in that she's indeed living inside Morgan's body, she decides that it's up to her to find out more about the accident and what happened.  

But the more she digs into it, she realises that Morgan had secrets; and it seemed Morgan had done some researching regarding her late mother's life. But that's not all, Lucy also has to confront with Morgan's boyfriend, Clay, who thinks Morgan has escaped from the brink of death. And the worst thing is, she couldn't even acknowledge her existence with her own parents and her boyfriend, Nathan, who's Clay's younger brother. As Lucy comes to know Clay the more they get together, she thinks he's more reliable than Nathan, whom she later discovers he has a few secrets of his own, too. As complicated as these all sound, Lucy still has to unravel the truth surrounding Morgan's secrets for it seems someone is planning to kill to keep somthing under wraps. 

Ah. I've no idea if this YA novel is meant to be a paranormal, a suspense or a romance because they were all over the place. The beginning has an interesting premise; with the soul possession kind of theme and a mystery to solve but then it veers in another direction once the triangle love sets in. Don't get me wrong, I do love a romance element in a suspense but it seems this one often set in with bad timings; it was just when the mystery was getting somewhere we get to read a bit more about the romance complications instead. 

Then again, I've to say the author has done a good job in capturing the emotional aspect of each character. Overall this book was an enjoyable read and I'd have given this book a higher rating should the theme is more straight forward. I suppose this will appeal to readers who enjoy a bit more romance in their thrillers.


© 2019 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody
St. Martin's Press | April 2019 | 352 pgs
Source: Library

We've all heard enough stories about the complexity relationship between daughter- and mother-in-laws but I've rarely come across a domestic thriller that features on these two characters. I dived into this book with anticipation and had a pleasant surprise as it wasn't what I'd first expected.  

When Lucy first met Diana, she has the impression that Diana isn't a person who's easily warmed up with. She also knew Diana has earned lots of respect from the community for her voluntary works for the women refugees and helping them to find shelters and so forth, and this makes her wonder Diana's cool attitude towards her. Even after getting married to Oliver and have children, Lucy still finds herself keeping at arm's length no matter how hard she tries to get in her good books. 

Their lukewarm relationship continues until one day the police arrives at their house to inform that Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. Diana had only told them about her cancer until later and they didn't think Diana was the suicidal type, after all she and Lucy's father-in-law were so loving to each other. The autopsy later reveals there is no poison running in her blood although they found a bottle of drug near her body, but they did find signs of bruises and evidence of suffocation so the police thinks it may be a homicide case. But who will want to murder Diana? As the story progresses, the reader will soon learn that everyone in the family has something to hide, including Diana herself. 

This story was narrated between Lucy and Diana and in the past and present. I think I enjoyed reading Diana's flashbacks the most as it shows the other interesting side of her. The present timeline was interesting too, but the complicated relationship gets a bit tiresome at some point although it portrays the differences between Lucy and Diana in terms of their thinking and the generation gap (e.g. the interpretation of one's words/actions are often misunderstood by the other and vice versa). I've to admit I didn't like any of the characters here, but it's fine since I was more interested in reading about the family dynamics and finding out who killed Diana and why. I think the author has done a good job in the characterisation department, whether if it's the two lead characters or the other supporting characters. All in all it was an engrossing read, although the ending left me feeling just sad. 


© 2019 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 | April 2019 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 


The Better Sister, at its core, tells a story about sisterhood, family dynamics and what would one do to protect their loved ones. 

Since young, Chloe is a girl who does her work well and dreams big. This competitive streak in her enables her to strive her way up to adulthood. Now a successful editor at Eve magazine, she's also well-known for her feminist movements which has taken the social media by storm. Her older sister, Nicky, is the polar opposite of Chloe. Restless and reckless, Nicky's attention is always fleeting no matter if it's men or jobs. However, she did find someone eventually and got married to him. Unfortunately, their marriage didn't last and it seemed after she gave birth to Ethan, she's back to living her carefree life. Adam, her ex-husband, had been tolerant until Ethan's near death (Nicky's negligence, as everyone assumes) sent him to an edge. With Adam having custody over Ethan, Chloe offered to help looking after young Ethan (this is years before when she becomes an editor) and little do they know they ended up married. Chloe's relationship with Nicky has never been close and with this complicated situation and physical distance it's no wonder they're estranged. 

