Author: Kade Boehme and Allison Cassatta
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Allison Cassatta
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
It’s no surprise Riley Connors is dealing with issues. He was kidnapped as a young boy, and his parents abandoned him after his newsworthy return. He bounced from foster home to facility and back. Now an adult, ghosts from his past continue to haunt him. After a suicide attempt, he is locked away in Hartfield so that people can make him tune in to emotions he has tried to bury.
Hunter Morgan had the kind of love that spans ages. But the stress of college and adulthood became too much to handle, and the love of Hunter’s life turned to drugs. After he overdoses, Hunter finds himself soaring out of control on the same miserable path. His brother finds him and calls an ambulance, and the sister Hunter would rather not have calls it a suicide attempt, landing Hunter in Hartfield.
Finding love isn’t easy, but it can happen under the most dire circumstances. Together Hunter and Riley may be able to grow from their pain. But they will need to learn to live for themselves, letting love come second.
From word one, I had no doubt that this would be a rather angsty read. I was accurate in my prediction.
The first few chapters had this disjointed frenetic energy to them. Break through that were a few moments that felt grounded and contained some logic in relation to what the story appeared to be. Surreal. That’s the word that best describes it for me.
Reality soon landed, though, supplanting that dreamlike non-linear feeling. Unfortunately, this made the disconnected quality of the writing more obvious to me. The words were telling me about the emotion that was there but the word choices instead felt stiff and stilted. I kept reading because the main characters, Riley and Hunter, were interesting and kept teasing me with tidbits about their lives, current and past, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen.
Both Riley and Hunter take turns in narrating but in a removed way. I connected with them in certain moments, but then it would slip through my fingertips. Still, I kept reading, hoping to feel that connection again and more deeply.
The interesting thing is the dialogue is good. It matches the characters, conveys their emotions well and made it feel real. These are the moments in which I most felt the connection to Riley and Hunter. My curiosity was poked and piqued and needed to be satisfied. Always a good thing to evoke in a reader.
Riley and Hunter are sweet together, even from early on. They both put themselves out there in ways they were able, comforting and gently pushing one another to begin ridding themselves of the years of pain and baggage they’re each carrying around. Some of their conversations, and inner dialogue, were peppered with some fun turns of phrase.
All of this boils down to an unsteady push and pull that made it difficult for me to get a firm hold on the story and the characters. The story more so than the characters, though. The characters were rather well fleshed out but maybe the authors weren’t quite sure how to fully utilize them? On the flipside, there’s no mistaking where this story takes place, the why and how, but with so much more telling than showing in both thought and emotion, the story kept slipping from my grasp. Nothing is left unsaid with nearly everything being readily handed over. It feels like an incredibly personal story that the authors may not have been completely ready to share. Just a feeling, nothing more than that.
This has a very good message regarding productive, meaningful therapy and how it can truly be helpful. Helpful seems too light a term, actually. It can be life changing. Not in a grand sweeping way, more in that it can help someone get back to who they really are, maybe an even better version. This I’ve experienced and very much like its portrayal here. Ok, not so much some of the idiot orderlies and doctors, and the feel of the place itself, but you get a good doctor and it can click and mean so much.
Speaking of place, the physical descriptions them and the characters made it very easy for me to picture it all. I translated to a comfort I felt in reading a story about not so comfortable subjects and two guys trying to deal with them.
All in all, this was a wobbly trip that ended in an emotional ending for me. 🙂
I would like to thank the publisher 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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