by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #3
Publication Date: October 25th 2016 by Rennie Road Books
Goodreads | Amazon
There's a first time for everything.
Lark Wainright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.
When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.
Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.
Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.
Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When I read Bittersweet, I knew I needed Zach’s story ASAP! He’s such a quiet guy and I wanted to know more about him. Well, he was raised in a religious cult where he broke the rules and for that, he fled. He was already questioning everything about the cult so this was the perfect opportunity to leave. Fortunately, he ended up at the Abrahams family, which is a married couple who had also belonged to a cult and escaped. They suggest Zach gets a job with Griff and that’s where’s been all this time.
Zach wasn’t just a guy I happened to be attracted to. He was special. Zach was a better person than… well, just about anybody. He ought to be handled with care.
Lark used to love adventure. She even traveled to Guatemala to help out the non-profit organization she worked for. It is there that something happens that changes Lark completely. When given the opportunity to escape to Vermont, Lark takes the chance and ends up at the Shipley farm, where Zach works.
Zach was more than I could imagine! He’s so shy and quiet, but the way he takes care of Lark was amazing. He started to let go of his own fears in order to care for her. I felt so deeply for Lark. She’s a really great woman and I wish she hadn’t gone through what she did. Despite being/feeling vulnerable, Lark is still a strong woman.
I’m all for slow-burn romance and this had one of the best ones yet. Lark and Zach together were magnificent. I couldn’t have asked for a better couple for this story. I totally believed their swoon-worthy and caring romance. They are so good for one another and help each other out with their fears.
Overall, Keepsake is a wonderful story about healing and forgiving, with a beautiful romance that will have readers falling in love with.
by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: June 14th 2016 by Rennie Road Books
Goodreads | Amazon
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.
Bittersweet is the first book I read from Sarina Bowen and I don’t know why it took me so long to get into her books! I was missing out on a lot! Sarina’s writing transported me to Vermont and I could see myself being at the farm with all of the characters.
The familial feeling the story has had my heart melting. Besides them being coworkers at the farm, they are really close to each other and it shows. I love when a story gives that sense of closeness among the characters because they have someone to count on no matter what, even if they aren’t blood-related. Also, the scenery was spectacular! I definitely need to take a trip to Vermont.
The organic farming details and the cooking recipes! I loved learning the process that goes into organic farming and how complex and time consuming it really is. I wish there was an organic farm near me. I would visit it all the time for sure! Another thing I loved were Audrey’s recipes or at least the details of each ingredient. The way the author conveyed Audrey’s enthusiasm for cooking and her recipes shows that Sarina did her homework. Not only that, I was savoring all the flavors! My mouth would water every time cooking talk would happen.
I loved Audrey and Griff! Their tension started immediately when they met, but the thing is, they had “known” each other already—they had an encounter at a party a few years ago. Seeing them battle their emotions and trying to stay away was really entertaining. Griffin is kind of this tough guy, not wanting to let anyone close. For Audrey, she feels like she’s just a fling to Griff, and neither sees how they could possibly make things work between them since she lives in Boston and Griff has his responsibilities at the farm in Vermont.
Overall, Bittersweet was a great read for me. I loved the characters and the farming aspect to it.
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