Review: ‘Arctic Wild’ by Annabeth Albert

43263021Published June 3rd 2019

Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.

Just his luck.

But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.

As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.

Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.

As always, it was a joy to read Annabeth Albert’s latest offering. Arctic Wild is the second in the series after Arctic Sun, and where Arctic Sun had a lot of moments that were hard to read, that really hollowed you out and hurt you, Arctic Wild wasn’t quite so intense but still just as beautiful.

Reuben is a real silver fox (or silver bear as Toby likes to call him), smooth and sophisticated, his career has hardened him to a point where “fun” isn’t really on his radar. He’s got stresses and pressures and he ends up on a holiday on his own just to prove a point. He’s hardly thrilled to be there. Which isn’t Toby’s favourite kind of customer.

Toby has stresses and pressures of his own, supporting his younger sisters through education and his father through his failing body. He’s relied on for so much, so he has to put up with the grumpy, slick lawyer for the sake of his pay-cheque. Then suddenly the one thing he can count on, his ability to fly and provide for his family, is stripped away from him as he and Reuben fall from the sky.

He and Reuben have to save each other in more ways than one, surviving the crash is only the beginning. Toby shows Reuben that work isn’t everything, happiness doesn’t have to come from wealth and success, it can come from spending quality time with your family and appreciating the beauty of the world around you. Reuben shows Toby that he doesn’t have to shoulder every burden, it’s ok to share the weight and let go of some of the control, to let yourself have some freedom.

Reuben may be older than Toby, but Toby’s had to live a lot of life in fewer years – together they find a way to recapture the youth they’ve both lost along the way. This is a gorgeous story of two men learning from each other and finding out that “home” means more than they ever knew.

4.5/5 stars

Review: ‘Arctic Sun’ by Annabeth Albert

42354665Published April 1st 2019
384 pages

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 super hot 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.

Oh man. This book. I’ve got so many damn feelings about this book. I will read every word Annabeth Albert ever writes, and that is impossibly even more true after reading Arctic Sun. This felt like a slightly new direction for her. It was as beautifully written as ever, but there was something more intense about this book that I feel like I haven’t read from her before.

The whole story, but especially the first half of the book is very gently paced. Two men meet in the gorgeous surroundings the Alaskan wilderness, and it’s definitely on the slow-burn side of things when it comes to their romance. There’s chemistry from the start, but that goes along with a lot of avoidance and frustration and denial, and it feels like a very natural journey for these two very different people to take.

They’ve both got their demons, rather dark ones that infiltrate their minds quite a lot, and there’s a few parts of this story that I found really difficult to read. Mostly figuratively as all the emotions beat me up from every angle, but also literally at times as I could barely see my Kindle screen through the tears pouring down my face!

Both Griffin and River have weights on their shoulders, and the way they think about themselves is a tough thing to digest when from an outsider’s perspective it’s easy to see all the good in their hearts. But as rough a journey as it was for them, Annabeth guides them gracefully to a place where they can help build each other up and find somewhere safe to grow together.

This book went to new places I’ve never been with Annabeth Albert before, but I’d trust her to take me anywhere she wants to go. Her writing will always be right up there with my favourites, and I just know that this new series is going to be an adventure.

4.5/5 stars