Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (64)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

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I'm looking forward to...

The Unexpected Daughter by Sheryl Parbhoo. I'm still waiting on a copy of this book, but I'm looking forward to reading it. Three characters, Jenny, Roshan, and Esha, come together in unsuspecting circumstances and a relationship between Jenny and Roshan ensues. But Roshan and his mother were running away from something and their peace may be disrupted.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (273)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


34839486

Meet Me Under the Stars (Kindle 59%)
    - KD Proctor

He and Melanie have a genuine friendship. A pure one. And if I want him to seek me out to share his secrets and demons, I need to show I'm trustworthy too. 

Which means I need to find a way to tell Nate about my demons. He deserves to know the truth.







Blog Tour and Book Review coming Friday!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Girl on Point

34676703Alexandra Campbell’s life comes to a crashing halt the night her younger sister is killed during a convenience store robbery. Shattered by guilt, Alex distances herself from her friends and family. Months later, with the police investigation stalled, she fears justice may never be served.

Determined to avenge her sister’s murder, Alex disguises herself and joins the gang responsible for the shooting. To identify the one who pulled the trigger, Alex must put her own life at risk in a world of dangerous criminals. But the longer she plays her new game, the more the lines blur between loyalty and betrayal.

*May Contain Spoilers*

This book was terrifying -in a real life, I can't believe this happens, kind of way. Cheryl Guerriero tackles a very intense topic with her novel, Girl on Point - gangs, murder, drugs, robbery. A topic, a world, that we all know exists, but a world that some of us don't experience everyday, or never experience at all. And that makes this book a terrifying representation of a real world problem, thrilling and frightening and heartbreaking. 

Alex is a teenage girl who loved basketball and planned on going to college. But when her sister is shot in a shady convenience store while their team is at an away basketball game, everything changes for Alex. She falls into a deep depression and dreams of escaping the pain of her grief. Yet, she can't let go because whoever killed her sister is still out there somewhere. Though it was difficult, I can totally understand how someone would refuse to let the death of their family member go. Especially when it's a gang related murder. I couldn't imagine anyone I know going to the extremes that Alex goes to in this book, but with her psyche so damaged and overshadowed by injustice and depression, I can't say I wouldn't believe that someone would do this. Alex is determined to find what the police missed so she decides to do anything she can to be a part of the gang who killed her sister with the hope that she'll uncover some actual evidence. 

After Alex becomes a part of this violent world, who she is and who she is pretending to be blend together, until her character is so blurry it's hard to see the real her. She starts participating in crimes in order to become closer to this gang of young girls. She starts doing drugs and drinking because they do -- and she wants to fit in with them. Alex wants them to trust her. She doesn't kill anyone, but she takes part (and sometimes the leading role) in these crimes. And then she realizes that she is a criminal. She has become one of them. Alex sacrifices everything to find out who killed her sister down a rabbit hole that, to me, could only end two ways. One possibility, Alex is killed by the gang she tries so hard to bring down. Or two, Alex is arrested right along with the girls, as she is no longer the innocent. This all adds up to an incredibly intense novel that is moving, heart-wrenching, down right scary, and confusing. The main question I couldn't stop asking myself was: can I blame her for trying this? The police had reached a seemingly dead end and instead of suicide, Alex chose to try to find her own answers. In a lose-lose situation, can we, as readers, see the justification of this behavior? I think so. And I think that's why anyone who reads this book will understand and connect with Alex. We may not like her choices or her actions, but we can see how the death of a sister and a police case that's quickly going cold could push someone to that edge. Which makes it all the more terrifying. 

Because of the drug use, the criminal activity, the cursing, and the violence in general, I can't recommend this book to everyone. It feels too real, which is a good thing with this topic. The author did an amazing job at capturing this part of the world, making it feel legitimate and believable. It provides a view of a part of the world that tends to be ignored, except for those who live in it. That gives this book power, evoking sadness, a sense of unfairness, and a hope that future generations find a solution to this kind of violence. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (63)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

34839486

I'm looking forward to...

