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A Must Read Series by Sarina Bowen

True North Series by Sarina Bowen

Contemporary Romance

 

Bittersweet

Steadfast

Keepsake

Bountiful

Speakeasy

Fireworks

(books are listed in order)

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: This series of books is about two families in Vermont who are intertwined. Each novel is a standalone with a HEA. Fireworks is the most recent book in the series, releasing on November 13, 2018. I’ve read the entire series and so the rating above is for all 6 books in the series.

I started reading the series when I received the first book for free from a newsletter. Then I found them at my local library and read as many as I could. I think I read each book in a day, because I couldn’t put them down! Each of the books touches on a sensitive topic. Stereotypes, addiction, sexual identity, religion, the list goes on and on. These are not simple, superficial romance books! They are the kind of books that rip your heart out in the best possible way.

Keepsake

My favorite book of the series so far is Keepsake. The characters are just so beautiful and vulnerable. I cried! Oh, how I cried when I read this book! Note: This book deals with a lot of heavy issues, so if there are certain topics that trigger you, please read the synopsis closely. All the books have deep issues, so please be careful!

Fireworks

I enjoyed Fireworks a lot too. It has this element of suspense that I really like. I enjoy mysteries and suspense, so this was a nice nod to those genres. It’s not a true mystery, so don’t come back here and be mad at me or anything. Benito is amazing as a hero. I mean, I can’t really ask for more from a hero. He’s strong, confident, and 100% interested in Skye. She is his whole world, and that always makes me swoon. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, this one made me cry too.

Is it worth buying? ($3.99 on average on Kindle)

Yes, buy them if you can afford them. If you can’t, borrow them from the library, or a friend, or something. This is a stellar series that I will absolutely keep reading! The first book is currently free, so snap that one up!

Something else you might enjoy:

The Ivy League Series is another great series by Sarina Bowen that will challenge you, especially if you think New Adult isn’t a category you can take seriously.

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The Best was the Year We Fell Down

The Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen

New Adult

Normally I’d sit on this review until I’ve had a chance to read the rest of the books in this series, but I’ve decided to post it now. The primary reason is that I’m not sure I will continue reading the series. Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely be reading other novels by Sarina Bowen, but after reading through the synopsis of the next two books, I’m not super excited to get into them. So I’ll post this now, and down the road if I decide to continue the series I will update this post. But this shouldn’t detract you from reading this one. It’s great!

The Year We Fell Down: A Hockey Romance (Book 1)

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Book Cover to the Year We Fell DownQuick & Dirty summary: Corey Callahan has only had eight months to accept her new situation in life. After years of playing hockey, an injury has forced her off the ice and into a wheelchair. While she could have delayed entering college a year, Callahan is excited to begin college at Harkness and gain some independence. But when she meets her handsome neighbor, Adam Hartley, she’ll have to adjust to yet another new situation: crushing after a guy with a girlfriend. Hartley and Callahan become close friends, working together to overcome their physical difficulties, but will Hartley realize that his relationship with Callahan goes deeper than just neighbors who lean on each other? And is he as courageous as Callahan when it comes to facing uncomfortable situations honestly and earnestly?

So, while the summary sounds like it could be a sweet romance, don’t mistake this for a chaste novel. This book is hot. The love that develops between Corey and Adam is beautiful, but it’s also real. At that age and time in their lives, sex is important, and the way that Sarina Bowen handles the difficulties of sex for a person in a wheelchair is incredibly sensitive and thoughtful, but also graphic as all get out.

I love the way these two characters get together. They have a class together, they share a common love of hockey, they play video games together, they eat together, they have intimate conversations, and they genuinely fall in love. This isn’t one of those stories where they fall in love at first sight… well (SEMI-SPOILER ALERT)… it is, but you don’t know that until the end of the novel. And I love that too! That there are things that you kind of assume or take for granted, like how they call each other by their last names, but then in the end, when Hartley calls Callahan by her first name, it means so much more. The impact just socks you in the gut.

There are other things to enjoy about this novel. There is a lot of humor in it. The pacing of the novel is great—nothing drags on forever. The secondary characters are alive, but they don’t overpower the story line. And the writing and dialogue is strong and smooth. There isn’t a whole lot not to like, other than the weird turn around with one particular female character at the end of the novel (uh, Stacia being nice?), but since I haven’t read the subsequent novels, it may all make sense within the larger series and I’m just clueless.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle free)

Yes, you saw that correctly! Right now, as of this post, the first book in the series is FREE! Obviously I recommend buying it.

Something else you might enjoy:

I have been all about hockey lately, probably because the NHL season just started. In any case, read the Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy. You can read my review of the first two novels here.