Real World (Vallie’s Review)

Real world

Title: Real world
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 175
Reviewed by: Vallie
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.

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.

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.

Could a title be any more perfect for a book?!

This was about Tom and Reese from Off Campus (Bend or Break #1), which is one of my favourite books by the way, 5 years after they got together, living life, and getting on with the programme. I absolutely loved loved loved the sequel to their story. I have a soft spot about established couples, maybe because sometimes the characters in books take way too damn long to get together properly and I always feel like I didn’t experience them enough. When it comes to established couples though, we get to see all the day-to-day little things, the routine, the mundane tasks, the fights, the things couples don’t say to one another, and I love it!

I appreciated greatly that the author didn’t magically cure any of the issues that Tom faced before. He was still slow to open up to Reese, often withdrawing from his partner, and bottling everything up. Tom was still not coping with the insecurities his father’s criminal activities created for him. He was still a little paranoid that everyone suspected him of fraud. He still thought that people stared. All of that caused him to distance himself from Reese and more importantly, to not support Reese the way a partner should.

Reese was honestly amazing about all of it. He didn’t make excuses for Tom but he did try to be there for him as much as possible. And when things started derailing, they were honest with each other. They gave each other the truth, no matter how painful or scary it might seem.

“I count on our relationship to be my rock, Tom. It’s the thing that makes the shitty days less shitty and the good ones fabulous. But sometimes I think you spend half your time waiting for the illusion to crack because you’ve never believed any of this is real.”

I wanna hug this book and hold onto it foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! big smiley face

The side characters were funny and served their purpose very well. It was nice to see that Tom and Reese moved on from college into adulthood and that they both retained an identity outside of the relationship.

The romance was there, obviously, in an emotional and sometimes gut-wrenching way, because their relationship became rocky for a while. But I never ever doubted the love and the emotions or that these two would make it. That last scene…I don’t care, I will fan-girl like a 12 year old over this. OMG THAT PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will encourage everyone who hasn’t discovered the magic that is Tom and Reese to pick up Off Campus (Bend or Break #1) and then go straight to this. It is a truly great follow-up to one of my favourite couples.

Highly recommend!

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ARC of Real World (Bend or Break #5) provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.