For a while it seems life is peaceful until Adam is found dead at their East Hampton beach house. The police suspects Ethan (now seventeen) given his timeline during his father's death is vague. Under this circumstances, Chloe knew she has to let Nicky back into their lives since she's Ethan biological mother. Plus, Ethan needs help and no matter how much Chloe despise Nicky she is forced to reunite with her; but then are they able to set aside their mistrust and old resentments from their past? 

I've enjoyed Alafair Burke's previous novel, The Wife, and I've to say both her prose and the execution are very engaging. There's something about her writing that sucks you in; and she really know her stuff when it comes to legal related matters (click here for more detailed information of her profession). Although this is classified as a domestic thriller and with the mystery surrounding Adam's death, it is actually about the dynamic and the complexity relationship between two estranged sisters. As the story unfolds, you'll begin to compare and question who is the better sister once the family secrets unveil. This book is a slow burn but it is character-driven and intriguing enough to hold my attention till the end. 


© 2019 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody
Orion | April 2019 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 

MJ Cross has written the Carter Blake series under another name as Mason Cross. While I haven't read that series, this stand-alone has given me an idea how his writing is. And it turns out his style is precise and engaging; and the execution has a "cinematic" vibe to it. 

The book opens with our protagonist, Jenny Bowen, boarding the Caledonian Sleeper back to her old home in Scotland. After finding out her husband's infidelity and following the recent death of her father, she decided that leaving London might give her some peace after all the things she's been through. On the way to her cabin, she encounters a woman who's next to her cabin and even helps to pick up a stuffed animal to a young girl whom she assumes to be the woman's daughter. They didn't talk much and Jenny left for her cabin. 

On her way to the toilet in the dim early morning light, Jenny discovers the woman's door is ajar and on closer look she is shocked to discover the woman is already dead. And that's not all, there's no sign of the little girl and as a standard procedure the cops are called in to make a thorough investigation. DI Gregory Porter has decided to rule it as a drug overdose case after checking the woman's past record and although Sergeant Mike Fletcher has his doubts, he couldn't find any new evidence that pointed otherwise. Despite the police closing the case, Jenny is adamant that something is amiss and goes out her way in pursuing the truth. Eventually she discovers something and approaches Sergeant Fletcher for another investigation. Now Mike and Porter's personality clashes and the latter has no intention of opening the case again but Jenny's account has Mike very curious so he decides to help her with the investigations unofficially. 

As I mentioned, the author's prose has a "cinematic" vibe so I could visualise the events happened in this story as well as the rapport between Jenny and Mike. While I admired Jenny's determination and meticulous demeanour, it was Mike who held my reading interest because he is willing to believe in Jenny, as simple as that. His willingness to help Jenny unofficially has earned him some points in my impression and I rooted for them all the way. As for the plot and the mystery surrounding the dead woman, all I can say is there are layers and layers of intrigue and just when you thought you've some things figured out, another thing arises. I'd more or less figured a rating in mind before finishing the book until one outcome totally astounded me (thus 4 stars - not a fault but purely a personal expectation). Still, it was all a very engaging read and I'll definitely keep a look out for his other books.


© 2019 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
Doctor Prisoner

Synopsis from DramaBeans

Doctor Prisoner centers around an ace doctor in a university hospital’s emergency care center, a skilled professional who treats his patients with full devotion and without discrimination. However, his medical license gets suspended as a result of a medical malpractice incident that arises when the hospital board director causes a ruckus. He then gets his certificate as a medical internist and applies to work at a prison, where his plan is to cozy up to all the bigshots there—business tycoons, celebrities caught for doing drugs, sports stars guilty of gambling—and to win allies, with the ultimate goal of getting revenge against the hospital that ousted him. To do so, he’ll get rid of the existing prison chief doctor and claim the spot for himself.


My thoughts: 
I don't know about you, but I think there's something about medical thriller that attracts us despite some scary facts or uncomfortable scenes that make us think about our bodies and how fragile life can be. I think one reason I love watching medical related dramas is how great a doctor is and seeing how they could save a person's live through their skillful hands and watching Doctor Prisoner allows me to see the passionate side of a doctor called Na Yi Je (starring Nam Goong Min) and his sense of justice when dealing with all kinds of despicable people and their conspiracies. There are so many baddies here that I lost count, and no one is to be trusted, including Dr Na himself since you don't know what he's thinking and what games he might be playing. I think one of the highlights is watching him "creating an illness" to one or two prisoners so they can request for acquittal to justify the few cases he's fighting against the baddies (yes, these group of people are more or less connected) and while it seems a bit far-fetched and doesn't sound morally reprehensible, I can see how his points come about from another perspective. Overall this was an exciting and an intriguing drama and I recommend it if you love a good thriller. (4.5 stars)



