Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: August 31st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Stacey Lorenzo has finished treatment, but is still devastated by her past as she enters college. With drugs and alcohol so readily available, so much freedom, and barely any supervision, Stacey falls back into old habits. Soon it’s a daily dose of partying, self-medicating, and having sex with lots of different guys. As her relationship with Eli destructs, she falls for Jesse, who just so happens to be a drug dealer. Every time she starts to fall back into the memories of her past, Jesse makes it easy to snort away the pain.
But she snorts too much one night; it forces her to question the man she loves and acknowledge her mental and emotional instability. In the second installment of The Barren Series, Stacey must overcome her addiction and make peace with her past if she is ever to be truly happy again.
5 out of 5 stars
Roller coaster of Emotions
When I received an invitation to review this book, I considered it very carefully as the theme of drug abuse is one I don’t take lightly. So I confess I was apprehensive as I started reading it because Stacey kept using drugs to compensate for her insecurities and anxieties and I feared this idea might hold some allure to young people like her. I didn’t want the story to go in that direction. However, Elizabeth Miceli does a great job of keeping the story realistic, sometimes frighteningly so, and Consumed becomes a warning tale rather than one glorifying drugs. Having watched close family members, very dear ones, struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, for what seemed like endless years and losing some of them in the end, I cannot bear it when drug abuse is treated as something less than what it is: a life-and-death issue.
My personal experience with drug addicts led me to highlight too passages of Consumed. I won’t write specifics about who says those things, or when, because they’d be spoilers, which I don’t like writing or reading. So forgive me for not providing a complete reference here:
First – “When I look at you I see a million amazing qualities. I wish you could see that”. Anyone who’s ever dealt with a loved one suffering from low self-esteem knows how true this idea is and how often it represents their struggle. The most frustrating part is when you know this factor is a huge contributor in that person’s addiction. That’s how it is in real life and that’s what Ms. Miceli so skillfully writes about in Consumed. And this is only a tiny example of her qualities as an author.
Second – “Trying to recover. Trying to be happy. Trying to live”. If you’ve had a chance to follow someone’s path from drug abuse to treatments to relapse and to recovery, like I have, then you can appreciate the truth in those three simple yet complex sentences. They’re simply structured; but they carry such complex ideas. A drug addict’s fight for survival is a constant struggle to recover, to find what makes them happy, so that they can have real a chance at living. Elizabeth Miceli deals with those profound truths honestly, which makes her book brutally beautiful at times and definitely gutsy.
Be warned though that Consumed isn’t a light read. Stacey’s journey will make you want to slap her, cuddle her, shake some sense into her, cheer her up, and a myriad of other conflicting feelings. In my book, that means her story is so well told you forget you can’t smack or hug a fictional character. That’s a clue as to the author’s talent in character development. Not only Stacey comes across as a realistic character, but all the others as well. However, know that when characters are realistic it often means they aren’t picture perfect. After all, who is in real life, right?
Finally, the sex scenes are an important part of the story. They’re well written, but also quite detailed. As a writer of erotic romances, I can deal with lots of hot action; although, I prefer when they’re intrinsically connected to the story. That’s the case here. Besides, Stacey’s behavior towards sex reflects a lot of her personal struggles with self-image, overcoming past traumas, and dealing with her own choices. As readers, knowing how Stacey feels about sex and her sexual partners helps us understand her a little better.
For taking me on a wild roller coaster ride of emotions, I rate Consumed as a five-star story.
Elizabeth hails from the smallest state with the biggest heart. She started off at The University of Akron and then transferred to the University of Rhode Island. She is a Human Development and Family Studies major and a Psychology minor. Although she loves writing- she also has a passion for helping others which is why she is studying to become a sex therapist/couples counselor. Elizabeth loves spending time with her family and friends, singing, eating everything Italian, and baking cookies. She is “in love with love” which is probably why the driving force in almost everything she writes is romance. When she’s not getting lost in her characters she can be found waiting for her prince charming in her North Kingstown, Rhode Island home