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The Belle vs. the BDOC

(Bend or Break 0.5)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Love is a battlefield.

Shelby Summerfield is a Southern belle at a northern college in 1993, which is a challenge to begin with. And yes, Florence Truong, the object of Shelby's lust and the only other woman on campus not wearing flannel, does catch her in what looks like a compromising position with a straight boy at pub trivia night.

But Shelby is a gold star lesbian and
Published May 2016
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Lennan Adams
I loved this novella. Funny, sweet, and sexy. Shelby, the "Belle", is great - I want to be friends with her! She is determined to get the dapper Big Dyke on Campus, Florence, one way or another, but Florence isn't buying her lesbian "act".

My favorite Shelby quote: "Sweet baby Jesus, what do I have to do? Sing Closer to Fine a hundred times to earn the password to the lesbian clubhouse?”

I loved all the 90s references - this novella is set during my own time in college in New England
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, contemporary
While there were some good points made in this story, the MC was too annoying for me to really enjoy the book, and the events were a bit too over-the-top to make me believe in what was happening. That said, the erotic scenes were insanely hot! Very well done by the author on that front.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-adult, novella, f-f
I'm HIGHLY annoyed. This started off funny and nice, but then I got totally lost in Shelby's POV. First, though I AM a girl of the 90s, I am still too young (was at high school at the time, not college) and second Shelby is WAY WAY WAY too competitive for me. Everything with her was SO OTT I was just annoyed with her. Everything was a game to be won and everything was done with the highest of emotions - winning, fucking, whichever. I don't have one competitive bone in my body and if I wanted som ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fun little novella that’s a great cure for a bad day at work. Told from Southern belle, Shelby’s point of view, the heavy drawl and quick banter are a perfect counterpoint to campus life at a New England college. No large life lessons here but it’s worth the price of admission.
Amy Cousins
May 13, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
THE BELLE VS THE BDOC came out in October 2015 as part of the '90s Playlist anthology and nostalgia was never so sweet as when I wrote this novella. (I was also reminded of how flipping challenging life was before cell phones!) The fact that I come from a hyper-competitive family informed my writing of this book more than a little bit. Whether it's shooting pool, pub trivia, board games, or baseball, my family plays to win. One of my favorite parts about getting older has been my improved abilit ...more
Emi 🐝
Sep 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
bisexuals are good, actually

literally the main obstacle between the two MCs was that the butch thought the femme might be bi, or might have slept with a man once in her life. which is awful, honestly, because the implication was that the femme had to "prove herself" as a Gold Star Lesbian™ to be worthy of the butch's attention. as a bi femme, i am EXHAUSTED, honestly. bi folx in general are good! femmes are good! bi femmes are good, including bi femmes who've slept with thousands of men! and no
Jul 31, 2016 added it
Very enjoyable f/f novella.

I do wish there had been more there, especially from Florence's POV. Shelby's very secure in who she is and with her sexuality. I have a feeling Florence's story is a little different. I'd love to have seen her thoughts and explore her feelings about Shelby and why the push pull a little deeper.

As it stands, though, this is an enjoyable, fun, sexy story. (I just want moooore.)
May 13, 2016 added it
This is such a delightful read about two women who do (paint gun) battle with each other and with some fantastic UST. Contains some of the hottest f/f sex scenes I have ever read. *fans self*

My only complaint is that it's so short: Not because the story isn't complete and satisfying in itself (it is - it really is), but because I want to see lots & lots more of this fabulous couple. Highly recommended!
Vanessa North

Okay, now that I've got that out of my system--this little novella is everything I love in a lesbian romance. It's written from and for the female gaze; it's sweet, funny, steamy, well-written and edited, and just charming all over.

I want MOAR. <3

Brava, Amy Jo Cousins.
Cindy Stein
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lesfic-romance
Shelby is a femme Southern belle and a gold star lesbian who transfers to an all-women's college in New England. Florence is a dapper and popular out lesbian and the object of Shelby's lust. But Florence thinks Shelby is straight and won't include her on the lesbian trivia contest team. This sets up a series of competitions between the two, including a long, drawn out game of paintball assassin.

