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The Ivy Years #4

The Shameless Hour

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The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.

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.

279 pages, ebook

First published April 12, 2015

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About the author

Sarina Bowen

101 books14.6k followers
sarina bowen
Sarina Bowen is the twenty-time USA Today bestselling author of three dozen books, including: the True North series, and Brooklyn Hockey. She's the co-author of Him/Us and the WAGs series with Elle Kennedy. She's the author of The Ivy Years series, and more!
Are you looking for a friends-to-lovers story or maybe even a secret baby book? You can read a list of Sarina's books broken out by trope and style.
Need to know what's coming next ? Get all the latest news on Sarina's website, and sign up for her newsletter so you don't miss a book or a deal.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 882 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,712 reviews31.6k followers
April 9, 2022
5 stars!

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The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.

You know books with that common troupe, where there is the sweet virginal heroine and the man-whore who sleeps around and changes their ways for her? Well, this book blows that stereotype away. I love that Sarina Bowen did that. She took a girl who sleeps around and pairs her with the sweetest virgin. I love that she isn’t afraid to take a story ‘there’ and write about difficult to read subjects. I loved Bella and Rafe’s story so much!

Bella is one of those kick-ass heroines who knows who she is and has no shame in it. She’s strong and knows who she is. She has a lot of sex and she enjoys it. Nothing wrong with that. Something happens to her in this book that changes that, at least for a while. It broke my heart. I cried for Bella. But Rafe was there for her. As a friend, someone to make sure she was okay and just be there. Rafe was the absolute sweetest hero.

I loved how Bella and Rafe’s relationship developed. I also really loved how Bella handled what happened to her and became friends with Lianne. I was also super happy to get more Graham and Rikker in this one! Another 5 star read in The Ivy Years series! On to book 5 <3

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Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,680 followers
February 15, 2021

TW - problematic asexual rep, erasure of bisexuality (with direct quotes from the book)


Oh damn. That was messy. As romance novels go, Sarina Bowen's books sometimes please me enough (don't make me rage too much) because of the lack of slut-shaming and her sweet and kind male-leads. Yet it's the second time now (the first being with Fifteen Minutes) that I have to write a one-star review because some parts are so fucking offensive that they let me absolutely disgusted.


1) Problematic rep of asexuality : look, I'm a cis/straight woman, so I may be wrong. But I'm genuinely worried for asexual readers who could be hurt by reading this novel.

To sum-up : Rafe, the male-lead, is a virgin. In a relationship with Alison for 6 months, they both have been waiting for having sex - and they finally decide to take the plunge on their Birthday. But when he arrives at Alison's dorm, Rafe has the bad surprise to find another guy with his girlfriend, and learns that she cheated on him - and had sex - while abroad some weeks before. They break up. He hooks up with Bella, the MC, and stays - understandingly - pretty pissed at Alison for her betrayal. And then, hundreds of pages later, he finally learns that Alison cheated because she "is asexual and wanted to try with another guy before having sex with him". I just... No. The way her asexuality was introduced and handled... Just, no.

Here are the direct quotes from the book :

"Rafe, I'm..." She swallowed. "I'm asexual."
I replayed those words in my mind and came up blank. "You're... what?"
"Asexual. I can't... I don't experience sexual desire. Ever. Not for anyone."
That was the craziest thing I'd ever heard. And I'd already spent a couple of months choking on the message that she didn't want me like that. Why make a weird excuse? "Then why did you sleep with Mr. Rolex? And don't try to tell me you didn't. Something happened with him."
She took a deep breath in through her perfect nose. "I slept with him because I wanted to know if I could do it. It was an experiment. If I could live through it with him, then I thought I could handle sex with you."
At that moment, you could have pushed me over with a feather. "Dios. I always hoped you could tolerate sex with me. Do you even hear yourself?"
Her face got red. "I know, okay? It's taken me a bunch of counseling sessions to even admit that it was a stupid idea But I loved you, and I just wanted what so many other people have. A normal relationship."
Again, the fact that she was getting upset checked my anger. "But I just don't understand. Not at all. Because everybody wants someone."
I managed to crack a smile, even as I realized that she wasn't joking. "Maybe you like girls?"
She shook her head. "If I did, that would be easier. I'd never heard the term 'asexual' until a year ago. I started Googling right away, but reading about it only depressed me. Because I suspected that was me. (...)
"So..." I cleared my throat. "It's not just you. This is a... thing."
Alison gave me a tiny eye roll. "Yes, it's a thing. There are support groups and the whole nine yards."

Some pages after

"If she was right about not wanting sex with anyone, that meant most relationships were off the table. She'd told me once that she wanted kids, too. So that wouldn't be easy.
It was pretty damned depressing, really."

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, and if I'm wrong, I'm sorry. I'll let asexual readers judge, but it seems to me that the way it's introduced is inaccurate and offensive. Look, I'm not saying that Sarina Bowen is acephobic. But Alison's asexuality is just used as a plot-device, and not handled respectfully in my opinion.

2) Bisexual erasure : the roommate of the male-lead is gay and was in the military. During the story, his boyfriend breaks up with him to start a relationship with a woman. Both characters talking about it - Rafe, the MC, and Mat, his roommate - make it sound as if bisexuality didn't exist :

"I'll bet it won't last, though,' I said, my words muffed by cashmere and down feathers.
"Why do you say that?"
"I dunno. Being a gay dude in the military sounds like a whole lot of trouble, no? Why do that if you're not sure?" I was talking out of my ass. "But what the hell do I know?"
Mat heaved a sigh. "Good point. Twenty-four hours ago, I would have agreed with you. But he said he wants kids and all that shit. The picket fence. The dog."

... Or, maybe he's bisexual? What the HELL is this shit?

3) I'm out of my lane so maybe I'm wrong, but to me Rafe, who is Dominican (non ownvoices) was portrayed inaccurately and... I don't know, very much like a Latin lover stereotype with merengue moves? I got the feeling that his culture was "exoticized" (sic) and I'm pretty sure some sentences in Spanish don't make sense.

The Shameless Hour was written to denounce slut-shaming and double standards. That's a shame diversity was handled so poorly, and honestly? I'm not sure slut-shaming was really handled correctly either, and Rafe was... too pushy for me. Not recommended.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,790 reviews2,133 followers
June 10, 2016
4.75 stars!

“It’s hard to admit you’re just in someone’s periphery when you imagined you were closer to the center of their world.”

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Sarina Bowen just keeps getting better and better! The Shameless Hour is the story of Bella and Rafe. Bella is the free loving college senior and manager of the hockey team. She loves sex and isn't afraid to admit it. Rafe is a sophomore on the verge of losing his virginity to his girlfriend, until the break up on the same night of the sleep together plan. Bella and Rafe live in the same dorm, and when Bella finds a distraught Rafe, she gets drunk with him. One thing leads to another and the two spend an explosive evening together. But the next morning Rafe panics, and leaves Bella wondering what went wrong.

As the school year passes the two remain friends and grow closer. Until a horrible night wrecks Bella and rips away her confidence, and Rafe is the one to pick up the pieces.

“You’re not okay. And I’m the one who noticed.”

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Sarina Bowen has found a forever fan in me. I basically binge read this entire series so far and cannot wait for the 5th book about Lianne. Also, I have a gigantic soft spot for any romances where the woman is the one that's more experienced and the guy isn't. If I have to read one more goddamn NA romance where the virginal girl sleeps with the bad boy I am going to blow my brains out. It's refreshing to read a new take on genre, and without feeding into stereotype of virginal college girls.

I loved Bella as a heroine. She lived her life and didn't give a crap what others thought. And yet there was this beautiful vulnerable side to her that remained below the surface. Reading her ordeal brought tears to my eyes, and her strength was one of my favorite things about her.

Rafe, well I'm not normally one for the Latin guys, but I was sold on him! I loved that he was a GOOD guy, and not always super alpha, but it didn't mean being nice made him weak. It made him a catch. He was thoughtful of others, cared for those he loved, and worked hard for what he wanted.

I've said before that it must be right place right time, because I loved this series. It may not be for everyone, but it worked for me. Kicking myself for not having read it sooner. By the way this is the fourth book in a series and CAN be read as a standalone novel.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,632 reviews3,209 followers
February 21, 2018
4.5 Surviving and Flourishing With Conviction Stars
* * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free
With all of the headway women have made in society, it still can boil down to men and their egos; their need to bully and continue sexual behavior unbecoming to any man when his actions are unwelcome. Young men, with too much power to weld over others trying to just fit in, can create environments of intimidation; causing compliance.... allowing things to happen when normally these young men would never think to behave in this manner.

These types of situations happens all the time on campuses and mostly women will not come forward due to the hostile shaming the attacks will take....for if a woman has been in a place where alcohol has been consumed or if she has been happily sexually active...coming forward, reporting to authorities, is going to inflict some serious pain and the outcome will not always be worth it.

In this 4th part of The Ivy Years series, we experience this first hand through Bella.
Bella is a woman who has been burned twice in love...and so she has learned to not do the boyfriend thing and enjoy the moment thing instead. She is deeply involved in what she loves; hockey. She has managed the team during her time at college and the team leans on her expertise in supplies, hotel accommodations and all things needed to keep the team without stress while focused on winning. It is her senior year and although she has had a great run in friends and man times... her awareness of the graduation clock ticking is haunting her....because she has no friggin' idea as to what she wants to do in the future.

She maybe a little concerned about what path to take after her graduation...what with parents and their idea of success...but right now she is the person she is and she is ok with it. She has the team as her friend base...jokes and when she feels like it...sexually dips in the pond. No guilt or silly game playing...she knows the puck bunnies all look at her and wonder...but she is confident in who she is. She lives in a dorm with others and has her own room. Coming and going as she wishes... no restraints.

Rafe lives in the same dorm as Bella and met her when he helped bring her boxes up to her room. He was taken immediately with her ...her confidence and beauty but never made any kind of move. Rafe was here to get his degree... to learn all he can while being on the soccer team and doing his student work assignment. He knows he is not the usual demographic here...As a Dominican at this Ivy college,he is not in his comfort zone.... but he has made a way and friends.

He has also had a long time girlfriend...and with the constant reminder from his hard working mother how sex is not the way... how it is only to be with The One...he still has his Vcard. Oh, he knows other things and has had his share of physical times, yet with his girl...she wanted to wait ... With their shared birthday, tonight is the night.

For Rafe this is huge....as mentioned, his mother was left by his dad right after his birth...so she has drilled into him how a man who is with a woman that way should behave...the responsibility...the meaning and then backed it up with a strong Catholic upbringing. Rafe is a caring and loving son. He saw his mom work endlessly at the restaurant she created...and loves her deeply. But tonight...he is ready...has the champagne, a lovely gift for her birthday...and a sealed box of condoms.

Rafe is just up the stairs of his girlfriend's room, collecting himself before knocking on her door....and then in a flash...another guy is there with her opening it and him pulling her into his arms and planting a wet juicy kiss on her...

WHAT???? Rafe, shocked confronts the two of them and then the truth comes out...his girl hadn't saved herself for him... she banged this guy when they both were doing some "noble" project abroad. Rafe can't believe this...and leaves stunned. He goes to his room only to hear both roommates going at it from the different bedrooms...Instead...Rafe goes to sit on the higher landing of the stairs to just recover somehow.

It is there Bella sees him...all forlorn and dazed. She has always thought him cute and smoldering...but never really approached him. She sees how unhappy he is and sits next to him. In a very sweet bonding way....both of them share their most humiliating experiences while drinking the soon to be warm champagne. Bella takes Rafe up to her room and they continue to drink and talk...Rafe does not share he has a VCARD and that was the big event. Bella just knows he found his girl with another....and with the relaxed way Rafe is becoming with his suppressed desires for Bella flooding his brain and her encouragement...they hook up.

But it isn't what Bella is use to...no, this is very different.

No touch here and then pump and done....this is touch here....stroke there, caress and lick, kiss...and hands...oh the hands....and then finally after she is about to die....glory...angels sing and she is boneless like all the books talk about. Rafe...he is stunned and shocked and feeling things he never felt when he fooled around with others in the past or even his cheating ex. Bella was magic...she had such responsiveness to everything...a way of feeling things he never saw from a girl...and it was amazing...he was in awe.

He wakes before Bella and he then realizes what actually happened...his mom's voice is in his ear...he feels like he may have taken advantage... not in the bad way... but in the circumstances of the moment way. He has no experience in doing a one night stand...that is just not him. He leaves and doesn't have her number to call her or anything and didn't think till too late to write a note.

Bella wakes and sees he is gone...no trace. They share a class together and over the course of days...Rafe can't figure out how to talk to Bella and She is becoming pissed by his not just manning up. When they finally address it...it kinda sucks and there is a distance...she feeling like he did the shame of himself-then of her through his guilt. She is not standing for it and clears the air to a degree. They are ok and when they have to work together on a project...they pair up.

A friendship is born...and in its infancy and event with Bella happens. She handles her situation as a grown up; she shares the necessary information and then has the unthinkable happen. Rafe sees her; cares for her and then refuses to let her slide away in the throws of depression or self hate.

It is from this point in the story...we fly, we experience a tale so wonderful, my heart was full every single moment. Sarina Bowen has a handle on this group of people...this college experience like very few others I have read. We are in the moment and live it fully; we feel pain and anger, we want to lash out. We follow our characters through discovery and growth...we see them fight for each other in ways which should be the norm today...but sometimes isn't. We see them bond and find a sense of who they are and how to love...to freely give of themselves even after experiencing emotional hurt.

We also see Rafe, a fully formed confident man...a man who knows what he wants to accomplish. Who has worked hard all of his young years and never turned away from it. His mother and family adore him but do not spoil him. The man is sexy; knows how to be romantic and loving. We wish we knew him for real because this is the man we dream of being with.

There is much more in this book then Rafe and Bella and their story. There is also others who contribute greatly. Their stories will be coming if we are lucky.

What also is worth the read is the spotlight this tale puts on behavior in Fraternities and the men who abuse them. Young men want to belong to things..be it sports or politics...and when those in power threaten others to comply with whatever whim in order to be accepted...there is a breeding ground for abuse....All types of abuse- because the ones wanting to belong feel they have no choice...But we all know in life we do...it may not result in being part of the group we so wished to be...but the Right thing to do....will always be the Right thing to do.

