The Brightest Stars (Karina and Kale) Bk 1 – Anna Todd

Review From User :

The brightest stars is a heartbreaking, inspiring and captivating romance book. It's a story about finding your place in this world while doing something you love and are proud of. It's about family bonds and how they sometimes can be a blessing and a curse. Especially if you're the glue holding everyone together while trying not to fall apart yourself. The brightest stars shows many aspects of military life. Although people serving their country take great pride in doing so, many choose this occupation in order to avoid poverty. Those people endure and witness horrible things that still haunt them after they leave active duty.  And let's not forget that nowadays a part of military staff sadly still faces discrimination due to their sexual orientation and/or skin color.

I simply love Anna Todd's writing style and how she plots a story and develops her characters. She always manages to pull me in from page one and make me invested in her books. This one is a beautiful slow burn. Everything else wouldn't have been realistic in this case. I'm asking you to please not compare this story to Anna's famous After series. It's completely different. I'm actually glad that we get something else here which also has the potential to become an epic love story to remember. As of now, this book is part one of a trilogy and I can't wait to see what this talented author has in tow for these intriguing characters.

The main protagonists of The brightest stars are Karina Fischer, a 20 year old masseuse, and Kael Martin, a soldier of the same age. Karina grew up as an Army brat and had to move very often due to her father's occupation. Since her mother was unhappy with her marriage and way of life she left them without a backward glance. Karina's only close confidante during that hard time was her younger twin brother Austin. The siblings couldn't be more different from each other. While Karina is the mature and responsible one Austin is the laid back and carefree one. Both have a very difficult and strained relationship with their father. When Karina meets shy and closed off Kael she feels grounded by his still and stable presence. He makes her put her guard down and open up her heart. Since he doesn't share a lot about him Karina is forced to fill in the blanks herself about this mysterious and brooding man.

Kael has been on two tours in Afghanistan and is now struggling with the aftermath of them. He is emotionally and physically damaged. His family consists of his mom and younger sister whom he is very proud of. His military buddies respect him and appreciate him for his ability to empathize. While he doesn't speak much he doesn't mind listening to Karina rambling about everything and anything. Kael enjoys her massages that soothe his aching body but he also uses them as a welcome excuse to get to know her and spend some time together. He feels drawn to Karina like a moth to a flame. But Kael is keeping secrets from her that could easily shatter the quickly made illusions. Will they destroy their delicate bond or make it even stronger Karina will have to find the courage to untangle the truth from the lies and decide what she is going to do about it.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the yearning and tender romance between Karina and Kael. I liked their chemistry and the intimacy and trust between them. They found their way to each other slowly progressing from friendship to love. Both are complex and multi-layered characters who are not flawless. But that makes them even more relatable to me and simply perfect for each other. I therefore highly recommend The brightest stars to all die-hard Anna Todd fans as well as lovers of this genre. I'm looking with great expectations towards the next highly anticipated installment.

Category: Adults, Contemporary, Romance
Karina knows the harsh realities of military life. Like anyone who has grown up around an army base, she knows the background noise that follows a soldier home from war. That’s why she’s forging her own quiet life in her own little house.
Expand text… But she hasn’t turned her back on her family. She’s the glue that holds them together – when her father is deployed, when her brother, Austin, has another brush with the law.

Karina knows she has to look after herself, that she can’t always fix what’s broken. But when Austin’s behavior worsens and her father’s reactions grow more extreme, Karina feels her own edges beginning to fray. That’s when she meets him – a closed book she’s desperate to open.

At just 20, Kael is a handsome, brooding soldier struggling with the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. He’s emotionally damaged and closed off. Quiet doesn’t begin to describe him. But as Karina gets used to his stable presence, she finds it hard to ignore the way he makes her feel. In their time together, she finds the stillness she has always wanted and never found. She lets down her guard. She lets herself fill in the blanks about this mysterious man.

But illusions quickly made are quickly shattered. That’s when Karina has to find her own courage – to untangle the truth from the lies and decide what she’s going to do about it.

A riveting story about love and lies, The Brightest Stars will stay with you long after the final moment.

The Brightest Stars: The Stars Series, Book 1 (Unabridged)