2019 is not a bad year to me, at least in books and reading-wise. Let's see, I'd read a total of 113 books - 68 English books and 45 Chinese books. Most of the latter consist of urban legends fiction by Ling Jing (笭菁) and I'm so glad to have discovered her books. As for English books, I'd read/discovered a few great ones as well. As cliché as this sounds, each book is different and special in its own way; thus my top ten reads are mostly based on how "unputdownable" and how they made me feel after closing the book. Without further ado, here's my top ten list in alphabetical order by the authors' last name (titles are linked to reviews).  

- No Exit by Taylor Adams
- White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
- My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell 
- The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
- The Rumour by Lesley Kara
- The Hunger by Alma Katsu
- How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik 
- Deadland by William Shaw

Honorable Mention:

I rarely read non-fiction, but I've to say the above book was such a pleasure to read and I've learnt so much from it. Do yourself a favour and go read this book! Trust me, you'll benefit from reading this. 

Onto another topic, I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank my friends on Instagram for following and liking my pictures. Here's a collation of my top nine pictures which have received the most "likes" in 2019. Are you on Instagram? We can be friends there . . . Look for my IG handle: melody_lee 

Last but not least, since today is the last day of 2019, I'd like to wish you a very Happy New Year and here's hoping for more great reads in 2020!

© 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.
William Morrow | September 2019 | 464 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Elevators are part and parcel of our life given today's many high-rise buildings and the like. In this novel, author Linwood Barclay weaves a riveting tale about the catastrophe of elevators "accidents" and the threats it impose that all deem too frightening and plausible.

It all started when four people boarded an elevator at Lansing Tower in Manhattan. Instead of stopping at their designated floors, the elevator proceeded to the top, in which it paused for a few seconds before it began to descend floor by floor. Just when the four passengers thought the elevator would eventually stop at a floor, it suddenly plummeted. As much as it was a horrific tragedy, it was speculated that it was nothing more than an unfortunate random incident until two more elevator incidents occurred in different locations in three consecutive days. A coincidence? Probably not. At least journalist Barbara Matheson, detectives Jerry Bourque and Lois Delgado think there's something more than meets the eye and each is eager to dig into the mystery which had killed a few people, including a top entertainment industry figure, a lawyer and a renowned Russian scientist. 

The NYC mayor, Richard Headley, finds himself in a difficult position as not only he has to find answers to the Russian ambassador but also to fellow New Yorkers, especially those who lives or works at high-rise buildings since they've to rely on elevators and to cease them from operating for investigations would not only cause inconvenience but also creates panic and chaos in this vertical city. 

As the story progresses and intensity escalates, it appears that the elevator mishaps aren't the only focus as more elements (a few speculation issues such as politics, terrorism, extremist group, relationships, etc etc), background information and subplots are gradually filled in to form a wider and a more complex perspective. Truth be told, while I appreciate these additions and I think some readers would probably enjoy them, I personally feel they kind of weaken the main storyline - the escalator catastrophe. To be fair, although they still linked to the escalator catastrophe ultimately, they seemed scattered and this more or less had diverted my attention. Nevertheless, it still made a compelling read as it kept me engaged till the end. 

© 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.
Lake Union Publishing | June 2019 | 368 pgs
Source: Library 

The book opens with five MacAllister siblings returning to their family owned camp to read the will left by their late father. Each sibling has different views of what to do with the estate but they didn't expect that their father had an entirely different plan. They learned that they couldn't do anything to the property until they unravel the mystery surrounding Amanda Holmes. 

Twenty years ago, 17-year-old Amanda Holmes was found washed up on shore in a rowboat with a gash to the head. No one was charged as the police couldn't find any evidence and the case was left unsolved. Each sibling, however, is flawed and harbours a secret and as the story progresses, the reader will learn that each holds a piece of the puzzle to the mystery but the biggest question is, would this group of siblings work together to find the perpetrator or would their secrets tear the family apart? 

Catherine McKenzie's books are a great joy to read because each of her book is different and full of surprises. Books about dysfunctional families and secrets rarely bore me as it explores the complicated human relationship and how one would react under stressed circumstances. In this novel, the author has crafted a suspenseful tale about the dynamics between the MacAllister siblings and the murder of Amanda Holmes through multiple narratives and a series of timelines dictating the siblings' movements on that fateful night. The characters are fleshed out and many aren't likeable; and most of all they made me think about how well do we really know about our family members and the secrets which may separate or bind us forever. This was a twisted and a twisty read; and I enjoyed the intrigue and the author's wonderful storytelling skills.