This was an artfully told tale. There was terrific humor, passion, conflicts and lessons...all delivered with grace. It is one of the many reasons I am so devoted to Sarina Bowen and these books.

You do not have to have read the previous books to fully enjoy this one. It can be read as a stand alone in my opinion.

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1) by Sarina Bowen The Year We Fell Down
Falling from the Sky (Gravity, #2) by Sarina BowenFalling from the Sky (Gravity, #2)
Blonde Date (The Ivy Years, #2.5) by Sarina Bowen Blonde Date (The Ivy Years, #2.5)
The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3) by Sarina BowenThe Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3)
The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4) by Sarina Bowen The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4)
The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5) by Sarina Bowen The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5)

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

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Profile Image for Anniebananie.
515 reviews384 followers
May 27, 2019
Sarina Bowen hat mich nicht enttäuscht! Bester Band aus der "The Ivy Years"-Reihe für mich. Ich mochte das Thema um das es hier ging, auch wenn es mir ein bisschen zu wenig im Vordergrund stand, aber es war trotzdem mal was neues und die Botschaft dahinter ist wichtig. Außerdem mochte ich das Tempo der Liebesgeschichte unserer beiden Protagonisten, genauso wie ich auch unsere beiden Protagonisten mochte. Ich bin ein riesen Fan von Bella, ich fand sie erfrischend echt gezeichnet. Und Rafe gefiel mir auch super und er war super sexy und das ganz ohne ein Badboy zu sein! Ich höre mich zwar immer an wie eine Lehrerin, die Aufklärungsunterricht in Biologie gibt, aber ich fand auch das Thema Verhütung und Geschlechtskrankheiten hier sehr gut miteingearbeitet, muss man auch erstmal schaffen als Autorin! :D
Das alles, in Verbindung mit Sarina Bowen´s Schreibstil, haben das Buch für mich zu einem Highlight im College-New-Adult-Genre gemacht! :)
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,023 followers
April 26, 2015
4 stars!

In romance, it's not common to find a book with a virgin heroine and a hero who gets around. It's a common trope. One that Sarina Bowen has successfully subverted in this book.

Bella is the manager of the Harkness hockey team. She's gorgeous, charming and yes, she's got a reputation among the players as someone easy. Rafe is a soccer player and a virgin. When plans with his girlfriend fell through, he found himself in the company of Bella. That night, they hit it off right away but a little misunderstanding got in their way and sets off a string of events that had dire consequences for Bella.

I loved Bella. Her strength and courage was amazing. I loved that she wasn't perfect. I also appreciated that Sarina didn't justify her promiscuity as a result of childhood trauma or something. She was just a wild child who enjoys sex. I didn't always agree with her decision but really, her actions are no different than any other book hero in NA right now. The only difference is she's female, so she's judged harshly because of it. What happened to her was unconscionable. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Nobody.

Rafe is a really sweet hero. He is loyal and just an overall wonderful character. I loved how he supported Bella without restraint or judgement. It was his presence and friendship, together with Lianne, that helped Bella pull through her situation. I seriously loved them both for it.

The issues (slut-shaming, bullying, etc) tackled in this book is scarily accurate with what we see in social media today. It's so easy to laugh and jeer at someone who we think has loose morals, thinking they somehow deserve whatever is coming to them because they act or dress a certain way. This book really made me think about my own attitude about this. So thank you, Sarina Bowen for putting this out there.

I feel that this book is really part coming of age and part romance. The romance, I thought, dragged a bit. Bella is one stubborn woman. I wish Rafe had pushed harder with putting his feelings for Bella out there. Other than that, their romance was sweet and satisfying in the end.

ARC provided by Sarina Bowen via AtPT in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,831 reviews5,506 followers
May 9, 2017

I liked The Shameless Hour, but it's by far my least favorite in the series. IMO, the great duel narration carried the story (love the male narrator).

There were a few things that I loved about it. I adored the more experienced female MC, who took sex positive females to a new level in romance. I also liked the male virgin factor. What, I have a male virgin kink! I also liked the overall story, the plot-line I mean. I found it to be sweet and powerful.

However, I had issues.

For one, I think that the stereotype of the Latin lover was in full force here. One of my closest friends is Colombian, and though she speaks fluent Spanish and talks to her family in Spanish, I've never heard her whip out a "¡Dios mío!" in the middle of a conversation. The depiction of the male MC was more than a little stereotypical, and it irked me a bit.

I also found Rafe to be a bit of a pushover. He is the beta-iest beta male that I've read in a long time, and almost too good to be true. I wanted him to have a bit more personality, a bit more push instead of catering to Bella all the time.

Overall, great narration, but a flawed story.
Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,735 reviews1,477 followers
October 12, 2017
3.5 ROUGH Stars

The Shameless Hour is my least favorite book in the series. Here’s the deal, I don’t like a slutty Heroine. I’ve never liked them. The complicated girls that use their bodies and lash out is just NOT my cuppa, BUT I have major love for the series and so I wanted to read this.

I love Sarina Bowen’s writing style and so I think why this book didn’t just bomb for me because of the way it was written.

I just didn’t like the plot.

Bella is a damaged slutty girl. She sleeps around and she’s all about being empowered. I like her confidence, but there’s always an issue right? The girl sleeps around for a reason.

Rafe is a good guy. And he’s a virgin! This is the second male virgin book I’ve read and I’m starting to like this. I LOVED Rafe and he saved the book for me. He’s a stand-up guy who was raised right.

I just didn’t understand the connection between Bella and Rafe. I was only interested in all the secondary storyline. I liked Bella’s friends, I wanted to know why Rafe held on to his virginity for so long and why Bella is the way she is. But did I care for the relationship between Rafe and Bella? Not really.

Bella and Rafe hook up and the thing is, she didn’t know he was a virgin. I felt like the hook-up scene was really cold and there was zero chemistry between the two and it was all on Bella’s side.

I just couldn’t stand her. CAN NOT STAND HER

She would lash out and not even give Rafe a reason why. The guy is POOR and she breaks his iPod in a fit of rage, come on, what a bitch.

Overall, I liked the side storylines and side characters and Rafe. Bella just killed it for me, but I know what I like and I don’t like a slutty Heroine.
Profile Image for ★ Larissa ~ book crusher ~.
239 reviews80 followers
May 20, 2015
Rating clarification: 3.5 stars

I feel compelled to write at least one review for the Ivy Years series. I doubt I'll get around to writing reviews for the rest of the books seeing as I've read them all practically back to back. I'm that effing lazy. The only one I didn't read was the 2nd book (Bridger's) but I may get around to that one at some point.

In any case, this will be more like a compendium opinion. I've heard a LOT about Sarina Bowen in the last few months, and all of it pretty positive. After reading three of the four books released, I have to say I understand the hoopla.

