Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen | True North #5

May 28, 2018 / 0 Comments / Review

Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen | True North #5Speakeasy

Author: Sarina Bowen
Find the author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest
Also by this author: , The Fifteenth Minute, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Understatement of the Year, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Keepsake (True North, #3), Him, Us, Untitled, Hard Hitter, Good Boy, Keepsake (True North, #3), Goodbye Paradise, Pipe Dreams, Stay (WAGs, #2), Pipe Dreams, Temporary, Man Hands (Man Hands, #1), Man Card, Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4), The Accidentals, Overnight Sensation, Top Secret, Superfan (Brooklyn, #3)
Series: True North #5
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Keepsake (True North, #3)
Publication date: May 29, 2018
Source: Author's publicist (thank you!)
Format: eARC
My rating:
Buy It: Amazon.com | The Book Depository | Audible

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now… May Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it. Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy. Alec I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job. It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us. Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…


Speakeasy is the fifth installment in Salina Bowen’s fabulous Vermont-set romance series. This book features May Shipley, sister to Griffin of Bittersweet, the first book. May is a recovering alcoholic, a lawyer, and at the beginning of the book, in a bad relationship with a woman. That relationship ends, coincidentally, at the Gin Mill, Alec Rossi’s bar. Alec is the brother of Zara Rossi, who was featured in Bountiful, book 4 of the series.

Because of their peripheral connection, Alec ends up taking May home after the very public break-up. A friendship blooms between them – one that definitely includes benefits, but also a lot of laughs. Alec is the party boy of the Rossi family. He’s still trying to shed that role in the eyes of his family as he struggles to create a successful business.

If you loved any of the previous books in the True North series, Speakeasy is a must-read. It’s absolutely filled with characters from the past books. Sarina’s signature is the huge and loving casts of found families she creates. This one probably has more than any other book in the series. It was fun to catch up with all of my favorites!

I also love how certain themes from the past books came roaring back; themes like that of addiction and second chances. Because of May’s continued battle with sobriety, we get to see another side of the addiction battle than that of Jude in Steadfast (book 2 of the series). May is struggling with a similar battle, but from the outside she looks like she’s doing well. Sarina contrasts that with some of the other characters in the novel, highlighting an ongoing drug abuse problem in this area of the United States.

I also appreciated that Bowen touched on what it means to be bisexual without being preachy about it. May thinks that she will never again be interested in men, but Alec changes that for her. She’s very much attracted to both the softness of a lesbian relationship as well as the contrast of a heterosexual one.

It’s not all serious, though. Alec brings such an element of lightness and goofiness to his and May’s relationship. We’re told that they’re an unlikely couple. It’s hard to see that, though, because Sarina builds their relationship so naturally and effortlessly from a friendship. I really liked how it slowly it built from their chance meeting to more. I don’t want to say too much about it because it really unfolds in the same surprising way for the reader as for the characters.

Finally, this book has probably more sexy scenes in it than many romances I’ve read in awhile. These two are super sensual together and totally unafraid to explore their sexuality. It’s hot and honest.

I admit that this one had something missing for me, though. It was hard for me to believe in some of the obstacles that these two faced. I didn’t get quite the same yearning for May and Alec to be together as in other books, but I did still enjoy them. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these characters and their future in the next installment of the True North series.


Speakeasy is a solid, sexy Sarina Bowen book that explores friends-to-romance in a very natural way. It was fun to catch up with May Shipley and get to know Alec Rossi, and very, very fun to see old favorites from the True North series. I also appreciated the exploration of sobriety and small-business ownership in Vermont. If you’re a fan of this series, or looking for a relaxed, easygoing romance with substance, Speakeasy is the book for you. 

SPEAKEASY comes out tomorrow – links above to order or pre-order! What are your favorite family books? Best steamy books? Have you read any of Sarina’s other books? What have you read recently in the romance world? Hit up the comments and let me know!

recently-in-romance-book-reviews-mostly-ya-lit-banner Recently in Romance is Mostly YA Lit’s feature for all of you who like the swoony, X-rated books! 

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