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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The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson

574854
Grade: A
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, Alternate History
Series: Alaskan Royal Family #1
Published: 5/1/2004
Reviewed by Kate
256 pages

 

This one is an oldie, but is one of my absolute favorites (the whole series is actually).  MaryJanice Davidson has written a world in which Alaska is it’s own country.  And it’s a country ruled by the most unking-like king you could possibly imagine.  King Alexander is ready for his oldest son, David, to settle down, get married, and start working on the next heir to the throne ASAP.  Prince David’s not all that interested in dating, after all he’s got his hands full taking care of his personal flock of penguins.  Christina is working in the kitchen on a cruise ship and after her boss gropes her, she knees him in the nuts and quits. She walks off the cruise ship which leaves her stranded in Alaska with only $50, so of course she uses the money to go on a fishing trip.  On the fishing boat, she meets the king (who’s trying to blend in with the commoners, and not doing all that well).  The king invites her to stay at the palace-can we say matchmaker?  Like I said before, Prince David’s not all that interested in dating…until he meets Christina.

I could go on and gush and gush about this book.  The wild, crazy, royal family that Christina finds herself with is an absolute hoot!  Not to mention some of the palace staff (Edmund in particular).  But even though the family is such a strong presence in the book, they don’t over shadow the romance.  The sigh-worthy, blush-inducing romance of Prince David and Christina.

Filled with MaryJanice Davidson’s quirky, whitty, snarky dialogue, this is one book that will have you laughing out loud and reaching for #2 (The Royal Pain) right after you finish the last page.  If you haven’t read MaryJanice Davidson before, I highly recommend you start with this one!

I love an author that can write funny snarkiness well, and MaryJanice Davidson is one of my faves.  Who are some of your favorite snarky authors?

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.