Having waited five years for this sequel to arrive I find myself a little disappointed. While this book was good, it was certainly not great. I really liked Chad in the first book in the series, and while I still liked him here he almost didn’t seem like the same guy. I liked the military angle, but everything felt very surface and ultimately Chad’s recovery seemed too easy.
Author: T.A. Chase
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Sequel to the Amber Allure best-seller Nowhere Diner: Finding Love…
Chad Mitchell is on a downward spiral and he’s not sure how to stop it. Between the flashbacks of fighting in Afghanistan and the alcohol, he feels like he’s losing his mind. And if he’s not careful, he knows he might lose more than that. Working at Cookie’s Diner is a chance at working through his problems, yet his demons are stronger than he thinks.
Sergeant Zane Smithson comes to the diner in the middle of nowhere to check up on Chad. The men had served together in Afghanistan, and even back then, Zane had been interested in Chad, who had served under him. But when Zane got home, he had his own demons to beat before he could help his troubled comrade. Now, once Zane finds Chad, he sees there is more to the man’s problems than just flashbacks of war.
When a confrontation between them leads Chad to the depths of a bottle, Zane realizes they both need help to find peace in their lives…
Chad Mitchell has been battling and losing his alcohol addiction for awhile. He’s stuck in a downward spiral with no end in sight. When he manages to pull himself together he is still clocking hours at the diner as a dishwasher, but with Tim back from dealing with his family the pull of oblivion is just too strong. Chad never intends for his benders to go on for long, but when the flashbacks start it’s easy to lose track of the days.
Sergeant Zane Smithson has been travelling the country since he got out of the military looking up the men he served with in Afghanistan. He’s determined to make sure as many of them are on the right track mentally as he can. He’s saved his last stop for Chad. While they served together Zane hid his attraction to the younger man despite suspecting Chad might have been attracted to him too. Now he’s determined to find Chad before his demons get the best of them. Zane knows what it’s like to get stuck on a path where the troubles might get the best of you. His recovery from an IED explosion wasn’t paved smooth; he fought his own battles with addiction. Zane is determined to save Chad; he just has to find him first.
I liked the premise of this story very much. I even really like Chad and Zane together. I enjoyed the fact that Zane never said anything while Chad served under him overseas. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may have been repealed but that doesn’t mean it would have been easy for Chad to be out and still serve. Left at his own lose ends I appreciated Zane’s need to check up on the all the men who served under him and to try to help them if they were struggling to remain on the straight and narrow.
My problem is that all the elements didn’t fit that well together and a lot of the dialogue felt very preachy and stilted without going deeper into Chad or Zane own personal struggles. Zane battled his own addiction to prescription meds, but he manages to quit cold turkey. I never felt like his addiction could have been that bad because the whole thing as so easy for him to talk about and it didn’t seem like what he went through to get sober was all that hard. He did it by himself, no help at all, but is a passionate devotee for rehab programs and forcing Chad into one. Granted Chad needs the help. His binges are just getting worse. I respected Chad’s anger at Zane’s comparing their situations. But once Chad was in the hospital it all became to easy. Sure I’ll go to rehab and suddenly be committed to my recovery. Every conversation he had while in rehab was productive and I never felt like it was all that much of a struggle for him to give up the booze after his one eighty.
I think my problem with the dialogue stemmed from the fact that once they started talking about recovery and rehab it all felt like it was taken directly from a addicts recovery manual. It was presented in a way that didn’t feel integrated into the emotions and psyche of what Chad was going through, instead it felt like explanations of what someone would be dealing with. I don’t even know if that makes sense. I normally really enjoy Ms. Chase’s novels and have never felt like her dialogue was this stilted before, but this felt very presentation without letting us as the reader get drawn into the struggle the characters were going through. I wanted to know that this was hard for Chad. I wanted to see him stumble while in recovery. I wanted to know the agony in his head as he tried to commit to a life without drinking.
On a similar note I never really felt like I understood the extra piece of history in Chad’s story. The flashbacks to Afghanistan were wonderful and made complete sense, but his feelings and anger for what happened when he was a child didn’t really sink. Unless I missed something there wasn’t a lot that really did happen to him. Sure he was kidnapped, but the guy didn’t hurt him, he never really felt scared of the guy, he wasn’t raped. Instead his drinking began because he was pissed off that no one believed him. Ok, I can understand that I guess, but that childhood anger, you get over that, you don’t end up suppressing the emotions for years into your adulthood and ending up almost permanently damaged because of it. You’ve lived a normal life where people listened to you since. If there wasn’t some trauma sustained while kidnapped I’m not sure where the nightmares come from. But hey, maybe I’m missing something.
Still I really enjoyed the relationship that was developing between Chad and Zane. Zane is wonderfully supportive of Chad in his recovery and knowing he has that person to lean on certainly helps Chad accept needing to go through rehab. I loved how caring everyone at the diner was and the support system they were there to give Chad. That unconditional friendship is always wonderful to read and I just know that they’ll continue to look out for Chad as he battles to stay sober. I have hope for Chad and Zane looking towards the future that together things will get better and brighter.
This is a quick read and ends on a cliff hanger leading to another book I’m sure. Quinn certainly looks like he’s going to need help sooner rather than later. I enjoy Ms. Chase’s writing enough to give this series a continuing look. Besides I need to know how she’s going to go about reading Quinn’s diva self. He hasn’t been a good boy lately. 😀
I would like to thank Amber Allure for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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