Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bittersweet (True North #1) [Griffin & Audrey] by Sarina Bowen

I'm a bit unsure of my feelings towards this one. Usually Sarina's books drag me under and I don't surface until I'm through. But this one was different, it took me a LONG time to get into the story and feel the connection between Audrey and Griffin. I was just sort of overwhelmed with the scenery and not in a good way, it actually GOT in the way. I've never been to Vermont (and probably never will..) but I got such a specific sense of the place and what it takes to be a farmer there (or maybe be a farmer in general though technically my family DID had a farm years and years ago). We get A LOT of details about what the farm in like, the work that needs to be done, the effort, not just physically but mentally, for a family to survive. While it did give this book a different kind of back story than I'm used to, it was also a  bit too much for me, at a certain point I wanted to get back to the STORY, and yet the farm was a part of that which couldn't be separated. At times I was a bit bored with it which made it difficult for me to be invested in the book. 

The story is told from both Audrey and Griffin's POV. They had a VERY different upbringing, and generally their whole life and the way they look at things couldn't be more mismatched. 

Audrey is a city rat, grew up in a rich environment, and yet it was a very cold one. Her mother is successful and hard working but she was never warm and loving towards her daughter, she was mostly disapproving of her failures.. two failed tries at college.. which brought her up to culinary school. She DID success in these studies but her mother highly disapproved. Yet becoming a chef in a restaurant with her own name is something Audrey is willing to work hard to get which is why she is working in a horrible company that might sponsor her dreams. 

Griffin on the other hand grew in on a farm with a loving and caring family. He might have had bigger plans while he was in college (playing football professionally) but after his father died he took the family business into his own hands, and now he runs it together with the help of his family members (mostly, there's Zach as well..). He has a close relationship with him mother and siblings and he sees himself as responsible for ALL of them. So basically he has no time for any personal dream.   

When Audrey and Griffin met in college they had a very short fling that ended before it even began and now when they meet again both being in a different state of mind there isn't really more than can expect from one another. Yet there is something THERE between them. Audrey brings the best out of grumpy Griffin who hasn't asked for something for himself for a LONG time. For Audrey having a man who sees her value (with am extra bonus of an amazing family) is also something she didn't see in her future. Thing is Audrey is working for the big-bad-company Griffin doesn't want anything to do with, and anyhow, Audrey will be leaving soon to pursue her big dreams in the city - 2.5 hours away - and since he is working constantly dealing with a long distance relationship is simply impossible. They both have their decisions to make.. Or rather they need to reconsider their priorities.

I liked both Griffin and Audrey and enjoyed seeing their relationship buildup. Also enjoyed seeing how Audrey little by little found her place with Griffin's family and not only that, in the small town Griffin lives in. Audrey it truly a "people's person", which couldn't be more different than grumpy Griffin :) He IS a really great guy, but he is more of an action kind of a guy. Griffins' family was really sweet, it was fun getting to see how close they are to one another with the inside jokes and the teasing. 

Really interested to read Jude's story which is the next one. Jude came to work in the farm the day Audrey came along on her business proposal, like her he soon became a part of the family. yeah everyone was worried about him being more than they need at the moment, meaning - trouble! since he just got out of jail and still dealing with his drug addiction but he surprised all of them, I think one specifically more than the others but I'll have to see if I'm right about that in the next installment ;)   

All in all it was a nice enough read, I was a bit disappointed of the pace or the part the farm work took in the overall story. I hope the next ones will be more story and less what I considered the background "noises". 

I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This book is out TODAY - 14th of June - and can be purchased through: 
Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google

Also, the first chapter was posted here: FIRST CHAPTER


Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 293 pages, 1-4 June 2016 / On GoodReads
True North is a New Adult / Contemporary Romance series by Sarina Bowen. It takes place in the beautiful Vermont where nature is always present. With Apple trees and exceptionally well made ciders. This series is really awesome! It brings something special and also personal from Sarina's "backyard" with interesting and complicated characters. Some older and some younger. All with unique stories with a very satisfying HEA. Sarina tackles a few difficult life situations in this one and she does it beautifully though frankly I don't expect any less from her. Superb series.  

* If the name Dave Beringer sounds familiar it's probably from another great series by Sarina - Brooklyn Bruisers. He plays for the team but finds his HEA someplace else ;) 

1. Bittersweet [Griffin Shipley & Audrey Kidder] (Published 14 June 2016) ★★★
2. Steadfast [Jude Nickel & Sophie Haines] (Published 12 July 2016) ★★★★★
3. Keepsake [Zachariah "Zach" Holtz & Lark Wainright] (Published 26 October 2016) ★★★★½ 
4. Bountiful [Zara Rossi & Dave Beringer*] (Published 20 October 2017) ★★★
5. Speakeasy [May Shipley & Alec Rossi] (Published 29 May 2018) ★★★
6. Fireworks [Benito Rossi & Skye Copeland] (Published 13 November 2018) ★★★★
7. Heartland [Dylan Shipley & Chastity Campbell] (Published 28 January 2020) ★★★
8. Waylaid [Daphne Shipley & Richard "Rickie" Ralls] (Published 20 July 2021) ★★★

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