Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Bittersweet (True North #1) by Sarina Bowen


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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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: June 2016.

Sarina Bowen wormed her way into my heart with her Ivy Years series and her co-written duology Him and Us, her writing style fresh and inviting, and yet as familiar as a warm embrace, her ability to draw the reader in almost immediately and to capture their attention almost effortlessly is a true testament to the talent she possesses.

Griff Shipley once had a possible NFL career in his future but the unexpected death of his father meant that his career aspirations were cut short so he could return home to take over running his families farm in Vermont. Griff is proof that life can change in the blink of an eye, ever since that fateful day he's spent his days doing what's expected of him, what's needed of him to assure his father's legacy doesn't die out. He's not resentful of the hand he's been dealt, but he also doesn't have a lot of time to spend devoting to women or relationships, until his eyes land on the sexy damsel in distress.

Audrey Kidder has lived under her mother's shadow for as long as she can remember, she flunked out of college and out of her mother's good graces years ago, discovering culinary school was the one bright spark in her otherwise dull existence. When he car gets a flat whilst on the backroads of Vermont the last person she expects to see is Griff Shipley, her one time college hook up.

Audrey has her fill of sh*t kicker jobs since embarking on a career as a chef, after all there's a reason they call it grunt work, as the wife of a chef I've heard horror stories of the kinds of jobs you can be given, peeling 180kg of carrots, cooking 100 chafing trays of mash potato, yep imagine you're most hated tasks in the kitchen and then picture doing it for 10 hours all the while being called "oi you" or "prep girl" sounds like a barrel of laughs right! Our plucky heroine isn't to be deterred though, out from corporate's rule, Audrey has been given a task, secure farmers in the Vermont area who will sell farm fresh to table produce at a good price for her boss, corporate owner of some of the best known restaurants around. In theory it seems easy enough, only things never run smoothly for Ms Kidder, but her greatest lesson might be entirely different from the one she originally imagined.

"This right here was my five year plan. I didn't know how it was going to work out yet. But I wasn't giving up."

Exactly like title, this story is equal parts sexy, sweet romance, and zappy, punchy, angst, Bowen's pacing as usual is en pointe, delivering every well timed zinger and sizzling swoon worthy sigh with great aplomb. Where Bittersweet could of been just another life after college story about the misunderstood jock and the down on her luck rich girl, it was a story that had depth, that evoked emotion, they say the thing about good books is that they always finish too fast, which was certainly true here. Not only did Griff and Audrey become the kind of hero and heroine you want to befriend, you would want to know, but Griff's family and farm hands were multi faceted, adding layer after layer to the story, sparking off ideas and hopes for the following books in this series. When an author so effortlessly captures you, has you invested, makes you crave more of her words while still reading, you know with certainty that it's a book you won't want to end.

Filled with the perfect blend of scintillating sexy moments that had me tugging at my collar, snark and wit as Griff and Audrey battled one another for control, and the absolute heart string tugging, swoon worthy moments where I found myself grinning like a goon as two people learnt to rely on someone else emotionally after so long of convincing themselves that they were an island. With Bittersweet I expected a deliciously dirty, sexy romp filled with mountain man, what I got instead was a beautifully rounded story that had me smiling from the first page, until the very last line.

About 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.

Connect with Sarina on Facebook

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