4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · contemporary fiction · Domestic Fiction · drama · Literary Fiction · mental health · Women's Fiction

New Release | The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt

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The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt

Published: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 356

Genres: women’s fiction, literary fiction, mental health, domestic fiction, chick lit, drama

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: moms with psychological struggles trying to keep it all together, validating books about mental health and self harm

Foodie Vibes: pina coladas, takeout pizza and marshmallows roasted over an open fire pit

 

Synopsis:

‘Is her life as easy and effortless as it seems from the outside? Or is she feeling lonely, all by herself in that big house, an evening stretching out in front of her just as it is for me?’

When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children Ben and Katherine, it is an escape. For all of them. Never mind that the rental house is a bit small – it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…

Their isolation is disrupted when they meet the family from the big house next door. Three children Charlotte, Zoe and Max and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems absolutely determined to invite Tessa in to their lives.

But Rebecca is harbouring a dark secret of her own. One that will put not only her family at risk, but Tessa’s too. And when she discovers she has no option but to leave her children for several weeks, Tessa feels like the only person she can trust.

Suddenly Tessa finds herself living a life she could only have dreamed of. Wealth, a large brood of children, and Rebecca’s handsome husband Josh visiting at weekends.

But even as powerful bonds are forming between them, secrets have a way of catching up with people. And as the summer comes to an end, who will learn to love again and who will risk losing everything?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Kate Hewitt for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, Trigger Warning for self harm and child sexual abuse.

Keeping yourself safe is most important, so make sure you’re in a healthy place before reading, my lovelies.

Feel free to send me a message on here, or a DM on Twitter for more privacy, if you want to know more about content that may trigger you.

Now onto the book review.

It seems as if everyone is keeping secrets from those around them. Pretending that they’re okay, when they’re anything but. I think we all can relate to this.

Over summer vacation 2 moms, Tessa and Rebecca, take their kids to summer vacation cottages. They didn’t know each other before the summer, but they end up neighbors, friends, and changing each other’s lives forever. They say it’s because their kids need playmates, but both moms know they need each other’s help more. Tessa has 2 kids, is in dire need of a makeover, constantly doubts herself, and has enough money but still must live by a budget. Rebecca has 3 kids, a glamorous lifestyle, a seemingly perfect life, more money than she can spend, and some serious issues going on. Hence the trigger warning. People are jealous of how well put together she seems, but inside she’s a wreck, just trying to get through the day.

I appreciated that self harm in adults is discussed. And not as a one off conversation. As a legitimate mental health concern that is featured throughout the novel. If you’re looking for good representation of self harm in adults, this is your book. 

The overall story the author tells of moms as people first that also care fiercely for their children is refreshing. And you can’t go wrong with a summer cottage on the lake story.

The only caveat that I have is the weird situation that is thrust upon one of the moms about halfway through the story. I can’t give away any spoilers, but it’s kind of a you need to go with the flow story line and not critique that it probably isn’t realistic. Oh, also the ending completely wrecked me. So I can see how some people might have an issue with it. 

Overall, The Secrets We Keep featured some truly broken adults who are trying to hold it together to care for their children. A wonderful authentic representation of adult self harm. I highly recommend, as long as you won’t be too triggered.  

 

If you want some helpful information or support about these serious topics, click the links below

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Self-Harm Crisis Text Hotline

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

 

Do trigger warnings help you to choose a book?

Everyone has different triggers. Which ones would be helpful to you, that I mention in my future reviews?

2 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense

ARC Review | The Goodnight Song by Nick Hollin

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The Goodnight Song by Nick Hollin

Published: September 17, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 283

Genres: psychological thriller, police procedural, mystery, suspense

Rating: 2 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted family psychological thrillers, lovers of the first book in the series

Foodie Vibes: takeout pizza – easy and filling on the go
Synopsis:

Gifted criminal profiler Nathan Radley has a unique way of thinking that allows him to empathize with the twisted killers he helps capture.

But Nathan a dark secret. He has more in common with the criminals he hunts than anyone could dare to imagine. He lives in constant fear of losing control of his own dark desires…

When the headless body of a policeman is dragged from the Thames – an exact enactment of one of his oldest and darkest fantasies, only ever confessed in the pages of his teenage diary – Nathan finds himself the main suspect in the most twisted case of his career.

Someone has his diary and is leaking pages to frame him for the disturbing murders he has spent his whole career trying not to commit.

As more bodies surface and more extracts are released, Nathan has no choice but to go in search of the killer to clear his name. He knows it’s someone dangerous, he knows it’s someone he trusted, but how many precious lives will be lost before he can work out who?

A nail-biting and unputdownable thriller that fans of Peter James, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott will adore.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Nick Hollin for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book follows a criminal psychologist who works for the police. His twin brother is a serial killer and taunted him endlessly in the last book. His actions have continued to haunt the criminal psychologist throughout this book as well. The premise appears to be the setup for an action packed intriguing read. However it falls short. 

