A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tea (A Cup of John #1) by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

What an interesting story! I wasn’t sure I was going to read this at first because of some of my friends’ reviews and because we’ve been having some major issues around depression and anxiety in my family this year. I was afraid it would bring me down. But on the contrary, I found hope in this story, along with courage, strength, and balance. The MCs were so very real to me that I wanted to keep reading long after the last page. (And the good news is there’s going to be more on these men in the near future in the sequel, Coffee.)

John is a big guy: strong, muscular, tall, weighty, and not so good-looking, in his opinion. He is a softie on the inside and has a heart of gold and is the big brother all his younger sisters are fortunate to have. But John is gay and his friends don’t know that and neither do his customers, his rugby teammates, or those he meets on the street. When he stops in to a café to get a cup of tea one day, he startles when he bumps into a gorgeous young man, with long dark curls, and a long, slender body. It’s love at first sight for John, or passion, as Chris calls it, but he’s shocked to learn the young man, Chris, is blind and bases his own assessment of John on what he hears. And he likes what he hears in John’s voice. Later, when the two get to know each other better, we learn that Chris is also transgender and suffers from epilepsy. So many strikes against them, including Chris’s attitude toward “love” and “making love” and boyfriends in general. 

Without going into too much detail, John is a victim of a lie that resulted in such a devious case of character assassination that he began to believe the lies himself. Now he cowers at the idea that one of Chris’s family members or a cop or anyone in authority will believe he’s harming Chris in some way—after all, big giant man with smaller blind man. But the truth is that he absolutely loves Chris and would do anything for him, including stop if Chris wants him to stop, and he’s already proven that he will. Chris loves John as well, though it takes him a while to admit it. What I loved most about the story is their strong commitment to each other, their support in all conditions and circumstances.  No Big Reveal tears them apart. No Major Misunderstanding comes between them. They are solid. And I can’t begin to say how much I appreciated that. 

Add to John’s panic attacks, Chris’s issues related to his epilepsy, his blindness, and gender dysphoria, and this book packs a punch no matter in which direction a reader turns. But the bottom line is it’s well-written, with strong character development, and a commitment that isn’t always evident in any romance novel. I highly recommend it and I can’t wait for the sequel.

The cover by Natasha Snow depicts a typical British cup of tea, complete with pot and fragrant rising steam. It makes me feel like I’m sitting down to have a cuppa with my favorite characters.

Sales Links:   NineStar Press | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 322 pages
Published January 7th 2019 by NineStar Press
 SBN13 9781949909814
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Ammo and Enchiladas (Border Crossing #2) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating:: 4 stars out of 5

A Border Crossing Novel

After a night at the movies in Albuquerque, NM, Brantley’s best friend, Matt, is shot right in front him during a robbery. Stunned and devastated, Brant tries to help Matt’s husband, Travis, deal with the funeral details even as he struggles with his own grief and Travis’s blame. When Travis’s best friend arrives, Brant is both annoyed and grateful, because he is so darn tired and can use the help.

Lex Espana is ashamed to admit he hasn’t seen his childhood best friend since Travis’s wedding. He’s even more amazed that he barely remembers Brant from that wedding, because he’s sure interested now. While it’s weird to fall for someone at a funeral, his feelings for Brant are real and make him long for a life he didn’t realize he was missing.

Neither Lex nor Brant knows how to be part of an us, though, and they both have a lot to work through before they can settle in. To become a real couple, Brant and Lex will have to dig deep to get past the roadblocks in their relationship.

Lex Espana, a police officer, played a major part in the first novel in the Border Crossing series. However, he was without a romantic partner and alone, even with friends after the traumatic events of Bombs and Guacamole.  Now in Ammo and Enchiladas, Lex is called back to his hometown when his childhood friend’s husband is killed in a gas station robbery done bad.  Travis is falling apart and needs Lex to handle things.  Also on the scene is Brant, the husband’s best friend. Brant was also with Matt at the time of the robbery and is dealing with not only his own grief at losing his best friend but guilt at surviving when Matt is dead.

What follows is a story of loss, stress, and the men who even under the worst conditions happen to find out they are perfect for each other.

