Monday 24 May 2021

πŸ’œ BUSY BEAN #3 + #4 ⭐️ Steamy Small-Town Series - Standalones ⭐️ #Excerpts πŸ’œ

    ©  Bianca ✰ Janeane 

The New Busy Bean CafΓ© 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 #3 in the Busy Bean Series
 •  24 May 2021
• Standalone Sexy Small-Town Romance

4.25 Stars

Love isn’t always a cakewalk ...

Gigi Hawthorne is starting from scratch. She just didn’t realize until her crappy car broke down that she was going to be doing it in a small town in Vermont.         With an eye for design and some serious decorating skills, she’s managed to land a job making delectable treats for the patrons of the Busy Bean. Now she’s up to her elbows in sugar and flour, but her thoughts are never far from her gorgeous, brooding landlord.

Holden St. James swears he isn’t a recluse. He goes to the local coffee shop three times a week, doesn’t he? Yeah, maybe he never actually talks to anyone, but with a backstory of loss, pain, and regret like his, he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t be very good company anyway. Yet something about his new tenant makes him wonder if maybe it’s time to let someone open the oven door and release a little heat into his closed-off world.

But both are hiding secrets as dark as an espresso mocha cupcake and they’re not sure if they can trust each other. Will the truth break their delicate relationship into sad, sweet crumbs--or will it turn out to be the key ingredient in the recipe for a new life?

ARC received for an honest review
Annnd now we are back in Shipley-land, an my favourite fictional coffee shop (though I am only here for the baked goods - and I am putting on a kg or two just reading about the goodies!)

I did feel that Gigi's story did come on a bit thick and fast with how easily and quickly she got set up in town, but this is probably just a me thing, and it didn't feel that way as the book progressed.

Holden is all grumpy and sexy and I want one of him in my life.

I adored Gigi's persistance and steadfastness in becoming the new and improved Gigi. I can't imagine what she was going through, but I could applaud her moving on.

I did spend the  most part of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop. I knew it was going to happen, I knew how Holden was going to react, but it sure didn't happen all the way that I was expecting.

I did also love the classic literary character names will know them when you see them.

I need to add Vermont to my next USA visit, and  hope that I an have at least one of these experiences!

Bring on the next Busy Bean book!

We're back in Vermont!
We all remember the Busy Bean Coffee Shop/Bakery from Sarina's True North series. Audrey and Zara are the boss ladies.

This is Gigi and Holden's story.
Gigi has left her abusive husband in Georgia and on her way to a new life in Canada, she ended up working as a cake decorator in our small Vermont town.
And she moves in to Holden's empty carriage house apartment.
Holden has been a soccer pro in England until six years ago - when his life changed from one second to the next.

It's insta attraction between Gigi and Holden, but both are so not ready for something new, right?
Especially because there are still some truths left to tell ...


Finally the next Busy Bean book. I was starving for some more of their delicious goodies!
And I SO need one of Gigi's Sticky Honey Buns asap!

This story was so very sweet and heartbreaking!
Both Gigi and Holden have been through so much heartbreak.
But now here's their chance for their final happily ever after!

Adorable, sparky, funny, full of delicious and not-so-delicious baked goods.πŸ˜‚
This was a great romance!

What I didn't like - and that's just me being weird. But ... whenever Gigi or Holden said they were sorry - for whatever they did or said or what the other had to go through - they always said: I'm so, so sorry.
No idea why those two SOs bothered me so much, but they really did. πŸ˜‚

But I really enjoyed reading this. Cute romance!

As I always say: 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!

CAKEWALK was such a very adorable + sparky + bakey + heartbreaking romance! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Holden - he'll be sold out in no time!


Sneaking another glance at him, she smiled to herself noticing a scone on his plate. He hadn’t taken a bite yet, and her chest filled with nerves as she thought about him trying it for the first time. She wanted everyone to like the goodies she was making for the cafΓ©, but she really, really wanted Holden to like them. Maybe even like them so much that he’d ask her to make some just for him, at home. An image of the two of them in the kitchen together, covered in ingredients as he pressed her up against the blue cabinets, flitted across her mind, making the nerves in her chest morph into something else entirely. Was that…lust?

Stop it, Gigi…just because the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach doesn’t mean you need to make an attempt. Especially with that man.

The sound of coughing pulled her attention back to the counter, where Officer Nelligan was still standing. When he finally swallowed, he took a long swig of his coffee, blinking harshly, like he was trying to forget a taste.

