Review: Nothing Like Paris, by Amy Jo Cousins


cover-amyjocousins-nothinglikeparisHumble 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.


Dates read:
Edition read:
March 3, 2015
Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
249 e-book pages
3rd person
Bend or Break, book 2
March 7-9, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Nope. It’s nothing like Paris. Not even a little bit.

This takes place in…

…wait a sec, gotta shuffle through my notes…


Corn country, right?

I don’t know Iowa. Never been there. But I’ve spent a goodly amount of time in some really small towns around the South and Midwest. The kind that don’t have traffic lights. Where the bustle of a laughable Main Street is a memory of boarded up shops. Needing sugar for your pound cake means going to the neighbor a mile away instead of 45 minutes to the nearest grocery store in another town.

So I’m not knocking Iowa. Or small towns.

But I am knocking corn fields. They creep me out. Ever get lost in one? I have. That’s some scary shit. Plus snakes.

Fortunately, the corn is not a prominent feature in this book.

Small-town Iowa is where Jack flees when he makes a royal mess of things with bad behaviour unbecoming a young gentleman at a prestigious school. But it’s not all sunshine back home in the bosom of his roots, ’cause life is in the crapper in more ways than one.

This is a second-chance romance that’s got some hurdles and some big apologies that needed to happen to set things right.

Jack Tarkington. Now here we have one of those characters from a previous book who was an utter asshole. I did not want to like him. And I can certain sure hold a mean grudge—but it would seem I have a soft heart that tends to go all squishy when the romance heats up. But Jack made some bad decisions and treated a whole slew of people like crap. He needs to extract his head from his ass, own his shitty ways, make some tough apologies, and be real with himself and the people around him.

Miguel/Mike was AWESOME. I loved him from the minute we meet him. He’s the guy who got left behind in this small town while his best friend and lover took off to a fancy-ass East Coast school. He was tied to a duty to his family and was making the best of being stuck in a small town where being out was…not so much a safe thing.

These guys together–when they got done with the tap dancing around each other routine–were on fire. The connection was strong and palpable–especially with some pranks around town that were a hoot-and-a-half. They made each other stronger and better. Gorgeous.

The end was a little corny (please forgive the pun) and wrapped up a bit too perfectly perfect for me. But still, a fantastic story.

It kills me that it took so long to start this series and read Amy Jo’s work. This is really good stuff.

Onward to book three!

This review also posted on GoodReads.

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