Many things pop up about this story.   BA Tortuga is no stranger to writing about men with issues. Here it’s PTSD, grief, survivor’s guilt, recovery, and stress.  Brant is a vet wounded in service and dealing with the fact that he survived in a situation he was trained to deal with and his best friend didn’t.  Lex is dealing with PTSD from the bombing and the attacks in the hospital.  And now a random robbery and crazy gunman killed a man that shifted their world.    And the author is able to show us that in their actions, conversations and thoughts.

I was also unaware of the high crime reputation of Albuquerque …mostly because the state is on the lower income bracket.  We get a real flavor of what it feels to live their , all the wonderful reasons and not so great, about the ‘Burque.  It gives the story a very authentic flavor and that lends itself towards the characters too.

The romance between Brant and Lex is hesitant, complex, and wonderful.  I enjoyed it and the input from their families as well.  Poor Travis, however deep in mourning and grief doesn’t come off so well.  I would wish better for him.  By the time the story is over, the relationship is solid, they are moving forward  with a joined future, and we are looking at the next story in the series.

All that with a smile on our faces!  Now to see what is next!  I definitely recommend this story and the series if you enjoy contemporary romance, especially with a regional touch and some great food to boot!

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.I like these simple covers.  They work to brand the series yet contain elements about the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 213 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Ammo and Enchiladas
ISBN139781644051375
Edition Language English

Series Border Crossing #2

Border Crossing Series

Bombs and Guacamole

Ammo and Enchiladas

Victoria Milne on Ninja Lessons and her new release Purple Method (author guest blog)

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Purple Method by Victoria Milne

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: July 9th 2019

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:

Amazon: getbook.at/PurpleMethod

Dreamspinner Press

 

Ninja Lessons

I always wanted to be a ninja, but it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I actually started martial arts lessons. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I absolutely loved it. We worked hard, but we had such a lot of fun as well. I did it for about eight years in total, starting with kickboxing, moving into mixed martial arts, and then going back to kickboxing until I was forced to stop due to an injury.

Rick Bernstein in Purple Method is a martial arts instructor who takes it very seriously. In fact, he wants to get to the very top. I enjoyed writing his martial arts scenes so much. I guess a part of me wanted to explore, through him, what it might have been like if I’d started martial arts sooner and had competed. And perhaps what could have happened if I’d been able to continue with it.

It has been a few years since I stopped kickboxing, and it was interesting to see how much knowledge I had retained. Writing the technical aspects of the moves that Rick does and teaches to others had me up out of my writing chair and physically working through the moves again. It made me realize just how much I miss it—and how unfit I am in comparison these days!

Kicking was the most fun part of doing martial arts. That was why I went back to kickboxing. There’s nothing quite like jumping, spinning kicks. You feel like you’re flying through the air and then you connect with your target with so much power it makes you feel kinda like a superhero I guess! With mixed martial arts you learn a lot of grappling techniques and takedowns, and more focus is given to ring craft than perfecting kicks and punches. The more time I could spend doing the kicks, the happier I was back then!

One of the most fun scenes to write in Purple Method was where Max joins in one of Rick’s classes. Max is a complete beginner and not known for his coordination! He starts off being kind of bemused by the whole experience. Some of what happens to him is actually based on something that happened for real in one of my classes. It was a total Inspector Clouseau moment. And—admission time—I’m afraid to say that what Max does is actually based on what I did!

So, here’s what happened…

My instructor had come up with a game for us to play to enable us to practice the knife defense skills we’d just learned. The idea was that one of us (me, at the time) would stand facing the others. Our instructor stood behind me and would point at one of the students who would have to attack me and then I would defend. The way it was done meant that I wouldn’t know who was going to attack me next or when the attack would happen. That bit was all fine, but what he thought would be a good idea was for us to, once we’d defended an attack, run to the person at the far end of the hall and complete a punching combination on the pads before returning to our previous position ready for the next attack.

Simple. Right?

