December 19, 2016

REVIEW: Bittersweet (True North #1)

Bittersweet (True North #1), by Sarina Bowen
Publish Date:
June 14, 2016
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Format: paperbacks, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) 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.

I wasn't sure what Bittersweet would be like, but I saw "Sarina Bowen" on the front cover and the word "lumbersexual" on the back, and it was all over for me. I knew I had to have it. And I knew I'd love it. 

And love it I did. I mean, what's not to love? Griffin Shipley is the kind of character you can't help but root for. He was poised to make it big in the NFL before his father died and he had to return home to his family's farm in Vermont to take care of it and his mother and younger siblings. Griff is now the man of the house, and it's stifling him. He gets the most joy from making craft hard cider, and he's really good at it. But, it's not making the money he needs, and Griff is feeling the pinch. 

Audrey Kidder is having her own personal crisis. In order to achieve her dream of running her own restaurant, she has to take the crap jobs at the bottom of the totem pole. Which means she gets to be the lucky person to drive from New York City up into the Vermont farm country begging local farmers to sell their wares for half what they're worth. It's not a fun job - especially when one of the farmers she has to approach is her wonderful one-weekend stand from college, Griffin Shipley. Awkward. 

Bittersweet was a delightfully foodie book. Audrey has plenty of chances to showcase her cooking talents for Griff and his family. And I loved the look at his farm and how he runs it and makes his cider. I get the feeling that Sarina Bowen did a lot of research for this book - it definitely shows. The farm was not just a backdrop in the book. It definitely took center stage as the place that can make or break Griff and his family. It also has lots of fun places for he and Audrey to reconnect. 

Audrey and Griffin both have stuff from their pasts to get through - both their pasts with each other and by themselves. There are plenty of roadblocks in place on the road to their HEA together. Audrey has to figure out what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Griffin has to reconcile what he wants to do with his life with what he has to do with his life. And both Audrey and Griff need to come clean about what happened to separate them after the weekend they spent together many years before. 

And while they self-reflect, thanks to the dual POV, and reminisce, they can find ways to help each other while falling in love and having really hot sex. It truly is a fun book with a great ending and a great introduction to all these other awesome characters that I can't wait to learn more about.  

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