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Four hundred and eighty seconds That’s how long it took for someone to steal Marin Machado's fouryearold sonMarin 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 takenA 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 PI to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger womanKenzie 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 planDiscovery 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 DerekFrom 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

10 thoughts on “Little Secrets

  1. Nilufer Ozmekik Nilufer Ozmekik says:

    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.


  2. Dita Dita says:

    5 STARS!


    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. Emily May Emily May says:

    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)]

  4. Meredith Meredith says:

    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. Deanna Deanna says:

    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.

  6. Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill says:

    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...more 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 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!

  7. Mary Beth Mary Beth says:

    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. Holly B Holly B says:

    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. megs_bookrack megs_bookrack says:

    Marin Machado is 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.

    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. Maureen Maureen says:

    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.