Review: Real World by Amy Jo Cousins


Title: Real World (Bend or Break #5)
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Genre/Themes: M/M romance, Holidays
Release Date: 17 Nov 2015

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
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My rating: 4.5 Stars


When talking fails, it’s time to break out the big guns.

Five years ago, Tom Worthington busted his ass to overcome the fear and paranoia that led him to withdraw from the world and nearly lose his boyfriend. He never thought he’d find himself right back there, shutting Reese out, keeping secrets again.

Reese Anders is ready to try anything to get Tom to talk: if he can’t seduce his boyfriend with food, he’ll get Tom to open up in bed. But even Tom’s confession that his dad is getting out of prison soon doesn’t clear the air between them. And as the holidays approach, intensive mentoring from a new British boss creates more distractions, until Reese is keeping secrets of his own.

At a company Christmas party, it only takes Tom one look at Reese’s new boss to figure out how much danger their relationship is in. But he’s not about to let the connection that started all those years ago at Carlisle come to an end. It’s time to deal with their problems like adults. Face to face. Or back to front. Starting in the bedroom.


This is book 5 in Ms Cousins' Bend or Break series and it's a sequel to the first book, Off Campus, bring us back to Tom and Reese, now an established couple, a few years after graduation.

I find Ms Cousins has the uncanny ability to steal some of my thoughts and give them to her characters. It was Rafi in Level Hands who could be my twin in so many ways and here I felt deeply connected with Tom, so much that it felt surreal at times.

This is not just a sweet follow up story. Both Tom and Reese had a lot of issues to deal before they came together and we see them still struggling with the hurt/burden of their pasts. Things get especially difficult for Tom and because he is the quieter, more introverted of the two, he reacts rather badly the situation, at least initially. He finds himself under so much pressure, most of which he places on himself and refusing to talk about it with his partner. He comes really close to losing everything and this possibility becomes his wake-up call.

I loved everything about this story, it felt real and natural and there were some sweet romantic moments that brought happy tears to my eyes.

I could relate to Tom's anxiety and nerves about everything happening in his life. His reaction to shut everybody out, to solve every problem on his own so as not to be a burden to the people who love him, his fear he might be a burden to Reese/or any of his friends came so very close to some of my own fears.

I got deeply immersed in his struggles, felt bad for him, rooted for his HEA!

Reese was great as well, more mature than in Off Campus, yet still vibrant, full of life and emotions. His enthusiasm was truly infectious. We see him doing everything he can think of to help support Tom and to save their relationship. Seeing how they made mistakes, yet never gave up on each other was inspiring. they were aware of the difficulties in  their relationship and tried to work things out. I loved that they manage to speak openly, despite it being so difficult for Tom to open up.

As much as I liked Reese and Tom, I also loved seeing Cash and Steph again, even a glimpse of Denny and Rafi and their happy, healthy relationships all made my heart full.

And we gets bits of Cash (and Steph) and they were such fun!

This story has the perfect perfect romance HEA and to avoid spoilers I will just say that it was so sweet and romantic, yet never sappy, just real for these two guys. 

Fans of the series should not miss this book! It's a sweet and sexy holiday romance, engaging and real, in this magical of Ms Cousins creating a story and characters that stay with you long after you finish reading the book.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Samhain

You can find my reviews of the previous books in the Bend or Break series in my Review Policy and Archive tap above.

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