This story is full of truths and emotions. May has faced her demons because of the love of Alec. I hated to see this story end!
Great book and series
This whole series is worth reading.
More please.... I’m so in ❤️ with this series.
Nice mix of angst and humor
Well developed characters that seem real and relatable.
By Stephanie likes books
I loved this book! Alex was funny and silly, but he was also vulnerable and insecure (mostly about non-relationship things) and sometimes I just wanted to cry for him. Yet he still managed to be a strong H for May. I had enjoyed May’s character in previous books and I loved her in her own story. The best thing about Sarina Bowen’s books is that she makes you FEEL. This works well as a standalone so don’t be afraid to jump in here if you haven’t read the others, although the whole series is great and I recommend it. The Shipley family is a gem!
A fantastic next installment of a warm and welcoming series.
“Knitting is a lot like sobriety. One painstaking little loop at a time. The whole is more beautiful than the sum of its parts.”
May and Alec’s story starts with a breakup- May’s loud and messy and very public breakup with her live-in girlfriend Daniela. Good thing it happens at Alec’s bar because when May catches Daniela kissing her ex, he is there to literally carry May outside before things get any worse. May never expects Alec, the notorious party boy, to not only get her out of the situation, but to also help her move out and to end up being such a good friend to her. And after planning on only dating women, she also doesn’t expect to be so attracted to him. When they realize they have mind-blowing chemistry and neither one wants anything more than someone to have fun with, they embark on what they intended to be a very secret, friends with very good benefits situation. It’s just supposed to be fun- they’re friendly, they have sex, that’s it.
But as they become closer, they both start to feel that this could be something more, only their own insecurities continue to get in the way. Alec thinks May wants their relationship secret because she feels like she’s slumming with a Rossi. He’s got big dreams, but at the end of the day, he’s still just the bar owner barely keeping his business afloat. May doesn’t feel like she can let Alec know her fully because he’s the fun guy and wouldn’t possibly understand, let alone still like her, if she told him about all of her inner demons related to her alcoholism.
The True North series is one of my favorite series and this book just reaffirmed that for me. It really does have everything I look for in a book- compelling and realistic drama, an interesting setting, dynamic main characters, and lovable supporting characters (Grandpa Shipley stole the show!). But I’ll admit, I was nervous and almost hesitant when I saw that the next True North book was about May and… Alec Rossi? I’ve loved May since the very first time she was introduced and have been rooting so hard for her since more of her demons were revealed in Keepsake. I liked that she was dating a woman leading up to now, and I was leery when I saw that she was going to get her own book pairing her with a man. Especially a man I hadn’t really connected to previously. I should have known that Sarina wouldn’t disappoint though. Not only was May’s bisexuality not erased, it was embraced. It was talked about, it was considered, it was a part of her, not just a throw away character trait for the sake of diversity. It was absolutely wonderful to see a well written bisexual character who may end up with a man, but never writes off her sexuality as a “phase” or something else dismissive.
I also love how well Sarina handles May’s alcoholism. Much like how she handled Jude’s drug addiction in Steadfast, it felt raw and honest, not just something written into May’s character profile because it made her more interesting. May has the unfortunate trait of being an easy crier, but she’s also strong and fierce and has a big heart and a hundred other little traits that make her dynamic and intriguing.
And then there’s Alec. I wasn’t sure what to expect of Alec from the bits and pieces we’d seen of him previously. But I quickly fell in love with the person he hid behind his swagger and facade of being “the fun guy”. He’s passionate and honest and not afraid of his feelings, just exactly like the kind of fascinating man I’ve come to expect from Sarina. He too has demons and as much as I love May, I often couldn’t wait for his POV because I wanted to hear all that was going on inside Alec’s brain.
May’s recovery is difficult, Alec’s life isn’t as straightforward as he makes it seem, and their relationship is filled with it’s share of bumps along the way. But all of that just makes Speakeasy fantastic for me. It’s unique and compelling and a beautiful story about two self-proclaimed broken people realizing that everyone has cracks in their armor and you don’t need someone to fix you, you just need someone to love and support you along your own path to recovery.