The Year We Fell Down
Sweet, compelling, inspirational and with one of the most amazing heroines out there. I honestly believe everyone should read this book at least once. Corey is struggling with being a handicapped student trying to find her way in college and in life after losing the one thing she loved the most, hockey. By chance she meets Adam Hartley, captain of the Ice Hockey team, who lives across the hall from her and happens to have suffered an injury that has put him out of commission for a while. They bond... and can I just say Hartley is a saint? And I love how real this felt, without Sarina Bowen overdoing the angst and turning it into a melodrama. The ice rink scene in the end nearly had me sobbing. Definitely a special one, and I'm pretty sure I rated 5 stars and commented on the gorgeousness of the story afterwards.

The Understatement of the Year
A lot of readers balk at this series because of this book. It's M/M so it seriously diverts from reader expectations. The thing with The Ivy Years is that its so fierce and fearless. It dares go where no one else goes and truly seeks to explore the coming of age struggles that college-aged individuals go through. This for me was my favorite of the three I read, hands down. SCORCHING hot, angsty as hell. I could not put it down. Rikker and Graham just light the pages up with their affair.

The Shameless Hour
The current book this review is for. I truly did like it, I did. I just didn't love it as much as other people seem to have loved it. The heroine is the poster child for feminism, so if you want a strong, assertive, heroine who takes no shit from anyone, who is completely in command of her sexuality. DO READ THIS. The slut shaming trope is strongly and well explored here, and though Bella is no innocent, I think she is perhaps, one of the most kickass heroines I've ever read, and I love her for that. Rafe, the hero, I could leave or take. There was something compelling about him. However, being from Hispanic roots, I'm a bit tired of the Spanish stereotype wherein the latino always has to show his salsa or merengue moves, utters the words "ay", "Dios", and "Jesucristo" every other sentence and generally behaves in a very stereotypical way. That did color my enjoyment of this. Also, being from Dominican descent, I'm not sure how much into football he would be, because Dominican Republic isn't exactly known to be a major football country. I can let that pass though. It just seemed like he NEEDED to be an athlete to ramp up the hotness factor, because... athlete = hot. And Hispanic = soccer. Overall started out very well and kinda dragged in the middle. Too much time apart between hero and heroine and in the end, a bit lukewarm in the sexy department. I'd still recommend, because if you are a feminist, you'll love this.

Generally, I'd give The Ivy Years about a 4 star rating so far. Not too shabby. Sarina Bowen KNOWS how to write a sex scene and is an extremely capable writer to watch for. Read this series!!
Profile Image for Leah City of Words and Pages.
514 reviews234 followers
September 19, 2021
Für mich bis jetzt mit Abstand das stärkste Buch der Reihe!

Wie toll war bitte diese Geschichte?
Sie war total eigenständig, authentisch, vermittelt wichtige Werte und thematisiert Protagonisten, die eigentlich sehr unterschiedlich sind, aber einfach perfekt zusammen passen.
Rafe war ein Schatz! Obwohl er eher ein Good Boy ist und ich die zwar auch mag, aber nicht am liebsten, hat er mich sowas von überzeugt!
Ganz große Klasse! 👏🏻
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,799 reviews617 followers
January 10, 2022
Now this is what I exprcted from Miss Bowen. The Shameless Hour hits every spot for NA romance.
Miss Bowen took a risk by reserving her characters. Rafe is the sweetest virgin hero instead of man whore. While Bella is the strong, kick ass heroine. She is not afraid or shy away fron her lifestyle. She is fearless.

Miss Bowen done a great job on building her characters. There are a lot of moral messages in the story. The social culture, the popular crowd and the stupid immature mistakes we all made during those early year of our colleage year.

Again, this book is so good.

5 stars
Profile Image for Carissa.
269 reviews62 followers
May 2, 2015
4.5 stars.

Bella is a Senior at Harkness University and Student manager for the men's hockey team. She keeps herself busy by being immersed in her psychology major, and between the hockey team's management and the players. Bella has fallen in love twice in her lifetime. Both times with people who were incapable of returning her love. She was only in their periphery while they were the Centre of her universe. Since her hit and miss, Bella has become promiscuous. Deciding that sexual relationships are all she wants.

Rafe the super sexy, Harkness Sophomore footballer, whose sweet persona and Catholic upbringing has kept him waiting to lose his "V" card to his girlfriend. On the night they were supposed to celebrate both their birthdays by losing their "V" cards. An unexpected visitor shows up and the betrayal of his girlfriend is felt deeper than the depths of the ocean.

On said night, Rafe and Bella run into each other and one thing leads to the other, and Pop!!! goes Rafe's cherry. I'm not even sure I'm supposed to say that for boys. *Shrugs, funny but shrugs* Being the traditional type of guy that Rafe is, he starts to feel remorse for his actions. In turn he shies away from Bella.

After weeks of Rafe's unsuccessful attempts to apologize for his rash behaviour, a school project forces Bella and himself to become part of a team project. Resolute in them being friends at least, they both move forward with that understanding.

After all the preludes, and my mind running wild with the story. It becomes so much more interesting. A Catholic boy and a head strong, sassy, and sexually healthy young woman.

Cudos to Sarina Bowen for writing such a strong lead female role. Bella is the epitome of confidence. Sexy, sultry and brutally honest. Keeping true to herself, and her wants and desires, Bella's strength is unwavering in the face of stereotyping.

As the story progresses, The Shameless Hour, throws us for a loop by lashing out with a most brutal form of revenge on Bella, by the Football fraternity. A public shaming. In a drug induced haze, physical taunts are peppered over her body. An act meant to Shame and Embarrass.

I was tainted. And nobody was ever going to let me forget it.

The fact that Sarina show's us Bella as a two sided coin, only compounds her strength. We're now shown the softer, more emotional side of Bella. Her vulnerability shines through. Her own promiscuity has been turned into a stereotypical public embarrassment. Used as a weapon against her. Not only did the fraternity exact revenge physically, they also publicly broadcasted a picture of Bella with a lude header on there Brodacious website.

Now this is where I fell in love with Rafe. There was this instant connection to Rafe. I don't know if it was the words uses to describe him, his inner turmoil and thoughts or even his simplistic demeanor. May be, it was everything, coupled together that just made me feel as if I was Rafe and relaying the story through my eyes.

Rafes stumbles upon Bella after her incident and instantly, he knows something is wrong. Taking her back to her room, both her roommate, Lianne and himself, attempts to help Bella. Even though Bella shuns him; through this painful situation, Bella and Rafe's friendship grows, along with their desires for each other. Lianne, the room mate, shined through. I loved how this secondary character came out of her shell. She was initially portrayed as the a reclusive superstar. Locked away, without any interaction, only stumbling upon Bella's dates; either in the act or when leaving. Lianne proved herself, and a friendship among herself, Bella and Rafe, was nurtured and grew in the face of adversity.

Bella and Rafe's love story took effect at this point. It was slow burning and definitely not the prettiest of circumstances, but their relationship, started as friends, school and team mates, and grew into something sweet, gentle and so beautiful. The support that Rafe gave to Bella, was without a doubt a dream come true for any woman. Rafe, started as a hardworking Dominican, trying to make a better life for himself and his family, while working in the family restauarant. His strong background, coupled with his persistence and his inner sweet self, made Rafe a superbly portrayed male protagonist.

