Audio Book Review by Kristie: For Real, by Amy Jo Cousins

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Real World, by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: Bend or Break, Book Five
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Book Release Date: November 17, 2015

Narrated By: Cooper North
Publisher: Insatiable Press
Audio Release Date: January 25, 2017

Audio Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Interview with Amy Jo Cousins, author of the “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” Duology!


Amy Jo Cousins has a new duology out now, featuring two incredible novellas in the Bend or Break universe!

In Love Me Like A Rock, artist Austin has to get his head out of the clouds or he risks losing both his best friend Vinnie and his new relationship with geology student Sean. In Hard Candy, Vinnie wakes up from a one-night stand with Bryan, a dance major who is everything that Vinnie is not. Together, they make Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

You can read more about the duology here, including summaries and my reviews of both novellas!

Today I’m thrilled to be featuring author Amy Jo Cousins on the blog, to talk about challenging common romance tropes, writing awkward sex, and the planning that went into this duology… plus some hints about what’s to come from AJ!

So check it out…

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Duology Book Review: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Amy Jo Cousins


Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Series: Bend or Break, Books 6 and 7
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: March 22, 2016

This duology comprises of Book 6, Love Me Like a Rock, and Book 7, Hard Candy. I recommend reading the rest of the series first, but these can be read as a stand-alone.

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cousins-rock-hard-duologyWhen Vinnie and Austin first appeared in Level Hands, I was immediately intrigued by whatever was going on between them. It was clear there was something, and the brief cameo we got in Real World just added fuel to the fire. So I was ridiculously excited to see that they were finally getting their own books.

And then A.J. said that they were getting their own separate books. As in, separate romances. Whaaaaat? But this is Amy Jo Cousins we’re talking about. Even though I wasn’t quite ready to put down my “Austin/Vinnie OTP” banner, I was willing to trust in her ability to write a gorgeous relationship for both of them.

And she did. Oh, boy, did she ever.

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El’s Top 10 Books of 2015


I read a lot of books in 2015 (more than 300 in total), so trying to pick my favorites for the year was not easy. After a lot of thought (and factoring in the number of times I re-read a book), I was able to narrow it down to my Top Ten Books of 2015.

And because it’s the end of the year, here’s one last contest. See the bottom of the post for full contest details.


And now the list, in no particular order:

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An Interview with Amy Jo Cousins, author of “Real World”!


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I’m absolutely ecstatic to be joined today by Amy Jo Cousins, one of the most amazing romance authors I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading! Her newest book, Real World, came out yesterday, and is the fifth in her Bend or Break series.

I absolutely loved Real World, which was “flawless, gorgeous, with characters so real they practically jumped off the page”. It’s the perfect holiday romance, and I’m thrilled to be revisiting Tom and Reese.

If you haven’t read Off Campus or the rest of the Bend or Break series, you can still read Real World, although you should totally check out the other books as well.

So without further ado…

El: Hi Amy Jo! Thank you so much for joining me here today. The entire Bend or Break series is absolutely incredible, and Real World was a blast to read!

AJ: Thank you for the lovely words about the books! I have had such fun with this series. I had no idea it would still be going strong for this many books!

cousins-real-worldEl: The first question I wanted to ask was about your original image for the series. Was it always going to be multiple books following these interconnected characters, or did you start out with only Reese and Tom’s story in mind?

AJ: I didn’t even know it was going to be one book at first. I was training for a marathon, and whenever I had my long runs, this scene kept getting stuck in my head: one guy taking care of another guy, who was injured, and then the caretaking becoming something more. After a month or two, it was clear I needed to write this down. 🙂 And that became Off Campus. But it wasn’t until I was talking to my agent, and she asked me if I had more books planned in a series, that I realized I did. I knew I wanted to write about Jack, the antagonist, and Cash and Steph. But the rest of the series has been a surprise to me. The ideas keep coming, so I keep writing!

El: I’m not complaining if it means we get more in this series!

AJ: Thank you! I’ve really enjoyed following this extended group of friends around.


El: I wanted to ask about “Real World” first, since it just came out yesterday… what made you decide to revisit Reese and Tom?

AJ: I loved writing about Tom and Reese so much. I was emotionally invested in that story, more so than usual for me. And I was happy with how I left them at the end of Off Campus. I’m excessively fond of realism in romance, and for me, two guys of that age, still in college, really only had a HFN ending to their story, not a HEA. And I wanted that HEA! So I always hoped I’d get a chance to revisit them. And because my editor Christa is an awesome and amazing woman, she signed on for a holiday novella where I could really wallow in the sappy, mushy stuff for their forever HEA. But not until I made them work for it, of course.

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