ISBN-13: 9780060566944
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 12 August 2014 (Reprint)
Format: Paperback, 384 pgs
Source: Publisher

Kathryn Campbell lost her best friend, Jennifer Pelletier, on the night of their high school graduation. Jennifer simply told her friends that she's taking a walk in the woods, but she never back. Her disappearance comes as a blow to Kathryn, after all they are close and Jennifer asked her a question about future plans before she took off that walk. Kathryn didn't really understand her question at that time and Jennifer didn't wish to elaborate.

Fast forward to the present, Kathryn moved to Boston after her marriage to Paul, whom she met during their college days. However, their marriage only lasts two years and now Kathryn us moving back to her hometown, Bangor, Maine.

She has mixed feelings returning to Bangor, since it brought her sad memories of Jennifer, and on top of that she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life there, and she's afraid of finding out. She seems like she's living in denial. Other than these, she isn't sure how she'd go along with her mother and her younger brother, Josh. Their parents divorced when she was twelve, and she and Josh felt it was too much to face their mother with that sadness written on her. Gradually, Josh drifts apart from Kathryn and pursue his own dreams.

Her mother encourages her to write for the local Bangor papers, since she has the experience but Kathryn isn't keen until an old friend, Jack probed her to write something on the disappearance of Jennifer. It'd be one stone killing two birds as who knows, she may find something new surrounding her disappearance.

I've to confess I wasn't warmed up to Kathryn in the beginning. She has too much of her emotions bottled up, due to the disappearance of Jennifer, her parents' divorce when she was twelve, and finally her divorce with Paul. Although I totally understand the unfortunate events she has gone through, but at times her denial state got to me and I felt like shaking her up and telling her to move on. But then, she's been waiting for Jennifer to come back for the past ten years; waiting for the past to catch up with her so she can begins her future. She simply needs an answer; something she can lives with.

The story is categorised into four parts - Homecoming,  Memory, Reunion and Release. The part on the Memory is where readers will know more about Jennifer; and how she's getting along with her high school friends and how they think of her. I think this part is the most interesting and intriguing, as we speculate and wonder about her disappearance. Did Jennifer feel suicidal after the death of her father, or did she feel hatred and betrayed of her mother's affair? Then, there are questions about Jennifer going out with a few guys and then dumping them.

As much as this is a mystery, I find the pace is a tad slow in my opinion; thus this is more of a literary fiction by itself. The story is mostly surrounding on Kathryn searching for the truth behind Jennifer's disappearance and learning something which she didn't know about her along the way. I wasn't sure of the closure though,  it left me feeling unsatisfied because of the "murderer's" motive, but I suppose that's up to each reader to ponder about it.

ISBN-13: 9780552159814
Publisher: Corgi Books
Publication Date: 26 April 2012
Format: Paperback, 512 pgs
Source: Personal Library

I enjoyed reading Sharon Bolton's (aka S. J. Bolton) Dead Scared (not realising that it is part of a series then) so much that I decided to read the rest of the series. This series feature DC Lacey Flint and DI Mark Joesbury and Now You See Me is the first installment. She has a few stand-alone as well - SacrificeAwakening and Blood Harvest and I've added them to my to-read list. 

In this story, we are introduced to DC Lacey Flint and are told she has never worked a murder case before. It was only by chance that Lacey stumbled upon the victim when she saw the woman leaning against her car, bleeding profusely from a savage wound across her throat as well as her abdomen. Lacey didn't think it was a robbery, since her diamond earrings and wristwatch are still in tact. Anyway, Lacey became the witness as she had contact with the woman, as she tried to reach out to Lacey during her last struggle. 

DI Mark Joesbury, who is working with the Specialist Crime Directorate dealing with major crimes (including undercover works) is not officially tasked to the case since he was convalescing from his previous case but he has his plans. The investigation team managed to track down the identity of the dead woman - Geraldine Jones, but other than this information there isn't any leads, until a freelance journalist contacted Lacey and claimed she received a letter from the so-called killer, and that Lacey's name was mentioned in it. 

Lacey then pieced the letter quite similar to the notorious killer of the nineteenth century - Jack the Ripper, given the writing style and the signature. Lacey also pieced Geraldine's murder as the same day (31 August) where Jack murdered one of his victims - Polly Nichols, in 1888. Both Polly and Geraldine's injuries were identical. 

As the story progresses, we all know that the victim won't stop at Geraldine Jones, since there were four more victims under Jack's murderous hands, thus this Jack copycat wouldn't stop at one too. Like the original Ripper, the copycat killer seems to have a rough anatomical knowledge, is clever and quick. 

Speaking of the victims, I couldn't help but flinched at some of the descriptions of the human anatomy over the post-mortem scenes as part of the police procedural. And yes, there are some descriptions of how the victims are being murdered so this is not for the fainthearted readers. Having read many crime thrillers and how the murderers acted, I was still in a shock over the violence of this killer is capable of. 

Aside from having a compelling storyline, I think it is equally important to have engaging characters, and Lacey and Mark are fine examples. Lacey may have a sad past and is flawed (there's a little history of her being so), but she gave me the impression of an observant and a very brave woman. Why I said so is because in Dead Scared, she was an undercover and disguised as a student to solve a case in an University, and this time around she used herself as a bait to lure out the killer. As for Mark, he may seem like an obnoxious man but beneath his rank and his attitude, he is actually a man who cares a lot for his fellow colleagues. I've liked him from the beginning, despite the cool vibes he's been giving Lacey but of course, that might be his pride talking and I'm looking forward to see how their relationship will grow from here. 

Now You See Me is an intense, well crafted thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat right up to the end (I was totally blown away by the ending. How would I even describe it? I felt I was taking an emotional roller coaster ride. Intense, shocked and yes, even sadness for the killer.) Flipping that last page had had me at a loss for words; and my mind couldn't stop thinking over the horrific events and the shocking truth behind everything. 

