Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reviews: Coming in From the Cold and Falling From the Sky (Gravity #1-2) by Sarina Bowen

Coming In From the ColdSeries: Gravity #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin E
Publication Date: 5/1/14
Format: ebook
Pages: 193
Source: Author

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Alpine ski champion Dane “Danger” Hollister does not do relationships, though he has an excellent reason. No woman would ever say “I do” to a guy whose faulty DNA will eventually cost him everything: his spot on the US Ski team, his endorsements, and the ability to fly downhill at 90mph.

While Willow Reade moved to rural Vermont to get back to the land, that wasn’t meant to include a night stranded in her vehicle during a blizzard. Luckily, the hot ski racer she practically ran off the road has granola bars and a sleeping bag, and is happy to share. Maybe it’s the close quarters, maybe it’s the snow, but soon the two are sharing a lot more than conversation.

Yet neither can guess how their spontaneous passion will uncork Dane’s ugly secret and Willow’s tentative peace with her own choices. Only their mutual trust and bravery can end the pain and give Willow and Dane a shot at hard won happines

First Line  Willow needed to keep the old truck on the road and out of the snowy ditch for just one more mile.

Poor Willow. She doesn't keep her old truck on the road and inadvertently runs champion Dane Hollister off the road as well. But their loss is their-and our-gain because one snowy night in a Jeep is the beginning of a sexy, emotionally challenging, wonderful story.

What makes Coming in From the Cold stand out - besides just the fact that it's damn good- is what stands between Willow and Dane. This is also what makes the book really hard to review. I want to divulge every detail and glom on the drama, but if I do that, it's going to spoil a lot of the suspense, such as: what could possibly be so wrong with Dane that he can't have a future? And what happens between him and Willow to change this?

Often, the issues that stand between our H/h tend to feel...contrived. But with Dane, this is fact. We are given a man who's life has been unbearably lonely and sad, and who's future looks no better. He's a world class athlete, should have the world in his palm. But he's one of the loneliest, saddest leading men I've read yet. When Dane says he can't commit, cannot be involved and can't give anyone a future, he means it. And wow, the dude was starving for love, a person to share his life with.

So when Dane meets Willow, they realllllly hit it off, and it's with the assumption of "one night only" that they connect. And by connect, I mean they have dirty, steamy sex. But it's not only dirty and steamy, but also tests Dane's resolve. Have you ever shared an intense, unforgettable spark with another person? How do you walk away from that, especially when you've never felt it before? Dane is determined to keep his resolve, but life and Willow keep testing him. These new circumstances force Dane to dig deep and face a lot of heavy issues, and hopefully he'll face them with Willow at his side.

In know my review has likely been massively unhelpful. I want to say so much more about Dane and Willow as individuals and as a couple. I think a lot of the beauty in Coming in From the Cold is going in blind, and having my assurance that it is a powerful, redemptive love story that churned my insides, but also left me absolutely satisfied.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Favorite Quotes

  He'd planned to spend the night alone, the way he spent all of them. Instead, there was a beautiful girl writhing in his arms, her hair falling against his bare chest.
  Even in his ugly life, there were moments of perfection.

  "Willow?" She looked up to find his handsome jaw set in a serious expression. "If you told me not to go, I wouldn't."
  Her heart leapt, but she didn't trust it.
  His face was nervous. "I know I don't really deserve it, but I have to ask, because I'll regret it forever if I don't. Is there any way I could spend some time with you?"

  "You know how some people have a bucket list? They want to go bungee jumping in New Zealand, or they want to have sex in an airplane bathroom?"
  "Well, my bucket list is ass-backwards. I want to fall asleep on your sofa in the middle of a movie. I want to bring you a beer during commercial breaks. I want you to warm your cold feet on mine."

  He was so sorry to have hurt her, and his hands cradled her back to tell her so. His fingers slipped beneath the hem of her top, smoothing her soft skin, apologizing. When he opened his eyes, the candlelight danced on the walls, and flickered in the dark pools of her eyes. "Willow," he said, just to hear her name on his lips.


