Title: Sunrise (Ashfall, #3)
Author: Mike Mullin
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Unfortunately, these 3 Stars feel generous. I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two installments in this trilogy, but this conclusion seemed to lack...direction. Sunrise begins with a series of intriguing plot points emerging, from Alex's assumption of power to his increasingly volatile relationship with his mother. Yet, these issues are only briefly touched upon, never explored to a deeper potential, rendering the first-half of this novel quite dull. A snooze fest, really, as Sunrise focuses on a community gradually being built in this post-apocalyptic world. Mullin's latest also fails to shine in the secondary character department. While these individuals played important roles in the past novel, their personalities are overshadowed by Darla's presence. It seems this is a recurring theme in most finales, lately, that important characters from Book 1 and Book 2 finally meet and their arcs converge in Book 3, only to have one group or the other eventually overtake the other, sadly.
Sunrise does, thankfully, pick up its pace and gain well-needed focus during its second-half, but not quite enough to make up for its slow start. Where this series continues to shine is in Darla and Alex's romance. It is a subtle, minor aspect to the trilogy but remains a driving force of equality and true love. Sunrise is certainly a satisfactory ending, but I wonder if this novel couldn't be condensed into a novella or, better yet, edited to gain more perspective. Both Ashfall and Ashen Winter made bold, provocative statements about humanity while Sunrise seemed to merely wrap up the loose threads regarding these beloved characters. If you haven't picked up this series yet, I'd suggest reading Ashfall and ending there too. It works brilliantly as a stand-alone (for the most part) and, frankly speaking, Mullin hasn't been able to compare since.
Title: Waiting on You (Blue Heron, #3)
Author: Kristan Higgins
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: March 25th, 2014
By now, it's no secret that I adore Kristan Higgins. While her covers scream "chick lit" and her writing is humorously effortless, the depth found within her love stories forced her books to transcend the stigma of mindless, cheesy "chick lit." While her latest, Waiting on You, is nowhere near as amusing, romantic, or steamy as the previous two installments in her Blue Heron Series, it is still perfectly satisfactory for a gloomy day and, as always, is guaranteed to put a smile on even the sternest of faces.
Waiting on You follows Colleen, the bright and sexy bartender we've come to love. You know, the one whose matchmaking skills are legendary, advice is freely given, and friendship is the stuff of legends. While confident, sassy Colleen seems as if she can take on the world, in reality, her heart is a mess. Lucas, her first - and only - true love, left her broken-hearted just years after high school and, somehow, Colleen still hasn't moved on. When Lucas breezes back into town, looking after his uncle, more like an adopted father, whose days are numbered, Colleen is surprised and, most importantly, already falling back in love. But, this time, she is determined that Lucas will not be the one to break her heart, even when that same heart is so traitorously beating just for him...
Higgins impeccably paces a timely reveal of the situation which tore Lucas and Colleen apart so many years ago. It is heartbreaking, naturally, but the sparks between these two have our hearts rooting for them, despite the myriad of obstacles in their way. Yet, while Higgins develops Lucas and Colleen's original relationship, relaying the sense of serenity they feel together, their current emotional compatibility falls slightly flat. I wish Lucas and Colleen had worked through their past issues a little more in depth. While I completely understand the fact that they feel right together, that their bodies demand that they be with one another in order to feel at home, I still yearned for a few more insightful conversations between the two. Nevertheless, this a sweet and swoony romance sure to delight fans of the Blue Heron Series. If you haven't already picked these books up, find yourself a copy of The Best Man at once - Chief Levi Cooper is not a man you want to miss! ;)