Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ARC Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

(True North #1)
by Sarina Bowen
Release Date: June 14, 2016

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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4.5 'apple cider' stars

I really enjoyed Bittersweet for its simplicity as a feel good romance. The story revolves around the Shipley's orchard and farm in Vermont and I love every minute of it. 

Griffin Shipley, is the big brother of the Shipley family who runs the apple orchard, some cows and making apple cider. He is a selfless family man who placed his family needs before his own dreams. He dedicated all his time to run the family business and never imagine himself to find a woman to settle down. 

Audrey Kidder is an aspiring chef who try to make it big in the Boston fine dining business. She was raised to deem herself unworthy and useless when she keep disappointing her career mum, over and over again. Choosing the path of culinary is suppose to be her big break and to prove her worth. When she was send for an assignment to Vermont to source for local produce, she didn't expect to meet her ex-college hook up, Griff Shipley again.


"Got a problem, Han?"
"Yeah, we do have a problem. We have to pull the princess here out of the ditch and change her tire. Then warp speed her ass back to the Death Star so she can report than the rebels are mutinying."
"Jesus, I'd forgotten about your Star Wars obsession."

The highlight of the story is the FOOD. Seriously, reading this book just making me hungrier and hungrier. The way the author describe Audrey's cooking is sinful and I love the family camaraderie in the kitchen. No wonder Griff is a goner once Audrey starts feeding him. I also very much enjoyed reading about Griff's day to day operation of the farm, his apple cider making process and his struggle to keep everything afloat. 

As for the romance, it was sexy and sweet without much drama or angst. I like that they simply can't control their attraction and just go for it. Despite, knowing that logistically they can't have a relationship due to their distance and job, they are still willing to enjoy each other as much as they can. 

Griff was tied to his farm and his cows. I was going to build a foodie empire in Boston any minute now. It was a relationship with no future. Correction - it was a ... sex fest with no future. 


Overall, Bittersweet is recommended for those who enjoy a feel good romance that is full of wonderful characters. I'm looking forward to Jude and Zach's story and wishfully hope that we can still read about Shipley's farm. 

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