What can I say? I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller and I cannot wait to get to the rest of this series. Highly recommended. 


ISBN-13: 9781442457331
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 22 July 2014 (Reprint)
Format: Paperback, 352 pgs
Source: Personal Library

As the title suggests, OCD Love Story is all about this cute teenage couple who have, well, OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder, an anxiety disorder) in their own ways and how they have fallen in love, despite the weird things they do in other people's eyes. 

Sixteen-year-old Bea first met Beck at a school dance, in the dark, to be precise. Well, there was a blackout during the dance, and the reason Bea approached Beck is because she recognized Beck's fast-breathing sound of a panic attack. An anxiety disorder victim herself, she understood how bad things could turn out to be so to calm him down, she held his hand and talked with him. 

Her method must have worked because his panic subsided and they talked a bit. Bea then surprised themselves by kissing him later. Beck, either a shy person or embarrassed by the kiss, left in a hurry before the lights are on. And Bea couldn't stop thinking about him thereafter. 

Just when we wonder how on earth Bea will recognize Beck without seeing his face, their situations allow them for another encounter. This time around, it is at a therapy group session. It appears that they share the same therapist and fate either favours them or play a joke on them. Either way, Bea is thrilled to see him again. She knew it is Beck after the therapist introduced the group and given that the town they live isn't big, she is confident that's the same Beck she met at the school dance. Beck seems to think the same too, but they didn't let the therapist know about their first encounter. 

While Beck has this cleanliness issue, working-out routines and has a tendency of doing certain things eight times (or eight seconds, depending on what tasks), Bea is always worried about sharp objects and that she might hit anyone when she is driving. And most of all, she has this fascination of a married couple who go to the same therapist and she is so into their troubled life that she began to stalk them. 

I know OCD is not an issue which can be dealt with overnight, nevertheless I was kind of worried for Bea when at some point her tendency of stalking the couple, Austin and Sylvia (who happens to be hippie indie musicians) became serious and more frequent to an extent that she thinks it's a necessity. 

I know what you must be thinking; that it is not at all romantic to read a couple with OCD, let alone their love story (No, I'm not discriminating anyone with OCD. I know this is not what they want or chose to be) but somehow, as I read further I began to see why and how it works for them. As strange as it may sound, I even thought what they have been through and trying so hard to curb their compulsions is, well, touching in a way. It is like, they complement each other through their faults, and they are brave enough to acknowledge them in front of each other, despite how embarrassing or awful their compulsions are. 

Although this is very much of a story of Bea and Beck fitting into each other's life despite their individual OCDs, I think it is the efforts (especially Beck) they have tried so hard to pleasing each other by acting normal that really makes this story even more of a love story. 

Though Bea and Beck's OCDs get on my nerves sometimes, I have to say they grew on me the more I read about them. Secondary characters like Lisha (Bea's best friend), and the musician couple, Austin and Sylvia, also make this story more entertaining as we see how their roles have somewhat made an impact on Bea. 

Overall this is a cute YA love story with interesting characters and an understanding of some OCD behaviors. 


ISBN-13: 9780062305848
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers 
Publication Date: 8 July 2014
Format: Hardcover, 368 pgs
Source: Publisher

Don't try to find me.
I'll be okay. I'll be better.
I love you. 

This is the note fourteen-year-old Marley left on the whiteboard affixed to the fridge to her parents before she run away from home one day. 

Needless to say, Rachel is devastated. She is sure Marley is playing a joke on them; after all she couldn't think of any good reasons Marley would run away from home. There's no sign of any distress in Marley either - she's doing fine in school; and she's never been bullied. Well Marley used to see Dr. Michael, a psychiatrist, for panic attacks' issue but had stopped seeing him when she was eleven, since he said he had every confidence that Marley would be fine. 
Rachel, on the other end, is sure someone has either threaten Marley at a gunpoint, or being abducted because her iPhone and iPad are around; and she always carry them around, especially her iPhone. Paul, however, is sure Marley would return home after the fun is over. Unlike Rachel, he is always the rational one; one who has a brain for acronyms and statistics. 

When there're no leads from the police, they decided to turn to social media to expand their network so that they'd have a whole community looking for Marley. However, this would also compromise their privacy, and not to mention there would be media scrutiny and people calling them lousy parents. 

Onto to Marley, it seems she'd been planning the runaway for months, since after she'd knew B., a guy from Facebook and he too, has problems at home. They figured they'd leave home and live somewhere else together. But Marley is skeptical about him as well as his motives after she lives with him. B. doesn't want her to interact with the outside world, saying that it's best that they stay that way and no one can disrupt them. They'd have new identities and a new life. 

To complicate matters, Dr. Michael and Rachel's close friendship is out in the open and people began to wonder if they're in together on Marley's disappearing act. 

This is simply not a runaway story but there's more depth to it and it's multi-layered too. There're speculations everywhere and at some point it seems like each character has his/her little secrets. Through Marley's and Rachel's narratives, we're able to read into their minds and see the things through their eyes; and I was totally taken by surprise over where they lead. 

As I read further, I also realised that this is more of a family dynamics story, as it tells us how miscommunications and assumptions may lead to drastic measures which may in turn destroy a family. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think this is the core of the story, and Marley's disappearance is the secondary issue. Then again, there is also focus on today's socia media and how things could spiral out of control, no matter what our intentions are. Good or bad, there're bound to be people talking. I suppose it's a natural behaviour when people are concerned, with or without the technology. 

Well I'd expected a mystery before reading this book, but it turned out to be something more and something which I thought is important too, given the family communication issue and that is not to take a person for granted. This is one of those books that you can't put down and would make you treasure your family members more after reading it.