Tag Archives: Mental health

Release Blitz: Bring Me Home by Nicola Haken

Bring Me Home | Nicola Haken

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Release Date: October 11th, 2021

Cover Design: Golden Czermak at FuriousFotog

Universal Link: https://bit.ly/3alAccc

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58914491-bring-me-home

READ MY REVIEW

Bring Me Home Ebook Cover

Blurb

Hugo Hayes has it all; the voice, the money, the looks. Adored by fans all over the world, there’s nothing more he could ever wish for. Or so it appears. But no one sees what happens off stage. Nobody knows where he came from, what he goes through, where he’s heading…

Except the girl he left behind. She’ll know. She always did.

Helen Jenkins is starting over. Back on the diet and heading for a career change, it’s time to stop wallowing in the past and give up missing the best friend who traded her in for fame and glory eight years ago. Harder than it sounds when his image and voice seem to follow her wherever she goes…

Harder still when he appears at her front door one rainy spring night.

Hugo is falling. After all these years, will Helen still be prepared to catch him before the inevitable crash? Or has he lost the only home he’s ever known, forever?

Bring Me Home Teaser 1

Excerpt

We had to wait for the cameras to capture an appropriate amount of applause before someone shouted, “Cut!” and when they did, I was outta that chair before the word had finished leaving their mouth. I stormed from the set, ripping the mic pack from my back, eyes focused on my target.

Drew.

He raised his hands in a protective stance, his mouth melting into an apologetic frown.

“Don’t ever do that to me again,” I barked, shoving the mic pack into his chest. I didn’t wait around to listen to his excuses or apologies. I needed out. Out of the studio, out of the heat, the whole fucking building. I barged past crew members, blustered through mazes of corridors lined with framed photos of stars from the various TV shows produced here, until I found a set of exit doors.

The rush of air smacking me in the face as I pushed open the double doors felt like breaking the surface of the ocean. Finally, I could breathe again, after being pinned under water for almost an hour, splashing, screaming, begging, too far from the shore for anyone to notice. Outside, I leaned back against a wall, closed my eyes. I had about a minute before hyperventilation set in and I lost control of my senses.

Breathe,I told myself. One, two, three, four…hold… I inhaled slowly, focused on my diaphragm, the vision of it expanding a little more with every breath. One, two, three, four… Box breathing, a therapist had called it back in my high school days. Belly breathing, said another. Sometimes it worked, if I noticed myself slipping in time. Other times, the anxiety flourished so quickly it retained all the power, leaving me helpless. Scared.

“There you are.” I was vaguely aware of Helen’s voice, but I couldn’t distract myself enough to focus on it. “Hugo?”

One, two, three, four…

“It’s okay, Hugo. I’m right here.”

I heard her footsteps come closer. It made my heart rate spike, the nerves under my skin feel like barbed wire. No. Not Helen. If I couldn’t bear Helen’s touch…where did that leave me?

Alone. Forever.

One, two, three, four…

“It’ll be over soon,” Helen whispered, cupping my cheek.

I felt the muscles freeze inside my body. Nausea tore through my stomach. Irritation tightened my lips. “Get off,” I mouthed, teeth gritted. I felt like a bastard, a useless and selfish motherfucker, but I couldn’t stand it. Her skin on my skin. The sound of her breath. “I’m sorry,” I choked out, because I was. Truly fucking sorry. I lovedher…but I couldn’t be near her, couldn’t even look at her. Not yet.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” she said softly, footsteps retreating. She understood. She fucking understood.

Why?Why was she still here? She deserved better than this.

The end befell eventually. Always did. After what could’ve been several minutes or an hour, a sense of calm encircled me, floated from above like weightless chiffon and moulded itself to my body. Breathing became natural again. I could smell the brine from the canal that ran the length of the studios and beyond. I could hear Helen…and appreciate her.

My eyes peeled open. “Hey.”

She smiled, though her eyes looked heavy. Sad. “Hey.”

Bring Me Home Collage

About The Author

Born in Manchester, England, Nicola Haken is an author of multiple genre-hopping romance novels, including Bring Me Home, Broken, and Goodbye Kate.

