Thursday 1 July 2021

🍺 THE SPEAKEASY TAPROOM 🍺 #3 + #4 🍺 The World of True North 🍺

  ©  Bianca ✰ Janeane 

The Speakeasy Taproom 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 #Bittersweet first ☺

• Book #3 in the Speakeasy Series
 • 1 July 2021
• Standalone Sexy Small-Town Romance

4.5 Stars

Who knew falling in love with my fake girlfriend could feel so real?

I don’t have time for distractions, which is a huge problem since my new next door neighbor Rosalie Wentworth is very distracting. She’s kind, beautiful, and makes me laugh like no woman ever has before.

Unfortunately, the two of us add up to one really sad country song—I’m nursing a bruised ego following a broken engagement and she’s suffering through a messy divorce—so I vow to set my attraction aside and focus on being her friend instead.

That’s easier said than done, however, since her mom is convinced Rosalie and I are perfect for each other. When one of her matchmaking schemes goes a step too far, Rosalie and I hatch a plan of our own: pretend to date for a couple of months to get her mom off our backs.

It’s foolproof, really.

Only, what started as a fake relationship is starting to feel very real, and now I don’t know if I can go back to the way things were before. Because it turns out if home is where the heart is, then Rosalie is mine.

ARC received for an honest review
Ooooh sexy lumberjacky guy on the cover? Let me at it hahah

This is my favourite of the Speakeasy Taproom so far.

I love a fake relationship story, as I love seeing the Fakey McFakersons catch real feelings.
Preston and Rosalie were fabulous, really.  This was a sexy and fun and flirty story, however it also had some sad and hurting and frustrating moments
I am not a fan of OTT matchmaking, and Rosalie's mum was the queen of that - however it didn't carry on all the time so it didn't annoy me too much this time.
Also, what is it with horrible fammily/parents in this series? Preston's dad is just ugh and his family are so not there for Preston, and I hated them (except one member) for the whole story.  They all need a swift kick in the privates!

There were a  couple of tines when our lovelies acted a little stupid and immature, however they got over that crap very quickly, thank goodness.

Overall, Homecoming was sweet and sexy and lovely, and I could read books like it every day.

Preston + Rosalie.

34 year old Preston used to work for his dad's building company back in the big city. But after a failed engagement he left for Vermont to start his own company.
Now he's living in Gloria's carriage house.
He's been hearing all about Gloria's daughter out in California. And he's not a fan.
Until she's suddenly moving back home after finally ditching her idiot husband.
Insta sparks!


And funny and cute and a bit heartbreaking.
And .. grrr when the next book comes along with horror parents - I'm gonna throw it out the window!!
I want great parents in my romances! It wasn't really alll that bad this time, but still.
At least Gloria was great! Even though she got on our darling's nerves a bit with her ΓΌber matchmaking attempts. LOL!
I really liked Preston + Rosie. They were so cute together.
I loved that we didn't get too much drama until towards the end - where I almost threw my kindle out the window, because of the ridiculous part where the ex shows up. They react so immature and stupid. Ugh. But fortunately it didn't take them long to get things right again.
I still really liked reading this!

I could read cute books like this one 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!

HOMECOMING was an adorable + funny mature love story! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Preston - he'll be sold out in no time!


“Oh!” my mom chirped, her head swinging between the man standing at the bottom of the stairs and me.

In the dim glow of the porch light, I could see the cheeks above his closely cropped beard were flushed with embarrassment. He shuffled the toe of his work boot through the fallen leaves scattered at his feet. When our gazes connected, my breath caught, and I felt a swooping sensation in the pit of my belly—not unlike that moment when you’ve reached the top of the hill on a roller coaster and the car careens forward, faster than you expected.

For a brief, flashing moment, he looked as startled as I felt, but then he blinked, and his face became a mask of polite indifference.

That was … odd.

I jerked my head to dislodge the strange feelings that had swept through me and directed my attention back to my mother, my hands planted firmly on my hips in annoyance. “What did I tell you?”

