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Little Secrets

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Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado's four-year-old son. Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken. A year later, Marin is a shadow Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado's four-year-old son. Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken. A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he's rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn't her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he'll be the last. She's falling for him—and that was never part of the plan. Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek's lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek. From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.


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Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado's four-year-old son. Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken. A year later, Marin is a shadow Four hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado's four-year-old son. Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken. A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. Kenzie Li is an artist and grad student—Instagram famous—and up to her eyeballs in debt. She knows Derek is married. She also knows he's rich, and dating him comes with perks: help with bills, trips away, expensive gifts. He isn't her first rich boyfriend, but she finds herself hoping he'll be the last. She's falling for him—and that was never part of the plan. Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek's lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek. From the author of Jar of Hearts, a mother driven to the edge by the disappearance of her son learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped him.

30 review for Little Secrets

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is one of my fastest read I’ve lately done because this soul haunting, gripping, mend nerving, page turner truly captivates you from the beginning. You get hooked. You cannot resume doing your basic things like watching TV (thankfully I finished this one before binge watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, because reading this book or binge watching one of my favorite series may force me to invent a new activity like binge reawatching- read one page, look at the tv for one minute and repeat this actio This is one of my fastest read I’ve lately done because this soul haunting, gripping, mend nerving, page turner truly captivates you from the beginning. You get hooked. You cannot resume doing your basic things like watching TV (thankfully I finished this one before binge watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, because reading this book or binge watching one of my favorite series may force me to invent a new activity like binge reawatching- read one page, look at the tv for one minute and repeat this action several times- till you start to think your favorite stand up star lost her son and deals with her cheating husband,- see how two storylines merged perfectly- well at least both Mrs. Maisel and Marin suffers the same kind of assholish husband’s betrayals. ), eating proper food (I bribed my husband to feed me but he backstabbed me and ate whole pizza by himself, I hope he gains 100 pounds and I’ll reject to push him out of the door!), taking bathroom breaks (adult diapers are the best invention of the history, what, you said: there is no such a thing as adult diapers! Okay this is humiliating! I’ll kill those so called best friends who notoriously pranked me so bad!) I went back and forth between 4 and 5 stars. Writing, pacing, story-building, ending, twists and surprises (some of them could be foreseen but they were still amazing) are intriguingly stunning and excitingly gripping. But I hate most of the characters. The husband, the mistress, even the shady best friend! Marin is probably my favorite even though she is pretentious, self- destructive, unpredictable and inconsistent but I didn’t care about her flaws, the mistakes she makes over and over again which makes her more human and connectable character. She can be considered mean and unfair for using her best friend and ex-lover Sal as a shield to protect herself not to feel unwanted and undesired but Sal never seemed like a great and trustworthy personality to be chosen as a future husband figure. Her son has been kidnapped and her husband douchebag Derek is having an affair ( he should get a statue because he also cheated her when she was pregnant so I don’t know which one made me pissed off more, the cheater or accepter of his wrongdoings!) with a 24 year old art student and here’s the big blow: this girl could have involved with the people who had kidnapped her son! Did I get your attention? I think the blurb of the book gave too much information about the mystery but thankfully they hid the most delicious and mind blowing revelation! McKenzie is the another woman ( let’s say, the other girl!) and it’s so normal to detest every particle of her. But the reason I hate the guts and have an urge to rip her eyes out, when I read her story, I couldn’t find anything concrete to feel sympathy or empathize her. She knows exactly she’s doing something so terrible but she kept doing it for years like a parasite to suck people’s blood to have a better living. The part Marin visited McKenzie’s coffee to see her own enemy, I couldn’t decide to appraise her or scream at her face when she wanted to cut the girl’s head off, she kept calm and said nothing. ( she might be aquarius woman because an Aries woman like me throws the hot coffee at pink bleached haired homewrecker’s face and shove the cookie to her… okay you may imagine the rest of it!) So Marin hardly functions after her child’s loss and committed suicide before, seeing a therapist and joining a grief club at a donut place with group of people she normally never considers to engage if it isn’t for their common grief and shared experiences. And now she is about to lose her husband, too. But will she let the other woman take him away from her? Hell, no! So take a seat, grab the book and start devouring the pages with full excitement because the book is getting so much better. Overall: even though I wanted to hire contract killers from other books (yes, my shrink told me this is literally impossible and consciously it’s really mean thing to think about) to torture viciously some of those despicable characters, I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 because I had really great time when I’m reading it. Thankfully I also have “Jar of Hearts” on my reading list now so I’m looking forward to get my hands on it, too. Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for sharing this one of the most promising 2020 thriller’s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review. blog instagram facebook twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dita

    5 STARS! EVERY STAR! This is the best book I have read in a long time and I read about 300 books in 2019. Do yourself a favor and read as little about it as possible before diving in. This is not one to miss, I predict it will be all anyone in the book world is talking about in April 2020! Thank you to Jennifer Hillier, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    It's a myth that wedding rings prevent women from hitting on men. Some women are drawn to wedding rings like moths to a flame. For those women, the ring is exactly what they're looking for. People have been trying to get me to read Jennifer Hillier for a while now, so I think maybe... I picked the wrong one to start with(?) Though I also should say that a major problem with my reading of Little Secrets was that I went into it with all the wrong expectations. The blurb made me think that this w It's a myth that wedding rings prevent women from hitting on men. Some women are drawn to wedding rings like moths to a flame. For those women, the ring is exactly what they're looking for. People have been trying to get me to read Jennifer Hillier for a while now, so I think maybe... I picked the wrong one to start with(?) Though I also should say that a major problem with my reading of Little Secrets was that I went into it with all the wrong expectations. The blurb made me think that this was going to be about a mother and her missing child, which I just said in another review is a premise I torture myself with again and again. A missing child is an open wound that never heals, is never allowed to scar over. The not knowing keeps the wound raw. Reading these books almost always keeps me on the edge of my seat, experiencing the fear and loss along with the parents, needing closure. And that is how this book opens: with five year old Sebastian letting go of his mother's hand and, as security footage shows, walking away with a stranger in a Santa suit. Sixteen months later, he still hasn't been found. The Private Investigator his mother, Marin, has hired has been met with dead end after dead end. That is, until one day the PI uncovers evidence that Marin's husband is having an affair with a young art student called Kenzie Li. Unable to find her son, Marin turns her attention (and fury) on Kenzie. So, really, what a huge chunk (i.e. almost all) of this book is about is Marin stalking her husband’s girlfriend and getting annoyed with her for - annoyingly, I'll admit - taking a million selfies a day. The missing child story fades quickly into the background and, as this was pretty much all I cared about, this made the book boring. A rich woman discovering her husband is having an affair but not wanting to divorce him and lose her precious designer lifestyle is so not an interesting premise for me. I really struggled to connect with Marin, or feel invested in her relationship with Derek. Though the affair is played off as "grief" on his part, Derek seemed like such a douche from the very first chapter. And I'm really confused as to why the blurb gives away some things that we only learn in the last fifty pages of the book. Also, I think anyone who's read a few thrillers over the last few years will see one thing coming a mile away. (view spoiler)[I suspected almost as soon as the mysterious "J.R." was mentioned that he was Sal. He was such a random unexplained side character that I knew he had to be one of the other characters. (hide spoiler)] There was only one thing I cared about in this whole book— what happened to that poor little boy — and too much of it wasn’t even about that. Like I said, wrong expectations. Should I try a different Hillier book? Facebook | Instagram

