Monday 22 March 2021

πŸ’œ VINO & VERITAS #1 & #2 🏳️‍🌈 Small-Town M/M Standalones #Excerpts 🏳️‍🌈 πŸ’œ

     ©  Bianca ✰ Janeane 

The New Vino & Veritas Series is a complete standalone series, but it is part of the new World of True North Series and slightly connected aka a spin-off to Sarina Bowen's True North Series!
So if you're weird like us - read Sarina's #Bittersweet first ☺

• Book #2 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 22 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance

4.6 Stars

From award-winning author Garrett Leigh comes a gorgeous new romance in the True North world! Think: great food, burly men and good times. Beards are optional but encouraged.


I’m not the obvious choice to run Burlington’s coolest wine barquiet, brooding, clueless about tannin content, and always one wrong turn away from another downward spiral.


But no one seems to mind that I'm a wreck. Besides me. I just focus on getting through each shift until the night a beautiful stranger appears, looking as lost and damaged as I feel.


When a mutual friend calls in a favor, the sexy newcomer winds up crashing on my couch. I don't know if it's his melodic Cornish accent, or his ocean blue eyes, or the rock-hard body with the mysterious scars, but I get the feeling whatever happened to him runs far deeper than those wounds.


Having Jax in my home makes my chest warm. Makes me shiver. Makes me want more. But I've got a pile of baggage and I don't want to be a burden on anyone let alone a man who seems to have enough demons of his own.


Our chemistry is off the charts. His arms feel like home. The last thing I want is to screw this up. Is it wrong to hope we can heal each other? Or will one of us die trying?


HEARTSCAPE is a heartfelt MM friends-to-lovers romance in the True North world, with a brooding bartender, a rugged outdoorsman, sweet angst and lots of Shipley cider. Triggers: contains mentions of depression, suicidal ideation and PTSD recovery.

ARC received for an honest review
Book 1, Featherbed was a light and cute and funny story, and Heartscape was the opposite.  

It was heavy and heartfelt and sad - but still completely adorable too.

Tanner and Jax are both suffering PTSD of some sort, and it is not always an easy read on my poor, soft heart.  But it not all doom and gloom, and it is lovely watching along as they fall for each other. They are perfect for each other in their way, as they both heal themselves, and heal each other.

Gah, it was just lovely.

 And has left me wanting, no needing more of this series.

In fact, I don't want this World of True North series to ever end. And maybe a HBO/Netflix series needs to be made.

I need more Vermonty, cidery sexiness, STAT!


Tanner + Jax
We already heard a bit about Tanner in the first book. He's the new bar manager in Harrison's book store slash wine bar. He doesn't have any clue about wines, but Harrison hired him as a favor for his boyfriend. Tanner's friends and family are very worried about him. We don't yet know what happened to him, but he's happy to have this job to keep busy and to not constantly have time to think...

Jax. He moved to California from England years ago and now his job as a wildlife photographer brought him to Vermont. And onto Tanner's couch, as a favor from a friend - because the hostel he was staying at kinda burned down.


But also a bit sad. Both guys are suffering from PTSD - both for very different reasons. And you'd think it'll be too hard or complicated to get a happily ever after for two people who have not yet healed completely for their own sake - let alone for a new relationship with another complicated person.
But of course this is a romance and we want that happy end. Those two are so adorable and cute together. It might take them a while to get there - there's a lot of healing left to do - but we'll have a very cider-y and sparky and exciting and fun time following them to that happy end. ☺
Great 2nd book in Sarina Bowen's 2nd series in her new True North World!

Like I always say when it comes to books in the True North World: I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!
And I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

HEARTSCAPE was an adorable & emotional & very sparky M/M romance!!! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Tanner & Jax - they'll be sold out in no time!


Jax kisses me. In my wildest dreams I’m expecting it, but it still catches me off guard. His lips are soft, but demanding, and there’s nothing I don’t want to give him.

So I kiss him back.

I slide my hands under his layers of winter clothing and pull him close, and we kiss and kiss and kiss as if it isn’t the first time we’ve done it.

His lips feel like home.

His soft touch dances along my jaw.

