Penny’s Rating: B
~Book Blurb The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot. Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up. Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.
Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.~
Okay, before I review this thing, let me just say that as a born and raised Minnesotan on the cusp of a new and spectacularly cold winter here in the frozen north, winter sucks. No, I don’t hate snow per se, but I do hate shoveling, it driving in it, scraping it off my car, and getting stuck in it. I hate freezing my girl parts off every time I go outside for half of the year, and the fact that I have to take vitamin D to avoid depression from lack of exposure to sunlight. People who don’t live somewhere in frozen tundra read books like this and think one of two things: 1. Why the bleep does anyone live there? and 2. snowstorms can’t possibly be that bad. The author is exaggerating to further the plot, right?
So to answer question 1, I’m not entirely sure. There are times every year where I ask myself the same question. Going way back, I blame American settlers and the Mississippi river, (it’s totally the river’s fault). In all honesty, people have stayed in Minnesota because the summers are gorgeous, and we have daylight till after 9pm. The winters suck for people with jobs, but I loved them as a kid, and I spent hours playing in the snow whenever I could. It wasn’t until I moved away for nearly a decade as and adult, that I became a total wuss when I came back. I’ve had friends and family visit in the winter and refuse to come back ever again.
Question 2, no, Heidi is not exaggerating. Snowstorms really can be that bad. Fortunately I don’t have stray moose to contend with where I live, so at least there is that. I live around the Twin Cities, which is about 3 and a half hours south of where Let it Snow take place and even though I consider Minnesota my home, you couldn’t pay me to drive up north in the winter. The power outages? The trekking in to town on a snowmobile? Yeah, that stuff actually happens.
So now that I’ve ranted about snow, and hopefully you understand the severity of the situation, let me get back to the book. It’s Cullinan’s interpretation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. With a blond hairdresser Frankie and three actual bears. Which is hilarious. The story is exactly what it promises to be; cute, hot, and fluffy, with a happy ending. Bear couple Arthur and Paul were so funny, and Marcus was the perfect grumpy Papa Bear.
With out giving away too much, one thing I didn’t like was the way poverty and the “bad” area of town was depicted in one of the later chapters in the book. Not necessarily the way Cullinan presented it, but I ended up being disappointed in the character’s reactions to that whole experience. I realize that Frankie did not have a nice experience, and that people lashed out at him, and no, the way he was treated wasn’t right, but I also feel like particularly Arthur and Paul, and even Marcus to some extent, looked down on those people, and acted like they were better than them. I just left me feeling disappointed in everyone.
This is a sweet little holiday romance story, and check it out! I have an excerpt! Enjoy. I for one am excited to see which fairy tale Heidi tackles next.
The cabin at the end of the drive didn’t look like much, neither ominous nor welcoming. Someone clearly lived there, judging by the various bits of detritus on the porch and the furniture visible through the window, but they weren’t home—either that or they were deaf, because Frankie had put everything he had into pounding on the front door.
What the residents of the cabin were, thank God, was trusting, because they hadn’t locked the front door. It swung open easily when Frankie tried the handle.
“Hello?” he called out as he stuck his head inside. “Anybody home?” No one answered, and he shut the door behind him as he stomped his boots hard on the mat in the area that constituted a sort of foyer. “Hello?”
Warmth surrounded him—the main room wasn’t a sauna, but compared to the outdoors it was practically balmy. Even so, Frankie kept his coat and blanket wrapped tight around him as he stood in the entryway and surveyed the home he’d invaded. The cabin wasn’t big. The entire first floor was one room, except for a door by the kitchen which looked to lead to a bathroom and another Frankie would bet was a closet. Stairs led to a loft, but it could only be one room up there given the floor plan and slope of the roof. It almost looked like a hunting cabin, but someone lived here full-time right now—mail littered the table and half-finished dishes rested beside the sink. What appeared to be oatmeal sat congealed in a pan on the stove.
Someone lived here, and they weren’t tidy.
No obvious implements of axe murder lay in plain sight, though, so Frankie shed his blanket long enough to hang up his coat on a peg behind the door and take off his boots. Padding in his stocking feet, balaclava and mittens resting on the bench beside the door, Frankie wrapped back up in the blanket and made his way around the cabin, taking stock. The power was out, because none of the switches worked, and there wasn’t a phone. When he reached for his own to see if it had service, he couldn’t find it—he’d lost it on the lane, he guessed, and he felt empty at the knowledge, like he’d cut off part of himself. He didn’t know his parents’ phone number since they’d moved, and had never memorized either of their mobiles. It was too easy to just search their name in his contacts and let the phone do the remembering for him. Same for work, same for his friends.
You’re safe. It’s warm in here, and you’re safe.
Exhaling, Frankie curled up on the sofa in front of a cold fireplace. Wood sat stacked neatly beside it, as well as starter logs and a box of matches, but Frankie left that alone, choosing to pile himself beneath the blankets folded neatly on the other end of the couch, trading them for his damp one which he draped over a chair by the hearth. If matters came to it, he’d start a fire, but for now he’d just stay warm. He’d stay warm and wait for whoever lived here to come home, and then he’d see what happened.
He tried not to think about how this was the smallest of small towns, about how poorly they welcomed someone like him. That got hard, though, because he was all too aware there wasn’t even a whiff of a feminine touch in the room. A man alone lived here, one who wasn’t going to think Frankie was a real man and might have some choice ways of pointing that out.
Stop, Frankie scolded his rabbit brain. For once in his life, it listened.
God, but it was quiet in the cabin.
Frankie shut his eyes and pulled the blankets up over his nose, shutting out the cabin, the snowstorm, the world.
He hadn’t meant to fall asleep, but he must have, and pretty hard, because the next thing he knew firm hands shook him awake. When he blinked sleep away and looked up, three bearded faces peered down at him in various stages of surprise, though one in particular seemed annoyed.
Papa Bear, Frankie realized, thinking he must be dreaming, but the chill in his body and the insistence of his bladder told him he wasn’t. He stared up at the men, disoriented, confused and terrified. Mama and Baby Bear too, the three lumberjacks from the cafe.
The ones who reminded Frankie of the guys who liked to torture him in high school, all grown up and living in the remote North Woods.
Baby Bear leaned forward, squinting. “Say, aren’t you the guy from the cafe?”
“Yes.” Frankie tried to sit up straighter, but he was cold and dizzy and scared. “I swerved to avoid a moose and ended up in a ditch. I couldn’t get cell service, so I walked until I found somewhere safe. This was it. I’m sorry, I fell asleep waiting.”
“Jesus, I didn’t even see your car.” The other two men frowned, but the blond sat on the end of the couch and smiled. “Glad you’re okay. Sorry we weren’t here when you showed up.” He stuck out his hand. “I’m Paul.”
Frankie threaded his right hand out from under the blankets and accepted Paul’s greeting. “Frankie.” Please don’t eat me for your breakfast.
“Arthur.” The red-haired one spoke gruffly, but he grinned as he did so, adding a wink as he nudged the tall, dark one in the arm—the tall, dark one who still glowered. “This is Marcus, whose bed you’ve been sleeping in.”
Frankie took one look at grumpy Papa Bear and wanted to crawl back under the blankets. Instead he said, “Sorry,” and forced himself to smile.
Papa bear only grunted, turned around and walked away.
Frankie took deep breaths and pointed out to himself that so far nobody seemed inclined to hit him and demand his lunch money.
Buy/Book Links: Amazon, B&N, Samhain, Goodreads, Excerpt
About the Author
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state’s LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Author Contact Links
2 thoughts on ““Let it Snow” by Heidi Cullinan – Blog Tour”