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Nothing Like Paris

(Bend or Break #2)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  983 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Humble pie wasnt supposed to taste this sweet.

Jack Tarkingtons 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, its all his own fault, but coming back to the small Iowa town
Kindle Edition, 266 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  983 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Start your review of Nothing Like Paris (Bend or Break, #2)
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
4.5 stars

Jack, harassing Tom to the brink of despair, was such a quintessential villain in book 1 of Cousins' Bend or Break series, I wanted to stomp on him and then spit for good measure.

But I suspected there was more to Jack's defensive posturing than met the eye.

Jack suffered when his parents lost their life savings to Tom's scheming father. His dreams of reinventing himself in Paris flew out the window.

Angry, carrying a boulder on his skinny, hipster shoulders, Jack, the bullied in high
Dec 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: twenty-fifteen, arc, mmr
I didnt find this installment of the bend or break series nearly as enjoyable as the first one; it was mostly a miss for me. I found myself skimming past the sex scenes, because I was only interested in the drama. I just couldnt get myself to fully forgive Jack, even after finding out all the gory details about his life.

The story annoyed me a few times when it mirrored book one just a little too closely for my taste. There is a scene in Off Campus where Tom breaks his cell phone in a fit of
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
 photo 644523b6-96e2-4f05-a400-36bd4a6505cc_zpsgrv7wtkz.jpg

After reading Five Dates and Off Campus and loving them- I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. I was very curious to see if Amy Jo Cousins would be able to change my opinion of Jack, whom we first met in Off Campus. To say he came across as a douche is putting it mildly. I'm happy to say she did.

In this story, we are shown his home life and we meet his best friend and lover, Miguel. We find out the reasons why the decisions that were made were done. I love how Amy Jo showed all sides to
Vanessa North
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing

IMO, better than Off Campus, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Nicely paced reunited lovers story (a trope I adore, BTW) with some serious examination of the issue of Jack's treatment of Tom in OC.

You do NOT need to read Off Campus to follow or enjoy this book, however, if you, like me, enjoy seeing an antagonist redeemed, you'll love having read OC first.

One thing I like the most about this book is that the characters are realistic. M/M romance is filled to the brim as a genre with sexy gary stus
Personal note, Amy Jo Cousins seems to have penchant to use some words (in this series anyway, since it's VERY noticeable for me) that just irk me -- namely "kid" or "kids" (seriously, it has probably become my second hatred word, because it sounds condescending and should not be used for people with small age-gap!) and baby as endearment (GAH!). So I did my own editing by deleting those words in order to enjoy my reading reading. Yep, I was reading the heavily redacted version!


Anyway, I
Kaje Harper
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
Jack was the bully in the first book in the series, and he got a well-deserved set-down, sent home to the small town he thought he'd escaped. There he encounters Mike, his high-school boyfriend and the guy he'd thought he'd be with forever, until he left home and Mike stayed. They might have a second chance, if they can move past all the anger they've been nursing since that break-up.

One thing I appreciated here was that the author didn't swiftly redeem Jack. He's a flawed character, and this
No lengthy review for this one because I'm le tired, but I just wanted to go on records as saying that I really enjoyed Nothing Like Paris (maybe not quite as much as Off Campus, but it was still damn good).

Cousins has a talent for creating rich, complex stories and characters that have weight (yet don't feel weighty), and her rather straightforward writing style seems to demand that her readers examine her characters' actions, think about their motivations, and consider what is being left un
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Meet Jack.

He is the douchebag who harassed Tom Worthington in book one. He comes from a small town in Iowa, where he is forced to return to. Jack is angry at everyone and everything, but mostly at himself. His life becomes hell when he has to live with his alcoholic mother and his indifferent father again. The only bright thing is that he meets Mike again, or Miguel as he calls him.


He is the boyfriend that Jack left behind without saying goodbye when he left for college. He chose to stay
Amy Cousins
Nov 24, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
I have a thing for angry, banjo-playing hipster boys, apparently. And a thing for redeeming antagonists... ;)

ETA: The first excerpt has gone up on the blog today! #AngryBanjoBoyIsFlirty

Excerpt #2 went up at I Love YA Fiction today!
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
4.5 stars. This was such a gem of a story, beautifully written, I really enjoyed reading it.