Falling from the Sky (Gravity, #2)
Series: Gravity #2

Genre: Contemp Romance
Publisher: Harlequin E

Series: Gravity #2 /Harlequin E Contemporary Romance Box Set, Vol 3

Genre: Contemp Romance

Publisher: Harlequin E
 Publication Date: 9/1/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 175
Source: Publisher

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A brutal spinal cord injury robbed snowboarder Hank Lazarus of everything. But just as Hank gives up, Dr. Callie Anders shows him something that's really worth fighting for….

First Line   Standing on the snowy hillside under the December sun, Callie Anders found herself pulsing along with an unfamiliar bass line. The heavy groove scraping through the oversize speakers was the sound of bands she didn't recognize, played in clubs she'd never visited.

What. A. Book! After reading two of Sarina Bowen's books in less than a week, I've learned that she is an author I can absolutely count on, to provide interesting, different, rich and fulfilling stories. After reading the first book in the Gravity series, Coming in From the Cold, I immediately opened this one up. Like the first book, I was immediately pulled into the world of an elite athlete facing horrible circumstances, and the woman who lifts him up, and loves him all the way. Both books can absolutely be read as standalones, but I will say that if you loved the first book, this one opens six months later. You won't want to miss that!

So Falling From the Sky opens with a tragedy. Dane's friend, Hank "Hazardous" Lazarus breaks his back competing. Callie, Willow's best friend, is a doctor at the hospital he's treated at, and has an immediate attachment to her friends' friend. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Hank is paralyzed from the waist down. To see such a vibrant, athletic man have his world completely changed was difficult, but as a physician, Callie sees more. The potential he has to lead a wonderful, fulfilling life. When Hank's family funds a study that could possibly help him, as well as others, Callie is chosen by Hank to head the program. He doesn't remember meeting her immediately before the accident, but he trusts her. And he's attracted to her, as well. I know, you're surprised, right?

I didn't even discuss Callie in my review of Coming in From the Cold,because I knew I'd have so much to say in this review. She was a kickass best friend, a great doctor and a wonderful person in that book. She's even better here. I knew I would enjoy her in a leading role. She's honest and bold and I loved her even more once I began her story. Callie and Hank were such opposites before the accident. She's cautious and pragmatic; he thrives on danger and adrenaline. She's led a quiet life and was dumped by her boyfriend for being boring; he's led a life of partying and women, but was also dumped by his athlete/model girlfriend after his accident. Though it doesn't appear this way initially, Hank and Callie are a perfect fit.

There are two other little areas I need to shower praise on. First, I assumed what Callie assumed: that if Hank hadn't been paralyzed, he would never give her a second glance, would still be living the rock star lifestyle, and if given a choice, he'd change it in a heartbeat. But our sweet, badass Hank is definitely more than what we assume of him from the start, and I have to say a more winning leading man than Hank is hard to name.  Hank may wish he had his legs to use, but also realizes that maybe he's ended up right where he's meant to be. Though that does take time. And second, I need to commend Sarina Bowen on her dedication to realism and the finer details in the life of a paraplegic. From Hank's injury, to his home and dealing with wheelchair accessibility, therapy, the movements from wheelchair to stool to bed to car, etc, the functional issues, and equipment and even sex. Hank is written just like any other book man, in that he has issues and desires and questions about himself and love. And that's both awesome and important. But we're never made to forget that he is paralyzed, to have that diminished to make him more "swoonworthy". Hank can't walk and he is still a sexy, fine-ass man and that's fucking awesome.

As you can see, I loved Falling From the Sky. I'm always looking for different, inspiring, more in my books and Sarina Bowen delivers every time.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Favorite Quotes

   But the memory of Hank Lazarus flipping effortlessly against the blue sky was burned in her brain. And in spite of the danger of it all, so cruelly proven by the sleeping figure in the bed, she didn't have to ask why he'd choose to take such a risk. She'd seen the power and the beauty of it with her own two eyes.

  There had never been a more perfect moment in his life. All his frustrations fell away, replaced by a potent cocktail of affection and triumph. Every part of him--even the scars he carried on his body and in his heart--came alive for this moment. All his prior suffering was here with him, too, every bit of it feeding and stoking today's pleasure. Until now, he hadn't understood that one made the other so much sweeter.

