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.
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher
Because Annabeth Albert’s books are an auto-read for me, I went into Arctic Sun without much knowledge of the book, other than it was set in Alaska. I’ll confess, I do this a lot because it helps me get a feel, as a reviewer, for the pacing of the book. When I become impatient for basic backstory in a character, usually it’s because the pacing is revealing things unevenly or too slowly. Unfortunately, this was the case with Arctic Sun.
First, though, the good things, because there were many. Albert paints a beautiful picture of Alaska. The setting of this story shines and creates a beautiful backdrop for the characters. As Griff’s tour group goes deeper into Alaska, I felt like the unfolding scenery became a sort of intimacy that cushioned the burgeoning intimacy between the characters really well. In fact, the scenery does a lot of the work through the middle of the story.
I really felt connected with River. It really felt like a privilege to sit in his point of view. Many times, it was joyful, because River does take a lot of happiness from learning, from going new places, from letting himself be as a part of his recovery. As someone who has had a disordered relationship with food, there were definitely things about his story that resonated with me. There were times when I really wanted to sit him down and talk to him about his recovery. Without spoilers, I will say that the author did a good job building toward events in the latter parts of the book.
I had a harder time with Griff. He’s a very closed off character, and I think there’s a fine balancing act that needs to be done with characters like this. You want to show how closed off they are, rather than telling. But you still want to let the reader in enough to feel like they understand what’s happening inside the character. There was a quality to Griff that always left me feeling like I was an arm’s length away from him at all times, and that made it harder for me to connect with the love/intimacy aspect of his relationship with River.
While Albert did an excellent job handling his fears about Griff’s recovery, I think part of that pacing problem I felt in this book comes from feeling like we just weren’t getting *enough*. I don’t mean nitty-gritty details. But this book is tackling some huge issues (eating disorders AND addiction) and I’m simply not sure there was enough room in this book to tackled those and a love story. Somehow this made the book feel like it lagged and was weighed down through the first half or so.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book to those who are able to read a book with the themes in this one. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. I really wanted to know more about the side characters and I loved the cast and setting. I always trust Albert is going to tell a story I will enjoy, and Arctic Sun was no exception.
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Pansexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Review Tag: Age-Gap Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: Forced Proximity Tag: Hurt/Comfort Tag: Military / Uniform Tag: Part of a series Annabeth Albert Arctic Sun Frozen Hearts series
Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for Queer Books Unbound. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary queer romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in May of 2018. Shadows you Left, a co-written novel with Taylor Brooke will arrive spring of 2019 from Entangled Press.