I want to kiss him forever, but we run out of air.

Startled, I draw back and instantly find myself lost in Jax’s blazing stare. His gaze usually calms me—it really is like the deepest, bluest ocean. But right now, his eyes are stormy and hot. I want to dive back in headfirst, and for once what I want makes sense.

And it’s right here. I don’t need words. I stand, cup a hand around the back of his neck, and kiss him again. Jax makes another low sound, and the fact that he’s spent the night in my bed to babysit me stops mattering. Shadows fade. Heat draws us ever closer, and it’s easy to pretend we spent all night doing this. I can’t contemplate that it has to end.

But it does end.

Jax pulls back with a rueful smile, cheeks flushed, breathing hard. “I have to go. I promised Jerry I wouldn’t be late again.”

The mention of Jerry jars something in my brain enough to form a sentence that has nothing to do with how fast my heart is beating. “How did last night go?”

“Okay, I think.” Jax steps away. “Dude talked so much I stopped listening, but the apartment was all right. I can move in whenever I want.”

I should be happy for him. I am happy for him. He didn’t deserve to lose all his things in the hostel fire, and it sucks he had to take help from a stranger when he needed so badly to depend on himself. But I’m still dazed from his kiss. I say the first thing that comes into my head. Raw. No filter. “I’m gonna miss you.”

He gives me a soft grin. “I’ll miss you too.”

Then he leaves, and the reality that it might be the last time we do this hits me like a train. Jerry’s buddy’s apartment is probably outside of the city, closer to where Jax needs to be for his work. It isn’t a million miles away—nothing in Vermont ever is—but it’s not waking up to find Jax in my bed. It’s not drinking his weird tea together or eating dinner on the couch with him. It’s not opening my eyes every morning to feel the comforting hum of his presence.

It’s not being there to let him know, every day, that he fucking matters.

So tell him now.

I lurch from my bed and snag a T-shirt from the clean laundry pile I haven’t even thought about putting away. My shoes are by the front door. I stamp into them and fish my keys from the dish. Then I make a run for it down the stairs and out into the morning gloom.

The sidewalk is icy from the plummeting temperatures that are starting to move in from the mountains. But I’m a Vermonter; I know how to handle that shit. I dash to the parking lot where Jax is waiting for Jerry, his broad back to me as he contemplates the ground.

I grab his arm. “You don’t have to leave.”


• Book #3 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 22 March 2021
• Standalone M/M GFY Hockey-Farm-Small-Town Romance
4.5 Stars

A straight guy gives gay hookup tips to a virgin. What could go wrong?

When I first met Whit, I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. He’s a hockey player, and I hate everything to do with the sport that broke my heart.

But I can’t help feeling sorry for the guy. He’s newly out and desperate to meet someone, but his eagerness seems to scare potential hook-ups away.

Agreeing to be his wingman should’ve been simple. Watching him flirt with other guys made things complicated.

Whit challenges me in every aspect of my life, from my hatred of hockey to the new questions I’m asking myself. Like why a straight man suddenly can’t stop thinking about kissing another guy.

I think the answer lies somewhere on Whit’s lips...

ARC received for an honest review
Now, I will say up front that I am not a huuuge fan of GFY romance, but Whit and Rainn were just all adorableness, and I quickly got over my GFY aversion.

Whit is just the bees knees.  Lord, I laughed at his attempts to pop his cherry.  He was so clueless and clunky, and you couldn't help but feel for the guy.

He's just too cute.. and too much for Rainn to ignore.
It was not all unicorns and rainbows, and poor Rainn has so much to work through before he could ever get his HEA - but he gets there!

The book covered nearly all parts of the True North world,  with hockey, farm-life and Vino and Veritas, and I liked that all the worlds came together.

I need more of this series!


Rainn + Whit
26 year old Rainn used to be a famous college Hockey player here in Burlington. But after one too many surgeries no NHL team wanted anything to do with him. His dream died. And his life kinda did too. He’s now working at Vino & Veritas in both the bookstore and the bar.

