Friday, January 12, 2018

Jen's Review: Seduction on the Slopes

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on January 25th for a chance to win an ecopy of your own!

Seduction on the Slopes by Tamsen Parker
Publisher: Swerve (January 16, 2018)
Series: Show and Ice Games, 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance -- M/M Romance 
Dual 1st POV

Welcome to the Snow and Ice Games where competition is not the only thing that is heating up! The second book in bestselling Tamsen Parker's romance series continues with two competitive teammates.

Miles Palmer has dominated the downhill slalom in every Snow and Ice Games he’s competed in. Double gold, double gold, double gold, and he’s confident he can round out his career and his trophy case with two more medals in his last appearance at the games. The only thing that could stop him? Crash Delaney.

Crash is a young upstart who came out of nowhere and shocked the downhill world with his swagger and untraditional style. As a kid, Crash didn’t have the resources to learn how to race properly, but he begged, borrowed, and stole equipment, and went to any competition he could thumb a ride to. Now the only thing between him and his dreams coming true is his childhood hero, the man whose posters have graced his walls since before he’d ridden in his first chairlift.

Miles and Crash are technically teammates, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they fight. The veteran and the nobody have both got big things riding on this race, and neither can afford any distractions. Especially not each other.

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Jen's Review:

I love the Summer Olympics, but I must admit that I didn’t watch a single minute of the last Winter Olympics. My favorite cold weather sports are 1) complaining about driving in the snow 2) drinking hot beverages, preferably with marshmallows and 3) reading in front of a fireplace! Sometimes when it’s really super fucking cold here, Lake Michigan will steam and when that happens, I like to yell “SCIENCE!” while my son shakes his head in disbelief. (Speaking of completely amazing winter sports I will never try: ice surfing the Great Lakes.) But otherwise, I’m not too into cold weather things.  But I’ll tell you what, I’m reading these books by Tamsen Parker that are making me more interested in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics. I love the characters and stories, set during a fictionalized Olympics called the Snow and Ice Games. Seduction on the Slopes is the second in the series, about alpine skiers and roommates, Crash Delaney and Miles Palmer.

The set-up for this book is pretty great: Miles is the dignified veteran of the alpine ski team, looking to win more gold medals in what he knows will be his last SIGs (Snow and Ice Games). As a veteran skier and a  black man in a predominately white sport, Miles is a pro at handling the press and the expectations of the games. He’s the de facto captain of the team and encourages them to give a spot to Crash Delaney, a young, undisciplined, but wildly talented skier. Crash hasn’t been as responsible about doing press events as the team would like, so Miles offers to be his roommate to help him manage it all. It turns out that Crash isn’t irresponsible, he’s just a complete ball of anxiety about the press and interviewing.

Miles is a problem solver and he’s determined to help Crash, but time is of the essence. There’s no time for therapy or more traditional routes to treat Crash’s anxiety. When Miles asks Crash how he’s handled stress in the past, he admits that he relied on smoking pot and getting laid. That first option is out (drug testing at the games), but that second option. Lol. You guys, this book is SO SEXY. Basically, Miles agrees to help Crash get off before press events, just to take the edge off. Of course, it becomes more. This is a classic hook-up to lovers romance.

I appreciated the intersectionality in the characters and their lives: along with their different racial backgrounds, there is an 11 year age gap between them, and they are from different class and family backgrounds. Miles is a trust fund baby and Crash is from a family of drifters. I loved the way that Tamsen Parker handled the age difference, having Miles admit that there was something a little “pervy” about the fact that he was Crash’s childhood idol. Tamsen Parker shows how exploring their differences develops and deepens their relationship.

Alternating first person point of view isn’t my favorite thing, but in this case, Tamsen Parker really gives each character his own voice. The reader sees how Miles and Crash are developing feelings towards each other. Crash gets past the idea of Miles as his idol and sees him for the man he is, and Miles sees past Crash’s out of control exterior troubles to the sensitive soul underneath. A lot of their feelings are shown through their developing sexual relationship, and I wished there were more scenes of them outside of the bedroom. Sometimes an author chooses that tight focus on intimacy to show relationship growth, and I think it works in this case. Especially because that’s where they can reveal their truths to each other.

The alternating POV also helps the reader understand how each man approaches being an athlete and competitor differently. I loved this part of the book so much. Miles and Crash may be lovers, but they are also competing directly with each other. I wrote a Goodreads review of the first book in the series, Love on the Tracks. One thing that really impressed me was how Tamsen Parker explored the “mind of the athlete” during the race.  Here, she does an excellent job of describing each man’s mindset before competition. There’s a great scene where Miles interrupts Crash when he’s visualizing his upcoming run. The SIGs aren’t just a cute backdrop, it’s an essential part of who they are and how their story unfolds. I can’t say more because of spoilers, but trust me when I tell you the evolving picture of them as athletes is spectacular.

I love this series and anxiously await the next three installments. If I end up watching the Winter Olympics instead of reading in front of a fire, I’m blaming you, Tamsen Parker.


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Jen received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! I can't wait to start this series. Also, I'm here for fuck-the-anxiety-away scenes. I DON'T CARE IF IT'S NOT A TRUE, HEALTHY COPING MECHANISM; IN ROMANCELANDIA IT IS AN A+ OPTION, PERIOD.

Do you watch the Olympics? Do you have a favorite Olympic sport?

Have you read Tamsen Parker?


Until Next Time,

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