4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Melanie Tushmore, Reviewed by Lisa

There’s A Case Of Punch Drunk Love In Melanie Tushmore’s “Love on the Rocks”

“He’d never felt such a strong urge to touch somebody before, to want to be with somebody.” — Melanie Tushmore

Title: Love on the Rocks (Another Bar Tender Tale)

Author: Melanie Tushmore

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 167 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Twenty-six-year-old barman and cabaret entertainer Justin has recently moved to London for a fresh start. Charismatic and flirty, Justin is naturally the center of attention wherever he goes. There’s only one problem: the object of Justin’s affections, a handsome, enigmatic bartender named Yena, isn’t won over by Justin’s charm. In fact, he flat out turns Justin down. Continue reading

Melanie Tushmore, Storm Moon Press

In Which The Show Ain’t Over Till Someone Loses A Tooth – The Green-Eyed Monster (Crucifox #1) by Melanie Tushmore

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. – William Shakespeare

Q. What do you get when you cross a flamboyant bisexual singer with a vertically challenged straight guitar player who may or may not have anger management issues?

A. You get a singer and a guitar player who need their wee melons thumped, that’s what. Leastwise, that’s what I think.

Oh, and that straight thing isn’t really set in stone either, so that’s fun. And having said that, here’s another fun thing: nothing says I love you quite like telling a man he’s wrecked you for sex with other people. Aw. This book is chock full of fun things.

I guess all it means is there are lots of ways to express the concept of being a couple, though I think I like the direct approach much better. But then again, that takes all the guess work out of things and where’s the fun in that, when all that does is bypass the jealousy and agony and complications, not to mention the chance to knock out a dude’s tooth? That’s a rhetorical question, by the by. Yes, this is the eventual conclusion Sky St. Clair (nee Somers) and Brandon Fox (nee Cruikshank) come to, that maybe, maybe they can make this relationship thing work, but oh my gawd! The anxiety Melanie Tushmore put me through to get there was…so very worth it.

Oh, and there is one other lesson about love that Ms. Tushmore dispenses in this lovely rock ‘n roll romp: when a fan says, “I love you,” it’s probably wise to sniff skeptically at that sentiment. It’s also a good idea not to go larking about the countryside with a stranger you think you’re just using to bait your pseudo-enemy-love-hate-ha-take-that! person of interest. It’s sound advice; Number One Fans say the “L” word and then tend to hobble you and take a sledgehammer to your ankles. Or something else that’s potentially as unpleasant.

The Green-Eyed Monster (Crucifox #1) is the story of the rise of the band Crucifox from obscurity to the international spotlight, and the dredging and dragging along of all the good and the not so great that comes along with that success—the sex, the drugs, the alcohol, of course; you know that score by now, but you can also draw some of your own conclusions about clashing egos and sexual epiphanies and raging jealousy that seems to stem more from seeing what you expect to see than it does from witnessing what’s actually there. At least some of the time–the rest of the time what’s seen is pretty much exactly as it appears. It’s all in here, and so much of what made this book one I devoured and then went back over just to read some of my favorite parts again.

Set in the latter days of the 80s and on into the early 90s, when hair bands were big and Aqua Net was slowly but surely chewing its way through our ozone layer, The Green-Eyed Monster is like a backstage pass to a musical version of boys-behaving-badly, and it was a huge hit for me. The problem is these boys just aren’t very good at communicating what’s what: personally, I blame the drugs, alcohol, and hairspray. Sooner or later, it’s all bound to muck with a bloke’s ability to rub a couple of brain cells together and spark a clue. I don’t mind telling you I growled at this book, I laughed out loud (the previously unrealized comedic potential of haggis has now been tapped), I’m pretty sure I pffft at it a couple of times, too, and then I was left with an evil, evil cliffhanger at the end for all my efforts. I’m only mildly anxious for the sequel, if mildly is loosely defined as: can’t stop obsessing about what’s coming next for Sky, Brandon, and the band.

I’m pretty confident I just became an instant groupie.

