Tag Archives: PTSD

Release Blitz: The Worst Bad Thing by J.E. Birk

The Worst Bad Thing | J.E. Birk

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Release Date: May 24th, 2022

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Blurb

He thinks I’m worth saving. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.

Some mistakes can never be redeemed.

I know that better than anyone. Last year I made the ultimate mistake—I cost someone their life. This trip I’m taking through Iceland, England, and France may look like the trip of a lifetime, but it’s not. This is a mission. I have to pay back the debts I owe the world.

Then I meet Gabriel Carrillo. Gabriel is kind, caring, and generous, and he seems to be on a mission of his own to make sure our paths keep crossing. Between sunrise swims in the Blue Lagoon and afternoon walks through Stonehenge, I find myself wanting to spend more and more time with him.

But Gabriel doesn’t know my secrets. He doesn’t know what I’m out to achieve.

He doesn’t know that my future is already set.

The Worst Bad Thing is a hurt/comfort romance set across three countries. It stars a former soldier and the mysterious man he falls in love with on a plane, and it features a HEA. Please see the Author’s Note for content warnings.

NOTE: Previously published.

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Excerpt

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asks again.

“Sure. I told you. I’m just fine. I can’t even imagine what I was thinking when I had them call you.”

Gabriel rolls his eyes. “Maybe that you had a panic attack in the middle of an exhibit about particles?”

“Sure, maybe. Hey, look, a rugby game.”

“Tate, stop.” Gabriel grabs my sleeve lightly and spins me around to look him in the eye. “What’s going on? The museum officials said you were down for several minutes trying to get air back in your lungs. This attack was obviously serious. And people just don’t have panic attacks for no reason. What’s going on with you? Can I help with anything?”

Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes. “Shit, Gabriel. I just met you yesterday. I don’t even know your last name yet, for fuck’s sake. And if we’re being honest, you don’t know my first name. This isn’t any of your damn business. I’m sorry I had them call you. I should have just left you alone to meet with Thom Yorke or whoever.” I jerk my arm away from him and take off in the direction of the rugby game.

“James,” he calls after me.

I stop.

“James Tate O’Reilly.”

I turn around.

“I saw your passport yesterday at customs,” he says apologetically.

And you didn’t run away screaming. Which means you must not watch a lot of news.

“It’s an unusual middle name. Family name?”

I nod.

“I’m Gabriel Michael Carrillo. And I wasn’t meeting with Thom Yorke this morning. That would have been a hell of a lot more fun than what I was doing. But I didn’t have much choice in the matter.”

“Oh.” That’s all I can seem to say.

“Yeah. Listen. You don’t have to bare your soul to me or anything. We did just meet, and who knows if we’ll ever see each other again after this trip. But I really do like you, Tate. You have me worried. You going to collapse if we walk by a pigeon who looks at you funny?”

I glare at him. “Nice. Kick a guy after a panic attack.”

He moves closer to me until I’m standing directly in front of him. “You’re kind of cute when you’re pissed off. Actually you’re kind of cute all the time.”

“You’re not all that ugly yourself.”

And so we stand there for several long minutes, staring at each other while a British rugby team looks on. And possibly some pigeons.

Then we move away from each other and go back to our walk. Almost as though we never stopped in the first place.

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About the Author

JE Birk Pic

J.E. Birk was raised in Vermont and is now adulting in Colorado with intermittent success. She is a long-time lover of stories, and she writes and reads in worlds where imperfect characters find their happily ever after.

Social Media

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jebirkwrites

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Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@jebirkwrites

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Worst Bad Thing J.E. Birk is giving away

A signed paperback copy of Booklover (US Winner)

An e-copy of Booklover (International Winner)

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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TWBT LIVE 2

OMG I need book three stat!

58523538._SY475_Crooked Shadows by M.A. Grant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that ending wasn’t what I was expecting!

***

For the last 20% of this book my heart was racing so fast I thought it would beat out of my chest, the tension build up throughout this second installment in the Whitethorn Agency series is perfectly pitched.

As Atlas and Cristian venture to Romania to seek help from his father’s allies and find out more about the origins of the strigoi, we get to see inside the vampire’s head for the first time.

I love that MA is switching POVs for this series and it was fascinating to see how Cristian’s emotional connection to his bodyguard is not only strong, but supportive and loving – even if Atlas isn’t ready to accept it.

Throughout this book there is an edge of danger, the two men are walking a tightrope from the off with the politics of the vampire world dogging their every movement.

We also get to meet a wonderful new character, Daria, in this book and I loved her. She’s strong, a survivor of the strigoi herself and, while wary of Cristian, has the grace to not immediately try to skewer him!

It’s more focused on the investigation and the paranormal elements than the romance but there is still a major move forward for both men which comes after they’ve faced the thought of the other’s death being an all too likely outcome rather than an abstract scenario and I loved this bit especially.

But, bloody hell, that ending! OMG talk about dropping a WTF moment and then signing off. I am absolutely dying now to find out just what that means for Cristian’s family going forward.

As a PS, I think this cover is more indicative of a paranormal romance than the one for the first book was.

ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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I struggled a bit but eventually this festive romance won me over

59120611._SY475_Mr. Jingle Bells by Leta Blake

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Not going to lie, I struggled with this book and wasn’t sure I was going to finish it.

I’m usually a massive fan of Leta’s Christmas stories because she never turns out a cookie cutter cutsie romance, there’s always an edge which stops them going overly sweet.

Unfortunately, this one seemed determined to go too far down that path and at times, it was borderline depressing to read about all the traumas Ashton had gone through.

Both him and Walker were at times unlikeable too imho. I couldn’t understand how they were possibly going to get together in a way that would be convincing.

Then again, Leta is also a wordsmith extraordinaire, and she slowly started to work her magic both on Ashton and Walker, but also on me.

I found myself thawing towards them both, helped along by Walker’s wonderful sister Evelyn and her fiance Tom, and actively championing the move from fake boyfriend plot to actual relationship.

The sex, as ever with Leta, is blow your head off hot, but I really appreciated the tenderness between them.

***Sort of spoilery bit***

Then we hit the ‘Third Act’ where something has to go wrong if you (generic) follow the great “Writing Gods” and so there was conflict, confusion and the potential for breaking up and once more I felt like quitting.

I totally understood why Ashton reacted as he did, but it was also incredibly frustrating for him to not see the difference in the situation (and that’s as far as I’ll go along the plotline) and I wanted to chuck my Kindle away.

***End***

It’s taken me a week to read this book, I’d normally have done it in a few hours.

All’s well at the end though and there is a lovely Epilogue set a year later, I’d have personally just preferred a bit less angsting to reach it.

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

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