The Shameless Hour (Sarina Bowen)

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.


You guys know that Sarina Bowen is one of my alltime favorite authors, so I’ve been wanting to finish this series for awhile. I finally got some time to read book 4, and I hope to read book 5 in the next few weeks too. This book felt very different from the others in this series, but I really enjoyed it.

THE POSITIVE:

  I really liked Bella. I loved how she was so sex positive, how she did what she wanted and was unapologetic about the stuff she wanted and liked.

  Rafe was a great friend and a great guy in general, and I really liked his friendship with Bella. Obviously, their relationship was really great, and I liked how it developed slowly and surely.

♥  There is some great friendships here, and I really liked how supportive the hockey team was to Bella.

  I really like the fact that Bella is older than Rafe, eheh, it’s rare in romance books. Also, there is some big character development here.

THE NEGATIVE:

  Even though I really liked Rafe, and I get that he tried not to judge Bella, I still think that he did, if not the person, the actions, and I wasn’t a very big fan of that.

  I’m gonna drop a SPOILER here, so advert your eyes… I hated that Bella caught an STD, I know it’s something that happens, but it led her to blame herself, and I hated that point in the  storyline.

  I didn’t like what the event did to my precious Bella. I wanted more for her, and I expected more FROM her, if that makes any sense. I didn’t want her shamed by what happened, even before the fraternity thing. Bella being ashamed of herself by her sexuality didn’t sit well with me.

Blonde Date (Sarina Bowen)

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A blind date. A nervous sorority girl. A mean-spirited fraternity prank. What could possibly go wrong?

As a sorority pledge, there are commandments that Katie Vickery must live by. One: thou shalt not show up for the party without a date. Two: the guy shall be an athlete, preferably an upperclassman.

Unfortunately, Katie just broke up with her jerkface football player boyfriend. Even worse, her last encounter with him resulted in utter humiliation. She’d rather hide under the bed than attend a party where he’ll be.

Yet staying home would mean letting him win.

Enjoying herself tonight was out of the question. She could only hope to get through the evening without her blind date noticing that he was spending the evening with a crazy person.

Andrew Baschnagel is living proof that nice guys don’t finish first. He’s had his eye on Katie since the moment her long legs waltzed into his art history class. So when her roommate sets Andy up to be Katie’s date, he’d be crazy to say no. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of practice with either girls or parties. Yet.


This was such a perfect little story, a great and fun read, inside the amazing world of The Ivy Years that Sarina Bowen created.

In terms of writing, this was probably my favorite of the series so far. There were a few chapters there that were purely whimsical… and hilarious and gorgeously written. And I wanted more! I wanted a whole book like this one… *sigh*

Andy and Katie were great, especially Andy, and they just clicked, even though there was no indication that they would, and they were normal together. And so darn cute!

This novella was adorable! I really liked the connection between the two main characters and how much they actually talked and shared, and, I don’t know, this just gave me feels and put a smile on my face.

My only complaint is that I wanted it to be longer. I wanted more development from both characters and the relationship itself…

So, have you read Blonde Date? What are your thoughts on this The Ivy Years‘ novella?

The Understatement of the Year (Sarina Bowen)

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What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now. 

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexuality from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.


By now you know that I’ve read a lot of books by Sarina Bowen, right? After I finished the True North series, I still needed more awesome words, so I decided it was time to keep going with The Ivy Years series.

Unlike the previous two books of this series, The Year We Fell Down and The Year We Hid AwayThe Understatement of the Year features a same sex couple. Again, this isn’t my first book featuring a M/M couple from Sarina Bowen, because I’ve read Him and Us and those are two of my overall favorite novels, ever. So, while reading this one, it was hard not to compare to Him, because the books had some things in common.

I’m not going on again about how much I like Sarina’s writing, let’s just assume that’s a given, ok?

About the characters… I have to say that it took me a little bit to warm up to Graham. I understood him, completely, but he shouldered a weight that was just too big, and the way he saw things bothered me a bit. I understood how he was not ready to be out, but I didn’t like how he saw the label, if you know what I mean. I felt sorry for him though, because he was so miserable… 😦 Michael Graham broke my heart each time I was reading his POV!

Rikker was a lot easier to love, probably because he also accepted himself, which was something that Graham didn’t do. I really liked his openness and his sense of humour. I wanted him to stand up for himself more when it came to Graham though, because for awhile there it hurt me that Rikker was willing to settle for something less than he deserved.

Contrary to the two previous books, this one focused heavily on hockey and on the team dynamics, and I really liked that. It was interesting to see the group working together, and how they dealt with Rikker’s sexuality. I loved most of the guys and especially that coach, he was awesome.

Another person that I absolutely loved was Bella, and I loved her relationship with both boys and how supportive she was of them – individually!

The couple of events that advanced the story were something that I wasn’t expecting, and I really liked them, though, again, they were heartbreaking. I liked seeing the guys support each other they way they did… true love there!

