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Piano has always been my one true love.

So when the music stops, I do whatever I can to hear it again.

But when I wake, all I hear is his heart and the memories that come with it.

This is my body.

My mind.

But not my heart.

Each beat hides a secret, and his voice now replaces the music, demanding I uncover the truth.

I’m sent to a place to get better, and that’s when I meet her.

Every artist needs a muse, and Luna allows me to hear the music again. But when her secrets soon become mine, I realize it’s because I’ve lived this life before.

Or rather, he has.

The man whose heart beats within my chest knows Luna…and everything she’s done.

298 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 21, 2023

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About the author

Monica James

42 books2,574 followers
Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.
She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.


Twitter: @monicajames81


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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 148 reviews
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,135 reviews7,328 followers
February 17, 2023
2e0pm6g thumbnail-IMG-0091-copy-3-9
ღ 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐓 𝐒𝐈𝐂𝐊 ღ Is the first full length romance book in the
'Heart Memory Transfer' duet by author Monica James. Spoken in dual perspectives. Ends in a cliffy. In this you'll meet the Hero: Dutch Atwood Heroine: Luna Huxley

As soon as this landed on my kindle, life was over, until this was inhaled I sat there flabbergasted. This was beyond unique, I can’t compare it to anything I’ve ever read before, twists and turns which I NEVER saw coming had me GASPING in their wake. I was on a ride of a lifetime where I never wanted to get off. Monica James came at us with a vengeance and took us to the next level. Heart Sick is a definite must read!!

This will be as spoiler free as I can possibly make it.

The beginning of this story pulled me in like no other, pushing me on an emotional journey I wasn't prepared for until Luna finds herself in a place where she is witness to unspeakable horrors. And this is where she meets Dutch, the boy she has an undeniable connection with, his heartbeats in-synch with hers. A bond tethering them together where survival in a place of so much darkness has them trusting the wrong people. A twisted tale which has me anticipating the next book like my life depends on it.

The only reason why I've rated this 4 stars and not higher is that i could see it unfolding in my mind as though I was seeing it in real life, the ending just felt a wee bit off, rushed, but all in all this was a solid read which I really enjoyed.
Profile Image for  Sonya ♕Chatterbooks book blog♕.
959 reviews1,070 followers
February 24, 2023


This author just keeps throwing shots out there and never misses. Blind fold and all she gets the job done and just when you think that there’s no way she’s going to make the final one at the buzzer, she gives you a half court shot while stopping your heart at the cliffhanger. Everyone is going insane and you want nothing more than to relive that moment over again but you know that you can't. Heartsick was that story and now I'll be left biting my nails until book two comes out!!

Child prodigy Dutch has always had a love for music. Playing the piano was his lifeline and he felt the music in his bones to the point where he didn't need anything else but that and a new heart. When he learns that he’s a match for a heart transplant, life as he knows it should only get more better right? But they take a drastic turn when the music suddenly stops playing and life as Dutch knows it, ceases to exist.


Luna has always been a hard worker from a young age. She’s smart, determined, and knows exactly what she wants but fate decided that she needed a new route. When she meets Dutch everything that she thought she knew, has her questioning her surroundings. Will a stranger end up saving Luna's life or make it more complicated with discovering buried secrets?


I loved the fact that this story was completely different and the twist and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. I started to question my own sanity at certain points and I honestly didn't know how this was going to end. My only complaint is that the ending felt rushed and I wanted to see some things unfold a bit more because I felt that they were important and I needed more answers.

If you’re looking for a dark thriller romance that is going to have you hooked till the very last page, then this one’s for you.


Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,514 reviews717 followers
February 13, 2023
Heart Sick is the first book in the Heart Memory Transfer duet, and it ends on a cliffhanger. I’m already anxious for the second book because I need to know WHAT HAPPENS. I know many readers will feel the same way, so I hope the next one is coming soon. My heart is feeling the effects of the ending that left me shook!

The best way I can describe this book without giving anything away is comparing it to the movie GIRL INTERRUPTED but with a love story and massive twists and turns that will give you whiplash. There is SO MUCH going on in this book and once I thought things were starting to level out something else popped up that was more shocking than the last. Normally all of this is way to complicated for a reader like me who likes things easy, but I couldn’t stop reading. And of course, Dutch had a lot to do with that (he’s the hero of your dreams!). But man, I was wishing these characters would catch a break. My heart HURT for both of them.

