Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Fire Balls by Tara Lain

Release Day Review ~ Fire Balls by Tara Lain

Title: Fire Balls

Series: Balls to the Wall: Book Two

Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: February 8, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: TBC (Novella)

Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!
Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.
First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2012.

4.5 Stars! 

A really sweet, doesn't-go-with-the-tropes tale that ends with the start of the leads' HEA. I wanted more, more, more!!

I'm quite a new reader to this author (her recent Cowboys Don't Come Out was STUNNING) and from what I could make out, she seems to have written this tale for readers, as one of the leads, Rodney, is a fan fave. I am so, so glad that I did, as it was a lovely tale.

Rodney is out, loud and proud and he's had a crush on firefighter Hunter, who's not quite closeted, but who doesn't flaunt his sexuality. They meet and Rodney asks to paint Hunter, who agrees and the two form a friendship, though Hunter has recently started seeing Jerry, a friend of Hunter's (who totally deserves his own book - please, Ms Lain?) and Rodney's a kind of Cupid to them.

I loved Rodney's big heart, Jerry's rather naive and guileless personality and Hunter's desire to fulfill his father's dream. I did believe in their romance, but this was a little rushed. They did have a couple of encounters together before they got to where I believe is the start of their HEA, but the tale was a little rushed and the event that got them together, though necessary, felt a little 'done and dusted' and predictable, and all that came together to give them a HEA, took place off-page. I'd have loved to have had Hunter and Rodney's thoughts about what happened, what they could have lost, and to see them talking about their future. I had no doubts that they had a future and that the tale was ending with the start of a HEA, but it felt the tiniest bit as if it wasn't quite doing them the justice they deserved. Still, it's a great read and a Keeper.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Fire Balls is Book 2 in Tara Lain's Balls to the Wall Series. This book can be read as a standalone, but the books are short, quick reads so it would be easy to start with Book 1.

Rodney is a flamboyant artist, tiny, and a black belt in karate. His size doesn't stop him from hooking up with many of his models that he paints. He's really crushing on a local firefighter, who he was sure was straight until a run-in with Rodney's model and friend, Jerry. Jerry begins dating Hunter with Rodney's help. Hunter is not in the closet but he's embarrassed by Rodney's flamboyance. Jerry pressures both Rodney and Hunter to do a painting session, and they end up hooking up, cheating on Jerry. Both men will have to get over their prejudices and figure out what they want.

Rodney was very flamboyant and fond of calling everyone darling. For the most part, I didn't mind Rodney, his character was entertaining, but that he was so willing to cheat with his good friend's boyfriend and not be bothered about what he had done, really lowered my opinion of him. He knew Jerry was really happy with Hunter, and sure, Rodney had a crush on him first, but he should have manned up and told Jerry that he had a crush instead of going behind his back. I wasn't a fan of Hunter. He may have been out of the closet but he was still a judgemental ass regarding anyone who wasn't his idea of gay. Hunter worked as a firefighter because that's what his dad wanted. His dad wasn't happy to have a gay son, so Hunter preferred to date men he considered manly. And he judged Rodney but thought nothing of cheating on his boyfriend with him and then pretending it didn't happen.

I'm not a fan of cheating, in real life or fiction. Minus the cheating, the book was enjoyable. If you don't care about cheating, you should check this book out. If you also hate cheating, you've been warned!

Rating: 3.5 stars


  1. Hi Rita and Heather -- Thank you both for checking out my re-release of Fire Balls. So appreciated!! : )

    1. Hi Tara, I loved this book, as well as Cowboys Don't Come Out. x