Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Release Day Review: Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) by Tara Lain

snow ballsTitle ~ Snow Balls

Author ~ Tara Lain

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press 

Published ~ 6th December 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Holiday





Second Edition
JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.
Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?
First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2012.


Cheryl’s Review

This was such a fun book, perfect as a pre-Christmas read. It made me want to go out to find a Christmas market to explore.

The two MC’s are about as different as it’s possible to be. Dt. Ryan Star is a grumpy, jaded cop, forced to move from New York by a negative reaction to his coming out, he’s terrified of the same thing happening again and is so far in the closet he’s looking back at Narnia. He can’t let himself be seen with anyone obviously gay so he goes for manly men.

JJ is definitely not a manly man. Even though he’s 6’4’’ and built like an athlete, he’s as femme as they come.

When JJ meets Ryan, after a robbery at the market where they work, he learns that Ryan is either straight, or goes for straight-looking guys, and goes on a mission to change himself into someone Ryan won’t be ashamed to be seen with.

Listening to JJ’s internal dialogue as he’s trying to act “manly” is hilarious. He crams football in order to attend a game with Ryan and congratulates himself on all the things he gets right but cracks when one of the players is hurt and almost goes into a hand-flapping fit.

Throughout his trials and tribulations, JJ is supported by his friends who are an incredible supporting cast of all shades of gay. My absolute favourites, and possibly my favourite characters I’ve read in ages, are the twins Bobby and Robin. They have to be read to be believed. You cannot imagine how excited I was to find that they’re going to have their own book next. I will be very eagerly anticipating that one.

For a good chunk of the book I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked Ryan. I loved JJ from the first time I was introduced and to see him struggle to maintain his assumed persona was painful at times. Ryan kept making comments or taking actions that made it impossible for JJ to be himself and I wanted to punch him once or twice. I won’t give anything away about the end other than to say that I cursed him out, then begrudgingly forgave him.

Personally, I think JJ should have dropped Ryan and chosen Robin. It’s what I would have done. One of my favourite scenes in the book is between JJ and Robin and is so poignant it made me want to cuddle both of them.

The style of writing is fluid and very easy to follow. There is so much humour but also a weight that supports the wildly differing characters, giving each their own place. To remove any of them would make a massive hole in the tapestry. I read the book in two nights, but it could have been quicker if I’d started earlier because I really couldn’t put it down.

Apart from the main story, there are so many rich details about all kinds of things. My favourite books are those where you learn things without realizing it. I knew nothing about football before I read Snow Balls and I don’t know much after, but I do know that the offside “rule” is very different in American football and soccer. (I was very proud the day I finally got the offside rule – yeah I’m not much with sport) I learned about other things too, and was introduced to one of the most beautiful places ever –  The Ahwahnee Hotel. If you don’t know it, look it up, it’s amazing.

I love books that make me laugh and cry. I wouldn’t say this book actually got to the point it made me cry but it certainly carries you along to deep places. It’s light and sweet and funny and tells a cracking good story. The characters are engaging and well-rounded and the scene-setting is rich and detailed. I can “see” that winter market and I want to go to one as soon as I can.

Purchase Links




Meet Tara Lain

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!



  1. Cheryl! What a wonderful review. I'll be happy dancing all day and am so grateful that you read Snow Balls. I must confess, JJ is an all time fave of mine. I so appreciate you taking him to your heart. Hugs!

  2. I adore this series (and all of the other stories penned by this wonderful author). Thanks for the lovely review!

  3. Thank you for the review. The book sounds fantastic =)

    1. We hope you enjoy it as much as Cheryl did HB