The Shameless Hour is a book that draws you in and brings people together. A book of breaking barriers and insecurity. Removing all inhibitions. Sarina Bowen brought us an epic and intricate storytelling, depicting real life situations - sexual appetite, diseases, stereotyping, bullying, revenge and the use of social media in hurtful and unproductive manners. The dynamics of the book was compounded by the diversity of the differing themes and characters and their portrayals.
There was one aspect of the book I didn't like at all. It related to Bella's family. The atrocious way she was treated, and then when the truth was unveiled, it was a total 360. They just seemed to acceptable with their cavalier attitude. Forgiving and understanding. It was out of character for this book.

*ARC provided by As the Pages Turn on behalf of the author for an honest review* Thanks!!
Profile Image for Claudia Fosca Stahl.
161 reviews21 followers
January 9, 2023
Five Shameless Stars

I loved Bella since we first met her in The Understatement of the Year. She is refreshing, confident, witty, and friendly. Since she is the student manager of the male hockey team, she is friends with most of the players, getting close and personal with some of them on occasion. She enjoys a healthy sex life, is not ashamed of it, and doesn’t really care what others say about her. So when she unknowingly seduces her tipsy virgin neighbor Rafe, she doesn’t understand why he is acting so weird around her. She believes he is shaming her for her active sex life, and that is one of the things that Bella doesn’t tolerate.

Rafe is a good guy. Sweet, romantic and totally adorable, not to mention hot as hell. He feels terrible after losing his virginity in a drunken hookup to Bella, feeling that he took advantage of her. He feels a very strong attraction to her, but is unable to tell her that.

The misunderstanding keeps them at odds for some time, until a cruel fraternity stunt leaves Bella broken and Rafe finds himself in the right place at the right time to pick up the pieces. He refuses to leave her alone, and sticks to her, helping her get over her trauma. They become friends at first, but the initial attraction they felt that single night not so long ago is very strong. Their problem is that he is not looking for anything less than a committed relationship and she is willing to be friends with benefits.

I loved The Shameless Hour for many reasons. First of all, the story is very well written. That’s nothing new, because Sarina Bowen is truly a gifted storyteller. Second of all, the characters are very well developed. Both Rafe and Bella are nice people, very lovable, but also very real. The pace, for me, is perfect for this particular story because of the characters and their backgrounds. Bella has been thought a very nasty experience, and Rafe doesn’t do casual sex. They can’t be true to themselves by jumping into bed before their feelings are resolved. Also, I can understand where they are coming from. I don’t relate to them because I don’t share their experiences, but I can empathize with them. It’s not that hard to put youself in their shoes if you have an open mind. Slut-shaming is very common, that double standard that is so detestable and firmly ingrained in our subconscious and our society. Sarina Bowen doesn’t run away from hard topics, she embraces them and makes them work wonderfully, and that’s why I love all her books ans specially her female characters. Every one of her books is wonderful and worth reading. All of them.
Profile Image for Carol .
331 reviews51 followers
April 14, 2015
4 shameless stars

***ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

Well, I’d like to start saying that Sarina Bowen did it again. I don’t know what is it about her books that make me hang to each and every word on the page, but she always does it!
Then, I’d like to ask "When does the next train, car, flight, whatever to Harkness leave?". Seriously, I need to get me one of these men ASAP.

Well, Bella is… completely different from every other female character you’ve seen. She’s beautiful, she enjoys having sex for fun, she takes no shit from anyone, but she also has a big heart, especially when talking about her friends. She has been in love twice. And she had her heart broken twice, so love is off the table.

Rafe… Ai ai (dreamy eyes/sight)… He’s also different from most male characters we read about… Actually, he reminds me a little bit of Andy from Blonde Date. He’s his mamma’s boy, a good and sweet guy… He’s super naïve, relationship wise, but that’s exactly what makes him so wonderful. AND HE COOKS! That’s super important (especially when I know I can’t cook to save my life)!
Oh! Did I mention he's latino? He whispers hot stuff in Bella's ears... (me gusta! ;D ).

I really enjoyed the story… Every new character that appeared I was like “Hum… is this the character from the next book?” I got myself dizzy trying to figure out who would it be and, despite having other characters in mind, I liked the one Sarina has chosen (nope, I won’t tell… You’ll find out somewhere in the story).

Ok, back to The Shameless Hour. I suffered a bit about what happened to Rafe before getting drunk with Bella.
"I'd been a good guy, and a good boyfriend. My only sin was stupidity"

It just wasn’t fair… I could slap Alison and nobody would notice... However it’s explained further in the story and my must confess I’d never heard of it (I need to do some researching about it). Anyway, good thing was: Bella and Rafe got together… I mean, sort of… Well, they hookup up, that’s for sure (hot scene, btw), but the afterwards… Let’s say it just got awkward.

Then, 3 things happened to Bella. The first one, I must say, kind of expected (not by me, but by the type of life she was living). The other 2, however, I didn’t see them coming and it made me want to hurt Whittaker so much… If I could, I’d chop off his dick . Lucky him he’s fictional (I SWEAR I'm more of a make-love-don't-make-war kind of person). Still, I know revenge is a dish best served cold, but, WELL DONE, Bella! She took revenge to a whole new level! Thumbs up!!!

Anyways, falling in love was the last thing Bella expected in this huge clusterfuck mess, but it was exactly what/who she needed to finally be free from her past.
"You make me crazy in a good way, Bella. We'd be great together".

I’m not writing too much because I want you to read it. You'll notice some past characters make an appearence and, I must add, I missed them... I think I'm gonna read The Understatement of the Year again...

I just have to write my letter to the author:

Dear Sarina,
Are you trying to kill me from sexual frustration, is that it? A (SUPER HOT) sex scene at the beginning and then nill ‘till eighty-something percent of the book? Thanks God that, after this, you kept bringing hot (should I say caliente?) scenes…

Your (insane) fan

Last thing! I promise. It's just, I laughed my ass off while reading this part because, well, that's how I feel whenever I decide to run. In this scene, Rafe blackmails Bella to go running with him:
My pace slowed to a crawl, so he took a hint and stopped at a drinking fountain in the tiny park at the top.
"Dying here" I groaned, bending over to lean on my knees. "Why do people do this?"
He too a drink before answering "Just to prove they can".
"But I don't care if I can".


I just got my hands on this one!!! \o/ starting it right now!!!

OH MY GOD!!! Bella's book!

Thank you, Sarina! Thank you!!!

2015, can you get here already?

PS: I've just noticed that this is Bella's book and I put an Edward's gif... LOL
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,855 reviews1,496 followers
June 27, 2018
This is fourth in a series but the characters and details aren't very interconnected. I skipped the third and I understand Bella was a largish presence there but I didn't feel the lack while reading this one.

I really wish I hadn't left this so long to review. I finished it over a week ago and while I remember much of what I liked, details are getting vague.

I liked pretty much everything about this story, starting with Bella. I loved how she owns her sexuality. I love how forthright she is about loving men and that her promiscuity doesn't arise out of weakness or by being easily lead by others but rather from her own choice and desire. And I particularly like how honest and even brave she is in dealing with others.

