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Counting Daisies by Nicola Haken

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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?

“Everybody leaves.”

“They leave or they die.”

But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?

Note: (MM Romance, recommended for over 18’s due to language, sexual content, and scenes of IV drug use.)

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Review by Roroblu’sMum

A vivid, no-holds-barred tale that shocked, made me feel and think and ended in a good place. It’s not a fluffy MM romance, but romantic fiction with an RL feel. Sorry, but the word ‘real’ will feature a lot in this review.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review. This book feels as if it’s full of real, gritty, warts-and-all bluntness and honesty, and knowing now a little about the research into the subject matter that NH has done, it’s frankly a scary place to go. But go there she did, and it’s resulted in a very readable tale, though one that’s ‘dark’ for about 80% of the book.

If you’re looking for a glossy, sweet, fluffy, frou-frou read, then this won’t meet your expectations. But, if you’re looking for something all too often RL, you’ll get that in spades. It certainly can’t be called an MM romance, as the romantic element to the tale, though very important, isn’t the be-all-end-all to it. The tale is about the unpredictability of life, the frailties of the human mind, and also the strength of the human mind, and about being there for the people you care about. It’s about failing and overcoming, it’s about courage and deceit, sometimes at the same time, in the same person, which yes, is a contradiction in terms, and about not giving up, and learning to forgive yourself, to be kind to yourself and not dwell on a destructive past. My summary makes it sound a mess, but that’s cos I’m not an author. The tale isn’t a mess, but it’s hard and heavy-going, and I flattened a fully-charged Kindle to read this in pretty much one go. So, read it and what I mean will become clear.

Unknowingly, NH inserted a little something into the tale that I’m sure not many readers will pick up on, but it resonated with me due to my Asian background. Dyl, the shortened version of Dylan, sounds like the Hindi word and name, Dil, which means both heart and beloved, and yes, I think that Dyl was both Cam’s heart and his beloved, as Cam’s actions, heart, emotions, and goodness helped Dyl find the strength to love himself, learn to see the value in himself, fight for himself – and for the future that they could possibly have.

Not only has NH done her research into the main subject matter, but she’s looked into Mindfulness Meditation and CBT and that’s the sign of someone who wants to keep it real and perhaps also, in a non-didactic way, get a message across. Stuff I came upon made me wonder how she ended up feeling after finishing this tale, and kudos to her for dealing with so much raw stuff.

The tale does have some moments of non-gloom, and there are a couple of guys in this who provided support to both Cam and Dyl, knowing that there was a good person under the seemingly bad stuff in Dyl, and that Dyl and Cam were meant to be together. At the same time, they had selective blindness about their own feelings towards each other, which’ll make for a good read in the second book in this series, which NH is currently working on.


Meet Nicola Haken

Author Photo NicolaHaken

Author of MM Romance.

I live in not-so-sunny Rochdale, England (true northern girl!), and when I’m not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found being a slave to my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or binge watching Netflix.

All in all I’m just an ordinary gal with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys, tattoos, and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask… I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger 😉

Where to find Nicola Haken 

http://www.nicolahaken.net/

http://www.facebook.com/nicolahaken

https://twitter.com/NicolaHaken

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