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    Highly Addictive! Little Secrets is a psychological thriller about a missing child. All is not what seems. That is all I am going to say because it is best to go in blind! The narrative is split between the two main female characters. Both are well-developed and have distinct voices. All of the characters are all horrible a**holes, yet some are still likable. Filled with secrets, deception and a ton of twists and turns, this book kept me riveted! It is fast-paced and filled with tension. I went i Highly Addictive! Little Secrets is a psychological thriller about a missing child. All is not what seems. That is all I am going to say because it is best to go in blind! The narrative is split between the two main female characters. Both are well-developed and have distinct voices. All of the characters are all horrible a**holes, yet some are still likable. Filled with secrets, deception and a ton of twists and turns, this book kept me riveted! It is fast-paced and filled with tension. I went into this book blind--I hadn’t even read the synopsis, so I had no idea where things were headed, which made it even more enjoyable! I guessed some of the twists and the guilty party but still couldn’t figure out what exactly was happening. When it all came together, I hit myself on the head because it was all so obvious! I was too caught up in one of the storylines to notice what was actually going on right before my eyes. My one complaint is that the ending unravels a bit and goes off the rails, but that did not deter from my overall enjoyment. After reading several duds in this genre, I took a break from reading thrillers. This book reminded me of why I love them! I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    Happy publication day!!!!!!!! This book is out today- April 21st!! Don't miss out on this one! This was so damn good! I will admit, I went into this blind, didn't read reviews, the blurb, nothing. I just saw that it was the author of one of my top reads last year ( Jar of Hearts) and I grabbed it as quick as I could. So I was a bit surprised that it was a story about a child abduction. I almost sighed because there have been so many of those lately...but don't you worry, this is a completely uniq Happy publication day!!!!!!!! This book is out today- April 21st!! Don't miss out on this one! This was so damn good! I will admit, I went into this blind, didn't read reviews, the blurb, nothing. I just saw that it was the author of one of my top reads last year ( Jar of Hearts) and I grabbed it as quick as I could. So I was a bit surprised that it was a story about a child abduction. I almost sighed because there have been so many of those lately...but don't you worry, this is a completely unique thriller and you will not be doing any sighing! As if a child missing is not enough, there is plenty more going on in the life of Marin and Derek! First off the title is perfect! Little secrets like BIG secrets! These people all have secrets! We are not talking about I went out and bought a sweater and shoes I don't need and hid them at the back of my closet secrets. We are talking about...you are going to jail for a long time secrets- if you are caught! I loved Marin Machado- she is a successful salon owner that literally had it all. Her salon was so high end that she was featured in magazines due to her many celebrity clients. Her husband Derek is a successful businessman and they have a gorgeous 4 year old son named Sebastian...."all it took was a lollipop, a santa suit and 4 minutes," for her entire world to be turned upside down. I really felt for Marin because even though she had it all, she has so many insecurities that it made her feel real to me. She could put on a big front but inside she didn't feel glamorous and successful. A single minute of paying more attention to her phone than her 4 year old and she is going to pay...maybe forever. Can you imagine the guilt?! Then there is Kenzie- ughhhhhhh- 20 something, barista, art student that lives out her life on Instagram. Including the time she put pictures of herself with her feet propped up on the dash of Marin's husbands Maserati.......girlfriend it is GAME ON...Don't screw with a this wronged mom and wife! Did Kenzie know where her son is? Is this some sort of wicked game to mess with Marin? There are so many secrets in this twisty thriller that it did keep me guessing. I was shocked at the level of crazy secrets these otherwise "normal" people had! I loved, loved, loved this one and devoured it in a day! Oh Jennifer Hillier you have done it again!!! Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press/ Minotaur books for this ARC via Edelweiss!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... This book definitely deserves its spot as one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2020! I loved this author’s previous novel, “Jar of Hearts”. As soon as I heard about “Little Secrets”, I knew I HAD to read it as soon as possible. I had high hopes and I wasn’t let down. This was a wickedly twisted and fast-paced read that satisfied me but also left me wanting more! Sixteen months ago: Marin Machado is Christmas shopping My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... This book definitely deserves its spot as one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2020! I loved this author’s previous novel, “Jar of Hearts”. As soon as I heard about “Little Secrets”, I knew I HAD to read it as soon as possible. I had high hopes and I wasn’t let down. This was a wickedly twisted and fast-paced read that satisfied me but also left me wanting more! Sixteen months ago: Marin Machado is Christmas shopping with her four-year-old son, Sebastian. Her husband, Derek is at a pub nearby. They are just finishing up when Marin receives a text from her husband. She lets go of Sebastian’s hand to text Derek back. A minute later, Marin realizes Sebastian is no longer leaning against her. She can’t see him. She calls out his name but the market is crowded and loud. She phones her husband and someone else notifies security. A few minutes later, Derek shows up. “What the hell, Marin? What did you do?” She had only let go of Sebastian's hand for a minute and now he’s gone. They give security a picture of Sebastian and it’s forwarded around. Then the police show up. 16 months later: Marin wakes up thinking about Sebastian just like she does every morning. Her husband, Derek is out of town again. Marin checks her phone and sees the usual text from her best friend, Sal. “You alive?” he asks. She’s glad Sal doesn’t tiptoe around her. Sal Palermo and Marin don’t have much in common, but he gets her. Sebastian has been gone for 485 days. Marin attends a support group for parents of missing children. It's a safe place for parents to vent their feelings. Marin’s therapist would like her to process what happened and move through it so she can heal. He doesn’t understand that she WANTS to fixate on it. He also had a very strong reaction to the secret she shared during their last appointment. He told her that what she was doing was very unhealthy, not to mention…illegal. Marin is on her way to meet up with Vanessa Castro, the PI she hired after the police stopped focusing on Sebastian's case. Vanessa said she had some new information for Marin. " Would today be the day?" Marin meets up with Vanessa and what she's told shakes her world once again. She’s enraged and in some ways, she almost welcomes the feeling. It’s very different from feeling sad. “Rage, on the other hand, will get shit done.” Marin is going to start her own investigation. Wow! She’s done it again! What an awesome and addictive read! Compelling and unpredictable, this page flipping thriller had me captivated from the start and kept me guessing all the way through. Jennifer Hillier knows how to tell one heck of a story. She writes in a way that continually holds my interest. I loved how the story flowed. There was a lot going on but I found it easy to keep up. The story is told from two points of view and I liked reading both “sides”. The characters were complex, flawed, and well-defined. An emotionally-driven psychological suspense novel about secrets, lies, hope, revenge, and more! I highly recommend this novel as well as the author's previous novel, "Jar of Hearts". I'm super excited to see what this talented author comes up with next! I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth

