“Leta Blake’s writing sort of leaves me speechless. Her story crafting is phenomenal, and I adore her characters. The emotions evoked are raw and real, and if you’re thinking of forging into the world of m/m romance, or are already a fan, I’d highly suggest giving this one or Smoky Mountain Dreams a read.”
(Though, hey, nothing’s perfect, and apparently it might take a few days for the change to reflect on the Amazon site itself, but any books sold will have the correct blurb!)
AND I’m giving away two signed copies to two folks who comment here on my blog. I’ll use the random number generator thingy from the interwebs to choose from the comments and contact you. Oh, and the end date for signing up for this little drawing will be on February 3rd!
If you’d like to be considered for this giveaway, please leave a comment below!
Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed and loved on Training Season! You guys, I never imagined this book would be so well loved! THANK YOU! And thank you again! And again! AND AGAIN!
Because of all the terrible things happening in Russia right now, I’ve had mixed emotions about the Olympics this year, especially on the heels of releasing Training Season, an erotic romance which features an Olympic athlete. I wanted to find a way to feel like I was making even a small difference and that’s when I read up on the Gay Games and found that they are inclusive in every way, representing the true ideals of the original Olympics. Well, so long as you were male and not a slave and yadda. Never mind, forget my comment about the original Olympics. The Gay Games are much more inclusive than they ever were!
Now, Training Season might not be a read for everyone. It’s a gay erotic romance with some (smokin’ hot) graphic scenes that aren’t for every reader. But, in this post-50 Shades world, many people are looking for material of this nature and if you are, then this might be a book for you. With that reference alone, one should be able to determine if the book is for them or not.If you do purchase any time from now until May the 10% of your purchase price goes to support the Gay Games!
Reading reviews for Training Season has been a bemusing and fascinating experience. There is, of course, no way to please all the people all the time, and what one reader likes another reader hates. It’s wild to watch many people declare a character real, perfect, amazing and say they’ve fallen in love with him, and then to see another person declare that character boring, badly drawn, or unbearable. At this point, the positive outweighs the negative, and I’m hopeful it stays that way, but, as I said, it’s been a wild ride.
Given that Training Season was in, or hovered around the edges of, Amazon’s Top Ten Gay Romances for over two weeks in December, I think that I must have done something right along the way. And one thing that I’ve been mulling over during all of this hoopla is reader expectations and how they seem to play into the reception of the book. Some readers are disappointed that ranching or skating doesn’t take front and center, though most seem fine with how both things are presented. The thing is, I did a ton more research on ranching and skating than reveals itself in the book itself. And there’s a reason for that.
See, the book was never about those things. Sure, I could’ve written a book about the ins and outs of figure skating, with a lot of competitions, and scenes of skating on the ice. I could’ve written a book about ranching, featuring thrilling moments of escaped or wounded cattle, encounters with dangerous wild animals, or life-or-death adventures on the range. Instead, I wrote a book about something else entirely.
I wrote a book about a romance and about a young man’s emotional growth. I suppose some readers who say this book is more of a coming of age novel, might have a point, though the romance being central definitely makes it a romance in my book. But the book was never about the world of figure skating, or the adventures of ranching. It was always about how a person falls in love, makes choices, processes loss and pain, and moves into a stronger, better place in his life.
There were points when I was writing when I felt like I could take the book in another direction, something more sports or more ranch, but when it came down to it, I realized the book I was really writing and stayed true to it. I think that’s part of why this book has been so surprisingly successful in the scheme of things. Not that readers don’t want books about sports or about ranching! But rather, I think readers want a story that it is told true all the way through, and if I’d wavered from the direction the characters originally set out in, I think the book would have been a failure.
Thank you to all the readers out there–every last one!–who have loved or hated it so far. Y’all are the best. Thank you for letting these characters into your life for even just a little while.
Also, it continues to get raves at Goodreads! It’s broken into the ARe bestsellers list! And it’s been climbing up the charts at Amazon! (It’s at 26/100 at the writing of this, but could be lower on the chart–or higher I suppose–by the time this is published tomorrow morning.)
As for me? I’m still in a state of shock. When I stop smiling and flailing, I’ll let you know how I feel!
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.