Tag Archives: anxiety

Blog Tour: First Priority by Este Holland

First Priority | Este Holland

Priorities Series #1

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Release Date: 17.10.19

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Blurb

Adam

Meeting an A-list movie star like Truman James wasn’t part of my life plan, but neither was temporarily living with my bully of a stepbrother. Being hit on by said celebrity definitely hadn’t been planned.

I wasn’t up for wild parties or talking in front of cameras, so why did I find myself answering Truman’s phone calls and texts? Even more confusing, why did I go on a date with the man?

Beating my social anxiety wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, and avoiding the stubborn actor was even harder, so when I was thrust into the spotlight, there was only one thing I could do…

Run.

Truman

From the moment I set eyes on Adam Hendrix at my Oscar party, I was enraptured. His sweet demeanor and pretty-boy looks captured my heart from the start, and I refused to let Adam get away.

I never intended to out Adam to the media, but that’s exactly what I did. So, when the paparazzi began to swarm, I did the only thing I could to protect Adam… I whisked him away to a place no one could get to him.

Safe on the little island I loved, I let my guard down and showed Adam the real me. The one only a few people in the world know.

But will it be enough to make him stay? Will I be enough to make him happy?

This is a MM contemporary romance; alpha/nerd; low angst novel. Trigger warning for some bullying.

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Excerpt

I was in Truman James’s car, driving west to Malibu. I’d only been there twice in my life to go to the beach with some people in college. It was a nice place, and nowhere near my stratosphere of everyday life.

What the hell was I doing there? Was Truman really that pigheaded that he couldn’t take no for an answer? If I thought for one second I’d be able to handle the media or his rich lifestyle, I’d feel like a million bucks. As it was, I felt like a little kid sitting on plastic furniture in Grandma’s formal parlor, not allowed to touch a thing. Truman hadn’t told me not to touch anything; I’d imposed that rule upon myself because I was terrified I’d break some priceless work of art or some expensive piece of electronics.

Stomach aching with nerves, I blurted, “Let’s go somewhere else.”

Truman started at my outburst. “Like where? I’m not exactly inconspicuous.”

I took our general location into consideration. “Turn off at the next exit and head toward Pasadena.”

Truman glanced over at me with a pensive frown.

“What?” I asked.

“It just occurred to me that I really don’t know you very well. Are you planning on putting me in some compromising situation, taking photos, and selling them to the tabloids?” He waited a beat, then gave me a shit-eating grin.

I smacked his arm with the back of my hand. “Very funny.” Although it kind of wasn’t. It wasn’t hard to imagine people doing that to him, and it almost made me feel sorry for him. Almost.

About The Author

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Este Holland is a writer and reader of all things Romance. She’s also a treasure hunter, a word wizard, a lover, and a fighter. She was born and raised in WV and now lives in Virginia. She works in marketing during the day. She began writing novels in 2012.

Social Media

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www.esteholland.com

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I’m totally on board with this musical romance

Summer of HushSummer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was in two minds about accepting this ARC request for a number of reasons, not least because it was about the metal scene and I’m seriously picky when it comes to that particular genre 😉 and also because I was a journalist who did a lot of music reviewing during my career.

But let me state here and now for the record that I’m fully on board with The Summer Of Hush because I really enjoyed this excellent examination of life on the road with a metal band.

There is a lot of depth to this narrative especially considering it takes place over a relatively short time period.

Both Silas and Krish are likeable characters and I loved that this was an interracial romance and that Krish’s Indian heritage wasn’t overlooked.

I will say that it didn’t hit 5* for me only because I didn’t really think the angsty bits for why they couldn’t be together actually made much sense.

And by that, I mean there was an additional weight given to the fact Krish hadn’t come clean about being The Guru that I didn’t feel was given enough time to sink in as to why it would be an issue – him being a sort of journalist, him not telling the truth when he found out Silas was a big fan – but they’d literally met like two days earlier.

The second reason was that it felt like I’d stumbled into a series without having read the other books, which isn’t the case as this is book one.

But there’s loads of background stuff which has happened and which is constantly referenced or coming back up in the plot that it seemed like I should have read a Prologue first.

Having said that, it never spoiled what was going on with Silas and Krish and it set up lots of possibilities for more books and yes, I definitely want to know what’s going on with Brains and Paul, as well as Jordan’s baby brother Jake and sullen guitarist Burke.

