Improper Fraction

3 Stars

Reviewed for BMBR

This book hooked me with the geeky title and its nerd/baseball player MCs. Everything else was supposed to be icing on the cake. And it sorta was for about half of the book. But just like when you eat too much cake, the deliciousness of the first few bites just can’t hold up throughout the whole thing. That’s what happened with Improper Fraction. The first half was everything I love about romance and the second half…cake.png

O’Malley (Mal) Ramsey and Garrison Rook grew up together. They were inseparable until a kiss between them after high school graduation led to vows made for a future that would soon be denied. Since the moment Mal realized he was gay, he has been out and proud. Garrison has internally struggled with his attraction to men and never acted on it until the kiss with Mal. That kiss scared him and Garrison cut off all communication with Mal until 4 years later, after college graduation. Mal is working at a math and science camp for the summer and Garrison’s little sister is attending. Garrison tags along too, under the guise of providing athletic opportunities to all campers.

When Mal and Garrison see each other for the first time in four years, it’s very strained. Garrison has some groveling to do and I love that Mal makes him. Even with the years of separation between them, there’s still so much love, friendship and chemistry. I loved “seeing” them come back together and the stolen moments of heat when the campers were sleeping.

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After camp ends, Garrison still has to contend with coming out to his family and his minor league baseball team. Mal is there to support him but it’s a very stressful time for Garrison as he worries about parental expectations and being the first openly gay minor league player.

The scene is set for future angst as Garrison finds peace in who he is and decides when/how he will come out. I was on the edge of my seat while reading, wondering how this would pan out. I couldn’t put it down. Until, mid-way through when a wrench was thrown in the plot and high school bullies turned adult “Bigot Brigade” were introduced and became the focus of the second half.

Color me confused.

From then on, the ground work laid in the first half, the major focus on sexual identity and its implications on family and career were brushed under the rug and glossed over. Literally, the coming out scene with his parents was a few pages and the coming out with his team? One. Sentence.

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Obviously my enjoyment declined drastically after this shift. I was bummed. Big time. The first 45-50% I was all in. I was giddy about this nerdy, estranged best friends to lovers romance. The building up to reconciliation and a little after had me hooked. I really like Mal and Garrison together. The scene Garrison acts out from Mal’s favorite movie… *swoon* The second half dragged while everything surrounding the bullies, the reactions to them and the subsequent climax of that situation was unrealistic, OTT and unnecessary IMO. The bullies read like an afterthought thrown in that detracted from what was otherwise a very enjoyable read.

The writing style was smooth and the pacing kept the story moving along during the first half. I’m hoping that by release, this will have gone through another round of edits. The cover doesn’t really represent the book or the MCs. I would have rated the first half at least a 4 but unfortunately I have to account for the second half. With all that said, I’d recommend it for the first half alone because I really like Mal and Garrison and that they got their HEA… even if I was shaking my head and rolling my eyes at the huge second half shift and the ridiculousness of the last 10%.

“Garrison and I aren’t right anymore. We’re like an improper fraction.”

“Of all people, O’Malley, you should know that there are ways to convert an improper fraction to a mixed fraction.”

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

A Bolt of Blue

Reviewed for BMBR
3 Stars

This book was difficult to rate. I’ve gone back and forth and all that thinking made my brain hurt. There were parts that really worked for me and then parts that just didn’t. Parts that I wanted to slow down and parts I had to hold myself back from skipping. When I read a book that has a party of three, I always look to see if they’re all treated as equals and that their love/connection works in pairs as well as the trio. It didn’t IMO and I hope I’m able to adequately explain what didn’t work for me.

Mitch and Ian have been best friends for most of their life. They’ve always had a platonic relationship but Ian has been completely in love with Mitch for years. They have a very close relationship that borders on more than friends but Mitch has been too blind to notice and Ian has been too reluctant to tell Mitch how he feels. They are both busy with school, Ian working as a CNA and Mitch playing college baseball. Finally, Ian can’t take it any more and HAS to tell Mitch how he feels. They meet up at a bar and Ian is totally terrified but ready to spill… that is, until Mitch’s secret, Greek god, bartender boyfriend comes up to their table and gives Mitch a kiss.

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Mitch and Dusty met at Angel’s bar, where Dusty is a bartender. What was supposed to be a one night stand turned out to be a relationship that Mitch kept under wraps. By time Ian finds out about the relationship, they have been together almost 7 weeks and are in love. It’s a very tough pill for Ian to swallow but he does for the sake of Mitch’s happiness. However, when Mitch and Ian hang out, there are these “moments” that are opening Mitch’s eyes to his feelings for Ian even though he still loves Dusty.

Ian and Dusty have also been spending time together while Mitch is off taking care of his sister’s issues or playing baseball. It’s during these times with Ian and Dusty that they start to develop feelings for each other until one drunken night, they kiss. This sets off a domino effect of issues for all of them to work through. While they do get their HEA, Mitch has to work through the “betrayal” and all the feelings between Ian and Dusty and Mitch’s with both men.

I had a hard time with Mitch. He grated on me with his overly dramatic personality, judgy statements, and everything surrounding his sister, April. I didn’t understand the need for April’s storyline outside of creating potential drama for Dusty and Mitch which detracted from the story IMO. The introduction of April and her issues wasn’t smooth and as it was first happening, my thoughts were along the lines of, “Oh gosh, here we go.” I also didn’t believe the relationship between Mitch and Dusty. Outside of sex, they didn’t have depth. Don’t get me wrong, sex is always a plus but, I needed more and they didn’t have it. They never shared anything meaningful but when Ian came along, Dusty was spilling his soul to him. That didn’t work because Mitch and Dusty were supposedly in love and they had found the one but couldn’t share anything beyond orgasms and food.

Now, Ian and Dusty is where it’s at.

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They worked. They had a great connection and the depth in their relationship was so evident that it highlighted the shortfalls with Mitch. They had awesome chemistry and my kindle started smoking just from their kisses. I wouldn’t have complained if this was a M/M starring them. They were a team whether it was in the kitchen cooking, cuddling on the couch, or getting it on. I was a huge fan of them.

Mitch and Ian never really found their stride. They didn’t seem to be equals in the trio even though they were life long friends. It remained awkward and they never quite got to the point together to even come close to how Ian was with Dusty.

The POVs changing with each chapter was a little hard to get into at the beginning. I’m sure by now you can all guess that I would have preferred Mitch’s POV to disappear. *shrug* Another addition to the story that had me rolling my eyes and shaking my head was Trevor. He was a guy that Ian went out with twice to try and get over Mitch. There was enough going on with the three MCs coming together, the implications of said relationship on family/friends, and the bar drama to make the book work. Trevor was as pointless to my reading enjoyment as the April storyline and yet both brought so much drama.

There should be a trigger warning for mentions of sexual assault. The facts in the story are contradictory from the actual event to when it was mentioned at the end. However, it’s worth noting. There is also cheating by way of kissing prior to the three of them getting together.

This was a decent read. I don’t expect each MC to share the exact same likes, desires, bond and relationship with both the other men but I do want them to all feel equal and share some depth. While it didn’t fully work for me, I could see this being an okay starting point for those new to menage books.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.