Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen | Review

Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: May 29, 2018 (out tomorrow!)
Source of my copy: author
Series: True North #5/standalone
My rating:

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now… 

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it. 

Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy. 

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job. 

It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us. 

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

I knew I was going to fucking love this book and I was right. I absolutely loved it! Definitely will be one of my favorites this year.

When I first found out who our hero and heroine were, I was confused because I remembered reading from a previous book that May Shipley was gay and had a girlfriend. So, I presumed that if May ever gets her own book it would most likely be an f/f romance. But, she's paired with Alec Rossi, who, as we learned in previous books, was a bar owner. Which was also a shock because I also remember that May was a recovering alcoholic.

I was like, how is this pairing going to work?!

Sarina Bowen made it work, of course, and she made me fall in love with May and Alec so much that they're now one of my favorite couples in the True North series.

It wasn't an easy path to HEA for Alec and May. They both had their issues--May having just caught her girlfriend cheating on her and having to move back home to her loving but very overprotective family who watched her like a hawk because at any moment they thought she'd relapse because of the heartbreak she's dealing with. She also feels like the family fuck up. As for Alec, he wants to take his business to the next level but was struggling, and the one person who could've helped him out financially, his Uncle Otto, still saw him as an irresponsible party boy.

Speakeasy was told in alternating POVs between Alec and May, and I highly enjoyed reading both of their perspective. A big part of May's was her alcoholism, and just like how Ms. Bowen did with Jude's addiction in Steadfast, she doesn't sugarcoat that aspect of May's struggle--that it's a daily struggle and will always be part of someone's life no matter how long their sobriety--and I always appreciated that about this author. It's sobering to read in a romance novel, but everything about May was an honest look at alcoholism. Another big part was May's bisexuality, and I really liked how it was just a natural thing and it wasn't made into some big issue internally or externally. It was just fact.

As for Alec, he had his struggles too, being the businessman he aspires to be and kind of not fully embracing the responsibility of being a truly successful one. I loved Alec, but most of my very minor issues with this book had to do with him, because it was frustrating when he would just let things slide, or he thinks nothing of taking a night off from his bar. And he had this grudge against the Shipley family that I didn't understand because his dad was obviously a dick and they were better off without him.

Sarina Bowen is on my very short list of auto-buy authors because she constantly delivers, and she definitely delivered with Speakeasy. The writing and the pacing was superb. The chemistry between Alec and May was hot and the sex was steamy as you would expect from Sarina Bowen. But, I don't read Sarina's books for the smut, you know? That's just a bonus. I love her books because she really digs into her perfectly imperfect characters, and we get a romance story that pulls you and stays with you. I highly recommend Speakeasy!

Just FYI, Speakeasy can standalone just fine, but I highly recommend you read the previous books in the True North series in order before jumping into this one as May and Alec were prominent secondary characters in previous books, and reading the other books will give you a better foundation on their characters. Trust me, reading the True North series in order won't be hardship. They're ALL excellent.

You can now download Bittersweet (book 1 in the True North series) for FREE on Amazon

And Speakeasy is out tomorrow! YASS!!

About the Author
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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