    5 Speechless Stars! Marin and Derek seem to have the perfect life until they lose their son, Sebastion. It is so heartbreaking, he was just holding his mother's hand and Marin sends a text and Sebastion is gone. He has vanished without a trace. It's every parents nightmare! Derek, Marin's husband, is cheating and Marin is getting crazier! This is one crazy thriller. It will blow your mind. I am utterly in awe. It lived up to all the hype for me. This has everything that I love in a thriller. I lov 5 Speechless Stars! Marin and Derek seem to have the perfect life until they lose their son, Sebastion. It is so heartbreaking, he was just holding his mother's hand and Marin sends a text and Sebastion is gone. He has vanished without a trace. It's every parents nightmare! Derek, Marin's husband, is cheating and Marin is getting crazier! This is one crazy thriller. It will blow your mind. I am utterly in awe. It lived up to all the hype for me. This has everything that I love in a thriller. I loved everything about this book. This was my first solid five star for the year. I just love this author and I loved her book, Jar of Hearts too. I loved everything about this book. It definitely will be one of my favorites for this year. I was immediately drawn into this story. I could not put this down. Before you open up this book make sure you have no plans for the day. Don't answer the telephone, and don't answer the door, because all you will want to do is to read this book. I am serious. At least that is how I thought. I did not want it to end. I raced through this book and it didnt take me long to finish it. I loved the ending. Right when I thought I had figured this one out, a big twist comes along that wasn't expected at all and it left me speechless. It was a big surprise. This one kept me on the edge of my seat. It is not a predictable read and I thought it was mind blowing and AMAZING! This one is tied in first place in my favorite shelf for this year. Crazy good! I loved the character development and I thought it was very well written. There were a lot of unlikable characters in this book and I usually have to like at least one character, but I didn't like any of them, which made me love this book even more. I can't wait to read her next book. I highly recommend this book. I want to thank Minotaur Books/ St. Martin's Press and Edelweiss for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    Wow, so many surprises and twists! If you like dark, twisty and edge of seat suspense.... this is it! This novel was so riveting from the very first chapter! What I thought was going be a typical kidnapping, missing child tale, turned into a thriller not to be missed. "Exhale. Deep Breath in. Exhale."   It is a roller coaster of suspense that has a .... this could really happen..... in a reality is stranger than fiction kind of way. Emotion filled, spine-tingling chills, and high five that Ka Wow, so many surprises and twists! If you like dark, twisty and edge of seat suspense.... this is it! This novel was so riveting from the very first chapter! What I thought was going be a typical kidnapping, missing child tale, turned into a thriller not to be missed. "Exhale. Deep Breath in. Exhale."   It is a roller coaster of suspense that has a .... this could really happen..... in a reality is stranger than fiction kind of way. Emotion filled, spine-tingling chills, and high five that Karma baby! This will be a favorite in 2020. Thank you Minotaur Pub. for my early review copy! OUT APRIL 2020  

  9. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Marin Machado is a boss. A successful business woman, who owns upscale hair salons catering to the stars. She is confident and happy. Her equally successful husband, Derek, is also an entrepreneur. In addition to their careers, the couple have one child, a little boy, Sebastian, who is the light of their lives. Marin has it all. That is until someone nabs Sebastian from a busy shopping center just prior to the Christmas holiday. In the blink of an eye, Marin and Derek's world shatters. Devastated Marin Machado is a boss. A successful business woman, who owns upscale hair salons catering to the stars. She is confident and happy. Her equally successful husband, Derek, is also an entrepreneur. In addition to their careers, the couple have one child, a little boy, Sebastian, who is the light of their lives. Marin has it all. That is until someone nabs Sebastian from a busy shopping center just prior to the Christmas holiday. In the blink of an eye, Marin and Derek's world shatters. Devastated by Sebastian's disappearance, they both retreat into themselves to deal with their pain. When the police investigation goes nowhere, Marin hires a PI to continue the search. Over a year later, the private investigator uncovers something, but it isn't about her son. It's about her husband. As further secrets are revealed, the lines between love and hate begin to blur. A woman spurned is a serious force to be reckoned with and Marin has nothing left to lose. Her best friend, Sal, and a grief support group she is a part of, are Marin's only real connections anymore. She feels so distant from Derek. But who can she really trust? I had so much fun reading this book. It was captivating from the very first chapter. I loved Marin's character. All of her flaws and grief. I found her to be complex, yet relatable. While I did guess one of the reveals earlier than I expect the reader is supposed to, it didn't diminish my enjoyment level at all. I thought going along with Marin on her journey, as she learns the truth of her husband's betrayal and what happened to her son, was so satisfying. Hillier really impressed me with this one. My favorite Thriller of the year so far. Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Jennifer Hillier dreams up next!

