Release Blitz/Reviews: The Fifteenth Minute: Sarina Bowen

The Fifteenth Minute(The Ivy Years #5)
Sarina Bowen
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Just because she's famous doesn't mean she's happy.

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something's haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

Lianne Challice is chatting me up.
As I fetch the pizza I ordered from the window, I try to decide whether or not I’m going insane. Maybe all the stress in my life has finally cracked me.
But no. When I deposit the pie on a table, her big eyes cut from the jukebox over to me, before darting away again. She is so freaking cute and so feminine that it’s making me crazy. Her mouth is like a little red candy that I’m dying to taste. And who has teeth that straight? She intimidates the fuck out of me, to be honest.
I make another trip to the pizza counter for paper plates and napkins. Usually we just grab slices off the tray like animals. But tonight I’m trying to be classy. The idea makes me snicker to myself. As if. Impressing Lianne Challice isn’t something I’m capable of. But I’m having fun trying. And there hasn’t been a whole lot of fun in this year for me. So that’s something.
Years from now I’ll look back on this night and laugh. Guys, did I ever tell you about the time I chatted up a movie star? I mean, my father is still telling people about the time he sat one table over from Tina Fey at Nobu.
Lianne sneaks another glance in my direction and I beckon to her. “Have a slice?” If she wants one, now is the time. In a minute my brother and his teammates will fall on the pizza like seagulls.
“Thank you. I guess I should. I didn’t make it to the dining hall tonight.”
“Your enthusiasm for Capri’s pizza overwhelms me,” I tease. “Aren’t you a fan?”
She slides a slice onto a paper plate, considering the question. “Pizza is like a nineties hit. Pretty good, especially if that’s all there is and you’re hungry.”
My own slice stops halfway to my mouth and I laugh. “Seriously?”
“I don’t know if we can be friends,” I say before taking a bite.
“Because I don’t love pizza?
I shake my head. “Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s, like, a basic human desire.” I cram a bite into my mouth to prove my point. Smooth, right?
She bites her bottom lip, and I realize I’d rather have that for dinner. “It’s okay. But it’s mostly just something you eat when you’re in a hurry or need to feed a crowd on the cheap.”
“Ah, I see,” I say when I can speak again. “The problem is that you haven’t had any great pizza. You’re a freshman, right? You don’t know all the glory that is Harkness pizza. Have you been to Gino’s Apizza?”
Lianne shakes her head. “I don’t think so.”
“She doesn’t think so,” I scoff. “Baby, if you’d had great pizza, you’d remember.” And now I sound like a real perv, but Lianne Challice is smiling at me, watching me with her big doe eyes, and I feel it like a drug. “They make everything from scratch. Even the sausage. We’ll go together, so I can prove my point.”
Annnd I think I just asked a movie star out on a date. Here comes the crash and burn.
First her eyes widen just a smidge. Then two pink spots appear on her face, one on either cheekbone. “Well, it would be a shame to live in this town and never know its true pizza greatness.”
I replay that sentence in my head and realize that she didn’t turn me down. “True,” I agree. “Do you think Thursday would be a night to experience pizza Nirvana?” I’m overselling the hell out of Gino’s now, but it’s working for me.
She gives me a serious frown, and I’m hoping she’s not busy on Thursday. Because I have back-to-back hockey games to DJ on Friday and Saturday. “Thursday it is. I shall prepare to be amazed.”
Lianne Challice is a famous, privileged, Hollywood star. But at Harkness she's also shy, awkward, inexperienced, and uncool. She has been stuck in a rut and wants to make some changes personally and professionally. She is starting to come out of her nerdy, gamer shell and beginning to spend more time in the social world due to her neighbor Bella, but despite her super stardom, she has insecurities and social awkwardness.

Daniel "DJ" Trevi is cute, flirty, funny, and cocky. But his outside demeanor hides secrets and the troubles he is going through. He is having a bad year and his future is uncertain. He is stressed, anxiety ridden, and torn between what he wants and what he thinks he can have. His sense of self worth has taken a hit. In his quest to protect Lianne, sometimes it leads to misconceptions and pain. But he is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. My heart just hurt for him. 

They have an immediate spark, connection and chemistry, They're both music nerds and share common interests. But even though they like each other, their timing has issues. DJ is too embarrassed to explain his secrets. And Lianne has her own problems. They don't want to be in the limelight, but feel eyes watching them. 

