Tag Archives: Amy Jo Cousins

Release Day Reviews: Love Me Like a Rock and Hard Candy (Bend or Break #6 & 7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Love Me Like a RockLove Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break #6) by Amy Jo Cousins

Released 22 March 2016

Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Pages: 154

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

In art and in love, it s the rough edges that make things interesting.

Having grown up with artistic implements always in hand, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except for one thing—an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

The combination of emotional and sexual frustration fuels a spark between Austin and the nude model in his drawing class. Austin isn’t used to having trouble focusing; models are merely challenging subjects to be rendered on paper. But the geology TA’s direct blue gaze is powerful enough to drag Austin’s focus away from his physique.

After a quick and very dirty post-class encounter, all the reasons that Austin has been waiting for his best friend go fuzzy in his mind. Sean is nothing like Vinnie. Sean is persistent, pays attention, and makes it clear he wants to be together.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose his friend, or his lover. Or both.

Warning: Contains rock geeks, tent sex, a dictatorial cox whose idea of a good time is drawing naked dudes, plus one naked dude who wants to be more than a good time.

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Our thoughts:

Sometimes the sweet, easy stories can really satisfy. Love Me Like a Rock is a perfect mix of opposites attract, easy love and low angst. I’m not a fan of angst, so it was just right for me. Happy from start to finish!

Austin is a an art student at University. He’s a bit quirky. Always lost in his art projects and not really taking too much seriously. At least that’s what all his friends think. Deep inside, Austin has a lot of thoughts and feelings he never let’s loose because he’d rather just go with the flow. That’s how he became a causal hook-up for his best friend, Vinnie. Years of waiting around for Vinnie to express that he wanted or needed from Austin and it never happens.

Austin’s in a model sketching session when he is consumed by the model. Feelings he can’t quite turn off bombard him and it becomes obvious the same is happening to the model, Sean. So begins a whirlwind of lustful adventures for Sean and Austin. Good dating intentions are thwarted by hormones many times over! All the years needing attention from Vinnie and now Austin has Sean’s undivided attention.

Austin discovers a life outside of his rowing team and art. His small circle of friends grows with Sean’s geologist crew. Yes, geologist! Some of the best moments are when Austin is experiencing camping and a new outlook on nature with Sean. Sean is the ultimate boyfriend, attentive and caring. He likes Austin for who he is with full acceptance. He’s also patient enough to let Austin discover what he wants and needs from Sean in their relationship.

I found these two to be sensitive but not sappy. Loving yet passionate and sensual. Eager yet relaxed with each other. They have their moment of misunderstanding but it’s worked through and they move on and become stronger. It’s nice to read a fun, sweet couple!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Hard CandyHard Candy (Bend or Break #7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Released 22 March 2016

Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary

Blurb:

How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

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Our thoughts:

After knowing so much about Vinnie through Austin in Love Like a Rock, I was anxious to see how Amy Jo Cousins would redeem him. Redeem? Yes. Vinnie’s wound tight and a user. Maybe a tyrant would be an accurate description. Actually, those are a bit harsh, but not far off the mark.

Vinnie was fine with using Austin for release once his stress had built up enough during a paper or leading into an important exam. He’d get drunk and then pull Austin into his bed, letting Austin lead from there. Vinnie would get his release and Austin was left hanging on, wondering if Vinnie would ever want more, even a real relationship. Vinnie overstepped their friendship and then would back off, time and time again.

One night Austin isn’t willing to be the stress relief. He has Sean and Vinnie is on his own. That leads to Vinnie in Bryan’s bed, sick from over indulging. Bryan is sweet and kind to Vinnie. He seems to actually care about him and the state he’s in. Vinnie is just mortified. Those small sentiments and kindnesses worm into Vinnie’s psyche and won’t pull back. Bryan has consumed Vinnie’s every thought and he can’t resist seeking him out.

