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Review: Winter Wonderland by Heidi Cullinan

Karen’s Review of Winter Wonderland by Heidi Cullinan
Contemporary m/m romance published by Samhain Publishing on November 10, 2015

Winter WonderlandPaul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex.

No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.

Warning: Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice.

Well, reading a Christmas book while on holiday in the South of France may not sound like a great idea, but weather aside, lying on a beach was at lest as good as reading this by a roaring fire – which would really be its natural habitat.

I’ve never read anything by Heidi Cullinan before, for some reason I felt that her books would be really angsty and tear your heart out-y, but this was not. This is total feel good seasonal fluff.

Kyle, well he camps his queer up for the audience, he’s been seen as a kid his whole life as well, and can’t seem to break through that barrier. Yet as a character he is quite well rounded, his love for his sister and family and how he cares for the people he looks after is just snarky enough to stop being nauseating. I found the campy toppy thing to be quite a superficial twist though, and would have liked to see him become a little less of a caricature.

Paul, again there is this very simple switch that goes on from manly bear to ‘likes to be bossed’ and for me, it just was too simple. I wanted to feel a little more depth.

Kyle’s family was the highlight for me, close knit and caring, but again lacking in nay real depth.

The plot is straightforward, this is part of a series (I haven’t read the others) and apart from cameos from the main characters of the previous books is pretty much about the relationship between Kyle and Paul. Overall there was nothing offensive about this, but there was nothing that grabbed me either, I read it 3 weeks* ago, and I’m struggling to remember it.

Grade: C+

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

*Editor’s note: this is my bad, Karen sent in the review on August 30th. Just a frame of reference.