Meet Me Under the Stars by KD Proctor. The blog tour for this book is coming up soon and I'm so excited about it! Main characters Charlotte and Nate have some history, but in order to successfully create a scholarship in honor of Charlotte's sister they'll have to work together. This book just sounds like such a fun read; I've been looking forward to it since the cover reveal! :) 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (272)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


34676703


Girl on Point (Kindle 22%)
   - Cheryl Guerriero

I know I used to have friends. I know I used to have a sister. 
But I have no idea who I am. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

When Darkness Falls (The First Vampire Redemption Story)

29585481Lexie Miles, a strong-willed Southern woman with a raw vocabulary and a taste for sex, is living her dream life in Paris. She is devastated when her best friend Emma is brutally murdered by vampires. From that moment Lexie's "perfect world" begins to crumble. She discovers her entire life has been a sham and everyone she cares about has been lying to her. Angry doesn't begin to describe her reaction to the news.

Plunged into a two-thousand-year-old war between good and evil, she is propelled into a world of blood, lust and dark secrets. She must embrace her birthright to fight an ancient threat to humanity. Bequeathed with the dubious gift of being the "Chosen One," Lexie meets the enigmatic Etienne Benoit. She falls hard for him and when he betrays her, she vows to get revenge. After all, she is a vampire executioner and killing vampires is what she does.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Ellen Chauvet explores the world of good and evil in her novel, When Darkness Falls. After the death of Emma, Lexie is pulled into a world she thought of as fictitious and learning it's in her blood is a whole other betrayel. This book revolves around Lexie as she tries to come to terms with her heritage and her innate career of vampire hunting. 

Lexie Miles is nearly thirty and almost ready for a husband and a white picket fence. That is, until she learns that she was born in to a family of vampire hunters. This southern belle is forced (not really but kind of) into giving up her fluffy dreams of happily ever after and handed a stake to drive into any hearts she feels need breaking. There's no doubt that Lexie is a strong character. She deals with the death of her best friend and decides to really take on this 'calling' of being a vampire hunter with little to no idea what she is truly getting into. That strength of character goes a long way, as I wasn't really a fan of Lexie's personality or southern mannerisms. To me, Lexie is a bit naive in terms of romance, trust, and love. If I were her, I feel like I would have been overly cautious. And she definitely should not have jumped into bed with a vampire. No matter how cute or whatever he was. However, that wasn't even the worst thing. The thing that bothered me the most was Lexie's dialogue. Her character is from Atlanta and, as I actually know people from Atlanta, I don't think they use as many "southernisms" as Lexie did. On the other hand though, catching culture in dialogue is a tricky thing to do for any author and I do give Chauvet props for leavin' off the 'g's and spelling out Lexie's southern drawl. 

The plot of this novel was pretty interesting and I think it's what kept driving me toward the end even though I didn't connect with the main character. Emma, Lexie's friend who is murdered, is a scientist who developed some sort of antiserum to protect the human race from being turned into vampires. Francois and Marielle are two very old vampires who have been building an army for about five hundred years. Needless to say, they want this antiserum, the formula, and something called 88p, which from what I could gather would make them basically unstoppable. Before her death, Emma hid the information and left a trail of clues for Lexie, Tom, and Etienne (members of the Society). Time is running out, and they must finish this treasure hunt before Francois and Marielle attack. Très divertissant! Oh, did I forget to mention that there is French sprinkled throughout the book? That was my favorite aspect of the novel. However, one other thing I need to mention about this book is that there are quite a few erotic sections. I thought these sections detracted from the storyline because it's written with such a 'time is of the essence' sense. So, I do want to recommend this book for the storyline because it really is interesting. However, the erotic sections make it inappropriate for some readers.  

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (62)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

34676703

I'm looking forward to... 

Girl on Point by Cheryl Guerriero. Main character, Alex, decides to join the gang that is responsible for her sister's death so she can determine which member killed her. This book sounds like it will be not only exciting, but a heart-pounding and nerve-tensing kind of thrill. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (271)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


29585481

When Darkness Falls (The First Vampire Redemption Story) (Kindle 4%)
    - Ellen Chauvet

Despite her strong feelings for Francois, she had managed to keep her wits. Instead of giving him what he wanted she devised an elaborate plan to conceal the authentic antiserum and formula. As she reviewed the details she felt confident the life-saving items would be safe. She was playing with fire, surviving the night was uncertain. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Strange the Dreamer

28449207The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

*May Contain Spoilers*

This new novel is everything I want from each Laini Taylor book I read. It's full of rapt descriptions, amazing imaginative details, and deep, complicated meaning. Strange the Dreamer excels in creating a whole new world of fantasy that allows love to blossom, magic to bloom, and leaves fear to rule. 