She lives in Rochdale with her husband, four children, and a menagerie of pets, is addicted to Pepsi Max and chicken nuggets, and wishes Harry Styles was her best friend. Like one of her characters, Hugo Hayes, Nicola is autistic, and has battled with her mental health her entire life – winning every time…eventually. With two of her kids also on the spectrum, life can get pretty…interesting!

When she’s not locked in her office playing with her imaginary friends, she can usually be found reading, binge-watching boxsets, or belting out great songs and pretending she doesn’t sound like a cat in distress.

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolahakenauthor

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/NicolaHaken

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolahaken

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nicolahaken

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nicola-haken

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nicolahaken

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/nicolahaken

Website: https://www.nicolahaken.co.uk

Bring Me Home Available Now

Another masterful demonstration of how to write a complex character romance

FallingFMR coverFalling For My Roommate by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When it comes to reviewing a Garrett Leigh book, I always have to think about just what I want to say and how to say it.

That’s because I really believe the best way to experience her stories is to pick them up and read them without much prior knowledge.

She is a master storyteller. She delves deeply into the psyche of humanity, and not just the typical ‘perfect’ alpha specimens but the ones who are the most complicated and in need of understanding.

In Micha, I think she’s possibly hit the ultimate goal for demonstrating how mental health care is so vitally important.

This book also delves deeply into the shitty and reprehensible behaviour of elements of the British media and the staggering fact that – some 30 years after Justin Fashanu became the first top level professional footballer to come out, with ultimately tragic results – there haven’t been any more since.

The pressure cooker of top flight football is difficult to comprehend from the outside, but the fallout of a life being exposed to the tabloids scrutiny is so brilliantly illustrated in this book.

My heart broke for Micah, for the mental turmoil he lived with. Garrett’s books never sugarcoat the seriousness and there’s never any cure by ‘magic dick’.

And Sam, he’s not a white knight saviour who stops all the problems from affecting their life. But I absolutely loved every bit of this down-to-earth Yorkshire lad.

I’ve mentioned in previous reviews how much I love the interconnected nature of the books Garrett writes.

While this one stands alone, it is in the same world as her Lucky series and I appreciated the mention of characters from those books.

So, pick it up and fall into another wonderfully evocative and effortless championing of the need to pay serious attention to mental health issues.

You’ll also fall in love with two different men who are able to work with what life gives them and find their own happiness together.

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

View all my reviews

Release Blitz: Open Water by Sophia Soames

Open Water | Sophia Soames

Scandinavian Comfort #2

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Cover Artist: Miriam Latu

Release Date: July 20, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 99,031 words

Buy Links

Available on KindleUnlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Meet Lukas Myrtengren, Mentor Teacher in Biology and Maths at Östra Real Senior School in Stockholm. He makes sure his students pass his classes. He is hopeless when it comes to men, but is trying to sort his life out. Honestly. He can’t keep living like this.

Meet Tom Andersson. Emergency room doctor and single dad. He has no idea how he has managed to mess up parenthood this bad. He hasn’t meant to, he just hasn’t got a clue how to deal with the son he loves to the point of insanity. He knows that he is drifting out to sea without a paddle, he just doesn’t know how to stop it.

Meet me, Max Andersson. Seventeen. Gay AF. An emotional wreck with no future, no skills and no clue. All I know is that I am in love. Helplessly. Desperately. And unrequited, of course. What else can I expect? It’s not like my life is going to get any better.

Welcome to Open Water.

Author’s Note: 

This is a standalone story and the second book in the Scandinavian Comfort series. These books celebrate love, family and realistic messy lives, threaded with the Scandinavian concept of “Hygge”.

This Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.

Reader Beware

This story is set in Sweden, where the age of consent is 16. The laws are there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity.

There are a multitude of cultural differences described in this story that readers from other parts of the world might find strange or downright amusing, also family practices that not every Scandinavian family would necessarily agree with.

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks and brief non-graphic flashbacks to traumatic events and bullying.

