A MelanieM Review: In Vino Veritas by Sydney Blackburn

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Anthony Beretta inherited the family winery at the tender age of twenty-four. It’s a struggle to keep it up, but he loves it and is determined to make it work even if it kills him. That is, if a motorcyclist doesn’t kill him first. He initially judges the man, attractive as he may be, on the basis of his appearance and apparently limited vocabulary. He soon discovers he’s wrong, but by then Oscar Kennett has already judged Anthony on his appearance.

Oscar thinks Tony Beretta is uptight and snobbish, and Tony’s speech for the charity they’re working on together reinforces that, even when he finds out Tony did it just to push his buttons. His adorable curls and sexy glasses might not be enough to change his mind, but maybe there’s more to Tony than meets the eye.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story of love found among the wines and  vines.  It was not only a terrific contemporary romance but a great way to connect with an author I hadn’t read in a while, Sydney Blackburn.

Somehow, I manage to lose track of authors and I never figure out why.  Maybe its the flood of stories I get, the titles and series I keep up with. But for whatever reason, some I forget to check up on so I’m thrilled when I read books like In Vino Veritas by Sydney Blackburn and, after finishing the story) to go romping back to Sydney’s backlist to see what I have missed!

In Vino Veritas (In Wine Truth), two men collide literally and make instant snap judgements about each other based on their clothing of the moment and their conversation and language.  Initial impressions couldn’t be further from the truth but it takes wine, a winery, and a celebration to  bring the men together.

I loved both men, their personalities and the chemistry between them did it for me.  The backdrop and foundation of the witery is absolutely  perfect for a romance and the character of Tony Beretta (and his mother).  It’s necessary in order to get into his framework of overworked, obsessive, passionate man in love with his  vines, the art of wine making and the land.  We need to see Tony in his element and we do.  So eventually does Oscar.

I wish we could have had more of Oscar’s background and seen him settled at work but the focus here is Tony and his winery as well as their romance.

I loved so many elements here that I could see a sequel. I enjoyed this couple and the location that much.

If you love contemporary romance, don’t miss out on In Vino Veritas by Sydney Blackburn.  It’s one I definitely recommend!

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  I love this cover.  Its perfection from the colors to the composition.  It caught my eye immediately.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press  |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 13th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340426
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: What It Seems by Sydney Blackburn

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Michael’s straight and infatuated with a woman he worked with one day, over a year ago. But when he finally sees her again, he’s astounded that the woman of his dreams is a man in drag.

Darcy is ace and not interested in dating anyone, so he and Michael just hang out. A lot. When he needs to do an on-screen kissing scene, Michael is the best person to ask for help.

Michael soon discovers he isn’t as straight as he thought he was, and Darcy likes kissing him a little too much for someone certain he never would. Those are a lot of changes to accept, but they just might be worth it.

This was a wonderful story of self-discovery for both of the MCs.  Michael has spent so much time waiting to see Darcy again he almost loses his chance when they first actually talk.  Darcy likes making a new friend and they soon begin to date without noticing.

Michael and Darcy are both blind a bit to each other and their feelings a bit but grow a great friendship in that time.  I was able to see Michael spends his time coming to terms with his bisexuality and looking up any information he may need.  It was sweet to see Darcy find that he wasn’t as ace as he always thought but find the acceptance and answers he needed.  I loved watching both of these men slowly grow their relationship, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I loved the visual of Darcy.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 66 pages

Published: May 21, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-948608-66-4

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Robbie Wales is young and starting a new job in a new town, on his own. Coming from a split family, he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents and came out as a teen without a lot of fuss, but his father, whom he only saw infrequently, has never known. As an adult, he’s found he’s got a lot in common with his father, and they’re finally getting to know each other. He fears coming out to his father may jeopardize that.

Then he meets Raj Williams, the attractive man in the trailer next to his father’s in a seasonal RV park. Raj is handsome, sophisticated, yet loves to fish and watch silly Disney movies.

Raj finds Robbie equally interesting. But Robbie’s still in the closet, at least in Port Stephen, and Raj’s ex used that as an excuse to treat him as nothing more than a friend with benefits. He’s not interested in a repeat experience.

Robbie finally finds the courage to come out to his father, but was it all just for a summer fling?

The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn is in many ways like spending the day out on or by the water.  It’s a hot summer day read, sexy, sweet,  and a little steamy.  Its got fish.   Men that like to fish.  And have lots of sex.  Plus there’s a sweet coming out story and falling in love.  In other words, there’s a lot to like here.

Blackburn does a lovely job in the characterization of Raj and Robbie and their respective families.  Robbie, a machinist, is trying to reconnect with his Dad who lives in a trailer with his stepmother by the water.  He’s out to his mom and everyone else but not his Dad, and he’s still trying to figure out their relationship.  Robbie is young but still has a maturity about him that’s wonderful here.  He’s not ashamed to be gay, he’s just not sure of his place yet in his father’s life.  Then he meets the handsome, gay man who has the trailer lot next door to his dad’s for the summer, Raj Williams.  Down from Toronto, Raj has a work job that allows him to move around so he can enjoy his summer at Port Stephens.  Raj never figured on meeting Robbie.  A gay fling that turns into friendship and then more.

I found I started to engage in this romance more when they decided to become more serious about each other.  Up until then, while I enjoyed the characters, I wasn’t terribly invested in the romance.  After several events, especially (my favorites) the ones with Robbie’s dad, the story grew wings for me.  In fact, the scenes that resonated the most with me?  All the coming out ones, and the ones that followed. It includes those between Raj and Robbie’s dad, so funny and poignant.

I thought the ending was sweet if a little abrupt.  Maybe an epilogue wouldn’t have hurt here. but definitely more was needed.  Still I would recommend The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn as a sweet contemporary romance.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is beautiful and perfect for the story.

Sales Links

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Published May 22nd 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139121