And I liked Rafe as a complimentary contrast to her. I liked that he knows that sex can't be casual for him and that his virginity is by choice and desire even though he has had opportunities in the past. I like the respect and kindness he shows to everybody and I like how he responds when he finds that something came through wrong. And I thought Rafe's explicit refusal to judge others (i.e. Bella) by the light of his own needs and preferences was extremely well-stated and perfect for how thoughtful he is.

Having characters with such different attitudes towards sex was interesting, but I really liked how Bowen explored shame. Events in the story lead to an illumination/exploration of both external and internal shame and the reactions in both applying and responding to it. And I liked seeing how Rafe and Bella saw their way back to internal integrity and how each was bolstered by the other along the way.

The only sour note was how monotone the sole depicted fraternity was. It almost came across as an authorial axe to grind given how unrelenting and unrepentant their actions were. My own interest in fraternities was near zero, myself, but I've known others, people I respect, who pledged and who found value and community there. Yeah, the depicted frat served as a foil in the story but I think all the important events could have been preserved with a more nuanced presentation of the organization/system.

Anyway, this was a solid five stars for the characters and their growth together. Rafe was a sweetie and Bella was flat-out awesome.

A note about Steamy: There were explicit sex scenes at around the middle of my steam tolerance. Bella's eagerness was offset by Rafe's reluctance so the sex was infrequent, but important.
Profile Image for Ezi Chinny.
2,500 reviews411 followers
October 27, 2016
This book challenged some stereotypes and prejudices I have about women. I do want to be less judgmental of women and more respectful even if the choices aren't ones that I'd make for myself.

Bella (before): Just a common groupie. Everyone has a turn on that ride.

Bella (now): Independent, confident, unafraid.

I enjoyed the story between Rafe and Bella because it was cool having the guy be the clumsy and inexperienced one. Rafe was very sweet and sure about what he wanted. It was always something monogamous and committed. I don't think Bella and Rafe grew that much as characters, but they certainly gave each other strength to go for what they wanted and eschew fear.

I think the author dealt with a very sensitive subject without trivializing it. I was comfortable with how it played out and I am happy that Bella learned more about herself in this book.
Profile Image for namericanwordcat.
2,442 reviews401 followers
March 12, 2017
The writing here is taut, the pacing spot on, the characterization wonderful, and the romance everything you will want.

The heroine has been around in early books of the series as a likable sexually confident woman. At te start of this book, she is hurting, Her crush loves someone else and a guy she was seeing has participated in a Frat tradition most foul.

The hero is hurting as well from a unexpected break up. He is kind, shy, and confident.

They have lots of heat and stumbles between them.

The characters are so finely drawn and the issues they face so real especially race and gender issues that I cried and laughed and really hoped they would find their way together and each of themselves.

So good. And sexy too.
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,264 reviews1,369 followers
February 28, 2019
Even though this heroine (Bella) was not your typical heroine, or one that I could totally relate to (let's face it--she was promiscuous, but should she be judged differently than a guy who sleeps around?) I really enjoyed her story and her growth. I absolutely adored her hero, Rafe, and patiently waited for them to realize that they were meant to be.

Parts of this story were really tough to read, and made me both sad and spitting mad. What happened to Bella should not happen to anyone--my heart hurt for her. I admired her strength and courage and the support she got from Rafe. The whole double standard of how men and women are judged by their sex lives was enlightening.

I would recommend this book especially to any young adult entering college. It is truly an eye opener.
Well done, Sarina Bowen.

4 1/2 stars
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,255 reviews1,507 followers
Shelved as 'no-no-no-not-for-me'
October 25, 2015
As much as I've loved this series so far, this heroine just rubs me wrong. And at the risk of sounding like a slut-shamer, I just have issues with the girl who has slept with the entire hockey team, seems proud of it, and continues to do so. I think had she been less open and happy about it, I'd like her a little more. But there's something to be said for being respected by the guys you hang out with, and if you're the girl they all toss around from bed to bed, it's hard to believe they can respect who you really are. The contents of the book could prove me completely wrong, and I'm sure Bella is revealed to be a lot more than the team groupie, but I have no desire to find out :(
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,026 reviews100 followers
January 22, 2020
Alles Gute ist riskant.

2,5 Sterne
Das erste Buch war so toll. Die Charaktere waren einfach nur toll. Die Geschichte ebenfalls. Dann bot sich mir die Gelegenheit, diesen Band zu lesen. Da die Bücher unabhängig voneinander gelesen werden können, packte ich die Gelegenheit beim Schopf.
Und die Charaktere waren mir leider zu Beginn dermaßen unsympathisch, dass dieses Gefühl bis zum Ende nicht ganz verschwand. Ich habe die beiden zum Ende sehr sehr gut leiden können, aber der erste Eindruck schwang immer mit. Schade eigentlich. Ich hoffe jetzt, dass die anderen Teile eher wie der erste sind.
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,759 reviews3,831 followers
February 7, 2017
I seriously might have a slight addiction problem to this author's writes.

I see her books and I'm all...

(substitute Sarina Bowen for Meryl)

And this was no different. Well, it was maybe a leetle different in that I was also looking at Rafe all

(substitute Rafe for Meryl)

Rafe is gold. Pure gold.

Case in point:

"You've got my attention now. But I was never giving up on you, belleza. I thought I needed a night to regroup. But I was always coming back for you. To try to win you over."

However... I've liked Bella in the previous books. My heart went out to her over the whole walking in on Rikker & Graham deal, but she rubbed me the wrong way frequently in this one.

This is sometimes my problem with NA as a genre. I guess the point is if MC 2 can love MC 1 even at their worst then they can weather any storm, but the problem is I didn't like her at her worst which makes it hard to me to work up good feels, empathy and all that jazz.

She Bitchzilla's out on Rafe regularly which, fine, we all have our moments and the girl has some hella shitastic days, no doubt. But she Bitchzilla's out on him and then doesn't apologize? To the one person who's standing beside her offering help and sticking to her like glue so she doesn't turn into a shut in or need a padded cell?

I cannot abide that sort of behavior.

AND to add insult to injury! She's been all sex positive and proud of it so I was counting on the sexy times which didn't happen nearly enough. The sex they did have was hot. Any time there's a foreign language involved chances are my girly bits are going to stand up and pay attention and Rafe lapses into Spanish. Often. *growls*

She does revert back to the Bella I liked by the end due to the power of looooooovvvveee after poor Rafe's been put through shitnado after shitnado. Really, he should be sainted and he pushed the sucker from 3 stars to close enough to 4 to give it 4.
Profile Image for Yarie ☆.
326 reviews25 followers
May 17, 2020
This book had high points, true, but in the end, it was only "Meh" on the scale of importance.

“It’s hard to admit you’re just in someone’s periphery when you imagined you were closer to the center of their world.”

We have our character Bella who is very positive about sex, she has sex all the time with different guys and is not in the least embarrassed about it. I liked it even though I didn't identify with it. I think that more books have to be written like that, with characters who enjoy sex (and not only male, because male there are many books).

“You’re not okay. And I’m the one who noticed.”

But that was basically all I liked about the book, I didn't really care about the couple, I thought Rafe was cute, he was amazing at various points in the book, Bella was strong, and the book is enjoyable on some levels but for me it was not a fantastic read.