Bryan is tall, lean and in dancer shape. Beautiful and charming. A very no-nonsense personality who’s very straightforward. Bryan doesn’t have time for song and dance. He also isn’t going to deal with not being a priority. All this scares Vinnie a little but he also likes those qualities in Bryan. He is who he is and isn’t willing to change, Vinnie could learn something about bravery from him.

Bryan’s peacefulness and touches are healing for Vinnie. He’s never felt so much before and he knows he’s falling for Bryan. He just has to work through his hang ups before Bryan gets fed up and walks away for good.

I really enjoy Austin’s companion novel and worried I wouldn’t like Vinnie’s story as much. Wrong! So wrong! He shows growth and courage. He’s willing to fix his shortcomings and never once intentionally hurts Bryan. Pleasantly unexpected! Vinnie was suffering more than we knew and Bryan is the perfect one to soothe him mind, body and soul. Bryan is all kinds of wonderful.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Off CampusReleased 30 December 2014

Published by Samhain Publishing

Copy obtained from publisher for review.

Synopsis:

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.

Buy Links: Samhain Publishing •  All Romance eBooks  • Amazon

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Our Thoughts:

Two broken boys. Two very different circumstances. One room.

It all begins with one room off campus that should have been a single and turns into a double. Reese was guaranteed he would not have to share a room after his incident. Enduring what he did should give him that much, right? Unfortunately, Tom has been assigned to his room and Reese is having none of it.

Tom just needs a place to rest Monday though Friday and then he is off to bust his arse making as much money as he can driving a cab and then gypsy-cabbing after hours. He’s homeless, no parents and in need of money to not just survive but to pay his tuition, fees and books for the next semester. He’s keeping his head down and off anyone’s radar.

If Reese wants to give Tom a hard go at being roommates that’s fine by Tom. He just needs to keep up with his schedule and get through school and into a good job. Focus. That’s all he has now.

Reese can’t figure Tom out. He tries everything to get Tom to leave and it isn’t working: bringing hook-ups to the room, being a jerk, ignoring him. Tom just comes in quietly and sleeps. But eventually they both call a truce and try civility. It seems Reese is willing to extend an olive branch and Tom is happy to have one person he can talk to in his lonely world.

This story is really about Tom. Yes, Reese is a strong character and he’s an important part of Tom’s story, but it’s really all Tom. His father was arrested for being the mastermind of a Ponzi scheme. He tried to commit suicide and Tom was left devastated in the wake of this mess. He lost his home, money, parent, basically everything. He’s left to the media hounds and has no one to really help him or for him to lean on. He feels isolated and held hostage in his own existence. Just being the son of a criminal instantly made him a criminal and guilty by association.

Reese manages to break open Tom but Reese has his own tragic story it’s one of sexual assault and he is very fragile. Strong, yet fragile. He has PTSD from the attack and is constantly tense and needs to control every situation to prevent a panic attack. Reese shares his story but Tom stays quiet and doesn’t share his. For all Reese has endured, he’s determined to persevere and keep living. Tom is careful to not ever make Reese feel intimidated or scared of him. He wants Reese to feel safe with him.

Tom has to navigate his warped idea of what people are thinking of him and who is out to get him. His time spent huddled in his home (before it was taken away) hounded by the press really made him paranoid. Add in the stress of money and prior homelessness and he’s just not able to function around people anymore.

Even though Reese would seem to be the one with the bigger issue to tackle, and get help for, Tom is the one with the most to learn and change. They take the right path but seem to be sidelined over and over again. Pride, misunderstandings, secrets and isolation don’t help matters. It is a long hard road and they have to decide of they want to keep fighting the fight. Are they destined to be together and be there for each other? Is this love? Can they make it? With so many hardships and issues to tackle it is a hard road for Tom and Reese.

This book is full of emotion, misery, hard times, good friends, sweet moments, firsts, romance and lots of horny college boys having sex. You’ll want to get caught up with Reese and Tom in their little cave and watch their relationship unfold. Fruit picked too soon will be hard and bitter, but fruit left on the vine will grow soft and sweet, just like Reese and Tom’s relationship. :)

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!