Cover Image: The Best Kept Secret

The Best Kept Secret

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Member Reviews

I didn’t realized right away that this is a 3rd book of a series. Anyway, I still get to read it. This is a fun read for romance, with a splash of drama/family drama. Well, one thing I liked is the forbidden romance trope (winks). But it’s the kind of forbidden romance that is realistic, and not over exaggerated which is plus points for me. 

This one is fast paced, and get yourself ready with some steamy scenes, we all like it!
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Having never read a book by this author before I fell for her writing right away which rarely happens.

Dramaaa bring it on!

Ex in laws, a secret and an attraction that begins suddenly but won't go away.

Enter the meddling family and judgement, can they survive?
Read to find out.

Can't wait to read what Tawna writes next because she can write tension like no other

I received a free copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The book was full of humor, laugh out loud moments. I highly recommend this book.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my honest and personal review.
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I enjoyed this book.  Like other Tawna Fenske's books, I found it easy to read and entertaining.  Nyla was not one of my favorite characters but it was a solid story.
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This book turned out to be very different than what I was expecting, so it was hard to enjoy it. I was expecting a best friends to lovers type story, and this was not that at all.
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This was not what I was expecting. The blurb says that Leo and Nyla are best friends but that is never shown or felt in the book. What they are is ex in laws! Leo was married to Nyla's sister. This made the romance come to a crash and burn for me.
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Turning away from suspense, thrillers, and mysteries, I read Tawna Fenske’s THE BEST KEPT SECRET. This book is full of family secrets, a little bit of drama, and a lot of comedy. The characters are well-developed, quirky, and quite realistic. I had a fun time reading this book in almost one sitting.

Nyla Franklin is a nurse who’s used to telling it straight to people, but that’s mostly because she’s the world’s worst liar. She really comes to life when she’s taking care of others, especially those she holds near to her heart. Her ex-brother-in-law Leo is still a big part of her life and they’ve become really good friends over the years, as well as her nephew Seth. She has always had a great relationship with her big sister Mandi. They’ve had each other’s backs and told each other everything, at least Nyla thought they did. When Leo lets slip something monumental while he’s on painkillers after oral surgery and Nyla’s left holding a very large secret that effects their entire family, the race is on to reign in Nyla’s inability to keep a secret.

While Nyla is sworn to secrecy, she has the worst time keeping secrets about anything, really. Her family knows somethings up when she acts weird, and the more time Leo and Nyla spend together, the attraction grows. So then there’s another secret added on top of the original, and as their relationship grows away from everyone’s eyes, the pressure increases until everything is out in the open.

I give The Best Kept Secret a four out of five. This was truly a standalone novel, which I really appreciated. The characters just jumped to life very early on in the novel. Nyla and Leo are both selfless caregivers at heart, and they are perfect for each other. Nyla and Mandi’s parents are well-formed characters, as well as Seth. The funny situations that Nyla walks into really lift this novel up and made me smile, especially when the consequences of the secrets got to be too much to handle. I’d call this book a friends-to-lovers/forbidden romance with a generous dollop of family drama, and Tawna Fenske has a new fan. The writing was top notch, vivid and entertaining.
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Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

When I started this book I was a bit worried...Nyla's relationship with Leo is WAY more complicated than the blurb makes out! But, her ability (or not) to lie is hilarious! Wasn't a huge fan of Nyla's sister but she does improve.
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This author has a gift for taking lesser used (and sometimes uncomfortable) themes and turning them into an entertaining, feel-good read.  The Best Kept Secret is no different and while the main female character hooking up with her sister's ex-husband is definitely not a trope I'd normally seek out, it was done well here, without too much drama and with plenty of laughs along the way.  Nyla is notorious for not being able to keep a secret to save herself, often putting and others in awkward situations as she actively plays out her policy of it being better to be open and honest, firmly believing secrets only lead to hurt in the long run.  When her sister's ex, Leo, who's also the book's male lead, unintentionally blurts out a bombshell that has the potential to rock her family's world as they know it, Nyla struggles to keep it under wraps and keep all parties oblivious.  As the pressure on her builds to the extent that a geyser would be impressed of, Nyla is unsure if she'll be able to pretend everything is okay and stop those she loves from being hurt.  And because life is never that simple, the attraction level between her and Leo heats up, going from close, but platonic, friends to can't get you off my mind and want to tear your clothes off intensity.

