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 clich√© 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.