Author: Sarina Bowen

Review: Extra Credit by Sarina Bowen

Posted April 15, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Extra Credit by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Extra Credit by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #6
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away , Blonde Date , The Year We Fell Down , The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 9th, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 234
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Three novellas, including all new Ivy Years fun!

BLONDE DATE: A nervous sorority girl, a mean fraternity prank and an adorkable basketball player with a heart of gold. Blonde Date follows Katie and Andy’s first blind date…

STUDLY PERIOD: One hunky hockey player with a language barrier. Plus one awkward English tutor with a big crush. Equals hot, hilarious trouble! Study Period follows Pepe and his tutor Josie.

YESTERDAY: It’s been seven years since John Rikker left his childhood home in Michigan. Surely that’s long enough to scar over the wounds he received there. Or is it? Can Rikker survive a visit with his parents? And can Graham let him do it alone?

I’m a huge fan of Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series so when she announced that she was releasing Extra Credit, I couldn’t wait to read it. Extra Credit is a book that features three short stories featuring characters in the Ivy Years series. Two old stories and one brand spankin’ new one!

Blonde Date

Andy and Katie are set up on a blind date and while Katie has no clue who Andy is, Andy knows all too well who Katie is. They hit it off on their blind date and Katie learns that not all guys are assholes and she is worthy of being treated like a princess. I loved seeing these two get together all over again. I don’t think I’ll ever get over Andy being a Celtics fan but he was still a keeper. I think I’ve changed my mind over wanting Dash’s story. Eff that guy.

Katie was a fantastic heroine too. She was so normal and sweet. I loved seeing her have fun after what she went through with her ex-boyfriend Dash. I loved how strong and sure of herself she felt when she was with Andy, and I really loved how once she jumped in with Andy, she left all of the baggage from Dash in the past. It wasn’t worth her time and she showed it by not letting him ruin another day of her life. This was a sweet romance.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Studly Period

Studly Period is the novella that Sarina Bowen released as a weekly serial for her newsletter subscribers and I adored it when she released it week after week and I adored it all the more when I read it again. Pepe and Josie were too cute for words and I really enjoyed their story. I loved how shy and book nerdy Josie was and I loved how sweet and corny that Pepe was. Pepe was one of those characters that I didn’t think I needed to read about but I’m glad that Sarina wrote his story.

It was in this story that I realized how much I missed the characters from this series and it was while reading this story again for the second time that I decided to re-read this entire series. Seeing everyone again in this one made me happy and I got a little teary eyed when Josie thought Pepe ghosted her over vacation. Seeing them work their issues out was just too cute for words.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Yesterday

Ooh, we got a new short story for Rikker and Graham. Oh man, these two are the best! I loved seeing both of them in a good place, as a strong unit. They were solid in their relationship after all of the drama that they both went through and I was glad for it. Graham! My man Graham is really stepping into his new life and I just love him so much. He’s come such a long way from his book and seeing him stand up for both himself and for Rikker with his high school friends was something else.

Rikker’s part of this story made my heart hurt so much. He had such a harder time with his coming out then Graham did. He was never shown the kind of love and support from his family (outside of his grandmother) the way that Graham did but that didn’t stop him from loving with all that he was anyway. Seeing his parents up close and personal made me sorry for them because they couldn’t see past their worries to the amazing man their son grew up to be. I’m glad that when Rikker walked away, he walked away to somewhere that accepted and loved him just as he was. This might have been a short story, but it still packed the punch that I expect from Sarina Bowen. She didn’t disappoint. Graham and Rikker forever!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Ivy Years

four-stars


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Joint Review: Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

Posted March 13, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Overnight Sensation by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #5
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter , Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Brooklynaire, Bountiful, Rookie Move
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 341
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Everyone knows the girl is off limits. But it's so good to be bad.


There's this girl...

Heidi and I have been trading hungry looks all year, and everything she does makes me smile. But I don't do girlfriends, and I certainly can't get involved with the league commissioner's daughter. I need shots on goal, not a hookup and a widely misunderstood paparazzi photo. Can I resist her, though? The way she teases me should be a game penalty for interference with my libido. 


There's this guy...

