I am so excited about this book--I love Sarina's Ivy Years series, and this male/male romance was so gorgeous and beautifully told. Today, we have an interview with Sarina about the series, as well as a great giveaway! Be sure to check it out! :)
Interview with Sarina:
Q&A for Sarina Bowen:
Q: Is Harkness College from the Ivy Years series based on Yale?
A: Heck yes! But it’s based on a Yale which has gone soft and fuzzy in my mind, in all the best ways. So I’ve fictionalized it to avoid the errors and inaccuracies that I’d be likely to make if I tried to get everything just right.
Q: So what parts of Harkness are the Yaliest?
A: The architecture! The turrets and gargoyles, the Harry Potteresque dining halls, the slate footpaths and the creaky oak doors. The iron gates. The courtyards. The window seats, where you perch while you wonder if you’ll find true love. (Or just do your homework.)
Q: Why did you decide to write a book about two guys this time?
A: In the first place, I didn’t really decide, so much as the idea for Graham’s struggle surgically implanted itself in my brain and would not let go. And when I pictured the two of them meeting up again in a locker room after five years of silence, I just got the chills. This became the book that I cheated on all my other books to write. (If my editors of other projects are reading this… sorry! I’ll get back to work now. Probably.)
Q. Why college hockey?
A. Because… duh! Hockey players are hot. And hockey is a fast-paced game where whining is categorically disallowed. Interestingly, fighting is not legal in college hockey, either. At the college level, it’s all about the game. I love that!
Q: How many Ivy Years books do you have planned?
A: Five, if you’re counting the novella. After Rikker and Graham’s book, Bella is going to need her own book. What, you haven’t met Bella yet? Just wait. She steals quite a few scenes in The Understatement of the Year. She is a kick-ass chick in much the same way as Corey, Scarlet and Katie. You’ll love her. You can read a bit more about all the titles on The Ivy Years page on my website.
Q: How did you come to write romance?
A: I’ve always loved novels—all kinds of novels. And my goal is to make the reader do three things when she’s reading my book: cry, laugh, and sigh. Romance is the best vehicle for that goal, and I’ve really enjoyed the ride.
The Understatement of the Year Synopsis:
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.
Previous books in the series:
#1 The Year We Fell Down (March 2014)
#2 The Year We Hid Away (June 2014)
#2.5 Blonde Date (July 2014)
I can sum this up for you in three simple words-I LOVED IT! Or maybe I should say I abso-freaking-lutley loved it. From the writing to the characters to the storyline...I couldn't have asked for a better M/M romance story. I flew through this thanks to being totally riveted to every word.
Just like it says in the synopsis, you're going to get a heartbreaking story. The fact that Rikker is out and Graham is very much NOT, you know from the start you're in for a lot of tension. And you get plenty of it-along with spurts of passion that will frustrate you because you know Graham is going to crawl right back in his closet.
But what's meant to be is meant to be, and though you'll go through a roller coaster of emotion the whole way through, in the end it is worth it. And when you get to the most pivotal scene of the story near the end in the locker room, well...that's when the fact that this really is a moving love story will be made perfectly clear (if you don't already figure that out before then).
The characters...every single one of them are so well developed and perfect in their roles. Rikker and Graham couldn't have been written any better, and you will find yourself hoping, praying, even demanding that they get their HEA. It's great to see Corey and Hartley again (from The Year We Fell Down)-I love that Hartley is so supportive. Skippy is an amazing supporting character-funny and a bit flamboyant. And Rikker's grandmother-loved, loved, loved her! And of course you have that one character you just want to slap-Big-D (AKA to me as Mr. Intolerance...the ass). One character that I would be really interested in seeing get his own story is Trevi-something about him just begs to have his story told.
My final verdict--5 hot, emotional and infinitely re-readable stars! Whether or not you are an M/M fan, this story is an amazing read and is VERY worth your time. Recommended for 18+ due to language and adult scenes.
Sarina Bowen makes her home in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she lives with her family, eight chickens and a large pile of skis and hockey equipment. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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