All Time Favorite Read: Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

*Note: We’re on vacation this weekend, so I’m re-sharing one of my all time favorite books.  If you’ve been thinking of trying m/m romance, this is a great story to start with.

Tigers and Devils
Grade-A+
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-None
Genre: m/m, Contemporary
Series: Tigers and Devils #1
Reviewed by Anne

I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book! It was incredible! I didn’t want to put it down.  I was severely book cranky inbetween reading sessions. I see there is a sequel that catches up with Simon and Declan a few years later. I will definitely read it, but for now I just want them to be perfectly happy in my head for a while!
Tigers and Devils is a contemporary male/male romance set in Australia.  And when I say it’s set in Australia, it’s really in Australia, with Australian slang and references I had to figure out.  Declan is a pro footballer and a mega celebrity.  He just happens to overhear Simon both insulting and defending him at a party.  Simon is a huge football fan, but a bit of an “arty wanker”.  After overhearing a comment that lets him know Simon is gay, Declan comes on to Simon when they are alone.  The only hitch is that Declan is far, far in the closet.  And this starts a funny and touching journey for the two of them together.

There were several things I loved about this book.  I smiled constantly while reading it.  The whole story is told from Simon’s point of view, and he’s a funny, self-depreciating guy.  The story also feels very realistic.  I believed in Simon and Declan’s affection for each other.  That made their situation all the more gut wrenching.

Simon and Declan were great characters, too.  Neither was perfect, and both made frustrating decisions.  The way they worked through things was realistic, too.  It’s incredible writing!

There were a few little things that might bother some readers.  As I mentioned, the story is told exclusively from Simon’s point of view.  This worked fine for me.  Also, the sex in this book is behind closed doors and not detailed. There’s no doubt it takes place, and there’s lots of it, but it’s not written explicitly.

I highly recommend this story!

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Vacation – All Time Favorite Read!

While Kate and I are on vacation, I leave you with one of my favorite reads of all time!  ~Anne

The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1)
Grade – A
Hotness Level – Blaze
Kink Level – no kink
Genre – Steampunk
Series: Iron Seas #1
Reviewed by Anne


I’ll preface this review by saying this book is an all time favorite of mine. I recently re-read it and I liked it even more, so there might be a bit of fangirl gushing going on today.

 

The Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook is steampunk. It’s an alternate history where some things are the same, but others went along a different path. So in The Iron Duke, we have a historical England that has recently escaped enslavement by The Horde. The Horde controlled the people by infecting their blood with “bugs”.  They also used technology to change the people in ways to match their slave occupation.  So a miner might have a pick axe for an arm and so on.

The Horde looks different than your average English person. (I picutre the Horde as Asian.) The Horde was driven out of England due to actions by Rhys Traehearn, aka the Iron Duke. He’s a national hero. On the other hand, Mina, who is the product of her loving English mother and a member of the Horde who raped her, is pretty much despised on sight by everyone due to her Horde looks. Despite that, she’s an inspector with the police force, and the book starts when she’s called to investigate a death on Traehearn’s property.

Traehearn nearly immediately thinks Mina is someone he would like to have. Mina also feels an attraction to Traehearn, but for reasons of her own would never act on this attraction.  Traehearn is determined and the investigation keeps them together.  Unfortunately and fortunately, the investigation quickly deepens and gets more complicated.  This leads to lots of adventure and more time for them to spend together.

There is so much good about this book. Even the things that bothered me initially turned out to be so well handled, that in the end I didn’t have a complaint.  One example is Thraehearn’s alpha-ness.  When he first meets Mina he is enthralled by her.  She is interesting.  He wants to have her.  He gives no thought to her feelings.  He’s quite confident that she will be amenable to anything he wants.  Her resistance just makes her more attractive to him.  He’s rich enough that he can pull strings to get whatever he wants, and he doesn’t hesitate to force Mina into a situation where she has to go along with him.  He’s really an arrogant ass.  So the author has a big job in turning him into a sympathetic character.  But she does it and she does it well.  Amazingly, at the end of the book, Traehearn is every bit as much of a take charge alpha man as he was at the beginning.  He has a greater understanding and love for Mina, though, and that comes through loud and clear.  He’s not afraid to make sacrifices to ensure her happiness, even if he’s awfully alpha about how he does it.
Another thing I really appreciated was that Meljean Brook builds an interesting world, and she does it without boring info dumps.  The book has great secondary characters, too.  It’s got ships on the sea and air ships that float under huge balloons!  It’s got zombies and mechanical flesh.  It’s got the best of sci fi/fantasy and romance together.  I highly recommend this entire series!
One final note.  There is a prequel to this story.  It’s a short story called Here There Be Monsters.  (It’s in the anthology Burning Up.)  It’s one of my all time favorite short stories and is only loosely related to the Iron Duke.  However, reading it first probably did help me understand the world building.

The Day He Kissed Her by Juliana Stone

The Day He Kissed Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, #3)
Grade-A
Hotness Level-Blaze
Kink Level-No Kink
Series-Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #3
Genre-Contemporary
Reviewed by Kay
384 pages

In the town of Crystal Lake, there were four young boys. This is Mackenzie Draper’s story, oone of those Bad Boys of Crystal Lake.

He came home for the funeral of one of his best friends. He came back because his reamining friends decided to make their homes here. He thought he’d left his hometown behind, along with his past and his pain. He’d done okay for himself. He has a well paying job, luxuries and a constant parade of women in his bed. One evening he has a one night stand with a beautiful girl with a Boston accent. She’s gone in the morning and he’s left bewildered.

Lily St. Claire is an heiress of sorts. Her family is wealthy and well known, kinda of like the Hiltons. She’s moved to Crystal Lake to be near her best friend, Jake. She’s enjoying her new life and the town suits her. It’s different but in a good way. Her only regeret is her ill-timed one night stand with her best friend’s best friend. She hasn’t forgotten him but knows it was a huge mistake.

They see each other at a family get together and Mac pursues her almost relentlessly. They agree to a exclusive but no strings attached relationship. Clear as mud? They both have their demons and baggage to deal with concerning their upbringings. Neglect and abuse are nothing new to them.

I love this series. I really, really do. You think you’re getting a series like Jill Shavis’ Lucky Harbor or a Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold or even a Toni Blake’s Destiny series but it’s more than that. Don’t get me wrong, I love those other series too but there’s more emotion in this one. It tugs at your heart strings. I haven’t read one yet that hasn’t brought tears to my eyes. Juliana Stone is a master at her craft and I am a devoted fan and reader.