Jason wants me, but he won't admit it. That man looks at me the way a hockey player eyes the lunch buffet after practice--and I love it. But when victory is finally within my grasp, I blow it and humiliate myself. Even then I can't even avoid him--as the team intern, I'm in constant view of his hard body and cocky smile. I need another chance. Jason Castro is about to learn the true meaning of an overnight sensation.

Jason Castro is known as a playboy off the ice, and he’s content with that. He isn’t interested in getting heavy with someone. He and Heidi, the new intern, have been circling each other for months. He knows she wants him, but he’s held back until now. He finally decides to go for it and she ends up too drunk for anything to happen. Then he finds out she’s the commissioner’s daughter, and that makes her 100% off limits. If only she’d get the memo.

Heidi is tired of living under her father’s thumb. She wants to experience life. When she says she’s not going back to Bryn Mawr to finish her degree, her father declares she has to spend 10 weeks doing every job in the organization – from cleaning toilets and selling hotdogs, to cleaning the ice and working security. In the meantime, she knows she can’t live at home and see his smug face every day, so she rents an apartment in Brooklyn. When that falls through, she ends up staying with Castro and his roommate.

Holly: I have to be honest, I spent the first few chapters of this book super pissed at Heidi’s dad. So much that I almost stopped reading it. I liked her enough that I continued, though, and I’m glad I did. I ended up really loving her and I enjoyed the romance.

Rowena: Yeah, I was pissed at Heidi’s Dad and his high handedness. He was super annoying and I was a bit disappointed in Becca for not clapping back even though I know that she had her hands tied. I just wanted her to not care about any of that and do it anyway.

Holly: I didn’t understand her dad at all. I mean, I guess I understood him, but I didn’t like the way he acted or the way their issues were resolved (or not resolved, as the case may be). I agree about Becca. I expected something totally different from her in that situation, or maybe from Nate. It was weird.

Rowena: Heidi was the bomb. She was my absolute favorite part of this book. She just kept right on rolling with the punches her father delivered and she was better for all of it. It would have been completely understandable if she snapped but she was strong and she was solid and she had such a great attitude through it all. I loved seeing her grow into the person she was in the end and I really loved seeing how she wore Jason down. Gah, I can’t say enough good things about her.

Holly: Heidi was so wonderful. I loved how she kept her head up and tackled everything life threw at her. She was great.

Rowena: Jason was another great hero from this series and I really enjoyed getting to know him, seeing him fall in love with Heidi and work through the issues that were holding him back from really living his life with Heidi. I thought all of that was handled well. Sarina Bowen really rocked my socks with this one.

Holly: I liked Jason, too. I liked learning about him and his issues and seeing him work through things so he could be with Heidi.

I’m still disappointed with the way things ended with her family, though.

Rowena: Same. That was the only downer in the entire book. Well, that and the stuff with Lissa’s Mom and Jason. So, was it just determined that he would continue to send her money every time she called him in tears, was he ever going to talk to her and get her to understand that he wasn’t her personal bank? Or was it just determined that because he did that stuff for Lissa, that’s just how it was going to end? As far as Heidi’s father was concerned, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the resolution to all of that madness. Sure, I loved that Heidi was the better person in it all but I would have been so much happier if she got to really serve her Dad with the set down that he deserved and I wanted to see him more remorseful for all that he put Heidi through.

Holly: That’s the thing, it was never discussed. How will he handle that? Is he going to just keep on with that forever? It made no sense that it was brought up at all if there wasn’t going to be a resolution.

I definitely wanted to see Heidi give him a set down, or at least have him acknowledge her accomplishments.

Rowena: So I read that Silas’ book is next…do you think his heroine is going to be the singer? And do you think we’ll get a book for Bayer? I low key want to read his story, too.

Holly: I do think it’ll be with the singer. I can’t wait to see what happens with that. I want a book for Bayer, too. My heart hurt for him.

Although I was frustrated with Heidi’s family and Lissa’s mom, overall I really enjoyed the story. Heidi was wonderful, and I really liked their romance. I’m giving this 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Yeah, those two things were the only things that I struggled with but I really enjoyed everything else. I loved the romance between Jason and Heidi. I loved both Jason and Heidi on their own and I loved them together. I loved seeing all of the Brooklyn Bruisers again and the friendship between Silas and Jason. I also really loved what Heidi planned for Silas’ birthday and how everyone on the team was in, even though it was the very last thing that they all wanted to do. There was much that I loved about this book but I couldn’t get over Heidi’s daddy being a jerk and Lissa’s Mom being a mooch so this one wasn’t getting a 5 from me, close though. Sarina Bowen did her thing with this one.

I give this one a 4.5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Brooklyn Bruisers

four-stars


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Review: Fireworks by Sarina Bowen

Posted February 27, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Fireworks by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Fireworks by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Susannah Jones, Zachary Webber
Series: True North #6
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 9 hours and 59 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern that day created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s agreed to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like - never mind. Skye can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and get back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

Except things go sideways even as she sets foot over the county line. Her step-sister is on the run from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke her teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.

I loved this book because I loved Benito. Loved him. Adored him. Want to have his babies. All that mushy stuff. I’ve listened to the entire True North series on audio. The narrators have been superb. The narrators here were no less than I expected. They pulled me in and didn’t spit me out until the end. I love audiobooks. ::sigh::

Benito came onto the scene in Bountiful, which was Zara’s book. Benito is Zara’s twin brother. He is a former DEA agent that has come home to Vermont and is trying to shut down the drug trafficking that is happening in his town. He knows exactly who is responsible, but bringing the person down is another matter entirely. The very last person Benito expects to find right in the middle of his investigation is his first and only love, Skye Copeland. The girl that broke his heart.

Skye has come to Vermont to visit her stepsister. Or so she thinks. She soon recognizes that Rayanne is up to something and it isn’t good. Skye never thought she would actually go looking for Benito Rossi after that night twelve years before when he broke her young heart. But he is her only option. Rayanne is in trouble and tells Skye that Benito is the only person that can get her out of the mess she is in.

This book really tugged at my heart. At first I was all like “She has seriously been heartbroken for twelve years because he stood her up for prom?”. Then you learn more of Skye and Benito’s backstory and comprehend that their relationship is far from what a normal teenage relationship looks like. There was no sex involved when they were young, but these two are as close as any two people could be.

The “mystery” here is pretty lame. It still didn’t take away from the story as a whole. When I first started listening, I didn’t think I would like Skye as much as I did. She was too wholesome. I guess that would be the word. Yet over the course of the book, I came to appreciate that even with what she went through during her childhood/teenage years, she could still be so innocent. And Benito? Just hotness.

Seeing the entire True North crew was nice too. Griff wasn’t an ass in this book, which was a nice change from previous books. Oh, Zara in the flashbacks? What a fucking bitch.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

True North

four-half-stars


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Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 5, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Nicol Zanzarella, Rock Engle
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter , Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Brooklynaire, Bountiful, Overnight Sensation
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 303
Length: 9 hours 53 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series. 
In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...
  Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

This book was unbearable from start to finish. From the narrators to the story itself to the heroine, I disliked it immensely. The only saving grace to this book was Leo, the hero.

Let us start with the narrators. There were two, a male and a female. The male voice was just…off. Nothing like I would have imagined Leo’s voice to sound like. I always laugh a little when the men read dialogue from the heroine during a sex scene, but this narrator was roll-your-eyes-out-of-your-head eye rolling. Oh and when he voiced Leo’s mom? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s what my kids used to sound like when they tried to imitate me when they were six. It really pulled me out of the book. The female narrator was pretty bad too. Her voice was so breathy, it just didn’t work. Plus as the voice of Georgia, I was more imagining nails-on-a-chalkboard. She sounded like a porn star during the sex scenes.

My dislike of this book began and ended with the heroine. Georgia Worthington was awful. I mean truly, truly awful. The only reason I didn’t DNF this book is because I plan on continuing this series and I’m anal about leaving a book unfinished. It was a close thing though. I wanted to “toss” it at least three separate times. Georgia and Leo’s age was somewhat murky. I couldn’t tell if they were twenty four or twenty six. Maybe twenty five? I have no idea. What I do know for certain is that I wanted to brain Georgia with one of those stilettos that she hates so much.

Georgia and Leo have history. It’s all about to come to a head when Leo is traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers. The Bruisers is a professional hockey team of which Georgia is the interim lead publicist for. As an aside I would say that the publicist profession is my second least favorite profession when reading. I simply don’t like them. When you had in the fact that the heroine was insufferable, a disaster is brewing. Anyway, Georgia and Leo haven’t seen each other for anywhere from four to six years. They were high school sweethearts. Then there was a horrible night that Georgia was raped at a party. After that, nothing was ever the same. But should/would it be? Regardless of that, Georgia dumps Leo because he doesn’t look at her with desire anymore. Holy shit. Seriously.

Now, in the present, Georgia can only think back to how great it was in the past with Leo. Before the rape. When they were teenagers. TEENAGERS. Grow the fuck up. Are you an adult? I know things were great, but you’ve evolved. Leo has evolved. Stop holding on to your TEENAGE past. Georgia just had the most shortsighted, brainless reasons for saying no to a relationship with Leo. He might be traded. He’ll never look at her the way he used to. They can never had what they had in the past. She can’t have a relationship with a player. On and on it goes. It got really old.

Leo was delightful. I really loved him. He was funny. I loved his sense of humor. As much as he loved hockey and has wanted to play it his entire life, he is willing to give it all up for Georgia. I have no idea WTF he was thinking there. I wouldn’t give her a glass of water if she was on fire. This right here is the epitome of who Leo is.

“Fuck that,” he said. “You and I don’t have one-night stands. We have forevernight stands.”

How can you not fall in love with Leo?

Even with how much I loved Leo, I detested Georgia even more. Did I already tell you she was insufferable? I know I did. It bears repeating. Georgia was insufferable. Not one likable thing about the woman.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Brooklyn Bruisers

two-stars


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Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Us (Him, #2) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #2
Also in this series: Us (Him, #2), Him (Him #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: M/M
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

After reading Him, I immediately picked up Us. I proceeded to read it in one day. You guys know me…that rarely happens. Until the end of September I don’t even remember the last time I read a book in a day. The last book I remember reading in a day was Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Which was quite a feat, I have to say.

This book picks up exactly where Us left off. Wes and Jamie are in Toronto, living together as “roommates” although they’re really shacking up. fans myself These two are it. They are love. However it’s different this time around. See, Wes has to go back into the closet during his rookie season with his hockey team. He knows that coming out as gay could mess up his future. While he’s never been ashamed of who he is nor ashamed of Jamie, he will not risk his hockey career for anything.

Jamie has started coaching younger kids, which he loves. He did like playing hockey, but coaching is his niche. He loves the challenge of it and seeing the results. He would be completely happy with his life if he and Wes didn’t have to hide. The only sanctuary they have is their apartment. It’s only there that they can truly be themselves, be together, just be. Then one of Wes’ hockey teammates moves in upstairs. If Wes and Jamie didn’t think things could get worse, they were wrong.

This book is really about two people trying to be themselves and be together, but having to make a sacrifice for something that is important to them both. Wes hates being in the closet. He’s never been in the closet and he’s proud of who he is. He thought Jamie would be more afraid of coming out with him, but even he gets tired on the charade. They barely see each other due to Wes’ hockey schedule and the precious time they used to have at home continually gets interrupted by Blake, Wes’ teammate.

Then Jamie gets sick and all bets are off. Wes no longer cares if he’s dropped by the team because of the negative publicity. He will not leave Jamie alone in the hospital. It all comes out from there and both Wes and Jamie are relieved though they certainly wouldn’t have come out like that.

Jamie has a hard recovery. This was written incredibly well. Even men have a hard time. Even men can fall into a depression. The thing is that men think they should always be strong. Jamie can’t accept the fact that he’s physically weaker because of his illness. He doesn’t count on the depression either. What he does know is that he has to get away from Wes and he doesn’t even know why.

This part of the book was heartbreaking. They both were just wrecked. I just loved this book from beginning to end. I’m really excited to read Good Boy, which is Blake and Jess’ story. I found Blake incredibly annoying at the beginning, but I adored him by the end. He stuck with Wes and Jamie through everything, proving himself as one of their best friends. He was fantastic.

I highly recommend this series. It is amazing. Don’t pass it up because it’s m/m. If you’ve ever wanted to give m/m a try, this is the series to get started with. Seriously, get started.

Wes + Jamie = FOREVA.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Him

four-half-stars


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