ARC Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

14 Jun 2016

Book Title: Bittersweet
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Standalone - True North #1
Release Date: June 14th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

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Bittersweet is a cute, sexy, low on angst romance that takes place in rural Tuxbury, Vermont. Where the farmers are strapping hunks of men but spend more time fondling their apples than have time fondling a woman. Griffin Shipley has been running his family farm ever since his father passed away at a fairly young age. Giving up the chance for higher-level football, he wakes at 5am to milk his dairy cows, manage his vast apple orchard, and brew hard cider. When a sizzling hottie from his college years crashes her rental car wanders upon his property, he's quick to remember all the chores of farming that leave him little time for that.

Audrey Kidder, a recent graduate of culinary school, is doing an internship of sorts for a high level restaurant chain. Her job is to go to Vermont and get produce for cheap- something the organic hard-working farmers will surely turn their nose up at. This gig is a deal changer for her. She seems to fail at everything and she has to succeed in this assignment or her chances of opening up,her own restaurant someday is zilch. She didn't realize the August Shipley from Shipley Farms is none other than her once college hookup Griffin Shipley. A solid hunka man with a insane mutual chemistry she hasn't encountered since. And she's going to try to talk him into selling his stuff for half its value? This won't be good...

Bittersweet, though not especially rock-my-world exciting, was a cute contemporary romance. I think I've learned all there is to know about the daily chores of farming and the direct impact Mother Nature has between the fine line of success versus bankruptcy. Audrey and Griffin had a connection that all these years just couldn't break. But getting on the same page, whether this is a hookup or something more, was their biggest hurdle. Does Griffin have time in his day for a relationship? Especially with a woman residing in Boston? He's never been romantic (grumpy is a better word to describe him) and with love comes romance. And Casanova he is not...

A bit of farmer-whispered sweet nothings...

"I love you, princess. You're the sweet that balances out my natural tannins."

I think what I loved most about this book is the daily runnings of the Shipley family farm. Everyone had a job and all the Shipleys contributed in some pivotal way. They always took the time for an organized breakfast, lunch, and dinner around one dining room table. Food and family- living off their land and livestock. And a city girl like Audrey, who's never had that sort of kinship due to being an only child to a very controlling, never satisfied mother, made her long to be a part of their large family. Not for wealth or prestige but for love of family and their beloved farm.

Looking forward to the next book in the True North series, focusing on the ex-convict Jude. I'm feeling a more angsty read there!

Advanced copy received by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction. She lives in 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. Also, the The Gravity series.

With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of HIM and US.

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