Lazlo Strange is a dreamer. A dreamer is what he is at heart, at the very core of his being. He's interested in magic and myths and especially stories. He likes to know them all, in particular the ones that no one else knows. So he studies Weep, in the dark and forgotten rooms of the library. Weep was a magical land that no stranger ever set eyes on and Lazlo wants to one day see it for himself now that it's empty and forgotten, though it isn't either of those things. Lazlo's character is open minded, helpful, persistent, honorable, and has an unbelievable, limitless imagination. When he gets the chance to go to Weep, Lazlo agrees to be the great Eril-Fane's secretary, doing any odd jobs that will get him to the lost city. But there's something strange about Lazlo Strange and I think readers will catch on to it early. Throughout the whole book, it seems like he is meant for something greater. He is the main character after all. With this sense, readers will connect with Lazlo, wanting him to be something more because he wants to be something more. He wants to be the hero of his own story and the readers will want that too. And when he meets Sarai... that path opens to him. 

Sarai is half-human, half-god. To the citizens of Weep, she's known as godspawn, which is a negative moniker. She lives in a statue that floats above the city of Weep with four others like her, and no one in the city knows they're there. The gods that came before these five were harsh, selfish, controlling, and committed unspeakable acts. That's why the great Eril-Fane killed them all. Now the five that survived live in fear that one day the people of Weep will learn of their existence. And that time has come. Sarai knows that she should want revenge and feel hate for what the people of Weep did, but she doesn't. Sarai wants peace and she wants to be able to live her life, not just try to stay alive. Readers will connect with Sarai through her dreams, regrets, and hopes for the future. Taylor's writing style is so descriptive that readers will get a three-dimensional view of these main characters. Readers will knows what is in their heads, hearts, and dreams, which makes for very understandable and relatable characters. 

Strange the Dreamer is a book about stories, myths, and dreams. The main plot line follows Lazlo as he is recruited with a group of other foreigners to solve the problem of Weep. The problem being that there is an enormous angel statue floating above the city, blocking out the sky, the sun, and the moon. Yet, the city doesn't know that there are survivors living in the statue. And, surprisingly, Lazlo is the first to learn of this as Sarai visits him in his dreams. And with that, the legend that will be is beginning. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the ending. Even though there will be a sequel, and I'm sure an answer will surface, the ending was not a happy one. But, as I said, this is only the beginning and I trust Taylor to craft an amazing series that will resonate with all her readers. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (61)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

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I'm looking forward to...

Marlena by Julie Buntin. Marlena is a whirlwind of danger and Cat gets caught up in it. Years later, after Marlena's death, Cat must face an unexpected visitor from the past and learn how to forgive herself.

I can't wait until this one shows up in my mailbox! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (270)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


28449207

Strange the Dreamer (Kindle 9%)
   - Laini Taylor

In an instant, Lazlo's perception shifted and he understood what he'd just done. He--Strange the dreamer, junior librarian--had marched into the Chrysopoesium, branding a book of fairy tales, and presumed to share his insights on the deepest mystery of alchemy. As though he might solve the problem that had eluded centuries of alchemists. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Married Girls (The Girl With No Name #2)

32570674Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.

Meanwhile, the squire's fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming... and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne's past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.

For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry's return disrupts the village quiet and it's not long before gossip spreads.

The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.

*May Contain Spoilers*

After WWII, England was in a time of rebuilding and her citizens were trying to move on with their lives. The Married Girls, the second in the series by Diney Costeloe, presents interwoven stories that explore marriage, love, family, finances, and loss after the war had ended focusing on members of a small village in Somerset.