You can buy The Green-Eyed Monster (Crucifox #1) here:

Dreamspinner Press, Melanie Tushmore

In Which A Solicitor Walks Into A Bar – A Bar Tender Tale by Melanie Tushmore

Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A solicitor walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “Which were more scary, the deranged zombie officers from the dream sequence in An American Werewolf in London or the evil Nazi zombies in Dead Snow?”…

No, I’d never heard that one before either.

But if the bartender’s answer includes anything having to do with the distinction between real zombies and the not real kind, then you can be sure that solicitor very well may have found the one person in the world who won’t try and use him as bait during the apocalypse. That’s what you might call a soulmate. Or a nerd. Or in the case of Nathan and Auryn, maybe both.

Melanie Tushmore’s A Bar Tender Tale is a simply sweet story that reads like a checklist of some of my favorite fictional plot devices:

• May/August romance – check
• Two men who appear as though they shouldn’t work on the surface, but underneath they’re really just kindred spirits – check
• A cheeky, tattooed protagonist – check
• A craptacularly bad ex-boyfriend – check
• And just a soupçon of conflict thrown in for good measure – check

The thing that really brought this story home for me, however, is the common bond the solicitor and the bartender find—not in the zombies, although that’s a pretty good one, but in the fact that they both want to be more than just a one-night-stand to each other, though they aren’t quite sure about the timing or the execution of it all. It’s the universal question of how soon is too soon, and gah! when in the name of all that could be perfect can we get this party started? Fortunately for Nathan and Auryn, they were able to get it all sorted before Nathan was forced to resort to Tim Curry in a clown suit. See? I just remembered I forgot to add funny pop culture references to my checklist.

A Bar Tender Tale is a lovely bit of escapism, pure and simple, with characters who are charmingly quirky, or quirkily charming, whichever way you want to look at it, but either way, it all added up to a delightful way to spend a few hours somewhere that made me very happy to be there, a state I highly recommend.

You can buy A Bar Tender Tale here:

Freebie, Melanie Tushmore, Storm Moon Press

Happy Sodding Valentine’s! Love, Melanie Tushmore

I’m a laugh tart. I make no secret of that fact. – Hugh Grant

P.S. – This not a review. This is only an observation.

I’m freaking excited about this series.

Do you remember The Monkees? No? Just me? Well, if you do, imagine The Monkees have traveled forty years into a future where cable television offers them the near unlimited license to carry out their madcap shenanigans without fear of those pesky censors telling them they have to keep it clean. Imagine a world where hash brownies and dropping acid could make everything hella groovy, a world where a cheese grater may or may not be a lethal weapon, and a world where the pretty girl isn’t so much pretty as she is a hygienically challenged crack whore who thinks she’s Castro’s daughter and won’t go the hell away. This, my friends, gives you a very dim picture of the questionably dim men who are in the book of fun that is Happy Sodding Valentine’s.

This is a short prequel to Melanie Tushmore’s new series The Crucifox Pub Tales, which, not to confuse things, actually seems to happen sometime after the excerpt from the actual first book, The Green Eyed Monster (Crucifox #1), due out next month from Storm Moon Press. This is the story of a rock band that hasn’t quite found the secret to their success just yet, based on the fact that their living arrangements may or may not be in violation of several public health codes. ::shudders:: Trust me when I tell you this is not your mama’s romantic Valentine’s Day story. In fact, though you can probably take a pretty good stab at a guess, it’s not even altogether clear who Sky’s guy’s gonna be…though I know who I hope it is.

So why not go ahead and introduce yourselves to Sky, Ritchie, Brandon, Jamie, and Spider; the boys in the band Crucifox. It’s FREE!, so you have nothing to lose but the time you’ll spare reading it, and if you’re at all like me, you might end up as anxious as I am to see what hijinks and hilarity awaits the boys now they’ve finally rid themselves of their smelly house-crasher. Seriously, she made my brain throw up just a little bit. Blech.

If you’re interested in checking this one out, you can find it in all e-formats here: