So excited to say that another preliminary review has come in on Training Season! Again, I’m so happy that the book has struck a chord with the folks who have received ARCs so far.
(Full disclosure, I received this book as an ARC.)
Normally this isn’t a book I would pick up. I mean I’m all for gay romance, but ice skating isn’t really my thing (I lean more toward like Regency romance and science fiction). However Blake skillfully writes such realistic, complete, compelling characters that it’s impossible not to get sucked into this story.
The characters here really engage the reader. I’m charmed and delighted by Matty, no small feat because he could clearly be annoying or too over the top campy, but Blake finds just the right middle ground with him, keeps him likable and self reflective even while he’s diva-ish and spectacular. Rob is incredibly delightful, but more impressively Blake masterfully does a true reveal on him, as we discover him entirely through Matty’s eyes. She presents him so well that it’s impossible not to fall in love with him even as we slowly learn all his flaws.
The sex was intensely emotional, delicious and scorchingly hot. Pretty much exactly what I’d hope for in a book like this, but which isn’t found or written this well nearly often enough. It’s really, really explicit and it’s BDSM, though I’d say heavy on the D/s with a little B&D and no SM. I don’t think you need to be into those things to enjoy this, but be warned that it isn’t vanilla at all.
I laughed joyfully at the humor in this book. Much of it was subtle but it really hit the right notes with me. I’m tempted to quote some good bits but I don’t want spoil any of it for anyone. While it was funny it was very emotionally intense. Perhaps because the characters were so well drawn and engrossing, but I felt emotionally wrung out as I went through their trials with them. I should be clear, this is not an easy book, you will love the characters enough to hurt when they hurt and it won’t be easy on either of you. But it is so worth it to have characters so real you want to be down in it with them.
I entirely loved this book, despite my initial misgivings. And I feel like I learned a lot about competitive ice skating, in case I ever need that knowledge (you never know!).
If you like books with fully realized characters and explicit sex then this book is probably for you, even if you think you don’t want to read about ranchers or ice skaters. This isn’t your typical romance, this is a real story about realistic people who have a whole lot of sex and fall in love in very real ways, while they grow and change as people.