I have really enjoyed each book I have read from Nicola Haken, and I could not put Counting Daisies down! It was every bit as good as I was expecting from something written by Nicola Haken, and I really love her books. Nicola Haken writes such emotional and character driven stories, and just like the other books I have read from her this one was tough at times to get through. I was invested right from the start and felt like this book was such a journey that I am so glad to have taken.
Dylan Roberts and Cameron O'Neil were childhood best friends that fell in love. They had dreams of a future together where they were out and proud and had everything they could ever ask for. But when Dylan's last remaining family member dies, Dylan is sent away and they never hear from each other again. Cameron becomes the successful chef that they always dreamed he would be, while life turns out much differently for Dylan. But when Dylan and Cameron see each other again sixteen years later, they realize that everything they once shared is still between them. Though their feelings for one another are still there, Cameron and Dylan must face that Dylan is no longer the same person and there are many things that stand in their way if they hope to have a chance at the future together that they always wanted.
My heart absolutely broke for these two. They had such a strong connection from such a young age, and are proof that some young love is the real deal and can happen early on. These two had something that felt so real and genuine, so it really hurt to see them be torn apart by things they couldn't control. Then once they finally did reconnect years later, there were so many more issues for them to deal with that I started to feel like these two might never catch a break. But their love and connection was one that I really felt could withstand anything, and though it wasn't an easy journey I was glad to get to experience it right along with them. The love and support that Dylan had while struggling to deal with his addiction was inspiring to see, and I really felt like Nicola Haken gave me insight into a world that I have absolutely no experience with. She has a way of tackling some tough issues in her stories, and that was definitely the case here. Dylan and Cameron had a lot to face, and I was so glad to see that they had each other and were able to find their way back to one another.
Overall, I really loved this story even if it was difficult at times to get through. I definitely shed a ton of tears here, and these two had me feeling so much. While there was a lot that broke my heart here, there were also several light moments that I thought were fantastic. They really helped to balance out the seriousness of everything that was going on, and that helped me to keep flipping the pages even through the hard parts. This story was such a great one though, and if you are looking for an emotional and raw read this is definitely one you should check out. While this story is M/M, I think that this is one that readers of all genres can relate to in some way. Even if you have never dealt with addiction or known anyone who has, I thought that Nicola Haken did a great job of respectfully shedding light on what addicts and their loved ones go through. While I still don't fully understand it having never gone through it, I do feel like I am more sympathetic to those that struggle with it and the ones that love those that struggle with it. I highly recommend this story, and I really can't wait to read the next book in this series which I am hoping is Cameron's friend Paul's story.
**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**