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: Kristin F
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.
Blurb summarizes the premise well enough so I won’t rehash.
This was a very middle of the road read for me. The first two thirds of the book was the relationship dance, with both men struggling emotionally to identify what they are feeling and rejecting those feelings on the basis that they aren’t worthy. The last one third of the book was post-breakup dramatics and the heart to heart talking that should have been happening in the first part.
This is a hurt/comfort/healing book. The two main characters are both dealing with personal issues – Griff was injured in a training injury that killed his best friend and spiraled into depression, drinking and gambling. Dane was a former male supermodel and unable to cope with the passing of his mother, struggled with an eating disorder that he still fights. Poor self-esteem, lots of self-deprecation, emotional scars and issues. For myself, had it been one person, I might have been able to tolerate the emotional turmoil, but for two? It didn’t work for me and I struggled to stay engaged.
I’ll be blunt – both characters were trying to sabotage the relationship before it even starts – this was like watching a car wreck in slow motion because the foreshadowing was so heavy, it was a matter of when, not if. There was so much negative self talk that again, I struggled to stay engaged.
ALL the heart to heart and emotional growth happens in the last third of the book. By this time I lost my ability to empathize with either character.
What I DID like about this story was opposites attract. Men from two totally different worlds finding they have so much in common. I enjoyed watching first impressions and assumptions being broken down and proven wrong. I enjoyed the Alaskan setting quite a bit – life with float planes, the remoteness, planning ahead to get supplies. So there was some positivity that kept me engaged.
As with any book, some folks are going to be able connect with the themes presented. I might have been better able to empathize if it had been one character and not both struggling with recovery issues. If you like strong hurt/comfort/healing books, then this may be for you.