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Title: Bittersweet

Author: Sarina Bowen

Series: True North Book One

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 14th June, 2016


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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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Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse at KFF

Apples! Bitter, sweet, juicy or crispy apples that come in all colours, shapes and sizes. After reading this story which we understand is the first in a new series, we not only had a much better understanding of the harvesting of this fruit, but also the ins and outs of organic farming, marketing and the art of perfecting the fermentation for a sparkling cider. And quite honestly, this was just one of the reasons our mouths were left watering. Mouth-watering, you may ask! Well, you have yet to meet the gorgeous if not a little grumpy guy who puts his heart and soul into the love of his orchards and more besides to appreciate why he gave up everything to be where he is now. Ms Bowen’s enthusiasm to explain to the reader how Griffin achieves this flawless beverage didn’t distract us in the slightest though. Discovering how he ticks when under pressure was an absolute pleasure and at times, a few nail-biting moments had us a tad worried.

“Holy cannoli. I was cuddling world’s grumpiest farmer.”

Griffin is trying his utmost to keep the family farm a viable business operation which is the only income his mother and siblings have. Failure is not an option! Every complication is thrown at this adorable guy but regardless of his years, he has his head well screwed on. Audrey doesn’t just walk into his life; she drives into it; literally! What we loved more than anything was the humour mixed with a good dose of angst. Angst being the ulterior word since this young woman has a job to do and she’s being short-changed more ways than one. She has to sell her soul to be able to keep her bosses happy and if there was ever a ‘raw deal’, this poor girl has it.

“I don’t like your employer, princess. Never said I didn’t like you.”

Audrey Kidder’s not daft and although trying to please everyone is going to test her patience, she slogs on in the hope that what was dangled in front of her nose by the company she works for, eventually blossoms… pun intended! She’s a dab hand in the kitchen. So much so that we even learnt a delicious recipe or two. Hers is a complicated story that took us on a cuisine ride of flavours; favours…she couldn’t count them on one hand. Hard work and perseverance is her motto. Strong-minded, totally dependent on no one, our heart went out to her since she’d never had that one person she wanted most in her life to back her up. Sad, but true. We shouted out aloud when the unimaginable happened, but after so many years trying to impress, events began to fall into place and we breathed a sigh of relief.

“Hello, square one? I’m back.”

Griffin is hard working, responsible to a fault, a natural born leader and there’s so much more to him than meets the eye. He calls a spade a spade and not one for taking risks which is kinda weird considering his crops are of such a delicate nature. Always in his place with his peers, stroppy with reason, he has no time for city girls. He doesn’t trust a soul unless it’s his family and his workers; square, fair and all above board. No lies, no make beliefs. But he wasn’t planning on Audrey. Regardless of their business dealings, these two gorgeous guys spent a whole lot of time dilly-dallying around each other causing a slow build-up which eventually comes to boiling point.

“People say I’m nicer when you’re around. You know what I mean, right?”
“That you need to be getting it on the regular or you’re just a grumpy bear?”

Finding the status quo was the making of a truly fabulous read. Not only did we lap up his obsession with Star Wars and blinkin’ heck, does he know how to drive the lingo home, but their attraction for each other sizzles off the pages with such an incredible intensity leaving our tongues hanging out. Yeah, it’s thirsty work reading this book lol! We can’t put into words how much we loved the faith they both had on an intellectual level, too.

“Come back if you get lost. You know where to find me.”

This read will warm your heart like a warm glass of cider (no pun intended!). You’ll probably lose your patience, and you’ll most definitely fall head over heels for Griffin’s family. The character development, storyline, setting, scenery and plot is without a doubt, excellent. And to top the lot, we have a follow-up with one of the characters who we soon took to like duck to water. We’re not sure whether to say cheers or bravo to you Ms Bowen! Either way, thank you for such an entertaining read.

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



Steadfast and Keepsake in the True North Series coming this summer.

Meet Sarina

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 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

Follow Sarina

Why not get in touch with Sarina? She’d love to hear from you!





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