Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years #4) [Bella Hall & Rafael Santiago] by Sarina Bowen

Brilliant! I swear everything Sarina writes is GOLD! As you can guess from this sentence, yep, another amazing installment in the Ivy Years Series. While I wasn't sure about Bella from the previous book (well, she seemed kinda shallow..) and Rafe was kinda too sweet in the first chapter, that's might be my only misgivings, since after 5 minutes of reading I was shamelessly hooked! Now I can say that I truly adore Bella, she is a strong fierce woman yet she is still human with her own insecurities (not that she has many of them..). Rafe sure is the nicest guy you have ever "met" / read of, but his sweetness - the security blanket he wraps around Bella without her even truly realizing it, was beautiful to watch. He is so much more than meets the eye (I mean, besides his hotness ;))

Bella if you remember, you might not remember, you might be new to the series, and if you are, no troubles, you don't NEED to read the other ones in the series, this one can truly be read as a stand alone (but do yourself a favor and grab them ALL) is the manager of the Hockey team which is great in her opinion since she loves Hockey especially the lickable Hockey players, and she is actually really good at her job! She also loves sex, casual sex, and with all those damn good looking hunks there's lots to be have! 

One lonely night she finds herself entangled in the sheets with Rafe (Rafael Santiago) her yummy Football playing neighbor. For her, it's no big deal, yet she really doesn't understand what's up with Rafe and his strange attitude after their fun time together. 
For Rafe it WAS something more or something unexpected.. The night he had sex with Bella wasn't just his first time, it was also after a bad breakup from his girlfriend. Rafe doesn't do causal sex, and not only because he haven't had sex before, it's just not who he is, and now he doesn't really know how to handle his stupid drunk fling with his sexy neighbor..

The awkwardness continues between them up until they are not only teamed together in an Urban Studies course but more importantly Rafe witnesses Bella in her lowest point after a really mean prank by the notorious "Beta Rho" fraternity house. After the prank Bella really needs a friend but the ones she has - the Hockey team players - are NOT who she wants, especially with how their reaction would go.. and since she doesn't have girl friends she is left to deal on her own, at least, that's how she sees it. From Rafe's POV it's obvious he is not going to leave her to her solitude. He is there for her in the most sweet and caring way while not really crowding her. He makes her take small steps, he makes sure she eats (since she doesn't leave her room) but he doesn't push her too hard while doing all these things. Yep, the conclusion here is that obvious - we all need our own Rafe :)   

The whole situation with the prank, at first, left me with my tummy clenched, yet how the subject was resolved made the whole issue with the prank a lot more "important". I mean, we read about those things from time to time in books but the way it was dealt with here was really great. I don't want to say more about that not to spoiler but this thing had two fronts and in my opinion both were addressed. One later on in the book and the wasn't forgotten and got addressed near the end. Which is another of Sarina's specialties, taking these kind of subjects and addressing them seriously. 

Rafe and Bella's relationship had a slow and believable buildup. While they spend their time together working on their project and Rafe being a good friend to her (I guess in the beginning mostly because he's just a really sweet caring guy) the connection between them deepened until the point it was "there" without Bella realizing she is in a relationship though she doesn't know or admit to having one.. so while the next step was scary it was somehow already made. 

Graham and Rikker, Bella's best friends from the Hockey team as well as the MC in the previous installment appear in the novel, I loved their story and enjoyed having them for a visit though if you haven't read of them it still doesn't matter. You get all the important data about them without any real spoilers. 

One last thing, or rather, one last person to mention is Lianne, Bella's next door neighbor who is also a successful known actress. While they DON'T hit is off from the start, with Rafe's little encouragement they become fast friends, something they both didn't anticipate happening. Learning Lianne's little oddities, well, maybe oddities is a strong word, but it's just that everything about her is not what you would expect made her a really interesting character I'd love to learn more about. Which is why I'm PUMPED about the next book in the series being of her! YAIKS!

So that's it for my review. It was a great ride, as all Sarina's books are and as usual there is a bigger subject at hand besides the relationship buildup which was dealing with the cruel prank. 

Can't wait for the next one! 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 317 pages, 16-18 April 2015 / On GoodReads


Sarina Bowen built one hell of an imaginary College where the main characters of her series Ivy Years live and study. They all have one thing in common - They LOVE Hockey and most of them play or used to play. 

I love all her characters, each is unique in his/her own way and bring a story that is much more than the usual "coming of age" we read in New Adult series. But while the issues are more interesting / difficult / heart breaking the general feel of the series, both in the characters and the plot line is positive which I really enjoyed. It wasn't dark and gloomy it always felt, to me, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel where all your friends or family are happy to be of aid even while others / problems (try to) stand in your way. 

Just a side note - Except for the 3rd installment being M/M, the others novels in the series are M/F.  

The series continues with a SPIN-OFF, it's somewhere  between New Adult and Contemporary Romance, the characters being a little bit older and not in college. The series centers on the NHL team "Brooklyn Bruisers", each book tells the HEA of one of the players, the first one being two characters we've met in the Ivy Years. 


1. The Year We Fell Down [Corey Callahan & Adam Hartely] (Published 24 March 2014) ★★★★★
2. The Year We Hid Away [Scarlet Crowley/Shannon Ellison & Bridger McCaulley] (Published 1 June 2014) ★★★★★
2.5 Blonde Date [Katie Vichery & Andrew Baschnagel] (Published 6 July 2014) ★★★★★
3. The Understatement of the Year [Michael Graham & John Rikker] (Published 29 September 2014) ★★★★★
4. The Shameless Hour [Bella Hall & Rafael Santiago] (Published 14 April 2015) ★★★★★
5. The Fifteenth Minute [Lianne Challice & Daniel "DJ" Trevi(Published 13 October 2015) ★★★★★
5.5 Studly Period [Josephine Allister & Pepe Gerault] (Published as 8 Part Free Serial between 20/03/18 to 08/05/18) ★★★★★ 
6. Extra Credit: Three Ivy Years Novellas (Published 3 March 2019) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
    Previously published - Blonde Date [Katie Vichery & Andrew Baschnagel]

    Previously published - Studly Period [Josephine Allister & Pepe Gerault]
    New addition - Yesterday [Michael Graham & John Rikker]

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