Rating: 3 Stars.
Steam: 5 out of 10.
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Book-Lover-49.
899 reviews6 followers
October 1, 2015
Like all the other books in this series, this one also felt a bit unfinished. There is no cliffhanger but I am left with questions at the end and it finished a bit abruptly. I'd like an epilogue there somewhere.
Now for the story itself.

**********************************SOME MILD SPOILERS*****************************************

I don't really like Bella. The character was written as a strong and independent woman but for me personally, she comes out as spoiled, angry and attention seeking kid.

At the begin of the book I had an update saying that I thought she had daddy or male issues and for me this is the reason for her indiscriminate serial hook-ups. And that would be fine if it was the intention of the author but I don't think it was. I think the author wanted to portray a strong woman who stood on her own two feet and did not care what anyone thought but we know that is not true when we read the story because Bella was affected by what the hockey players girlfriends thought as well as the nasty prank done on her latter, and yes, that was a big one I agree but all the bad things that happened to Bella were brought on by her own lack of judgment and discernment, not that it justifies any wrong doing by others, it does not but she had a hand in her own undoing.
At the end of book 3, I suggested that maybe Bella should not sleep with every guy she met but Bella is Bella and she does not discriminate. If it has a dick and it is hot, she is screwing it.
By her own words, she slept with 75% of the hockey team. A hockey roster has a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 23 players. If we go with the minimum requirement that is 15 out of 20 guys she hooked up with in is season/semester/year or whatever. Not including anyone else outside the team. And that team has two gay players! And she slept with one of those gay players!
And those are guys that technically she works with since she is the team manager. So professional issues aside, I cannot imagine that, would not at some point create conflict. I am not trying to judge here but whether, you are a guy or a girl, that many casual partners will earn you a reputation. And she got hers but it was not played as strongly as I thought it would.
The daddy issues are not outright explained, but her father who was much older than her mother never paid any attention to her and then when she is 18 and dates a 26 year old guy, he turn out to be using her while also dating her older sister.
Also at some point, it is an allusion that she was sexually active as early as 14.

I've read quite a few books that equate being a strong and independent woman with being very sexual. And this loses me because inner strength is not something that should be tied to sex, be either male or female.

Now, about Rafe. Rafe is two years younger than Bella and a virgin. In the begin of the books, his reasons are because his mother “guilting” him into not having any sex because of his own upbringing. Somewhere later he says it was because of lack of opportunity and his personal belief in committed relationships. So this book has a total role reversal on the traditional stories of virgin girl/man-whore.

And that is fine also but the one thing that bugged me is that Rafe did not seem to be bothered at all about Bella's past. That did not seem real to me, especially for a Hispanic guy where the cultural traditions were so ingrained in his way of life.

For even a very open person, knowing that their boyfriend or girlfriend had potentially hundreds of partners before, it would be a point of content. Add to that the fact that all of her male friends slept with her, well, I would have a hard time getting over it. I think that the story would have rang truer if some of that had crossed Rafe's mind but it was never an issue for him.

And finally, all the Spanish words. Just about every time Rafe spoke, there was a Spanish word. We get, he is Dominican. I know a lot of Hispanic people, heck I am from Brazil and Portuguese is my mother language but I do not think or speak Portuguese mixed in with the English. Ever! Unless, I am mad, then I cuss in multiple languages.

The bottom line is:
Did I like the story?
Yes, I did.

Did it answer some of the questions I had from the previous books?
No, not really. Not directly.

Could this book be better?
Yes, it could. There is a lot that is unsaid and a lot of it did not feel real to me.

But you have been reading the series, by all means, keep of reading and also read this one.
I did not like the characters but you may love them. And it is all good. We all like different things right?
Profile Image for Ellen ✦ Book Bellas ✦.
1,519 reviews326 followers
May 2, 2015
loved this book! Sarina Bowen is a new author to me and this is the first book I have read in the Ivy Years Series. It is a standalone but now I am a huge fan so I plan to read the other books in this series.

Bella is a strong heroine and Rafe is totally swoon worthy. In this story, he is the virginal one and Bella is the one who enjoys sex and is not afraid to be the bold one. Hpw refreshing! The Shameless Hour is funny, sexy and heartbreaking all at once. Sarina takes some serious themes and incorporates them seamlessly into her story but gives her characters a fantastic HEA.

Rafe is a hot soccer player who catches Bella’s eye but who is inexperienced with women. He is a hard-working student from a close-knit family, quite the opposite of Bella. He is a wonderful character who is honest, trustworthy and gorgeous. But he doesn’t just want a one-night stand with Bella.

“Bella’s enthusiasm had obliterated all of my caution. She wanted me. And I could no longer think of any reason why I couldn’t have this.”

Bella is a surprisingly strong and funny heroine who is not afraid to be herself and is unapologetic about her sexuality. She is funny and sexy and I absolutely loved her! Sarina Bowen writes a memorable female character who has grit, backbone and smarts. She is wildly attracted to Rafe but refuses to have a relationship with him because, well, she just doesn’t do relationships. But Rafe is persistent and these two build a solid friendship along with their very explosive chemistry. Will Rafe convince Bella that he is worth the risk? Will Bella be able to overcome the reputation that seems to follow her around school? Read The Shameless Hour, you will love the funny dialogue, great story and strong characters that Sarina Bowen has created.

“All good things are risky”…

I already miss Rafe and Bella! And now I must read the other books in The Ivy Years because I need more of these stories!

(ARC provided by the author with thanks.)
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,350 reviews365 followers
September 26, 2017
This was a fanatasitc addition to the Ivy years series and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I am sad to say Sarina Bowen seriously offended my profession towards the end and has somewhat alienated me now (more about this towards the end of the review). I have to add I have rated ignoring this issue.

The book started a little awkwardly but it's worth reading on as I found myself absorbed fairly quickly. Bella and her story were a refreshing read, I am pretty sure this issue that occurs in real life, slut-shaming and such, is often ignored in NA and contemporary romance. I thought this story was unusual in a really good way and I loved Bella's character. Rafe made me weak at the knees and I loved him from the first moment he walked onto a page until the end. He was a gentleman, caring and just all round a swoony character.

This was my problem:
"And maybe nursing isn't as glamarous as being a full-fledged doctor. But the grad school piece is so much easier. If your plans for next year aren't firm yet, you should take a peek at the Harkness nursing programme."

Yes, look at nursing masters it's sooooo easy. Perhaps Sarina Bowen would like to do my nursing Masters and PhD and see how easy that felt. Oh and as an academic, I can tell her that nursing, medicine, physics, geography are equitable in terms of level of attainment. I hope Sarina Bowen realises that line will alienate many of my profession.
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,299 reviews719 followers
April 14, 2015
Favorite Quote: "I'm supposed to be writing a paper about female subjugation. But all I want is for someone to give me a good pounding."

Another outstanding book in the Ivy Years series. Our heroine is the high-spirited, energetic Bella who is the team manager of the Harkness hockey team and loves her job. And the players are all very fond of her. She has no qualms being in the locker room with half-naked men and can take the good-natured trash talking and give it right back. Not really sure what she wants to do with her life once school is over, she'd rather just concentrate on taking care of her hockey guys and not think about the future. Bella is very sexual and open about it and sleeps with a lot of guys. She isn't into full-time commitments, but she does love a friend with benefits. She is very confident in the sex department, but also lives a somewhat lonely life, not having girlfriends. The last guy she truly fell for ended up being gay (Graham from The Understatement of the Year) and this has made Bella a little extra lonely lately.

