Tag Archives: depression

Hugo and Helen’s journey touched my soul

58914491._SY475_Bring Me Home by Nicola Haken

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nicola Haken has a small catalogue of books but every one of them has touched me deep in my soul.

Bring Me Home is no exception, in fact it’s one of the rawest in terms of how mental illness can distort your world view and make you feel like you’re worthless even when you’re a mega famous rock star.

Hugo broke my heart, his autism adds another dimension to his mental health issues but it’s never made to be a defining issue.

His autism isn’t what causes Hugo’s life to start collapsing around him, it’s the depression he’s never really found a way to handle – not since he left his best friend Helen behind eight years ago that is.

Helen is one of life’s rocks. She’s grounded, although she’s not without issues herself, and she’s tried to put the past behind her. After losing her mother, she’s facing life truly on her own and forging ahead with a determination that is inspiring. She’s strong, but ultimately flawed like all of us.

This book tells a story which takes the reader on a journey through forgiveness, through understanding and reconnecting. It walks the path of two best friends who have always been everything to each other and perhaps more.

It pulls no punches when it deals with the insidious way that depression and mental health issues can distort your world view until there seems to be no way forward.

But it is also filled with joy, with hope, with understanding and with people who will provide the foundations on which a new path can be built. There is no cure for depression or autism or mental health dysfunctionality.

There is, however, structured methods for how to deal with it, there’s support networks, medication which can help to provide an even keel. There’s love, so much love, more than Hugo realised he was surrounded by.

Phoebe, Hugo’s superb therapist, describes his brain as a computer with a virus and herself and his IT gal, there to help him reboot his neurons and put them back in the right place. I thought this absolutely nailed it perfectly.

It helps Hugo understand that he has done nothing wrong. It’s not a choice he made, it’s a hand he’s been dealt and she’s there to provide him with all the support to find the right way to play it.

I loved her almost as much as I loved Helen. Ezra, Hugo’s bodyguard, is also a fabulous person, he’s there in the background, a sort of older brother/father figure. Drew, his manager, while a flawed character capable of making mistakes, is also doing everything he does from a place of love. Their relationship is turbulent but ultimately supportive.

And Chrissie, someone who starts as a sort of throwaway figure, who Helen isn’t sure she’s even really friends with, provides not only some levity to the narrative but support for Helen and is, without any doubt, a best friend, someone she can turn to at the darkest times.

I think what I loved the most about this book is that the falling in love bit was so natural. Hugo and Helen are each other’s forever and it’s been clear from the time they met, aged just four. The things which separated them on the way, only served to make them stronger.

Be aware of the warnings. This book covers heavy subjects, there are triggers for depression, for drug use (prescription not illegal), for desperate measures when all seems lost, for inpatient treatment at a clinic.

Ultimately, though, it’s a beautiful story about love, about soulmates, about walking a path together in the best way you can. It’s an authentic journey, told with real voices and I loved it.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

Release Blitz: Chasing Forever by Kelly Jensen

Chasing Forever | Kelly Jensen

This Time Forever #3

chasing forever.jpg

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Order now: https://riptidepublishing.com/collections/author-kelly-jensen/products/chasing-forever

Release Date (Print & Ebook): 12/10/18

Length:

Ebook: Word Count: 88,163

Print: Page Count: 333

Subgenre: Queer contemporary romance

Reading Warnings: References to child abandonment, neglect and abuse. Depression. Physical disability.

Blurb

Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.

Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.

Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.

But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.

Chasing Forever Graphic 1.png

Excerpt

Mal checked the time. What the heck—it was New Year’s Eve and he should get kissed.

Brian followed his gaze, clearly checking the time for himself. “Want to wait for midnight?”

“No.” Because . . . “I’m not very good at this.” Okay, that’s enough. Stop talking now.

“You’re doing fine.”

“There’re probably a dozen other guys in this bar who would give their left nut to talk to you. Why are you bothering with me?”

“Why would you ask a question like that?”

“Because you unsettle me.”

“But in a good way.”

Brian smiled, and Mal let his lips curve upward in response—because Brian was right. Heck, yeah, he was uncomfortable and it wasn’t because his legs ached. Or the creeping fatigue from PT. The knowledge that even getting to the bathroom was a journey he had to plan. He wondered, then, if he should grab his crutch, pull it out of the shadow of the bar, and show it to Brian, and quickly realized that if he did, he’d be making another excuse. Besides, he didn’t want to have sex with Brian tonight.

Actually, he did.