If you enjoy a darker romance that will literally have you hanging by the edge of your seat you cannot go wrong with this one! The characters are raw, vulnerable, intriguing, and well written. The plots good too; very unique but a little over the top. I’ve never read anything like it. Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

𝗛𝗘𝗔𝗧: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥
Profile Image for NiCoLeTa E. {Addicted To Books}.
1,322 reviews85 followers
March 2, 2023
***4,5 "I'm in hell!!!" stars***

"I belong to you in ways I don't understand."

Wow!!! This story was unexpectendly unique and very twisted!!!
Days after I finished it and I still can not stop thinking about this book and as you can imagine, I am dying to get my hands in the next book desperately!!!
I suppose, as I did too, that you are imagining certain things when you are hearing the words 'heart transplant' in a book, but I can assure you that Monica James took it to another level and she never stopped surprising us in every single turn...
And I am really wondering how this story will end up in all its fucked up and twisted glory!!! Phew, I am already sweating over it!!!

"I always knew my heart would fail me one day."

Luna lost a loved one and her life had no meaning anymore... She was lost and she hated the man who had taken the heart that she adored!!! She hated that it was beating inside another's chest!!!
Dutch was in desperate need of a new heart if he wanted to keep playing his music!!! But when Dutch wake up with a new heart inside of him, he stopped hearing music and he started hearing HIS voice!!! And he just didn't want this heart anymore!!!
Dutch and Luna met each other in a very unconventional way and their hearts recognized each other. But they are living in a very insane world and it is not easy for them to take matters into their own hands...

"The only time this heart ever feels like mine is when you're with me.
Without you... I feel lost. We feel lost."

I won't tell you more about this story, other than it was dark, it was twisted, it was unconventional and very original!!!
The things that Luna and Dutch had to endure in here were giving me the chills and my blood was running cold from fear in every turn...
And even though I was mostly terrified of the whole situation, I can not deny that this story was very addictive and full of action and suspense!!! And I just need more!!!

"Most people are lovesick. But me, I'm heartsick because this heart will do anything for the one we love."

**I received an ARC for the exchange of an honest review**
Profile Image for Bozena.
585 reviews23 followers
February 12, 2023
WOW! I love Monica's books and her writing style. This book is once again proof of why.

This is a very unique love story.
I have never read a book like this.
The topic is very bold and sensitive, but Monica James rose to the challenge and created an incredible story.

It's dark, thrilling, suspenseful, filled with constant states of anxiety and so many moments filled with horror events, that I swear I've been sweating from the anxiety level 😱

This wild ride of events, creepy atmosphere and the environment where the characters are located, makes it a page-turner you can't stop reading for anything and anyone.

The beginning broke my heart.
Yes, it made me cry for a bit too, but how could I not, I'm a mother.
What follows after this heartbreaking beginning is what makes the story so damn gripping.

If you think you've read it all, let me tell you, you haven't.
I know because that's what I always think, and then a book like this comes along and I'm like, "OMG! what did I just read?"

I don't want to write too much, as it would be unfair to other readers, but I saw the blurb, so I can tell you that the story has paranormal elements or maybe they're not and what happens in the story is indeed possible. I like to think that it is.
Although for the person experiencing this, maybe not so much.

Ok, as you can see, the book not only scared me out of my skin, but it also has a thought-provoking message for me.

𝙒𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜: This is a dark romance.
It contains violence, attempted suicide, death, drug use, medical procedures, psychological treatments, misuse of a corpse, blood gore, and some dark and disturbing scenes.
Profile Image for Madeline Goldsworthy.
120 reviews7 followers
March 10, 2023
Format: eBook (ARC)
Genre: Romance (Contemporary/Medical)

Piano has always been Dutch’s passion and one true love, so when he receives a heart transplant and the music stops, he will do anything to get it back. Dutch’s new heart doesn’t feel like his own, it still feels like it’s previous owners, then that owners voice starts speaking to Dutch and he starts receiving his memories. Dutch gets sent to a place to get better and that’s where he meets Luna, who becomes his muse. Dutch’s new heart also calls to Luna and they seem connected somehow. Luna may be the missing piece to the puzzle in solving the all the secrets that plague them.

First off, thank you so much Monica James for sending me a copy to review. Secondly, just wow. This book is amazing! It had me hooked and I could not put it down. I finished it in to sittings in 50% chunks because it’s just so addictive and it just dares you to put it down. There were moments in this book where I was like “Monica I love you, but you are one sick puppy and I love it”. The spice was phenomenal and hot AF, some of the characters were just plain evil, and this book left you second guessing and questioning everything you know right up to the last chapter. Speaking of the last chapter… I need book 2 like right now lol Keep up the good work Monica, you truly have a gift
Profile Image for Dawn Clements.
140 reviews10 followers
February 10, 2023
Two words: Absolute Perfection.