She waved an unbothered hand in front of her face. “Psh. You’re too concerned about what other people think.”

Not for the first time, I wondered if my being that way was in direct contrast to her never being concerned enough. But that was an argument we’d had more times than I could count, and I’d never come out on the winning end of it. The truth of the matter was that Gloria Mitchell marched to the beat of her own drum, and you could join her parade or get the hell out of the way. Sometimes, I wished I could be more like my mom, but right now—when I was broken and battered from that final, soul-sucking year of my marriage—all I wanted was to fade into the background. That had never been her way, though, and I was foolish to hope that might change now.

“Besides, it’s just Preston.” She gestured at the man whose gaze had darted toward the woods to the right of our house, his features pinched with what looked like discomfort at being caught between mother and daughter. “Who’s he going to gossip to about you being back?”

Her words sank in. “That’s Preston?” My voice pitched up at the end, a mixture of confusion and disbelief. For the last six months, she’d alternatively referred to him as “that nice young man next door” or “that sweet boy Preston.”

Except this was no boy. The person standing below us was all man. Easily over six feet tall, his thick, dark beard was cropped close to his jaw, setting off a pair of full lips that were currently turned down in a slight frown. Muscular, flannel-clad arms were crossed over his broad chest while his feet were braced shoulder-width apart. The whole Vermont lumberjack vibe didn’t usually do it for me, but I would have been lying if I said he wasn’t the sexiest man I’d ever laid eyes on. It was no wonder I was standing there with my jaw hanging open, collecting flies. “You said he was young.”

She chuckled, and he shuffled on his feet. He looked desperate to be anywhere but here. I couldn’t entirely blame him. “It’s a figure of speech, Rosie. Everyone is young compared to me.”

I crossed my arms over my chest, inadvertently mimicking his stance. When I realized what I’d done, I quickly dropped them down to my sides and balled my hands into tight fists. “From the way you described him, I assumed he was nineteen or twenty. That—” I pointed accusingly in his direction “—is a grown-ass man.”

From below, I heard a muffled chuckle abruptly covered by the rumbling of him clearing his throat. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the slight lifting of his lips before I turned my glare back on my mother.

She brushed my comment aside for the second time in as many minutes. “Of course he’s a man, dear. And you’re in luck, because he’s a strong one, too.”

Before I could respond to that, she turned toward the man in question. “Will you be a dear and help Rosalie bring the rest of her stuff inside?” She gestured toward my beat-up Volvo. I’d brought my large suitcase and a few smaller weekender bags inside but had left the five or six boxes I’d haphazardly packed—intent on a speedy getaway—in the back hatch of the car.

“Sure thing.” Preston swiped his hand over his jaw, but not before I saw the traces of an amused grin split his lips. I was glad he thought this was funny, because I certainly didn’t.

Although I also wasn’t quite sure why I was so damn annoyed.

What did it matter if he was closer to thirty-two than twenty-two? I tried to tell myself him being a grown-ass man—I inwardly groaned as I recalled saying that out loud—had no bearing whatsoever on my life. He was my mother’s renter and sometime handyman, nothing more.



• Book #4 in the Speakeasy Series
 • 1 June 2021
• Standalone Sexy Small-Town Romance

4.5 Stars

She’s a political princess and media darling...

 There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Yeah, right. Tell that to the PR firm that handles Tracy’s very prominent political family. Pushed by scandal from Boston to the boondocks, now she’s on the other side of the serving tray, dishing up beer and burgers, hoping no one recognizes her. But there’s something very familiar--and maddeningly tempting--about the new caterer at Speakeasy.

He’s a cranky recluse...

 Colton was the star of the celebrity chef circuit until he wasn’t anymore. Now he lives in a remote country cabin and spends his time alone, far from the spotlight and liking it that way. Until the gorgeous new waitress at Speakeasy starts poking at his resolve and suddenly all he wants is to see her let down her hair. And spread it all over his pillow. She’s got secrets he knows he won’t like, but he can’t stay away from her.