Rafe is a soccer star that comes from a hard-working Dominican family that owns a restaurant in New York city. Rafe has to work hard to keep up his grades at Harkness but is happy at school and loves playing soccer. His neighbor happens to be Bella, and he has always been attracted to her, but he has been in a serious relationship with a girl named Alison.

Bella smiled at me, and that smiled packed a punch. I'd always had a thing for Bella, not that I'd admit it out loud. I'd noticed her last year, when I was just a lowly freshman. There was something so lively about her. Bella had a perpetual sparkle in her eye, and color on her cheeks - the kind you get from laughing, not make-up.

Rafe is a virgin - he never wanted to give away his virginity in high school and Alison has wanted to wait while in college - but it's her birthday and she tells Rafe she is ready. But when he picks her up for their big date, she is caught kissing another boy. Heartbroken, Rafe ends up sitting in the hallway of his dorm, and comes upon Bella. She invites him up to her room and he ends up sleeping with Bella. Rafe is more of a traditional guy who wants to settle down with a girl and not just have a one night stand but Bella won't hear of it. But when something happens to Bella involving a fraternity, Rafe becomes one of her few allies and stands strong with her as she goes through a personal crisis.

When I first met Bella in this series, I wasn't sure about her. She is loud and doesn't have a filter and I thought she was going to be an annoying character. But once I got to know her, I really enjoyed her.

Did I mention no filter....

"You're going to have to take the wheel." She lifted her face and kissed me once. "But God, don't stop."

"Are you sure?"

Her eyes widened. "Rafe, we're just getting warmed up here." She climbed off me, and I missed her immediately. Bella stretched out on the bed beside me and tugged my arm. "Get your giant dick over here."

I love how confident she is in the sex department, but I also like that she doesn't have the perfect life. She is lonely and a little vulnerable and sad at times. But truly happy to bring home boy after boy and have fun at night. But Rafe doesn't have this attitude towards sex. He sees it more sacred and more of a big deal. So putting these two together with different attitudes is a fun exploration. And while the romance is hot as usual in this one, what stands out more is what happens when something big, and hurtful and chaotic happens - who stands by you and how you react. I don't want to spoil what happens to Bella, but it's something that people in college would have to be aware of. It deals with shame and humiliation and hiding away from it all. Through Bella's entire ordeal, Rafe never once wavers. He stands strong by her side and it's truly the most romantic thing of it all. I think the shame is handled so well. I cringed for Bella and it gave me all the squicky feelings. I like how the author explores Bella's open sexuality with this shame that comes down upon her. Her spirit gets broken, but not lost.

We also get introduced to several great supporting characters. Rafe lives with two roommates, Mat who is gay and into gambling and is super surly - I'm of course in love with him. And Bickley, who is british and wealthy and uses sarcastic humor to constantly harp on Rafe. It's very cute. Bella has her own room, but shares a bathroom with a girl named Lianne. Lianne is a beautiful girl who starred in a very popular movie, but hides in her room. She is also a secret computer whiz. SHe intrigues me greatly!

This entire series is terrific.

Rating: B+
Profile Image for BevS.
2,690 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2017

I read this thinking that I'd hopefully get a little update on Rikker and Graham from The Understatement of the Year as I've just finished listening to the audio book for the 3rd time.

Of course, I didn't get much more info as this story was quite rightly about the hockey team manager who's had more men than I've had hot dinners, Bella. Bella, who lost Mikey Graham to Rikker, but at last found a Prince of her own, Rafe....and good for her. I liked the revenge taken upon one of frat houses, and the freakish perverts that lived there...especially good as one of their own betrayed them, hehe. I do like the author's style of writing. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Sandra.
4,063 reviews13 followers
February 15, 2017
I haven't read much M/F in the past few years and now read almost exclusively M/M. After reading book 3 in this series, The Understatement of the Year, I didn't have much of a choice but to continue with this series. Bella was fascinating and when I saw that she was getting a book, I knew I would be reading it. Lady parts be damned!

She didn't disappoint. I liked her strong sex-positive feminism and watching her and Rafe interact was an absolute joy. They had funny moments, they had sweet moments, they had a lot of somber moments, but it was all done equally well. Both characters held their own and had enough back-story to be complex without getting overwhelmed by it.

I enjoyed this narration just as much as I enjoyed the narration from Sarina's other books. These are the first times I've listened to a book with two narrators but I am fast finding that it works great. Saskia Maarleveld and Nick Podehl were both wonderful and since sometimes female voices done by men are a tad off, I was glad that they went this route.

This is a new favorite series of mine and I think it only benefits from being listened to in audio version.

Received audio version from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, reviewed for Hearts On Fire
Profile Image for Meags.
2,066 reviews353 followers
August 8, 2017
3.5 Stars

I don’t have much to say here. The Shameless Hour was a welcomed addition to this lovely series, but if I’m being honest I’ll admit that it was easily my least favourite book so far.

I could give all the stars to Bowen for writing an ideal-male character in Rafe - because let's be honest, he was dreamy as f*%k - but I constantly took issue with Bella’s behaviour and attitude, and even her treatment of Rafe on several occasions, which made me lose some of the high I had from the previous stories.

I enjoyed getting a glimpse of some of the series longstanding characters and I liked the new additions just as much. I’m particularly interested in learning about Hollywood Starlet, Lianne Challice, who was introduced as one of Bella's dorm building mates and who is trying to slip under the radar to just be a regular college kid.

Overall, a nice read, featuring a dreamboat male lead that will have all the readers swooning and a strong female lead that may (or may not) cause reader frustration with her bull-headed boldness.


Audio Edition:
Once again, I found myself greatly enjoying the vocal performances of both Saskia Maarleveld and Nick Podehl. At times I could still do without Nick’s whiny female voices, but this is just a minor complaint in the grand old scheme of things.
Profile Image for Talltree.
2,081 reviews25 followers
May 21, 2015
3.5 stars!!

The book was :

Politically correct - had people of different races ( H was of Dominican origin), different sexual proclivities ( gay, bi, even an asexual character , which is not commonly shown) and different social classes

Relevant - dealt with slut-shaming, date-rape drugs, using the internet/social media to humiliate people( something like revenge porn) , STDs and other stuff that happens in colleges these days

However the romance was a let down, H was a beta a very nice guy and the h was so headstrong. They seemed more like good friends who liked, respected each other and had physical chemistry who would stay together until it became inconvenient - than a couple with an intense romantic connection.

The h felt no jealousy- and I hated that!! Normally I dislike jealousy in my romance , its such a negative emotion, posessiveness is fine though. But here neither the h nor even the H ( who was slightly better) seemed really jealous or posessive.

I've noticed this about the other books by this author I've read. She gets the college atmosphere right , tackles relevant issues and has a diverse supporting cast BUT she doesn't get the romance right, at least not for me. Every HEA of hers seems to me a HFN.

I guess I'm just done with this author - I've tried again and again and its just not working for me:(
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