Enter Whit. He’s four years younger and currently the star on the local Hockey team. But it's not his dream to be a hockey pro. He can't wait to be done with college to go work on the family farm with his brother.
He‘s very new in the gay world and ready to get laid for the first time.
And he’s also very attracted to straight Rainn.
Who appoints himself as his wingman, so that the poor boy can finally lose his V-card.

It doesn’t take long for the straight guy to have some weird feelings for the gay guy. LOL!


So funny and cute and colleg-y and hockey-y and farm-y.
I loved reading this.
Poor Whit is trying so hard to start his best gay life. And Rain is trying to help. But of course we know it’s all in vain, because we know they’ll fall for each other. Just adorable. I loved watching them trying to not be attracted to each other. So funny and cute and ugh… I just adored those two. Of course it’s not all cute and sparky and sexy. They both – but especially Rainn – have a lot of stuff to figure out still. Future. Job. Dreams. Hopes. Love.
Adorable Romance! Great supporting cast too - the family, friends et cetera.

Like I always say when it comes to books in the True North World: I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!
And I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

HEADSTRONG was such an adorable + funny hockey-y + farm-y + bar-y M/M romance!!! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Whit & Rainn- they'll be sold out in no time!


A steady stream of drink orders keeps me busy for a solid half hour, but that doesn’t stop me from noticing Whit moving around the room to flirt with guys. Ultimately, from what I can see, he strikes out and wanders back to me during a lull.

He sits at a stool and bangs his head on the countertop.

A laugh bubbles out of me. “I don’t know how hygienic that is.”

Whit’s lips turn down. “You work here.”


“Eww.” Whit wipes his forehead. “Is being gay always this hard?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“I have to admit, this isn’t exactly what I was expecting.”

I lean my hip against the bar. “What were you expecting?”

“I dunno? For guys to see how hot I am and ask to blow me in the bathroom or something?”

A full-blown laugh falls from my lips this time. I have to admit, the dude is funny even if he’s not trying to be.

“So glad my misery is entertaining to you.”


“Where are all the easy men who want all the gay sex and no strings or names?”

I purse my lips. “Maybe it’s like that in big cities? The scene is low-key here. I mean, all bars by nature have that hookup culture, but if you’re looking for boys in booty shorts and orgies, you’re definitely in the wrong place. When Harrison opened V and V, he wanted to create a safe and queer-friendly environment that everyone could enjoy.”

“Is everything about gay people in mainstream media wrong?”


He pushes his empty closer to me. “Can I get another cider?”

“Sure.” I switch them out.

The night isn’t super busy, but the work is steady. I leave him again to serve others but keep stealing glances at him. It’s confusing. Objectively speaking, he’s a good-looking guy. His intriguing eye color is a draw in itself, along with his dimples when he smiles. His suit doesn’t make him look like your typical college hockey player. It’s a mystery why he’s striking out.

Jake reappears at Whit’s side, and Whit’s face lights up. Then Whit’s mouth moves a hundred miles a minute, and Jake’s eyes gloss over.

I can’t hear what Whit’s saying, but I think I’ve found the reason why he’s not having any luck.

Jake turns his head toward me and mouths, “Help.”

Super-bartender to the rescue. Not all heroes wear capes. I give Jake a new drink. “Whit here’s too young for you.”

Jake gives me a grateful look and moves away quickly.

“Oh, age isn’t a big deal to me,” Whit calls after him.

If possible, Jake moves faster.

Whit slumps.

“You don’t want to date that guy anyway. He’s in here all the time trying to score.”

“Aww, that sounds perfect for what I need.”

I cock my head.

“I can’t be a virgin when I graduate in the spring. That’s sad. I mean, ideally, I won’t be a virgin by my next birthday which is in seven weeks, but I’m willing to be flexible.”

Oh dear.

“This has been your opening line to guys tonight, I’m guessing?”

“Well … I told myself not to talk, but then, I don’t know, isn’t that something you should disclose? It feels like something you should tell someone. Because, they have to be, like, gentle and shit, and it’s not like gay sex is something you jump into, right?”

“Again, I wouldn’t know. But has anyone ever told you that you talk a little too much and maybe say things you don’t need to put out there right away?”


