Series Spotlight- The Ivy Years


The Ivy Years is one of my favorite series-the books have everything you could possible be looking for in a good read. Swoon worthy guys? It has them. Strong, realistically flawed heroines? It has them. Tough topics and character struggles? It has them. Hilarious moments and sweet romances? Check and check. Touching friendships and relationships? Definitely. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this wonderful world that Sarina Bowen has created, and the characters in these books are ones you do not forget. Even though this is a companion series, each one is a standalone, and they can be read in any order. I do recommend starting from the beginning though. 🙂 Also note, there will be a spin-off to this series, out this fall!


The Year We Fell Down- Book One


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.

“He was almost the hottest hockey player I could name. The hottest one was sitting beside me on the sofa.”
― Sarina Bowen, The Year We Fell Down

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The Year We Hid Away- Book Two


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.

“Thank you, Scarlet”.
“For what? For being your Tuesday and Thursday girl?”
“For all seven days. Because I think of you on all of them”.”
― Sarina Bowen, The Year We Hid Away

Purchase the Year We Hid Away:

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Blond Date- Book 2.5 (Novella)


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.

Purchase Blond Date:

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The Understatement Of The Year- Book 3


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.

“We’d been so close all those years ago. My subconscious just couldn’t get over the idea that we weren’t anymore.”
― Sarina Bowen, The Understatement of the Year

Purchase The Understatement Of The Year:

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The Shameless Hour- Book Four


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.

“It’s hard to admit you’re just in someone’s periphery when you imagined you were closer to the center of their world.”
― Sarina Bowen, The Shameless Hour

Purchase the Shameless Hour:

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The Fifteenth Minute- Book Five


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 need you in my life, smalls,” he says in a whisper. “No matter what happens tomorrow, that won’t change.”
― Sarina Bowen, The Fifteenth Minute

Purchase The Fifteenth Minute:

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The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

The Fifteenth Minute

Rating: 5 stars

Author: Sarina Bowen

Release Date: October 13th, 2015

ARC received kindly from author in exchange for an honest review.

The Fifteenth Minute was like a roller-coaster of emotions and I wanted the ride to never end. Sarina Bowen has created a masterpiece with this heart stopping, humorous and romantic story. It is one of the best books I have read this year, and I am pretty confident when I say it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with The Fifteenth Minute.

Lianne Challice isn’t your typical freshman- she’s a movie star, best known for her role as Princess Vindi. Wanting a chance at a normal college experience, she is trying to stay under the radar, which isn’t exactly easy with a crazy paparazzi following her, being the punchline of a million sorceress jokes, and even having t-shirts made about her. In addition to all that, she also has to deal with her awful manager, and try to relate to people that she has little in common with. And as for her love life, well, that is nonexistence. However, there is one guy that makes her feel like he sees her for who she really is…

DJ Trevi is the guy behind the music playing in the arena during hockey games. He has turned the challenge of picking the right song to play at the right moment into an art form. Music serves as an escape to him, one of the few things that can help district him during an extremely intense situation he is dealing with. What’s another distraction? Lianne. He is intrigued that she knows as much about music as he does, their debates on whether or not pizza is an amazing food, and then there is the little fact he finds her absolutely beautiful.

Lianne doesn’t let people in easily, but for some reason when it comes to DJ, she’s eager to open the gates. DJ can’t believe someone like Lianne would even be interested in him, especially when a situation may prevent him from doing anything about it.

Even though Lianne is famous, she is very easy to connect with. Sure, she’s a movie star, but she’s also a girl that is trying to adjust to college life, is self conscious at times about her body, and gets tongue tied around a guy she likes. She is  awkward, sweet, smart, and a better friend than she gives herself credit for. I love her friendships with Bella and Rafe. Lianne is a strong character, though has a problem voicing what she wants. It was great watching her evolve through out the book.

As for DJ, well he is completely swoon worthy. He *might* be my favorite male character in the series, and that is saying something because I loved them all so much. He is romantic, caring, unknowingly charming and loyal. Pretty much the kind of guy you would love to meet in real life. He isn’t perfect though, and is under a great deal of stress due to the terrifying situation he finds himself in. Reading what he was going through made my heart feel like it would pound out of my chest and at times caused my stomach to drop.

Even though Lianne and DJ have an instant connection with each other, including plenty of crazy chemistry, DJ reluctantly has to put a stop on what they could become and insist they take the friend route. Normally I want to yell at a character when they do that to me, but in DJ’s case, I completely get it. So they try to be friends and only friends, which is easier said than done- hello sexual tension. Their friendship tugged on my heart strings, I loved the way they supported and were there for each other. I don’t want to give too much away, but they WILL make you smile.

Sarina blew me away with this book. I love how she brings dept to characters and isn’t afraid to tackle deep topics with real reactions, emotions, and the effects it can have on family relationships and friendships. While her characters are dealing with serious issues, there is also an endless amount of moments that bring a smile to your face, make you laugh like an idiot and steal the air from your lungs. And maybe even make you blush, cause Sarina is pretty darn good at writing sexy scenes.The Fifteenth Minute is truly special. It was also great to see many familiar faces from previous books in the series, The Ivy Years.

My only compliant is that it introduced me to a bunch a characters that I’m curious to read more about. Like, tomorrow, so get on that Sarina! 😛

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I’m giving away an ebook copy of The Fifteenth Minute! You can win this amazing book in two easy steps:

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