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 direst 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.
©2015 Kade Boehme, Allison Cassatta (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
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"Quiet love story."
Michael Ferraiuolo delivers a solid performance without going over the top in this quiet love story.
Buyer be aware: The editing and sound quality at times was a little grainy and glitchy, but does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.
Riley is a boy who's been destroyed so badly he's considered a "lifer" at Hartfield, the mental institution he's been in for over two years, and he's been in and out of institutions for ten years. His story is heartbreaking and hopeful all at once because it's not until he has someone to show him his worth he begins to fight for himself and it is a beautiful thing to get to listen to.
Hunter, on the other hand, takes his own self-destruction to new lows. His circumstances end with a choice - confinement at Hartfield or prison. At Hartfield he gets roomed with Riley and it's frankly the best thing to ever happen to him. I just loved hearing the steps Hunter goes through to get better.
Ferraiuolo brings to life the pain, frustration, hope, happiness and love they find in a pretty hopeless place and at a very difficult time in both their lives.
I liked the dual POV, getting into both character's heads and seeing what they were feeling, because, frankly, there's a whole lot of "telling" in this story and not a lot of "showing"; a lot of what happens is mental, and for those looking for a steamy story - beware - the steam level here is really low. I didn't miss it though, because this really was more about the emotional connection more than any physical one.
To be honest, there were a couple of things I didn't like. I would have liked a little more action and steaminess; more time of them actually being able to be together. But my biggest complaint is I didn't like that I never got to find out what happened to Riley's parents or his abductors, John and Miranda Lee. I realize it's about how Riley's feeling and doing, but I would have loved at least one therapy session to include some tidbit about what had happened to the Lees and what ended up happening with his parents.
My imagination has John and Miranda Lee still in prison being tortured and beaten daily. I also hope his parents were shunned from their community after abandoning Riley and wound up being set upon by a vicious pack of wild dogs in some third world country - but that's more because I have a mean streak a mile wide, and I'm sure that's just me.
Bottom line: I enjoyed the realism, all the little things that add up to make this a sweet story about finding love in a hopeless place, and making yourself the best version of "you" before you make yourself an "us".
"Great emotional journey"
I really enjoyed this sweet and sad story of two men finding each other in a most unlikely place, a mental hospital. Riley has a tragic life and has resigned himself to being a "lifer" in the hospital he detests, but is the only home he has. Hunter's demons are a little less tragic but he still has to fight to overcome them. They find solace and then love in each other before they are torn away. I like the way the author handled the struggles of each man. It wasn't just "poof" and they are better. These men had to fight to be together. The narrator did a wonderful job bring these men to life. He really gave voice and emotion to this story.
Guys, don't crucify me for this, but I just don't see what the hype is about! I had the hardest time getting through this one.
Sometimes a book that clicks for everyone else just whooshes right over my head. This was my first Allison Cassatta book and my third Kade Boehme, and despite the positive press around this one I just didn't feel it.
The beginning of this book is really compelling. Riley getting kidnapped and then rescued was a very powerful start to the story. However, I didn't really get why his parents abandoned him after he was found, and I felt like that was an avenue that could have used more exploring.
Once Riley and Hunter meet in Hartfield I was expecting the story to really get going. Instead, my pet peeves seemed to just pile up. I don't like when characters are constantly reading emotion in each other's eyes, like "sadness" or "hunger" or "longing." It just seems like a cop-out way of telling instead of showing emotions. There was a lot of that here. I also felt like Riley trusted Hunter way too easily and that their relationship grew too intense over such a short period of time. With Riley's painful past, I was expecting him to be much more guarded and less open. It didn't feel right with his character.
Sometimes, I can attribute my lack of connection to the audio reading, but I think that the narrator, Michael Ferraiulo, did a nice job. It wasn't the best audio I've heard, but I liked the differentiation between the two voices and his effort overall.
I'll admit, because I was so disconnected from the story, I sped up the narration quite a bit in an effort to finish. With an audiobook that is 7+ hours long, if you aren't interested after 3 hours of listening, it is hard to stay motivated to listen.
I know I'm in the very, very minority with this one. Some of my most trusted friends loved this. However, it just didn't mesh well for me.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
"They sure did find, LOVE!"
Just a lovely, heartfelt, emotional journey to figuring out how to survive the hell that life can build around you.
This story reminds me of "Last Night I Sang to the Monster" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, but also differs from "We found love" because it's NOT a romance; It's powerful story of a young gay teenage boy fighting the demons leashed upon him from a horrific tragedy in his life.
The MC in "Last Night I Sang to the Monster" goes through a lot of what Riley goes through except you get a deeper look into the mindset of a gay 17 year old fighting his way back from mental darkness.
"We found love" doesn't have the beautiful words that "Last Night I Sang to the Monster" has that truly captured my heart but d@mn if I wasn't devasted for Riley and rooting for Hunter in this story.
Riley and Hunter slow dancing in New York, just beautiful. What I truly loved about this story was how Riley and Hunter slowly fall in love with one another. Of course there's the sexual tension and a couple of erotica scenes that were tastefully done but so rare, it was as though you received a rare gem when it happened.
For my personal taste, an author who can create an engaging story where the plot is character driven rather than erotic driven, is truly talented. And, Kade Boehme & Allison Cassatta has shown that talent in abundance with Riley and Hunter's story.
This story is one of my favorites because I'm addicted to stories where you can literally feel your heart breaking as the story unfolds. Riley and Hunter have so many issues between the two of them and both have tragic pasts, one a bit more so than the other, but as you listen to the story progress, you can see how perfectly they fit. The narrator did such an amazing job of portraying the right emotions and differentiating the characters voices. This is hands down my favorite audio book so far! The flow is nearly perfect and there are spots where he nailed it so flawlessly that I got goosebumps! Loved it as one much!
"Just a beautiful love story ."
The love making, the separation to heal.
Yes and I did.
This should be made in to a movie.
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