Best of Both Worlds

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Title: Best of Both Worlds
Author: Liz Andrews
Cover Art: Kim Killion
Publisher: Samhain
Buy Link: Best of Both Worlds
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Length: Novella
Rating: 2.75 out 5 rating stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: Heavy handed OFY erotica with characters I couldn’t believe in.

Blurb: Friends and Lovers, Book 1

After months of exploring his bisexuality on his own, college student Chase Randolph is ready for a night out on the town—all the way “out”. He never expected Alex Landry to witness his first experimental sexual encounter, though. Chase has been attracted to his best friend and roommate forever, but one thing is sure: Alex is straight. So straight, he’s never caught on to Chase’s mixed tastes.

Alex assures Chase they will always be friends, but privately, his own reaction shocks him. An ex-jock isn’t supposed to fantasize about his roommate. Not supposed to need another man’s kiss so badly it makes him sweat. He was prepared to change direction after his football career ended before it began, but change this drastically?

As Chase and Alex struggle to come to terms with the changes in their relationship, jealousy pushes friendship to the brink—of disaster…or love.

Review:

This recently released novella seems to be the prequel to the m/m/f work Coming Full Circle ( 2009 ). This OFY story starts with Chase in full experimental mode as he checks out the local gay sex scene. However his real interest is his straight best friend and room mate Alex, who doesn’t know Chase is bisexual. Once he finds out, Alex’s about turn from straightness is absurdly fast, one look at Chase being blown and it seems he is both bi-curious and quickly jealous.

I found this book to be full of rather relentless sex, which was unoriginal enough that it felt presented possibly from a check list of research notes. The gorgeous cover is just not a genuine advert for the sex on the page. My main problem was that I felt very little for either of the main characters, who were drawn without distinctive emotional integrity. They seemed quite immature, and their first response to any stressful situation was to whine about it, run away and / or break things. Alex’s uneasy relationship with his father and his affection for his sister did help to fill out his character to something more than injured jock and the object of Alex’s interest.

Chase’s newly found gay friends just seemed there to be put upon; blow job experimentation, kind ear to listen to aforementioned petulance, and finally advisor of anal sex techniques. One of these friends, a handsome native American with long black hair called Taylor- for some reason I think the name Jake would suit him better- was more interesting than the main characters.

OFY is one of my very favourite tropes, but it requires clever sensitivity if it is be believable and have any resonance. I was disappointed with this example which was without much imagination or nuance. This seemed at best workmanlike erotica and at worst rather boring.

15 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds

  1. Jenre

    I looked at this at Samhain because I often like their m/m books – they don’t publish enough of them! – but I didn’t know the author so I held off. I had my fingers’ burned by another of their new m/m authors whose book I bought earlier in the year and which ended up being a DNF and that made me doubly wary. I’m glad I held off buying now because, whilst I like OFY, I do need to be able to connect with the characters for it to work. Plus I’m always slightly unhappy about m/m books which are prequels to m/f/m because you know in the end that they won’t be completely happy with each other.

    1. Raine Post author

      I have had the same experience with Samhain, but then I remember they published Coyote’s Creed and so I try again…………..

      I just didn’t believe in these guys or their situation.

      OFY when done cleverly just fills all my ‘ world well lost for love’ needs.

  2. Sirius

    I wrote a long comment, wehich word press kept telling me was spammy (without really telling me what is spammy in it you know), then I rewrote it and posted on Feliz’ review instead of yours :). Trying again – I hate “lets wave a magic wand and now he is gay or bisexual” varieties of OFU. I cant stand when book has lots of mechanical boring sex and not much in the characters and plot development department. In short thanks for saving me some money :)

  3. Wave

    Raine
    I read this book last week and agree 100% with your review and you were very kind in your rating.

    It seems to me that this is an attempt to cash in on M/M because it’s so popular now. The original book was published 3 years ago and I can’t buy any other explanation for releasing a prequel NOW with the MCs in a hot gay relationship. It was DNF for me.

    1. Raine Post author

      I have to confess it does seem opportunistic, which I wouldn’t mind so much if the relationship had any depth, but it doesn’t.

      I’m having problems with my ratings………I’ve been a bit unhappy with 3 out of my last 4…….I hate being indecisive but I really have been. I’m going to leave it a little while and then reassess. I’m quite happy with what I’ve said about them its just putting that number on it……. :???:

      1. Sirius

        Ratings are HARD, often been for me as well. I mean, I hit the batch of the books for review I had been quite enjoying overall lately, but it is so hard to decide how much I had been enjoying it, you know? Am I being too nitpicky when I grade a book 4.25 instead of 4.5 or 4.75? And when I have the book I do not like, it is that much harder, I often give an extra half a point or even a point if I feel that the writing is technically proficient even the book was not to my tastes at all. So Yeah, just wanted to agree that ratings are very hard :).

        1. Lasha

          I once gave a person a one star for putting their name on the book (I couldn’t find anything else good about it.)

          I guess that’s the teacher in me, I give 1 extra credit point to students who write their full names on tests. (Saves me time in grading.)

          But I agree, rating is sometimes hard and very subjective.

        2. Raine Post author

          Thanks Sirius…….that’s a lot like what my brain does- a strange balancing act…..I usually like to write a review and then leave it overnight to settle, so I can then look at freshly.

          The very best of times is when you read a book and love it…… :smile:

  4. Lasha

    I bought this book because Amazon told me I might like it! :)

    I was enjoying it until the end, when the mysterious long-lost girl of their little bunch was inserted into a perfectly good M/M story. (I had no idea this was a prequel to a m/m/f story or I would never have bought it. It was never mentioned in the blurb on Amazon.)

    So for me, probably a 3 star rating and I stop reading the series and just think Chase and Alex go off into the sunset together with no girly parts in between. :grin:

    1. Raine Post author

      That Amazon is such a tease Lasha……keeps telling me to read Stormy Glenn……. :grin:

      I didn’t enjoy much about this but it did flow along. It did feel like a bit gay for pay to me, but I suppose the original set up did leave itself open to this book…….just wasn’t enough for me. :sad:

  5. Reggie

    Hi Raine,

    I tried to send you floweres but I cn’t post photos here, so.. :flowers:

    Thanks for the review!

    1. Raine Post author

      Hey Reggie

      Great to hear from you. Hope you are finding the good stuff to read. :grin: I really like the flowers emoticon……it’s just so clever. Thanks.

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