Saturday, November 28, 2015

ARC Review: Midwinter Night's Dream (Unwrapping Hank #2) by Eli Easton

Midwinter Night's Dream
Micah is the hippest, most chill guy on campus. But when he gets the hottest kiss of his life from a cute guy during a game of ‘spin the bottle’, Micah’s cool turns into a puddle of anxious goo. Sure, Micah’s always been a little bi-curious, but he never thought he’d pursue a guy, much less a guy who doesn’t seem to be interested in getting caught.

Leo is passionate about two things: gay rights activism and acting. He stays focused and in control, and he never, ever, dates straight guys. When a chance spin of a bottle at a party has him locking lips with Micah Springfield, president of the Delts, dread-headed, serial-dating, straight Micah, Leo is determined to forget about it, no matter how incendiary the sparks or how gorgeous Micah may be.

Leo has bigger problems. His senior project is directing Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream just before the Christmas break. When his venue cancels at the last minute, Micah offers the use of his parent’s barn in rural Pennsylvania. Leo’s play may be saved, but what about his heart? Between Micah’s sweet lips, his family’s welcoming arms, and a devious bulldog who is determined to play Puck, Leo may find himself falling under the spell of Christmas magic.

Todd's rating:

After finally reading last year's "Unwrapping Hank" and falling completely in love with both Sloane and Hank, I immediately ran for the ARC of book 2, Micah's story.

And while I liked "Midwinter Night's Dream," I have to be honest and say that it wasn't quite the level of love that I had for the first book.

My very favorite parts of this story were, unsurprisingly, the scenes with Sloane and/or Hank. I loved how effortless that their relationship seemed, one year later.

I was impressed with the initial 'spin the bottle' scene that put Leo front-and-center on Micah's radar. Like Micah, my knees may have gotten a bit weak during that, too.
"Jesus, Leo, you and Micah were making out like two horn dogs from Hornville—on ecstasy!" Helen chortled with horror, a thing I didn't know was possible until I'd met her.

"It was just a kiss."

"Yeah. No. That was not 'just a kiss'. You could have taken a throat culture. You practically had him bent over backward in a swoon. Another thirty seconds and I would have come."
However, one thing that I wasn't a fan of was Helen. Or Yas. Or Helen *and* Yas. To me, Helen came off more as jealous than necessarily caring. More like she didn't want Leo and Micah to happen because she'd be left behind. She was pretty hypocritical in pressuring Leo to honor their "homos only" pact, when she was extremely willing to break it herself. Bad Helen. Bad, bad Helen.

And Yas, after only one lukewarm date, ending without so much as a kiss, seemed clueless. Hello, he's not actively calling you and you're having to chase him down.

HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU! Snap out of it and move on.

But unlike in book 1, I never really felt any type of bone-deep connection between Micah and Leo the way that I did with Sloane and Hank. I wanted to, but it just didn't happen for me here.

Instead, I found myself more interested in how supportive and encouraging Micah's parents, Hank and especially Sloane were. That was completely awesome.
"He's stretching his bisexual wings," Sloane said with pride. "We should encourage him. Fly little bird, fly!"
I snorted so hard at that point, I ended up coughing my head off. Freaking classic Sloane there, folks! I completely adore him.

I think that part of what I longed for most while reading this story were more on-page interactions between Micah and Leo, instead of those pages being devoted to what I felt were less important points, such as Helen and Yas.

One of my favorite parts where Micah and Leo do finally get to talk (on-page) was the snowshoe hiking scene, where Sloane somehow gets Grinch to drag Leo off into the woods.

That was a very cool pivotal scene, but I still want to know how the hell Sloane managed that trick with the dog. My money is on some form of human-canine ESP or Vulcan mind meld. : )

When Micah and Leo do finally get together during the single steamy scene in the book, I wasn't sure if I was more worried about the space heaters setting the barn ablaze or what was happening on the futon. That was extremely hot.

For me, the first book just felt more effortless and with the bar set so very high in "Unwrapping Hank," so while this was a 'good' book, it didn't completely blow me away.

I think that about covers it, so this one comes in around 3.5 stars for me, in large part due to the inclusion of Sloane and Micah's parents. And Grinch, of course.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author for a fair, unbiased review.

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