Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

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Title:Bittersweet (True North #1)

Author: Sarina Bowen

Date of Publication: June 14, 2015

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Synopsis

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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Meagan’s 3.5 Star Review

I’m a big Sarina Bowen fan so I was beyond excited when I got the chance to read Bittersweet. This book is a great mix of sweet and sour. You get Audrey’s upbeat personality and humor mixed with Griffin’s grumpy demeanor and scorching scowls.

“I have a pig to kill. You can watch.”

“Are you sure?” I snapped. “I mean—meow. There must be a whole lot of girls in line ahead of me to watch that.”

Both Griffin and Audrey went to BU. Griffin had a chance to play in the NFL after college but decided instead to come home and manage the family farm after his father’s death. Audrey, something of a socialite bad girl at the time, flunked out of college twice until she decided to go to culinary school where she flourished. After a few hot nights between the sheets, Audrey and Griffin went their separate ways until shows up on Griffen’s farm looking to buy produce for the company she works for in Boston.

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.

I admired Audrey’s character. After disappointing her ball-busting mother one too many times, she’s cut off from the family money and is forced to make it on her own. Audrey doesn’t exactly flourish, but she holds her own around grouchy chefs and sexist kitchen staff. Audrey dreams of opening up her own restaurant and won’t let anything stand in her way. Even after she reconnects with Griffin she never stops working towards her goals. I loved that she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, whether it be butchering a pig, or helping out at a farmers market, she could do everything the boys could do and sometimes she did it better.

“It’s so big,” I said, trying to see the whole farm at once and failing.

“That’s what all the girls say.”

Griffin was the perfect Yin to Audrey’s Yang. He was extremely protective of both his family and their farm. It was so much fun to see Audrey rile him up. Griffin tried to fight his attraction to Audrey at first, but soon realized he couldn’t live without her. And let me tell you, nothing will make you swoon harder than watching a grumpy Griff try and woo Audrey. Unless of course we’re talking about dirty sexy Griff, because then not only will you swoon, you’ll probably pass out from the heat. 

“Who’s the best fuck you’ve ever had?” I growled.

She dropped her chin, her silky hair hanging down, covering those perfect tits. “Y-you are,” she gasped out. “It’s not even a c-contest.”

“Aw.” I squeezed her hips. “Good answer, baby. I feel like giving you a reward.”

I loved Audrey’s drive and determination to succeed, which is why it was so disappointing when at the end of the novel SPOILER Audrey gives up her dream of owning a restaurant and moves in with Griffin. Yes, I know Audrey could end up opening her own restaurant in the future, but I just don’t see it happening. Audrey does a total 180 from being an independent woman to playing house with Griffin, content on feeding the family and baking cookies for her man. In fact, the last line is “And I drove the half mile home to make another batch of gingersnaps for my man.” I see future Audrey getting quickly sucked into to becoming a housewife, getting knocked up, having four kids, never opening a restaurant, and dreaming what might have been. Moral of the story, when you fall in love, the girl gives up her dreams to be a happy housewife. Not cool.

I enjoyed Bittersweet all the way up to the end, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the series. There were some great side characters, and I can’t wait to see how their stories play out. If you love Sarina Bowen you’ll like Bittersweet, but if you’re like me and aren’t a fan of women giving up their dreams just because they fall in love, you definitely won’t appreciate the ending.

meagan

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Natalie’s 3.5 – 4 Star Review

Unlike a lot of you who have been fans of Sarina Bowen for years, I am a new reader. This is my third Sarina Bowen book and I now understand the fan love. Her books are adorable with a mix of tender moments, witty banter, sexy men and stories that just flat-out make you feel good.

Bittersweet was the story of Griffin, a grumpy yet very sexy Vermont farmer and Audrey, a reluctant yet driven intern for a restaurant management firm in Boston. They had a shared intimate past in college but haven’t seen each other in years. When Audrey is sent on the road for her job to purchase fresh produce and they run into each other again. What follows is a really cute story of love and family.

I had a great time reading about Griffin and the workings of  the farm. I loved his devoted family and loved how easily Audrey fit in to it all. I loved her strength and her drive and I loved the fire that came out in both of them when they got together. 

“There was nothing I wouldn’t have given her at that moment. Skin to Skin with her was the only place I wanted to be.”

Holy cannoli. I was cuddling the world’s grumpiest farmer. 

When I read, I look for books that make me feel deeply. I want my heart to swell with love right along side the characters. I want to cry with them, get angry with them and even get excited with them. While I truly enjoyed Bittersweet, some of those deep feelings were missing. I wanted a slower build up to Griffin and Audrey’s relationship in the beginning, more or push and pull of feelings. And at the end I wanted more tension and more angst. I would have loved an epilogue. 

With that all said I will definitely continue on with the series. The story was cute, the characters were fun, even when grumpy. There were some very intriguing secondary characters that I want to know more about. Both Jude and Zach have a lot of potential and I am eager for their stories.

“I love you, princess. You’re the sweet that balances out my natural tannins.”

natalie

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About the Author

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Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.

Her Ivy Years and Brooklyn Bruisers books are hockey romance novels. These two connected series began breaking hearts in 2014 with The Year We Fell Down. See http://www.sarinabowen.com for updates.

HIM and US are the bestselling, hockey LGBT novels co-written with Elle Kennedy. HIM is also a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award.

For lovers of angsty snowboarders, Sarina also writes the Gravity series, featuring snow sports heroes.

Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, six chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

She would be honored to connect with you at http://www.sarinabowen.com.

 

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