  10. 5 out of 5

    marilyn

    Available as of April 21, 2020! A mother's four year old son, Sebastian, is kidnapped from right beside her, in a busy shopping area. Marin will never forgive herself and will never stop looking for her son. Sixteen months later, she's still living the nightmare of her missing son and knows that she is barely hanging on by a thread. She's already attempted suicide once and if she ever learns that her son is dead, she knows she'll kill herself.  Marin's marriage to Derek is in shambles. She knows h Available as of April 21, 2020! A mother's four year old son, Sebastian, is kidnapped from right beside her, in a busy shopping area. Marin will never forgive herself and will never stop looking for her son. Sixteen months later, she's still living the nightmare of her missing son and knows that she is barely hanging on by a thread. She's already attempted suicide once and if she ever learns that her son is dead, she knows she'll kill herself.  Marin's marriage to Derek is in shambles. She knows he blames her for losing sight of Sebastian and knows he's walking on eggshells, afraid to set her off, knowing that another suicide attempt is right around the corner. The couple hardly ever talk to each other, moving through a life filled with grief and guilt.  I'm not going to say any more because I read this book without knowing much more and it was a thrill to read. I only put it down to sleep last night, I did not want to stop reading it. Jennifer Hillier did such a fantastic job of stringing me along, I want more books like this one, real thrillers that keep me on the edge of my seat.  Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Edelweiss, and NetGalley for this ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    This is going to be an incredibly difficult book to review, not only because I'm already the outlier on what is most definitely a popular and highly anticipated release, but because of the twists and spoilers abundant in Little Secrets. I have nothing but love and respect for Jennifer Hillier, and I can attest to her exceptional writing skills after adoring Jar of Hearts last year, which is likely why rating this book at a middle ground 3 stars pains me. At the risk of sounding like a broken rec This is going to be an incredibly difficult book to review, not only because I'm already the outlier on what is most definitely a popular and highly anticipated release, but because of the twists and spoilers abundant in Little Secrets. I have nothing but love and respect for Jennifer Hillier, and I can attest to her exceptional writing skills after adoring Jar of Hearts last year, which is likely why rating this book at a middle ground 3 stars pains me. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this reading experience has revealed to me that cloistering myself in this genre for so many years has dulled my "wow" sense; if I had picked up this book a few years back, my mind would have been blown. There are pages upon pages of glowing early reviews for this book, and I encourage you to check out every single one, because chances are this book will tick all of your twisty turny boxes, and my 3 stars are more along the lines of "I enjoyed this book in a way that won't stay with me long term" rather than a "meh" feeling. Fast paced and highly anticipated by many readers, please give Little Secrets a try for yourself this year. If you enjoyed The Silent Patient, this book is for you! *Many thanks to the publisher for providing our review copies.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Marin appeared to have the perfect life. She had been happily married to her lying, cheating, scumbag, SOB husband, Derek (I don't have strong feelings about this at all) when one day their son, Sebastian is kidnapped. With no real suspects in sight, no hide nor hair of their son, the case goes cold. Marin is now a wreck. She can't get past the pain of losing her son, she was right there holding his hand, she let go of his hand for a just a few seconds and in that time, he was gone. She is stuck Marin appeared to have the perfect life. She had been happily married to her lying, cheating, scumbag, SOB husband, Derek (I don't have strong feelings about this at all) when one day their son, Sebastian is kidnapped. With no real suspects in sight, no hide nor hair of their son, the case goes cold. Marin is now a wreck. She can't get past the pain of losing her son, she was right there holding his hand, she let go of his hand for a just a few seconds and in that time, he was gone. She is stuck, living in a home where she and her husband rarely speak, going to a support group, and waiting to learn the truth. Her world is so sad and lonely. Then one day the PI she hired to find her son, calls to tell her she has found someone - but it's not her son - it's Mackenzie Li, her husband's mistress. A mistress who makes having wealthy "boyfriends" a habit. She doesn't care if they are married. She only cares about what they can give her. What's a woman to do? Who would you react? How does Marin? Whew! Marin doesn't always make the best choices, but she makes interesting ones. It was fun to be a fly on the wall while watching these people implode. It was also fun to imagine throwing rotten tomatoes (or eggs) at Mackenzie "Kenzie" and Derek. Both are douches who deserve each other IMO. Again, not that I have strong feelings about this at all.... Hillier continues to deliver the thrills, twists, turns all the while tugging on readers emotions. She had me feeling sorry for certain characters, booing and hissing others, but all the while having me on the edge of my seat, turning the pages to see how this book would end. This book was fast paced and there was always something going on. Plus, "Little Secrets" is well written and well thought out. Additionally, all of the characters are interesting - even the unlikable ones. They all have that little bit of something - that makes them jump off the page. Talk about a page turner! I literally got nothing accomplished while reading this book. I was too enthralled in the story. Literally glued to my seat, trying to figure things out, wondering what the truth would be, and praying my butt wasn't expanding too much form the hour after hour of sitting I did while reading this book. This book is full of secrets, lies, twists, turns, revelations, tears, anxiety, heartbreak and guilt. Riveting, emotion provoking, compelling and unputdownable. Hillier delivers again! I can't wait to see what she writes next! Thank you to St. Martin's Press- Minotaur Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Four year old Sebastian is kidnapped during a Christmas shopping trip with his mother Marin. She only let go of his hand for a short time to reply to a text, and just like that, he was gone! It is now the autumn of the following year and his mother, Marin, hairdresser to the stars, is still traumatised as he is still missing - she completely blames herself. Her husband, Derek, a financier dealing with big, big money, has become more and more remote and is spending most of his time at work, which Four year old Sebastian is kidnapped during a Christmas shopping trip with his mother Marin. She only let go of his hand for a short time to reply to a text, and just like that, he was gone! It is now the autumn of the following year and his mother, Marin, hairdresser to the stars, is still traumatised as he is still missing - she completely blames herself. Her husband, Derek, a financier dealing with big, big money, has become more and more remote and is spending most of his time at work, which causes him to be away for long periods. Needless to say, the plot is all about psychology. Marin blames herself entirely for the kidnapping, because she let go of her son Sebastian's hand in order to text her oldest and best friend, Sal – not a woman but a Latin-American man who had been her boyfriend in college, but then morphed into her best friend – and has remained so despite her initially happy marriage to Derek. One thing that Marin has not told Derek is that she has employed a private investigator, Vanessa Castro, to work on Sebastian's case independently. She is an ex-police officer and very good at her job. Marin has been persuaded by her friends that she should go back to work at her chain of hairdressing salons. Although she feels that this is some kind of betrayal of Sebastian, she has done so, and does feel a little bit better. But when she receives a phone call from Vanessa asking to meet her in person, she immediately leaps to the conclusion that Sebastian's body has been found. She does go to meet Vanessa in absolute dread, but is quickly reassured that no progress has been made on Sebastian's whereabouts, but almost by accident Vanessa has discovered that Derek is having an affair with a young woman of twenty-four, Kenzie, who is a waitress in a coffee bar. This has an electric effect on Marin, who immediately starts stalking Kenzie and Derek. She decides that Kenzie must die and consults her friend Sal. She knows he has a somewhat shady past, and asks him outright if he knows a fixer. Reluctantly, assuming it is Derek that Marin wants dead, he says he does and arranges a meeting for Marin with the fixer. The fixer agrees he will do the job for $250,000. From this point on, the plot becomes extremely complicated, and it must be admitted, exciting. The final few chapters are absolutely gripping, leading to a thrilling, if somewhat improbable, climax.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    If you’re searching for the perfect thriller to lose yourself in over a weekend.... then this is your lucky day! This will most certainly fit the bill! Marin has it all! A successful chain of salons catering to the movers and shakers. Not to mention several Hollywood Stars as well. Her marriage is a dream come true! Even after all these years together her husband still flirts with her. (You heard me right ladies!) Her dashing prince can still make her knees buckle. Then there’s her perfect son Se If you’re searching for the perfect thriller to lose yourself in over a weekend.... then this is your lucky day! This will most certainly fit the bill! Marin has it all! A successful chain of salons catering to the movers and shakers. Not to mention several Hollywood Stars as well. Her marriage is a dream come true! Even after all these years together her husband still flirts with her. (You heard me right ladies!) Her dashing prince can still make her knees buckle. Then there’s her perfect son Sebastian. This adorable boy was their miracle baby. Didn’t I tell you? Marin has it all! That is... until she doesn’t! In the time span of mere seconds she’s about to lose everything! As her son vanishes right before her very eyes. Gone! Marin is hanging by the smallest of frayed threads and she’s about to take one more serious hit. A stunning, tall, blond (and occasionally pink) haired college-aged girl steps into her suddenly nightmarish life. But look out, sweetheart! Marin isn’t about to let the last bit of her life walk away without a fight! Just how far is Marin willing to go! Jennifer Hillier is absolutely the queen of the thrillers! She knows exactly how to pull you in to the point that the world around you fades away! You are under her spell! Her twists are perfectly placed and jaw dropping! When I saw this new release I was so excited to read it and rightly so! It deserves all the stars! Highly recommend to all thriller fans! A fabulous thrilling buddy read with Susanne that we both loved!❤️ Thank you to Minotaur books and Edelweiss for an ARC to read and review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    this is one of the most satisfying mysteries/thrillers i have read in a long time. i cant even remember the last time i finished one and was just so dang pleased with how it ended. this is definitely a slow burner. there is so much build-up and setting the scene and introducing the characters that it got to a point where i was like 'okay… but what about the missing son??' but then things started to come together and i was living for it. the characters are definitely the shining star of the story this is one of the most satisfying mysteries/thrillers i have read in a long time. i cant even remember the last time i finished one and was just so dang pleased with how it ended. this is definitely a slow burner. there is so much build-up and setting the scene and introducing the characters that it got to a point where i was like 'okay… but what about the missing son??' but then things started to come together and i was living for it. the characters are definitely the shining star of the story. they are complex, morally grey, completely developed, and so imperfectly human. and to discover how everyone is connected was such a rewarding feeling as a reader. this is my first book by this author, but it most definitely is not my last. many, many thanks to st. martins press/minotaur books for the ARC! ↠ 4.5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    4.5 stars It’s What You Don’t Know.. Shopping in Pike’s Place Christmas Market with her son Sebastian (Bash), Marin’s life is absolutely perfect, until the moment that Bash is taken. Chaos ensues, yet he is nowhere to be found. Four Hundred plus days later, Marin’s life is in shambles, while her husband Derek has been trying to move on. The Private Investigator that Marin hired back when Bash went missing has turned up no new leads, at least not about Marin’s son. What she has discovered however 4.5 stars It’s What You Don’t Know.. Shopping in Pike’s Place Christmas Market with her son Sebastian (Bash), Marin’s life is absolutely perfect, until the moment that Bash is taken. Chaos ensues, yet he is nowhere to be found. Four Hundred plus days later, Marin’s life is in shambles, while her husband Derek has been trying to move on. The Private Investigator that Marin hired back when Bash went missing has turned up no new leads, at least not about Marin’s son. What she has discovered however is that Derek has been cheating on Marin, with Kenzie Li, a twenty four year old College Student. When Marin is told, it gives her something to live for. Revenge. How sweet it is. Derek, the old sod that he is, has no idea that Kenzie has a few plans of her own. Talk about a wild one my friends! “Little Secrets” by Jennifer Hiller made me feel oh so many emotions it was unreal, scared, sad, terrified, crazed… my pulse was pounding and my heart was aching. There were times while reading this when my eyes just about popped. (Good thing they didn’t!). Though none of the characters were all that likeable, I truly enjoyed the twists and turns of this crazy novel and can’t wait to see what Jennifer Hiller has in store for us next. This was a fabulous December buddy read with Kaceey! Thank you to Minotaur Books, Edelweiss and Jennifer Hiller for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 12.28.19.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    **THIS BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE** The novel starts with every mother’s nightmare, she let’s go of her child’s hand for what seems like a moment while shopping in a crowd, to answer a text, and when she turns around he’s gone. Lots of mentions about texting and Instagram bring the novel into the current time. On further reflection, basically realizing that I didn’t really care about any of the characters, I’m going to reduce my rating to 3*. Marin and Derek have the so called and over overused, “perf **THIS BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE** The novel starts with every mother’s nightmare, she let’s go of her child’s hand for what seems like a moment while shopping in a crowd, to answer a text, and when she turns around he’s gone. Lots of mentions about texting and Instagram bring the novel into the current time. On further reflection, basically realizing that I didn’t really care about any of the characters, I’m going to reduce my rating to 3*. Marin and Derek have the so called and over overused, “perfect” life. They are both successful, make plenty of money and now have a child they desperately wanted. They both seem to still love each other and share intimate moments, that is, until their child disappears. Sixteen months after Sebastian’s disappearance the police have stopped methodically searching for Sebastian. “The FBI estimates that there are currently over thirty thousand active missing persons cases for children. It’s an alarmingly high number, and yet somehow, being the parent of a missing child is weirdly isolating. Unless it’s happened to you, you can’t possibly understand this”. While Derek is beginning to think of moving forward with their life, Marin is nowhere near this point. She hires a private investigator to see if she can find anything the police have missed. What she finds is her husband’s mistress. McKenzie Li, an art student and “professional girlfriend”. At least that’s what she likes to call herself. Derek isn’t the first wealthy, married man that McKenzie has had an affair with. When they break up with her she justifies the money that she basically extorts from them so that she will just go away and stay out of their lives. So we are reading the book from Marin and McKenzie’s points of view. I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in Kenzie, she uses people, sex, drugs and never seems to learn anything from her past experiences. Marin elicits some sympathy of course but I didn’t really feel any compassion for her. I think her character could have been more well developed. But this is a thriller and there are twists and turns and you will end up turning the pages quickly. The novel is well plotted and original in it’s story and particularly the ending. Pay attention to the more minor characters, everyone isn’t who they may appear to be! Bravo to the PI who did a fantastic job and didn’t give up the search! I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. It is set to publish on April 21, 2020.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    After reading the wonderful Jar of Hearts, I was always going to read Jennifer Hillier's latest heart stopping psychological thriller, set in Seattle, that grabbed me right from the beginning. Marin is the woman with everything, the perfect life, running a string of hair salons for the wealthy and celebrities, with a good looking husband, Derek, a CEO and wealthy man in his own right, pillars of the community, blessed with a 4 year old son, Sebastian, conceived after fertility treatments. All it After reading the wonderful Jar of Hearts, I was always going to read Jennifer Hillier's latest heart stopping psychological thriller, set in Seattle, that grabbed me right from the beginning. Marin is the woman with everything, the perfect life, running a string of hair salons for the wealthy and celebrities, with a good looking husband, Derek, a CEO and wealthy man in his own right, pillars of the community, blessed with a 4 year old son, Sebastian, conceived after fertility treatments. All it takes is a moment for Marin's life of privilege to go down the pan, on a Christmas shopping trip whilst answering a text. Sebastian is taken, taken by a person dressed in a Santa costume, and neither the police or the FBI succeed in finding the missing boy. Over a year later, Marin is a complete wreck, distraught, her marriage to Derek has descended into a worrying silence, life seems barely worth living, she is seeing a therapist, attending a support group, the only place where she can be herself with others, and she just cannot forget or move on from the all enveloping grief over the loss of Sebastian. She is a mother who makes the momentous decision to hire a private investigator, Vanessa Castro, with Sebastian's abduction now being viewed as a cold case. Her life spirals into a nightmare when Castro informs her that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman, the beautiful pink haired 24 year old art student MacKenzie Li. An angry Marin has lost almost all that matters, she is not prepared to lose Derek too, that is one step too far for her. In a story narrated by Marin and Kenzie, this is a twisted, tense and suspenseful tale where not everyone is as they appear. With many of the trademark tropes of the psychological thriller, there are eminently dislikeable characters, such as a Kenzie who exploits the frailties of being a man with no compunction whatsoever. This is a fast paced and riveting read, with no so little secrets, lies, loss, betrayal, being a mother and guilt at the heart of the novel. This is another great thriller from the pen of the talented Jennifer Hillier that I recommend to other crime and thriller readers. Many thanks to Atlantic Books for an ARC.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    THE WAIT IS OVER! “THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN NOT KNOWING....IS KNOWING” 240 seconds was all it took for someone to lead her son out of Pike’s Place Market when she let go of his hand for just a moment to respond to a text message... It’s now been 485 mornings of this nightmare...of not knowing if her son, Sebastian is dead or alive. On the 486th day, Marin finds out that she might lose her husband Derek, too. Her husband has been sleeping with a younger woman for six months. Marin is enraged. Exce THE WAIT IS OVER! “THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN NOT KNOWING....IS KNOWING” 240 seconds was all it took for someone to lead her son out of Pike’s Place Market when she let go of his hand for just a moment to respond to a text message... It’s now been 485 mornings of this nightmare...of not knowing if her son, Sebastian is dead or alive. On the 486th day, Marin finds out that she might lose her husband Derek, too. Her husband has been sleeping with a younger woman for six months. Marin is enraged. Excerpt: “She welcomes it. It’s been a long time since she felt anger like this, and she”ll take anger over sadness, any day! For the past four hundred eighty-six days, sadness has knocked her sideways, debilitated her, confused her, made her weak, talked her into settling for things she doesn’t want, and never did. RAGE, on the other hand, will get shit done.” 12 Minutes. That’s how long it took me to read chapter one and become completely engrossed in this book! Jennifer Hillier’s latest is “unputdownable!” She has created two VERY real, VERY different women in Marin and McKenzi. Both are well developed characters, with distinct voices, each one flawed, neither one completely good or bad. 494 days. That is how long it will take for Marin to get some answers. When is the last time a thriller made you cry? I would like to thank Edelweiss, Minotaur books and the author for the digital ARC, I received in exchange for a candid review! AVAILABLE now! Don’t miss it! I am pretty sure it will be making my “favorite thrillers list for 2020!”

