#Review - The Ivy Years Series by Sarina Bowen


Let me take you to Harkness College to discover you next favorite College Romance!

After reading the Brooklyn Bruisers and Brooklynaire, I knew I had to read this series. I've read lots of comments about the hidden references about Harkness in Sarina's books and I must confess I felt kinda dumb for not getting what were everyone talking about. So, when I first had the chance I went through my kindle and found the first book, then I bought the rest and started reading. I knew I told ya I felt dumb before reading, but after reading I wanted to punch myself for waiting so so long. This series is gold! 

Let me introduce to you to the Ivy Years. But, let me warn you. There's a very long post ahead.

The Year We Fell Down
(Ivy Years Book #1)

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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.

I know I'm late with this series since I've read the other Sarina's books. It wasn't until I read Brooklynaire and everyone was fangirling over Nate's and Trevi's college that I said 'let's do it'. And it was an amazing ride. Callahan and Hartley were awesome and I loved how their story unfolded because it was sweet and romantic AF. There's no surprise there, though, because it's Sarina Bowen we're talking about. She delivered a beautiful story about love, and friendship and get over adversities. 

If you love New Adult romances and College romances, strong female characters and hockey, this book definitely is for you.

The Year We Hid Away
(Ivy Years Book #2)

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Could you give up the love of your life to save the child who depends on you?

I used to be like the other Harkness Hockey players, worrying only about the next game or the next party. But that all changed the day I became my little sister’s protector. Only by keeping Lucy hidden and acing my course load will we survive the year.

But then I meet Scarlet, who sees me as more than just a star athlete or a party boy. I fall hard for her. But darkness follows Scarlet, too. When her past comes to light, so does a horrible truth: I can’t save everyone. But I’ll never stop trying.

If you love a strong hero, a fierce heroine and the ivy-covered glamour of college life, dive right in to The Year We Hid Away.

The story starts from a freshman girl POV (as in the previous book). Scarlet is a strong girl with some secrets and a new identity looking for a fresh start in Harkness. And what a ride, my friends! 

This book was absolutely stunning. The development of the story had me turning pages like crazy. I couldn't stop reading! Bridger and Scarlet book story was hard but beautiful. 

And I loved every minute!!

Blonde Date

(Ivy Years Book #2.5)

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A blind date. A nervous sorority girl. A mean-spirited fraternity prank. What could 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.

In the previous book we meet the Katies (Blonde Katie and Ponytail Katie), Scarlet's roomies. Also we know because of that book that one of those girls is going in a date with Andy, Bridger's neighbor. So, this is about THAT date. 

It's a short story, but I totally loved it! 

It was a  fun, sweet and all-kinds-of-sexy story. Andy was so sweet and charming, and even though Katie was a nervous wreck at the beginning, little by little she find in Andy someone trustworthy. 

The easy vibe between then soon transforms into fire, and the kids carry that fire to the bed. Now I know why Scarlet had to put the music on in Bridger dorm, lol. 

The Understatement of the Year
(Ivy Years Book #3) 

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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 sexual orientation 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.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.

If you're into M/M romances and sexy hockey players, you NEED to read this book.

This isn't your typical love story and I liked that. I'm used to the fresh and fun narrative style of Sarina Bowen, but in this book she takes it to a new level. All the drama in Rikker's life after being 'outed' (without his consent) and transferred to a new college, Graham's reaction and how their relationship evolved was an amazing ride. The secondary characters here were as flawless as the lead characters, and Bella is probably one of my favorites now. 

I loved every single part of this book, and I know you will as well.

The Shameless Hour
(Ivy Years Book #4) 

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She's not looking for a hero. He's not looking for a hookup.

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 nasty 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.

When I started to read the book I had no idea where the story was going. I appreciated that the author talked about some issues that are 'normal' in universities even though they shouldn't be normal, and also loved the Hispanic lead character with his Spanglish floating through the pages! 

Bella was strong and fierce, and even in her worst moments she made me think about what would I do in her place. I loved that she got her happily ever after, and also loved that Rafe was there for her in every moment, being patient and supportive, being a friend and a protector... Being whatever she needed him to be. 

The Fifteenth Minute
(Ivy Years Book #5) 

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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.

When I started to read this one I was torn, because it would be the last one in the series and I didn't want it to end. But the book was too awesome to skip it, so I caved.

We met Lianne in the previous book as Bella roomie. She's a famous actress and she's in Harkness to get a degree, but being social isn't her super power. DJ is Trevi's brother, a nice guy with a secret that had me biting my nails while I was reading. I swear I was nervous for him, because his love story with Lianne was pure magic (sorry Princess Vindi).

I knew Lianne was cool, but when you combine her with DJ things get AWESOME! The story was angsty AF, but sweet and romantic as no other story. I really loved this couple. Now I'm thinking about re-read the Brooklyn Bruisers. 

That's Sarina Bowen's writing, my friends:  frigging addictive!

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