Review: Winter Wonderland

cover-winter wonderlandTitle: Winter Wonderland
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Series: Minnesota Christmas #3
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel
Available: Now


Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.

Paul 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’shappily 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.

Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley

This is only my second read from Heidi Cullinan, and while it’s quite a change from the first (Carry the Ocean), there’s something about her writing that I really enjoy. Especially the extended cast of fun and fascinating characters, which this book has in spades.

The thing I loved most about this book, though, was Kyle. Not so much for the giant snow penises, perhaps, but everything else completely won me over. The whole town might still see him as a kid, but Kyle is far from childish (apart from the aforementioned snow sculptures). He works in a local care home and is a favourite with his elderly residents, he’s the most amazing brother to his Down’s Syndrome twin, and when it comes to Paul, he’s strong and supportive and just all-round gorgeous. He might start out being viewed by everyone as an overly camp, flirty twink, but there is so much more to him than that. I adored him.

Paul… meh, not so much. He might be a big bear of a man, but his dislike of confrontation makes him come across as a sullen, sappy doormat. Yes, his family are awful, but the way he lets other people boss him around as well, while attempting to shut Kyle out, was frustrating. He’s a sweet guy, but his emotional cowardice was not endearing. His relationship with Kyle, though, is lovely – even if he does seem to get more out of it than Kyle does.

Then there are the other characters – Paul’s friends, Kyle’s family, the elderly neighbour. They’re all wonderful and add plenty of delightful layers of both fun and seriousness to this enjoyable tale. It was Kyle’s family that I really loved, though, his sister and mother in particular. They made such a lovely contrast to Paul’s awful mother and sister, providing a much needed balance.

The one thing I didn’t like so much was the lack of a solid resolution. Not in their relationship, but with the town and Paul’s family. Everything builds up so well throughout the book that I expected something more than I got. The romance is lovely and worked fine for me, but everything else felt unfinished. Which makes me hope that there’s another book in this series to come, perhaps starring a certain developer?

If you’re looking for a sweet, enjoyable M/M romance this Christmas, then there’s plenty to enjoy here. It has great characters, a lovely romance and plenty of heat. Yes, there is a bit of an age gap, but it wasn’t an issue for me because Kyle didn’t act that much younger than Paul. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and look forward to catching up with the rest of the series some time – while keeping my eyes open for more.

Winter Wonderland is Out Now!
Visit Heidi Cullinan for more details.


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