Monday, February 23, 2015
Review: Nothing Like Paris (Bend or Break #2) by Amy Jo Cousins
Humble pie wasn’t supposed to taste this sweet.
Jack Tarkington’s life is in the toilet. He was supposed to be spending his junior year studying someplace cool like Paris or Rome. Instead, after taking out his anger on the campus “golden boy”, whose dad ripped off his parents, Jack is facing possible expulsion.
Sure, it’s all his own fault, but coming back to the small Iowa town he thought he’d escaped, after crowing about his admission to a prestigious school, has been a humbling experience.
When he runs into Miguel, Jack braces for backlash over the way he lorded it over his old friend and flame. Instead, Miguel offers him friendship—and a job at his growing farm-to-table store and café.
Against the odds, both guys bond over broken dreams and find common ground in music. But when Jack’s college gives him a second chance, he’s torn between achieving a dream that will take him far from home, and a love that strikes a chord he’ll never find anywhere else.
Warning: This book contains a humbled guy who’s on the brink of losing it all, a determined entrepreneur who seems to have it all together, apologies issued through banjo-picking duets, and two lovers who can play each other’s bodies like virtuosos.
Goodreads | Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
*ARC review - Release date: March 3, 2015
I discovered Off Campus (Bend or Break #1) by Amy Jo Cousins the end of last year (my review) and she's quickly become a favorite author of mine.
We first met Jack, in Off Campus and, honestly, he was a total asshole. I was curious as to how Cousins was going to explain his journey to redemption and make him more likable in Nothing Like Paris.
We learn more about Jack and why he’s so damn angry. Jack has baggage and it explains a lot about his actions. However, it doesn’t excuse them and Jack has to do the hard work to gain the trust and respect of those who mean the most to him if he wants to get his life back on track. I like how he’s written. I’m not sure I ever loved him exactly. He’s a whirlwind that I’m not sure I could ever handle lol, but I did end up rooting for and liking him.
Miguel was a really great friend and love interest for Jack. He’s the calm, reasonable center to Jack’s hurricane of a personality but he’s also torn between his own dreams, heritage, family and Jack.
He resists Jack’s magnetic pull for as long as possible. It’s not just about hormones and sex though. They are vastly different in how they approach life but there’s a bone deep connection between the two that’s about friendship, love and forgiveness.
I have to admit that I loved Off Campus more than Nothing Like Paris. Mostly because I’m in a place right now where funny books are what I gravitate to and Off Campus was snort out loud hilarious at times. But I really did love this book.
I adore the way this author writes dialogue between characters. She digs deep and doesn’t let them off the hook. You think everything is going ok and then she peels back another layer. They yell, they talk, they push back, they love. It’s angst but it feels like authentic, not manufactured, angst. The character growth is always so impressive and inspiring.
I don’t usually pay attention to series names. They don’t seem to apply, except superficially, to the actual series but when typing up this review and the phrase - “Bend or Break” #1 & #2, I realized just how much it does apply here. These characters are at their low point. They are about to lose it all. They can chose to bend and change or break.
I highly recommend this series. Nothing Like Paris can be read as a stand alone but you would miss Jack’s initial downward spiral & a hell of a great book if you don’t read Off Campus first.