But he wasn’t going to have sex with Brian tonight. Brian Kenway obviously enjoyed playing games and much as Mal suspected he’d enjoy a night in Brian’s bed, he knew it would probably be a one-off thing. No one put this much intensity into friendship. Brian saw him as a hookup. Nothing more.

Mal didn’t do hookups. Since his breakup with Noah, he’d preferred loneliness to the sharp disappointment of connection and separation, or the simple fact that people so often weren’t who he thought they were in the light of day.

He glanced at the clock over the bar. “Three minutes.”

Brian showed him another grin, this one not at all lazy. “Need some practice puckering up?”

“Fuck you.” Resisting the urge to stretch his lips, lick them, get all loose and ready for a kiss, Mal laughed. Then licked his lips, damn it.

Brian chuckled softly and raised his glass for another sip. He did it slowly, as though knowing Mal would watch him swallow and wonder what the drink would taste like on his lips. His tongue.

“Want a taste?” Brian asked, offering him the glass.

Mal accepted the glass and took a quick sip. The drink was strong and his head spun lightly. Putting it aside, he licked his lips again, tasting bourbon and something sharper, drier. Vermouth? The bitters touched his tongue last, a tangy aftertaste, and he could imagine how well an orange peel would go with the drink.

He was wondering how Brian managed to smell like oranges when the countdown began.

“Ten, nine, eight . . .”

Brian hadn’t leaned in. Should he do it?

“Seven, six, five . . .”

Should he take his glasses off?

“Four, three . . .”

What if he missed?

“Two . . .”

What if the kiss landed on Brian’s cheek or nose or—

“One!”

Oranges, cardamom, cinnamon, and musk. Warmth whispering across his lips in quick invitation before pressing down, lightly, without demand. Somehow their noses didn’t collide. Somehow, Mal’s lips were parting before a swipe of Brian’s tongue.

Brian didn’t invade, though. He teased. He waited.

Understanding flashing inside his head like a cracked blind at dawn, Mal leaned in and kissed back. Offered up his mouth. Tasted. Hummed at the delicious flavor of whiskey and man. The persistent hint of orange. The prickle of stubble as their mouths moved and realigned. He touched his tongue to Brian’s and opened his mouth. Brian swept inside and the warmth at the back of Mal’s neck now must be Brian’s hand. Oh God, it felt good.

So warm.

So necessary.

Then Brian was shifting back, blinking slowly, and noise crashed into the perfect bubble of their kiss, breaking the moment apart with cheers of “Happy New Year” and the lambent strains of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Mal breathed. Quaked. Ignored the near pain behind the fly of his jeans. Took another breath. “That was . . .”

“Some kiss.” Brian’s grin had that lazy aspect again.

Chasing Forever Banner 1


 A Chat With Kelly

This story is all about new directions. Brian and Mal will both be confronted with challenges that will encourage them to channel their energy into something worthwhile.

“For Brian, it’s stepping out from behind his substantial wallet to make a difference. For Mal, it’s about learning to live out loud. For both of them, it’s about forming a family of their own, and chasing a forever neither thought they might find.”

About The Author

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner.

Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kmkjensen/

Facebook (Profile): https://www.facebook.com/kelly.jensen.7315

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/kellyjensenwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyjensenwrites/

Blog: https://kellyjensenwrites.com/blog/

Website: https://kellyjensenwrites.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/czGhYz

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kmkjensen/

Tumblr: http://kmkjensen.tumblr.com/


Giveaway

Any ebook from Kelly Jensen’s back catalogue.

Code: 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Chasing Forever Banner 2

All That Has Flown Beyond is a complex romance

All That Has Flown Beyond

All That Has Flown Beyond by Marina Vivancos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like the first book in this series, All That Has Flown Beyond is a complicated and complex narrative which covers a multitude of subjects all wrapped within a paranormal romance.

I’m never sure what I’m going to be reading in the next chapter with this author and here we get taken along a journey of mythology, customs and traditions ranging across Europe and into South America and across the Far East to Japan.

It’s wonderfully lyrical and descriptive, the otherworldly feeling comes pouring out as the story progresses through the shamanic route Kaiyo takes after he’s forced out of the pack he’s always been part of even though he’s not a wolf shifter.

There’s also incredible pain in this book, head the trigger warnings carefully, Marina doesn’t skimp on any of the details as she demonstrates how the black dog of depression controls lives, how it pulls its web over even the strongest of souls.

But there is also much love in this book, even though the romance itself takes some time to return, second chances need to have the necessary payback to make them believable and to get the reader rooting for reconciliation.

All in all, I’m again wowed by the writing talent while being exhausted by the subject matter!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my reviews

« Older Entries