The Light in Your Eyes 

Synopsis from AJ at MyDramaList

A girl who can travel through time meets a man who lives a torpid life. Kim Hye Ja is a bright and positive 26-year-old woman who wishes to become an announcer. One day, she gains the ability to exploit time and from there, is involved in a complicated timeline as a 70-year-old. Lee Joon Ha is a man who wishes to become a reporter. He worked hard to reach his goal, but now throws away his time and lives lethargically. When the two opposites meet in a complicated time, a love story begins to unfold.


My thoughts: 
I've to say I didn't expect a romance time travel story would be that complicated (mind boggling to say the least) but you've to go in "blind" as you watch this. Do not read and analyse too much from the blurb(s) because it isn't what you're thinking in the first place. It is a slow-burn at times but the wait is worth it and will leave you gasping and muttering "What?" towards the end. I think this is my vaguest review I've ever written but I can say the message behind this is a thought-provoking one. (4 stars)



© 2019 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 2019 | 464 pgs
Source: Library 

In the kingdom of Kichona where Taigas warriors are viewed as an honorable position; their jobs are to serve and to protect the kingdom. 18-year-old Sora and Daemon are both apprentice Taigas warriors who are trained in magic and fighting arts and they're geminas; meaning they're bound by mental connection. Each warrior has their own specialty and while Sora can move stealthily and hurl throwing stars with accuracy, Daemon can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. 

With their graduation fast approaching, Sora and Daemon are looking forward to their assignments and prove that they're worthy of their rank. Kichona has been stable after the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago and while it's a good thing, that also means the chance of making their mark might prove difficult, until they encounter a camp of soldiers (that looked a bit like Taigas warriors) behaving strangely. Sora and Daemon decided to prove their worth by observing the group and soon find the horrific truth that will threaten not only their safety but also might tear the entire kingdom apart. 

I've to say Circle of Shadows has a fascinating background of a fantasy story, whatwith the combination of a magic element and fighting arts set in a kingdom filled with a mythology of Zomuri, their god of glory, and the paradise of Evermore in which he'd grant one's wish of this paradise on earth should he sacrifice two hundred Kichonans lives in the Ceremony of Two Hundred Hearts. As much as the blurb is promising, I found the execution and the writing style to be a letdown (too much repetition and is a little choppy). The only thing which kept me reading is the characters but then the developments and the world building aren't that strong enough to leave an impression (perhaps it's the first book?). I'm not sure if I'd continue with this series since I read and skimmed here and there. However, there are mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads so perhaps this simply isn't a good fit to my reading taste.


© 2019 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody
HarperCollins Publishers | February 2019 | 448 pgs
Source: Purchased 



I rarely read Sci-Fi; and I tend to be picky with this genre but this book had my attention throughout so that says a lot how I felt about this book. 

Princess Ada von Hasenberg is the fifth child of six children in the House of von Hasenberg. The von Hasenberg is one of the three High Houses among the space universe and they are officially ruled by the Royal Consortium. Each High House has a Councillor who wield the power and occasionally the three High Councillors will meet for political reasons. In its present case, Ada's father has arranged Ada to wed Richard from House Rockhurst but Ada has her own plans. To escape from the marriage, she has been on the run for two years until she is caught and is thrown into a cell with the notorious Marcus Loch. Known as the devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is known to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion and he is a wanted man by the Consortium.  

However, during the return to Earth their ship is attacked by House Rockhurst's battle cruiser and Ada knew if Richard captures her she'd be used as a political pawn and nothing else. Being constrained in a small cell her only hope is Loch so she strikes a deal with him to help her escape with compensation. Although she isn't sure if Loch is to be trusted, she's willing to take a risk especially when her freedom is at stake. 

Polaris Rising is the first book of a trilogy and what a fun adventure-packed book it is! I loved everything here - the characters, the premise and yes, there's even a romance element in it. Ada is one kick-ass heroine; and Loch is one character who will grow on you the more you read about him. There's some history behind his fugitive persona so I was intrigued by it as well. And the Sci-Fi elements are balanced in a way that there aren't too many related stuff that might bore or confuse you; but I've to say I was quite fascinated by the world-building and the scientific technologies (e.g. nanobots for the prestige that seem like a superb recovery system and FTL drives that is an invaluable source to the universe, etc) alongside the adventures. The next installment (Aurora Blazing) will feature Ada's older sister and their House's head security and I can't wait to read their story!