Jack and Michael/Miguel have grown up together in a small town in Iowa. They were best friends then later first loves. But Jack was always the more adventurous, daring one of the couple, determined to see the world so when he managed to get a free ride to a prestigious, out of state uni, he didn't look back, leaving his parents, his life and Michael far behind.

At the start of the story Jack has returned
Karen Wellsbury
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I laughed, cried several times, got cross, melted, felt their pain and happiness in every word.
These guys overcame their issues, worked together and I really got invested in their story

A.M. Arthur
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, 2015
This was one of those book where I wanted to bash both of the heroes over the head and say WILL YOU JUST TALK ALREADY? Not only to each other, but to their respective parental units. Okay, so the novel would have been about fifteen pages long if that had happened....

It was worth it, though, to see Jack Tarkington redeem himself from the previous book in the series.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mm

DNF at 60%

I tried.
This angsty, overly descriptive and repetitive writing style combined with dragging plot progression just confirmed that Cousins is not my cup of tea. (-_-)

Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm
BR with Elsbeth.

3.5 stars

This one is difficult to review for me.
There were parts I loved and there were parts I really didnt like.

What I loved most but never expected to love, was Jack. I disliked him fiercely in Off Campus, but once I gotten to know him, I just wanted to hug him and never let go.

That brings me to Mike/Miguel. I had a hard time liking him. I understood he was hurt deeply by Jack. But I still thought it unfair how he treated Jack at times. Especially after the two of them got
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
BR with Julie 3/23
Did you hear?
Phone sex and public sex

Unfortunately, this did not work for me.
I like this author, I really do. Five Dates was spectacular. Off Campus started fantastically fantastic (I loved the hell out of the first 70%--it did take a bad turn, but overall, I liked it.) But this...I feel like I enjoyed about 20% of this and had to trudge through the rest of it.
Even the sex could not save it for me. I did not find it hot. Not the public sex. Not the phone sex.

I know its hard to

Well, thank God Jack redeemed himself in this one...MORE than redeemed himself, I even shed a tear or two for him!! And when he thought no-one else was there for him, up stepped Miguel...once again. Full review to follow nearer to publication date, no kink and nowhere near as much sex as Off Campus, but a deep bond and 'twu wuv' between the two guys who had been together practically since the year dot!! I loved Andie, and hope she can feature in future stories in some way....4.5 stars from me.
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing

LOVED IT! Sweet and fun and deep and heartbreaking and sexy but mostly it felt real.

This full review is also posted on my blog - Ellie Reads Fiction

We met Jack in book 1, Off Campus, and he was a total jerk there, compeltely unlovable and plain mean. I wasn't sure how and if at all Ms Cousins will manage to redeem him. But boy, did she redeem him.

At the beginning, I was all about Mike (Miguel). He was perfect. He appeared all calm and collected, a responsible grown-up, business owner, yet he
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it

BR, March 17th with Susan.

We met Jack in the first book Off Campus. He was the asshole bullying Tom Worthington for blaming him for losing all his college money.. His only chance to get away from his former life and be free.

He gets suspended from college and is forced to return home. He meets his former best-(boy)friend Miguel again after being away from home for three years. Miguel holds a grudge because they were supposed to have gone to college together and Jack just left him behind.

This was

I found this book frustrating. I did not like Jack in Book 1 but I liked him here. His previous actions were so horrible that it was hard for him to come back from that in my eyes even though I understood his reasons and his anger. Not trying to divorce myself from who Jack was before this book was difficult but possible because he did address his problems and try to fix them so I had to respect that read this story with that in mind. Still, bro was an asshole though.

At its core though this
4.5 Stars

So, all through Off Campus I absolutely hated Jack Tarkington. Hated. So, when I saw that he would be the protagonist in this story I was just a little bit upset. See, I don't like skipping books in a series; but honestly, I was completely prepared to do so and I wouldn't have even batted an eye at it because, well, I Don't Like Jack.