Shelby as a character is a bit over the top in both her personality and in her amazing com
Christa Tomlinson
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
My first by the author and my first lesbian romance. I really enjoyed it. I don't usually read college age characters but I loved the competition that goes on in the story. I won't spoil it for you tho, just know that it was funny and a great way to bring the mcs together. Also, both ladies were well-developed characters and I liked watching their relationship grow.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Read because Manon recced it to me AND gave it to me ;))

A fun short F/F romance. I feel like it's exactly what it's supposed to be - cute, hot and funny. Four stars, because I decided I should only give 5 stars to especially original / favorite books as opposed to every book I really like. But I definitely do recommend this one.
River Benson
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oct-18
If there was any indication in the text when this was set, I missed it, so I spent the whole time feeling something was off and trying to reconcile what felt like jarring oddities. Afterwards, I saw a summary that said it took place in 1993, which explained a lot.
Angel Graham
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read

This was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed everything about it. I'll have to look up more books by this author.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Not bad, but also probably the weakest entry in the Bend or Break series.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Me: I really don't like New Adult stories.
Also Me: Let me gobble up Cousins' NA stories.
For a short read, this was well characterized with enough plot to keep my interest.
it was okay
Beth ~ Panda & Boodle
Reviewed on behalf of KU Book Reviews.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fun romp! It made me wish even more that I had been out in college. The characters weren't overly deep but they were true to their personas. A nice quickie.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Originally published in an anthology. This 1993-set New England campus new adult novella focuses on two competitive lesbians: Shelby Summerfield, a Texas southern belle, and the dapper "big dyke on campus" whom she's been crushing on for a year, Florence Truong. After Florence assumes Shelby is straight, and refuses to let her join her fellow lesbians during trivia night, strategic Shelby decides to beat Florence at her own game. First by collecting a group of trivia experts to play for her team ...more
Stevie Carroll
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

I keep dipping in and out of this college series, alternately cheering it for the diversity in character backgrounds and relationship types, and then feeling slightly frustrated that more of the books focus on the boys than on their female friends. I’ve yet to read the final pair of novellas in the main timeline, but when I spotted that this one was set more or less contemporary to my own university years, and was all about the women, th
I really wanted to like this. I enjoyed the premise greatly, but it's the characters themselves fell flat for me. Well, specifically Florence. I greatly disliked her attitude towards Shelby and how she kept insisting that Shelby wasn't really a lesbian etc etc. It got annoying to be honest. I really liked Shelby and wanted her to be with someone she didn't have to chase so greatly. At every turn Shelby has to fight to make Florence even acknowledge her. Shelby is super badass and fun hence my wa ...more
Katinka (Unquietly Me)
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, ff
This interracial New Adult romance is a light and easy read with a nostalgic 90s soundtrack and a sexy pair of heroines. Intellectually satisfying and empowering, it frankly and humorously celebrates female sexuality with liberating, shirtless dance parties, snarky sex-themed trivia games, and a bit of classroom cross-dressing.

The main character, Shelby, a Southern belle and gold star lesbian, is fiercely attracted to Florence, the most gorgeous and intimidating lesbian on campus. Un
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
* * * 1/2


It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Amy Jo Cousins and, in particular, her Bend or Break series. She writes human characters that I love because of their imperfections, not in spite of them and her writing covers the vast spectrum of genders and orientations. When I found that she had written a f/f novella that takes place in the Bend or Break Universe I was ecstatic.

Shelby Summerfield is the kind of girl that grabs your attention immediately. Unfortunately,
Ashley Lovestoread

A cute novella that can be read as a standalone. The plot is well developed and it felt like a full story with no cliffhangers. Would recommend to others and I enjoyed reading
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-kindle
I really liked Shelby and the premise of revenge by Trivia Night was great but then it evolved into a game called Assassins which is where the book lost me. I prefer my romance to be sweet over raunchy--if you like the latter, I'd definitely recommend giving this book a shot.
Eric Jackson
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, romance
Hilarious and sweet romance set on college campus. Loved both Shelby and Florence and their competitive relationship.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is me... really bad at marking books in GR.

I know I finished this book at the end of May. I'm ridiculous. I loved it, of course. Amy Jo can seriously write a book.
Text Mess
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adorable as all hell.
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
A fun and raunchy little novella. I loved the tension and the adversarial quality to their relationship. I struggled with the writing style a wee bit but really enjoyed it overall.
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Amy Jo Cousins lives in Chicago, where she writes contemporary 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)
  • Nothing Like Paris (Bend or Break, #2)
  • The Girl Next Door (Bend or Break, #3)
  • Level Hands (Bend or Break, #4)
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“Sweet baby Jesus, what do I have to do? Sing Closer to Fine a hundred times to earn the password to the lesbian clubhouse?” She” 0 likes
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