Shades of Darkness (Trials of Fear Book 2) by Nicky James #Audiobook #MMRomance #Contemporary #Review #LGBT

Erryn reviews ‘Shades of Darkness (Trials of Fear Book 2)’ by Nicky James. This book was released by the author on July 26, 2018, and is 285 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Adam Gold.  It was released on October 20, 2020, and is 11 hrs and 6 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Why I read this book:  The first book in the series blew me away.

Six years ago, an unforeseen incident turned Rory Gallagher’s life upside down. Now, he lives in darkness, fearing the sun, fearing light altogether. Rory has developed Heliophobia. As a creature of the night, Rory has learned to adapt to his unusual lifestyle. He draws comfort from shadows and safety from the nighttime hour. 

Unfortunately, his mind is the darkest place of all, and the one place he can’t seem to escape. 

Finding help isn’t easy, but when Rory registers with a local, 24-hour counseling center, the man he meets surprises him in more ways than one. Young psychology student, Adrian Anderson, is Rory’s complete opposite. How will this smart, preppy, do-gooder ever get through to the man with a chip on his shoulder who has learned to hate the world? 

It doesn’t take long for Rory to discover they have something horrific in common. Despite rules and regulations, this sad detail helps them form a bond neither of them expected. Could Adrian be the shining light Rory needs to dispel the darkness for good?

Buy Links: Audible  | Amazon  | Add to Goodreads 

To read my review of Book 1, Owl’s Slumber, click here.

My Review:

Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear or an aversion to something

Heliophobia: a fear of the sun, sunlight, or any other bright lights

Before I listen to a Nicky James audio, I gird my loins (in a manner of speaking).  I know I’m going to be challenged.  I know I’m going to have to think, feel, endure, and then rejoice.  I know these things and I like to think I’m prepared.  Ha.  This talented author always finds a way to knock me on my ass.

Shades of Darkness was no different than her other audios.  And I can’t say enough good things about the book.

The second in the Trials of Fear series, the book is about a man who fears the light, and the man he’ll face that fear for.

First let me say that this book made me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say there is a lot of mentioning of bullying, as well as on the page stuff.  My heart was in my throat for pretty much the entire eleven hours.  Most people won’t have that visceral reaction, I think, but those of us who endured bullying as a child or teenager (or even as an adult) might have a strong reaction.  I know I did.  And that made the book all the more powerful to me.  And my feeling of pride and euphoria when I got to the end was ever sweeter.

Rory lives in darkness.  His story, when finally revealed, broke my heart.  Not that I ever doubted his reasons for avoiding light, but when I heard the whole story…well, punch to the gut.  I have light sensitivity and often need sunglasses on cloudy days, but that has to do with my eyes, not my mind.  Seeing things from Rory’s perspective put a whole new spin on the light.

Adrian is a psychology student about to start his Master’s program.  He gets top grades but it’s never good enough for his neurosurgeon father.  After all, a doctorate in psychology is not the same as a medical doctor.  No matter how many accolades Adrian receives, it’ll never be good enough.  Also a scenario I can relate to.

Rory is lucky that his friend Crew cares about him.  Enough to push him to call a counseling center.  But with his inability to tolerate even the smallest amount of light, he believes getting help is impossible.  That is until a brave man offers to come over to his apartment.  And although the first meeting doesn’t go well, both men are willing to try again.  When Adrian is the butt of his roommates’ cruel prank, Rory’s protective instincts go into overdrive, even though he barely knows Adrian.

Soon the men admit they have feelings and that compromises Adrian on a professional level.  So what to do?  Rory has finally found someone he can share with, but is the physical attraction enough to give up what little progress has been made?  Well, this IS a romance so the answer was pretty obvious.  I liked that there wasn’t much skirting of the line.  Being involved with a patient is not okay.  Both men can acknowledge that.  Doesn’t mean Adrian won’t keep pushing, though, and it doesn’t mean Rory won’t dig in his heels.

Slowly their tenuous friendship develops into more.  Both men are lonely and here’s an opportunity to connect with someone.  To find solace.  To share intimacy.  And, of course, I was rooting for them all the way.  But how can someone in the dark be with someone who is in the light?  And is physical intimacy enough or do they have to own up to their emotional bond as well?

When it looks like Adrian is about to be the victim of a vicious prank, Rory tries to be there for him.  That day is a turning point for both men.  I have to admit, I had to stop and start the audio a couple of times.  As authors we are told to take the worst-case scenario and then make it happen.  Put our characters through the unimaginable.  Make them suffer.  In the end, if they survive, it makes their victory all the sweeter.  So, yeah, I was cheering through the last few scenes in the book.  My relief was palpable.

Have I scared you away?  I hope not.  This book had a profound impact on me in all the good ways.  I did, as I knew I would, think, feel, endure, and rejoice.  This is one of my all-time favorite books.  It competes with Ms. James’ other books that I loved: Love Me Whole, No Regrets, New Beginnings: Abel’s Journey, and Owl’s Slumber.  She handles mental illness with grace, always giving her characters dignity.  As someone who suffers from a mental illness, I appreciate her portrayals.  Her characters are rarely ‘cured’ at the end of the book.  For them, like for me, it’s a chronic condition.  It impacts my life, but it doesn’t dictate how I live that life.  I have found my own form of happiness. and so have her characters.

On a final note, I want to mention the narration of Adam Gold.  He’s narrated all of Ms. James’ books and I’m so grateful.  He is amazingly talented and his performance was incredible.  In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend this book.

My Rating:

10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars

Facebook | Twitter: @NicoleJames1978 | Goodreads

I live in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada and I am a mother to a wonderful teenage boy (didn’t think those words could be typed together…surprise) and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband, who thankfully doesn’t think I’m crazy.

I have always had two profound dreams in life. To fall back hundreds of years in time and live in a simpler world, not bogged down by technology and to write novels. Since only one of these was a possibility I decided to make the other come alive on paper.

I write mm romance novels that take place in fantastical medieval-type settings and love to use the challenges of the times to give my stories and characters life.

6 thoughts on “Shades of Darkness (Trials of Fear Book 2) by Nicky James #Audiobook #MMRomance #Contemporary #Review #LGBT

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