Author: JK Hogan
Publisher: Wilde City
Cover Artist: Unknown
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/11/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Gay Romance
Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn’t possibly find happiness together—could they?
The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work-release at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.
Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret—one he refuses to speak about in therapy.
Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness—and find a new normal together.
This is my second JK Hogan book and to say I enjoy this authors writing is such an understatement. There is something very intense in the words she puts on page and this was especially true in Strong Medicine.
Two superbly real, flawed and extremely broken characters that desperately try to carve out a piece of happy in their dark and imperfect lives – welcome to Cameron and Jonah’s story. Prepare for the inevitable book hangover when you finish this one, they take you through a year of ups and downs and it’s not an easy task to leave them at the end of a mere 278 pages.
Let’s start with Cameron as we meet him first in the book. A child star who later becomes part of a family band that is managed by an overbearing and often obnoxious father. Everything in his life is about ‘image’. When he tarnishes that image because the stress becomes too much he is banished by his family and ordered by the courts to work at a mental health facility for a year instead of serving time in prison. As bleak as this may seem to Cameron it’s actually a huge step in taking back his life and becoming the person he should be, the person that he wants to be rather than his father’s puppet. He becomes a work in progress and that progress is kick started the day he walks through the doors of Riverbend Behavioural Health Facility.
To explain Jonah and what is going on with his life I would probably need to write another book. Jonah is a successful author and is 23 years old. Twice a year he checks himself into Riverbend when life becomes too much for him to cope with. For as long as he has been doing this he hasn’t got better and that in itself is complicated. Jonah was kidnapped as a child and kept for two years in a basement. The things he witnessed have become his living nightmares and up until now he hasn’t had the strength or resolve to face them head on fearing that if he were to do so those memories would finish him off. Jonah is a character that will stay with you for far longer than it takes to read this book!
For the first time in forever Cameron becomes someone that Jonah thinks he could open up to but there is no magic cure here. This is brutal and raw and made more complicated by the fact that these two men are attracted to each other but are unable to act on their feelings. Caring for each other intensifies everything and also offers a small bit of hope where once there was none but first they both need to start to heal.
Strong Medicine will pull you in from the first page. It will feel like it ends too soon on the last page. It will make you cry for the evil that Jonah has lived through. It will make you smile at the small steps he makes in recovery with Cameron supporting him and always at his side. The ending is perfect in its own imperfect way.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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