Title: Tigers and Devils
Series: Tigers and Devils. Book 1
Author: Sean Kennedy
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: March 2009 by Dreamspinner Press
The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other's lives forever.
Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods—until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon's support is a bright spot.
But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan's homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Tender, emotional, meandering romance set in super cool Australia.
The Set Up: Simon is just a regular guy who loves football, friends and movies. He never expects a famous football player, Declan, to be at a party his best friends drag him to. Even though Declan and Simon begin a tentative romance, Declan’s fame may break them apart before they’re even together.
Why I Read this Book: I’m still working my way through the best of MM romance lists on Goodreads and this one shows up often.
What I Liked: The romance between Simon and Declan is emotionally very satisfying. There isn’t a lot of forced tension, instead these two men slowly build an emotional bridge together and I love that in romance. They don’t lie or try to torture each other in their romance but do sometimes misstep and muddle things up. This felt like a realistic romance between two guys just trying to have a meaningful relationship.
What I Also Liked: There are three non-romance things I loved about this book too.
One, the setting of Australia is awesome. I had to look up a few expressions but that was great. This book doesn’t dumb down the setting for American readers but invites us to learn about a culture just a bit different than ours and I love that.
Two, this is an MM romance that has three dimensional women who aren’t there simply to destroy the men or their relationship. The female characters were treated with just as much respect as male characters. I’m sad to say this isn’t the typical case in MM romance and is my big complaint of the genre. I can honestly say women are just as human as men in this romance and I give the book kudos for that.
Three, the humor is stellar. This is a first-person narrated by Simon and he’s a funny guy. He makes plenty of pop-culture references that had me giggling. For instance, Declan and he are getting to know each other and sharing their political views and Simon says, “As Liz Lemon, a personal hero of mine, would say: That’s a deal breaker!” I could likely make the argument that this is a romantic comedy and after a lot of the dark books I’ve been reading this was a real treat.
What I Didn’t Like: I make no apologies that I’m a dirty girl. If I read a romance I want some bedroom pay-off. Simon and Declan’s sexual intimacy is PG-13 and just wasn’t intense enough for me.