© 2019 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
Black Dot Publishing | January 2019 | 378 pgs
Source: Library 

I picked up this book not knowing that this is actually the 8th installment of DCI Tom Douglas series but still it works well as a stand-alone. 

Anna is happily married with two children. She is also a head teacher at a primary school and it seems she has quite a blissful life. But what everyone doesn't know is she has secrets and she is a liar. 

Fourteen years ago when she was an university student, she knew a boy called Scott. They fell in love and Anna thought he'd be the one whom she'd spend her life with thereafter but she was wrong. Scott could be a nice guy, but he had a gambling habit. And in the name of love, Anna decided to help him but she'd made many bad choices along the course. Scott's habits had eventually led to his death and Anna has moved on until lately she heard Scott on a radio show saying he has a story to share. The radio show is popular as the audience could dial in to give some snippets of the things they want to share and whoever receives the most vote will get to spill everything within a week's time after the polling. This sent Anna in a frenzy state because how could Scott be alive? And if it's not him then who else could it be since Scott is the only one who knew about their past? 

I think the main draw of this book is not only about deceptions and secrets but also allow readers to be aware of the consequences of gamblings. There is also a murder case which is tied closely to the mystery surrounding Scott which add intrigue to the overall plot and this is where DCI Tom Douglas comes in. Aside from the investigations, we get to see the other side of Tom when he was with his family, especially with his daughter since he is separated from his wife. 

As for Anna, I'd mixed feelings for her. There were times I was sympathetic with her situations; yet there were also times I wanted to shake her and wished she'd chosen those decisions the other way. Although there are some parts which may appear a bit far-fetched to me, overall it was an engrossing read (and of course there's a twist in the end). 

© 2019 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 | September 2018 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 


Ten years ago, Josiah Blackthorn and his son, Lucas, trekked into the wilderness of Minnesota's Boundary Waters and were never heard again. As their campsites were found ravaged, everyone's initial thoughts was they might be attacked by some wild animals. A decade later, Lucas was found ransacking an outfitter store. He was caught but his mental condition appeared unstable; he was violent and uncommunicative so he is now incarcerated in Congdon Psychiatric Institution. 

Speech therapist Maya Stark is assigned to Lucas's case. Having grown up at the Boundary Waters, she has her own sad story and secrets to hide. She is intrigued by Lucas no doubt, after all he is a high profile patient in the Institute and the fact that they are both familiar with Boundary Waters. Lucas isn't cooperative initially but through Maya's persistence efforts Lucas starts to open up. Eventually Maya feels she needs to help Lucas find his father, even if she is to break some protocols. 

"A father had disappeared. A son was desperate to find him. And I would tell a thousand lies if it brought him one step closer." ~ Pg 134

While Leave No Trace may read as a psychological thriller, I think it's also right to say it's about the emotional struggles and connections between a therapist and a patient. The characters development was great; and I felt so much for both Lucas and Maya. However, their connection also made me uneasy; especially Maya took matters into her own hands and broke a few work ethics rules. 

Aside from this, there's also the mystery surrounding Maya's mother's disappearance when Maya was younger and how it continues to haunt her as an adult. I thought this was an intriguing aspect throughout the story, though I was equally curious about Josiah's whereabouts and whether or not if he's still alive. The pace starts out a bit slow in the beginning but picks up quickly once events start to unfold. While overall this was a satisfying read, I liked her previous novel (Everything You Want Me to Be) better. 

© 2019 Melody's Reading Corner (https://mel-reading-corner.blogspot.sg/), All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Melody
St. Martin's Press | September 2018 | 320 pgs
Source: Library


This is the fifth installment of the Amory Ames mystery series. The story opens with our protagonists, Amory and her husband, Milo, encountering an old friend after a night at a theater. Gerard Holloway, former actor and now director, has invited them to the dress rehearsal of a new play he is directing and they have happily accepted. However, when Amory learned that Gerard has cast his mistress, actress Flora Bell, as the lead role in the play, she couldn't help but to feel concern for Gerard's wife, Georgina. After all, they're old friends too. 

Amory's concern for Georgina is later cast aside after Gerard told them what has been troubling him lately. Flora Bell has been receiving threatening letters and Gerard thought he could seek their help in finding the mysterious sender; after all the couple had solved a few mysteries in the past. Amory feels torn between her loyalty to Georgina and helping Gerard to investigate but in the end her curiosity gets the better of her; plus she feels the need to bring the culprit to justice. 