Christmas is drawing near and before ending this post, I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and may your new year be filled with joy and good books! 😃📚

© 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.
First Second | February 2019 | 256 pgs
Source: Library

I don't think I've seen many graphic novels about women's health, pregnancy and motherhood. Although guidebooks of the same are always informative and useful, what makes this graphic novel stand out is it not only follows Lucy Knisley's personal transition into motherhood but also illustrates the history and science of reproductive health.

Lucy first shares with the reader a little history about herself as a young adult upon receiving pieces of advice relating to contraception, reproduction and sexual health from various sources. While some are misconceptions and myths, Lucy went on to do some researching as she realised there were more to learn about the intertwined history and science of taking care of a woman's body. 

After her marriage, Lucy decided it was time to get pregnant but conceiving turned out to be harder than anything she'd ever attempted. Thereafter, fertility problems were followed by miscarriages and sent her in a bout of depression. Through the support by families, friends and the readers online, she eventually walked out from the gloom and try to get pregnant again. Lucy then continues to chronicle her pregnancy journey till the difficulties she met upon delivery. I find the part from Lucy's husband's perspective regarding her surgery and hospitalisation especially moving and heartwarming although seeing what Lucy had gone through had me worrying for her at one point. 

As informative and moving it is, Lucy also incorporates some humour into her story so it also made a light-hearted read. She has done her research well and I think any reader will benefit from reading this book. This is my first Lucy Knisley graphic novel and I'll definitely check out the rest of her works. 

© 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.
St. Martin's Publishing Group | June 2019 | 304 pgs
Source: Library 

In a nutshell, this latest stand-alone psychological thriller by Kelley Armstrong is about the lengths one woman will go in order to save a child.

Thirty-year-old Aubrey Finch has been separated from her husband and she only gets to see her young daughter during weekends. Her husband, Paul, is a criminal defense attorney and Aubrey works in a library. Despite her financial status, Aubrey never ask Paul for money. This is partly due to self belief that she has hidden her dark ugly past from Paul so therefore she doesn't deserve his kindness and empathy. Her secrets eventually led to a strain in their relationship, although Paul didn't really know about her past until later. 

Like any other weekend, Aubrey is spending her time with her daughter at a park when her sight rest upon a young mother and son. They chatted a bit but didn't exchange any personal information about themselves. Two days later, Aubrey saw the same young son wandering alone but before she could reach him, she witnessed a man came out from his car and took him. With the boy's mother nowhere in sight, Aubrey figured it should be a kidnapping case and called the police. The police told her no one has reported a missing child; and while this news sent Aubrey into doubts, she knew something is definitely off and decided to take things into her own hands. Her actions, however, have made the police and the people around her question her credibility and her mental state. Is she an attention seeker? Or is she delusional because she doesn't have primary custody of her daughter so she is losing her mind and start to imagine things? But as Aubrey ignores the accusations and continues digging, she knew there's always a cost and that her continuous digging may put her into danger given her dark past. 

Kelley Armstrong is a versatile writer as she writes different genres ranging from young adult novels, fantasy, crime and suspense thrillers. I may not have read all of her novels, but I've enjoyed those that I'd read thus far. This book, however, lacks a little punch partly due to the plot which I find is quite commonly used (which isn't a bad thing but just feel that I've read something familiar at some point). Despite this, I've to say the author has done a great job in portraying a single parent's struggles as well as a mother's fear of losing her child. And of course, there's Aubrey herself with her intriguing dark past and her fighting spirits, which I think made up for the average intensity and suspense. 

© 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.
Ebury Press | July 2019 | 384 pgs
Source: Purchased 

If you're given the opportunity to stay at a high-end apartment and get paid for apartment sitting, even if it comes with a few ridiculous rules, would you do it? Jules Larsen, our protagonist, sees an ad for an apartment sitter and decided to apply for it. With her dire financial situation and her heart being broken by her ex-boyfriend, she decided to try her luck at the Bartholomew; one of Manhattan's oldest and high-profile buildings. Jules is enamored by the overall structure and splendor of Bartholomew, but there's something a bit off with the rules, though. Her interviewer told her there would be no visitors and no nights spent away from the apartment. And because most of the residents are rich and famous, discreet and privacy are to be expected so no disturbing and interactions with them if possible. As much as the rules are strange and absurd, Jules accepts the terms and decides to move on with her new life. 