I have to complain about something though, and it was that abrupt ending. After Graham’s repressed feelings throughout the whole book, I thought that the resolution was rushed. I needed more from them after they got home. I needed to see Graham being as least partially ok with the fact that people knew he was gay. I wanted to see the team and their reactions. I needed at least an epilogue… Guess I’ll read book 4 and hope that Bella talks about it a little, right?

The Year We Hid Away (Sarina Bowen)

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

Bridger Macaulley used to be a player both on and off the ice. But now, while his teammates chase the next hockey victory, Bridger worries that the dean will discover he’s housing his eight-year-old sister in his dorm room. Juggling a full course load and a big secret, it’s only a matter of time until the other skate drops.

Scarlet Crowley is the only freshman at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. Her name is as new as the shiny student ID it’s printed on. The only way to survive college will be to conceal her identity, even if it means lying to the green-eyed boy she’s falling for.

Bridget and Scarlet 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.


Awhile back, me and Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much read the first book of The Ivy Years series together, so we thought it would be cool to do the same with book 2 :D. Check out her blog in a few days to read her review of The Year We Hid Away.

I had really liked the first one of the series, but I have to say that I loved this one even more. There’s just something about truly desperate situations and people who can overcome shitty situations. Once again, I loved the writing, because this is Sarina Bowen, and I’ve read a bunch of her books by now, and I KNOW I will love anything she writes. The book, once again, is told in dual POV, and I really liked how distinct both voices were, but still had a common denominator.

Both characters were amazing. Scarlet’s situation is truly unbearable, and I can’t even begin to understand what goes on people’s minds to treat her the way they did. I thought she was truly strong, making her decision had to be tough, but it hurt that she was leaving a big part of herself behind, so she could be “normal”. The same goes for Bridger, oh boy, he’s dreamy! Maybe it’s the whole “single dad” thing, even though Lucy is his baby sister and not his daughter, it somehow still applies. It was remarkable how amazing Bridger was with Lucy and Scarlet, and how he still managed to have amazing grades and follow his dreams (or part of them).

The fact that neither of them was willing to ask for help, even when they desperately needed it, was beyond sad, and it lead me to cry a bit towards the end.

I really liked the romance between Scarlet and Bridger, the built up was well done, and I really liked how understandable they were of each other’s secrets. When they finally open up to each other, it’s a beautiful thing to see.

The buildup was strong and emotional, and I’m a mess whenever the storyline involves children…

I highly recommend this one, and I can’t wait to read the remaining books of the series.

August TBR

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This month I’ll point to reading 14 books at least, some that I had on my list before, other are ARCs, and I might be reading the Off-Campus series again, in preparation to The Goal‘s release. I’ll be reading a few of these with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much.

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  1. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
  2. Heartfall by J.B. McGee
  3. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  4. November 9 by Colleen Hoover
  5. Tyson Caine (Brothers in Arms #1) by Aleya Michelle
  6. The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen
  7. Blind Spot by Katana Collins
  8. Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry
  9. Wrong Question, Right Answer by Elle Casey
  10. The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges
  11. The Proverbial Mr. Universe by Maria La Serra
  12. The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy – Re-read
  13. The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy – Re-read
  14. The Score (Off-Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy – Re-read

The Year We Fell Down (Sarina Bowen)

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The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else. What now? 

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead. 

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken. 

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard. 

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.


Hey, as you might be expecting by now, I read The Year We Fell Down as a buddy read with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much. This was a weird one, and it was my fault… see, we decided to start the book one night, but she couldn’t and would only start it the next day. Well… I did start it, and I read 85% of the book that night, and then the rest in the morning. When she started her own book, I had already finished :D. No problems though 😉 .

I’ve been meaning to start The Ivy Years Series for a long time now,  because I love NA, I love Hockey, I love Sarina Bowen’s writing, and it came highly recommended to me. So yeah, I was excited for this one. And I have to say that I was not disappointed. Not at all. 🙂

I really liked the writing, Sarina Bowen drew me in again with this one. She made it light and fun and deep, all at the same time. I’m a fan. Corey and Hartley’s voices were also very distinct and different, and I love that. Again, this is a dual POV romance, which are my favorite kind, but I somehow wish that Hartley had had a little more POV time, because Corey does have more “screen time”.

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I really liked both characters. I loved Corey and how strong she was, and also, so much kudos for the representation and diversity. I love when NA romances include somewhat unconventional heroes. So, Corey was amazing, she was strong and determined, and when she came face to face with a situation that was bad for her, she stopped it and tried to move on. I also really liked Hartley, he was not an conventional NA hero either. While I wish he had woken up a little sooner, I understood his issues and I couldn’t really fault him for his decisions.

The romance was really really good. It develops slowly and they become great friends and allies before they get involved and fall in love. It was amazing to see the physical and psychological issues dealt with, in both their way of living, as well as the complications and limitations in their personal and intimate lives. I loved how invested Hartley was in making everything right and good for Corey.

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I liked the plot a lot and I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of drama. Though I have to admit that after finishing the book, I felt like I needed more, that maybe somehow the story wasn’t quite finished yet. One thing is for sure, I would love to read more about Corey and Hartley, and I hope they make appearances in the rest of The Ivy Years Series.