OH, MY GOD!!! Heart sick, this book, this story!! God I can not. This book is like nothing I’ve EVER read before.

Heart sick was absolute and utter perfection and I loved it. I'm addicted to Monica’s words, she has the ability to hook you from the very first page till the last line of the book and still you won't get enough of her words. The twists & turns, OMG, Monica, your mind is extraordinary. I was left guessing & questioning everyone & everything.
Luna & Dutch’s story was everything and beyond. It was emotional, angsty, heartbreaking but it was also sweet and spicy. I’m not going to lie, it was very hard hitting & dark at times; still I was completely captivated throughout .

Heart sick is an absolute must read.
Five stars isn’t enough to do this book justice.
Thank you Monica for my ARC copy 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩
Profile Image for Kindle Crack Book Reviews Cheri .
1,200 reviews1,028 followers
February 21, 2023
I just finished Heart Sick (Heart Memory Transfer Duet #1) by Monica James, and my head is still spinning from this wicked rollercoaster ride! What the hell did I just read? THAT ENDING!! What a wild and crazy journey full of brilliant twists and turns. This dark psychological romance thriller was equally unique and unputdownable. You can find me rocking in a corner, waiting for the next book. Go into this one blind and experience this story for yourself.

Profile Image for Cruel Existence Books.
322 reviews16 followers
February 22, 2023
“𝐌𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐤. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐞, 𝐈’𝐦 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐝𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞.”-𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐒𝐢𝐜𝐤, 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚 𝐉𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬.

I've been awed by Monica's mind before, but this time, she took this tale to the next level.
Dutch & Luna's story was not the one I expected...it was thrilling at every step. I wanted more and more of this madness.
These two souls take hold of your attention from the get-go, and the cliff-hanger this baby ends on just had me needing the rest of Dutch & Luna's journey, like right now.
Love, death, loss, pain, and a fight lines these pages that make you feel a gazillion feelings between Dutch and Luna's strong connection.
It was breathtaking to watch it all unfold.
Heart sick is the first part to what I believe is an an emotional, thrilling rollercoaster with two characters who have an undeniable, unstoppable, explosive connection that set my world on fire!
Monica James out did herself yet again!
Give me book 2 now!

5 stars, as our cliffhanger queen is capable of nothing else 😍
Profile Image for samreadsromance.
341 reviews49 followers
February 9, 2023
This book is like nothing i’ve ever read before! It’s so unique that I couldn’t help but devour it in one go to see what happens.

Let me tell you it’s one rollercoaster of information that will have you questioning everything right until the very end!

Luna and Dutch’s story is so heartbreakingly beautiful that this story is one I will definitely remember forever.

Luna suffered something so traumatic that she ends up in the psych ward where she meets Bowie aka Dutch! She instantly had a connection with him and the same with Bowie.

When certain events happen in this book you will question what is the truth.

I literally had no idea what was happening until the end and after that ending I can’t wait for the next book!
Profile Image for Maddie (Bookaholic_Dreamer).
622 reviews41 followers
February 10, 2023
Honestly my mind is still trying to comprehend the utter sheer perfection that was Heart Sick by new to me author Monica James.
Monica had me devouring this book in a one sitting read, which is why not only was it a 5 ⭐️ for me.
It also ended up being a Top Fav Read of 2023 of mine!


Having read the blurb, the story still did not have me prepared for the whirlwind rollercoaster ride that Monica delivered when it came to this mystifying, Gothic Horror, Psychological Thriller that was the story of Luna Huxley and Dutch Atwood.

The storyline was completely unexpected to say the least, particularly when you took into account the hectic, overwhelming and chaotic path that Luna and Dutch were travelling upon.
Ultimately leading you through the biggest complexity that was their lives and journey.

From all the ups and downs and twists and turns delivered at nearly every corner in the labyrinth that was Luna and Dutch were made to navigate through. It was no surprise that Heart Sick had my emotions all in disarray from everything that I was feeling all throughout. What with being an emotionally charged, angsty driven narrative.
Plus with the shocking explosive plot twists Monica seemed to drop in unexpectedly, it had me thrown for a loop from being unanticipated.
Resulting in me being further gripped on more than ever.

The more the story developed, the deeper it lured me in.
And it was even more so when it came to following along Luna and Dutch as characters, courtesy of the dual POVs.
Hearing their inner monologues allowed Monica to showcase an in-depth view into the exploration of the characters.
The closer and detailed look made for them to be opened up to us on a deeper level. All of which was done from their layers being unravelled, leading to the exposure of their raw inner most intimate thoughts. Alongside the nitty grittiness, considering all that the two continued to face and deal with that was made known to us.