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Marin is happily married to her college sweetheart Derek and they have a beautiful son Sebastian. A few days before Christmas, and while at the farmers market, Marin drops Sebastian's hand for just a moment to answer a text but when she looks back up Sebastian is gone and never to be seen again. 16 months later and after two suicide attempts Marin is a shell of her former self. The rift in her marriage has grown and Derek spends more and more time traveling for work. The case for Sebastian has g Marin is happily married to her college sweetheart Derek and they have a beautiful son Sebastian. A few days before Christmas, and while at the farmers market, Marin drops Sebastian's hand for just a moment to answer a text but when she looks back up Sebastian is gone and never to be seen again. 16 months later and after two suicide attempts Marin is a shell of her former self. The rift in her marriage has grown and Derek spends more and more time traveling for work. The case for Sebastian has gone cold but Marin can not accept this so she hires a private investigator to keep searching. What the investigator finds is that Derek is having an affair. Marin has already lost the most important person in her life and she will be damned if some little tramp is going to come and steal her husband too. Marin is determined to make sure Mackenzie Li, the homewrecker, gets exactly what she deserves. That's all I'm going to say plot wise because it would be a shame to have this book spoiled for you. This book kept me riveted to the pages and I never once had a grasp on what was happening. My feelings were all over the place while I was reading this and I even needed a tissue toward the end. It's impossible not to feel the pain that Marin's in - I adored her character, flaws and all. This book is sure to be a huge success for Hillier in 2020 and it will be well deserved. Simply put this book is fantastic. 4 stars! Thank you to Edelweiss and Minotaur Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “Four minutes. That’s all it took to steal a child. A lollipop, a Santa Suit, and two hundred forty seconds”. Three days before Christmas... in the busy Seattle market, Marin Machado let go of her 4-year old son’s hand... Sixteen months later.... “They say if a missing child Sebastian’s age isn’t found within 24 hours of his disappearance, chances are he never will be”. It’s been 485 days since Marin and Derek lost their 4 year old son, Sebastian. “Marin needed to stay home and fall apart, which sh “Four minutes. That’s all it took to steal a child. A lollipop, a Santa Suit, and two hundred forty seconds”. Three days before Christmas... in the busy Seattle market, Marin Machado let go of her 4-year old son’s hand... Sixteen months later.... “They say if a missing child Sebastian’s age isn’t found within 24 hours of his disappearance, chances are he never will be”. It’s been 485 days since Marin and Derek lost their 4 year old son, Sebastian. “Marin needed to stay home and fall apart, which she did, for months until Derek and her therapist suggested it was time for her to go back to work”. Minor celebrities came into Marin’s salon - they paid $600 an hour to have their hair done personally by “Marin Machado of Marin Machado Salon & Spa”. Marin owned three salons. Police had no solid information. The stranger who took Sebastian, ‘Bash’, was a kidnapper. There was no certainty about whether or not it was planned in advance, or not. There was also no evidence to suggest that the person who took Sebastian was a friend or acquaintance of the family. The Santa costume, was denoted the persons intent to steal a child— possibly any child from a busy store. Marin attended group therapy once a week. Those who attended all had missing kids. Group therapy was very different than ‘one-on-one’ therapy. It was the one place where Marin could feel as miserable as she needed without feeling a need to apologize for it. The other people in the room were more miserable than she was. Marin’s best friend, Sal Palermo, described going to group as an act of self-flagellation. Marin didn’t think he was wrong. Some nights, it was exactly what she needed. “One year, three months, and twenty-two days ago was the worst day of her life”. Police still had no leads... Marin and her husband Derek were living parallel lives, side by side for the most part, but never converging. Derek was a CEO of a health food chain. He traveled for work. often since his son disappeared. Dr. Chen was Marin’s private therapist. He was soothing, understanding, easy to talk to—all the things a therapist should be -but Marin was not sure she wanted to go back. Therapy was hard work. However, she finally told Dr. Chen her secret: .... there were more secrets.... ... and twists ... and turns ... and surprises ... THE SURPRISES were really surprising. Marin hired private investigator, Vanessa Castro...(she never told her husband, Derek). The first important news that Vanessa had for Marin, was ‘important’, but it wasn’t about her son. Questions started race through my head early on... but I never had this book figured out. “A strange thing happens when you’re going through something terrible. It’s as if your body and mind separate, and you cease to become a whole person”. A little fun... Try untangling these words to figure out all the “Little Secrets”..... Cracker crumbs, milk stains, Lego pieces, celebrities, coffee, mochaccinos, hipster professionals, Oxy and Vicodin, amaretto sours, gummy bear edibles, friends es, Big Macs, ramen noodles, avocado toast, tacos, roasted brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and smothered in Parmesan cheese, Instagram photos, an obnoxiously expensive Maserati, etc. etc etc..... Can’t do it... can you? 🧐 GREAT THRILLER! Thank you Saint Martin’s Press, Netgalley, and the very talented Jennifer Hillier.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sumit RK

