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About the Author
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next? J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
I wish I could have given many more stars for this story because it deserves to be at the top. J. K. Hogan delivered a story of sadness, anger, hurt, abuse, triumph, love, and so much more in this one book. It touched my soul to know someone, somehow sees into the window of the psychological world and can write it where the average person will be able to see that we are normal people too. We just happen to suffer from an illness that effects us differently than other illnesses do.
This was wonderfully written. A very good read.
Not having read a book by Ms Hogan before it was definitely the synopsis (well, and the cover, because that’s just fabulous) that drew me in. I’m so glad I picked this book up because it’s one of those where you get really excited about discovering a new author. I love her writing style, it’s intelligent with beautiful phrases and a wealth of vocabulary. I got lost in J.K. Hogans words and just enjoyed traversing the highs and lows of a touching, tender and very emotional journey of two men, Jonah and Cam, finding a new ‘normal’ together.
I have to admit, I didn’t initially have much sympathy for Cameron, he came across as egotistical and too full of his own self-importance, not for one minute thinking his actions would be punished. Pouting like the child star he was, rather than taking responsibility like the twenty seven year old man he is.
However as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that his work placement at Riverbend is the catalyst that helps him discover himself and sees him finally take ownership of his life. One which so far has been as much a pretence as the persona he presents to the public on TV and stage, where despite being in the limelight and surrounded by people, his life is lonely, especially as he’s unable to share who he really is.
I loved watching him realise his potential as a person of unselfish compassionate generosity and embrace it. Especially where Jonah is concerned. It’s then we start to see the thoughtful and kind hearted person that has been stifled for so long.
Jonah, bless him, just broke my heart. He immediately pulled me in and had my emotions in complete turmoil. His back story was tragic, but it was his inner strength that gave me hope. I don’t think I could have managed to sustain his struggles with such aplomb.
Dealing with his illness and trying to maintain some semblance and quality of life whilst haunted by the demons of his past, was distressing and sad to watch. I felt that for a twenty three year old poor Jonah had already lived a thousand lives, resigned to his illness with no friends and a tentative hold on his sanity, needing a self-imposed solitude just to survive. Disconnected from a world he feels at odds with, trying to balance the finite line between his sanity and reality and maintaining equilibrium. Fear of falling means both emotion and love have no place in the darkness of his heart, so he lives his life through his stories, the written word his only outlet and means of expression.
Both men are detached from their lives for different reasons but it’s that mutual attraction and spark that just might see them living, rather than existing. As a young boy Jonah was dazzled by the gorgeous blond on the TV and it’s that feeling of comfort he remembers that starts to reignite something within, warming the cold he’s felt for so long. Whilst Cam is drawn to the lost boy he sees beneath the mania that’s trying to smother the sanity. But they are drawn to each other. Inexplicably so. And neither can resist that pull.
The development of their relationship was beautifully written, definitely a slow burn romance which was right for the environment of the behavioural health facility and fitting for their circumstances.
As a side character I loved Rohan, he was larger than life, radiating warmth and rational and plays a huge part in subtly opening Jonah's eyes to a life he thought inconceivable for someone like him. However, to realise that future he needs to confront his past, only by doing so he may be lost forever in the madness of his own mind… but could Cam be the one to help him find the way out?
Strong Medicine is actually quite a dark read in parts and I had a few heart in the mouth moments whilst reading this book, and at times I felt the natural progression was a spine tingling thriller. I have to admit as a fan of that genre I was a little disappointed that the author didn’t grab that thread and run with it as it had all the potential for an edge of your seat ride, with so much doubt and suspicion cast on many of the side characters. But, and here is where I take my hat off and applaud J.K. Hogan, because Jonah has hallucinations and delusional paranoia, she convincingly managed to make me believe… I felt the presence of the monsters in the closet and I was as scared as Jonah.
