Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ARC Review: Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

Title: Cold Summer
Written by: Gwen Cole
Published: May 2, 2017 by Sky Pony Press

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future. 
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II. 

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past. 

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves. 

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

This sounded like a really interesting book that is totally up my alley. I'm a sucker for time travel books and books set during WWII, plus I love the idea of the book exploring PTSD. And while this was an interesting read, it never took things to the next level.

As far as the plot goes, it was interesting but a little basic. To be entirely honest I'm not entirely sure what the main plot of this book was. I didn't even really know what it was building to until it was over. I think maybe for me this was probably a case of less is more, or more is less. because there was a lot going on here and none of it got much of the attention it really deserved.

One of those things in this book that I wish had a little more attention was the time travel aspect. It was really interesting, and a unique time travel story, but I felt like it really only touched the surface. Some of the more interesting things about this book was why and how the character was able to travel back to the future. But I wanted to learn more about that and see more about it but the author didn't give that to me. I would say that this aspect of the story is what I would call the world-building. And this world-building where they leave you with a lot of questions because it's trying to show instead of tell but only ends up info-dumping the basic info. I liked the time travel I just wanted more.

That is also how I felt about the historical aspects of the story. I like time travel so much, I think, because I like historical fiction. I like bringing a modern character into a historical period for their take on the time. And I was really excited about the World War II story. I was interested to see a stark and serious take on what it was like to being in battle. And yes, there were some of those aspects but it felt like it was only in the beginning. Mostly these parts were few and far between and I wanted more.

But this book is pitched as a Time Travelers Wife kind of a story, so of course we have to talk about the romance. This is probably the part of the book I am most torn about it. I mean I liked it, so I guess that should be a good sign because I don't always like romances. It was definitely cute. I think the thing I liked was that it's subtle. It's a subtle kind of romance. Not quite a slow burn, but not fast or instalove either. I honestly didn't know how I felt until the end when I wanted things to go a certain way. I guess that's a good thing. The romance did what it was supposed to do, it hooked me.

But I may have liked the romance because I liked the characters. They weren't anything extraordinary, but they were likeable. The book alternates perspectives between Harper and Kale. I think at the beginning I liked Kale better. He was the one travelling back in time and I found myself wanting to read his chapters more. But then as the books when on I actually grew to like Harper. I think she had pretty good development as she was getting acclimated to her new life and relationships. But in general I liked them both even though there wasn't much character development.

All and all this is an interesting read but I think it just had too much going on. It's a short read but I kind of wish it was a little longer so that we got more from the time travel and historical elements.

I give Cold Summer by Gwen Cole 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are a fan of YA romances and are looking for a Time travel romance then pick this one up. But if you are looking for a complex time travel adventure there are probably other books that will be more up your alley. I do think that it was a little too little going from a lot of different things for me.

Have you read Cold Summer? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Darn. I was hoping you’d completely love this one. It’s on my TBR list because I like historical fiction and time-travel stories. I hope I like it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I was hoping I would completely love it as well. I did not however. I hope you like it too.

  2. I finished this one recently and I'm still trying to decide how I feel. I agree with you on so many things. It's a good book but a lot of it seemed very basic and I kind of felt "what's the point?" about half way through... But I liked the romance and loved the development of all the relationships :)

    1. Yes! I totally felt "what's the point" in the middle and it was hard to overcome that through the rest of the book. I didn't get what it was building towards and I didn't get what the climax would be.

  3. Hmm, not sure if I will pick this one up. While I like the sound of the romance, the rest of the book sounds a little bit meh for my liking. Great, honest review! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I would recommend it to people who are looking for a romance. If you want it for the time travel stuff look elsewhere.

  4. Huh. This is the first I've heard of this one and it does sound interesting, but I'm not sure it's the book for me. The plot doesn't sound like one that would hold my attention, but I'm glad the characters and romance worked for you! Great review :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. Yeah, the plot didn't hold my attention either. I'm glad I did like some stuff though.