Release Day Review: Keepsake (True North #3) by Sarina Bowen

Posted October 25, 2016 by bookstobreathe in Book Review, New Release / 0 Comments

Release Day Review: Keepsake (True North #3) by Sarina BowenTitle: Keepsake
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #3
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Genre: Erotic Romance, New Adult
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Purchase: iTunes
Purchase: Kobo
There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright 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.


Title: Keepsake

Series: True North #3

Genre: New Adult Erotic Romance

Author: Sarina Bowen

Release Date: October 25, 2016




After I got my turn in the bathroom, I found Zach propped up against the headboard, his nose in his book. I walked around and got in on the other side. There was no lamp on my side, so reading beside him wasn’t going to work. But I was tired, and didn’t care.

When I settled in beside him, he closed the book, letting it rest against his chest. “I don’t want it to end.”

“Hear you.” I hooked my feet around his. “Nobody ever does.”

“I read the first two at school when I was a kid. My fifth grade teacher kept it on a shelf for me, because she knew I couldn’t take it home.”


He shook his head. “We didn’t have books, except for the bible. And there was a book about the founder of, um, our church. But the rest were forbidden. Harry Potter would never have been allowed. Because witchcraft is the work of the devil.”

“Yikes. Really?”

He nodded, his eyes dancing. “In fact, the Harry Potter craze was one of the things that made the elders decide to pull us all from the school district. Kids came home on the bus asking for all kinds of things they disapproved of. So after sixth grade I was homeschooled.” He used air quotes around the word. “That just meant free labor for the ranch after a couple hours of bible study in the morning. So it was eight or nine years until I could read the rest of the series. J.K. Rowling was kind enough to finish writing it in the meantime.”

“That’s a nice way to look at it.”

Zach ran a hand over the cover. “When I was a kid I felt sorry for Harry in his cupboard under the stairs.”

“Yeah. That’s how she wants you to feel when you read it. She’s great at establishing empathy.”

“Sure. It’s funny—I thought I was better off than Harry. It took me a long time to realize that at least Aunt Petunia and whats-his-name were at least honest about not wanting Harry. When I read the first book I thought they were the height of evil. Took me a few years to realize how many of the boys I knew would be tossed away.”

“Like you,” I whispered. He shrugged, but the casual gesture didn’t fool me. “They’re idiots, Zach. Dumber than the Dursleys.”

His eyes held mine for a long moment. Then he tossed the book off his chest, smiled, rolled, and kissed me.


My Review

Agh!!!! This book was so beautiful. As always, Bowen produces characters that even through all their flaws, hang-ups, and differences end up being absolutely perfect for each other. She builds you up, breaks your heart, and leaves you breathless, all the while begging for the mind-numbing pain. I loved the vulnerability that bled from both Lark and Zack, but especially from him. Honest to a fault, he couldn’t hide from his emotions if he tried and it only served to make me love him all the more. I’ve been wondering about Zach’s story ever since we met him in Griff and Audrey’s book and Keepsake allowed me to fall in love with him more than I thought was possible. There was an innocence about him that you felt as if you were learning the world right alongside him.

The connection that grew between Zach and Lark was gradual and felt so naturally progressive. I loved that they weren’t thrown together instantly but rather had a chance to heal each other as time passed. My heart bled for what each of them had been through and still were going through. But each time he crawled into her bed and soothed her nightmares, more of my heart would mend piece by piece. Seriously, I couldn’t love these two more if I tried. And I love how even though we got our HEA, the road there wasn’t typical nor easy. These two had to fight for each other, against themselves, and I feel like they came out on the other side stronger for it. There was a pureness about them and I already want to read their story again.

I originally thought this book would see the end of the series, but after the little nugget we were left with in the epilogue, it has me wondering. Though there’s been no mention I’ve seen, I have a feeling we’ll either be seeing more books in this series or maybe even a spin-off series. Between Zara, Kyle, Kiernan, May, Dylan and Daphne, there are endless possibilities! All I know for sure is that I’ll be in line for every single one of them, no matter how long the wait. There is something so unique about this series that you just don’t see every day. There never seems to be an overload of drama and the characters are so down to earth. They are honest and homey and everything you would want in your life. There is a sense of unity and family that you don’t read often, but when you do it attaches to your heart and clings forever. I simply can’t get enough!


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.)


Bittersweet (True North #1)

Amazon US


Farmers make the earth move.

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.

Warning: Contains sexual situations, gourmet yumminess, a steamy outdoor shower and proof that farmers don’t mind getting dirty.

Steadfast (True North #2)

Amazon US | My Review


She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there’s no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

Sophie Haines is stunned by his reappearance. After a three year absence, the man who killed her brother and broke her heart is suddenly everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never volunteer in the church kitchen.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie’s police chief father. But it’s a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont’s Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.)

Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

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