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 sinister 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.
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
This Book Nerd Says:
Well folks, Sarina Bowen has done it again. I've made it no secret that I love this Ivy Series. Every time I walk into a book thinking that I know what to expect, I am wrong... and I love it!
We first met Bella in The Understatement Of The Year (Ivy Years #3 my review for that one is here ). While it's not necessary to read that one before you read this one, I would highly recommend you do. I'll explain why, but first the basics:
Bella is the student manager of Harkness' hockey team. She loves her job and she loves the sport, but more than that she loves the team she takes care of. Done with falling for the wrong guys, she enjoys her nights with whomever she chooses, however she chooses, no strings attached. Of course this means she draws the ire of some, and a reputation among many.
Rafe on the other hand has no reputation, unless you count being a very considerate, hot Dominican soccer player who has a affinity for all things vintage, as a reputation. Oh, and he's a virgin. After two very different evenings, both Bella and Rafe find themselves sharing a bottle of champagne and Bella's bed. When Bella wakes up alone, it bothers her. Her feelings hurt by what she thinks is his opinion of her, Bella avoids Rafe as much as she can, right up until he becomes her rock.
"People could say what they wanted about all the recreational sex I'd had. But I knew what love looked like."Bella.
I am so happy that Bella got this book. From what we saw of her in Understatement, one might have guessed there was a definite back story there. But we got so much more than that. We get a deeper look into her feelings about the events of the previous book and along with that we get to see some of that back story I talked about, and when it continues into the present- I'm just going to come out and tell you, I teared up a few times on account of Bella. I'm going to leave it at that emotional reader confession.
"Whip it out, then. I'll mend it."These seven words... holy *expletive expletive* hotness. Who knew that word combination was such a turn on?! Even with all the other fantastical dialogue, when I sat down to write these words kept jumping to the forefront of my mind. Rafe was like the dark horse of book boyfriends (Andy from Blonde Date got some serious competition in Rafe, shhhh!). I truly didn't see it coming and than wham! I was in love with him in under 15% of the book.
One thing I cannot forget to mention is my applause at the inclusion of the Dominican culture in this book. Not only was it well done, it felt very natural in the flow of the book. In my opinion it gave Rafe a distinct flavor in this series and added some great layers to his character.
Rafe happens to love vintage things as I mentioned.
As I thought about it more, I realized that vintage is not to be confused as being synonymous with used. No, vintage is something classic, fine, highly valued and usually has a story. Bella confidence comes to battle with her insecurity as she mistakes Rafe's guilt for him looking at her as if she is used goods... but in reality Rafe sees her classic beauty long before he knows her story. Then when he gets her story, he values her even more. The relationship they develop becomes as precious to him as the rarity he seeks out for himself.
To him Bella is vintage.
As always I love visiting the familiar characters just as much as I fell for the new faces (I even kinda feel better about old faces I wasn't too happy with before). Sarina does such a great job at crafting all these great personalities that I walk away feeling like I just gained a bunch of new book besties.I adored this story from start to finish and was left dying for the next book (as per my usual). I gave this one 5 STARS and a round of applause for this addition to this fantastical series.
Check it out and let me know what you think!