A MelanieM Release Day Review: Best New Artist by BA Tortuga


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5


Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman just told Nashville to kiss his you know what. After winning Best New Artist at an award show, he knows it’s time to head back home to Texas. So after a very public meltdown, Tuff makes his way to Austin, where the Red Dirt music lives large.

Jonah Littlejohn once loved KT more than anything in the world. When KT loses it on national TV, Jonah knows he has to reach out and offer his home studio as a place to heal and make music. A bad relationship has left Jonah broken and wary of romance, but he wants to help his old lover out.

Seeing Jonah again proves to Tuff that he’s made the right decision. Now all he has to do is convince Jonah that they’re the most perfect duet there’s ever been.

Because of BA Tortuga and  Best New Artist, I now know about Red Dirt music, its place in Texas country music and and the artists so often thought of when that term comes up. I want to listen to all their music.  I know about a place called Amaya’s in Austin that makes the best enchiladas. I know I need to go and eat there.  I know about Tuff and JoJo, Littlejohn recording studio and their family of friends and well, family.  I know I love them all too.  Finally, I know know that B.A. Tortuga needs to write another book with these people in them not in the least because of Doodle and Nana, because I need everyone back home in Texas, where they belong, happy deep in my heart.

That’s a lot of knowing.

But then again, Best New Artist is a lot of book.  There’s no question that B.A. Tortuga is a  Texas gal,  this book oozes love for this state out of every narrative pore possible.  Locations, names, food, music…the story is steeped in all things that this author loves and wants to share with her readers.  It’s doled out in bits through her characters, two and four footed, an element I treasure.  In Best New Artist, we have Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman who left home and the man he loved behind 10 years ago chasing a dream of fame and fortune only to find what he wanted wasn’t what he found.  Cue a very loud, unrehearsed and bridge-burning meltdown on television after being awarded Best New Artist.  Watching said meltdown?  The man he still loves and left behind.

The story is told from Tuff’s and JoJo’s (Jonah’s) perspectives which is necessary in order to catch up on some of the 10 year gap between the time they split up and the time they reunite.  Who was responsible each time for the breakup and the decision to reunite might surprise you.  Jonah Littlejohn isn’t just the man  waiting on Tuff to return, thank goodness.  He’s become a hugely successful musician in his own right with a sought after recording studio and group of in house musicians.  But he also has his own story to tell, a darker element here but very well done.    There is no immediate romance but a slow burn  as they get to know each other once more, figuring out trust issues and the question of being outwardly gay in a country music world.  BA Tortuga has layers upon layers for these characters to work through, just as it should be after 10 years apart.  Taking that journey with this couple, as painful as it is at times?  So rewarding and heartwarming, even more so as they come back together.

Its also not just Tuff and JoJo working out their relationship, all the people around them are involved and affected by the changes they are going through and realistically, we get believable behaviors from all of them as well.  I adored them all, and don’t even get me started on Doodle!  As I have a Doodle, I recognized him immediately, he runs the pack here.

Best New Artist by BA Tortuga is a terrific contemporary romance.  It sings with the lyrics of a deep love that not even a 10 year separation can vanquish, and dances to a Red Dirt tune that only this amazing author can write.  Its heartwarming and wonderful.  Pick it up today.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  I love the cover.  Its bright and eye-catching and works for the story.

Available for Purchase at

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635336589 (ISBN13: 9781635336580)
Edition LanguageEnglish

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