Book Recommendation: Wild Mint Tea by Valerie Comer

Wild Mint Tea

Back cover blurb:

She’s rooted deep. He flies free.

Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.

Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime? Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings…and digging in some roots. If he dares.

Wild Mint Tea is the second novel in the Farm Fresh Romance series which sees three young women purchase an old farm in northern Idaho together with the purpose of growing their own food and proving to those around them that they can make a difference. It is a story of living sustainably on the land and focusing on real, local food from a Christian point-of-view. It doesn’t pad the issues nor preach about them, but allows the characters the freedom to grapple with environmentalism as believers.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Wild Mint Tea. Claire and her friends, Sierra and Jo, are working hard to create their dream of sustainable living on their farm. Claire dislikes her job at a restaurant in town and applies for a high paying short term cook position with Noel’s reforestation company. Sparks fly when Claire and Noel meet at the job interview.

Despite Claire’s excellent credentials, including her previous chef position at a top Seattle restaurant, Noel overlooks Claire for the job. Feeling bad when he calls her to break the news, he learns she’s building a wedding business at the farm and recommends the venue to his sister.

Noel and Claire are thrown together when his sister plans her wedding at Green Acres Farm, which happens to be located near his short term work camp in the mountains. Claire can’t imagine life away from Green Acres. Noel loves travelling and exploring the world. I was impressed to learn he has ridden horses in the Snowy Mountains in Australia. But, despite his attraction and growing feelings for Claire, he can’t see himself settling down in one place.

I loved the authenticity of the characters and I understood why they held certain beliefs and ideas. I enjoyed reading Raspberries and Vinegar (Jo and Zach’s story) which provided helpful background for this story. The stories can be read as stand alone novels. Personally, I prefer to read series books in order because I can gain extra insights into the characters from the previous books.

Noel has ignored his childhood upbringing in the church for years, and he is challenged by Claire’s strong faith. Claire struggles with her attraction to a man who isn’t walking close with the Lord. The story is fun, engaging, and deals with real issues in a contemporary setting. I highly recommend Wild Mint Tea to readers who are looking for an exciting and inspiring contemporary romance.

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Book Recommendation: Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer

Raspberries and Vinegar

Back Cover blurb:

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, in RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR Josephine Shaw and her two friends renovate a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. However, transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by neighbor Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Raspberries and Vinegar. Jo and Zach are fascinating characters who are drawn to each other despite having different life philosophies. Jo and her friends, Claire and Sierra, are intent on ‘practicing what they preach’ by creating a sustainable living farm. Their beliefs regarding sustainable living and decreasing their carbon footprint have a Biblical foundation. The girls are prepared to make sacrifices, including temporarily living in a rundown caravan with an ongoing mice problem, to fulfill their dream of creating a sustainable farm. They also strive to engage the local community in learning about how they can live in a more sustainable way.

Zach enjoys the culture and convenience of city living. He grew up on the farm next door to Jo and the girls, and is he is only back in town  temporarily to help his mother while his father recovers from a serious illness. At the start of the story Zach can’t understand why Jo and her friends are determined to create a new life on the farm.    

Sparks fly whenever Jo and Zach are together, and an adorable pup called Domino creates a lot of mischief in the story. Raspberries and Vinegar is a fun romance that addresses important issues without being preachy. The story is contemporary and touches on issues that are relevant to twenty-somethings in today’s society. Both Jo and Zach experience character growth during the story and the plot twists kept me turning the page to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this book to those looking for an exciting and inspiring contemporary romance.

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