Half Truths by Rachael Brownell

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



All-American boy meets broken girl… at rehab?

It will never work.
How could it?

Alex is Chicago royalty. Harley considers herself Las Vegas trash. While he’s been handed everything his entire life, she scrapes to make ends meet. Still, the chemistry between them is undeniable. Both long to break free from the stereotypes of their upbringing and embrace each moment together. Yet, neither are ready to share all of who they are.

Their secrets.
Their fears.
Their bitter realities.

Does their budding relationship stand a chance under a blanket of secrecy? Or will owning their truths set them free?



Alex and Harley’s story was utter chaos, frustrating as hell, and yet completely jump-in-head-first type of love that had me engrossed. They found themselves in a unique situation that was messy, complicated, and without a doubt will bite them both in the ass. But yet they fitted each other so well. Meant to be, as some may say.


When I initially read the blurb, I assumed that Alex and Harley would be the ones in rehab. I figured it would be a dark, really depressing story of two broken souls who find common ground, learn to love again, and in the end finally have their happily ever after.

Okay. Some of that was somewhat true but not in the way I had expected. The actual story ended up being a cool take on a contemporary romance that included some form of addiction. The difference being book read a little bit lighter, not at all gloomy or heavyhearted despite the sad lives these characters are placed in.

But I’m gonna have to cut to the chase with one aspect of this book without giving you guys any spoilers…

I hate Alex’s sister. There. I said it.

But it had to be said. Again, without giving any specifics I thought she was a snotty, good for nothing brat. Harsh? Maybe. But she gets no sympathies from me. By the end, I still didn’t warm up to her. Can’t like everybody.

But you know what? I always say that if there’s a character that manages to invoke such emotions from me, albeit negative ones, then the author did a fab job of writing said character. Now, I don’t know if Brownell’s intentions were to make her readers despise Alex’s sister, or to make us sympathize her for what’s she’s dealing with. Regardless, I clearly have a black heart because all I saw when she was around was trouble. 🙄

You’ll discover fairly early on that family plays a vital role in this story. They have a big impact on both our protagonists and how they go about in their daily lives. Their struggles are very relatable, which makes their entire story more realistic. You may not entirely relate with Alex or Harley’s lives, but you can connect with at least some of their struggles — like money worries, family issues, work troubles, and even moral beliefs.

I appreciate that Brownell has included a range of secondary characters that really gives Alex and Harley’s world more depth, and to really shine a light on the different worlds they’ve come from.

Harley’s son, Phoenix is without a doubt a real trooper! 😄 I love how the mood instantly lifts when he’s around because not only is he such a typical adolescent, but he says things flat out one minute, and the next goes about minding his own business. The relationship Phoenix has with both Harley and Alex was one of the best highlights in my opinion. It was a nice break from the constant push and pull of Harley and Alex’s growing relationship.


Their story is full of secrecy and lies — or should I say half-truths?! 😉 They’re both keeping certain things to themselves not realizing that the other may understand more than they think. It’s an enjoyable love story, sometimes even too cute for words.

Alex knows how to lighten an otherwise heated situation. A charming, mostly easy-going hero. I love how he can push Harley to take chances without truly forcing her to. He’s true to his word, and it may sound boring but he’s dependable. Quality trait, if you ask me!


I admit, there are things that were said and done that I don’t necessarily agree with… *cough* I may have huffed a little at these moments *cough* …and I didn’t always love Harley or Alex. But in the end, I was left feeling a sense of contentment with how things concluded. I was happy sighing.

It does contain sensitive subject matters that may trigger some readers — mostly drug and alcohol abuse. There’s also mention of adultery (but not involving the main characters).

There’s lighthearted humor here and there. Just enough to keep the overall aura of the book on the lighter side.

Coming from completely different backgrounds, it has an opposite worlds type of romance trope. Whilst I’m normally not a fan of slow burn romances, this one was less cruel because well… Alex just can’t seem to stay away from Harley. Hehe.

Fairly-well paced storytelling. Told from dual points of view.

There’s a good chunk of character growth from both our hero/ heroine. It was a relief to see that they managed to handle themselves as mature adults (ironically enough, with all the drama surrounding them).

All in all this adult contemporary romance was sweet. Perfect for readers who enjoy Hallmark movies, like I do, because this could so easily be a Hallmark movie. Two very attractive characters. Cute first meet. There’s an instant attraction, and they start to see where it could lead. But things get in the way, and they have to resolve it before they can truly ever be happy. Throw in a couple of side characters that another perspective to their lives, and there you have it! 😊


RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to Rachael Brownell and The Next Step PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛


— Half Truths by Rachael Brownell —


Release Date: August 17, 2020
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
📚 Add to your TBR: Goodreads
📒 Grab your copy here: Universal Link


Catch you in my next one! Happy reading, guys! Xo



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