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Family Secrets (Secrets and Second Chances #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Alexis has had big dreams all her life, and she’s worked hard to make them happen! After college she married and had a beautiful baby boy, living her dream as “Mommy” until Colton was safely entrenched in grade school. She lands her dream job at NASA, and her supportive husband, Jay, takes the lead on raising their son. The perfect family, right?
Twelve years later with no
Paperback, 1, 465 pages
Published December 24th 2014 by CreateSpace
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  51 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It's knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.”

---- Mitch Albom, an author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician

Donna M. Zadunajsky's, an American author, new book, Family Secrets delves deep into the puddles of secrets that shatters the lives of a family.


Alexis has had big dreams all her life, and
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-it
This was a really good well written contemporary women's fiction with mystery and suspense weaved through it.

My heart went out to Alexis. So many obstacles to overcome. Her son Colton blames her for her fathers suicide. She realises that she has put her work before her son too many times. While fighting breast cancer she tries to build a relationship with her son. Unbeknown to her Colton is trying to figure out what happened his father.

A story action packed with family drama with plenty of
Deborah Bean
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. Donna Zadunajsky knows just how to write a story that has the reader in a hurry to get to the next page. I loved the concept of this story. It just goes to show that all families usually have a secret or two in them and the impact these secrets can have on the whole family. Of course, not all secrets are as big as the ones in this story.
I felt the most for Colton. He is essentially a teenager that has been raising himself, and then all of a sudden, his mom wants
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize Family Secrets by Donna M. Zadunajsky was book one of a series (Secrets and Second Chances Series) and it is a good thing because I wouldn't have wanted to read it and would have missed this fantastic story. I am not sure what genre to even put it in it is part fiction but part is based on real people. It is a mystery, detective, suspense, and more plus it is just so addicting, I couldn't put it down.

The main characters in the story are well developed and there is just no way to
Destiny Brown
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An emotional thrill ride from start to finish!

Donna M. Zadunajsky serves up a well written and often emotional story of a mother and son who may look like they make up the perfect family on the outside but couldn’t be more distant. Sometimes in life terrible things have to happen to aid a family to understand what is important and for this family, stubborn as they are, it takes many. In the beginning the rift present between mother and child is intensified when Alexis, the mother, loses her
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I honestly wasn't sure if I would be able to read this book. I had just lost my aunt to lung cancer last week and the pain from loosing her is so fresh in my heart I was like you are nuts to be reading a book about cancer right now but I agreed to do it as a review so here I was reading it. I must say this book probably touched me deeper with the mind set I am in right now then it would have a year ago but because of knowing first hand what a cancer patients battle is like I felt for Alexis on ...more
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This seriously felt like a YA book the way it was written. Like I was a child and had to have everything spelled out for me. And the mom's lament about her teenage son not understanding her was rubbing me like number five sandpaper. But the issues definitely were not YA. I'm not sure how to explain it. I seriously thought it was a debut novel, then at the end I find out it's not. It's the third novel she's written.

I know having cancer is bad, losing a husband to suicide is bad, dealing with a
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Simply amazing. I could not put this book down. Family Secrets by Donna Zadunajsky is recipe for success in a fiction novel. The ingredients include drama, mystery, suspense and romance. Zadunajsky also threw in a strong main woman character and a seemingly dysfunctional family. Trust me when I say it was a winning combination.

You will fall in love with the son Colton and you will cry and cheer on the mother Alexis. Zadunajsky took on any subject matters in this novel and the way she chose to
Julie Baswell
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When Alexis turned 40, she had her first mammogram done. Unfortunately, it showed cancer. She and her son Colton were hardly on speaking terms. Having always put her job before her family, he blamed her for his father’s fairly recent suicide. As she works to repair their relationship, while dealing with her spreading cancer, she is unaware that Colton is secretly investigating his father’s death. But the secret he uncovers will change his memories of his father forever.

I felt the loneliness and
Misty Iputi
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Family Secrets is a book with a family full of secrets that have been torn apart until some news comes about and changes everything. However, it is more about the powerful emotions the author writes with and conveys through the book that will make this book seem as if it could be taken from a newspaper, (maybe a bit of a stretch, not much though).
Being able to finish this book in just over a day along with laughing and crying it is getting a 5/5 rating. To not given anything away from the book
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wrote a longer review here:

I was excited to read it because I like the whole "dark family secret" bit; it's normally good escape reading for me.

But the writing quality was hard to get past. I think a couple months of more rigorous editing could've helped it out a lot. It felt quite...young; a lot of (repetitive) ideas/sentiments were spelled out far too clearly.

I do think that that plot could've been quite fun if the writing hadn't gotten in the way.
Anne Martin
Mar 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
A story that does not make sense, with characters as unbelievable as possible. This book is full of cliches, and worse, full of stupidities. Obviously, the author has not done any research on the subjects she throws here and there. Breast cancer in the two breasts almost never happens at once. Chemotherapy is what makes you lose your hair, not radiotherapy. Buy art on a website at discounted price, sure... A lot of ideas, none of them properly used. It is a shame.
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Everyone has secrets and a few skeletons in their closets they would prefer not to share. This is the premise upon which Family Secrets is built and Donna M Zadunajsky does a brilliant job of creating compelling characters that bring her story to life. One of the best books I have read this year.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very good! Family Secrets was my commute read and the time just flew by. Good storyline with lovely characters made better by the thought provoking theme. I would have no hesitation in recommending it.
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought Family Secrets was a lovely and very moving story. I thought that the main characters felt genuine and it wasn't long into the book before I found myself empathizing with them as events evolved. I thought the plot was clever and intriguing and the book was very well written.
Lorraine Carter
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A real page turner from the start Family Secrets had everything I could want from a book. A compelling plot, great characters and plenty of intrigue. Highly enjoyable and very much looking forward to exploring other books by this author.
Michelle's Book
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked the book. Yesteryear many layers.