“Well, we’ve only met twice, and oversharing and boundary crossing seems to be a common theme.”

Whit groans. “I’m fucking this up.”

“You really aren’t. You’re just coming on a little strong. You’re hot—I mean, I’m guessing. Everyone keeps staring at you and checking you out. It’s your mouth that’s holding you back.”

“So I just have to fill my mouth with something other than words.”

His words make my straight cock twitch a little. Ah, blowjobs. Oh, how I’ve missed thee. I point at him. “That. Right there. Lead with that.”

Whit glares at me, and I have to say his tough face is kind of laughable.

“Or every time you feel yourself rambling, take a drink,” I suggest.

Whit’s head falls to the bar again. “I’ll die of alcohol poisoning.”

It’s not my fault a laugh escapes. Seriously, I can’t tell if this guy is entertaining or plain sad.

He lifts his head. “You should be my wingman.”

I should do what now? “As tempting as that is, I kinda have a job to do already.”

“Yeah, but that’s why you’ll be good at it. You know people, and you’ve seen things.”

“I’m straight, remember? I know nothing about gay hookups. I’d tell you to go on dates and make them feel special before trying to get them into bed.”

“Is it against gay law to go on dates and make each other feel special?”

I throw up my hands. “I don’t know. Which is exactly why I shouldn’t be your wingman.”

“Worth a shot.” Whit finishes off his cider. He stands, and I think he’s going to go back to mingling, but he takes his coat off his chair and puts it on. “Thanks for the drinks.”



• Book #1 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 15 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town-Farm-Bookstore Romance

4.9 Stars

When a bookworm on borrowed time meets a younger, free-spirited chicken farmer, sparks and feathers fly

Harrison Phillip Fletcher, III isn’t supposed to be here. Not in Burlington, Vermont, not running Vino & Veritas, a quaint inclusive bookstore and wine bar, and definitely not still alive, at forty-two. Also not supposed to be here? An unexpected delivery of chickens.

Finn Barnes knows chickens. The burly organic farmer knows all about rare breed poultry, but dealing with a hot, older bookseller is an entirely different matter. City slicker types like Harrison never end up staying in Vermont for the long-term.

They should steer clear of each other. But the flare of attraction is mutual. And somehow amid book discussions and farm tours, they discover plenty in common. Now they’re stealing kisses in Finn’s barn, sneaking out like teens, and burning up the sheets.

What starts as a fling brings very real feelings for two lonely souls, but a future together seems as unlikely as chickens in a bookstore. Feathers may be flying, but learning to trust takes time neither may have. Can they take a leap of faith together before it’s too late?

Featherbed is a stand-alone novel in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North. This opposites-attract, age-gap romance features a low-angst, fluffyand featheryromp as a fish out of water discovers the home he never thought hed find.

ARC received for an honest review
Yaaaasss more World of True North books! I could keep on reading this world forever!

Remember the book store and wine bar from the other books? Well, this is the setting of Featherbed, and it is the beginning of the store and bar too, so you won't miss anything.

I did laugh at how our lovelies met, and it could have lead to a bit of c@ck blocking - or would it be chicken blocking in this case?  But our lovelies Harrison and Finn ran with it and give us an adorable and sweet and sexy story that had me laughing and smiling and swooning.

Yep, I love the buttoned up bookstore owner and the sexy farmer (but for seriously, I live in the country, in a farm town, where's my sexy farmer?)

Wonderful start to the Vino and Veritas series, I can't wait to dive into more.

We're back in Vermont!
Harrison and his mom just moved back to her hometown.
They're about to open a bookstore/coffeeshop/Wine Bar.
A delivery of live chickens was not expected today ... but here they are.
Fortunately the real owner was quickly found. Chicken farmer Finn.
Insta attraction between the stuffy 42 year old ex lawyer and the hot younger chickens farmer.
But the age difference is too big and they are so not each other's type... plus there are some more things in their way ... right?