My first book from this author but not, I suspect, my last.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: Not Gonna Lie by S. M. James

Not Gonna Lie | S. M. James

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Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Release Date: May 16, 2019

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 85,000 words/ 400 pages

Buy Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

At this year’s Webcon, nothing will stay secret for long.

Everyone has their secrets.

Last year Digi walked out on Webcon, on his fans, and on Gram.

Now he’s back determined to give what they had a real shot, but Gram is more prickly than ever, not willing to risk his heart again.

Despite trying to stay out of the spotlight, the anonymous Public Service Announcements draw Digi back in. As the secrets of the internet’s top celebrities are leaked to the world, it’s only a matter of time before Digi and Gram are next.

To get through it, they have to set their rivalry aside.

Will Digi handle the pressure of the bright lights long enough to find who is tearing their world apart? Or will the threat of full exposure be too much for him to handle?

Not Gonna Lie is a standalone story within the #lovehim series.

There’s also the novella prequel (To Be Continued, book 6).

It will show you where it all began for Gram and Digi.

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Excerpt

Gram tosses his cell phone onto the bed between us. Playing along, I grab his phone and check the screen, and the selfie we took last night stares back at me. I smile, we both look relaxed and totally comfortable, even though my hand on his thigh had me buzzed in that exact moment.

I set my mug down and toss the phone back to Gram before rolling onto my side. “Reminds me of when we used to vlog together.”

He stares at the photo for a minute. “Yeah. It does. Did you see the comments?”

“Nope.”

“Turns out, people are still insanely curious about where you’ve been for the last year.”

“Eh. Why?”

“Because you disappeared, Digi. You were one of the biggest vloggers and then you were gone. All those comments are asking about you. So … let’s collab.”

“What?”

“Well we’re friends, aren’t we? I haven’t lined up any guest vloggers yet, and if you do this with me, I won’t have to.”

“Yeah, no. I’m not doing that anymore.”

“I’m not saying you have to go back to it, but this will give you a chance to tell your piece, then everyone will stop speculating and you can go back to whatever the bloody hell you’ve been doing.”

I scrunch up my face, not real interested in the idea. “I dunno, Gram. I like being able to come here and not be hassled. If I do that, I’m opening the door on everyone thinking they can stick their noses back into my life.”

He sighs. “I can’t say I don’t understand. And it is your choice though.” Gram watches me, completely unguarded for a change. There’s no tension in his face, and it’s the way I like him best.

“Hey, remember that time we snuck off while our moms were on a panel, and went to that dolphin place?”

“Oh yeah …” His gaze goes unfocused and I know he’s remembering that day. “Yeah, that was amazing.”

It was. We’d spent the whole day there, participating in the training sessions and swimming around. Gram hadn’t started dying his hair at that point, and I can still picture the way he kept pushing his black bangs back off his face.

His gaze flicks to me and away again. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

I blink, noting how wide my smile stretches. “I just felt real close to you that day.”

“Probably because you kept hugging me.”

“I think that’s when we first really became friends.”

“When I first realized I’d never be rid of you.” He pretends to cringe, but doesn’t do enough to cover the affectionate tone.

“When I first realized I never wanted to be rid of you,” I counter, knowing he won’t expect it.

He sighs. “You just say whatever is on your mind, don’t you?”

“Sometimes. Unlike you. You never say what’s on your mind.”

“I do when it’s important.”

“So tell me what you’re thinking now.”

“Well that’s easy, I’m thinking I’m going to be late.”

The smile drops from my face as I glance at the time. “You don’t have to go yet.”

“You know my schedule, do you?”

“I just … I mean, you can hang out for a bit longer if you wanna. We can order breakfast up here. You won’t have to worry about fans interrupting that way.” I’m just throwing out words at this point, but his schedule doesn’t start for another two hours and he’s clearly ready. There’s no reason he has to race off, right?

“I thought you were tired,” he says.

“Not anymore.”

He’s frowning at the bed and it takes him a bit to answer, like he’s trying to come up with an excuse to go. “I told my mother I’d eat with her …”

“You get to see her any old time. We’re only here for two more days, Gram. Would you really deny me your company?”