Apparently not! So, I successfully defended the attack and was feeling pleased with myself when I suddenly remembered I had forgotten the pad work. I dashed off to do that, not realizing that in the meantime my instructor (who it appeared had also forgotten about the pads!) had pointed at someone in my peripheral vision to attack me. The result was that just as my attacker was about to pretend stab me, I rushed off in the opposite direction and he ended up swiping at thin air! I was totally oblivious to what had happened and everyone was practically rolling around laughing. Our instructor was shaking his head and looking at us all in despair. He had started off the lesson with the intention of this being done seriously.

I just wished someone had filmed it!

It was great fun reliving some of those moments from when I was doing martial arts, and I’m glad that one made it to the final cut. It has certainly whetted my appetite for writing more martial arts scenes in the sequel to Purple Method.

Meet Rick and Max in a fun and entertaining summer read about a bunch of crazy-ass heavy metal musicians, a martial arts expert, and loads and loads of really good food. Purple Method is out on 9th July!

Are you ready to join the party?

Amazon: getbook.at/PurpleMethod

Dreamspinner Press :

BLURB—Purple Method

An up-and-coming heavy metal singer and a martial artist desperate to join a top MMA gym must decide how hard they’re willing to fight—for their dreams and each other.

Max Diaz is firmly in the closet, and as unbearable as that’s becoming, he can’t risk his only remaining family—his brother, Tony—or his band Purple Method’s chance to make it big.

Rick Bernstein dreams of rising in the ranks of the MMA circuit and securing a training career at a top gym, but with rejections coming thick and fast and his financial future in dire jeopardy, starting a relationship is the last thing on his mind—especially with someone who isn’t out.

But when Purple Method returns to Elfinbrook after a six-month tour, one kiss changes everything. Now Max and Rick face decisions that will change both of their lives forever.

Micro:

When one kiss changes everything, closeted heavy metal singer Max Diaz and MMA fighter Rick Bernstein must decide how hard they’re willing to fight—for their dreams and each other.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/purple-method-by-victoria-milne-10624-b

 

About the Author


Victoria Milne discovered fiction writing relatively late in life, back in 2012, and has loved every second of the journey. Her belief that life is one big adventure to be experienced to the max has stood her in good stead, but it has resulted in rather a lot of plot bunnies that don’t give her a minute’s peace!


A firm believer that consensual love should come without labels and without prejudice, these themes often appear in her stories, as do Victoria’s passions for martial arts, cooking, yoga, and loud music. It was no surprise when these subjects began to resonate in her writing, frequently taking center stage, and rather than fighting it she’s learned to accept and enjoy that these will always be indispensable elements in her work.

Although Victoria appreciates that stories don’t always have to have happy endings, hers always do—because everybody deserves to find their true love(s).

In 2016, Love Unlocked—the anthology in which her story “Writer’s Lock” was published—was a Rainbow Award finalist. The experience fueled her desire to learn as much about the mechanics of writing as she could. In 2017 Victoria completed her training with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and became a full-time freelance editor. Victoria has always loved reading, and still can’t quite believe she’s been lucky enough to not only create books of her own but also help other writers perfect theirs too!

Website: http://www.purplemethod.net

Facebook: fb.me/victoriamilneauthor

Twitter: @victoria_milne_

Love Contemporary Romance Stories? Check Out the Blog Tour for Change of Heart by KM Neuhold (excerpt and giveaway)

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Change of Heart Tour Banner

Change of Heart

KM Neuhold

M/M Romance

Release Date: 06.17.19

ChangeofHeart-KMN-f

Blurb

Does my husband’s heart still miss me now that it beats in the chest of another man?

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A heartbeat more familiar than Easton’s own

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He vowed to love his husband until death do they part. And then the worst happened.

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His heart kept another man alive. River. A stranger in the world with Easton’s husband’s heart pumping the blood that warms his skin. Does his heart ever miss Easton without knowing why?

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Sweet, kind, beautiful, River. Easton never meant to meet him…never meant to know him…never meant to fall for him.

Lub-dub

Easton loved River’s heart long before he ever met him, but is it possible he’s falling in love with his mind and soul too?

