Melody
Atria Books | 11 July 2023 | 320 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 

Julia and Sienna Larkin are sisters-in-law and business partners as well. To them, Jason (Julia’s husband and Sienna’s brother) is a good and a hardworking man who'd put others before himself. He's also been working diligently for a promotion at work and life is happy for them, until his boss, Gavin, is found brutally murdered.

A few days later, Jason is met in an accident and is in a coma. The police investigation points to Jason as the prime suspect of Gavin's murder, since the murder weapon is found in his car. The news rattled Julia and Sienna, since they didn't believe Jason would hurt anyone. Sienna believes in Jason strongly since he saved her from a sexual assault years ago. With Jason in a coma and he couldn't defend himself, Julia and Sienna decided to take matters into their own hands and investigate themselves, starting with his colleague, Maeve, who claimed that Gavin was acting suspiciously before his death. But as Julia and Sienna dig further, they find their opinions are divided and this put their friendship at risk. 

The story is told between Julia’s and Sienna’s POV. Julia's narrative is calm while Sienna’s is full of rage and in a defensive mode. As much as this book was interesting in a way that it captured the relationship between two sisters-in-law, the pace was extremely slow and there wasn't much intensity and thrill as too much was focused on the two sisters-in-law's investigation and their reactions. Perhaps this is the intention by the author to portray their dynamics as the story progresses. While the plot did escalate towards the end, it felt a bit rushed and although there was a twist, it was easy to figure out if you follow through the story. Overall, I enjoyed this more of a domestic suspense than a psychological thriller. 
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Melody
Berkley | 1 December 2020 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 


Professor Naya Turner's life has always been simple and routine. She's devoted to her work but the university is undergoing a restructuring so that means their flailing department might land on a chopping block anytime. To cheer her up, Naya's bestie suggested she shed her usual self and do something fun for an evening in town, such as making a to-do list and challenge herself to various tasks which are out of her norms. Starting off with striking a conversation with a stranger at the bar. Naya isn't totally against the idea, after all her bestie is coming along and she might not be doing anything from the list at all. But a family emergency came up and Naya is left alone at the bar. 

But Naya's loneliness is only temporary after she met Jake who's also nursing his drink alone. Jake is visiting for a business meeting as well as his friend's wedding party. A boisterous bachelorette party nearby prompts him to strike a conversation with Naya and both of them hit it off quickly. Naya thinks Jake is funny and friendly and soon she finds herself sharing her to-do list with him. Jake tells her that he could check off the items on her list, starting with buying her a drink and ending with a no-strings-attached hookup. But their so-called date doesn't seem to end there that night, as Jake wants to get to know Naya more and vice versa. 

And as fate would have it, Jake happened to be the management consultant hired by the University; and by the time Naya finds out it's a little late to retrace her steps (and her heart). Aside from the complications of their relationship, Naya also has to face the wrath of her ex-partner after learning that he'll be working in the same university as her. Losing her job and/or love is one thing, but having to deal with his ex-partner's threats and abusive behaviours is another thing. 

I haven't read a romance for a while so this was a refreshing read to me. I loved the interactions between Jake and Naya and I thought Jake was a catch - he's funny, considerate and understanding. Naya, on the other hand, appeared to be strong on the surface but deep within she was simply a woman who's looking for someone who'd understand her and respect her. Although this is a romance, it also delves into some serious subjects like domestic abuse and gaslighting and these scenes are particularly hard to read. But Naya was a changed person by then so she wouldn't submit to her ex's behaviours. I enjoyed this book (minus the abusive parts) and all the more for the author's writing. I'll definitely keep a look out for her other books. 

© 2023 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 | 2 February 2023 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 

Isabelle Drake's world has turned upside down ever since her young son, Mason, disappeared from his bedroom a year ago. With no clue and evidence, the police have stopped looking and even her husband, Ben, wants her to move on and keep herself together. Isabelle has a tendency of sleepwalking during her childhood days and while the issue seems to have stopped as she gets older, she couldn't help but to think if she's responsible for Mason's disappearance. After all, she has a traumatic past after the passing of her younger sister and she's not sure if she has fully healed from that unfortunate incident.

Despite everything, she has not given up on searching for Mason so she decided to take things into her own hands by holding talks and eventually allowing herself to be interviewed by a true crime podcaster named Waylon Spencer even though she isn't keen of this idea in the beginning. But Waylon had solved a cold case before and Isabelle is interested to see how he could assist her if they decided to work together. However, Waylon seems to have motives of his own and as Isabelle continues to be troubled by her insomnia in connection to her past, she isn't sure what and who to trust anymore, including herself. 

I enjoyed the twisty ending, but the journey to the end was long and a slow one. Don't get me wrong, I love a slowburn thriller, but there wasn't much to hold my attention in the first three quarters of the book and truth be told, I wasn't enamoured by Isabelle’s constant whining and her reckless behaviours (e.g. why did she invite Waylon to stay with her? He may be her working partner, but she's all alone at home and he was still an outsider after all.) The writing was great but too wordy and poetic for a suspense thriller (perhaps it's only me). That said, many Goodread readers loved this book so please do not let my opinions deter you from reading it.  
© 2023 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 | 3 January 2023 | 288 pgs 
Source: Library 

"Houses remember." With this sentence it begins the story in Rachel Hawkins' latest release set in Orvieto, Italy. 