    All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret... Right at the start, I would advise all book lovers to start reading this book straightway--without even read the synopsis. This book is more enjoyable when you have no idea where things are going. Marin had a perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Seba All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret... Right at the start, I would advise all book lovers to start reading this book straightway--without even read the synopsis. This book is more enjoyable when you have no idea where things are going. Marin had a perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken. Now you may think that this is another mystery with a missing kid and you couldn’t be more wrong because what feels like a child abduction story is so much more beneath the surface. Little Secrets is a dark and twisted story of secrets and betrayals, of loss and guilt and some old fashioned revenge. The book is told in alternating POVs from the two women’s point of view and the story is revealed through switching timelines and flashbacks. There are so many twists and turns and the writer does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat every moment. The writing, the pacing, the characters all combine nicely to create an enjoyable thriller. The story is definitely a slow burner but it never gets stuck at any point. I really loved the character development. None of the characters were really likable and yet you feel riveted by their story. Each of the characters is dark and twisted but the story explains their motivations and decisions so skillfully. Ms. Hillier did a superb job of developing these characters and does an excellent job of keeping these characters real with strengths and flaws. The only complaint I have is the ending, which felt too convenient and rushed. I didn’t hate the ending but some of the things did felt too unbelievable to be true. Overall, Little Secrets is a dark and intense thriller with some twisted characters and many suspenseful twists. If you are looking for a psychological thriller, then Little Secrets is a must-read for you. 4.5 stars out of 5. Many thanks to the publishers' Minotaur Book, Penguin Publishing Group, and Edelweiss for the ARC.  

