Tag Archives: Karen

Review: The Girl Next Door by Amy Jo Cousins

Karen’s Review of The Girl Next Door (Bend or Break) by Amy Jo Cousins
Contemporary romance released by Samhain Publishing on June 16, 2015

The Girl Next DoorWhen it comes to love, go big or go home.

Bend or Break, Book 3

Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.

Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs local backup, and there’s only one name he can think of: Stephany Tyler. Back in the day, the bisexual Steph was the perfect friend with benefits until she fell in love with a woman.

To his relief, his former friend steps up to the plate. Soon, though, Cash finds himself feeling the familiar need to keep her in his bed, and in his life. But Steph, burned by the ex-girlfriend and by the absentee dad she’s been trying to connect with, won’t risk her heart again.

Good thing Cash believes in leaving it all on the field. If he can just convince Steph to get in the game, there’s a chance they can both win.

Warning: This book contains ex-friends with benefits crossing boundaries a second time, several steamy encounters on staircases, copious discussions about gay sex from a “straight” guy, a shout-out to magic buttons, and an especially memorable going away threesome.

While this is part of the bend or Break series, it can be read as a standalone. I enjoyed Off Campus, the first in this series and the book where we meet Cash and Steph, I loved Nothing Like Paris (both books are m/m) and my jaded heart rejoiced when I heard that The Girl Next Door was going to be m/f albeit with a queer twist. Amy-Jo Cousins writes with such emotion, and her ability to get inside her characters heads is second to none. I wanted this book really badly… Continue reading

Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

Karen’s Review of For Real by Alexis Hall
Contemporary romance released by Riptide Publishing on June 1, 2015

For RealLaurence Dalziel, a thirty-seven year old trauma surgeon, is worn down and washed up. And for him the BDSM scene especially is all played out. He’s tired of pantomiming submission, and he’s long since given up looking for more than hollow release.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. He doesn’t know how he ended up where he is or where he’s meant to be going. But he knows, with all the terrible certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie.

He wants Laurie on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love. But while Laurie will surrender his body to Toby’s desires, he won’t surrender his heart. Because whatever they have, however right it feels, he knows it can’t last. Toby has to live his own life, and Laurie has to let him.

It can’t be for real.

I will make no secret that I love the writing of Alexis Hall, I really do, and the previous book in the Spires Universe, Waiting for the Flood, is easily one of my favourite reads this year. Continue reading