“Miss Gigi, may I ask what you put in these?”

“Ummmm, usual scone ingredients?” she floundered. “Flour, salt, cream, baking powder, orange zest, cranberries…”

“I’m not much of a baker, but I think you might have mixed up your baking powder and your baking soda. A girl did that in my junior high home ec class, and it tasted much like this—kinda metallic,” Officer Nelligan said.

“What?” Gigi said. All feelings of butterflies and lust were long gone now, replaced by sheer panic. She looked at Officer Nelligan in horror, taking in the scone he’d just bitten into. The apologetic look in his eye told her everything she needed to know—she'd screwed up. Big time.

“Georgia. I don’t know what possesses you to even try these things. It’s a well-established fact that you just are not capable of cooking. Please stop trying—you’re just making yourself look ridiculous,” Bradley’s voice said. She shook her head, trying to clear his words from her mind, as she turned and ran into the kitchen.

Sure enough, the canisters labeled “baking powder” and “baking soda” were right next to each other. However, it was the baking soda whose lid was off and sitting in front of it. That was the one she’d used when measuring out her ingredients.

“Sugar Honey Iced Tea!” she exclaimed, stomping her foot in frustration. She could feel Roderick looking at her, but she didn’t have the heart to turn around and see the expression on his face.

“Uh oh,” she heard Roderick’s voice say over her shoulder. “That’s a bad day.”

Was she ever not going to screw this up? When would she learn that she couldn't do this? No, what she couldn’t do was let Bradley’s words get to her.

At least it was just Officer Nelligan. He was used to seeing her at her worst at this point. He and Holden.


Holden had also ordered a scone. But he hadn’t eaten it yet. Right?

Racing back up front, she skidded to a stop in front of his table to find him mid-bite into the inedible treat.

“Nooo!” she cried. “Don’t eat that—it’s…”

“A bit salty…” he responded, choking it down.

Gigi could feel the tears starting to prick at her eyes, but she wasn’t going to let anyone here see her cry. It was no big deal. So she got the canisters mixed up. Happens to everyone at some point, right?

“I’ll get you a muffin,” she told him, turning back to the counter. Looking between Holden and Officer Nelligan, she sighed. “At least it was just you two, right?”

“And Mr. Hughes,” Kirk said, not looking up from the espresso machine.


“That older guy who bought six. Owns Hughes Hardware store up the street.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” she exclaimed before turning and running out the front door. She had to get to him before he let his employees have any of them.

Deserting the cafΓ© like this was probably not her best move, but she figured after this disaster, she was going to be lucky to even have a job.



• Book #4 in the Busy Bean Series
 • 24 May 2021
• Standalone Sexy Small-Town Romance

4 Stars

When Murphy Landon, the New York socialite, runs off to Vermont with her bruised reputation and stylish wardrobe in the trunk of a used car, it’s the first time in her life she’s dared to turn her back on her high-society parents.


Used to grabbing a gourmet coffee whenever the urge strikes, Murphy finds herself on the other side of the counter, fumbling strangers’ orders...until a sinfully handsome thirty-three year old version of Ben Rooney from high school walks in.


The pair met years ago at a prestigious boarding school and became friends, but only behind closed doors. She’d been a spoiled brat, and he was a football player on scholarship. Ben tried to hide his crush on her, and Murphy set firm boundaries. After a prom night gone wrong, they’d gone their separate ways.


Now their circumstances are reversed. Ben is a successful surgeon. He’s come a long way from his parents’ humble maple syrup business. And Murphy is pouring his coffee? Is this a joke?


His first thought is that she should drive her gorgeous self right back to New York, where she can’t possibly break his heart. His second one is deep concern. His third thought is he wants a do-over of prom night. A very adult one


With plenty of secrets between them, copious pure maple syrup, and a hippy-dippy sidekick, Ben and Murphy are in for a wild and sticky ride.

ARC received for an honest review
Annnd now we are back in Shipley-land, an my favourite fictional coffee shop (though I am only here for the baked goods (and I can feel the kilos adding onto my butt with every page I read!)

I love a second chance (well, I guess this isn't reallly a second chance when they never really got together in the first place, but you know what I mean).
And I adored Murphy and Ben's story - when they weren't annoying me with their "back at prep school" drama.