With all the situations and events that took place, it led to the continuous building of suspense-fulness surrounding the piling up of many mysteries that were being alluded too, alongside the growing amount of secrets hinted at that plagued you all through.
Leading you to follow along into the unknown, from not knowing what to expect or would happen next.
It honestly felt like the more you read, the more questions were raised, but no answers given to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle that was Luna and Dutch's life story.
Resulting in Monica keeping you on the edge of your seat, whilst simultaneously biting your nails in anticipation with wanting to know everything and solve the jigsaw once and for all.

That cliffhanger…no words whatsoever!
All that can be said is the anticipation in wanting to read the next book in Luna and Dutch’s Heart Memory Transfer duet series is killing me slowly as we speak.
And if there was ever a book to read this year, Heart Sick by Monica James would be it.
Highly recommend checking it out ASAP!

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for 💜VGreedyReader🖤.
492 reviews101 followers
February 18, 2023
An edge of your seat reading, this author took me on this twisted, crazy up journey with no regard for my sanity, and I couldn’t be happier, I’m sure she was laughing maniacally while writing this sinister tale. To add insult to injury she left me with one hell of a cliffy. Told in dual POV the fast paced narrative guides us into the hidden corners of our mind, characters are forced their inner demons, the raw no frills writing won’t shelter you from the ugly and the beastly unethical people who abuse their roles. Things are never what they seem plot twists and turns will have you guessing up to the very last page. Protectors become predators… preys become chasers… hunting for something but fleeing reality… foe or friend? Or maybe it’s just a trick of our minds…

~𝑰𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒈. 𝑰𝒕 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝑰 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅~

Dutch is prodigy, an incomparable talent, music is his way out from a world who never understood him. Ever since he was little music has been talking to him, his only balm to a malfunctioning heart, when a chance at life presents itself he’s reluctant but he accepts it. He wakes up with only to realise music stopped talking to him; this is his body, his mind but a new heart who won’t cooperate and he’s willing to do anything to hear the voice of music again.

~𝑰 𝒅𝒐𝒏’𝒕 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒙𝒊𝒔𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒚 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒘𝒂𝒚. 𝑰 𝒔𝒆𝒆…𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓…𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒄 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆~

Dutch is sent to a place where he can get help, once there he meets Luna, as soon as he sets eyes on her his new foreign organ starts beating to a tempo who finally frees music. Luna is his muse, when she’s near music speaks and everything seems fine, until it isn’t… what secrets does Luna harbour? Who is she and why does this new heart has suddenly become so loud?

~𝑫𝒊𝒅 𝒉𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒔𝒐 𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒉𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒎 𝒐𝒇 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕?~

I won’t say more about the story as I would recommend going in totally blind, I feel this is the best way to fully appreciate the mad journey ahead.

⚠️TW: although I wouldn’t personally classify this story as “dark” it definitely deals with sensitive issues, there is mystery, suspense and hotness but you will also find uncomfortable moments, so please check the warning if you aren’t familiar or at ease with such setting.
Profile Image for Courtney.
1,551 reviews180 followers
February 23, 2023

I am fairly new to reading Monica's books but I can tell you, I have quickly become a HUGE fan of her writing.

Heart Sick is like nothing I have ever read before and I have read a lot of dark romance. There were so many twists and WTF moments, that my jaw practically became unhinged from how many times it dropped.

I could not stop reading this book once I started. It's a wild, f*cked up ride and I was there for every moment of it. I had no idea what was going to happen next and I love that about this book. It was thrilling and filled with so much suspense. I love how she dribbled the romance aspects in and while the plot hints at that, it's not all about that.

I want to say so much, but I can't for fear of giving something important away. My only gripe was that the ending felt a bit rushed compared to the rest of the book. I wanted a bit more details on certain things, but maybe we'll get those in the next book. Yes, this is a duet and continues on in the next book.

Monica – I applaud you for your raw and unique storyline and characters.

Readers – if you love a dark and twisted romance – grab this one now.
Profile Image for Kelly Wilson.
245 reviews35 followers
February 21, 2023
My advice: pick Heart Sick up as soon as you possibly can. Then go grab a condom for your heart because Monica James is about to f*ck your feelings! And HARD at that!!! This book is absolutely going to rip your heart!! Monica I see you!! But I wasn’t ready.

