Real World (Lili’s Review)

Title: Real World (Bend or Break #5)
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Release Date: November 17th 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 175 pages
Reviewed by: Lili
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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

Give 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.

Warning: This book contains two adorable guys with way too many secrets, conciliatory rigatoni, a bedroom lesson on the power of multitasking, and indisputable evidence on what makes the perfect holiday HEA.


Real World by Amy Jo Cousins is probably one of the best- if not the best portrayals of an established couple. This story takes place five years after the first book, and Tom and Reese are living together and working towards their future. At the beginning of the book, Tom is stressing about work and his dad ‘s imminent release from prison. These events cause him to not realize how much danger his relationship is in.

“This was the ground crumbling under his feet at the cliff’s edge as he flung himself backward and hoped not to fall. This was an emergency and Tom was done fucking up. Was done putting his relationship in jeopardy because he was ashamed and fearful and hiding under the shaky leaf of his own lies as if they were rocks.”

What I loved about this book was how real and heartfelt it was. When the book began- it felt like years had passed like the characters had matured. I’ve read other sequels about established couples and they feel as if they take place soon after the first book rather than years down the road. It also showed us that relationships aren’t perfect and they take work. Above all, though, I love how committed they were to each other- these guys were in love and their relationship came first.

This was 5 Stars all the way! It’s a great holiday story of love and friendships and for Tom and Reese fans it’s not to be missed!


Bend or Break Series

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ARC kindly provided by Samhain Publishing for an honest review.


I'm a romance junkie, who loves when books make her cry from heartbreak and happiness. A few of my favorite tropes: -Friends to lovers -Hurt/comfort/healing -Age gap NetGalley Member since 2015 2016 NetGalley Challenge 80% Professional Reader 2015 Challenge Participant
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