Friday, August 14, 2015

ARC Review: M/M ~ Level Hands (Bend or Break book 4) by Amy Jo Cousins) (5 Star ARC Review)

ARC Review: M/M ~ Level Hands (Bend or Break book 4) by Amy Jo Cousins) (5 Star ARC Review) 


When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as smooth sailing.

Rafael Castro is so far out of his element he can’t even see it anymore. Carlisle College in Massachusetts is a long way from his Chicago home, even farther from his Dominican Republic roots. 

The only thing keeping him attached to his last nerve is the prospect of seeing Denny Winslow again. The first time they met, Denny taught Rafi to fly across the water, rowing hard in a knife-like boat. Now, two years later, on the wings of a rowing scholarship, Rafi is attending Denny’s elite college. 

Even before the excitement wears off, Rafi is struggling with classes and fending off rumors that Denny’s family, not Rafi’s talent, won him his spot. To quash the gossip, Rafi tries to steer clear of the man he wants. A plan that evaporates in the fire of renewed attraction.

But Carlisle’s academic pressure cooker has Rafi barely treading water. And when a family crisis hits, both Rafi and Denny must pull hard to keep their relationship from capsizing in rough waters.

Warning: Contains a surly Dominican-American guy determined to show no weakness, a golden boy who knows his soft spots, some seriously dirty bachata dancing, and an excellent excuse for voyeurism in the locker room.

Add it to your goodreeads!

Buy The Books:
M/M ~ Book 1 Off Campus

M/M ~ Book 2 Nothing Like Paris

M/F ~ Book 3 Girl Next Door

M/M ~ Book 4 Level Hands (Releases August 25, 2015)

Tracy's Review:

5 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Rafi and Denny met through Cash and Steph when Denny was 17. Denny wanted Rafi, but Rafi refused to kiss him because he was too young. On Denny's 18th birthday, Rafi finally kisses him. Fast forward two years ahead, and Rafi is joining Denny on a rowing team scholarship at Carlise College. 

Rafi has a hard time adjusting to school, not only academically, but socially as well, with some of his teammates that feel threatened by his talent and don't think a Latino-African American deserves a spot at their school or on their team. Denny tries to help, but Rafi pushes Denny away. 

This book, and this couple were so frustrating. Amy kept me sitting on the edge of my seat until the last sentence of this story. My stomach was knotted in anxiety the entire book. But it's good when an author can make you feel, and Amy did that. Although the main thing I felt was such frustration and Anger with Rafi. I wanted to grab him, shake him and yell at him to get his head out of certain body orifices, and look at the great guy that was in front of him, offering him way too many chances and way more patience and time than any one guy deserves!    

Okay, now that I've finished complaining about Rafi, I'll tell you why I rated this book the way I did! It was an amazing read, frustrating at times, but still amazing. Denny and Rafi had and amazing chemistry. The story was well written, and flowed well. Amy integrated the sport of rowing into the story very nicely. I know nothing about it, yet I was entertained by it and never bored. 

I read books one and two, but not book three, Cash and Steph are featured in the story quite a bit, and even though I didn't read their book, I never felt lost. We also get a little tiny peek at Reece and Tom, who I loved. The other secondary characters, Rafi's suitemates, were also nicely integrated into the story. Even though this is a series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. 

Now, the negatives. TOO MUCH DRAMA!! I would have loved to see more page time with Denny and Rafi as a couple. I'm a lover not a fighter, more loving and less angst would have been greatly appreciated in this story. This book is written completely from Rafi's POV, and I would have loved to get into Denny's head and see Rafi through his eyes. Maybe I would have understood why he stood by his side when Rafi pushed him away and treated him like crap. I also would have liked to have left this story feeling more secure in their HEA, but the ending is realistic, nothing is guaranteed in life. 

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