I was really excited to get started with this new book store series.
Vermont. Plus books. Plus Wine. Plus hot gay guys? What more can a reader want!?
And it was so cute and funny and chicken-y and book-y.
I just loved reading this. Harrison is so adorable nerdy and stuffy - at least at first. And Finn is your typical super hot muscly farmer guy with a brain. I loved this.
It felt a bit fast and insta - a bit like a novella, but I really liked the story and the mom and the family and the animals and the locations and the teasers about upcoming stories!

Great start into this third series of Sarina Bowen's True North World.

And as I mentioned in every one of my World of True North reviews - I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!

I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

FEATHERBED was an adorable + funny + farmy + bookish + very sexy age gap M/M love story!!! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Harrison + Finn - they'll be sold out in no time!



• Book #4 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 29 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance
4.9 Stars

Gabe wants Alec between the sheetstoo bad Alecs undercover already


Rich kid. Party boy. Gabe is tired of the labels. He’s a smart guy, but ever since he got kicked out of grad school, people are only interested in his no-limit credit card and his pierced earsand other places.


Tall, dark and scowling Alec hates Vermont, with its artisanal-freaking-everything and its irritating people. To be fair, most people irritate Alec, including the FBI director who sent him here to investigate a smuggling scheme involving yoga mats.


When one of the cutest twinks Alec’s ever seen takes an interest, Alec knows there’s an ulterior motive. No one with multi-colored hair, piercings, and an ass like that would want boring, serious Alec. The kid must be up to no good. Either way, Alec can’t blow his cover. If only he could keep his hands off of Gabe long enough to find out what he’s up to


Can they ignore their explosive chemistry long enough to foil a smuggling ring? Or will their budding relationship sink faster than a yacht full of contraband?



• Book #5 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 29 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance
4.9 Stars

Brent Weyland was the life of the party until an injury ended his hockey career. Now he’s retreated alone to a lakefront house, trying to make sense of a life and body that don’t feel like his anymore.


Jon Norquist was happily married right up until he wasn’t. Now a single father in his forties, he’s trying to figure out what comes next. In the meantime, he pours his heartache and regret into the lyrics he sings for the wine bar crowd a couple of nights a week.


When a friend coaxes Brent out for a night of wine and music, he puts Brent and Jon on a collision course. Their chemistry is instantaneous. Jon gives Brent’s battered body a much-needed remedial lesson in pleasure. And Brent gives Jon a reason to smile again.


Multiple reasons, actually. Neither man wants anything serious, but love has a habit of showing up whether it’s welcome or not. No matter how hard they try, the two can’t help having feelings for each other, even as life continues to throw them curveballs.


But they’ve both got baggage to unpack and hurt to move past, and if they can’t leave their pasts in the past, they might just miss out on an amazing future.



• Book #6 in the Vino & Veritas Series
 • 29 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy M/M Small-Town Romance
4.9 Stars

Jamie Morin’s college GPA drops every time a cow breaks through a fence, but he’s determined to get his degree and keep his parents’ Vermont dairy farm afloat. He’d rather be reading than milking, but he can’t let his family downnot the way his brother did. So the last thing he needs is distraction in the form of an irresistible bookseller with a mysterious backstory.


Briar Nord has a lifetime of experience proving that happily-ever-afters only happen in his favorite books. But his luck might be changing. He’s got a great job at a bookstore, and he lives in a city that puts maple syrup on everything. But Briar knows not to trust anything--or anyone--too closely, and that includes a gorgeous farm boy with soulful eyes and too many obligations.


When Jamie joins Briar’s romance novel book club, they both feel an instant connection and soon they’re turning pages long into the night. But Briar’s past was bound to catch up with him. Sometimes, though, it takes two heroes to write a new ending . . .


Books by Sarina Bowen:

🍎🍏🍎 True North Book #1 πŸŽπŸπŸŽ

🏳️‍🌈 Wes & Jamie πŸ³️‍🌈

Good Boy

The Company Book #1

Hockey #6

YA Rockstar Romance-ish

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.

She is the author of The Ivy Years, an award-winning series set amid the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college.

Waiting for more Ivy Years? You can read more about upcoming volumes in the four book series at

Also, the Gravity series.

Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

To be kept abreast of new releases, please feel free to sign up for the mailing list at

Or visit the her Facebook page, or tweet her @sarinabowen.