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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review by Wendy ♥ Speakeasy (True North, #5) by Sarina Bowen

  A Review by Wendy
4 Do Not Underestimate Stars
* * * *  
Spoiler Free 

You know you are a hardcore fan when a specific author's book lands on your kindle and you drop everything to read it...That's what happens when Sarina Bowen graces me with her words. I have found for me, she handles universal human issues so incredibly well...She takes the ugly, the insecurities and the questioning thoughts we all have experienced at some point and shows how we are all in this together... no one is immune.

In all of the True North books, our characters have had to deal with all sorts of issues... and each time I felt they were handled with authenticity and a frankness of how it would feel to deal with them.... never a sugarcoating.

This time Bowen takes two people who are seen by others as either a player and not serious about anything or as fragile and needs to be watched and monitored for their own good.

Alec Rossi comes from a big family that never lived on the right side of the tracks...His father worked for Shipley Farms and would imbibe and bicker with his wife. This would lead to his going on benders and disappearing from the family. There was cheating and bad feelings. Alec knew things were bad but then one night after he lost his Shipley job, the father decided not to come back.

This change in the family dynamic caused a number of things to happen...The mother held them all together and the kids supported each other. Each took on a part and Alec's was good time, honest middle child. Keeper of the Peace.

This persona took on a life of its own during the teenage years went by... need a player to have a bonfire...ask Alec. Need a Keg or place to party... Alec will figure it out...
Alec was easy going and the women were more than happy to be easy going with him...

But as the years continued... Alec took on more responsibility with purchasing an old warehouse in disrepair and not wanted. Alec worked with his own hands and brought it to life... he made it a bar which became a mecca for Craft Beer Fans in Vermont. He worked almost seven days a week to make a go of it... but no one, especially Uncle Otto sees him as being the responsible person he has become. They still see the easy going guy who can make you smile with silly bar jokes.

May Shipley has dealt with her own image issues..As the sister of dynamic siblings, she had felt lost in her own family. College was a challenge and her experiences there turned her away from guys... they were just Ugh. She decided she liked guys ok...but maybe life would be easier taking a dip in the Lady Pond...

May was accomplished and did law school. There she met a woman who she thought was her possible forever. At first things were great...but then not so much. This partner also wasn't supportive of May's sobriety. Her sobriety wasn't a game... her meetings were real and she wasn't going to backtrack for anything.

May is driving back from a meeting and sees her girlfriend's car at Alec's Bar. She figures she will go in and say hey...Only to walk in and see her girlfriend at a table in the corner sucking face with her ex....

Now Alec had been watching this happen from the bar and was conflicted by it... no one likes a cheater and May was the only Shipley he liked. She was a few years younger than him but he always thought kindly of her.

When time stops and May sees the cheater at the table with her ex....Alec is there to make sure May does nothing to jeopardize her legal career...Getting in a knockdown drag out fight wouldn't be good for May or the bar...So he steps in and holds May back. Words are said and before May realizes it... she is out of the bar via Alec and he is helping her move out.

May is so annoyed she has to move back to the family farm. Her family means well but ever since May came to terms with her drinking, they treat her like she is made of glass. She hates it. She is a licensed Lawyer, for gawd's sake.

Alec checks in with May once he leaves the farm...a quick text to see if she is alright. May appreciated the concern and texted back...a few silly bar jokes are exchanged.

A few back and forth exchanges happen and then May decides to ask Alec to help her out. She has to go to this law school event and the ex-girlfriend will be there... Alec is happy to assist and when he sees May looking quite hot, he let's her know how great she looks. A game plan is discussed as to how they are going to deal with the ex and before May realizes it... she is responding to all the yummy maleness of Alec...

This story is something special because it addresses so many things all at the same time. It handles the fear we all have in allowing ourselves to lay bare to one another... emotionally as well as physically. When we are fighting preconceived images or fighting our own belief in how ugly our challenges can be very difficult to trust and share how we feel. We can present a mask of what we think others want when we think we are not worthy to show true fears. Bowen brings all of this front and center.

She also takes two people who are so good together, you root for them once things start happening... Oh and happening they do...Did I mention Alec is yummy....
Well, May is totally up for the challenge and I suggest laundry being done before reading.

As you can tell, I read this quickly and enjoyed it all. Both of these characters were wanting more out of their lives. Both of them were able to achieve it by being who they were together.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.
Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.

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