At the beginning the story jumps around making it difficult to tell what’s a memory, flashback, reality or something else. Perhaps if I had read the first book in the series it would have made more sense. Also I’m not sure exactly why, but I never got into the book. It didn’t intrigue me, and found myself reading it solely to finish. There was nothing outright bad about the book, but I simply didn’t connect with it. 

The story had a lot of action and suspense. And for sure plenty of spine tingling creepiness.

The Goodnight Song unfortunately missed the mark for me.

 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical

ARC Book Review | Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

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Passionate Rivals by Radclyffe

Published: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Pages: 240 

Genres: contemporary romance, medical, contemporary fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: hospital centric romances, women in medicine, the TV show Grey’s Anatomy

Foodie Vibes: hospital coffee and leftover pizza

 

Synopsis:

Onetime lovers, unexpected rivals…
Emmett McCabe never expected to see Sydney Stevens—a woman with whom she’d shared a brief, incendiary connection before it all went up in flames—again. Luckily, ascending the cutthroat ladder of a high-pressure surgery residency to reach the top spot makes it easy to ignore what’s missing in her life. Then Sydney reappears after nearly five years. Emmett is barely over her shock when she discovers Sydney is her new competition for the coveted chief’s position everyone, including Emmett, expects will be hers.
Professional rivalry and long-simmering passions create a combustible combination when the two are forced to work together, especially when past attractions won’t stay buried.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Radclyffee and Bold Strokes Books for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

If you’re looking for the book version of the medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy but with mainly lesbian relationships, Passionate Rivals is for you.

Emmett and Sydney knew each other form years ago. They had a few passionate nights but went their separate ways. Now, as resident doctors are forced to switch hospitals due to budget cuts, the two are working side by side each day. 

I absolutely enjoyed the authentic feel of the book. The friendship and competitive nature of the residents seems real and lends an ease to the story. The writing is not overly dramatic, because the day to day life of medicine is dramatic enough. It feels like a behind the scenes look at a day in the life of a resident doctor working at a hospital. Incredibly captivating! 

However this doesn’t feel like that much of a romance novel to me. Yes, there are relationships and sexy times, but the majority of it is navigating the world of being a doctor. That will naturally include romance and relationships at times, but I wouldn’t classify it as a typical romance book.

Also, it’s the fourth in the series, but I think it can absolutely be read a stand alone. I hadn’t read any other the other books before and had no trouble. I’m definitely putting the other three books on my TBR list now!

All in all, a super enjoyable read that I highly recommend. 

 

Which TV show do you wish existed as a book series?

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Review | The Firefighter’s Pretend Fiancee by Victoria James

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The Firefighter’s Pretend Fiancee by Victoria James

Published: September 10, 2018 

Publisher: Entangled Publishing LLC

Pages: 232

Genres: contemporary romance, romance

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: people needing a reminder there are good guys in the world, romance novels with firefighters and doctors 

Foodie Vibes: coffee with organic milk, green juices, meat lovers pizza

 

Synopsis:

Leaving Shadow Creek nine years ago was the hardest thing Molly Mayberry’s ever had to do…except maybe returning. She’s never regretted her choice, but a chance of a lifetime position at the local hospital means going home and facing her past, including her shrew of an estranged mother and the fiancé she ran out on. Ben Matthews is still the sexy, sweet man she left behind…and apparently still her fiancé.

Ben has been doggedly pursuing the position of fire chief since he was a teenager. There’s just one problem—he has to show his boss he’s ready to settle down. No matter how silly the condition, Ben will make it happen. And apparently so will his brother when he opens his mouth and decides to tell everyone Ben and Molly are engaged. Now the one woman he never stopped loving is living with him in a fake relationship, driving him crazy. Pretending only reminds him how right they were once, but if Ben gives in to the heat building between them, heartache is sure to follow.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Victoria James and Entangled Publishing for an ebook copy for review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As alway, an honest review from me.

At first I was a little skeptical based on the title. I assumed the pretend fiancee would be someone he barely knew, so it seemed a bit unrealistic that the couple would fall involve. Because it’s a romance novel after all. Once I learned that the fake couple had actually been a real couple years ago, and they still cared for each other, everything made a lot more sense.

This is a sweet romance. There’s love, romance, and passion, but the physical aspects described stop at kissing. The story is the perfect mix of sweet romance, heartbreak and personal growth. The more is revealed, the more I like the story. I really liked that the story shows the importance of communication and taking care of yourself. I think it will be relatable for a lot of women.

Other than my initial skepticism and a few of the commonly used romance novel tropes, I really enjoyed most of the book. The cover doesn’t match the characters I grew to know and love, in my opinion. 

I’m really glad I read this book that gives me hope for the future.

 

Should romance novels discuss consent and boundaries? Let’s discuss in the comments.