Charlotte is the main character of the book and it seems that all other story lines revolve around her. She was a German refugee during the war and was taken in by foster parents during it. In this book, Charlotte (whose German name was Lisa) is married with two children. She's a strong character whose two main qualities are beauty and kindness. Many of the villagers like Charlotte and her sweet, caring nature are demonstrated with how she treats those around her. Through the novel, Charlotte has to face a few difficult situations and how she reacts to and handles these events define her strength and highlight her resolve. Readers will connect with Charlotte through her personality first and her reaction to events second. As the life she built seems to crumble in the second half of the book, readers will not only be cheering for Charlotte's emotional survival, they'll be hoping for a happy ending. 

Billy, Felix, Harry, and Daphne are the main supporting cast of characters. Billy is Charlotte's husband and is an amazing father to their children. Though he does present a bit of jealousy when Harry returns to visit Charlotte. Harry Black (also known as Victor) is a member of the criminal world. He's been hiding in Australia for a few years, hoping the England Police have forgotten him. He returns to finish up a bit of business for his dying boss and is emotionally pushed to find Charlotte again. This creates a cloud of gossip around Charlotte and marks the beginning of her struggles. 

Felix and Daphne are engaged (and married in the later parts of the book), but their relationship is one built on lies. Daphne wants to be happily married to a rich man that can provide her every wish. She sets her eyes on Felix and does everything she can to marry him. Yet, Daphne doesn't get the life she thought she would and starts to resent Felix. Her biggest secret, the fact that she has a daughter, threatens to come out and Daphne does everything in her power to keep it under wraps. Daphne is not a likeable character and readers will hope that Felix somehow escapes from her grasp. Felix is a  good, kindhearted, caring, and dependable man. When his father dies unexpectedly, he moves back to Wynsdown to care for his mother and restore the family estate. Though his married life is full of unhappiness, he tries to make it work. I think readers will feel a strong connection to Felix, as he certainly doesn't deserve the kind of treatment Daphne provides. 

The Married Girls follows the relationships of these characters as they rebuild their lives after the ending of the war. By focusing on the character's lives, this book provides readers with strong connections to its characters.  There are several side plots that build the action and evoke emotional responses from readers. Yet, the main focus of the story is love. By the end, readers will see that this whole novel has really only been about two characters who find happiness and peace with each other. However, the ending is a bit abrupt and I felt like I didn't get a sense of closure for all the characters. As this is the second in the series, I can't help but wonder if there will be a third installment. With Costeloe's writing style and her power to bring the past to life, accurately and thoroughly evoking the emotional and lifestyle struggles of the time period, I would definitely recommend this book as well as be excited to read anything else by this author. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Thursday, June 22, 2017

For the Love of Katie

33844503Newlywed Katie Maxwell is ready to settle down and leave her amateur detective days behind. But when the veil of secrecy surrounding her husband’s latest project takes them to Europe, her penchant for sleuthing lands her in some serious hot foreign water.

Katie will need to think quickly to talk her way out of handcuffs and a Parisian jail cell. Too bad she doesn't speak French.

For the Love of Katie is the second madcap adventure in The Katie Chronicles. This book can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to skip the first?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Erica Lucke Dean combines romance with clumsy humor in her book, For the Love of Katie, the second in the Katie series. Though I didn't read the first book, which I think would have helped me connect with the main character, I did enjoy how funny this book was. 

Katie Maxwell is a very clumsy woman to the point where it's almost as if she's been cursed with extreme stair-tripping, incriminating-photography, can't-do-anything-right bad luck. Though it's funny for the reader as Katie repeatedly gets herself into hot water that she must expansively explain once she's gotten caught. This aspect of Katie is one that brings readers into her chaotic life. As a main character, she's kind of a mess, but in a humorous, light-hearted way. It makes it easy for readers to like her, as we've all done things that we're embarrassed about. With this major character trait, Katie becomes more down to earth. However, as I do admit I didn't read the first book, I thought that Katie was little... over-presumptuous, secretive, and untrusting when it came to her husband. 

Katie is a woman who likes to have all the info. And sometimes, to get it, she'll resort to lying and trickery. Even her husband calls her Nancy Drew. While, I can see these tactics useful in a few of the situations, I think if Katie was more open in the lines of communication, she'd get the answers she wanted faster and without as much drama. But, then again, where would the fun be in that? 