She lives in the spotlight, and he hates attention. When her public life collides with his private one, can their love write a fairy-tale ending after all?

ARC received for an honest review
Yaaaaass b*tches! We're back in the True North-verse, and I can't get enough!
I met Colt and Tracy in one of the other books in this release, and I loved getting their whole store.
There is an insta-hatey/lusty thing going on here and I adored watching our lovelies find their happy.
There is much snark and fight between them, and when secrets are involved I spent the time waiting for the shoe to drop. And all I was thinking was "just tell him, woman!"  I knew it would cause troubles but I was glad that they settled things without too much issue.
I really liked the stories of the people of the Speakeasy, and could read stories like this for years to come.

Tracy + Colton.

Tracy is a politician's daughter from Boston. Always pretty, sweet, kind, perfect.
But now she started a bit of a scandal for her family and they told her to leave the city for a while.
She ends up in Colebury, Vermont.
Same place Colton ended up a while ago, after his celebrity-chef career in Boston exploded in a horrible way.
The Speakeasy Taproom people want Colton to be their new caterer chef and Tracy needs any job they have to offer - she doesn't have much money left.

Insta enemy-hatey-sparks between our two darlings... 


That was adorable!
Full of delicious food and sparks and fun and drama and family.
I really enjoyed reading this. Colt and Tracy were so cute together!

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!

SIDEWAYS was an adorable + funny + foody romance! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Colt - he'll be sold out in no time!


 She didn’t know why he didn’t like her.

Everyone liked her. She went out of her way to be cordial and welcoming. But this guy had a shield around him so thick that even in a crowded bar he sat alone and isolated. He watched the action on the restaurant floor with a bit of wistfulness. And she wondered what his story was.

“Is there a reason you don’t like me?” She couldn’t believe those words had spilled from her mouth. She had spent her entire life being nice, being polite, and being agreeable. But when she asked him, there had been a challenge in her voice. The freedom was liberating.

He ate his hash slowly as if savoring each bite of food. The chef was pretty amazing.

She waited as he chewed. He glanced out the side of his eyes, a gorgeous hazel that she totally should not have noticed. This close to him his scent was a mixture of sunscreen and warmth and clean sweat as if he’d spent the day in the sun. Earthy. Masculine. And very, very sexy.

She shouldn’t notice how sexy he was. He didn’t like her.

She was tired of waiting for an answer. She propped her hands on her hips and leaned into his personal space. “You don’t even know me.”

“I don’t have to know you.” He flipped a glance her way. “I know your type.”

Her type? “What type? Nice? Invested in making people happy?”

“Rich, clueless, and arrogant.”

“Yeah, well you’re grumpy, irritating, and wrong.”

Her feet throbbed and now her head ached. She rarely cried but everything about today had been difficult. Feeling like a fish out of water wasn’t pleasant. She wanted to go back to her busy life and her active friendships. But she was stuck here for the moment. And her eyes burned.

Tracy took a deep breath and focused on something else. She needed to channel her alter ego. What would Cee-Cee do?

She had imagined Cee-Cee For so long. Cee-Cee spoke her mind and didn’t worry about optics. She didn’t even know what optics were.

“I’m making the best of a bad situation.” She defended her actions.

But as she looked at him, she realized there was more going on than his slightly derogatory comments about her. He’d done a weird turn thing so he wasn’t facing the bar but sort of sideways. It had to be hard to eat that way.

“You need to stop running away from your problems.”

Her heart stopped. Did he know who she was? Hopefully he was just intuitive. “Easier said than done.”

“Of course it is. Hard things aren’t supposed to be easy.” He said it as if he was intimately familiar with hard things.

She wasn’t about to let him off the hook. He clearly had his own issues.

“Maybe you need to take your own advice,” she shot back. Damn straight.

“Maybe you’re right.”



Books by Sarina Bowen:

🍎🍏🍎 True North Book #1 πŸŽπŸπŸŽ

🏳️‍🌈 Wes & Jamie πŸ³️‍🌈

Good Boy

The Company Book #1

Hockey #5


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.