Raspberries and Vinegar

Raspberries and Vinegar

by Valerie Comer


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WINNER: The Word Award for Best Contemporary Romance of 2013

Sweet like Raspberries. Tart like Vinegar.

Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can't handle? And surely there's something sweet beneath all that tart.

Raspberries and Vinegar is the first 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.

A contemporary Christian romance novel, Raspberries and Vinegar crosses genres into farm lit. Readers consistently comment on the uniqueness and creativity of the blend. It's an Amazon bestseller in Christian women's fiction.

"Valerie Comer's voice has definitely been missing in the Christian fiction market."

*~* EXCERPT *~*

Jo straightened her back, pasted on a smile, and consulted her clipboard. Ellie, at the desk, had informed her the resident of Room 224 lived in the present, at least some days. She tapped the door lightly and nudged it open. "Hello, Mrs. Humbert?"

An old woman, white hair floating around her face like a halo, sat in her wheelchair by a small table. A man swiveled at the intrusion from his seat facing the window. Jo caught her breath. Zach?

"Please come in, my dear." The old lady peered at her through rheumy eyes. "Do I know you?"

Jo closed the space. She could block Zach from her thoughts. This was her job. She took the soft white hand in hers. "I'm Josephine Shaw, the facility's new nutritionist, and I'm here to talk to you about food."

Zach chuckled. "Be careful, Grandma. She'll toss your stash of candies in the garbage."

Thanks a lot, buster. Jo shot a glare at Zach. Just her luck he felt the need to interfere on his grandmother's behalf. Jo turned her back on him and tried for a light tone. "Unless you have any fair-trade organic dark chocolate in there. That stuff is hard for me to resist."

Mrs. Humbert's poufy hair shimmered as she shook her head. "Now that's something I don't have, but John can pick some up for us if you like." She patted Jo's hand. "Then I can bribe you to be nice to me."

John? Jo shot a questioning look at Zach, but he just lifted a shoulder and shook his head. She squeezed the old lady's hand. "I don't need bribing." Not with anyone who needed help, and the fact that this was Zach's grandmother clinched the deal. "It's my job to make sure you're getting the best possible nutrition, though, so let's keep those empty calorie snacks at a minimum, shall we?"

Zach laughed.

If it hadn't been directed at her, Jo might have enjoyed the deep, full sound. But no. It was at her expense. She gritted her teeth and swiveled to face him. "May I ask what's so funny?"

He waved a hand. "Really, does it matter? Why make big changes? Let these folks enjoy the remainder of their days and eat what they like. It's not like a diet change is going to make that much of a difference."

She narrowed her eyes. "It's my job. I've been hired to improve the menu." Zach leaned back in the chair and ran his gaze down and up her. Not, sadly, in a romantic way. More like an intimidation attempt.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780984781638
Publisher: Choose NOW Ministries
Publication date: 07/31/2013
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance with a farm lit flair. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