Emily and Chess are good friends since young but their friendship kind of fizzled out as the years go by. Both of them are writers; the former writes cozy mysteries and the latter self-help books. When Chess suggested a trip to Italy one day, Emily knew this would be a chance to reconnect with her and that the trip would reignite her creativity in writing the next installment of her bestselling series. 

Prior to the trip, Chess has booked themselves into Villa Aestas. Once known as Villa Rosato, the high-end holiday house is also famous by the stay of a notorious rock star and his entourage way back in 1974. Noel Gordon was on the verge of losing his creativity spark, so he planned on a Summer trip at Villa Rosato and invited up-and-coming musician Pierce Sheldon, his girlfriend, Mari, as well as her stepsister, Lara. Alongside was Johnnie, who was Noel's friend-cum-drug dealer. It was supposedly to be a trip of fun and relaxation, but the group’s dynamics took an ugly turn and ended one being dead. 

Despite what happened at Villa Aestas, Emily and Chess are intrigued by the past and Emily even think that there might be more to the story and she's keen to find out more. After all, what could motivate her creativity more than this? But as Emily digs further, the tension between her and Chess also rises due to some unforeseen circumstances and a secret one harbours from the other. Will history repeat itself in Villa Rosato? 

I enjoyed this story a lot. I loved the alternative storyline between the present and the past. Villa Rosato was atmospheric on its own but regrettably there wasn't much coverage of this rented holiday house but there was sure a lot of tension among Noel's group of friends. It was a treat reading how the story in 1974 unfold; and how intriguing to learn more about the dynamics between Emily and Chess in the present at the same time. I've read comments by some readers that they preferred more of the present story, but in my opinion both are good and equal in terms of intrigue and one wouldn't stand out and/or proceed without the other. If you ask me, I was most intrigued by Mari as a character; not only was she a writer like Emily and Chess but her inner thoughts as well. I think the ending is a love-it or hate-it kind of closure and personally I found it quite fitting to the overall tone of the story. 
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Melody


Flatiron Books | 28 February 2023 | 336 pgs
Source: Library 

Naomi, Cassidy and Olivia are best friends since their childhood days. During those times they spent a lot of their moments roaming the woods and playing the Goddess Game - their own game made up of three different goddesses who they believe to have their own strengths and magic. Some might say they're simply silly girls game, but the three girls think their imaginative goddesses play an important part in their lives and they gave them courage and confidence. Sadly, their happiness came to a halt after Naomi was attacked and she lived to identity the perpetrator who stabbed her seventeen times. Alan Michael Stahl was eventually put in prison after the girls' testimony and for nearly two decades they've somehow left that horrifying past behind until Alan's death (of cancer) in prison brought back their unpleasant memories. 

Naomi, now a wedding photographer who struggles to make ends meet, reunites with her two friends in Chester after hearing Olivia's remark about coming clean from a secret they've since hidden those two decades ago. To complicate matters, Naomi is approached by a guy named Ethan who does podcast and he's interested in interviewing her, especially he has some questions surrounding Alan's trial and her testimony. These circumstances propel the story forward as the reader learn more about the past through flashbacks and the present through Naomi's unreliable narrative as she come to realise that her memory of that fateful day might be tainted. 

To begin with, I enjoyed the author's writing. The story was engaging and her characters were well described and well developed. However I've to say while there are some parts which are good, there are times I wished some chapters read quickly instead of fillers. Naomi's narrative was well done but I didn't like some of the decisions she made, e.g. how silly to explore the crime scene alone. As far as the suspense goes, there are some clich├ęs and predictability but there was the final twist which I didn't see coming, which was a good thing. This book is Kate Alice Marshall's debut adult thriller but she's written novels for YA and middle grade. I can't wait to read what she'll write next. 
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Melody
Macmillan | 18 August 2022 | 352 pgs
Source: Library 

Inspired by Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, this latest release by Alice Feeney was an engaging tale of a dysfunctional family and how their doom was fixed when a family gathering forced them to unravel their secret past. 

This was a great psychological thriller which I'd suggest diving in totally blind so I tried my best to keep this minimal. Daisy Darker, our protagonist, was an intriguing character from the start. She was born with a broken heart; and her relationship and the dynamics with her family was the core of this story. The isolation at Daisy's grandmother's estate on a private island in Cornwall provides a claustrophobic feel to the family's tension, further trapping them and forcing them to probe into each member's inner dark thoughts and secrets after someone was found dead overnight. 

On top of that, the characterisations and the characters developments are great, too. The author has done a great job in describing their personality but yet not revealing too much at the same time. However I've read that there are some mixed reviews about this book and while I could see their point, I thought the ending was twisty and clever. In fact, this is my favourite amongst all of Alice Feeney's books so that tells how much I enjoyed this book. Have you read this? I'll be curious of your thoughts if you did. 
© 2023 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.