As Amory digs into the case, she comes to realise that each member of the cast more or less has some issues with Flora and it's difficult to tell if each of them is lying considering acting is their profession. And when the threatening letters turn to murder, Amory and Milo have to find out who the killer is before the final curtain falls. 

I've enjoyed reading all the previous installments of this series and this one is no exception. One of the things I like reading about this series is seeing the developments between Amory and Milo. In the first book, we learned that this charming couple faced some marital issues. Milo is known to be a ladies man but so far he hasn't cross the line and has maintained an amicable relationship with Amory. As they work together to solve each mystery their relationship gets better and I'm always curious to read what Milo has in mind during the investigations because he is always so logical and calm while Amory isn't. That is not to say Amory is incompetent but just that their personality and their way of dealing things differ. While I find some parts are repetitive, most often my attention are turned to the cast of characters and how the Ames couple will react when they encounter certain circumstances. 

Among other things which I like about this series are the time period and the various settings of each book, with a little touch of Agatha Christie-style so if you like these elements then this series is for you.



© 2019 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
Doubleday | April 2019 | 368 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 



During the 1920s in Hartsboro, a woman named Hattie Breckenridge was accused of witchery and was hanged. Hattie was merely a woman who had the ability to foresee the future. When she predicted that there would be a fire, no one believed her until tragedy struck. Her daughter escaped since Hattie predicted it and as a result the community blamed Hattie. No one knew what happened to Hattie's daughter after Hattie was hanged and the case was closed but never forgotten. 

Back to its present 2015, Helen and Nate left their comfortable suburban home and their teaching jobs to a rural land in Hartsboro where they build the house of their dreams. While they are excited of the project and their new life, their friends think otherwise. Helen and Nate never look back to their old life and immersed themselves in building their dream house. Then Helen discovers that the property they took over has a dark and violent past and this begins her interest and her intensive research.  

On the other end, 14-year-old Olive is in search of her mother, who is believed to have ran off with another man. Olive doesn't want to believe in the rumours; she and her mother are closed and she's always enjoyed hearing stories from her about Hattie and her treasures. Her crossing path with Helen leads them to unearth the history of Hattie's tragic past as well as her descendants and how these three generations of the Breckenridge women had all died amidst suspicion; in which both Helen and Olive would find out the horrifying truths eventually. 

Jennifer McMahon's past novel, The Winter People, has left a deep impression on me. It was an atmospheric and a creepy story that blends between the 20th century and the present day. The Invited has the same vibe with a sense of a mystery surrounding the ghost story but what stands out is not only the spooky Hattie but also the stories of her descendants and even Olive, too. The story was mostly narrated between Helen and Olive in the present and a few others of the past but the former took up the most narrative of this book. 

And as much as this is a ghost story, it's also very much of a family story which spans from three generations, all involving the Breckenridge women. Not intending to spoil the story, all I could say is I was immensely hooked by the mystery. I didn't expect a twist either but there it is. This will be my second favourite McMahon book with The Winter People as my first. Let's hope her next book will surpass these two. 



© 2019 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 | September 2018 | 416 pgs
Source: Library


Elle Fielding has made her name through the success of her debut novel. Now facing the stress of writing her second book as compelling as her first, she decides that she needs some inspiration and go for a writers retreat while she rents her clifftop house out on Airbnb so she'd earn some money; after all she spent an amount remodelling the house. 

However, when she comes home she is shocked to find shattered pieces of her paperweight in her locked writing room. The house doesn't seem right to her either and her suspect immediately turns to the family who rented her house. But her friends think otherwise; they all think that Elle is under stress and that it's all in her head. Elle admits to herself that her second book does make her stressed and anxious, but it couldn't be her creative mind playing with her, could it? 

Talk about a page-turner; this book really got me captivated from the beginning till the end. Elle fits the mould of an unreliable character beautifully; half the time I was questioning myself if I could believe her. There are also enough red herrings which had me thinking otherwise so that's what made this such an addicting read. There are also a few aspects which intrigued me - such as the insider look of a publishing author's life as well as the ups and downs of renting out your house on Airbnb. 

I know my blurb and my thoughts may be vague but this is one book which you should go in as "blind" as possible. This was a refreshing and a well-crafted psychological thriller which had me thinking with that clever ending. Recommended. 


© 2019 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.