Novella Review by El: The Belle vs the BDOC, by Amy Jo Cousins

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The Belle vs The BDOC, by Amy Jo Cousins
A Bend or Break Novella (Stand-alone)
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 23, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

originally published in the 90s Playlist anthology


cousins-belle-vs-bdocLove is a battlefield.

Shelby Summerfield is a Southern belle at a northern college in 1993, which is a challenge to begin with. And yes, Florence Truong, the object of Shelby’s lust and the only other woman on campus not wearing flannel, does catch her in what looks like a compromising position with a straight boy at pub trivia night.

But Shelby is a gold star lesbian and Florence’s dapper fashion sense makes her weak in the knees, so her rejection stings hard. To exact her revenge, Shelby cheats a little when putting together her own trivia dream team, because nobody strategizes to win like a Southern girl on a mission. And if trivia can’t settle their rivalry, then maybe the annual campus-wide game of assassin will do the trick.

Shelby’s gonna come out on top of Florence—in bed or out, one way or another. Bless her heart. And her silk pocket squares.


F/F Pairing
Lesbian Characters
New Adult
University Setting
Enemies to Lovers


Amy Jo is pretty much perfection in author form. Her novels are always sweet and romantic, while also managing to be sexy and emotionally charged. She writes diversity the way I want all authors to write diversity: effortlessly and beautifully. And while she’s best known for her M/M works, this F/F novella just blows them out of the water.

This is, without a doubt, the F/F New Adult romance of my heart.

I’m from Texas. I know my share of Southern Belles. Shelby is everything I could ever want in a character: she’s full of charm and Southern Polite*, she’s brilliant and beautiful, and she can hold a grudge like nobody’s business. And Florence, the dapper dyke on campus, is equally a fantastic adversary and sexy love interest for Shelby!

* if you are from the Southern US, you know exactly what this is. It’s the most elegant way of being rude that you’ll ever encounter.

The night Florence Truong killed Shelby Summerfield’s sex life was hardly the first time Shelby had vowed revenge on someone for treating her like a dumb blonde because she spoke with a twang and liked wearing her hair long with big curls like a good Texas girl.

It was just the first time she meant it.

This novella packs a lot into a short space, and I was riveted with every turn of the page! The pacing is perfect, the action flows smoothly, and more than once I found myself grinning at the page as these two lovely ladies try to get out of trouble (while also getting into each others’ clothing). It’s sexy and fun.

Oh, and the sex? RIDICULOUSLY HOT.

This is a truly wonderful novella. You should really go read everything AJ has ever written, but if you want a sample of her writing talent you should start right here with The Belle vs the BDOC.

Buy The Belle vs the BDOC from:

Barnes & Noble
Google Play
All Romance eBooks


Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series. Amy Jo is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates.

You can find Amy Jo on her website at

You can find El’s reviews of Amy Jo’s other books here.


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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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