Monday, March 21, 2016

[ARC Review]: "Hard Candy"

Hard Candy by Amy Jo Cousins
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (March 22, 2016)
Series: Bend or Break, 7
Genre: M/M Romance -- New Adult

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. 

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Cousins's Previous Novels:

Off Campus (#1) -- TBQ
Nothing Like Paris (#2) -- TBQ
The Girl Next Door (#3) -- TBQ
Level Hands (#4) -- TBQ
Real World (#5) -- TBQ
Love Me Like a Rock (#6) -- TBQ

My Review:

He wondered if Bryan had anyplace that felt like home. Or where he at least felt safe enough to let go of the tough facade of pretending he didn't care and he didn't hurt and he was so used to the pain that it didn't even bother him anymore.

There's so much to love about this book. Vinnie has his awkward moments, but it's impossible not to love him even as he fumbles his way through scenes. Bryan is fabu-fucking-lous and doesn't apologize for who he is, ever. Again, how could you not love him?!

AJC also plays around with stereotypes and has the couple actually work through the issue. Vinnie doesn't just fall for Bryan and forget that Bryan is proudly femme; nope, it takes some time, and a few fuck ups on Vinnie's part, before he realizes he doesn't care how the world wants to label Bryan, he loves him just the way he is and that's all that matters.

"I grew up with my momma beating my ass most days and twice on Sundays because I had the devil in me, Vincent. Kids at school beat the shit out of me for years until I learned how to fight back. I'm not going to tone it down for anyone. Not for them. Not for you."

Obviously, these two have great chemistry. But I was happy that AJC also explored what sex can mean for different couples. That's so very important and more realistic. But just because Vinnie and Bryan are more interested in using their hands and mouths doesn't mean it's any less steamy, trust me! The sensual build up is so well done and fits perfectly.

Somehow they were in the middle of what felt like a fight, which was the opposite of what he wanted. Bryan opened his mouth. 

Vinnie pushed him against the wall.

And yes, holy hell, this was what he wanted, his hips pressing against Bryan's, his hands tight on the warm skin and hard muscles of Bryan's arms. Before that open mouth could say anything else, Vinnie threw himself over the cliff and dove into a kiss that blew through him like fire. He meant to lick his way in, to reduce and cajole, but Bryan's mouth was sweet and his hands were clutching at Vinnie's coat, dragging him closer. They kissed like lovers who wouldn't wait to get home if there were a dark corner nearby. Surprisingly soft lips parted under his own with a gasp and Vinnie chased Bryan's tongue with his own until he couldn't control his own groans.

There are so many sweet moments, too, as Bryan takes care of Vinnie, as well as moments where Vinnie protects and cares for Bryan. Their story has some angst, but overall it'll leave you with all the happy sighs. All. Of. Them.

"Bryan Latimer, I'm proud to be with you in private, in public, anyplace you'll let me stand by your side. Wanna be my boyfriend?"

This series just keeps getting better and better, and covers a wide variety of characters and couples, which I love. And while I may love some books more than others, not one of these 7 books has received lower than a 3 1/2 star rating from me. And that, I think, says a lot all by itself. I see many rereads of the series in my future. Even just looking for quotes for this review had me tempted to dive into the book all over again, and that is always a good sign.


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Amy Jo Cousins; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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I really hope we get more books in this series later on. If not, I'll have to be content with rereading 1-7 again and again. :)


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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