Review: Opium Skies by C.M. Radcliff

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

How many books have you read that feature your own hometown? I can think of two and Opium Skies is one of them. It’s not too often that Arizona is featured as a locale in books so when I realized this one was AND an area I am very familiar with, it makes it that much more fun to imagine the story going along in your head.

But this isn’t an easy story, it’s a tale about a boy and a girl who fall in love and are torn down to their fibers by addiction. If you’ve ever experienced addiction yourself or have known people that have, then you will have some idea of how this story goes.

Hadley is an amazingly strong young woman who lost her mother and has just driven away from home to attend her first year of college at Arizona State University. She has a bit of a Xanax addiction and lives the party life, but she seems to have herself under control. Working to become a nurse and help people after the loss of her mom, she walks into the school year with no expectations. She quickly makes a best friend and meets a seriously dangerous and handsome young man.

Ander is the epitome of college boy material with confidence and good looks to rival anyone. But his dangerous air makes Hadley nervous although she can’t deny the push and pull they have to one another. You’ll get caught up and enjoy the heated romance that brings them together and the way they are protective of one another even though they just met. But this kind of attachment and attraction only makes the harder times feel that much harder.

What I think I loved most about this book was that it really showed a good glimpse of how easy it is to succumb to addiction and how hard it can be to watch someone struggle with it. All you want to do is help them and you think that you can all on your own, but it’s never that simple. The addition of Hadley’s best friend Sloane brings a nice rounded perspective to the entire story, allowing Hadley to have someone to talk to, if she wants, about the things going on in her life. While Ander doesn’t really have any one like that. He lives a closed off life and thinks he can take care of himself. Except that Hadley quickly becomes his grounded center and all he can think about is her.

The ending of this book hurt my heart, but in a way that it was meant to. You become attached to the characters and their well being and when things don’t quite turn out the way you expect them to, it hurts. I’m looking forward to the next installment in this series to see where Radcliff takes the story and what’s in the cards for Hadley and Ander.

See below for all the information you’ll need about this book and if you’re interested, give it a try. Those that are triggered by drug usage and the effects of drugs, I wouldn’t recommend reading this.

  • Title: Opium Skies
  • Series: In Vein #1
  • Author: C.M. Radcliff
  • Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
  • Release Date: October 29, 2020


Life is full of variables.
We crave control, but in reality, we have very little.

I left home with a plan: get the full college experience and pass my classes.
But that all changed when I met him.
Ander was the last thing I needed.
He was never part of my plan.
He was the one variable in my life that I could never control.

And we were destined for destruction.


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My eyes fly open and I glance at the door, meeting his stormy blue eyes. 

“What the fuck are you doing, Hadley?” Ander barks as his entire body consumes the doorway. Everyone in the room freezes, glancing between the two of us.

Narrowing my eyes, I hold his gaze, challenging him as I slide the rolled-up bill across the surface of the dresser, deeply inhaling the bright white powder. My eyes never leave Ander’s as I drop the bill onto the dresser and stand upright, sniffing harder. Ander steps into the room, his entire presence consumes every inch of the space. The two guys in the room instinctively step back, knowing better than to get in his way right now.

Ander’s eyes are honed in on mine and they burn with the deepest shades of blue. A complete contradiction to the storm that brews within his expression. He stops in front of me, reaching out and grabs my chin. Tilting my head to look back at him, he leans in, his lips just barely touching mine.

“You wanna play like that, little girl?” He breathes against my lips as a sinister smile pulls on the corners of his lips. “Game on.”

Quickly releasing me, Ander nudges me to the side and plucks the rolled-up bill from the wood surface. Crossing my arms over my chest, I watch him, slightly amused as he leans over the dresser. Within a matter of seconds, he inhales the remaining lines left and stands back to look at me.

His pupils are already constricted, but I watch as they transform into just small dots, with his blue irises consuming them. Ander looks down at me with a sly grin playing on his lips, waiting for me to make the next move.

Abruptly grabbing me by the throat, he pulls me flush against him. My breath catches in my throat. His touch burns against my skin and the blazing fire settles throughout my body, mixing with the euphoria from the Oxy and everything else in my system.

Heat spreads from my stomach and a warmth creeps between my legs as he leans closer, his warm breath skating across my face. Just as his lips are about to capture mine, he ducks his head to the side, pressing his lips against my ear.

“Ball’s in your court, babe,” he breathes, his words only meant for me to hear and lightly squeezes my throat. “Your move.”


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C.M. Radcliff lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two demon children. Known as the Psycho Queen, she speaks fluent sarcasm, dark humor, and has the mouth of a sailor. If she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably on an adventure with her little family.


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