Title: Southern Storms
Series: Compass #1
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
I received this as an ARC from the author via Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review
Kennedy is broken. Or at least that’s how her husband has made her feel. She leaves the city and her loveless marriage behind and lands in Havenbarrow, Kentucky with her sister and brother in law. When her sister leaves for an extended honeymoon, Kennedy moves into the house they have recently flipped.
Behind her live the angry, black sheep of the town, Jax. But when Jax and Kennedy meet for the first time, they swear they know each other. Together they have to face their demons and dark pasts.
Know you worth. Then charge more.
➸ POV: This is told in dual timelines – present day and 15 years ago at summer camp – and 1st person from Kennedy & Jax’s POVs.
➸ Kennedy Lost: 28, Married to Penn, Author, Grieving, Younger sister to Yoanna, Biracial, Looking for a new start
➸ Jax Kilter: 28, Plumber, Grumpy curmudgeon, Owns the land behind Kennedy’s new home, Dark past
➸ Content Warnings: Death of a child, Death of a parent, Grief, Anxiety, Depression, Emotional and Physical Abuse, Child Abuse, Bullying, Sexual Harassment, OCD, Panic Attacks, Gun Violence
Alright I am clearly in the minority on my feelings. This book has an overwhelming number of 5 star ratings. But I have such mixed feelings about this book…
First off – I really love Brittainy C Cherry’s writing style. It’s so accessible and engaging. I absolutely fall into her worlds and fly through the pages. I never wanted to put this book down because I just want more time with these characters and see where this story was leading.
I loved the depiction of grief. I felt all of Kennedy’s pain and grieved along side her. She was such a flawed but strong main character, and I just really appreciated reading about a character without manufactured-feeling flaws.
But… there were some actual timeline/plot things that just didn’t make sense or work for me.
- There were so dang many pop culture references. Which is fine in theory but I didn’t recognize like half of them so it loses impact and meaning.
- Piggy backing off of that – if you use pop culture references, you place your story in time. Which means you can’t do things like reference Pinterest 15 years in the past. Pinterest wasn’t created until 2010 and accessible to the public until 2011. Which would mean the present day chapters were happening in 2026 at the absolute earliest. Which doesn’t make sense since they were talking about shows and music from today. It 100% took me out of the story.
- The final reveal was so underwhelming because I feel like we skipped right over parts. When Jax’s brother is telling his story, the heroine somehow already knows this story. But at no point is that ever shown. We just skipped right over her learning about Jax’s past. Which felt like such a missed opportunity. The romantic chemistry was a little lacking for me between these characters, and seeing that play out, I think, would have gone a long way in building that trust and connection. But instead we went straight for the big dramatic speech.
However, I really loved the side characters in here! I honestly wish I could be Joy’s neighbor. So I’m absolutely looking forward to more books in this series.
Overall this was an emotional, hard hitting, and impactful story. But it just wasn’t a perfect read for me. I cannot wait for more books in this series – I’m really curious if it’s going to be following more characters in this small town and if so, who?!