I loved Lianne and DJ! I enjoyed their banter and rapport. They have genuinely likable personalities even when they feel insecure. I love it that DJ is shorter than the average hero but still hot, built, and sexy and that Lianne is fun sized. They might both be of shorter stature but they have big personalities that they bring out in each other. They find passion and purpose, but they also both have struggles.

This installment was about finding comfort, acceptance, strength, learning to stand up for yourself and making your own choices.   It was told in both Lianne and DJ's points of view letting see all their innermost fears, feelings, and desires. It was humorous, sweet, flirty, and dealt with some challenging subject matter. 

I love this series and just get sucked right in to each new story and have a hard time putting them down. I did a binge read of the first 4 books and could not wait for this one. Hanging out with some of the characters from the other books feels like checking in with friends. One of the things I like about this series is that she addresses issues that are current and relevant. The characters are multi-faceted with real problems and the plots have depth. The secrets and stories gradually are revealed and there is always underlying drama and some twists and surprises. Just because they are students in an elite college, does not mean that their lives are easy and uncomplicated....in fact they are usually complicated and messy. They have flaws, are faced with challenges, and show growth. This group of friends may tease and taunt each other but they also  stand up for and support one another. I can't wait for more of this series. We were teased a bit with DJ's older brother Leo Trevi's past and met their younger sister Violet in this one. I would love to see more with them. 

ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Just like the rest of the series (which I have devoured recently in preparation for this book) The Fifteenth Minute takes two characters each dealing with their own challenges and draws them together in such a way that they are further challenged, but also supported, buoyed, and balanced in ways they couldn’t have imagined.

Lianne Challice has never been normal. Swept into stardom as a child, she has lived in multiple countries, rubbed elbows with celebrities, and dodged the paparazzi for as long as she can remember. Wanting to have a chance at normal, she enrolls at Harkness to both get out of the spotlight and build something to fall back on when the roles are no longer rolling in.

Daniel “DJ” Trevi is learning that some fights look nearly impossible and is counting down the days until he expects to be kicked out of Harkness. His secret would ruin his chances with Lianne if she learned what he is facing, but when he’s with her he feels like he can let go of the pressure, if for a little while.

These two were so sweet together. They have a lot of things in common that make it easy for them to put aside thier challenges and just be real. But each is dealing with his or her own pressures. As they become closer, the secrets between them could threaten what has been building, especially if DJ’s secrets result in consequences.

There were some little threads to the story that I didn’t expect to find or need, but their addition gave the story even more depth. Little details that seemed nice for world building purposes come full circle later and give a different perspective to the way things happened. It is little things that this that make a book’s world feel like more than the main character’s story for plot purposes and more like a well rounded world.

I love the little bits from the side characters. Lianne’s suitemate is Bella, so she and Rafe are often present in the background (sometimes literally). Graham is also present in several scenes as he and DJ both work in the press booth at hockey games. In each of the Ivy Years books, I have loved seeing just little bits of previous couples as they interact with their teammates and friends who are the main focus without drawing attention away from the main couple. Some of the original couples have graduated and are not as involved at Harkness, but such is the nature of a college, and I love the way these side characters continue to age, with a new group joining as others age out and graduate.

DJ and Lianne had a doozy of a story. Sarina doesn’t shy away from hot button topics in this series, but I love the way she handles each situation independently and carefully. There is no patronizing language, no kid gloves, but also no over exaggeration. This felt timely in that the media picks up stories and it’s hard to tell who is the victim or the villain. The story here is only one version, and as the truth comes out, it becomes clear that the story is not easy for anyone involved. 

This is not a celebrity/normal person romance, nor a sports romance. It’s a wonderful mix of so many things, just like life. I forgot I was reading this for review purposes and just sank into the story and characters and lived at Harkness for a little while. This entire series has catapulted to one of my all time favorites. 
ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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

The Ivy Years is her bestselling series. Centered around the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college, The Year We Fell Down began breaking hearts in March, 2014. There are three novels and a novella in the series so far. See http://www.sarinabowen.com/TheIvyYears for updates.

For lovers of angsty snowboarding heroes, Sarina also writes the Gravity series! Coming in From the Cold features a downhill ski racer and one of the most unique plot conflicts in contemporary romance today. Falling From the Sky is book #2, about a freestyle snowboarder who nearly loses his life in the halfpipe.

Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

She would be honored to connect with you at http://www.sarinabowen.com.


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