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.

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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. 

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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 (, 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.
Avon | February 2019 | 384 pgs
Source: Library

This is the fifth installment of The Ravenels series and it functions as a standalone. 

When young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, attends a family wedding she didn't expect to meet up with her late husband's old schoolmate. She and Henry were childhood sweethearts and they got married despite his ailments. Phoebe heard a lot of things surrounding West Ravenel through Henry. She knew he was a bully and that Henry had a difficult time at the boarding school. So when Phoebe encounters a dashing man who has a charming way with her young sons, the last person she'd thought of is West but as fate would have it it's truly him. 

West has a tarnished past and he's not proud of it. His unhappiness childhood more or less driven him to be an attention-seeker in school; but at that time he didn't realize his behaviours caused misery to some children like Henry. As an adult, his wayward behaviours earned him some reputation in society and at some point he must've gotten tired of everything because he turned his attention to managing properties and agricultural. And the moment he sets his eyes on Phoebe he knew he has to know her, although she seems to be far out of his reach. 

Phoebe doesn't want to have anything to do with West, but he seems like a changed person and most of all, he seems to like her sons. Now Phoebe may come across as an aristocratic lady, but she's the daughter of Lord St. Vincent - one whom almost everyone knew to be the devilishly wicked rake in England (he's the hero in the other book, Devil in Winter) and as they get to know more of each other Phoebe knows he is the man that she wants but will they be able to overcome the obstacles of the past? 

I haven't read Devil in Winter, but I loved this book! I loved the complexity relationship between Phoebe and West in the beginning and how it gradually turned to mutual attraction as the story progresses. I liked Phoebe for her independence; for not being afraid to say no to a man's work of managing Henry's land even though his cousin takes care of everything. But I liked West more for his humour, his heart for tolerance and most of all his love for Phoebe's children. He's a changed man but there's still a part of him that is tormented from the past and I liked how Phoebe and West complemented each other through the things they'd gone through and how they slowly come to terms with a little push from Phoebe's father. 

Although I haven't read all of Lisa Kleypas's books, I've to say I'd enjoyed those that I read and this book left me a warm fuzzy feeling.  

© 2019 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.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | November 2018 | 240 pgs
Source: Purchased

This is a buddy read with my blogger friend, Lark. Please visit her blog after reading this and I hope you'll enjoy our buddy read feature. 

Despite the title, this book doesn't really classified as a suspense thriller (at least that's what I thought). At its core, this is more of a story about sisterhood and family dynamics set in Nigeria and I liked how it was all executed nicely with some dark humour and satire as its prose. 

The book opens with Korede receives a phone call from her younger sister, Ayoola, for her assistance. Ayoola has murdered her boyfriend, Femi, and she needs Korede to help clear up the mess. This isn't the first time Ayoola has killed a person (three ex-boyfriends, to be exact) and it isn't the first time Korede has to do the dirty jobs for her. Although she always make sure no spot is left behind, she couldn't help worrying if there's a day that the police would come after her. 

Korede works as a nurse at a hospital. She has a crush with Dr. Tade Otumu and although they've a good working relationship, Korede is still hoping that one day Tade would look at her as a woman than a subordinate. Her hope is dashed when Ayoola came to the hospital to look for her and her presence has caught Tade's attention. Ayoola is an attractive woman who oozes charm and confidence so it is no surprise that Tade begins to take an interest in her. Korede isn't pleased but there is nothing much she could do. With no one to share her frustrations, she knows she can always confide to a comatose patient named Muhtar, including sharing all her secrets about Ayoola's killings and how she took care of everything. 

As Tade begins to get serious with Ayoola, Korede wonders if he would get hurt eventually given Ayoola's history with men. Korede doesn't want to doubt her sister; but her claims of self-defence and her nonchalance make her wonder otherwise. Still, she is her sister and blood is thicker than water, right? But she likes Tade, too. So, what's a girl to do? 

This book was such an addicting read. As mentioned, this story is written in satirical prose and I think readers would either love it or hate it. I liked the style; plus the chapters are short and made it a fast read. Story-wise, I was totally engrossed with the two sisters' banter. They may be different in many ways but yet they share a deep bond since young, which started from their father's abuse towards them. Korede is someone whom I think has a strong sense of responsibility in her blood, both at work and with people. Thus, it is interesting to see her dilemma here. Her lone conservations with the comatose Muhtar show a part of her vulnerable side; yet it also portrays her compassionate side as she's the only one who talks to him. Overall this is an interesting novel about sisterhood, family and a case of character study. 

Our Q&As on the book (with my answers to Lark's questions):  

1) Ayoola may have stabbed Femi, but what, if any, responsibility for his death does Korede share?
Hmm. This is quite a difficult question to answer. All I can say is, I think Korede's strength and weakness is that she cares too much for Ayoola. Korede may not agree to some of her thoughts and actions, but in a way she acts like Ayoola's "accomplice" because she doesn't want her to be in trouble. After all, they're sisters. Plus, what they'd experienced in the past had bonded them. 

2) Do you think Ayoola knew how Korede really felt about Dr. Tade Otumu? And if so, why did she continue the relationship? 
Korede may be subtle in regards to her feelings and how she reacts towards Tade, but the way she talks about him in front of Ayoola is quite clear so I think Ayoola is aware of it. Ayoola is an attractive woman and she knew it. I think she continues with the relationship with Tade because Korede remains passive all the time. Plus, Ayoola loves the attention. 

© 2019 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.
Doubleday | February 2019 | 304 pgs
Source: Library

Christine Butcher has a happy family with her husband and her young daughter. Working as a temp in a supermarket chain has allowed her a glimpse of Mina Appleton as a person other than the role of the store's top management. Through her meticulous work, she then caught the attention of Mina and the latter wants her to be her personal assistant. Christine has admired her capabilities from afar so she is thrilled to accept the offer. 

However, Mina's foresight of the store is different from her father's. While her father believes in fair trade and building connections with the farmers and suppliers, Mina's vision is more towards profits first and building an image to the store. Needless to say, their opinions clash and with her father's retirement approaches soon, Mina begins to take things into her own hands and forego promises and contracts which her father had first made. Christine, being Mina's PA, has chosen to close one eye (or both) considering her professionalism and her loyalty towards Mina. Her devotion to work gradually taken its toll on her marriage but Christine feels she couldn't say no to Mina. 

So for twenty years Christine devotes all her attention and life in assisting Mina. Throughout these years she has witnessed several discrepancies surrounding Mina's work attitudes and her secrets as well; and she is good in making things look good (or right) on behalf of Mina until a case which take both of them to court. 

Part psychological thriller and part court drama, The Secretary will question readers about work ethics and the fine line between obedience and obsession. The first half was a slow burn; as the focus was on the relationship between Mina and Christine. Mina is a tough boss, and I marvelled at Christine's ability in performing her job at top notch level under various circumstances. The second half was more onto the court procedural and Christine's emotions after learning that she has somehow gotten involved in Mina's plans and how she'd react to the consequences. 

Truth be told, I didn't know what to think of Christine. She was a devoted and a diligent employee; but I didn't agree with her thoughts on putting her family second and not saying no to Mina at times. And I didn't know what to think of that ending either; for all I know that conclusion will be staying in my mind for a while. 

© 2019 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.