May & Alec ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
From start to finish, I loved Speakeasy so very much. May Shipley and Alec Rossi have each been on the periphery throughout the True North series and in their story, they get to shine so bright.
In the eyes of the rest of the world, May and Alec can't or shouldn't work - bar owner and alcoholic, Shipley and Rossi, just blew up with her live-in girlfriend...... But they do. They absolutely do. With Sarina's deft hand we see them in each stage, neither quite trusting themselves or each other that it could even be possible to open their hearts. It happens though, in stops and starts that will at times, make you laugh, cry and most definitely swoon.
We can't talk about May without discussing her addiction. She is 16 months sober and we get to experience exactly what that feels like for her. Every day is a walk on a tightrope for May, she has to manage it for herself, along with her family's expectations and concerns - the "will she, or won't she?" Her will is strong, but those doubts are the devil on her shoulder and her seemingly constant companion. May is also more than her addiction. She is brilliant and loves her family fiercely. I loved her sense of humor and the chance to see her be with someone who appreciated the woman that she was.
Alec Rossi. I wasn't prepared to love him as much as I did. But in those first moments with May, you get the hint at the measure of the man. From there it just grows and grows. He is good brother, devoted son and most favorite uncle, but more than that - he is a guy that truly cares about making his corner of the world a better place. Those are all great things to be, but for me it was his every moment with May. He more than treasured her, he saw her for all that she was and would be.
Please do not miss this book or the series. This entire cast of characters will set up shop in your heart for a very long time.
Laurie’s Rating: 5++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ STARS
This series gets better and better
I absolutely adored the first book and thought nothing could be better. Each one after that was equally great! The characters just come alive on the page and the ability to weave all the story elements in a way that not only makes sense but keeps you guessing. Love this book! ❤️
So Many Feels for Alec and May!!
4.5 Stars!! What a great story by Sarina Bowen!! I’ve been wanting to read this True North series for a while and somehow Speakeasy is my first, even though I have most of the rest in my library. Standalone, interconnected series are definitely a favorite of mine for just this reason! Alec and May were fantastic together! Both are seen as a bit of a mess by their families. Both have some insecurities. What’s starts as friendly support turns to hot hookups, but when feelings start happening things get good and complicated. I loved the flow of this story. Ms. Bowen is always so good at developing her characters, and at weaving humor with strong emotions. Once again I’m left feeling happy and wanting to visit the places and the characters.
A sexy, heart-warming tale!
❝But love is messy, unpredictable, and occasionally loud.❞
Sarina Bowen's True North series makes me want to explore Vermont! With each book, she gives us new information about small town living and beautiful imagery of the North Eastern part of the US. This city girl needs to get go out and explore!
Sarina Bowen is a one-click author for me. I never read a blurb because I couldn't care less what it's about, I just know that if she writes it, I want to read it.
❝The minute I let myself want someone, I always wreck it.❞
May Shipley has always been a character in the background of the True North series. A little mysterious and a lot misunderstood. A recovering alcoholic, she feels she's always under the scrutiny of her family. She feels their distrust as if they lay in wait for her to mess up. In reality, I think it is May who awaits her destruction. She doesn't trust herself nor her decisions. It wasn't until Alec Rossi showed unadulterated interest in her, despite her flaws, that she begins to trust and even like herself.
❝May Shipley scratches an itch that I didn't know I had.❞
Alec Rossi has always been the fun, happy-go-lucky, party guy. It is this reputation that causes people, including his family, to never take him too seriously. Now grown up, he has grown up plans and dreams and he needs people to believe in them and him. May sees Alec for more than his reputation. He's smart, sensitive, and caring. Her faith in him gives him strength.
Another reason I love this series is the strong family dynamic present in each book. It's refreshing. There isn't a character I don't want to know more about. But I REALLY want grandpa's story!! He is hilarious!!! I want to know his past and how he ended up where he is today.
❝Get a room!❞ Grandpa yells. ❝Oh wait, you did. Right over my head last night ... ❞
❝Grandpa!❞ several people say at once.
❝Well, nobody refilled my coffee. I'm not responsible for the things I say.❞
'Speakeasy' is a sexy, heart-warming tale of a passionate one-night stand that turns from forbidden love to acceptance, trust and a change of heart!