Monica is such an incredible storyteller!! Her books grab you right away and don’t let you go until the very last page!! Heart Sick is no different!! It’s dark, it’s twisty & it will leave you craving for more!! This is a duet and I can not wait until book two! This series is messed up in all the best ways! Absolutely mesmerizing!! I HIGHLY recommend!! 5 heart pounding riveting stars!!
Profile Image for Karin.
2,090 reviews
March 2, 2023
This book just killed me in every way possible. All I can say is go into this absolutely blind and you will not regret it
Profile Image for Court Small.
517 reviews16 followers
March 12, 2023
This book is insanely well plotted out and written.
I honestly had it all worked out in my head at about half way, then we got a curve ball and I was thinking how could I be that wrong…but no I was right!

This is dark and somewhat disturbing but so worth reading. Cannot wait for book two
Profile Image for Felicia.
304 reviews16 followers
February 21, 2023
1st person/dual pov
Spice: 4/5

I just thought I knew what I was getting into when I started reading this… I was so wrong! We meet Dutch who is a brilliant and talented pianist born with a heart defect. His second chance at life falls into his lap when he is matched with a donor for a heart transplant. Only when he wakes up he can no longer hear the notes and melodies that once filled his mind. Instead, all he can hear is the voice of the man the heart in his chest belonged to.

In an effort to help him heal both physically and mentally from such a life-altering surgery, he is admitted to a facility that promises to do just that. Just as all hope was lost he meets Luna and suddenly the music is slowly starting to return to him. They are incredibly drawn to one another and clueless as to why that is. The more he learns about her the more he begins to realize that the heart beating inside of him recognizes Luna and that the mystery behind their connection could be the very thing keeping the music at bay.

When I tell you that you are not ready for the things that are about to unfold in this story I almost wish I could say I was lying. Almost…
This book is full of suspense and mystery that will have you guessing the whole way through. My original theory didn’t even come close to what was actually happening or had already happened. And though I am absolutely terrified about what is coming next for these characters I can’t deny that this journey they took me on was entertaining AF. Each new development just drew me in more than the last one and I was floored by the time the book ended. That last 15-20% was certainly a ride that I did not expect to go on.

I am still just sitting here pondering over everything that just happened as well as what on earth could be coming up next. This book for sure kept me on my toes and I loved every minute of it! Now if book two could drop like yesterday that would be amazing. 😅

*Please make sure to check any TW/CW from the author before reading.*
February 11, 2023

Bravo, Bravo Monica James!!! Applause Leonardo Dicaprio GIF.gif


Heart Sick is the first book in the Heart Transfer Duet. To tell you the truth I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this book. All I know is that the moment Heart Sick hit my Kindle I started reading. This is Luna and Dutch’s story.

Monica James is a dark, mad and twisted genius! I have never read anything like this.

If this is book one, I have no idea where we are going with book two. I had written a synopsis of this books story. But I have decided you don't need it. You just need feelings about Heart Sick. I am going to say.... Wow! What did I read?  It is a good book, very good book.

At one point this author had me signing of the cross and I am not even Catholic!  What a scene!


This book is dark and there are warnings about reading it. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to Book 2. I can't imagine what Monica James has in store for the next book! 5+ STARS

Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,638 reviews16 followers
February 20, 2023
Heart Sick by Monica James is the First book in the Heart Memory Transfer Duet. This starts the story of Luna Huxley and Dutch Atwood 'Bowie'. Both Luna and Dutch have had some really bad and hard times that ended up being the reason they meet. Both of them have acted differently to their bad circumstance but together they feel a bond. This is a dark romance read that does have a lot of trigger issues...so be alert to that. This book does end with a cliffhanger setting us up for more in their story. I can't wait to read more!

Profile Image for Mandyloves2read.
1,352 reviews122 followers
February 27, 2023
This book was amazing it’s dark it’s gritty it’s twisted with that lovely Monica James spin she does with her stories and I am anxiously waiting for the next book already! This was a on the edge of your seat WTH did I just read page turner and I devoured it! And that ending!!! Oh sweet jeezus please put me out of my misery I need to know what is going on ASAP! This was another masterpiece done by one of my favorite authors!
Profile Image for  Linathebookaddict  .
1,347 reviews373 followers
February 22, 2023
This touches some very sensitive subjects but the author does it in such a wonderful way.
I adored Luna and Dutch. This is a slow burn ,dark romance that will leave you reeling.
Monica always creates unique storylines but she really delivered with this one.
It will break your heart but I thoroughly enjoyed this magnificent dark tale.
I recommend it and cannot wait for more.
Profile Image for Jess Awad.
199 reviews3 followers
February 11, 2023
5/5 ⭐️
3/5 🌶️

Monica is a new to me author and I’m so glad I went into this book blind. She had me captivated from the beginning.

This book is wonderful and unexpectedly unhinged. The cover is deceiving and I thought I’d be reading about a slightly dark love story. Instead the story started dark (had me in tears only 4% in) And then it continued to get darker. The book captivated me and had me staying up until 3 am reading.

