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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Last Snow of Winter by Ian Muise

The Last Snow of Winter by Ian Muise
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (197 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Edelweiss

As spring break arrives, Mark Poole is focused on his goal of becoming a veterinarian, set on pleasing his proud parents even though he really wants to be an artist. He also carefully keeps his desires frozen—for their sake. But he can’t help the attraction he feels for the burly, unapproachable lineman who shares two of his classes.

Cliff Stevens is equally set on achieving his adopted dream of becoming a professional football player to the exclusion of almost everything else. Cliff drifts through the days alone, but he can guess what Mark has in mind when he catches him watching one day.

After an accidental encounter, Cliff proposes a bargain: for one week during the break, they will set aside their reservations and play at being together, exploring each other, and perhaps even learning a little about themselves as well.

The beautifully choreographed dance that is budding love was perfectly illustrated in The Last Snow of Winter. The depth of emotion combined with detailed imagery used by the author blew me away. An intelligent read, this book flowed effortlessly from beginning to end, and was the perfect introduction to up-and-coming author Ian Muise.

The story began with a chance meeting of two very different men. The chemistry between the protagonists, while quite obvious to this reader, went almost completely unnoticed at first by both Mark and Cliff. The author fleshed out the nuances of each man's personality with surprising skill.

A hopeless romantic, I was touched by the special endearments and possessiveness portrayed throughout this book. The way Mr. Muise described their fast-growing connection through the awareness of their partner's emotional state served to show how much they cared for one another. It was almost as sweet as watching an older couple complete each others sentences. While intense erotic moments are placed throughout this novel, they do not overpower what I consider to be the main drive of this tale...romance. In fact, the author seemed to place an emphasis on the developing relationship before writing them into bed. The anticipation was heavy in the air leading up to the first lovemaking for Mark and Cliff, and was without a doubt one of the most sensual encounters I have ever read. I admire the author's responsibility as the men engaged in safe sex, and treated it as an act of concern for the health and well-being of their partner. I was impressed immediately by the level of detail that was used in creating the world surrounding the lovers. The university campus, the men's apartments, and even the weather were described so well that the mental image of this snowy Canadian town remains with me even as I write this review.

The plot moved along at comfortable pace, and the characters were well drawn. I enjoyed this engaging romance so much that I have given it 5 Cherries. I gladly encourage you to read The Last Snow of Winter as soon as you can. I was intrigued by the author's style and skill and now find myself impatiently waiting for his next release. The quote I'll end this review with is simple yet profound, and encapsulates this story in four simple words: “They held each other.”

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