I wasn't sure how I'd go with Nyla and Leo's blossoming chemistry, but the author handled their developing relationship tastefully and realistically (quick note - Leo has been divorced from her sister for years).  While you can kind of guess there's going to be a reveal/altercation of some shape or form, it wasn't dragged out (thank goodness!) which made for much more entertaining reading, especially since this trope has the possibility to making the relationships in the book turn a bit icky, over the top and end in an dissatisfying way.  I didn't find this was a case here and once I got my head around the first third or so of the book, I really enjoyed the ride and all of the characters, including Nyla's sister (and Leo's ex), Mandi.  Children as main characters in books also tend to fall into the 'love them' or 'set it all on fire' category for me, but I loved their son, Seth.  Considering he was a key element to the story, his character supported the plot, rather that pushed it off the rails.

I found there was a little bit of repetition in the first part of the book, particularly surrounding the fact that Nyla couldn't keep a secret due to an event in her past.  While I figured it came up often because it's a key component of the entire book, I felt it came up pretty frequently and almost made Nyla annoyingly fixated on her issues with secrets.  After the first few chapters of the book, however, having established the fact that she's atrocious and almost obsessively idealistic about not keeping secrets, I really enjoyed Nyla's character.  She was compassionate and came across as a bit lonely due to a bitter split between her and her tool of an ex who ended it after nine or so years.  I especially enjoyed reading about the relationship between her and Mandi and thought this was done well, particularly due to the unique circumstances between her and Leo.  I loved that the author didn't take any cheap shots and turn the sister into a shrew or mess up the mostly amicable relationship all the main characters had with each other, keeping the bond between the sisters tight and relatable.  It would be remiss not to mention Leo, either.  I loved his character.  He was just the right balance of sweet and steamy with a great 'nice guy next door' vibe going on in the best of ways.  His character and how he reacted to certain situations was realistic and just made him all that much more likeable.

While the book is called The Best Kept Secret, there are a few doozies thrown Nyla's way throughout the book.  I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but they kept the book moving at a decent pace and made for a great read.  Tawna Fenske always does a terrific job showing human frailty in unusual circumstances that don't always show all characters in the best light - this is actually one of the reasons I love her work as it takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me reflect on what I'm reading (sometimes, there's no easy solution and not everyone can stay squeaky clean, making for a much more realistic read).  This book is no different and I'm happy to say I still loved all of the characters at the end of the story and I finished the book with a happy heart.

Overall, I ended up going from being a bit unsure about the main themes to really enjoying this book.  It had several laugh out loud moments and, as always with this author, had a hard-earned happy ending that made my heart smile.  It was well written, funny, had some awkward moments thrown in as well a bit of steam here and there.  Oh, and as an aside - there's a really amusing part in the book that involves holding anatomy instead of one's breath (think of something that sounds similar) during a medical procedure.  I've actually done this myself when I got my first fake tan so if you're thinking it's over the top and would never happen, I'm happy to report that you're reading a review written by someone stupid enough to do this themselves lol.  Happy days.
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This book was pretty wild to me. The thought that one man would fall in love with both sisters at different times was a bit outside the realm of possibilities to me. The chemistry between Nyla and Leo was on fire at first but kind of fizzled out at some point for me. Their first time together just felt off for what their relationship had been up til then. Overall I did enjoy the story - I thought it was cure how Nyla couldn't keep a secret and kept getting song lyrics wrong since I identify pretty strongly with both those characteristics. The plot line was also pretty exciting and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I'd recommend it, I thought it was a good read!
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These characters were vibrant and captivating.  I loved that they were friends to lovers. 
Many thanks to Entangled Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ out of 5
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting to like this book anywhere near as much as I did but it was such a pleasant surprise and I was hooked the whole time. Falling for your sister’s ex husband? Talk about taboo! But boy with this a fantastic read!

Our hero still remains friends with his ex-wife as well as the rest of her family. What pops up out of nowhere are some sudden feelings and attraction to his ex-sister in law. When she comes to check in on him when he is high on anaesthesia he reveals a bombshell secret that ends up bringing them close together. The only thing is our heroine is HORRIFIC at keeping secrets…. Including her attraction to our hero.

This book was sweet and funny and hot- it was a perfect balance for a contemporary romance that I couldn’t put down. I loved the staid hero and the caring heroine who made me laugh out loud with her inability to keep a secret. Their relationship is fully and deeply explored which left me cheering them on the whole time and made me believe in their love. First time reading this author but definitely not my last.
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I received a copy of this book to read and review and give my honest opinion.  This is the first book of Tawna that I have had the pleasure to read. The main characters , Nyla and Leo have been neighbors for many year-end now both have lost their spouses. So can you guess what is going to happen?  I definitely want to read more books from Tawna!
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I thought the idea around secrets and how bad Nyla was at keeping them was an intriguing idea; Nyla had an experience as a child that has made her incredibly leery of keeping any secrets ever, it's even guided her to her profession of nursing, because the rules of secrets and helping are very clear cut. Did I cringe sometimes at the awkward situations created by Nyla trying to keep secrets in this one? Yes, I did, but it did make for some giggle-inducing hijinks as well. I also really liked the portrayal of Leo and how he would do anything for those in his life, even at the risk of his own dreams; that certainly makes for swoony hero moments.

