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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2018 Nicky James (P)2020 Nicky James

What listeners say about Shades of Darkness

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Powerful and Raw

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 tush.

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 recipeint 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.

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outstanding

Having read Shades of Darkness a while back, it was great to visit with Rory and Adrian again.

Story: In this book we meet Rory Gallagher who lives in the darkness. He has a fear of light in all forms, which now rules his life. After his best friend's insistence, he contacts a 24hour counselling centre and meets Adrian Anderson, a psychology student.
Nicky James writes mental health books like no other author. She not only entertains with her books, but educates as well. I always feel like I'm wrung dry after her books. She writes about sensitive topics, that others shy away from, with the respect that they deserve. Nicky James writes from the heart and always takes me on a journey of discovery.

Narration: Adam Gold did an phenomenal job bringing the characters to life. It was easy to identify the voices of each character. The narration was expressive and I felt that Adam Gold captured the emotions of the story beautifully.
I know the author was worried that the narrator wouldn't encapsulate Krew's character, but hearing Krew, this is exactly how I imagined him in my head.

Another "gold-en" performance!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator and author are a stellar duo

When you pair the writing of Nicky James and the narration gifts of Adam Gold the result is an outstanding audiobook. This one is no exception. Deep emotions, a paralyzing phobia and unrelenting bullying provide a rich listening experience. Don’t miss this one.

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Pretty good, not as good as the 1st one

I really really enjoyed the first book in the series (Owls slumber), but this one didn't do it for me. The narration was great, but the plot line wasn't the best. The phobia to me just seemed so unrealistic and I didn't get the emotional reaction as I did with the first one.

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👓🍹 I totally recommend!👓🍹

Adrian and Rory's story is different to say the least. Two people in need of each other to bring them to life, away from the darkness that others' hate pulled them into. And in case of Rory that is literally the way he was living his life. It was creative the way the author gave reasons for his condition. I was caught off guard. I did not see that one coming. There were many moments of surprises in their story. I was completely at awe with the way the narrator read their story. All the characters' voices were unique. He performed an amazing job. That brought this amazing story life. I so highly recommend. Enjoy! 👓🍹

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Even in darkness, one can find love and happiness!

It had been a while since I read Rory and Adrian's story. I loved the way Adam Gold brought those character's to life for me. I enjoy my time reading and imaging how these men sound. So when I know a book I love is on audio and being read, especially by narrator's such as Adam Gold, I rush to get them.

Adam brought their world to me. I fell in love with both Rory and Adrian all over again. I also felt the pain again with Rory, his frustration over his limitations. I got angered over the treatment of Adrian and the awful things that had been done to him.

Krew, how I missed his sassy, in your face, and the most caring friend to have. I was thrilled with how Adam brought his character alive.

I absolutely enjoyed going back to their story and Adam did an amazing job bringing their story alive.

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Hands down my favorite of this series

I love the Trials of Fear series and this story was one of my favorites. Having a child who was bullied it hit home for me. Watching Rory suffer for years and develop a huge phobia was so hard to read. The way Adrian drew him out of his shell and want to start trying was beautiful. Bonus is that we get to meet the awesome Krew in this story. Nicky James books have always touched my heart so deeply and this is one of the best. Being able to listen to the words brought the characters to life in such a deep way. Great narration!

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Unique, emotional, and romantic

Adrian and Rory's struggles ripped my heart out in this audio. I felt their fear, pain, and humiliation so vividly in this story that sometimes I felt like screaming from the sheer agony of it all. Adam Gold transported me into these characters' lives, and his expressive narration gripped me by the heart as I was listening to all the ups and downs of their journey.

In terms of the actual story, it was difficult for me to listen all the way through without raging at the cruelty of humanity. The bullying Adrian dealt with made me feel sick to my stomach, and every time something good happened to him all I could do was wait to see how his roommates would spoil it. I was expecting the main conflict in this story to deal with Rory's heliophobia, but Adrian's own issues felt much more troubling and weighty at times. Part of me doesn't understand why Adrian never stood up for himself--the fact that he lived with these people for four entire years sent chills down my spine when I found out. I know his parents weren't exactly helpful when he needed a sounding board, but the thought of such a pure, gentle spirit getting crushed by bullies for so long filled me with equal parts rage and sadness. I think my own intense emotions are what made me so disappointed that the bullies didn't get the harsh punishment they deserved by the end of this story. I understand that's just the harsh reality of life, but every cell in my body was itching to make those guys pay for what they did to Adrian.

Rory's part of the story was no less heartbreaking to uncover, but seeing him seek help for his issues and confide the whole truth in Adrian softened the jagged harshness of what happened to him. Don't get me wrong--when he finally confessed the graphic details that led to his phobia, I wanted to throw up. The one bright spot from the very start of this story was Krew. I was suspicious of his dramatics at first, but he quickly elevated himself from "okay sidekick" to "best BFF ever". His unwavering support of Rory and easy acceptance of Adrian made me smile, and I'm seriously hoping we see more of him in future books.

Those who are expecting Rory to be "cured" of his phobia will probably be disappointed by the epilogue, but I actually really appreciated the realism. Mental health isn't binary, and phobias can't be turned on and off with the flip of a switch. At the end of the epilogue, I could see leaps and bounds of progress from Rory's side, and his and Adrian's future looks brighter than ever.