The book opens in Paris with Katie in a police station, arrested for trying to sneak on set of the film adaptation of her husband's book. When the police officer asks her to start at the beginning, Katie complies, happily, thus setting up the frame with which Dean shares the story. The book then flashes back to before the couple was engaged and shares the entire narrative of how Katie came to be in Paris and why she was pretending to be a movie extra when she was arrested. The book contains a lot of situational comedy and, as previously mentioned, hot water fiascoes. And although I didn't feel a deep connection with Katie (I was a bit annoyed at times), I did enjoy the book overall. It's a nice, easy read with funny characters, good plot action to propel the story forward, and a rewarding ending. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (60)


  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

32570674


I'm looking forward to...

The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe. Set in England during 1949, this novel promises to be all about secrets and the trouble that comes along with keeping them. For two women in particular, lives are about to be upset as the war has ended and men are returning to Wynsdown Village. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (269)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


33844503

For the Love of Katie (Kindle 74%)
    - Erica Lucke Dean

The Mission: Impossible theme played inside my head as we slunk along the passageway toward the stateroom I shared with my mother. My plan, as lame as it might have been, was to grab her phone, delete the image, and pretend the whole thing never happened.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Big Little Lies

19486412Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

*Contains Spoilers*

Liane Moriarty defines the oxymoronic title of her novel, Big Little Lies, with the story of three women whose lives crash into each other, creating chaos that will underscore just how big little lies can be. 

The synopsis of this novel pretty much sums up the characters that play the larger roles in this novel, yet each of the three women have secrets that come spilling out, one drop at a time, connecting them to the reader. Though this book is about mothers of young children, there is such a larger dynamic force at work here that will surprise readers. As HBO has recently released the show that is based on this book, I already knew, roughly, what would happen in the novel. However, the book (per usual) goes into much more detail about the character's feelings by providing their point of view and even a little stream of consciousness writing. 

Madeline's character is much more likeable in the novel than in the show. I hate to make comparisons but it's true. Readers get a better in-depth look into what drives her. And, essentially, that is the fact that her ex-husband Nathan called it quits right after their daughter was born. That betrayal has scarred Madeline and she has vowed that she will never forgive him, even though she is remarried to a seemingly great husband, Ed, and has two more children. Readers will connect with Madeline, as they will with all of the characters, emotionally. Madeline is prompted into action by her emotions, whether they be anger or loyalty or love. 

Celeste and Jane are the main secret keepers of the cast of characters. Celeste has a life that seems perfect from the outside, but she's in love with a man (spoiler alert) that cannot control his anger. His abuse grows and evolves as the novel progresses, reaching a point where Celeste actually begins to believe he may kill her. Through Celeste, readers get an inside look at a relationship that is toxic and bruised by physical abuse. It's difficult to understand how someone would stay in an abusive relationship, but Moriarty does a fantastic job at relaying all the different facets of information that can go into making that decision. The answer to an abusive relationship isn't black or white. Like life, it's full of different hues of gray. As Celeste weighs her options and begins planning for a life without her abusive husband, readers will see how her mind works, the thoughts and feelings that push her to stay as well as the ones that make her want to escape. 

Jane has just moved to the area of Australia in which this story takes place with her son, Ziggy. She has a dark secret as well and that is that Ziggy is the result of a semi-violent one night stand. This experience has scarred her and she can't seem to move past it. However, as she finds new friendships with Celeste and Madeline, readers will see how Jane begins to heal. Readers will also see how much of an impact that this one night had on Jane's psyche as she struggles with an eating disorder and her self-esteem. 

As I said, readers will connect with these characters emotionally, but the main plot of the novel is set up as a frame. It is introduced early on that there was a death, a murder, at the school trivia night. As the novel progresses from six months before the incident, readers learn the ins and outs of the school and its hierarchy as well as witness the intricacies and selfish natures of the school parents. Through the revelation of secrets, the list of possible people who could have been murdered grows substantially to involve all of the main characters. And for those who have seen the show, the deceased is the same person, yet, the tumultuous situations that lead the characters to the balcony are more fully described and there is no cliffhanger ending of keeping the truth away from the police. Big Little Lies is truly a complicated network of cause and effect that culminates in a powerful statement about bullying, abuse, and violence in general. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery with a large amount of drama and in-depth character analysis. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups