Tag: The Ivy Years

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

Posted July 25, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2) by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #2
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2), Blonde Date (The Ivy Years, #2.5), The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1), 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)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

I’m just going to put this out there from the jump…I didn’t enjoy this book. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. It was too sweet, for lack of a better word. At first the college thing really pulled me out of the book because my kid is going to college in 29 days (less by the time you read this review). I just kept imagining my own kid in these characters places and it was laughable. So that kept distracting me. The first person was surprisingly easy to read. By now I’m on my third book and third FP person book of the challenge and it’s a breeze. Moving on…

Scarlett Crowley formerly known as Shannon Ellis has escaped hell to go to college. During her junior year in high school horrific allegations begin coming out against her father when a boy in a neighboring town commits suicide and leaves a note detailing his abuse at her father’s hands. Then Shannon’s life comes to a screeching halt. All her friends desert her, she loses her position as the starting goalie on the hockey team, and basically becomes a pariah at her school. When the time comes to go to college, she embraces it.

Now known as Scarlett, she is thrilled with her new life where no one knows her or her past. She even meets someone. Bridger McCaulley seems to have secrets of his own, but Scarlett doesn’t begrudge him that. She obviously has secrets of her own. They begin a sweet romance that is tempered by responsibility on both parts.

Bridger has all the feels for Scarlett but his secret is about three feet tall and attends elementary school. He’s breaking all the rules by having her live in his dorm, but there is nothing else to do as he had to take Lucy out of their mother’s house. He is walking a tightrope and Scarlett is the only escape he has from the insanity that his life has become. The his separate lives collide.

Scarlett thinks she’s doing a pretty good job keeping everything separate, then her two worlds collide. So I did admire these two for what they were going through, but I had a hard time with a few things. Like if Scarlett wanted to not be known, why did she only go two hours away from home? How long did Bridger thing he could get away with having Lucy at his dorm? I’ve seen a dorm and he’s lucky he lasted that long. It’s crazy. The romance was sweet, it really was. Bridger’s absolute devotion to Lucy was so sweet. Everything was sweet, sweet, sweet. Unfortunately sweet doesn’t do it for me these days.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Ivy Years

three-half-stars


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Sarina Bowen Shares Big News: A Weekly Serial for Subscribers!

Posted March 8, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Sarina Bowen announced a few weeks ago that she had a nice surprise for us, for the month of March and I have been on pins and needles wonder who was getting their story told next. Holly and I had our theories and well, we were wrong. Ha! Today, she made the announcement and we’re thrilled to share that news with you guys.

We’re getting Pepe’s book from her Ivy Years series and I’m super excited about that! Check out his abtastic cover…isn’t he dreamy?

Studly Period by Sarina Bowen

Series: Ivy Years #6
Serial Publisher: Sarina Bowen
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

She’s a brilliant writing tutor. Too bad she’s tongue-tied every time he sits down in front of her…

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?

It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?

A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.

When Pepe St. George sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.

I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

A brand new serial delivered straight to your email inbox. I love when authors do this. Jen Frederick did this before and Fridays were my favorite day and more recently, Ilona Andrews is doing this for Maud from her Innkeeper Chronicles series and I am here for it all. So when Sarina Bowen, one of my top authors, announced that she’d be doing the same thing, I was overjoyed.

This was me when I found out:

Sign Up Now

http://geni.us/StudyPeriodnb

How this Works

Beginning on Tuesday, March 20th, you will get one chapter each week, straight to your email inbox! Anyone who signs up midstream will immediately receive links to previous chapters. No reader will be left behind!

Come March 20th, I’ll be like…

Excerpt

“Bonjour.” The deep voice—from right above me—startles me so badly that I jump. My phone goes clattering to the desktop as I whip my chin upward to see whomever snuck up on me.

“Désolé!” he says. “I should come back later?”

“No,” I say, fumbling my phone back into my bag. “Please sit down.”

My heart is banging against my ribs, and not only because he startled me. If possible, I’m even more awkward with men than with women. It’s worse if they’re attractive.

And this guy? Very attractive. Wow. He has a wide, handsome face and coal-dark eyes ringed by impressively thick lashes, and a broad face. Broad shoulders.

Broad everything. Wow. He must eat a lot of protein. And now I’m staring as he arranges himself in the chair opposite me and draws out a folder. He’s really handsome. One of the BPs, for sure.

I can’t stop staring. There’s something rugged about him that’s hard to describe. There’s color in his cheeks—at least the part that’s not covered with dark scruff. And his biceps bulge from the sleeves of his T-shirt. He reminds me of a superhero going incognito, concealing his identity among the ordinary college students.

Though the muscles can probably be explained by the logo on his T-shirt—Harkness Hockey.

It’s always the jocks who need tutoring. I swear. Nadia I have a disagreement about this. She says that jocks are used to coaching, and thus accept tutoring help more readily than the general population.

“I think they’re just not as smart,” I always tell her.

She just shakes her head. “You say that, but you’re still intimidated by them. So which is it?”

Indeed.

“How can I help you,” I whisper up at this handsome giant.

He frowns, and then folds massive hands onto the desk between us. “Excusez-moi?”

People always tell me my voice is soft. That I’m hard to hear. He must agree, because he leans forward, those big, dark eyes blinking in close proximity. It doesn’t help the knee-knocking, teeth-rattling nerves that overtake me whenever a beautiful man looks at me.

Get a grip, Josie. “How can I help you today,” I ask carefully.

“Bon. I have the paper due for English. And my English is not so excellent. So I hope you will help me find all the places I fuck it up. I bring it…” He opens a folder and rifles through some papers.

For a long moment I just blink at him. “Your English…” Did he just say that he didn’t speak the language?

“When I come to Harkness last year? I don’t speak much English at all,” he says, dropping a rough draft of an essay on the table between us. “Please help me find zhe places where I fuck up the grammar.”

His honesty has stunned me. The Harkness students I’ve met so far would never admit to any kind of weakness. In fact, they tell me that most students wait until their grades are in jeopardy to find the tutoring center at all.

And I don’t blame them. Struggling? That’s shameful. Harkness is a top-notch school where everyone worships at the alter of intellectual exceptionalism. With an admissions rate that hovered around nine percent, having a big brain is the only way to get in.

Or at least I thought it was. Every year, something like a thousand valedictorians get rejections from Harkness. Who would dream of implying that he isn’t as qualified as the next student?

This guy.

Read Sarina Bowen for Free Online

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The Ivy Years Series


About the Author

Sarina Bowen

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

In 2016, Sarina became a Rita Award winner! The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 2, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5) by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #5
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2), Blonde Date (The Ivy Years, #2.5), The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1), The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Just because she's famous doesn't mean she's happy. Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks. She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid. But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena.

Something's haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more. DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans. Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I finished Bella and Rafe’s book earlier this year. I adored Lianne and was looking forward to seeing her get her guy in this book. When we first met her, she was this shy young woman who wanted to find herself and not be the Sorceress that she’s been since she was a kid. She’s an actress who wanted to go to college and she made that happen.

Her freshman year was spent in her dorm room, playing computer games and not being social. All of that changes when she becomes friends with Bella. Bella is a social person who has loads of friends, friends on the college Men’s hockey team. Bella hangs with her hockey buds at a pizza joint near campus and that is where Lianne meets Daniel “DJ” Trevi.

Lianne is immediately smitten with DJ. DJ is the DJ for the college hockey games. He’s the one that is playing all of the music during the game and Lianne finds out that there’s an art to playing the right song at the right moment during a game. The more she learns about DJ, the bigger her crush on him gets. But the closer she tries to get to him, the more he pushes her away and it confuses the hell out of Lianne because she knows that he’s into whatever is happening between them but he blows hot and cold. One minute, he’s kissing her face off and the next, he’s standing her up. She knows that something is going on with him but she can’t figure out why.

And the reason he blows hot and cold is one whopper of a story. Sarina Bowen really nails these real life situations story lines. Every single book in this series has tackled some real life situation and has made me sit back and think on how I would react in those same situations. She’s opened my eyes to so many things and has made me question myself and I think she writes these stories extremely well.

DJ is on the brink of being expelled from school for something he didn’t do. He’s accused of something pretty terrible and throughout this book, we see the toll that this accusation takes on his life. From school to work to friends, DJ is one giant ball of stress. The one thing in his life that brings him any kind of joy is spending time with Lianne but even that is tainted with his case. His father has hired lawyers to help with his case but they haven’t really gotten anywhere and DJ isn’t very hopeful for this new lawyer that wants to take a stab at proving his innocence.

Holy cow, this book hit me in the feels and I really came to love both DJ and Lianne. I mean, I already loved Lianne from the previous book but DJ, holy cow I loved DJ. They were so great together and I loved seeing the small moments that led to them falling for each other. From their time reading Shakespeare to their time in the DJ booth at the hockey games to Lianne’s trip to meet DJ’s family, this was one heck of a romance.

It’s a romance that will have you cheering, crying and laughing throughout the entire thing. It’s a romance that will hit you where it hurts but hug you close to make it all better. It’s a romance that I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

The Ivy Years

four-stars


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Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Posted November 4, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5) by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #5
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2), Blonde Date (The Ivy Years, #2.5), The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1), The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 319
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something's haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

Lianne Challice became famous for her role as a sorceress in a popular movie franchise. She’s under contract for one more movie, but she’s ready to experience life away from Hollywood and enrolls at Harkness college. For all her travels and worldliness, she’s on the young side of 19 in terms of her self-confidence. She hasn’t had many personal relationships – whether platonic or romantic – and she’s rather socially awkward.

She meets DJ through her roommate, Bella, something we saw in The Shameless Hour (book 4). They connect over the jukebox in the previous book, and she becomes smitten with him. She isn’t confident enough to approach him, but when he asks her out she jumps at the chance to get to know him better.

DJ played hockey in high school, but he wasn’t picked up to play in college. He could have played for a Division Three school, but instead he chose to attend Harkness and focus on his education. He snagged a job as the deejay at the hockey games – both men’s and women’s –  and he really loves it. Not only is it really fun, but he’s really good at it. All was going well until he was accused of doing something really terrible and the college puts him on probation.With an ax hanging over his head DJ knows he can’t start a relationship, but Lianne is hard to resist.

DJ and Lianne were very cute together. They kind of skirt around their attraction at first, but it isn’t long before they fall into a sweet friendship that’s ripe with chemistry. Lianne is struggling to find herself and her place away from college. She became quite good friends with Bella, her roommate and the former hockey manager, and by extension she’s been accepted by the hockey team, but for the most part she’s still ostracized by the rest of the campus. I was surprised by this, considering she was a movie star, regardless of what she was famous for. I’d have thought more students would want to befriend her, hoping for a bit of the limelight themselves. Instead, they go in the opposite direction, going out of their way to distance themselves from her. Though I can’t deny I was glad to see that wasn’t the main focus of the book, I’m still surprised by it.

The focus of the book was on DJ and his problems. I’m going to discuss it under the spoiler tag.

View Spoiler »

The tone of the book isn’t pissed off so much as worried and angst-filled. The story was nuanced and showed the other side of  the coin. It was well done. The story was balanced.

For all of the heavy content, there is quite a bit of lighthearted banter and some true laugh-out-loud moments. Bowen excels at creating an atmosphere that’s easy to fall into, with characters that really come to life.

4.25 out of 5

The Ivy Years

four-stars


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Review: The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

Posted June 17, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The Shameless Hour by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4) by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #4
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2), Blonde Date (The Ivy Years, #2.5), The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1), The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: April 12, 2015
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 279
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.

For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second guess herself.

Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright sinister fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.

Bella doesn’t want Rafe's help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can't be extinguished.

Bella’s book!

Bella was such a memorable character from The Understatement of the Year and I knew that I was going to like her from the very beginning, loose morals and all. She had that happy disposition that people gravitate to and I loved that she enjoyed sex and made no excuses for it. I loved that she owned what she liked and who she was and didn’t pay too much mind about what others thought. I also loved that she loved hockey the way that she did. In The Understatement of the Year, when she finds out about Graham and Rikker, I felt how hurt she was. I knew that despite sleeping around, it was Graham that she wanted to be with so to see her realize that her and Graham was never going to happen, reminded me of Caroline and Stefan from Vampire Diaries. LOL.

When I found out that Bella was getting a book, I was thrilled! Bella deserved a happy ending so I was all about reading it the first moment I could get my hands on it and Sarina Bowen doesn’t disappoint with Bella’s story.

The story starts with the introduction to Bella’s man, Rafael. Rafael is a stand up guy. One of the good ones. It’s his birthday and he’s spending the night with his girlfriend where he will hopefully lose his virginity but when he shows up at his girlfriends room, some guy beat him there. Turns out, she cheated on Rafe when she away on a trip and Rafe’s night turns to shit. He heads back to his dorm, only to find both of his roommates getting down (exactly what he hoped he would be doing) so not being able to take it, he takes the bottle of wine he bought to share with his girl and starts drinking it all by himself and that’s where Bella finds him. They end up spending the entire night drinking and talking and then Bella relieves Rafe of his virginity, as only Bella can. 🙂

This story stayed with me a little while after I finished it because wow. Just wow. Bella’s story was not an easy one to get through. She goes through some serious shit in this book and I wanted to beat every single guy in that dumb ass frat with a baseball bat for the way that they treated, not only Bella but every other girl that comes through their doors.

Bella had some serious issues that she needed to get through and seeing her being tested at every turn made my heart hurt for her but holy hell does she come out on top in the end. She made decisions but who doesn’t? She didn’t deserve half of the things that happened to her and to see how protective and caring and patient that Rafe was with Bella? Swoon.

I adored Rafe. I knew that I was going to love him from the very first chapter in this book and with each passing chapter, I grew more and more in love with him. That Latino boy had it going on. I loved the way that he was with Bella. He was there for Bella when she needed someone to be there for her. He was there for her even when she didn’t want anyone there…and when he couldn’t be there, he made sure that someone was. Goodness, I could go on and on about what an awesome hero Rafe is but just know, he was fantastic.

As she always does, Sarina Bowen got me thinking about slut shaming. Do I slut shame people? Do I assume that because a girl dresses a certain way, she’s a slut? And ugh, I have been known to do that from time to time and while I was reading Bella’s story, my heart went out to her and I felt ashamed for the slut shaming that I’ve done in the past. Women are real people and they should be allowed to dress however they want and sleep with whoever they want without people talking shit about them. Living with that kind of reputation is hard and Bella had to develop a thick skin for simply being who she wanted to be. Bella was one of the strongest heroines that I’ve read about this year and I really enjoyed her story. I enjoyed seeing her overcome every obstacle that was in her way to find happiness with Rafe. I thought the two of them deserved a happy life and was happy when they finally came together.

The romance between Rafe and Bella was sweet and it was good. This was another eye-opening story with real life issues that I appreciated. It’s another great addition to an already fantastic series and I’m more than a little anxious for Leanne’s story. I hope she hooks up with that hockey player from the pizza place. Kudos to Sarina Bowen on a job well done with this book. I really liked it!

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The Ivy Years

four-stars


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