  23. 4 out of 5

    Arini

    Take it from someone who wishes to have kids of her own someday and already has three niblings about the same age as Sebastian, this book was a tough read. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be for any parents to read it. On another note, I’m getting more addicted to thrillers the more I discover about them. I wouldn’t mind some recommendations if you’d be so kind to drop them my way. “You know what it’s like having a child? ... It’s like your heart walking out the door on two legs, vulne Take it from someone who wishes to have kids of her own someday and already has three niblings about the same age as Sebastian, this book was a tough read. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be for any parents to read it. On another note, I’m getting more addicted to thrillers the more I discover about them. I wouldn’t mind some recommendations if you’d be so kind to drop them my way. “You know what it’s like having a child? ... It’s like your heart walking out the door on two legs, vulnerable and unprotected. It’s scary as hell.” Marin discovers that her husband is having an affair with a younger woman named McKenzie who might have something to do with the kidnapping of her four year old son whose missing case has gone cold for fifteen months. The characters are flawed, complex, and well developed. Some are downright despicable. Bash is such a sweet boy. I wish we’d gotten more than just glimpses of him in this book. Regardless of Marin’s tendency to go off the deep end, I was #TeamMarin the whole way. She is self destructive and capricious. Her pain, her depressive and sometimes suicidal thoughts bleed through the pages. “The one term Kenzie has never liked is homewrecker. She is not a homewrecker, and neither was the woman her father left them for. Men wreck their own homes.” Sorry, but I agree to disagree. I say it takes two to tango. Don’t throw your feminist wisdom at me when you’re just as much to blame. Seeing things from Kenzie’s perspective means humanizing her character, but I didn’t feel any sympathy for her. She craves to be loved but at the same time is afraid of love and rejection that she just keeps drifting from one man to another. It pissed me off that she also never seemed to feel remorseful. Under different circumstances, I’d probably applaud her IDGAF attitude and her resolve to earn money to support her family. “Marin can only imagine what the other woman is thinking. She can feel her judgment oozing through the phone line, because that’s what women do to each other. They judge.” Basically me when I was reading Kenzie’s chapters. I hate her guts! This book is well written and excellently paced. Normally, it would take awhile to adjust myself to third person dual POV, but it was smooth sailing with this one—a true page turner. At one point, the focus shifts from the kidnapping to the affair. However, it doesn’t take you away from the story. Once the big picture starts to vaguely take shape, you can kinda see where each puzzle piece fits. My heart was in my throat and I got goosebumps during the last 20% of the book. The plot twist completely floored me. It shouldn’t have been so shocking, but I truly did not see it coming cause I’d been rooting for that person from the beginning! The ending was a bit rushed and maybe even unfair. Be that as it may, this whole experience was absolutely gratifying. My first book by this author, and I cannot wait to read more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Devious Little four-year-old Sebastian and his mother Marin Machado are shopping in a crowded shopping centre in Seattle. The Christmas air is filled with excitement and anticipation. As Marin drops Sebastian’s hand to respond to a text message, the next two hundred and forty seconds will see the Machado's world fall apart as the unimaginable happens and someone kidnaps their son. A month after Sebastian went missing, the police and FBI have all but given up hope. While the case will remain open, Devious Little four-year-old Sebastian and his mother Marin Machado are shopping in a crowded shopping centre in Seattle. The Christmas air is filled with excitement and anticipation. As Marin drops Sebastian’s hand to respond to a text message, the next two hundred and forty seconds will see the Machado's world fall apart as the unimaginable happens and someone kidnaps their son. A month after Sebastian went missing, the police and FBI have all but given up hope. While the case will remain open, their resources are now focused on the more recent missing child abductions. Marin hires a private investigator, Vanessa Castro, to continue looking for her son, “She couldn’t live with the thought that nobody was looking for him. Someone always has to be looking.” Marin and her husband, Derek, are both independently wealthy with their own businesses. Their marriage is barely functioning now, as silence and distance have become the norm. Both are struggling in their own way with the horror and pain of the loss. Marin’s main comfort comes from her best friend and previous college sweetheart Sal Palermo, who has always been there for her and seems to know her best. “For the past four hundred eighty-six days, sadness has knocked her sideways, debilitated her, confused her, made her weak, talked her into settling for things she doesn’t want, and never did. Rage, on the other hand, will get shit done.” Derek spends considerable time at work but inadvertently his activities cross path with Vanessa’s investigation and she soon discovers that Derek is having an affair with McKenzie Li, a beautiful much younger art student. Jennifer Hillier creates a wonderful array of characters with a fascinating mix of personalities that help build a twisted plot that is horrifying. Each character brings notable suspicion that they are keeping something hidden, and as the story develops the diverse machinations and hidden secrets start to unfold. The backgrounds to the characters are explored in detail and often I felt this slowed the momentum of the story for no significant benefit. Hillier cleverly illustrates the damage and lingering despair a parent faces for an abducted child and uses a parent support group to paint the various situations that parents are likely to encounter. There are only three possible scenarios for the children: they remain missing, they’re found safe or they’re found dead. The pace of the story starts to accelerate towards the end as some atrocious actions are exposed and emotional bonds are forged or shattered. I really appreciated that each main character played a part as the story came to an enthralling end. I would recommend Little Secrets as a great psychological thriller that is alarming, intriguing and cleverly plotted. I would also like to thank Corvus, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC copy in return for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JanB

