No matter how scary vampires are, they are enticing in a way so that explains why many of us couldn't get enough of them, no matter in book or movies. This South Korean drama, based on a webcomic, tells a tale of the 120-year-old  battle between an evil vampire and a vampire scholar set in the Joseon dynasty. Trapped in between their battle is a human girl called Jo Yang-sun (starring Lee Yu-bi), who is believed to be a descendant from the vampire bloodline. 

Yang-sun doesn't have any idea of her family history; and her memories of her childhood days are fuzzy. Now as an adult, she disguises herself as a male bookseller to make ends meet, since she is the sole breadwinner of the family but there is a history why she cross-dresses to hide her gender. She encounters a mysterious scholar Kim Sung-yeol (starring Lee Joon-gi), who requests her to look for an old memorandum of a Crown Prince who had passed decades ago. This transaction begins a treacherous journey for Yang-sun and also leads to their attraction for each other later, after Sung-yeol discovers her identity as a woman. However, Sung-yeol is a guardian vampire and he is on a hunt for Gwi (starring Lee Soo-hyuk), the evil vampire who uses his powers to control the royal empires for decades and this has led to the suffering of the people. Sung-yeol believes that once he has got hold of the memorandum, he would be able to defeat Gwi using the secret methods written by the late Crown Prince. 

Sung-yeol is quite a character as he is a righteous man but there are moments he questions himself when he is in need of human blood; some thing he wouldn't wish to do and prey on the animals instead. Yang-sun, on the other hand, is a diligent and a courageous woman who would do anything for righteousness and love. Gwi may be a ruthless character, but there was a time he did love a human woman. While ultimately it is the good versus the evil, it is the greed of some humans whom I found to be the scariest, as they would sacrifice their own family members to gain power and wealth. 

(Gwi, starring Lee Soo-hyuk)

I enjoyed this drama thoroughly. There are actions, intrigue and romance and yes, I liked the characterisations, too. There are some clichés about the vampires but there are also some new ideas too, for example, Sung-yeol wears a black cloak which was passed down from a late old guardian so he is able to walk in the daytime; unlike Gwi who has to hide himself in the palace's dungeon. The story is multi-layered and although there are some minor flaws, they didn't dampen my pleasure of watching it. Because of this drama, I hope to catch more dramas by actors Lee Joon-gi and Lee Soo-hyuk, especially contemporary drama for I am very curious how they would portray in a modern day setting.

ISBN-13: 9781474603041
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group 
Publication Date: November 2015
Format: Paperback, 80 pgs
Source: Purchased

This short story by Gillian Flynn first appeared in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology and it won the Edgar Award for Best Short Story in 2015. With an old Victorian mansion setting, one could easily classified this as a creepy read but there is something more than that - it contains an interesting view of characters and behavioural studies and most of all, I was very intrigued with the author's different take from her other well-known works and I plunged into this book with anticipation. 

The unnamed character is a young woman who frauds for a living. To be exact, she gives hand jobs to men and act as a psychic to clients, who are mostly women, to offer them some "guidance" in life and offer solutions. Then one day a woman called Susan Burke came to her, telling her her life is troubled and she suspects there is something in her house. She believes some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home and her 15-year-old stepson, Miles, is behaving strangely and it scares her. 

The narrator doesn't believe in the supernatural; she is sure the old house has Susan's imagination running wild and that Miles, being an adolescent, has his issues and nothing more. However, when the narrator steps into the mansion she does feel something weird about the house, and Miles seems to be watching her every move and yes, behaving strangely. Soon the narrator finds herself locked in a chilling battle between Susan and Miles and it is up to her to discover the evil lurking within the old mansion. 

Honestly speaking, The Grownup is not something I have expected but I have to say the author has done a terrific job in building up the intrigue and one couldn't help but to get suck into the story. However, since this is a short story there isn't enough characters development but the author has vividly described the characteristic of the narrator and her thoughts so this allows readers to get to know the person as who she is. I wouldn't want to say too much about the story but that the ending bothered me. I suppose that leaves to each reader's interpretation but personally I wished the ending was anything but. Nevertheless, Gillian Flynn's writing style is brilliant and I hope she has a new release out soon. 


ISBN-13: 9780751557602
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: August 2015
Format: Paperback, 464 pgs
Source: Purchased

I enjoyed reading the first two books of the Cainsville series, and needless to say I "devoured" it the moment it arrived in mail. I wanted to know how Olivia Jones goes about finding the truth surrounding her birth parents being serial killers, as well as her relationship between Gabriel Walsh and Ricky Gallagher. The former used to represent her parents during the trial but is now Olivia’s boss as they began to work together to unravel the truth behind her parents' crimes. Olivia thinks Gabriel is a man of steel who is void of emotions but the more they work together the more she is convinced he is not really the person she thinks he is. As for the latter, Ricky is the son of a bikers gang leader who has the looks and brains as well. He and Olivia fell for each other badly in the previous installment and readers are able to see their relationship just escalates in this installment. But that is not all, Gabriel begins to feel some emotions towards Olivia and although they are hardly romantic, readers will see a new side of Gabriel and how the three of them are somewhat connected to an age old folklore surrounding faes, huntsmen and other fantastical creatures alike. 

Aside from being troubled by her ex-fiancé, Olivia will also find some shocking answers concerning her birth parents and the real reasons of the crimes they had committed. Truth be told, there are a lots of things happening in this installment and Olivia sees a lot more visions than before that leaves her baffled and more determined to unravel the truth about her birth parents and her identity as well. 

