Last Snow of Winter by Ian Muise


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.

My thoughts: 

I don’t know yet whether I liked this or not. I am ambivalent about it.

The blurb sounded good. When I saw this one as an upcoming release on Dreamspinner I decided to get it as soon as it became available. Not that I am a big fan of jocks, but I love a nice contrast.

The overall feel of the story, even though it was not a cabin romance, was almost as if the two men were secluded from the rest of the world. The town was practically deserted with most of the students gone, the families were far away, the roommate had left, the football teammates likewise, except for a couple of them. Mark and Cliff were either alone or together with no other people around (with a few exceptions, but they were few and far between).

How Mark got together with Cliff and that both had been thinking about each other for a while, I was fine with that as well. So, what is it that put me off?

I found the writing style somewhat choppy. Maybe this is because I am German and we love long, complicated sentences with lots of subordinate clauses; the sentence structure here didn’t make for a smooth reading. Maybe I am nitpicking but when I read one subject – predicate – object – sentence after another I get bored.

Cliff and Mark were continuously second guessing what they were doing and were often in a situation where one or the other was afraid they might have hurt the other man. That is realistic to a certain extent, but at one point I had enough of that. It was always either Mark wondering what Cliff had on his mind now since he was quiet and subdued, the next moment it was the other way around. Chill out a bit, guys!

Then, one of my pet peeves came along. The breaking up because “you deserve better”. Haven’t we all heard that before? Well, I have. And nothing irritates me more. It’s trite, it’s cheap and it’s the default statement because it makes the one who breaks up feeling better about it. After all he only does it FOR the breakee (is that a word at all? It sounds like straight out of Seinfeld). Yeah, right.

And the ending? I am not sure about this one either. Cliff’s change of mind came a bit too fast for me. He knew all about his football career prospects being a bit uncertain for quite some time and still he kept hanging on to them. Then, all of a sudden, he turns around by 180 degrees.

After writing all this I still am undecided. I liked it and I didn’t. So, I guess, you will have to go and see for yourself.

Title Last Snow of Winter
Author Ian Muise
Publisher Dreamspinner Press


Buy link Buy Last Snow of Winter

1 Comment Write a comment

  1. Thank you so much for reviewing this. I’ve been waivering on it since it looked good but something kept me back. Perhaps it’s the unknown author. I can see the good points and the bad points about this and maybe I’ll keep this in mind but I’m with you on the trite excuse for a breakup. It often annoys me.

    Thanks for reading this!


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