He laughs despite clearly trying to hold it back, and shoves my shoulder. “Okay, fine. Just stop.”

“Stop what?”

“Being so needy.”

I shrug, sitting up so I’m facing him. “What can I say? I like attention.”

“Tch. No you don’t.”

“I like your attention.”

Gram frowns, wide mouth falling into a pout. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were flirting with me, Digi Lynch.”

I blink, eyebrows pulling up. Flirting with him? Am I? I replay my words over, and actually, I think I might be. Huh. “Would that be a bad thing?”

“It would be a strange thing.” He’s still looking at me odd, so I leave him to be confused and pick up the room phone to order our breakfast.

Gram settles back against the pillows, long legs stretched over the bed and crossed at the ankles. He’s not too much shorter than I am, but he seems smaller. Maybe it’s the over-excitable personality he puts on for his vlogs, or the way his delicate face scrunches when he’s trying to be mean. I could scoop him up easily, like I did when we took that photo, and I’m hit with the impulse to do it again.

I grin as I imagine how surprised he’d be if I just grabbed him and pulled him close. I dunno want I’d do when I got him there—hug him for sure, but maybe … maybe he’d let me kiss him again?

“I’m sorry for shaving your eyebrows off,” he says suddenly, glancing over at me.

“Gram that was two years ago.”

“But I didn’t apologize.”

“You didn’t, but like I care now.”

“They’ve never grown back properly though, have they?”

I rub a hand over my eyebrows. “They’re a bit of a mess.”

“They make you look permanently bewildered.”

I laugh, lying on my side so I’m facing him. “To be fair, I feel like I don’t know much of what’s going on anyway.”

“You are adorably vague.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Gram screws his mouth up to the side, but his eyes light up, and it’s all I need to know that he’s definitely flirting with me too.

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Member of SCBWI.

Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBT+ characters.

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Release Blitz: You. Forever. Always by K.A. Merikan

You. Forever. Always. |  K.A. Merikan

The Underdogs #3

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Buy Links:

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Genre: Contemporary MM, Rocker, Romance

Heat level: sweet, explicit scenes

Length: ~50,000 words (Can be read as standalone, HEA)

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

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Blurb

—Years of loving in secret. Now the secret’s out.—

Mage. Reasonable. Mature. In love with his best friend’s little brother.

Dawn. Painfully shy. Crazy talented. An anxious cinnamon roll in need of protection.

Mage has always been Dawn’s hero. He’s been there for him when Dawn was bullied, when Dawn came out, and when he joined The Underdogs. He’s also been Dawn’s first and only love – painfully unrequited, since Mage is straight. But that’s only for the better, because they’re bandmates, and Dawn’s brother is Mage’s best friend.

It would all be too intense, too complicated, too real.

But then one drunken kiss proves Mage might not be as straight as he seemed, and their whole world turns upside down. Even though Dawn craves Mage’s love so much his heart could burst, his shyness stands in the way of any future they could share.

While they have to keep their budding relationship under wraps and they prepare to sign a major record deal, Dawn’s anxiety gets out of control. Mage will have to choose between the success he’s always craved and the love of his life.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Themes: rock band, bandmates romance, older brother’s best friend, coming out, bisexuality, first love, anxiety, compromise, music, secret love

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Underdogs Series

Book #1:

Manic Pixie Dream BoyAmazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2:

Just Here For The PainAmazon US | Amazon UK

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About The Authors

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, Mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

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M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN


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Book Blitz: Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder

Letting Go of Gravity | Meg Leder

Published by: Simon Pulse

Publication date: July 17th 2018

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Parker struggles to reconnect with her twin brother, Charlie—who’s recovering from cancer—as she tries to deal with her anxiety about the future in this powerful new novel.

Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.

Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.

Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.

Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.

And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got cancer. Parker didn’t.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling.

And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.

“The anticipation and slow burn of Parker and Finn’s relationship is electric…[an] absorbing novel that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell.” —Booklist

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GUEST POST by MEG LEDER

In my new book Letting Go of Gravity, my main character Parker struggles with anxiety, even though she doesn’t quite know what’s going on until the end of the book. As someone who also has a hard time getting out of her own head, like Parker, I’ve discovered a few ways to help manage my busy mind.