As it’s Mental Health Awareness week here in the UK, with this years theme being ‘Relationships’, this is an excellent book for highlighting how essential good relationships are in maintaining good mental health. J.K. Hogan whether through work, research or experience has imparted a wealth of knowledge on the subject, which she has delivered with careful thought and compassion.
J.K Hogan shaped my heart around these two troubled souls, it’s not your stereotypical romance but it’s definitely a page turner you do not want to miss. I loved it!
Cameron Fox is a 27-year-old former child TV star turned lead singer of his family’s popular teen-targeted band, Firefox, until they kick him out after getting into a car accident caused by him drinking and driving. Fortunately, the injuries to both him and those in the car he hits are minor, but it’s still a DUI. His sentence: one year in a work-release program at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility. Jonah Ridley is a 23-year-old successful author who still suffers from the effects of a serious childhood trauma. The effects cause the need for him to commit himself frequently and voluntarily to Riverbend, because he fears being left free would result in his hurting himself or others. The bond the two men form when they meet in the hospital is instantaneous and strong, as is their mutual attraction, but just sharing a common pain can never be enough to be more than just friends.
The majority of the novel deals with the mental issues the two men have. Without giving away too much of the story, Jonah’s stem from being kidnapped and witnessing terrible things as a young child and are definitely the worse of the two. They cause him to hallucinate and experience dissociative episodes, though his symptoms are not constant. They manifest themselves in a cyclic fashion, twice a year for several weeks, almost like clockwork, and then he’s fine for a while. But this makes it feel even more like he’s out of control of his life. He compensates by being a recluse. Cameron’s life has always been planned for him, even as an adult in the band. His father managed all the important aspects of his life, including setting him up for public dates with women (despite the fact that Cameron is gay.) As one might expect, he acts out as a result of this and suffers from depression from feeling like he’s living a lie.
Cameron is essentially an employee of the hospital because of his sentence, but he is also required to attend counseling. The employee thing poses a problem for his and Jonah’s friendship when it becomes apparent that they are attracted to each other, and this forbidden aspect turns the story into a long, slow burn and does cause a bit of drama in the book.
And this is a long book, but it doesn’t feel long or intentionally drawn out. The writing is quite beautiful, and the author isn’t afraid to use some $5 words (I like a book that makes me consult a dictionary a few times.) I will say, though, that if you aren’t at all interested in reading about mental illness or hospitals, this book probably isn’t for you, even though there are none of the ugly things you think of that often appear in books, movies, and TV shows set in insane asylums.
Jonah and Cameron make a good pairing. Even though their situations are vastly different (except perhaps their daddy issues, but that’s all I’ll say about it to prevent spoiling), they share a common goal. And they both realize they have to make the decision to help themselves before they can help each other, let alone be together. It’s a beautiful process once it starts, and once they’re together, it’s clear they were meant to be.
In addition to the main characters, the book also contains a bevy of secondary characters that add a lot of richness to the story. In my opinion, this fact also helped prevent the problem of forgetting whose perspective was being used while reading the book, because during the first two-thirds of the story, Jonah and Cameron interacting with each other alone relatively infrequently, thereby allowing the author to establish the two identities solidly before they were both out of the institution and could be together all the time.
Overall, because of the subject matter of Strong Medicine, it is not an easy or light read. While it isn’t a “mind-fuck” book, it does deal with mental illness in a serious and realistic fashion, so if this is a trigger for you, be forewarned. Fortunately, there isn’t anything truly ugly here, except perhaps for what happened to Jonah as a child, but when it comes time to relate the details, the author handles it in a smooth and elegant way. This style of book also means it’s not often gushy or over-the-top romantic. That being said, they do get their happily-ever-after, and how they get there is quite satisfying. This is a good read for when you’re have the time and energy for something that a little grittier than your average contemporary romance. I really liked it, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Most recent customer reviews
Two broken men.
One, a famous singer. The other, an abused young man.
They meet at a mental hospital.Read more
Author – J.K. Hogan
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 278
Cover – Really nice!Read more