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Raspberries And Vinegar 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
This could have been a real favorite of mine with its connection of sustainable living to some Christian ideologies mentioned throughout the story. Unfortunately, however, it will not be so. I truly agree with many of the sentiments throughout the book regarding sustainable farming and although I have only taken very small baby steps in that direction, I would love to live as these three girls are setting out to do (which is why it got 3 stars). I do not, however, agree with Josephine’s presentation of their ideas. We would not have been friends, despite our shared ideals. I assume (from the book’s discussion questions) that the author meant her to be annoying, just so she’s more of an opposite personality to Zach. I understand the reasoning, but the method doesn’t seem to lend itself to convincing anyone else of their beliefs. I also didn’t like the plot twist near the end. I stopped reading Nicholas Sparks for almost 7 years because of his tendency to do things like that in his books, and I normally wouldn’t hesitate do it with other authors either. Despite these things, I would probably continue this series to see where the plans for the farm are taken, and learn what I can from their relationship of Christianity to sustainable living. I would also like to see if Josephine evolves as a character and to see if the twist turns into what I think it will. The book was a decent beginning to the series, if you can overlook some of the character attributes. The actual ideas presented are more than worth reading about and researching if you’re interested in things like that, just try to ignore the overbearing and downright condescending way some of them come across. Rating: 3 HEAT Rating: sweet Reviewed By: Daysie W. Review Courtesy of: My Book Addiction and More
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters and questions about faith and following God's will in situations everyone can relate to. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once you pick it up you won't put it down, because it will have you on pins and needles to see what happens next in the relationship with this bunch. It is a clean, fun, entertaining, book. I will definitely will have to try the recipe at the end of the book. Can't wait to start the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first book by this author, and what a wonderful read it turned out to be! It will hold your interest, while taking you on a roller coaster ride with your emotions.
Christine_Lindsay More than 1 year ago
Raspberries and Vinegar--a farm fresh romance by Valerie Comer is a hoot of a gentle Christian romance. If you like a wholesome, sweet romance, that will make you chuckle, then I highly recommend this book. I use the word wholesome tongue-in-cheek, because the main character, Josephine Shaw, is a nutritionist who takes organic, healthy food seriously, as well as her faith and her desire to take care of the environment. So when Jo finds herself attracted to Zach Nemesek, who is a self-admitted junk-food addict, she doesn't think there's a hope for the two of them, especially when he seems more interested in her extremely pretty best friend. I thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary farming story. Being a reader who enjoys good food, and the beauties of farming country, gardening, canning, quilting, then this debut novel by Valerie Comer is a real delight. I look forward to this author's next book.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Uniquely Creative & Very Enjoyable! Three recent college graduates set out to change the world! Environmental purists, they purchased property in northern Idaho with plans to live a sustainable lifestyle. Unhindered by husbands or children the young women forge ahead only to discover their temporary home to be an old, filthy, mouse-infested, and dilapidated mobile home. The one benefit is indoor plumbing! Jo is convinced that the three of them can make a go of it and prove to the community that they can make a difference. The talk of the town is that they're a bit on the crazy side. A young veterinarian, Zach grew up on the farm next door to the property which formerly belonged to his grandmother, and he has no use for what the girls have planned. Fast food and a sporty car are what sustain this guy! His goals are to land a position as veterinarian in a city practice, living the good life and making big bucks! Unfortunately his puppy finds the girls enchanting, and routinely escapes his dog run to spend time with Jo and her roommates. Jo sees Zach as an attractive guy who makes her heart beat a little faster, but his lifestyle and lack of respect for the environment OR his diet set Jo's teeth on edge. The plot thickens, and numerous events create laughter, tears and hope for a better tomorrow with a little help from above. Valerie Comer has created a remarkably unique, creative and very entertaining book in the Christian fiction sub-genre labeled "farm lit." This isn't any ordinary Christian romance. It's an environmentally friendly experience! Based on sustainable living and being friendly to the environment, this book is so much more than I expected. There is humor, romance, tragedy and an underlying Christian foundation that appeals to a wide variety of readers. The author has created an atmosphere of authenticity and honesty that evokes an abundance of emotions. I highly recommend this book if you're up for a belly laugh, a good cry, and a feel-good sense of entertainment. I look forward to the sequels to this book. I can hardly wait to see what Valerie has up her sleeve in the next installments in this creative series. Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
TSue22 More than 1 year ago