Here are some of the tricks Parker and I have used to calm ourselves:

  • Immerse yourself in the words of others. For Parker, it’s listening to Taylor Swift. For me, it’s finding a book that I can lose myself in. Sometimes, the mere act of letting yourself spend time with other voices is enough to give your worried mind a break.
  • Get busy. In my book, Parker starts helping out at a local ceramics shop, working with a group of old women while discovering the joy of making things with her own two hands. For me, it’s writing and being a reading buddy at a local elementary school. Creating and volunteering are both great ways of slowing the worry train, letting your mind focus on other avenues.
  • Be kind to yourself. It’s very easy to be mad at yourself when you’re anxious. You know that you’re not thinking rationally, but that doesn’t stop the anxious thoughts. But being mad at yourself doesn’t help you feel better—in fact, it makes Parker (and me) feel worse. Instead of being hard on yourself, be kind. You can’t always stop the thoughts, but you can at recognize that anxiety is hard and you’re doing the best you can.
  • Talk to your friends and family. Throughout the book, Parker’s new friends Ruby and Finn encourage her to talk about her feelings, and it’s only when she starts to tell people that she’s worried and scared that things start to get better. I’ve found that being open about my worried thoughts with people I trust—my family, my best friends, my therapist—is often the first step toward owning and overcoming my anxiety.
  • Know that it’s okay to seek help. It takes Parker a long time (a whole book!) to recognize she needs help in managing her worry. It took me twenty-plus years. More than anything, I hope that anyone who sees a little or a lot of themselves in Parker knows it’s okay to ask for help, whether it’s from a teacher, trusted adult, therapist, or good friend. Anxiety can be a hard road, but having someone on your side can make the journey a lot easier.

I hope you enjoy Letting Go of Gravity, and if you’re anxious too, please know you’re not alone—Parker and I are both with you.

Author Bio:

A former bookseller and teacher, Meg Leder currently works as a book editor in New York City. Her role models are Harriet the Spy and Anne Shirley.

She is the coauthor of The Happy Book, and spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Just took the spot as my favourite Garrett Leigh book

Soul to Keep (Rented Heart, #2)Soul to Keep by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is my favourite Garrett Leigh book. I don’t know what, exactly, about the book makes me say that, but I just know that as I was reading it, my heart felt full and my head was quiet and calm as it absorbed the growing love between Jamie and Marc.

And oh did they need each other. As with any book from this supremely talented author, there is such a driving need for finding peace with what life has thrown at you. Both Jamie and Marc had such scars, not only the visible ones crossing their bodies, but the mental ones which are the hardest to come to terms with.

One of my friends has said she feels wrung out and sad after reading a Garrett Leigh book, but for me, I have the exact opposite result. Yes, the subject matter is always brutally real, but I am always left with an overwhelming sense of hope.

Her men are always left in a better place, even if they still have demons to live with, than they were at journey’s start. Her men always manage to find the one person in the world who understands them, who can bring them a sense of peace and of belonging. They learn how to live with their troubles, even knowing they will never be fixed or free of them.

You can’t cure an addict, no matter what they’re addicted to, but you can give them the tools to learn to live with it to their best ability and in Soul to Keep, we see Jamie slowly come to terms with the knowledge that he doesn’t have to spend his life as if spiders are crawling all over his skin all the time.

The relationship between Jamie and Marc is very much slow burn, and it has to be, both of them have pasts which have irrevocably changed them and trust is something which takes time to build but let me say, when they finally do break through the barriers of what’s going on in their heads, the resulting sex scene might be one of the most emotionally powerful (and volcanically hot) I’ve read in a book from Garrett.

I adored every single bit of this book and there’s a little piece of my heart that fervently hopes that Jamie and Marc really do exist in their little bit of Derbyshire and they’re happily getting along with their lives in Chesterfield General’s A&E department and the food project kitchen 🙂

Oh, secondary characters – yes, another wonderfully drawn collection, one of whom is utterly real even though he only ever is described off page and I seriously hope Garrett is going to give us Nat and Connor’s story even though they’re together in this one. I’d love to know how the SAS CO and the journalist got together.

And, a final thought, big props to Garrett for the research into the special forces which is hinted and obliquely referenced here. As someone with an uncle who was once based in Hereford, all aspects of that side of this story felt very real.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

All the gushing and fangirling, as with all my favourite authors, is done completely off my own bat 😉

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