Author: J.R. Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/21/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Winter Holiday
Lane Freeman supposed there were worse places to be dumped than a place named Christmas Valley. After being ejected from the foster care system, he spent the past five years hitchhiking and moving around. But six months of a steady job at Tal’s Bar and Grill, an apartment, and even a three-legged cat have him almost ready to risk putting down a few roots when Tal’s brother comes home for the holidays.
Dallas firefighter Trey Jenkins reluctantly accepts that Lane isn’t like the other drifters who’ve come through his brother’s place. A fragile attraction begins to bloom between them in spite of the many reasons they each have to fight it. Trey wants to give Lane a family, but experience has taught Lane to depend on no one but himself. Will winter love burn hot in the town called Christmas Valley or will Lane return to his wandering ways?
If I had to describe Love and Snowball Fights in one word that word would be “forced”. Everything about this story seemed contrived and, well… forced. It started out with what felt more like a information dump than the opening to an engaging story. Sadly, it did not get better from there.
<blockquote>Socially awkward and embarrassingly shy, he found it hard to talk to people, which made it difficult to be a waiter or make friends, harder still to meet a significant other. The only things Lane had were a three-legged cat named Chloe, a stray he’d found in the alley out behind the restaurant, and a tiny apartment over an elderly woman’s garage.
The narrative was stunted at times, laughable at others, and eye rolling when neither of the other descriptions applied. The dialogue was cheesy and predictable or just didn’t feel authentic to the characters.
<blockquote>“It’s not nothing,” Trey growled. “Who told you that you were an abomination? Why would they say something so hurtful?”</blockquote>
As for the characters, what should have been the bright spot in this otherwise mundane tale were flat and lifeless. They were one-dimensional with the occasional injection of angst that was out of place at best.
I wanted to like this story, and I am usually a lot easier on holiday tales, but this one hardly qualifies as one. Christmas was mentioned in passing a couple of times and New Years a couple of times, but I never got the feeling that this was a Holiday tale, or a love story really.
The love story was, like other aspects of this story, contrived and forced. There was no reason what so ever for Lane to trust Trey and every single reason for him to run. By the end, I had the feeling they were entering into a very one-sided and abusive relationship.
While I have had success with this author in the past, I can’t recommend this title.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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