Excerpt

I actually manage to read two of the links before the sound of Dad’s homecoming echoes through the house. Big loud footfalls in the hallway. The swish of his coat being thrown over the banister. Huffing and puffing when he realises that we have no food in the fridge. Zero. We did have a banana, but I ate it. Serves him right for not coming home first.

He comes around the corner with a glass of water in his hand, still weirded out, like he doesn’t know where to look. What to say. Whether he should even step over the threshold.

“Did you eat?” he asks. Taking a gulp of water.

“Banana. We have no food,” I huff back, pretending to tap on the keyboard.

“I can go down to ICA. Get some supplies. What do you want?” He looks really confused. Fiddling with some chipped paint on the doorframe to my room.

“Dad, why did you do whatever you did to Lukas? What did he do?” I slam my laptop shut. I’m curious. Also, whatever he did will give me lots of ammo to use if I need it. Put some pressure on Lukas. Get back at my Dad when I need it. Secrets are good. I’m good at keeping them. I’m also good at using them.

“You will just hate me if I tell you. Some secrets are better kept inside,” he says, looking so fucking sad it almost breaks my heart.

“You never told me much about when you went to Östra Real. Did you do the whole graduation thing?”

“Yeah. I did everything. Student Committee, Student Council. Parties. Hazing. Rode all around town on a tractor trailer whilst drunk and disorderly. All that shit.”

“Cool.”

It is actually. Like my Dad was on the Student Council. And was in the Hazing group. I kind of nod appreciatively. Not that I approve of it, but the kids who run in those groups are like the cool kids. The A-team. People who matter.

“I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” He is still looking sad.

“Are there photos? Did you keep any footage? I mean it must have been twenty years ago, but surely you had cameras?”

“I got rid of them all. I wanted to just kill off who I was. I wasn’t a nice person, Max. I hurt people and I was a fucking idiot.”

“Is that the reason you got rid of the Björklund name, Dad? Because that was what they called you? I heard Simon call you that. Weird.”

“Yeah, partly. I was so scared your Mum would change her mind about giving you up, so I got it removed when you were born, thinking that it would be harder to find us with a more common name. I used to have nightmares of her turning up and snatching you away from me.”

“She gave up her parental rights. Why would she come for me?” I don’t get it. Well, I do. I am the master of overthinking shit and making up drama in my head. Then panicking and freaking out over it.

“She could have changed her mind. Regretted giving you up. I don’t know.” Dad is messing around with his hair again, picking at that chipped paint. Tapping his toes against the carpet.

“So why Lukas?” I need to know why. I mean. It’s intriguing. It’s the kind of story that would make a good script for Drama. I could probably score extra points with Simon just writing all this shit down on paper.

“He was this really cool guy. I mean, he came out during our second year. Just like that, everyone knew and he fucking owned it. This handsome cool dude, who was just who he was. No drama about it. He was a cocky little shit and the girls adored him. There was always this cluster of girls hanging around him and he had these really solid mates who defended him and loved him to bits. I mean, it was almost sickening. He had it all. People thought he was the fucking business. And hell, Max, he was so fucking cute.

Dad stops himself and looks almost panic-stricken. Like he has said something totally wrong. Which it takes me a minute or two to compute.

“Cute?” I say. Fucking hell, Dad.

“Forget it. I am going to ICA. I’ll get meatballs. Or pizza. Or whatever.”

Yeah and a shit-ton of alcohol. Because Dad is freaking out and I almost crash my laptop onto the floor getting my feet tangled in the charging lead, following him out into the hallway.

“Dad. You were in love with him, weren’t you? That’s why you did it. You loved him. Fucking hell, Dad. After all this and you freaking loved him.”

 Little Harbour

Scandinavian Comfort #1

Available on Amazon, in KU and in paperback

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About the Author

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specializing in hand-drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram @om_hundre_ar_er_allting.

Social Media

Facebook | Twitter: @sophiasoames | Instagram: @sophiasoames

Giveaway

The previous book, 717 miles, a NA story set in London, will be FREE for 5 days from July 24.

No entry requirements, just log into Amazon (Mybook.to/717miles) and download your own free copy!

Happy reading!

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