Title: Mr. Frosty Pants
Series: Home for the Holidays: Book One
Author: Leta Blake
Narrator: John Solo
Run Time: 10 hours and 47 minutes
Category: Holiday Romance
At a Glance: All in all, this was a fantastic romance, and a very enjoyable listening experience! Pick it up if you haven’t already.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Can true love warm his frozen heart?
When Casey Stevens went away to college four years ago, he ghosted on his straight best friend, Joel Vreeland. He hoped time and distance would lessen the unrequited affection he felt, but all it did was make him miss Joel more. Home for the holidays, Casey hopes they might find a way to be friends again. But Joel’s frosty reception reminds Casey of just how hard he had to fight to be Joel’s friend in the first place. It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to get past that cool façade again.
Joel isn’t as straight as Casey believes, and his years of pining for Casey have left him hurting and alone, caring for his abusive father and struggling to get by. Unable to trust anyone except his rescue dog – and with no reason to believe Casey is interested in him for more than a holiday fling – Joel’s icy heart might shatter before it can thaw.
Can Casey and Joel’s love overcome mistrust, parental rejection, class differences, and four long years apart?
Review: Leta Blake’s aptly titled Mr. Frosty Pants, the first in her Home for the Holidays series, is a beautiful second chance romance featuring an extremely prickly small business owner, and his childhood best friend who comes home to Knoxville for Christmas. I adore second chance romances, and I reeeeaaally love friends-to-lovers stories, so I was excited when I saw this was coming out as an audiobook—narrated by the wonderful John Solo—just in time for this holiday season! And though I admit I had some moments of uncertainty early on, I ended up really enjoying Solo’s performance. His voice for Joel (the aforementioned Mr. Frosty Pants) was absolutely perfect, and I also really liked the slightly softer voice he used for Casey.
When Casey comes home for Christmas after being away for nearly four years, he is determined to rekindle the friendship he and Joel shared growing up. But Casey soon discovers that Joel Vreeland is not as keen on the idea as he had hoped. Joel is pissed about Casey breaking off all communication when he left for NYU, and doesn’t see the point in trying to force the connection now. He and Casey certainly don’t run in the same circles; Joel can barely feed himself most weeks, and Casey’s wealthy family affords him anything he could possibly want. And did I mention that he’s pissed? But stubborn Casey Stevens is not going to let it go. He has been in love with Joel since they were kids, and those feelings haven’t lessened with time or distance. Even though Joel is grumpier than ever, Casey won’t be deterred. His unwavering belief in Joel, and in their love, made this a wonderful holiday romance.
Casey is such a sweet soul, and so easy to fall in love with. And, even though Joel is a major frosty pants, I found him to be pretty darn loveable as well. Blake did a beautiful job revealing all Joel’s soft spots and showing the reader that he has come by his prickly exterior honestly. He has learned throughout his life not to let people into his heart because they’ll leave you, hurt you, or disappoint you. Dealing with his vile excuse for a father would be enough to make anyone beyond bitter. But Casey’s steadfast love and gentle caring show Joel that he doesn’t have to be alone, and soon he has no choice but to let Casey in.
I mentioned earlier having initial reservations about the narration, but where I felt Solo’s performance in the beginning was quite stilted and maybe overly energetic for the material, he seemed to get into a much better rhythm after a stretch. His pace and tone relaxed as the story moved on, and it worked much better for me. And, as I also already mentioned, I absolutely loved his voices for Joel and Casey—but, where I feel Solo truly excelled was with the dialogue. He was soft-spoken, even actually whispering, during some of the quieter, or more intimate speaking scenes between Casey and Joel, adding an extra layer of intimacy. And, conversely, when Joel was angry or annoyed, or when his asshole father was speaking, Solo’s inflection captured those moments perfectly as well.
All in all, this was a fantastic romance, and a very enjoyable listening experience! Pick it up if you haven’t already. Even if you read the e-book last season, I think you’ll enjoy this narrator’s take on Joel and Casey’s story.
You can buy Mr. Frosty Pants here:
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