Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review of The Green-Eyed Monster by Melanie Tushmore

Melanie Tushmore
The Green-Eyed Monster (Crucifox, #1)
Storm Moon Press, March 1, 2013 | 99,000 words

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Sky Somers is an ex-traveler; the son of a folk musician and a new age hippy. Sky's form of rebellion is electric guitars, and he wants his own band. His desire is to set the world to rights through music. Brandon Cruikshank is new to London, recently arrived from Glasgow. Charismatic, charming; a natural born performer. Brandon is openly bisexual, with a penchant for dressing in women's clothes. His desire is to be adored.
From the moment Sky meets Brandon, he knows he has to have him. Brandon, in turn, wants Sky. But that's when it becomes clear they both have very different desires in mind.
Brandon wants Sky as a lover, yet Sky only wants Brandon as a singer in his band. Misunderstanding set aside—or apparently so—Brandon and Sky become firm friends. To escape equally troubled pasts and families, they change their names. Now, Brandon Fox and Sky St. Clair are ready to take over the world.
As the years roll on, Brandon's desire for Sky still simmers, waiting. Then a chance night sharing a hotel room sparks the desire between them, and this time, Brandon wants it all. Sky has never explored his desires before. Now, the passion and jealousy Brandon has unleashed in him threatens to shake the whole band apart.

Content Advisory: MMF menage scenes

Genre & Keywords: M/M Romance, M/F & M/M/F Scenes, Contemporary, 1980s, 1990s, British, London, Bisexual, Coming Of Age, Coming Out, Crossdressing, D/s, Dark Humor, Drug Use, Dubious Consent, Exhibitionism, Friends With Benefits, Horror, Humor, Infidelity, Menage A Trois, Rockstar, Violence, Virgin, Voyeurism, Jealousy

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames

Reviewed by Lis/Larissa:

The Green-Eyed Monster is a surprising story that left me with mixed feelings. It’s not a glamorous rock-star story. In fact the drugs, the lewd comments, the parties, the butt flashing and teasing are in abundance in this story featuring two incredibly stubborn men. Come to think of it, they may just redefine the word ‘stubborn’. Added to all of this is the theme of jealousy, spanning several years. It is also a very refreshing story. It’s nice to see men behaving like pigs for once. The Green-Eyed Monster will not be for everyone, but I sure liked it even though it turned out to be a bit of a soap opera story at times. But we all need a little soap in our lives sometimes!

The story predominantly focuses on Brandon and Sky with their band members and friends readily in the background. As the story takes place from the late eighties to early nineties, it spans quite some time. It could almost be a Chronicle for their band Crucifox were it not for Sky and Brandon’s drama. Good lord they have it in spades.
For me the first part of the story is a set up for Crucifox and a set up for all the characters. It gives a good insight into who they are, what kind of drugs to do or sell and how their music grows and how they are discovered.
This set up features some hilarious scenes and gigs, so while it may be a set-up for the rest of the story, it’s in no way boring. One of their gigs to a big name festival in Germany Tanz der Toten just before they are discovered, is hilarious. Seriously, men are pigs and dumbasses and it’s a good thing airport security no longer allows shaving cream on board!

The reader also finds out just how Brandon and Sky met and their initial misunderstanding in Brandon thinking Sky is gay or at least bi-sexual. Even though the story is never told from Brandon’s POV, you get a good idea of how disappointed he is. This is important throughout the rest of the story, because it sets the bases for their relationship and later misunderstandings.
Sky doesn’t realize he’s gay/bi yet or at the very least has a GFY thing going on for Brandon. It is a growing theme throughout the book and gets really underway once they hit the big time and culminates in a two day hook-up at a festival. By then Sky ‘gets’ it and they could have lived happily ever after were it not for both of them going hot and cold.

As this is a novel-sized story, this turning around in circles, the jealousy and Brandon’s manipulation take up a fair bit of the story and quite some time passes.
Part of my frustration is set in the manipulations and constant misunderstandings. Over the years, the two never really talk. Not once is there an extended scene where they hash things out. There is talk of talking, but they never do. As a result there is a lot of tension and that continues for quite long. While I can believe them not talking for a while - not even a manly talk - it does cause strife within the band and it even turns them against each other at some point, there was almost a Team Sky and a Team Brandon.

With both Sky and the management working hard to keep things smooth, despite the partying and drugs, this all seemed a bit off. Especially since it starts to affect Sky’s health at some point. On the other hand, it brilliantly kept the story on edge as well. But it made even me want to punch Brandon hard for being such a tosser.

The story is told in first person from Sky’s POV, so the reader only gets his insights and his frustrations, never Brandon’s. Consequently, there were times I really started to hate Brandon, though he makes up for it later. I was told that the next book will be from Brandon’s POV so that sure is going to be interesting. The writing is exquisite as is the editing. It was a breath of fresh air. There is a lot of British/South London slang and Brandon is Scottish and written as such, but the execution is well done so it never bothered me. There is also a lot of wit and Sky is one heck of a funny narrator.
He is a good, solid character who is written well. Not once in this lengthy story did he bore me, frustrate yes, but no boredom involved. He’s been around the block a time or two and knows what is important to him and he is willing to fight for it, even boss his friends around. He’s pretty down to earth with a chip on his shoulder about his length.
Brandon we only get to see through Sky’s eyes. He can be funny and charming as well as a spoiled, stupid brat sometimes. He likes his clothes, female or male, and likes showing off, even if it is hotter than a hoochie coochie and has a thing for foxes.

My other niggle with this book was the ending. It contains a cliffhanger and leaves you hanging without anything being really resolved. It was a bit of a let down as there are several other plot threads that are left unresolved as well. Luckily, I was informed there will be a second story that is going to focus on the same pairing.

This is a story I most definitely can recommend. That is if you like a bunch of uncouth men, swearing, lame pranks, drug using (soft drugs only, by Dutch standards) and the punk/rock/metal scene. The Green-Eyed Monster is a sweet well written ride and I can’t wait for the second book.

P.S. for those who have questions regarding this book, there is a FAQ up on Goodreads

P.S.S. If you really liked this book, don’t forget to check the free ficlets on the author’s website.

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