Bittersweet (True North, #1) by Sarina Bowen
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 293
Format: e-ARC
Source: the publicist

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.

**Note:  This book was provided to The Book Hookup by the author but that did not in any way influence this review!

A great start to what I know will be another fantastic series by Sarina Bowen!  As always, the writing was wonderful and the plot was interesting and just a little different than what I’ve been reading lately.  This story packed a punch when it came to characters with chemistry!  Griffin and Audrey meet again, many years after having a couple of short, but hot, encounters in college.  Neither expected to ever run into the other and they soon discover that the attraction they felt in the past hasn’t diminished at all.  But, as is true in life, each of them now has responsibilities that make reconnecting more difficult.

Griff is grumpy…well, at least that’s how the outside world seems to see him.  In reality, he’s carrying a heavy load as he tries to make his family farm a success and put his siblings through school.  He has no time for romance, no desire to take on responsibility for anyone else, and certainly doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s happiness.  However, when Audrey comes back into his life he begins to realize that he is definitely lonely…and he sees that his feelings for her never really died.  Audrey hasn’t been very successful at school or in life.  However, she found her calling as a chef and is now trying to do whatever she can to make her dreams of owning her own restaurant a reality.  It’s because of her (rather unethical) boss that she finds herself at Griff’s farm and, eventually, in his arms.  These two didn’t expect to find each other again…but the chemistry they share is intense and I, for one, am very happy that their worlds collided once again!

Ms. Bowen can always be counted on to create characters who tug at your heartstrings and make you love them.  This book is no exception.  I loved Griff’s tough exterior and soft, sweet heart, and I liked Audrey’s sass!  The secondary characters were great as well and I am happy that we will see one of them as the lead in the second book of this series.  The farm setting was unique and made me realize how hard our farmers work!  I enjoyed seeing Griff’s passion for making cider as well and may have been tempted to go out and pick up some!

Ms. Bowen has quickly become a go-to author for me.  If you haven’t read any of her books, then I suggest you remedy that right away.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed!!  The worlds she creates and the characters she introduces the readers to are always well developed and interesting.  I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next!!

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