We meet Luna right at the worst moment in her life and you can’t help but wonder how she’ll get through this. She ends up admitted in the psych ward and thats when she meets Dutch.

Dutch has always been kind of a loner, but music was his reason for living until one day he stops hearing it.

We see the struggles of mental health, sadness and a messed up healthcare system and how heartache can bring two souls together. There are so many twists and turns that you keep questioning what’s real and what isn’t. The book had me guessing right up until the end. The cliffhanger has me on edge and I can’t wait to dive into the second part of the duet once it’s released.
Profile Image for CherryRed’s Reads.
948 reviews8 followers
February 26, 2023

🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒 🍒  🍒   🍒   🍒 🍒   🍒 🍒

My heart.... it is soo full of many different emotions from reading this book!

Author Monica James blew my mind.

The emotions that flowed while reading it just had me speechless!

Luna & Dutch instant attraction was fantastic and I loved seeing their story come to life on the pages.

This book is full of triggers and many captivating scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

You will feel all the emotions with this book & I can't wait for the next book in this series because I want Luna & Dutch to have their happily ever after.

Be prepared to have a major book hangover!

Go One Click This Must Read book!

**ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review***
5 Cherries Popped
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Profile Image for Anto~mcbr.
488 reviews31 followers
March 15, 2023

Ok, so I HAD THOUGHTS while reading this, and thus this is gonna be a bit of an unhinged, ranting, rambling monstrosity with some mild spoilers maybe spread throughout it (any major spoilers will be properly hidden away, though).


I’m going to be brutally honest here and just outright admit that, as far as I’m concerned, this book has no redeeming qualities. Except, maybe, for the fact that thanks to it I’ve discovered I have another hard limit when it comes to dark romance books (first and only one I’ve encountered so far is romanticized rape), and it is—drumroll, please—INCEST! Particularly between a parent and child.


But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.

Because the blurb is fairly short and very vague, let me give you a quick run-down of what Heart Sick is about: Woman loses her son in an accident, son’s heart gets transplanted into another man’s body (taking away the man’s ability to “hear the music everywhere”). Because of different reasons, soon after, they both go a little crazy and are committed into a psychiatric ward where they meet (not knowing who the other is). They develop a relationship, the son’s heart has “memories” of his death that the man gets flashes of, they team up to find answers.

Now, that sounds intriguing enough, no? A big mystery, two grieving people finding each other and falling in love, and even a dash of fantasy. Plus, a moody cover with a very good looking dude front and center. What’s not to be interested about?


I had high expectations and they were met with a terrible, crushing disappointment.


Because I had so many thoughts while reading, and took down a bunch of notes and impressions (it tied in length with Dirty Crazy Bad ), I thought maybe it’d be good to write this review depicting the journey this book took me on.

The story opened with Luna’s (f38) son, Misha (m23) I’ve been reading too much AITA on Reddit, braindead in the hospital after a car accident, and her completely unraveling and losing her shit when a doctor suggested she should consider donating her son’s heart. The intended recipient was Dutch (m30) a musical prodigy and master pianist.

Right off the bat, I knew this book and I were going to have problems. Exposition, exposition, exposition. That was what the book came out of the gate with. Just a bunch of info dumping, telling instead of showing, and all that unpleasant stuff. I think Rachel did a fantastic job of explaining the pitfalls related to exposition here: https://www.racheljrowlands.com/2020/04/18/how-to-avoid-exposition/

People in real life don’t tend to stand around summarizing their pasts in their heads, or thinking about their entire life history. So if the first thing you do when introducing a new character is summarize their life—or even a portion of their life—your reader will likely fall asleep.

I’m not a writer myself—except for the odd fanfic—but I like reading about the writing process because it helps me better understand what could have gone wrong when a book just doesn’t work for me. I’m sure it’s a common occurrence for avid readers to start picking up on the subtleties of what makes for good writing vs what doesn’t as we read more and more, even if we don’t consciously know it. Just as writers hone their craft the more they write, so do readers.

Info-dumping large paragraphs to build backstory simple isn’t synonymous with good storytelling, just as describing how a character is feeling, instead of showing the reader in a dynamic, active way, can feel detached and impersonal. I expect those types of missteps from debut authors. So it’s always a disappointment when seasoned writers, with dedicated teams of beta readers, still stumble over these issues. Either I’m just unreasonable in my expectations, or other people are just too lax and have way lower standards than I do.


But back to the story, Dutch received Misha’s heart and he was not pleased when he woke up from his surgery and the music that up until that point had been a constant in his life was suddenly gone. The deafening silence made him go a little insane, for sure.