Sassy and sweet, this romantic story will charm it’s way into your heart. Josephine moves to the country with her friends to pursue a simpler life, not expecting to meet a young man who sparks her interest, but has his sights set on returning to the city. Despite misunderstandings and differences, love blossoms and overcomes life’s barriers.  Many readers will relate to Josephine’s insecurities and inner turmoil as she struggles with doubts about her feelings, self worth and life path. As the lives of several characters unfold we see the reward of choosing a life consistent with God’s will, starkly contrasted to a life lived apart from Him and the consequences of choices made accordingly.  Until I read this book, I’d never heard of “farmlit,” and didn’t know what to expect. Romantic, fun, with refreshing values, and small town atmosphere, readers will enjoy this romp on the farm! 
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
I found Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer to be incredibly funny, but also enlightening. There were a few moments when tears coursed down my cheeks, but I smiled through most of the book. Domino stole my heart from the very beginning. Valerie did an excellent job, and I wish it were still raspberry season here in the south so I could try the raspberry vinegar recipe that she included at the back of the book. I look forward to her next installment in the Farm Fresh Romance series. ***I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of review. The above is my honest opinion.***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a good book. It has been a while since I have read a book that I didnt want to stop reading. It is a definate page turner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet, contemporary Christian romance. When I started this book I thought it was a bit too preachy-- not just about faith, but about sustainable living. But then I realized that I do appreciate sustainable living, so why not enjoy characters who are trying to live that message out? This fictional town had very realistic characters and issues in it. I look forward to reading more in the series. (This review first appeared on goodreads)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't mind the Christian point of view - I am one - but the Green Police point of view is pretty heavy handed. I don't know, maybe it gets better. But I put it down after a few chapters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant wait to read more from this author.
19269684 More than 1 year ago
I used to read romance novels, adult and YA alike when I was in my early to mid-teens. It wasn't until I'd reached fifteen that I found sci-fi and horror a great fascination. Honestly, this is my second romance of 2015 but my first, ever Christian romance novel. and I loved it! Raspberries and Vinegar is about Jo and her two girlfriends who want to return to a natural, spiritual lifestyle. Jo loves the country and carries strong environmental beliefs due to her knowing God would want her to appreciate all He's given. All she's wanted with said life was a man who felt the same way. Zach is tired of the country living, caring for bovine with a heart that yearns to be a vet in the city. He's also looking for an opportunity to leave his broken heart behind but there's something in Jo Shaw that makes his heart hitch every time he sees her. When Jo and the girls purchase land from the Nemesek's, Zach's parents, they think they're devoted to one another and lives with God as their only man. But when Jo falls for Hot and Handsome Zach, she fights against her heart strings for the want of a possible husband. Zach also fights but the feistiness and beauty of the short, brown-eyed nature lover won't leave him be... For more on this book review, please visit http://tinyurl.com/ofkg2j9
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LizD1 More than 1 year ago
Raspberries and Vinegar ( A Farm Fresh Romance-Book One ) By: Valerie Comer Raspberries and Vinegar is the first book in A Farm Fresh Romance series. I really enjoyed it and Valerie Comer brings her story and characters alive, you feel like you are right there with them. I laughed and also felt tears rolling down my face at times. Three college students bought a unique small farm in Northern Idaho. They want to make a difference in the Fresh Food Movement. Run down trailer which is infected with mice and a handsome neighbor who is a Vet, Zach , who lives next door with his grandmother. He has high plans of moving from this farming town to the big city and start his Vet business. Jo is a woman who can do anything she sets her mind to do. Now Jo and Zach are as different as day and night, but there is sparks that start to fly. Yes there is clean romance in this story . I also love the way Ms. Comer runs the faith thread throughout the story. Will these students change the minds of these farmers, and will they make a difference in this farming town. I love the start of this series and plan on reading the others and more about these college students and their unique Farm Fresh Movement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute story line but not sustainable I didn't mind the religious talk I did however minds found offensive all the preaching about sharing and living on smaller spaces Who is this author to tell us how to live because that's her vision for her? God wants us all to be prosperous in every way if he grants prosperity then it should be accepted mega mansions yachts parties jewelry and all God made riches for us to enjoy nit have some nit picking righteous socialist pull from one to give to another Skip it and eat a granola bar instead while you relax with a glass of wine in a bubble bath I worked hard for my blessings I don't care to have some socialist take them away from me or others
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was free -
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. Valerie Comer brings her character to life. You'll enjoy this fun, light hearted story. The best part is you will will find yourself lsughing along the way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Main character wasnt even likeable. Her constant snits and condescension ruined story line...would not recommend and hope author creates some decent characters if she writes again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Hard to put down. True to life characters draws you . Sometimes we think we know best what s good for us.Thankfully we have a heavenly Father thats cares for us and helps us through