I liked that their roles had reversed, I like that they could both now see how the other felt back in the day.  I hated how they kept throwing it in each others faces. I wanted them to live in the now and leave the past right where it belonged.
Love getting more of the people in the Busy Bean, and love getting more of where are they now,

I love the people of Colebury, and I think I could read one of these WoTN stories every week for eternity.

We're back in Vermont!
We all remember the Busy Bean Coffee Shop/Bakery from Sarina's True North series. Audrey and Zara are the boss ladies.

This is Murphy and Ben's story.

They used to know each other in highschool. Or rather - at their very posh prep school. But they haven't seen each other in 14 years.
He was the poor scholarship kid and she was the waspy rich girl.

Now Ben is a surgeon in Vermont and Murphy is working at a coffee shop in town.
She had to leave her cushy NYC socialite life after things happened - we don't yet know what exactly.

Can those two start again where they left each other on not the best of terms after prom?


It was okay. I think I just had an off day for reading this. I didn't really get into it. It felt like I was reading a book where I missed a prologue novella. No idea why, but it just felt that way.
(The way she says - twice - in the first pages, that she just recently found out that Ben had had a crush on her too back then!? She said that like we were supposed to know exactly when and why she recently learned about his crush. So weird!)

But anyway. It wasn't bad. It was a cute romance. There's still a lot of attraction and sparks. It was adorable to watch them really fight for that happy end this time.
I just didn't love it. I didn't like how especially Ben talked - so very weirdly. And then everytime someone told a joke - a pun - they explained it - as if we're too stupid to understand. The writing wasn't mine.
But it got better towards the end - it was okay. Cute story with not too much unnecessary drama!

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!

FRIENDZONED was an adorable + sexy + coffee-y kinda-second-chancy romance! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Ben - he'll be sold out in no time!


My head felt congested like when spring allergies first come on. A dull ache throbbed in my forehead and ears, the kind of ache that lingered. I wondered why Ben was here in Colebury—at least a half hour from Montpelier—while his blue eyes urgently bore into me, trying to tell me something telepathically. Maybe he simply wanted me to leave him alone.

“Um, my Americano?”

My cheeks burst into flames. “Right. I’m on it.”

Forcing myself to look down at the counter, I made the drink. At least this wasn’t an order I could mess up. My thoughts, typically a jumbled mess of espresso drink recipes, was now swirling with memories of Ben then compared to the reality of Ben now . . . this new version of him.

When I handed him the reusable mug, he tightened the cap and said, “Thanks. You didn’t try to poison me, did you?”

Swallowing my pride, I shook my head. “Of course not. I would never. Plus, Zara wouldn’t be too happy with that. She’s a good one,” I said, the last part a whisper. She’d given me a chance, after all.

“At one time, you did try.” He raised a brow, alluding to the badly spiked punch at Burnett’s after-prom party.

I’d felt compelled to go to that stupid party, determined to show my ex what a good time I was having with Ben. Except, poor Ben got sick and spent the evening puking, and I was at a loss about what to do with him. I’d never been very good at putting anyone else first. After all, I’d never had to.

Ben took a long sip of his coffee, mesmerizing me with the bob of his Adam’s apple. He cleared his throat, drawing my attention away from his corded neck. “Not bad.”

Take that, Little Miss Perfect.

“Wow. Murphy Landon. In the Busy Bean. On the opposite side of the counter than I bet you’re used to being, huh? Tell you the truth, I’d never thought I’d see the day. You doing this,” he waved his hand at the counter, “right here in Vermont.”

He stared at me with equal parts fascination and contempt, probably because I let him get rip-roaring drunk and make a fool of himself way back when.

“It’s an honest job,” I said, “and I happen to need it. Anyway, I thought you were in a hurry, but now you have time to make fun of me?”

I frowned at him, feeling the need to defend myself when I didn’t owe Ben a single thing. After all, I’d come to believe that he hadn’t always been honest with me. Not to mention, Ben was just as guilty about lumping me into stereotypes as I had done with him. Right?

“Oh, I’m sure you need this gig. Like you needed good grades in high school, as if you weren’t going to get into the Ivy League from Pressman. Aw, sorry.”

He ran his free hand through his hair. It happened to be his left, and I made the mistake of noting he wasn’t wearing a wedding band.

“I don’t mean to be rude,” he said. “This is such a shock, seeing you here, and I’m not handling it well. You look good, Murph. Nice to see you. Honestly. I mean it,” he said, holding a hand up as if he were swearing to it.



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