Today I'm here to talk about "A Bar Tender Tale", an m/m romance novel by Melanie Tushmore
This is a romance novel (novella?) for those who like their gay lovin' fluffy and off-beat. The reason I picked it up is because it promised a main character who loves "loud music, tattoos, and zombie paraphernalia". And boy, does it deliver.
The novel starts with Nathan -- our narrator -- trying to get into touch with his asshole boyfriend. Our adventure begins when Nathan decides to dump the asshole and find a replacement (with "help" from his friends).
Now, there's a lot of fiction out there involving heroes and heroines who call themselves 'weird' or 'nerdy', when what they really mean is they're self-absorbed (and disappointingly average) people who don't seem to understand what it actually means to be different. And that drives me nuts.
But Nathan is just absolutely immersed in subculture. He's a skinny guy with blue-black hair and tattoos, who likes B-movies and doesn't quite fit in with his straight friends. But best of all - he's not self-conscious. He recognizes that most people don't share his tastes... and that's cool with him.
I absolutely loved the scenes between him and his love interest, Auryn. I really felt like the two of them had an authentic connection. Too often a novel will have endless descriptions of how attractive its characters are, but no real chemistry between the two. Here, I got to see two guys really interacting like... well, guys. The flirting is very subtle, very nice.
My only quibble was that everything was a little too fluffy for me. While I enjoyed the scenes where Nathan had some funny moments with his friends, those scenes constitute a small chunk of the first half of the novel, while, to be honest, I'd rather have been reading about Auryn.
What really held me was Tushmore's writing style. Very nice - not too prosy, not too bland. There's a lot of details about British bands and subculture and clubs, all of which ring true (to my limited knowledge of the subject). Once I finished the book, I visited her blog
and realized that this is because she probably has a strong interest in that stuff herself.
While this novel didn't fully satisfy me, it's definitely a fun read.