Book Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

E-ARC: 348 pages
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Source of my copy: Nina Bocci
Series: True North #1
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.

Confession: Bittersweet is my first Sarina Bowen book. I have the entire Ivy Years series in my Kindle, but I just can't seem to find the time to pick them up. I'm definitely moving the Ivy Years books up on my TBR pile now because I need to read more books by Ms. Bowen. Bittersweet was fantastic! So entertaining and fun, sweetly romantic and steamy, but there were also moments that just tugged at my heart--it's the kind of new adult read I love.

First of all, I love Audrey. She's a character you can't help but love. She's full of energy, pluck, and determination--she has this bounce to her step and a vibrancy to her. But, Audrey, with all of her cheerfulness, had low self-esteem. She saw herself as a screw up who was only good at one thing, which was cooking. After getting kicked out of two universities and disappointing her wealthy mother who cut her off, she put herself through culinary school and is now interning for a restaurant company. Audrey's dream was to open her own restaurant, and she's hoping that her internship is her way to get her foot in the door. The company sent her to Vermont to convince local farmers to sell their produce to their restaurants. Griff, who was Audrey's former college hookup, was one of those farmers. 

Griff also had his own stuff to deal with. He became the patriarch of his family's farm after his father's untimely death. Running a farm is hard work and Griff has a lot on his plate. He doesn't need his former hookup poking around in his business. 

I just love Audrey and Griff together. Audrey is kind of the opposite of Griff, who is our grumpy, has-the-world-on-his-shoulders farmer, but they really balanced each other out and make each other better. They also have wonderful chemistry and when they finally come together **fans self** it was HOT! Like, get yourself some ice tea with extra ice cubes hot.

Another thing I really enjoyed about Bittersweet were the secondary characters, primarily Griff's family (his mom, siblings, and cousins) and Jude and Zach, who worked on farm. I love their big, crazy family and how they took Audrey in and made her feel so welcomed. Zach was this shy, sweet guy (hopefully he'll get his own book) and Jude was an ex-felon who's trying to make his life better (he's the hero in book 2 and I can't friggin' wait!). I also love getting an inside look on organic farming, cider making, and the all different types of apples--I even googled a few of the unusual apples that were mentioned just to see what they looked like. 

Bittersweet was just an awesome book and definitely worth picking up, especially if you like your romance on the lighter side but still want some steamy smexy times! The reason I didn't give it a full five star rating was because I thought there were some parts that dragged and others that felt too rushed. And even though I enjoyed it a whole, whole lot, it personally didn't quite blow me away like previous novels I've read of the same vein. However, Bittersweet is definitely a great introduction to Ms. Bowen. I am really excited to read her other published books now and I am definitely going to be picking up Steadfast, which is the second book (Jude's book) this series.

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