**I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this book. This review expresses my honest thoughts and opinions.

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Loved it

This book/ audio was absolutely amazing. I was drawn into the story from the beginning. Nicky James does an amazing job with this phobia. It is very interesting to learn about as well. This was my first time listening to Adam Gold and he did an amazing job.

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Even Better on Audio!!!

I loved tis book so much when I read it a year and a half ago, and the audio took an already incredible book and made it even better. I wish I could give more than 5 stars. 

First, let's talk about the story. I think I say this in every review I write for Nicky James, but boy can she write. I just get completely immersed in the story and the characters she creates every single time. Rory and Adrian...sigh...they were just incredible.  Both struggling with life in different ways--Adrian with feeling accepted and fitting in and dealing with horrible bullying; Rory dealing with a phobia to all light due to a traumatic incident in his past and living in a world of darkness, both literally and figuratively.   Their paths cross at first in a professional manner and then they realize there is so much more there and slowly start to develop a friendship and then a romance.  It was a captivating story filled with sadness, struggles, challenges, friendship, loyalty, and love.  My heart broke for them at times and my heart busted with happiness at times. I was close to tears at what they both had to endure and I was smiling so much as they found happiness with each other that they both deserved so much. It was just such a perfect book!

Now let's talk about the audio. Wow is Adam Gold AMAZING!  He just elevated what I already considered an amazing book into the next stratosphere. He brought Rory and Adrian to life and I could not stop listening.  I kept going back to listen to parts again because they were just so good.  He truly acts out this story capturing all the emotions and all the feelings.  He laughs, sighs, whispers, yells, moans and cries along with the characters, it was phenomenal!  He also brought Krew to life for me, who we meet for the 1st time in this book, but see him again throughout the rest of the series (he even gets his own book later on, which is wonderful). His interpretation of Krew was spot on and done so well.  There is not a single thing I would change about how he narrated this book, it was just perfect! Give this a listen, you will not regret it!

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  • Mandy
  • 11-05-20

Gripping Beautiful & Heartbreaking

Nicky James as done a Fantastic job with this book it pulls you in and doesn't let go and Adam Gold is brilliant at bringing these to life as though your there with them. Rory who suffers fear of sunlight and lives in a dark world after an incident in his teenage years and the only friend he has is Krew who's so cute and brilliant encourages him to seek help and he meets Adrian who's a counseller he's adorable but insecure because he is been bullied with who he shares a house with at college and with what Rory went through these two help each other heal with there shared experiences the pain and anguish what they go through makes you cry Brilliant.

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  • Starwarslover
  • 11-03-20

so good

this was amazing and wonderful.. sexy and interesting... the narrator did a bang up job with the characters and their emotions and personalities.. plus the dark and the light. i love this series and this book!

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  • loveQhuay
  • 11-02-20

Rory and Adrian are life! And Krew ahhh perfect

My sweet, precious Adrian! And my adorable, strong Rory! Oh, and oh! KREW!!!!

This book is one of my favorite in the series and I couldn't wait to finally listen to it on audio - and let me tell you, this was everything and more! Krew isn't the main character but he stole the show every damn time he was on the scene. I don't mind at all, because hey, it's Krew.

The voices were perfect, Adrian was really sweet, Rory just the perfect amount of strongness and cuteness, and Krew with all the sass! Perfectly matching voices. And the way the narrator played with all those little things - he gave us all the emotions perfectly. Just as Nicky wrote the book with the emotions, Adam gave the characters life. They were real. This is how I love my audiobooks- with real emotions in my ear. When I'm able to cry over listening a story, when I'm able to giggle over Krew every time, when I can be there with Adrian and Rory too.

The story itself amazing but with the audio, wow I have no words. Nicky James with Adam Gold is the perfect combination ever.

HIHGLY RECOMMEND THIS AUDIO.

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  • H. Spanarella
  • 10-28-20

Amazing!

This was an amazing audio. Adam Gold is one of my very favorite narrators because his narrations are just next level. They are almost an immersive experience when listening to him bring books alive. Once again he’s done a wonderful job bringing Nicky James’s words to life. He was so amazing in bringing Rory and Adrian (not to mention Krew) to life for me. Adam Gold hit the many emotional peaks of the story for Rory and Adrian. I could feel the anguish that Rory faced when he wasn’t able to venture out of his house due to his heliophobia; and that Rory faced when bullied by his roommates. This was such an emotionally wonderful read as each man faced their own fears that made them feel trapped. The emotional connection that Rory and Adrian shared together was so moving. My heart broke for Rory for his past, which led him down this six year life without sunlight and then artificial light. The support Adrian provided for him to grow was so touching. I absolutely loved this story and I cannot wait to listen to this whole series come to life!

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  • AL
  • 10-26-20

A-MA-ZING!

Story: From the first minutes, the narration style and the story had me completely hooked! I loved the emotional way the story was told and how raw it all felt. There was no sugarcoating here and the dose of angst was just right!
Second in the series, the book delivers the same quality as part one in terms of writing craft and compelling characters!

Narration: A very soulful, deep voice, that fit the book just right! The characters were easy to tell apart and the performance was flawless.

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  • Katie townsend
  • 10-24-20

absolutely fantastic and beautiful performance

listening to adam gold bring rory and adrian to life was so beautiful i loved every minute

my heart broke with all the feels that was in this journey

the story was moving inspirational and powerful