But then Spellapalooza happened and I needed As, Ss, Is & Ns for my reads. This book has both an N and an A; it was also available via Hoopla so I
Jan 02, 2015 added it
I love this author and I loved Five Dates and I really liked (most) of Off Campus, but this one just did not work for me.
I felt like we listened to Mike say how much he did not like Jack, and Jack's a jerk, yeah, I know, but Mike took the shine off of everything and totally depressed me and it took far too long for those feelings he was harboring to go away.
The sex wasn't hot to me...Off Campus sex was HOT, this did nothing for me, but that's probably a reflection of the characters.
I will be
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, part-of-series
3.5 stars
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it

I actually am super late at reading this and most of my thoughts are already written by other reviews. I really think Dani's review and Eleftheria's review are a really good representation of my thoughts. Although there were some things I was a bit disappointed at.

"When he exhaled, he let it go. All of it. The rage, the coldness, the what id's and the if only's. His breath trailed away until he was empty and clean, if not new, at least willing to consider a clean start."

It was
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love Ms. Cousins' stories. This one took a character that I loathed in the previous book and made me not only like him but really care about him and his HEA. I thought only Jay Bell could pull that off. :)

The one thing I noticed in this book more so than the previous books I've read that were written by Ms. Cousins, who writes stories than I connect with and relate to, on a level that I appreciate and admire, because not every author can do that for me is that sentences like this are very
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm, on-my-kindle
I was surprised by how much I liked this book especially after what I saw of Jack in the first book. I didn't start with much love for Jack, and his thoughts and actions at the start of the book didn't make me any more inclined to like him, but once I got into it I was invested in his personal journey. I saw what he cam from, and where he came from, and began to understand him a bit better. Seeing him through Mike's eyes also gave me a better perspective on Jack as well. I loved that Mike never ...more
I had been hesitant to read this book since I loathed Jack from the first book. I gave it a try and I'm glad I did. This book did redeem Jack for how he acted against Tom in Off Campus, although it did not excuse his actions.

Here we follow Jack back to his hometown in Iowa after his expulsion from college for harassing Tom. He's still very much an ass for the first part of this book, but we slowly see him change. Part of that is due to Miguel, his ex boyfriend and ex best friend.

I liked
Let me start by saying the narration was good and wasn't a factor in my rating. I've enjoyed this narrator before and will do so again. It's the story that was I kinda bored with. I've enjoyed several stories in this series, but this one was just average for me. Not sure if it's because I didn't particularly care about Jack after what he did in book 1, or if it's because it's been so long since I've read this series that the energy I had with it initially wore off. Whatever the reason this just ...more
Christi Snow
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
My Review:
While I did enjoy reading this book overall, there was one major flaw in it for me...Jack. I just never felt like he truly reformed. While I absolutely understood him better after this book and could feel for him and his struggles, I didn't feel like he truly grew when it came to his relationship with Miguel. At the end of the book, he was still making the same mistakes when it came to Mike.

But back to my review...I rate my books based upon how much I enjoy a book and I did enjoy
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: college
*4.25 stars*

Let's face it, Jack is a bit of a jerk!

We all saw his jerkiness in Off Campus and I was looking forward to seeing how he could be redeemed. Well, for the first part of this book (maybe 50% or so) he was still an asshole. I couldn't figure out why Miguel would ever want to be with him and I was ready to give up.

But then it all came together for me. I started to understand part of what drew Miguel to Jack and, knowing more of Jack's story, including his mom's alcoholism, made his
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: beta
I didn't think Jack could be redeemed...but AJ managed it. Jack and Miguel are great together. While I don't love this book as hard as Off Campus, it's a solid second story in the series. I think I was just missing Tom and Reese. So I'm looking forward to them in Cash and Steph's book.

This book is kind of removed from the characters/setting of book 1, so I think it reads really well as a standalone if you a)didn't enjoy OC (and then I'm side-eyeing you hard) or b)didn't read OC.

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Amy Jo Cousins lives in Chicago, where she writes queer romance, tweets more than she ought, and sometimes runs way too far. She loves her boy and the Cubs, who taught her that being awesome doesn't necessarily have anything to do with winning.

Other books in the series

Bend or Break (7 books)
  • Off Campus (Bend or Break, #1)
  • The Girl Next Door (Bend or Break, #3)
  • Level Hands (Bend or Break, #4)
  • Real World (Bend or Break, #5)
  • Love Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break, #6)
  • Hard Candy (Bend or Break, #7)

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