As Jules tries to settle down at the Bartholomew, a few residents caught her attention. One of them is an author whose book she had read with her older sister, Jane, during their childhood. The others are the bubbly and easy-going apartment sitter named Ingrid and a young, good-looking doctor called Nick. Despite the requests from the interviewer, Jules and Ingrid quickly become friends. Jules has to admit Ingrid reminds her a bit of Jane due to their personality. Jules misses Jane and with her disappearance eight years ago, Jules thinks she's gone like her late parents since there's absolutely no news of her. 

Jules and Ingrid hit it off despite they only knew each other for two days. It is also at this time that Ingrid confides that there's something strange going on in the Bartholomew. Bartholomew is a very old building with a hundred-year-old history; it has witnessed many kinds of death. But the most famous is the pandemic flu which had taken many lives as well as the suicidal of the builder. Jules is captivated although it didn't really scare her off, until Ingrid disappears without any warnings. Knowing that she wouldn't just leave without saying goodbye, Jules begins to search for the truth, including digging into the Bartholomew's dark past. She then finds out that Ingrid isn't the only apartment sitter who's missing from the Bartholomew; and what she unravels thereafter will chill not only Jules but the reader as well. 

Once again, Riley Sager has delivered a compelling and an unputdownable psychological thriller in Lock Every Door. It was a dark and atmospheric read given the Bartholomew's history; and Ingrid's disappearance and the secrecy hush within the residents added much intrigue to the story but alas, the ending wasn't what I'd expected and it was a letdown in my opinion. Nevertheless, Riley's writing and his storytelling still shine and I can't wait for his next book, Home Before Dark, to be released in July 2020. 

As this is a buddy read with Lark, please do check out her review as well. Finally, here's her questions to me about this book: 

1. How do you think Lock Every Door compares to Riley Sager's other novels? And which of his books do you like best?
Riley Sager's books are always so compelling and addictive. His writing style is solid and in my opinion there's never a bored moment or dragging parts in his books. His books capture your attention through the story progression as the intensity escalates and the characters developments are equally brilliant. Lock Every Door is no exception. The writing and suspense are tight and taut here; it was only the ending which disappointed me as I was expecting other directions. My favourite will be Final Girls. It was atmospheric and a true psychological thriller in every sense. 

2. Several characters in this book try to justify their evil actions by saying it's for the 'greater good' or that they're doing it to save another person's life. (Like Charlie.) Do you think that a noble end goal can ever justify doing the wrong thing?
I think it depends on what the ends or goals are and what means are being used to achieve them. Generally, most people think if the goals and the means to achieve them are both good and noble, then the ends justify the means. However, from the perspective of the victim/sacrificer, it is an unfair and selfish treatment and ethically, I feel that person has the right in his own say, too. Generally, this is a difficult question to answer to, but I can definitely say the ends do not justify the means in this story.

© 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.
Hello! What've you been up to while I was away for a little blogging break? I hope you've read some good books, or have done something fun and memorable. Me? I'd had a little vacation with my family at Kuala Lumpur, doing nothing but eat, shop, explore and sleep. I didn't read despite I brought two books with me. I know, it's unbelievable for a book lover but I was too tired to do anything after a day's outing (all those walking about . . . which was a good thing. Or maybe I'm getting old, haha.) Anyways, I'd had fun and now that I'm back, I've lots of catching up to do . . . such as reading, commenting and blog-hopping (and of course, other routine stuff in life.) And speaking of reading, I've several (it's an understatement) library books which I'd borrowed before and after my vacation trip. I don't know if I'm able to finish them all before the due date, so we shall see. 

My current read is a combination of mystery, fantasy and romance titled (神都听见了吗?) (Did God hear it?) by Song Ya Shu (宋亚树). The story centers around two protagonists, a forensic pathologist and a numerologist specialises in feng shui and warding off the so-called otherworldly evil spirits. Their path cross when a death involving dark magic was suspected, and despite their personality and opinions clash, they soon realise that they need each other to help the police find the perpetrator as more similar cases began to arise. I'd finished reading the first book and am almost done with the second book of this duology. I loved it a lot and I'm hoping this would be translated into English in the near future. (Don't you love those covers?)
Off topic and out of curiosity, do you read the author's afterword (or acknowledgement and any other information) first before reading the book? I do, and I especially love to read about the author's thoughts and experiences when writing about that book. I'd only stop reading when there are warnings of spoilers ahead. What about you? 

Finally, I'll be doing a last buddy read with Lark before the year ends and the book is Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. Of course, we'll be doing more joint reading in the coming year and I'm always looking forward to them as it's so much fun reading together with a friend. I'll end this post with a few pictures from my vacation. 

© 2019 Melody's Reading Corner (, All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this post from other site(s), please take note that this post and the attached pictures have been stolen and are used without permission.