Music is all around us—we just need to feel it.

(If you haven’t seen August Rush, you should. It’s amazing.)

"There is more to life than music."
But that's where she's wrong. if I don't have music running through my veins, then I don't want this heart because music is in my heart.

Meanwhile, Luna was deep in her grief over the loss of her son, but as it was described rather than portrayed in a more organic way, I had a hard time sympathizing with her. I was told she was sad, but I couldn’t feel it. Whenever a character is grieving and feeling extreme guilt over the loss of a loved one, I’m always reminded of Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. That book is a masterpiece at depicting grief in such a raw, profound, all-encompassing way it’s a challenge not to feel despair and hopelessness right alongside Celaena during those chapters (highly recommend).

I was also annoyed by the overuse of quotes and ellipses. It felt like I was constantly being air-quoted things to and the character were trying to be mysterious by forcibly pausing at weird times. I also don’t think they were properly used in all instances (in total, ellipses were used 187 times in a book that’s 273 pages long— according to the info on Goodreads). These characters loved their dramatic pauses.


In any case, both Luna and Dutch ended up forcibly committed to the hospital’s psych ward. And I feel this is an important detail: they weren’t in an insane asylum or any other type of specific institution for psychiatric patients. They weren’t in a remote location, far away from society and other people (occasionally visiting family members and friends included); just in a specific part of a much larger hospital that catered to everything else a normal hospital would, which made it all the more difficult for me to believe it’d be so easy and commonplace for orderlies to sexually assault the patients (there was A LOT of that going around, and both from the male and female hospital employees).

To add to the mess, Luna was committed for being suicidal—not psychotic. She was perfectly aware her son was dead and not actually there when she had talks with him. I found it hard to believe most patients in the psych ward would be diagnosed with delusions, and thus not reliable witnesses/sources of information. If the hospital started receiving massive amounts of reports of sexual assault from the patients and/or their loved ones, why would they not take it seriously? Why would they choose to believe a big portion of their patients were sharing the same delusion instead of believing the more reasonable explanation? That’d be a huge scandal an a million-dollar law suit, so I can’t believe hospital authorities would rather ignore the issue than face it head on if they’d been aware of it. Also, it’s not realistic that all of the doctors/nurses working in that ward would be in on it either, or unaware it was going on when it was so obvious and blatant. This was a major plot hole for me, and shattered my suspension of disbelief big time.

Then, this started happening:

But looking at Bowie [aka Dutch], I can't deny that the similarities don't just stop at the name. They have the same tousled dirty blonde hair. The same intense blue eyes. Both are blessed with a sharp jawline. Both are slim yet muscular and tall. And now to witness Bowie behave the way Misha would, it's too much.

His tenacity, it reminds me so much of Misha. I can't help but feel I am looking at him right now.

” […] The recipients have said they felt a connection to the donor’s family.”

I guess that makes sense, but what if they were blood family? Wouldn’t that be kind of… weird? Not that any of this is “normal”.

“Some reports have said that the recipient, in fact, marries their donor’s spouse or siblings.”

The incestuous vibes kicked into high gear and I grew wildly uncomfortable. Misha’s heart “recognized” Luna and was drawn to her, and this made Dutch start to have sexual thoughts about her—and that’s not all—remember, he was also able to witness and experience some of Misha’s thoughts and memories. At the same time, Luna was developing a romantic and sexual attraction to a man that majorly reminded her of her son. It was too close to a mother and son having sexual thoughts about each other. I full-on got the ick. You can’t tell me it’s normal for a mother to want to screw a man that physically resembles and reminds her of her son! And if you think that’s ok, y’all need Jesus.


I so wish it would have been Luna’s husband’s heart instead that was put into someone else. It could have been set up to where they were a young couple in love—maybe high school sweethearts? Also, Luna could have been pregnant or they could have had a young child, but because of something she did, directly or indirectly, they could’ve gotten into an accident resulting in both the husband and child dying. All the grief and guilt would have been there, but we could have done away with the creepy incest vibes. The shock value would have been gone, but in my experience, plots built around shock value never deliver positive results anyway.

But either way, maybe a plot change still wouldn’t have been enough to make me like Heart Sick, since the writing as a whole felt very subpar to me. It came across as amateurish—was overly simplistic and felt very flat and lifeless. Also, there were a number of typos and misused words, but that’s not unheard of in ARCs since they aren’t the final edits. My personal favorite that I came across was “phenomena” instead of “pneumonia”. I thought it was hilarious. And “slither of moonlight” instead of “sliver”; I could just picture the silvery light creeping along the ground like a snake.

