[This was painful for me to read because I have a chronic illness with similar issues. People are sometimes great when conditions are acute (like an emergency), but not so great when illness is chronic. They especially are not going to want to know details about your bowels, pain, depression, or anthing else unpleasant. It makes people uncomfortable. It’s not fun. So, I empathized with Drake immediately. In this world that is so sex driven, most people would try to avoid falling in love with someone who couldn’t or might not be able to have it–regardless of the reason. They like to think if the person they are already in love with got a serious illness or had a horrific accident, that they would stay…most won’t. But this, knowing ahead of time and still being willing to get involved with someone, tells you all you need to know. That’s why even though there is not a lot of dating and this all takes place in less than a year, I had no trouble believing the romance. Their lives are meshed together, their families and friends are blended. Parts of Drake’s life suck, and he’s been hurt, but haven’t we all? He is still pretty darn mean at times with his defense mechanisms, but it’s difficult to be nice when I am in pain–I lose sleep, patience, and my filter–so I get it. The petty crap and unimportant minutiae that many people focus on holds no importance for me. This is true for these characters also. They deal with live and death in their jobs. When people have health issues they can mostly hide given good timing and acting, it’s tempting to gloss it over and not let people see. The issue comes when people invite me out and I have to say no because I don’t feel well–most people finally just stop inviting me. If I go anyway and am not full of “all the fun”, I am a Debbie Downer. Even less fun is when people only see me when I am healthy, and then have a difficult time believing how I feel when I have health issues. Or, they see me when I don’t feel well and think, it doesn’t look that bad. What’s the big deal? I’m not constantly in the hospital or bleeding all over, so how bad can it be? This can be hurtful. People also always want to tell me what to do or use to fix me and make me better. While I appreciate it on one level, it is a bit egotistical to think they can cure what ten years of specialist doctors haven’t been able to with their talk of herbal tea, meditation, or vitamin supplements. I find this story believable because the people who will stay with you (romantic and platonic) are the ones who see you, believe you, and just accept you as you are. People who just want “fun” all the time are acquaintances or will drift away.]
via A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Digging Deep (Digging Deep #1) by Jay Hogan — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
In an unfortunate series of events, Drake meets Caleb. This is meeting the right person in the wrong circumstances–or maybe not! It starts with an enemies to lovers vibe. Frankly, I didn’t quite feel the attraction during the hate phase, but once it gets going I was really rooting for these two. This takes place in Auckland, so there is use of New Zealand vernacular. It alternates first person POV in different chapters. I am hoping this is a typo and will be removed before publication, but it breaks the fourth wall in Cal’s thoughts, “and yeah, you heard what I heard.” It is only one sentence, but I didn’t like it.
This is an honest look at two people who meet and are attracted to each other, but will have to be mature and put the work in to maintain a relationship. This is flat out real in the way most romances are not. Sex is awkward, at times difficult, messy, and painfully vulnerable. This story explores all that. Many people say they hate it when the characters have issues because they just don’t talk to each other–here is your book where they have no choice but to communicate if they want to make this work. Medical issues are no joke and either one or the other of them could chicken out and run away without confronting the details on a daily basis, but they don’t. Neither does this book slap a label on it and call it a day, the reader gets the full nitty gritty about Drake’s illness and profession. This is all seriously intense; they barely date and then they are in it for life, and yet it still feels really believable. I am worried people won’t give this story a chance, or will give bad reviews, because of the discussions about bodily functions. This story is very good. Thankfully, there is plenty of humor also.
These families are loving, accepting, and have ribald moments of fun. These friends do not let the characters have rose tinted glasses or lie to themselves. This is what friendship looks like to me–people who will tell you harsh truths, not to hurt you, but to help you and still support your decisions, even if they think you are wrong. However there is also a great line in Caleb’s thoughts about making sure to not let your friends define who you are, “the first mistake I’d made was believing that Leanne’s version of me was maybe all there was.” I love that there is a wide and varied cast with representation of different cultures and sexualities. The epilogue takes place six months later and is heartwarming, taking them into the future together.
The cover art is by Kanaxa. I think it shows Drake and all I could think of was that expression “in the weeds,” which seems apropos.
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | Universal Link
Book Details: ebook, 1st edition, 354 pages
Expected publication: August 6th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English
Series: Digging Deep