Title: Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 1, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Hurt/Comfort/Healing
Page Count: 384 pages
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.
He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.
Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…
River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.
With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.
Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders.
Undoubtedly, the star of this book is the scenery. It’s almost like a third main character. The descriptions of Alaska and its people, and the varied, stunning landscape are breathtaking.
This book addresses serious issues like addiction and eating disorders. Griffin is an army veteran and a recovering alcoholic. River left modeling but still struggles with his body image and his eating disorder. It’s an ongoing battle for both characters but strangely, I didn’t find it overwhelming. On the contrary, it was handled very well and the characters definitely managed to bond over it.
The conflict comes not from these issues themselves, but from the way both men try to deal with them. River runs, he’s constantly in motion so he doesn’t have to face his demons. Griff stays put because roots and routine give him stability and strength to face his own troubles.
I loved the sense of family and community in this book. I loved the family that became a safety net for Griff and I loved the not so perfect family that found a way to come together for River. That said, I found that Griff’s mother was OTT. It’s one thing to be protective of your child, and a whole different thing to be rude to someone who comes near him. Her initial behavior towards River was uncalled for.
So there were things that I loved here but sadly, I didn’t love the most important thing; the romance. And since romance is the reason I read this genre, I can’t give a higher rating. I didn’t love Griff and River together, I didn’t feel their chemistry and I even got very bored at times. I pushed through and the ending was nice, but overall the romance was not something to write home about for me.
I usually like Annabeth Albert’s books, they fall into 4 star category for me so I’ll say that this was a fluke. I think I will continue with the series because the secondary characters seemed interesting enough.