Book Reviews

Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall 6) by Tara Lain

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Officer of the Law / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 28-July-2020

Book Blurb

JJ looks like a quarterback, when he’s really a queen.

He’s bled his heart out and given up his family to accept that fact.

Then comes Ryan Star. A wet dream in plain clothes.

Is JJ really going to pretend alpha-status, and football fandom to interest the tough cop? Can you say quarterback sneak?

But tottering on a pair of skis takes deception too far – straight onto JJ’s sore butt and back into reality. How far will a guy compromise who he is to have what he wants?

When the real JJ emerges, can Ryan ever accept the truth? More important, can JJ?

Snow Balls is an opposites-attract, hidden identity, femme/masculine, MM romance with an adorable interior decorator masquerading as Chris Hemsworth, and a grouchy cop who knows coming out of the closet can risk his life. Add in a couple scumbag robbers, a cringe-worthy trip to a football game, creepy arachnids, friends who love JJ for who he is, and you’re ready to go Balls to the Wall.

First edition published by Etopia Press, 2012.

Second edition published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2017.

Book Review

Sometimes it's inconvenient to be ourselves, but, as JJ from 'Snow Balls' by Tara Lain learns, taking what may seem to be the path of least resistance, is, truthfully, the most difficult path one could choose. The deceit and lies necessary to maintain the facade cause more discomfort than ever. Even though he knows in his heart that it's wrong, JJ still tries to pretend to be someone he's not. Predictably, by trying to be what he thinks Ryan wants, he causes an even bigger mess, one that will take a lot to remedy.

JJ is such a sweet guy and his friends love him just the swishy way he is. One thing that really tickled me and added to his personality were the expressions he comes up with to express himself such as “Sweet God of desperate gay boys," or “Oh my God of CSI." JJ is a talented young man with an affable personality and tons of compassion. If only JJ could see how they see him then he wouldn't feel the need to hide behind a macho disguise in order to impress Ryan. My contention is that if he and Ryan had the instant connection they seem to, then there would be no need to hide. Ryan would like JJ no matter what. In a conversation with his friend Robby, JJ tells him that Ryan didn't like him, he liked the guy that he thought he was. Robby's reply says it all: “Oh really. When do you get your Academy Award, dear?” - “I didn’t realize you were such a brilliant actor that you could disguise your intelligence, sensitivity, talent, and basic goodness while pretending to like football.”

Ryan has his own problems. It's getting close in the closet and he really wants to burst out, but he's scared and rightly so. He doesn't fancy being shot at again because he is gay. His feelings for JJ are quite compelling and it's hard for him to deny the attraction. Ryan knows that it's not fair to JJ for him and really tries to balance seeing JJ and staying in the closet, but it's not the kind of thing one can balance. Ryan makes a real effort to be open with JJ and include him in his life doing things that he thought JJ would enjoy doing. The problem is, since JJ is pretending to be someone he is not, Ryan couldn't possibly know what JJ wanted to do, so both of them end up being miserable. Eventually, the truth comes out and with it comes a lot of bad feelings. Ryan is shocked to find out that JJ had been acting a part all this time and feels betrayed. When he finally gets to know the real JJ, Ryan realizes that they have more in common than seems apparent and, with both working on it, the relation can become even more intense.

Tara's men are always absolutely delightful and atypical, which makes them even more interesting. JJ and Ryan are both gorgeous, but they are also intelligent, talented, creative, and compassionate. They have their flaws, but they find ways to overcome them, which creates not only a fabulous story, but presents a great opportunity to remind us that it's always best to be ourselves. This story can be read alone, but it will be much more enjoyable if read in sequential order. I would recommend this story to everyone who believes love is worth fighting for regardless of the obstacles. Thanks so much, Tara, for adding Ryan and JJ to your 'Balls' series.




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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 145 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-July-2020
Price $3.69 ebook, $9.99 paperback
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