Heartbeat by Nicholas Brown - Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Young love blooms in the harsh environment in Heartbeat, a story of a young man struggling to manage his feelings of guilt and grief. Thomas does not expect to fall for Ethan. He's not good enough for him, but Ethan will do anything to be with Thomas, no matter how much it hurts.

From the blurb:

Thomas Hart lives in the numb aftermath of his brother’s tragic death. After spending six months
institutionalized for attempted suicide, Thomas returns home to build a new life for himself. He goes to therapy, starts over at a different high school, and makes new friends. All while completely abandoning his old reputation as a state champion swimmer. Or so he thought.

Thomas can’t seem to get resident star athlete Ethan Cooper out of his head. With dimples that have a track record and a kind touch capable of all but unravelling him, Ethan is everything Thomas can’t seem to have, or be. Because there’s no going back to the person he was before the accident that claimed his brother’s life.

So the question hangs. Can Thomas embrace his new existence, make peace with the past, and embrace a future that may include falling in love? Or will his old life continue to barge in, preventing him from moving on?

SNik's Review:

Standalone. YA. Hurt/comfort. Single POV. 

After the death of his older brother, Thomas is trying to piece together his new life filled with therapy, a new high school and new friends. Meeting and falling for Ethan is unexpected, and yet Ethan’s kindness draws Thomas until they quickly grow close and share intimate moments. 

Beautifully written, both Thomas and Ethan are mature, lonely, sweet and thoughtful. The story mainly revolves around connections, both new and old, and how different people deal with grief and the struggle when you cannot ever return to the version of the person you were before. 

A good group of supportive secondary characters that are interesting and meaningful to the story. Both Ethan and Thomas are strong and committed to their feelings, as well as self sacrificing. 

Really enjoyable read with hope and a HFN.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Angel's Review:

Make sure you have tissues nearby!

Nicholas Brown is another new-to-me author and I'm a big fan. They certainly have a way with words and knows how to write characters that are not only relatable, but also who are realistic. I think everyone has at some point of their life- experienced what Tommy has been through. Maybe not the part of losing your sibling in such a terrible way, but being able to relate to the grief and the anger that Tommy experiences. He was the one who shouldered everyone else's responsibilities while his family fell apart, and no one was there to be there for him. No one believed him when he said he didn't mean to take so many pills, he was just soo tired. 

Ethan! Oh Ethan, be still my heart. He's so sweet, and nice and oh so supportive. Not to mention understanding- he never once judged Thomas, he was always supportive of him. Always. When Tommy let himself open up to Ethan was so beautiful, I am so glad I was able to read this beautiful story. I enjoyed how Tommy slowly realized his own worth and the growth he had over the course of those rough years, how he wasn't the same person he was then- and how that was okay. 
When these two split up it hurt so bad, I was just hoping they would get back together and they did! 

This story was raw, and touching and so emotional. I grew emotionally attached to all of these characters, my emotions were all over the place while reading this. I will not be forgetting this book anytime soon and it will definitely be added to my reread list. Great pacing, phenomenal characters, fantastic background, and just the right amount of tear-jerking chapters.  

"the thing was, it didn't matter if we got a year, five, or twenty- it would never be enough, and it would always seem like minutes. So I would try to take in every single one of our minutes. And hope they'd multiply."

I highly recommend this! 

Rating: 5 Stars

KjnRose's Review:

This is the first book I've read by this author and I have to say it was a doozy.  The emotions and the way the characters are written is very real and relatable.  The pacing is just right, the storyline is great and the characters wonderful.

Rating: 5 Stars

Heartbeat is available to buy as an e-book in wide distribution.

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Nicholas Brown © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Waking Up

I didn’t remember much about what had happened. I remembered how it felt, waking up. How I’d had all these wires and tubes coming out of my chest and arms and how, as I looked around the room, there was no one there. I also recalled being tied to the bed—that I remembered quite well; I dozed off shortly after noticing it. Dr. Foster stood next to me, watching as she waited for me to come to. We talked for a bit. You know how it goes, if your brain is deprived of oxygen for an x amount of time things have a tendency of getting…messy. So we went through the usual questions. I told her my name, my age, where I lived, and who my parents were—stuff like that. Then she asked if I remembered how I’d gotten there.

I didn’t answer.

Not because I didn’t know, which I didn’t, but rather because I knew she’d tell me eventually, which she did. We’d both done this before, so I knew she must’ve had a good reason for not smiling like she usually did whenever we found ourselves in this particular situation. It was then that she told me Noah was the one who’d found me. It was also then that I began feeling like complete and utter shit and started sweating profusely.

Who lets their kid brother witness something like that?

I knew I didn’t. I fucking wouldn’t. He was supposed to be out. There was a party or a birthday or whatever it was that made him all but beg our dad to let him spend the night at Joe’s. He was supposed to be out.

Dr. Foster handed me her scarf, which I readily took, even though I had no idea what she was trying to do. It was pretty—black and blood-red with this sort of English pattern printed on it. She untied my left hand and touched her face, as if showing me something. I mimicked her. Turned out I wasn’t sweating. I’d started to cry, and the fact that I didn’t even recognize it immediately should have been enough to illustrate just how fucked up a person I really was.

I stopped talking after that. I didn’t say another word, except for when I told Dr. Foster I wasn’t going to repeat my behavior anytime soon. She looked pleased with the words that floated from my mouth, most of which were actual truths this time. One of Dr. Foster’s biggest talents had always been how good she was at discerning between truths, half-truths, and lies; one of my biggest talents had always been knowing just how much information to supply to keep our relationship well balanced. Basically, I knew when to shut up.

My name is Thomas Hart. I’m seventeen years old, and I live in New York City, NY. My parents are Jane and Lucius Hart, and I have a kid brother called Noah.

This was my second suicide attempt in as many years, and it earned me a six-month stay in the psych ward of St. Yve’s Hospital. It was also my last one—at least for the foreseeable future. I didn’t want to break anyone’s heart. I didn’t want my brother or anyone else to suffer too much. So, I’d wait. At least until I could be sure Noah would be okay.

I’d wait.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Nicholas Brown is a philosopher and an award-winning literary fiction writer obsessed with all things relating to infinity. Discovering new music he can write to and watching films—especially Nouvelle Vague cinema—over and over again are a few of his favorite things to do in this life. Nicholas would be the first to admit he is, in fact, a cynic, yet because life and the universe seem to have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, he cannot help but write love stories, nor can he help believing one of these days he will actually live one. That is perhaps the only paradox he accepts, for he has no other choice.

Nicholas calls certain versions of himself “his ghosts,” mainly because he’s lived a life divided into sections: the years he was not himself; the ones he was absent for; times when he felt better; times when he wished he could feel; moments he felt seen…versions of a self, of him.

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