I was given an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This book cover is on my Pinterest board and my blog, Michelle Dragalin’s Journey.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Family Secrets #1 - I don't know which is my favorite of the first two books in this series. I read Hidden Secrets first and almost volunteered for the third book (I was too late by the time I received this book).

This is a well thought out, well written story full of emotions and surprises. The storylines run the gamut, including determination, sacrifice, neglect, illness, deception and love. There is a lot of love in this story about family and friends, with a twist that I won't reveal. All
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-challenge
Seven months ago Alexis was living the life. She had a loving husband Jay, an athletic son Colton, and a thriving career with NASA. But here she sat today at the doctor’s office in complete shock as she was told she has breast cancer. How could this be happening to her? First, she lost her husband to suicide, then had troubles with her teenaged son, and now just as she gets the opportunity to fly in space she has the big C.

This is a story of a woman trying desperately to hold onto everything she
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not the first book that I have read by this author and I am pleased to say that it will not be the last. I picked up The Accident for something different to read and wow, I got more that I bargained for. I have quickly become a fan of this author's work. I love the story topics, characters and the worlds that she creates and you get sucked into. For this book, this was a story about Alex. Alex has everything going for her, she has big dreams and she is a rare fortunate one that sets out ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
First, thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read an e-galley of this book.

After college, Alexis and Jay get married and have a little boy, Colton. Alexis is thrilled with her role as Mommy, until Colton starts school.....then she pursues her dream and lands a dream job at NASA! Jay is content to be stay-at-home Dad so Alexis can pursue this chance of a lifetime.

Twelve years later, for no apparent reason, Jay commits suicide. Colton blames his mom, and Alexis buries herself in her work.
Pat Eroh
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They say you don't fully appreciate life until you are about to lose it. At least that's what I say sometimes anyway :). But unfortunately, it is true too often. Making your job your whole life is a heartbreaking way to live and this story broke my heart because I realize how easy it is to do. It is easy to become angry with the main character especially since she is just continuing to do the wrong things (in my mind anyway) but it is such an easy thing to fall into. I do not want to give the ...more
Teri Ruscak
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to finish this book because as soon as I hit the part where she was diagnosed with breast cancer I put it down. The reason being is because my mom died of breast cancer and it's still very fresh to me. However I eventually picked it up and read the whole thing, and I think that the author is an excellent writer. She made layers upon layers of Interest within this book. I would like to read more of the author's work.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This well written story has a lot of intrigue, emotion, sacrifice, lies and love all rolled in to one book. I love how the characters are well rounded and the story moves along at a steady pace. There are some twists and turns to the story and at times it can be similar to being on an emotional roller coaster. This book is definitely well worth the read. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Sara Smith
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: early-reads
I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaways program.

This book has a lot going on. It feels a bit like a tv drama at times with all of the action and twists. It kept my interest, but I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style. It felt like too much was spelled out for me at times when I would've preferred more mystery. It covers breast cancer, family relationships, grief, criminal activity and sports so there is a lot going on here.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Family Secrets is an emotional rollercoaster ride about family secrets, heartbreak, death and dealing with it all. As I read this book I felt for Alexis and her son and everything they go through. The characters are well developed, the writing is good and this story is a deep, intense read. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
Barbara Tobey
An interesting story. Not too sure of the realities of the various situations. That doesn't usually bother me, but there were quite a few that caused me to wonder how realistic is this. It did hold my interest enough to keep me guessing as to what all the various secrets would be. Thanks to NetGalley and Book Review Buzz for providing a copy.
Gwen Shafer
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intense interesting heart wrenching. Everything that makes a good book. Loved it. Gripping from beginning to end. Will a huge secret tear her family apart? She is dealing with cancer but there is so much more going on than she could ever imagine. This was just an amazing story line. Donna did an amazing job writing this one. Wonderful characters who made the story even better.Highly recommend.
Mary  Zebrowski
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At first this book was hard for me to read. My late committed suicide and my son was around Colton age. I would have missed out on a great story and a great read. It is a story of love, dreams, secrets and misunderstandings. A family's relationship with each other and others outside of their family. I highly recommend this book. I can't wait to read Book 2!
Hanna Newby
May 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It was ALL OVER THE PLACE. How many soap opera plot twists can you pack into a poorly written novel? The writing was mediocre at best -- the dialogue was forced, awkward, and unnatural.
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Donna M. Zadunajsky started out writing children’s books before she accomplished and published her first novel, Broken Promises, in June 2012. She since has written several more novels and her first novella, HELP ME! Book 1 in the series, which is about teen suicide and bullying.
HELP ME!, won Awards in:
The Great Northwest Book Festival-Winner
Global EBook Awards- Gold Medal Winner
The Great