I really liked Tawna's writing style; I thought she portrayed intimacy both physically and emotionally really well and I was drawn into the world that she created, even if it was full of a few more twists and turns than I was expecting.

I really felt strongly that the blurb on this one was a bit of a bait and switch. It's billed as friends to lovers, but it's absolutely much more complicated than that- it's ex-BIL/SIL to lovers. That was not something I was prepared for, and really just had me off balance for the rest of the book.  I do recognize my feelings on this one were entirely a me thing-it was a bit more family drama than I prefer in my romances, but that's not going to be the same for everyone. It's really good reminder that book reviews are entirely subjective; overall, the writing quality was good, and given the opportunity, I would read something from Tawna again!
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This book was one big meh. Nyla is a nurse who always takes care of others before herself. She is kind of klutzy and can’t keep a secret. Leo is her sister Mandi’s ex-husband. They have a son. There is a lot of family drama here. Mandi and Leo coparenting. Leo and Nyla getting together. Nyla finding out that Mandi cheated on Leo and that their son is from another man who is dead. Nyla becoming pregnant. Lots of drama. I don’t think I will be interested in the other books in this series.
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This romance novel did not work for me. I did not enjoy the love interest, and how they came to be. Also, I kept wondering "why" if he had been divorced so long why ALL these feelings right now.  The whole storyline was just cheesy.
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3 stars

The Best Kept Secret was my first book by this author and I definitely wasn't expecting this level of drama! I'm talking Jerry Springer's couch level drama. The writing was good, the kid was especially cute and I like the friendships but this was definitely not my style. I liked Leo and Nyla separate from the rest of the story but there were just a few things I couldn't get past. I guess I like my romances with a little more romance and a lot fewer but "awkweird" moments.

AnnMarie - Alphas Do It Better Book Blog
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Nurse Nyla Franklin has some impulse control issues when it comes to keeping a secret. She's called "Nalagram" for a reason. Unfortunately for Leo Sayre, who's Nyla's friend, and ex brother-in-law, has a reaction to his pain killers, from oral surgery. Secrets are revealed. What happens after that is trying to keep Nyla from telling the secret that will cause hurt, and harm to the families.

There are hilarious moments when Nyla goes so far as to stuffing a pillow, and carrots in her mouth to stop her from telling the secret at family dinner. When the secret is finally revealed after Nyla drinks 5 Mimosas, the hurt, and pain has to be dealt with. 

Nyla, and Leo become closer and realize they have so much in common, like Leo keeping her favorite drinks, and food in the fridge for her. Leo being there for her when her boyfriend of 9 years left her. Nyla being there for Leo, and her nephew Seth over the years. They slowly fall in love, but the past must be dealt with, and will the two (2) families survive it.
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Leo and Nyla are attracted to each other. There's a couple problems with this. Leo's ex-wife is Nyla's older sister. The other problem is a secret Nyla finds out that could be explosive for everyone involved in their lives. Nyla is the type of person who doesn't lie but also can't keep a secret. It's only a matter of time before she spills it. This was a hard read for me. I didn't care for the fact that Leo was married to one sister then was hooking up with her sister. Talk about uncomfortable. Then Nyla's secret was a tough heart wrenching secret. I guess for me anyway it's not the kind of drama I like to see in a book I'm reading for enjoyment. It was just drama, drama drama.  It was just OK for me. I would not read it again and I would not recommend it to a friend unless this was the type of book they were looking for. There were some funny parts with Nyla and thank goodness for that. It kept me reading and hoping it would be OK by the end but so much just felt cringworthy to me. 

To find more about Tawna Fenske and this series here
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The Best Kept Secret was a well written book, and it's definitely the book for someone out there, but that someone was not me. I liked it just fine, but the tropes were some of my least favorite and, had I known going into it who Nyla was to Leo, I probably would have skipped it. Honestly, it ended up feeling a bit like an episode of Summer House by the end, but there were some redeeming moments and, while I really hated the overall storyline and it felt way more like a family drama than a romance, I didn't hate the book as a whole.

I really can't say too much without spoiling the storyline, so I won't, but all in all, I prefer the first two books in the series so far. I'm not giving up on this author, though, and I'm still hopeful for another Smokejumper book so I can't wait to see if I can get back on track with these stories.

[Thank you to Netgalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review]
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