Abuse, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary, Damppebbles Blog Tours, Romance, Suicide

Hearts and Diners by Joseph Reilly


Heather Sand has always given 100% at doing the right thing; from being the perfect big sister to the girlfriend who wears a loving heart on both sleeves. After the passing of her father, a measuring stick for perfect, she’s met with the not so unexpected—a cheating boyfriend. Plucked from a wholesome little world into the abyss of a cold reality, Heather comes face to face with a man who wears confidence like cologne with tattoos to decorate his charisma. For the first time in her life she discovers in herself a deep shallowness laced with jealousy, lust, neediness and passion. With the closest one’s pleading that she has embraced a darkness that is her new found love, she learns that she must also be the angel on the shoulder to her mother, who only after six months of losing her husband has found “love” online. Struggling with that revelation while dealing with her own rocky relationship, Heather decides to do some snooping and just as she feared: her mother’s new romantic interest is bad news. The dilemma– Will Heather fend off her unrelenting inner demons or will she embrace the insecure love that makes her happy?


Heather is a no-holds-barred kind of girl. She tells it like it is and expects others to do the same, but when she meets her “bad boy” boyfriend, Chris, something changes in her.  She becomes someone she doesn’t like…needy, insecure, reckless.  But Heather is worried about Chris. He’s emotionally unavailable and he hides things from her. Her mom always told her to watch out for bad boys, but she doesn’t know Chris like Heather does.  Besides her mom’s new vile boyfriend, Bill, is nothing to brag about. He is an angry man who yells at her mother and possibly hits her as well.  The worst part is her mother is dating someone after Heather’s dad died just six months ago. When Heather’s mom finds something shady and disturbing about Chris and gives Heather an ultimatum of Chris or leave the house, Heather makes her choice. But is it the right one? Things are not as they seem.

Mr. Reilly’s writing style is so poetic and philosophical explaining twisted relationships between seemingly once-confident characters, who lose their self-respect by turning submissive and weak to feel loved.  Heather is a strong character who finds herself with Chris who has serious emotional issues from his past, but hides them from her in a passive aggressive manner. Despite Chris’ behavior towards Heather the reader empathizes with Chris’ past which is f*cked up and so sad.  As one who has been in an unhealthy relationship, Heather’s mother’s advice about bad boys is right on and I’ll stop there with no spoilers.  As for supporting characters, Heather’s young sister Leah is a tough cookie who is facing unthinkable memories herself, but seems to handle them better than her older sister. As for Heather’s best friend, Nicole, she has a good head on her shoulders and has one of the best relationships in the book with her boyfriend Jack.

Wow! What a fantastically dark and unnerving romantic tale of depression, jealousy, and secrets. Please be warned there are serious subjects discussed in this book about abuse and suicide.  If you like to delve into the dark recesses of emotional turmoil and bleakness looking for a glimmer of happiness, give this book a try.  Recommend highly!

Thank you to Mr. Reilly for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


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Joseph ReillyJoseph Reilly is the author of the novel Vanishing Love published by Adelaide Books (November 2020). He is the current head writer for ShipByMail Services Inc. Joseph’s writing has been published by Ephemeral Elegies, Monologue Blogger, Chegg.com, TheWackyWriter, CIC Reports, among others. He has also penned two self- published contemporary romance novels Hearts and Diners, and Better at Friendships on Amazon along with holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from The New School in New York. 

Follow Joseph on his website and Twitter.


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