***Change of Heart is a stand alone story with strong hurt/comfort themes, mild bisexual awakening themes, and a HEA

Universal Link: mybook.to/ChangeofHeart

CoH teaser 3

CoH teaser 1

Excerpt

The cool night air wraps around me, the din of the bar fading as soon as the door closes behind me, leaving only the scattered sound of cars passing and the occasional drunken laugh escaping into the night. An overwhelming emotional exhaustion hits me, and the task of walking the half-block to my car seems insurmountable. I lean against the rough brick outside of the bar and tilt my head back, looking up at the expansive night sky. The light illuminating the bar entrance flickers, and I close my eyes as an inescapable feeling of loneliness hits me square in the chest and nearly brings me to my knees. I drag in a harsh breath, putting a hand over my heart, and wonder for the millionth time about my heart donor. Did he love someone so much he could hardly breathe? Is there someone out there still who loved him the same?

I drag my fingers to the center of my chest, tracing the raised edges of my scar through the soft fabric of my shirt. I can feel the beat, steady and even against my palm, and I think about the man who saved my life. I don’t know a damn thing about him, but that doesn’t stop me from wondering who he was, what kind of a life he lived, who loved him but selflessly made the sacrifice to save the life of a complete stranger?

KM Neuhold Logo

Author K.M.Neuhold is a complete romance junkie, a total sap in every way. She started her journey as an author in new adult, MF romance, but after a chance reading of an MM book she was completely hooked on everything about lovely- and sometimes damaged- men finding their Happily Ever After together. She has a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well. And she fully admits that her OCD tendencies of making sure every side character has a full backstory will likely always lead to every book having a spin-off or series. When she’s not writing she’s a lion tamer, an astronaut, and a superhero…just kidding, she’s likely watching Netflix and snuggling with her husky while her amazing husband brings her coffee.

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Yakuza Path Box Set by Amy Tasukada

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Blood Stained Tea
 

A bloody past haunts him. A devastating present calls him back…


Nao hides from his violent past in the Japanese mob by opening a teahouse in Japan’s cultural center, Kyoto. His past comes flooding back when he discovers a gravely injured man with a tattooed chest, a bloody knife, and a Korean business card.


Saehyun would’ve died if not for Nao’s help. He knows nothing of his savior’s connection with the local mafia, but Saehyun has his own secrets. He commands the Korean mafia, the mortal enemy of Nao’s former syndicate.


As Nao and Saehyun grow closer, so does the strength of the Korean mob. A shocking murder pulls Nao back into a past he’d all but abandoned. War is looming, and Nao must choose between protecting Saehyun or avenging the honor of his old mafia family.

 
Better Than Suicide



A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…


Nao Murata is the new Godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, the Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?


When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?


One Thousand Cranes


When a body goes missing, a young Yakuza’s life hangs in the balance…


Aki Hisona’s latest promotion is a cause for celebration. But because his new job is working as the personal secretary for the Yakuza’s Kyoto-based godfather, it’s also a cause for dangerous envy. He takes an invitation from a friend for congratulatory drinks, but Aki never thought the night would end with a deadly knife fight…


Aki is tasked with disposing of his friend’s corpse, but there’s one problem: the body is missing. As body parts surface around town, it’s only a matter of time before the police piece together the clues. But keeping one step ahead of the cops may not matter if Aki can’t solve the mystery before his cold, unforgiving godfather boss does…

 
The Deafening Silence


An unproven alliance. A broken promise. A mafia boss must shed blood to secure peace…


Nao Murata is on the verge of brokering peace between his syndicate and the rival Mafufgumi mob. To seal the deal, he’ll need to pick up Russian prostitutes to appease his newest ally. When the exchange goes sour, both sides draw blades and Nao has no choice but to care for a blood-soaked enemy. If the man doesn’t make it through the night, Nao and his crew will pay with their lives.


Outnumbered and stranded in enemy territory, Nao is forced to fight his way out before the Mafufgumi Godfather takes the deal off the table. As his wounded enemy’s heartbeat slows, Nao must act fast or condemn his syndicate to a brutal turf war.

Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.


https://www.amytasukada.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
http://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial/
https://twitter.com/@amytasukada

 
Giveaway!
 
Sign up here for your chance to win;
1 oz of Cream Oolong tea (Nao’s favorite tea!)
1 cast iron teapot
1 autographed copy of The Deafening Silence
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