Author: Nicola Haken
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/24/2016
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Gay Romance
Dylan Roberts and Cameron O’Neil were good kids. Growing up together, they shared everything. By the age of fourteen they were more than best friends – they were in love. They dreamt of their future, of success, marriage…happiness. They were going to grow old by each other’s side.
But… “Kids are stupid.”
When tragic circumstances forced them apart, Dylan discovered that life wasn’t the fairytale he dreamed of; it was dark, difficult, saturated with pain and shame. Life wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, merely survived, but even that became a challenge.
Damaged, worthless, and disgusting, he saw no point to his pitiful existence…
Until he came face to face with the boy he used to love.
Successful, honourable, and happy, Cameron had achieved the future they planned. He was good, positive, popular…everything Dylan would never be. What would happen if Dylan let him back into his world? Would he destroy Cameron too? Would his poison push him away like everyone else?
“They leave or they die.”
But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?
(MM Romance, recommended for over 18’s due to language, sexual content, and scenes of IV drug use.)
Nicola Haken writes strong and often soul destroying stories and tackles difficult subjects with poise. Counting Daisies is a hard story to read as it brings you face to face with the life of a drug addict. There is no glossing over anything here either as you travel down the often desperate road with Dylan, live through his withdrawal or stand by him with his daily struggles. This is hard, in your face addiction and the shows the consequences of putting that needle in your arm.
Dylan could have been any one of us as fate took first his mother, then his father and finally his grandmother when he was fourteen. Shoved into the system he becomes a statistic, a disorientated child taken away from his home, his life and his best friend of 10 years – a boy called Cameron who he loves.
Cameron’s childhood dreams come true, he has his own restaurant, he is an award winning chef, he has a great circle of friends and his family are still around – he knows little of how cruel life can be when one moment in time changes everything. He has never forgotten his old friend but he has given up hope of ever finding him again. More than a decade passes before Dylan and Cameron see each other again and they are vastly different people when they do.
The years have not been so kind to Dylan – in fact any childhood dreams he ever had have long since withered up and died. Circumstances have made it that Dylan has always been left behind and alone and his life has narrowed down until it’s about only one thing – where his next fix will come from. The authors writing felt so authentic you could have there with him going through everything life threw at him. I would hazard a guess a lot of research went into this book and it shows clearly on every page.
This is the wrong place to look for fluffy and happy. It’s realistic and there is no magic fix but the ride to the epilogue made everything worth it. Derek and Paul were great secondary characters and worth a quick mention as they brought a bit of humour to an otherwise pretty bleak situation.
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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