Thursday, July 27, 2017

Love Plus One by P.A. Friday

Laurie and James are a monogamous couple with an occasional lover in James’s best friend, Al. It is a casual, friend-with-benefits situation which suits them all, especially given Al’s promiscuous lifestyle.

When Al is assaulted, however, Laurie and James are forced to confront the fact that their feelings for Al might be stronger than mere liking. But would free spirit Al ever want more than what they already have?

Warning: Brief mentions of graphic violence and oral gang rape after the fact.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 Stars

Below my review is commentary after reading both books 1 and 2, and which order they should be read in.

Laurie and James are in a committed relationship. Laurie has known James for a long time, as he is James' mother's best friend. So Laurie has seen James and Al – James' best friend – grow up into adults. Love Plus One features an age-gap and an unconventional relationship with Al, who occasionally visits their bed.

The story takes place mid-relationship, so there was a bit of confusion and info-dumpage to explain who is who and how they are connected, written in a telling instead of showing fashion, which made it hard to digest. It affected the overall flow, and made the reading experience a bit more difficult than I prefer.

Laurie and James are good together. However, I felt there was a bit of immaturity displayed by both James and Al, bickering and fighting with each other and Al with Laurie, making them seem too immature for the relationship they are engaging in with a much-older Laurie. This added a D/s bent, with Al being the bratty bottom (D/s term, not just gay term). James would bait Al, and Al would purposefully misbehave to be 'punished' by Laurie. While it was cute, slightly funny, and hot, the maturity imbalance made it difficult to buy longevity when in this type of unconventional relationship.

Al is bisexual and a commitment-phobe. He's got a girl or guy in every port, meeting up for some friends-with-benefits action, or he has one-night-stands, never to be revisited. After an assault, he comes to the only people he trusts for safety and comfort – James and Laurie.


Excuse my rambling, inarticulateness as I try to order my thoughts. This is my impression from book one to book two – in my case, book two to book one.

Offered for review, I read One Plus One first by accident, not realizing it was a sequel/prequel. In fact, I went into it blindly, not reading the blurb first. I left a comprehensive review, explaining how I thought it would have been better as a ménage, not realizing it was the prequel (going back to the beginning where Laurie and James coupled up) to this book, where it shows a ménage with Al. I was so pleased that that was the case, and immediately dove into Love Plus One.

I'd been contemplating the best order to read the books, as the present time is book one and the past is book two. At first, I was glad I read them out of order, as book two was heavy on the character development and relationship building between all three characters. Plus, there was a note attached to my copy, stating it was best to read out of order.

What order should you read the books in, you ask...

I don't know, to be honest.

Read it in the order in which it was published, where you see the ménage, then go back in time and not feel the frustration I felt at the ending (who was coupled with whom). But notice a difference in the both the voice of the author and the characters.

Read it in a linear timeline (out of order) to be able to see the arc the characters went through over time, where you feel connected to the characters and understand their background, and won't be confused when characters are name-dropped into the story. But then experience a whiplash effect, as it doesn't sound at all like the same characters or author. The emotion of it, the level of character building and whatnot. I realize this book is narrated by Laurie and book two is James, but that's not what I mean. There is a difference between the voice of the author and the voice of the characters. It's not a smooth transition. Also, the D/s storyline would have felt out of nowhere, as that didn't exist in One Plus One. James was not baiting and Al was not bratty, and they did not bicker and fight like toddler brothers, and Laurie was in no way a dominant alpha male.

Here is my issue, and I'm being entirely honest here. The author showed much growth from one book to the next. The writing is more fluid. While, in this book, the editing is tight and the story interesting, the voice is different. That's the best way I can explain it. One Plus One, the voice is more fluid, easier to fall into the story and connect with the characters. There is something during this book that had me feeling apart from the story itself. Slightly laundry-list feeling with details, a lack of emotion and character building, like being thrust in the middle-to-end of a story, so it's difficult to connect on an emotional level.

Had I not read One Plus One first, I wouldn't know the potential, and I could have read Love Plus One as a hot ménage between an established couple with an age-gap and the younger partner's best friend. I would have been slightly confused as characters were name-dropped into the storyline, but just read over it. It would have been hot and felt real, and been a quick, just riding the surface of emotions, read. But I didn't read it that way.

After completing both books, this is my take on it. As a writer/editor, who can't leave well enough alone herself, I'd release One Plus One and rewrite Love Plus One (in the same direction) but with the voice and new maturity in their craft, so the transition from one book to the next felt flawlessly fluid.

Both books are good in their own right, but to be honest – to me – it felt as if it was just the names/traits/plot was used to create another book, as the voice feels nothing alike.

I'd read them both as separate entities, appreciating them for what they are. Love Plus One (Maths Book #1) is more sex-centric between an established couple and their third. One Plus One (Maths Book #2) is character development and relationship building, and a deeper, more emotional read.

I was pleased to see the author's growth, and do look forward to reading more in the future.

P.A. Friday fails dismally to write one sort of thing and, when not writing erotica and erotic romance of all sexualities, may be found writing articles on the Regency period, pagan poetry, or science fiction. She loves wine and red peppers, and loathes coffee and mushrooms.

Connect with P.A.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Love Plus One (Maths #1) by P.A. Friday to read and review.

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