Series: The Ivy Years #4
Published by Rennie Road Books on April 12th 2015
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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.
I feel compelled to write at least one review for the Ivy Years series. I doubt I’ll get around to writing reviews for the rest of the books seeing as I’ve read them all practically back to back. I’m that effing lazy. The only one I didn’t read was the 2nd book (Bridger’s) but I may get around to that one at some point.
In any case, this will be more like a compendium opinion. I’ve heard a LOT about Sarina Bowen in the last few months, and all of it pretty positive. After reading three of the four books released, I have to say I understand the hoopla.
The Year We Fell Down
Sweet, compelling, inspirational and with one of the most amazing heroines out there. I honestly believe everyone should read this book at least once. Corey is struggling with being a handicapped student trying to find her way in college and in life after losing the one thing she loved the most, hockey. By chance she meets Adam Hartley, captain of the Ice Hockey team, who lives across the hall from her and happens to have suffered an injury that has put him out of commission for a while. They bond… and can I just say Hartley is a saint? And I love how real this felt, without Sarina Bowen overdoing the angst and turning it into a melodrama. The ice rink scene in the end nearly had me sobbing. Definitely a special one, and I’m pretty sure I rated 5 stars and commented on the gorgeousness of the story afterwards.
The Understatement of the Year
A lot of readers balk at this series because of this book. It’s M/M so it seriously diverts from reader expectations. The thing with The Ivy Years is that its so fierce and fearless. It dares go where no one else goes and truly seeks to explore the coming of age struggles that college-aged individuals go through. This for me was my favorite of the three I read, hands down. SCORCHING hot, angsty as hell. I could not put it down. Rikker and Graham just light the pages up with their affair.
The Shameless Hour
The current book this review is for. I truly did like it, I did. I just didn’t love it as much as other people seem to have loved it. The heroine is the poster child for feminism, so if you want a strong, assertive, heroine who takes no shit from anyone, who is completely in command of her sexuality. DO READ THIS. The slut shaming trope is strongly and well explored here, and though Bella is no innocent, I think she is perhaps, one of the most kickass heroines I’ve ever read, and I love her for that. Rafe, the hero, I could leave or take. There was something compelling about him. However, being from Hispanic roots, I’m a bit tired of the Spanish stereotype wherein the latino always has to show his salsa or merengue moves, utters the words “ay”, “Dios”, and “Jesucristo” every other sentence and generally behaves in a very stereotypical way. That did color my enjoyment of this. Also, being from Dominican descent, I’m not sure how much into football he would be, because Dominican Republic isn’t exactly known to be a major football country. I can let that pass though. It just seemed like he NEEDED to be an athlete to ramp up the hotness factor, because… athlete = hot. And Hispanic = soccer. Overall started out very well and kinda dragged in the middle. Too much time apart between hero and heroine and in the end, a bit lukewarm in the sexy department. I’d still recommend, because if you are a feminist, you’ll love this.
Generally, I’d give The Ivy Years about a 4 star rating so far. Not too shabby. Sarina Bowen KNOWS how to write a sex scene and is an extremely capable writer to watch for. Read this series!!