    And this is exactly what a thriller should be! Go into this one blind, as I did. Do not read the blurb as it gives away way too much. What makes a riveting thriller? A compulsive page-turner that keeps you flipping the pages, a story that touches you deeply, making your heart race. A book that is plotted perfectly with no eye-rolling moments, no ridiculous endings. This author hit all the right notes and delivered a thrilling, gut-punching thriller. In a genre that has often failed to deliver, And this is exactly what a thriller should be! Go into this one blind, as I did. Do not read the blurb as it gives away way too much. What makes a riveting thriller? A compulsive page-turner that keeps you flipping the pages, a story that touches you deeply, making your heart race. A book that is plotted perfectly with no eye-rolling moments, no ridiculous endings. This author hit all the right notes and delivered a thrilling, gut-punching thriller. In a genre that has often failed to deliver, this one is perfection. Four minutes. That’s all it takes to steal a child. “A lollipop, a Santa suit, and 240 seconds”. It’s now been four hundred eighty-five days since Marin lost Sebastian in a crowded marketplace during the Christmas season. As a mother and grandmother it was heartbreaking to travel the depths with Marin, to watch the downward spiral after her son Sebastian goes missing. The pain is real and kudos to the author for delivering what is an authentic tale of grief. As I read, I felt all the emotions right along with Marin. I won’t reveal more of the plot, but the main thrust of this book is not the missing child. There are no cheap emotional strings pulled. This is a gripping tale of complicated troubled people. Not all of them are likable, but all elicit a measure of empathy. All have deep-seated issues that drive their motivations and decisions. Every person here is the result of everything they’ve ever been through. “Hurt people hurt people”. The cast of characters is colorful with deep secrets. No one is who they seem. The twist and turns of this story had me reeling. In a good way. It’s been a long while since I’ve read such a perfectly plotted thriller and it was a joy. Yes, it’s a thriller but with a psychological depth that is often missing in the genre. This was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce and we had a great time discussing this as we read….guesses as to the resolution and our shared shock at the revelations. If you are looking for a fun, propulsive thriller with depth, look no further. Date of publication is 4/21/20, Minotaur Books, and if you have not added this to your queue do so immediately! • I received a digital review copy of the book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest opinion • For our duo review please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars, rounded up. Now THAT’S how you do a thriller. It was a crazy day shopping at Pike Place Market since it was just before the holidays. Marin’s young son Sebastian was whining that he wanted a fancy lollipop from their favorite candy store, and she’ll get it for him as soon as she buys one last gift. One second he’s right next to her and when she goes to reply to a text, in a split second, he is gone. Someone has taken Sebastian, and the two essentially have disappeared into thin air. More 4.5 stars, rounded up. Now THAT’S how you do a thriller. It was a crazy day shopping at Pike Place Market since it was just before the holidays. Marin’s young son Sebastian was whining that he wanted a fancy lollipop from their favorite candy store, and she’ll get it for him as soon as she buys one last gift. One second he’s right next to her and when she goes to reply to a text, in a split second, he is gone. Someone has taken Sebastian, and the two essentially have disappeared into thin air. More than a year later, after an exhaustive search and an enormous promised reward, there’s been no sign of him. Marin can still barely go through the motions of daily life. She and her husband Derek barely speak and he’s rarely home. This isn’t a life but it’s the only one she can handle, although she knows what she’ll do if she ever learns Sebastian is dead. One day she gets a call from the PI she hired when the FBI’s search turned up nothing. The PI has news—but it’s about Derek: he’s been having an affair with a much-younger woman. While this news shakes Marin to her core, this time she’s not going to fall apart. Now she has an enemy she can fight to save her family. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Little Secrets was so good!! I really was captivated by this new book by Jennifer Hillier. It was full of twists and turns and emotional poignancy. While I figured stuff out before the end, I really kept waiting for another shoe to drop, and I was totally hooked. I was a huge fan of Hillier’s last book, Jar of Hearts , and this was equally great. NetGalley and Minotaur Books provided me with an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!! This book publishes April 21. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This book was so good. I loved it and I never wanted to put it down. The twisted in the book was so good, but I have to say there is a lot of hard things to read in this book (kidnapping, self harm, and more)...Please check into it before reading this book before reading it if you get upset by any of those things. I won an arc of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks

    This book is full of secrets, twists & turns, revelations, heartbreak and guilt. It's been awhile since a thriller packed an emotional punch for me and this one really did. Marin had the perfect life...until she didn't. She's driven to the edge by her son's disappearance and her husband's infidelity. faced with her husband's infidelity Marin begins to feel again. Fueled by rage there's no telling how far she will go to face off with her enemy. Jennifer Hillier does it again! I'm a huge fan of Jar This book is full of secrets, twists & turns, revelations, heartbreak and guilt. It's been awhile since a thriller packed an emotional punch for me and this one really did. Marin had the perfect life...until she didn't. She's driven to the edge by her son's disappearance and her husband's infidelity. faced with her husband's infidelity Marin begins to feel again. Fueled by rage there's no telling how far she will go to face off with her enemy. Jennifer Hillier does it again! I'm a huge fan of Jar of Hearts and this was just as big a page turner for me. As a mom I was completely captivated by Marin and her suffering. I really liked how all these little secrets in the plot from the various characters played out together. It wasn't a 5 star read for me because I had the bad guy figured out early on but I was 100% invested in seeing how it all played out and loved how Hillier masterfully connected all the dots. I highly recommend this riveting page-turner! Huge thank you to Minotaur books and Jennifer Hillier for sending me an advance copy of this book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    3.5 stars, rounded up This is my first book by Jennifer Hillier, but I’ve been anxious to read something of hers for a while. This is an extremely fast, easy read. I blew through it. It starts with a mother losing her four year old son in Pike Place Market. She soon learns he’s been kidnapped. Sixteen months later, and he’s still gone. Then she discovers her husband is having an affair. At this point, she makes an irrevocable decision. The story alternates between Marin, the wife and mother, and 3.5 stars, rounded up This is my first book by Jennifer Hillier, but I’ve been anxious to read something of hers for a while. This is an extremely fast, easy read. I blew through it. It starts with a mother losing her four year old son in Pike Place Market. She soon learns he’s been kidnapped. Sixteen months later, and he’s still gone. Then she discovers her husband is having an affair. At this point, she makes an irrevocable decision. The story alternates between Marin, the wife and mother, and Kenzie, the other woman. I can’t say either woman is likeable, but Hillier does a great job of fleshing them both out. I had sussed out the villain early on in the book but certainly not the how it all played out. I enjoyed how once again social media plays into the lives of the young. Hillier even does a great job explaining the why of its importance. This is a fun read, but it’s like a Chinese meal. Good, but it’s not going to stick with you. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie (JuJu)

    Publishes today - 4/21/20! 🎉🎉🎉💫💫💫 Nail-bitingly brilliant! This movie-worthy thriller is packed full of secrets, lies and twists you will not see coming! I could kick myself for not reading this one the minute I received it. But I kept thinking...”Am I really in the mood for another abduction novel right now?” My answer should have been “YES, it’s written by Jennifer Hillier!” This isn’t just another abduction thriller. Her writing style is so entrancing, it pulls you in immediately. If you enjoy Publishes today - 4/21/20! 🎉🎉🎉💫💫💫 Nail-bitingly brilliant! This movie-worthy thriller is packed full of secrets, lies and twists you will not see coming! I could kick myself for not reading this one the minute I received it. But I kept thinking...”Am I really in the mood for another abduction novel right now?” My answer should have been “YES, it’s written by Jennifer Hillier!” This isn’t just another abduction thriller. Her writing style is so entrancing, it pulls you in immediately. If you enjoy thrillers and haven’t read her work, you don’t know what you’re missing! Marin is such a unique and lovable character. It broke my heart to read about what she was going through. Yet there were times I got a glimpse of someone I didn’t care for. Her character is so realistic! This one had me leaning toward 5 ⭐️’s early on, but at 80% I was completely sure! My best read of 2020 so far. My Rating: 5 ⭐️’s Published: April 21st 2020 by Minotaur Books Pages: 352 Recommend: Yes! This is one you don’t want to miss! Thank you to Edelweiss / Minotaur Books / Jennifer Hillier for this digital ARC, in exchange for my honest review! @JenniferHillier @MinotaurBooks @weiss_squad #LittleSecrets #MustReadThriller #BestThriller2020

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