Thursday, October 10, 2019

Review: The Summer of Secrets - Christina Hart, Cynthia A. Rodriguez, J.R. Rogue

When the Bordeau sisters are reunited for the summer, secrets are born as they each come to terms with small-town living and their familial bonds.

One sister revisits the past.

Another engages with the enemy.

And the last flirts with the forbidden.

The sisters quickly learn that some secrets can bury you, while others can save you.

Ruin Me
◦ a second-chance romance ◦
3.5 Stars

The youngest Bordeau sister has been plagued by her role and nickname of Baby Bordeau for too long, she's using this summer to face everything she left behind and stand up to her sisters. Christina Hart's Ruin Me follows poetry writer Kitty Bordeau as she faces old love, struggles through heartbreak, and fights against the secrets her sisters have kept in the name of love.

"This all feels too familiar. This searching for him. My heart is always searching for him."

A second chance novella in the Summer of Secrets collection, Ruin Me is a fast paced love story set in the heat of summer. With gorgeous, emotional poems kicking off each chapter, Christina Hart takes readers on an angsty journey with 19 year-old Kitty and her ex-beau, Joey. Kitty is such a relatable character, her creativity is her pride and her mental health battle is the driving force. She uses words to battle her demons, especially as her former flame re-enters her life and reignites the flame inside her. It's a summer of push and pull for the young couple, each trying to overcome a past of ugly secrets and lies, each chasing after a love that they don't want to give up.

"For a moment we slipped and said what we meant. The truth has a way of escaping the things we say when the earth falls away."

Ruin Me was a solid introduction to the Bordeau sisters, I loved that it started with Kitty and gave us her youthful perspective on the challenges she and her sisters have faced since the loss of their parents. I do wish it had been longer, the close of Kitty's story comes far too quickly and deserved more fanfare. This was my first Christina Hart read and I can already say, after reading Kitty's perspective and the gorgeous poetry, I will be reading more.
The Summer of Secrets collection starts with an angsty bang and I am already turning the pages to start part two, Hate Me.

Hate Me
◦ a hate-to-love romance ◦
5 Stars
Eloise "Lucy" Bordeau has done everything to keep her parent's bookstore alive, even as her sister's ran from their hometown. She's given up everything, including herself, unable to let go, to chase her dreams too. A handsome stranger, like those in her books, seems like the perfect distraction, until she discovers who he really is. Ezra James holds the money she needs, but the contract he asks her to sign asks for more than interest in return.

"I’ve always heard the saying that there’s a thin line between love and hate. Those people never straddled the line between lust and disdain."

I devoured Hate Me and then I had to live in this uncomfortable feeling of knowing exactly what Eloise was feeling. She's been the rock, the foundation of her sister's lives, and yet she so desperately desires something more, something she won't speak of. One night with a handsome stranger turns into an arrangement she can't refuse, even if it leaves her questioning everything. Filled with secrets and shame, Eloise begins an affair with a man she knows she shouldn't, but she doesn't know the secret he too is keeping. The chemistry between these two is off the charts, I was not prepared for it, but I absolutely loved it.

“God, it’s so fucked up, but I want to be the first man to break your heart,” he murmurs.

Hate Me is novella two in the Summer of Secrets collection and, without hurting anyone's feelings, I will say it's my favorite. It's a sexy, quick read that somehow still made me cry. How is that even a thing? Cynthia brings to life the bookworm, her bookshop, and the take-control man that flips her world upside down. It's a story filled with the pushes and pulls of life, with lust, control, and independence. Eloise was such an interesting character, so perfectly middle sister, and these pages are her truths being revealed, just as Ezra takes the time to reveal her heart and soul.

Teach Me
◦ an age-gap romance ◦
5 Stars
Teach Me, the final novella in the Summer of Secrets series, follows eldest sister Elizabeth Sophie as she navigates the small town of Cherry Cove that she had left behind in search of healing and herself. She wants to help at Bordeau Books, she wants to heal her relationships with her sisters, and she wants younger Sloane Callahan, she just doesn't know how to achieve any of it. With a teaching job and a pile of secrets held close to her chest, Sophie finally allows the great loss of her and her sisters' life to guide her in the direction she must go.

"I think I'm in love with a fleeting moment. Wishing on this stolen thing we have."

Oh my word, J.R. Rogue, you dirty, smutty writer! I mean, with a cover like this I knew I was going to get some naughty out of one of my fave angst queens, but Teach Me was downright the best way possible. A little bit taboo, a lot a bit emotional, Teach Me is the perfect conclusion to the series. Not only do we get closure on the other sisters' stories, but we get the older sister perspective and it brings things full circle. Sloane and Sophie have a shared responsibility, brought about by similar losses. In one another they see a friend, a companion, someone who understands. Through the fog of lust they navigate the difficult waters of grown up responsibility brought on long before it's time. It's heart-wrenching, romantic, and somehow still smutty; J.R. Rogue has talent.

"I want to call him my future. I want to call him mine. I want to crawl into his bed every night. But how can that happen?"

Teach Me is another hit from J.R. Rogue, her lyrical prose weaving a story about love and loss, she takes readers on an emotional journey. As a whole, the Summer of Secrets series was just an incredible reading experience. The three authors, Christina Hart, Cynthia A. Rodriguez, and J.R. Rogue, bring to life the Bordeau sisters, their small town, and their fierce, sometimes difficult love for one another. Together these authors tackle the difficult subject of loss and the painful, beautiful experience of life. I highly recommend these novels and all three authors.

Post a Comment

© Carlene Inspired. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.