Release Day Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

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I’ve been eyeing the first True North book for a while now, actually it’s been since the announcement.  Not only is this Sarina Bowen, and boy do we love Sarina Bowen, it’s also adult with rugged, sexy, mountain men, farmers!  I love reading stories about men who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.  Give me a man in a beard and flannel over a man in a suit any day.

As expected, Bittersweet was not disappointing…

BittersweetBittersweet by Sarina Bowen
True North #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 14th, 2016
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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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Wendy’s Review

When I heard about Sarina Bowen’s True North series I thought it was the perfect fit for me.  Yeah, I know, once again I got sucked into a contemporary romance, which I say I rarely like… but the thing is, this one is about Vermont mountain men, and Griff has a beard!   I love sexy rugged men in beards!  And then, on top of that gloriousness, it’s also Sarina Bowen!  I have yet to read a bad book by Sarina Bowen!  So yeah, I was pretty sure Bittersweet would be worth my time, and I was rewarded with a book that met my expectations.

Bittersweet picks up with ex-football star turned farmer getting his world flipped upside down when his college fling shows up at his farm with a flat tire.  She’s also trying to purchase his goods for the big conglomerate foodie corp that she works for.  Right away we get sexy chemistry, witty banter, and a discussion about the evils of large corporations on struggling family owned farms.  For me, growing up with a ‘natural foods’ mother, who’s all about self-sustainable farming, I found this book endearing and righteous.  🙂

There was also a lot to like about the characters.  Griff had a wonderful family, and I think they were all instrumental in setting up Bittersweet’s atmosphere.  I adored Griff’s mother, and how kind and accepting she was.  It was so sweet, the way they all just opened their arms to Zach and Jude, and also to Audrey.  In their own ways all three of them were orphans, and the Shipley clan happily welcomed them at their large farm fresh table.  I’m a sucker for big welcoming families like the Shipley’s.

What I think I really loved the most about Bittersweet though, was how the connection between Griff and Audrey was both physical and mental.  Yes, it was obvious that Griff thought Audrey was so beautiful, but he also loved her humor and the way she lit up a room.  He loved how she was impulsive and sweet.  Audrey clearly thought Griff was insanely sexy, back in college and present day.  However, she made it obvious that what she was falling in love with was how hardworking he was, and his passion for cider and his farm.  She adored him because of the man he was, and not just what he looked like.  Even better, their internal dialogue was dominated by signs that they connected on a deeper level, and not just at the groin.

I have to mention that Bittersweet was very similar to Nuts by Alice Clayton.  In both books you have bearded farmers trying to keep their businesses afloat, and in both books ripplingthe heroines are down on their luck chefs who wind up in these small towns, on farms.  (In Nuts it was Roxie’s hometown, in Bittersweet it was Griff’s.)  It felt like I had read this book before, everything was familar.  Still, both books are witty, both books are clever.  Both books are worth reading.

In fact, I have no intention on letting go of True North.  Next is Steadfast which features Jude.  Upside, I frickin loved Jude.  Downside, I’m nervous about how much of this installment will take place on the farm, which is the best part.  Either way, I’ll be reading it as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on it!

Thank you to Rennie Road Books via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars = B

 

 

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