A much as I enjoyed this installment and found it satisfying for more answers being revealed, there are multiple plot lines here which had my mind spinning in various directions; ranging from Olivia’s ex-fiancé obsessive stalking, the relationship and conflicts between the faes world and finally the motivation behind Olivia’s birth parents' murders. That said, I was quite satisfied to note some little change in Gabriel, emotionally wise. He had a rough childhood and it would be good to see him get out of his tortured emotional shell, slowly. 

I wasn't sure if there would be an intense triangle love entanglement in the future but at the rate now it is always interesting to see how these three characters interact with one another, and how Olivia connects with them individually.


ISBN-13: 9780552574235
Publisher: Corgi Books
Publication Date: September 2015
Format: Paperback, 320 pgs
Source: Purchased

Living a normal life. Falling in love. Such simple little things in our lives yet Madeline Whittier finds doing them is a huge challenge. You see, Maddy is allergic to the world. She is suffering from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) and anything can trigger a bout of sickness in her. And she hasn't stepped out of her house in seventeen years. Her mother and Carla, her caregiver are the only persons she really sees face-to-face; other than that she studies and surf online, read books and living her life in an enclosed room. Anyone who wants to visit has to go through air decontamination and no touching is allowed. It is no wonder Maddy has no friends until a new family moves next to them. 

Olly is an energetic guy who loves parkour and mathematics. He has a younger sister, Kara, and a father who vents his anger onto them when he's drunk or in a foul mood. Olly and Maddy first saw each other through her window the day they moved in, and after that Maddy couldn't get him out of her mind. She is fascinated by his zest, and she wonders what it would be like to be Outside. Olly is intrigued by the mysterious Maddy, too. He made the first move by giving her his email address and a friendship is formed. They talk a lot through IMs and it is Olly who makes Maddy's once isolated life becomes something more alive and meaningful. And the more they corresponded and got to know each other, the more Maddy wants to know the world beyond her confined house and of course, seeing Olly in person. They have fallen in love with each other and finally one day Maddy decides to take the risk and venture outside, despite anything. 

Everything, Everything is a different yet unforgettable story about love and finding oneself. The storyline is simple yet it is powerful and it evoked all the emotions in me. There are laughter and tears; and there are also love and forgiveness. Through Maddy's eyes, she shares with us the meaning of life and taking that leap towards risk for the sake of love and embracing it. The author has captured Maddy's voice beautifully and what I felt about her chemistry with Olly is so strong that it made my heart leaps up and ache at the same time. This is a great debut in my opinion and I also have to mention that the interior illustrations are gorgeous, too. David Yoon (who is the author's husband) created the illustrations for Everything, Everything and they certainly put this story into better perspective through Maddy's eyes. The ending will definitely lead readers pondering but not in the way they have expected. 

ISBN-13: 9780380725397
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: June 1995 (Reissue)
Format: Paperback, 304 pgs
Source: Purchased

I enjoyed reading Rebecca a few years back and thought Daphne DuMaurier was a master in creating an atmospheric setting and intriguing characters in Rebecca. Though Jamaica Inn is different from the haunting classic Rebecca, I have heard it is a fine romantic tale rich in suspense and intrigue so I cracked open this book with much anticipation. 

The story opens with a 23-year-old Mary Yellan travelling in a coach from Helford countryside to a forbidden, rundown inn in Launceston. The ride is an uneventful one, given the bad weather and the coach driver's remark about nobody ever make a stop at Jamaica Inn anymore but these do not deter Mary from travelling there. She is very determined to go to Aunt Patience's inn because she had promised her late mother she would do so after selling their farmhouse. There is no point for her to stay on considering her father had passed before her mother and sickness had struck and killed the livestock in the villages round Helford. 

However, once she reached Jamaica Inn she soon learnt that Aunt Patience doesn't seem to be the same person she had corresponded years ago. Gone is her cheerful, optimistic demeanour and the present Aunt Patience is more like a squeamish old lady who is afraid of her big, boisterous landlord husband who only loves drinking and throwing abusive remarks. As the days pass by Mary soon realises why people are afraid of Jamaica Inn and most of all, its notorious landlord. But that is not the worst of all, for Mary will soon find herself ensnared in the villainous schemes being hatched within Jamaica Inn and she needs to find someone she could trust to share what she has learnt within Jamaica Inn. Dare she trust the landlord's younger brother, a horse stealer, who claims he has no business with his elder brother except their blood ties or the vicar of Altarnun? 

Honestly speaking, Jamaica Inn isn't what I expected initially but that didn't take away my reading pleasure. The blurb didn't mention too much of what this story is about so it definitely has a mystery aura surrounding it. The setting is well described and the characters are well developed though it takes readers some time to see the mystery unveils. However, that anticipation is worth waiting because I was taken aback towards the end. That said, this is not really a whodunit story but more like a behavioural study of characters and the things some people would do under certain circumstances. Mary Yellan is an interesting heroine; she is brave for a woman living in older times and she is not afraid to speak up what she thinks is right or wrong. She has a soft spot for Aunt Patience and this is one reason I felt connected to her. I couldn't say too much about other characters for fear of spoilers but let's just say they are well described and are intrigued in their own way. 

Although I felt this book is not on par with Rebecca, it was still a good read in my opinion.