During therapy, I couldn't stop watching her because I feel like I'm looking at her through familiar eyes.

[Mixed verbal tenses when referencing an event in the past.]

I understand why Bowie wanted to end his life because music is his life and without it, he'd rather not live.

The characters acted way younger than 38 and 30, and I had to be told (repeatedly) the connection between Luna and Dutch was there—because of the heart and whatever—but I never actually felt it. And basically over half of the characters were certifiably insane. This was the book with the most actual/would be rapists I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across (while in a mostly contemporary setting, and in a context where it was not relevant in any way to the plot). Really, what kind of alternate universe was this that everyone was a sexual predator? Just how many rapists does a story actually need?


I wanted to trust the process and believe maybe this whack-ass ride would ultimately lead me somewhere mind-blowing and amazing I never could have thought of and that’s why I stuck it out and didn’t DNF it. I’d hoped all of my disappointment and struggles would have been worth it, but that wasn’t what happened. It was a steady decline from meh, to bad, to OMG-please-let-this-be-over-already.

The straw that broke the metaphorical camel’s back for me was


This book was overly convoluted, overwhelmingly messy and a clusterfuck of confusing turns and nonsensical developments. Plus, it was all just riddled with plot holes: Sounds unnecessarily complicated? It was—and didn’t make all that much sense.

In summary:

Plot: Bad.

Writing: Bad.

Characters: Utter looney tunes, every last one of them. And way too many more sexual predators and rapists that necessary.

And incest. Or something way too to close to it for comfort.

Needless to say, I won’t be coming around for part two of this duet.

I have the heart of a motherf*cker in me.


**I received an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own**
Profile Image for Kali Dempsey.
491 reviews8 followers
February 11, 2023
5/5 ⭐
3/5 🌶️

I have whiplash. I'm not even sure how to begin to write a review for Heart Sick. It started out sad dark, then got Dark and almost immediately got DARK. I still have no clue what's going on.... and yet, I loved every moment.

I really enjoyed these main characters, and loved to hate the side characters too. There is some evil, sick and twisted people in this book and they make this story so good. I loved the connection between Luna and Dutch. It could probably be called instalove, but it was so much more than falling head over heels at first sight. They need each other so badly and yet they have no idea why.

It was very mysterious; filled with twists and turns and suspense. Just when you think you know what's going on, the rug gets pulled out once again and you're left wondering where it's heading. I was thinking we'd get some concrete evidence as a cliffhanger, but nope, just more questions. I'm really looking forward to the final book in this duet and finding out wtf is happening.
Profile Image for Summerlynn83.
648 reviews3 followers
February 27, 2023
I’m not gonna lie, that cover sucked me in and then the blurb completely had me sold. However, by the second chapter I was questioning that blurb and flipping pages at lightning speed.
It’s so hard to go into too much detail about Dutch and Luna without giving away the plot twists but this book was definitely a mind blown, holy crap what did I just read kind of book. And then that ending…omg how can Monica James go and do this to my head and my poor heart?? I probably stared at my kindle for an entire five minutes before I closed my mouth and started texting my bff about how she needs to grab this book asap.
Profile Image for Jessie.
204 reviews17 followers
February 21, 2023
This freaking book 🥹

Talk about a roller coaster! From the first pages Monica captured my heart with her words and didn’t let it out of her palm.

I knew this book would be emotional but by any means, I did not expect Dutch and Luna to completely engulf my psyche. Their story is just beginning… or is it?

The level of connection between these characters is way deeper than one could imagine. And I mean ALL characters.

I’m enthralled with this world that is being weaved. I cannot wait for the next book. I did not want ti stop reading. In fact I read the the last 1/4 a few times. Because it’s just that good. I need more.
Profile Image for Kat Mary.
336 reviews
March 11, 2023
I was not expecting this story at all. I thought it would be reminiscent of Beyond the Roses or Chase the Butterflies. It is in a lot of ways but then mix in her dark edgier stuff and we get Heart Sick. I love Dutch. He's exactly what I love about Monica's MMC's. Luna was harder to tap in to for me but then I did and woah. That's also when the book gets twisty and turny and made me sit up straighter and start stressing! I really liked the way Monica buildt the story. So many places I said, WTH and but wait, I thought. Can't wait to see what's next.
Profile Image for Michele.
683 reviews
February 11, 2023
Oh my goodness when is book 2?!?!?!?! I couldn’t put this down. The twists definitely kept me guessing as I had a feeling but of course questioned myself after the first twist. Luna and Dutch are amazing characters and I loved every second between them. Such a unique plot and really grips you from the beginning
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