  He let out a big breath. "A lot of my old friends look at me, and I can just see the wheels turning. They're making the comparison. Doesn't matter what we're talking about--the Patriots, the weather. They're thinking, that poor slob. Look at him now. You never look at me that way, and I thought it was because you didn't have a reference point. I thought you never saw the real me."
  Callie popped up so that she could look down into his eyes. "No, I've got the real Hazardous." She cupped his chin with one hand. "He's right here."

  "Sometimes..." Callie said, her face grave."...Sometimes I dig my own ruts. I carve them nice and deep, and then I get stuck inside them."
  Reaching for her hand, Hank yanked off one of the gloves that Stella had lent her. "I'll haul you out," he said. Then brought her palm up to his lips, kissing her.
  When he looked up again, her eyes were brimming. "Would you?" Callie whispered. "I'd like that."
  "Anytime, baby," Hank said, hitching closer so her could hug her. "Anytime."


Sarina BowenSarina 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, Coming in From the Cold, published by Harlequin-E, is book #1 in the Gravity series. Book #2, Falling From the Sky will appear in the fall of 2014.

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.

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


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  3. Well, I must say I'm really,
    really intrigued now! Loved your review and the quotes as well, I'll definitely check these titles out!! Thanks, Andrea :)

  4. Isn't it wonderful when you find an author you just know won't let you down! I don't think I have heard of this author until now, but you have convinced me to check her out. Great reviews!

  5. I love your reviews of these!! I have been wanting to read a book by this author and now you've convinced me. I'm going to start with these because they sound fantastic. Great reviews - thanks for sharing!!

  6. That first review, Andrea, is rather cruel. Now, I MUST find out what's going on because I'm not going to be able to sleep! You're definitely a book tease! ;)

    Both these books sound really good and I'm going to add the author to my contemporary authors to try. I like that the author was able to maintain realism when it comes to paralysis. It's going to be a sad read, but I can tell that it's also hopeful. I'm excited to get to these!

    Lovely reviews, Andrea.

  7. Great Reviews Andrea! I'm loving everything I'm reading by Sarina Bowen too.

  8. Haa! That would be such a sad and horrible situation irl, but in books it's absolutely "hells yeah" situation :) Ooh! I'm intrigued about the not-mentioning-because-of-spoilers thing.. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING ANDREA??? "And wow, the dude was starving for love, a person to share his life with." Hiiiiii, Dane *waves* ;) I'm so glad you loved this so much, gorgeous! Great review :)

  9. I have to be honest and say I rolled my eyes during the summary about Dane. What they feel makes them unworthy is NEVER really an issue and that annoys me but I know you wouldn't have loved it or gave it a good rating if it was lame so I'm going to pick up both of these books immediately.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  10. Great reviews. This series is new to me, but it definitely piques my interest and sounds steamy indeed.

  11. Wow, I'm sooo adding these! I have a feeling I know what's up in the first book, so I'm prepared. :D

  12. Going in blind and then getting to know them as couples and characters sounds nice

  13. These are new to me but I love those pretty almost black and white covers. I'll have to look these up.

  14. You totally made me want it though! I love those snow induced smooshing them together reads :)

  15. Wonderful reviews, Andrea! And on the contrary, I think you gave enough in both reviews to pique my curiosity and make me want to read these. I love the premises of both. And I know how much you're loving SBowen's writing. Thanks for sharing your love for her writing and her stories!

  16. I love the sound of Dane and Willow's chance meeting leading to more, and I'm really interested in a romance involving a paraplegic. I'm sure it would tug at my heartstrings, but I'm happy that Hank had a second chance at happiness with Callie. Wonderful reviews, Andrea! :)

  17. I'm seeing a pattern with Bowen. Seems she writes handi-capable men. I like that shit. I'm putting these on my list. Loved what you said about Dane. Great reviews!

  18. Now I am supper curious and kind of wondering how I haven't heard of these o.0

  19. Great reviews again. Sounds like something I'd enjoy.


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