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Featured Story: The Lilydale Leopards



What's better than another great featured review from the hardworking review team here on GA? When it's about one of my fellow admins (you're reading that right, if you missed that Graeme is now stuck on our unruly team) that members might not know is also an accomplished author with a very popluar sporty epic. Sound intriguing? Check out Timothy's review we've been keeping under wraps to surprise @Graeme with today! 


The Lilydale Leopards


Reviewer: Timothy M.

Status: Complete

Word Count: 821,737


Would you like to meet a team of hunky Australian footballers? If so, then Graeme’s Lilydale Leopards series is the perfect place to go. You’ll experience plenty of game action and footy skills, but no intimate bedroom stuff. Graeme’s writing never goes beyond kissing and cuddles. However, since most of the guys are straight, perhaps that’s OK? As for the locker room and shower scenes you’ll have to use your imagination. :P 


Of course, there’s an exception to the rule — the gay footballer— who makes the story even more interesting. In the first book, Leopard Skin Cover, ‘Ken’ is deep in the closet, mainly due to the lack of acceptance in the macho sport of Australian Rules football. He knows his chances of advancing to AFL, the major league, would be hampered by coming out. On the other hand, staying in the closet has several disadvantages, one of which is being unable to date Tony, the new marketing employee of the Leopards club. Another problem is the stress of pretending he’s straight to everybody around him, something many GAreaders can probably relate to.


The sequels, Leopard Spots and Leopards Leap, are just as well written and the full story explores not only relevant themes of friendship, bullying, and bigotry, but also the striving for achievement and acceptance. I’ve returned to the series several times to spend time with the friends I’ve made there. The core group of team members and supporters, both staff and fans, are described and shown in such caring and fun ways that we readers engage ourselves in their lives and fortunes as if we know them personally. We cheer, groan, laugh, gasp, and keep our fingers crossed for the success of the Lilydale Leopards, and some of us occasionally rant at the stupidity of various characters. 😊


Don’t be put off by the sports setting. I had no knowledge about Australian football, but Graeme seamlessly weaves the information into the story. The training, games, and constant need for sponsors and winning strategies provide a rich background for the main story arcs. This is a tale with passion, drama, sadness, and joy, as well as love and the kind of loyal friends we all wish for. Well, maybe except for Alex. :rolleyes: :lol:  Once you’ve become part of the Lilydale Leopards family you’ll never forget them, or in the words of another devoted fan:


Defiance19: Thank you for creating this family of football players whom we came to know as friends. For sharing their lives, and telling their story. We loved them, shared their pain, celebrated their highs, suffered their lows and everything in between.

Take your time to savor the first three books and join the rest of us in the ongoing Book 4. See you there.


Category: Fiction   Genres: Drama, Romance  Tags: young adult, Australia, no sex, coming out, psychology, sports, friendship   Rating: Teen

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Awesome review, Tim!! I've only read the first one, and I loved it! But then I started writing myself, and never found the time to keep up with the next ones. I absolutely love Graeme's writing (I did read Temporary Dads since then... another great story), and someday, I will finish the series. :) 

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I'm in a similar boat as Gary, I read the first one, but I haven't got around to reading the rest of the series. I'll certainly rectify that. :yes: 

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Great review, Tim..

It is a great series and I hope more people find their way to it. 


Your chapter comments/rants are legendary. Lol. I think I look forward to that almost as much as a new chapter. :) 


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5 hours ago, Defiance19 said:

Your chapter comments/rants are legendary. Lol. I think I look forward to that almost as much as a new chapter. :) 


:blushing:  Thanks - I think.  :lol:

Yeah, I'm hoping more people will read those stories, they hold so many more great things which I couldn't fit into the review.

When I was going through reader comments to find one to quote, I came across yours and immediately knew I didn't have to look further. It captures everything I want to say.  :heart:

Edited by Timothy M.
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19 hours ago, Headstall said:

 I've only read the first one, and I loved it! But then I started writing myself, and never found the time to keep up with the next ones. 


16 hours ago, Drew Espinosa said:

I'm in a similar boat as Gary, I read the first one, but I haven't got around to reading the rest of the series. I'll certainly rectify that. :yes: 


Lucky you, then you can binge read all the chapters at once. There were a lot of frustrated waiting for Saturday going on back then.

Oh, wait there is now too, for book 4. :lmao:

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Great review! This is an awesome series that will make you think, laugh,  wonder, and relish the dynamic storytelling by Graeme. 


One of my favorite stories of all time. 

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I've got to admit that I fist saw AFL on one of my cable stations years ago, and I was hooked by the game's sheer novelty for us Americans.  I detest our 'football' as too overpaid and teaching the wrong values for bullying and violence in our schools--these guys were almost always the worst offenders.  No brains needed, just muscle, and wearing ridiculous amounts of padding and still complaining at every little scrape? 

AFL is played by guys who know strategy and teamwork are the vital parts of the game rather than sheer brutality.  And they wear simple shorts, shirts and socks with no padding in evidence.  No idea about their pay scales, but I imagine they don't whine about getting injured on the job, but carry on to get better.  Still, I'm biased in their favor and of Australia in general.  Wish I could visit some time.

I discovered Graeme's works more than a decade ago at a site called Dewey Writer, and I've been hooked ever since...so now we get the joy of his talent and sexy sporty guys...can't beat that!

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9 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

I discovered Graeme's works more than a decade ago at a site called Dewey Writer, and I've been hooked ever since...so now we get the joy of his talent and sexy sporty guys...can't beat that!


I didn't know you're such a long time fan of @Graeme and AFL. I only became interested after reading the Lilydale Leopards story. I've never understood the fascination with American football either, but I'm a great fan of baseball. They have some good looking guys too. :P  Right now it's all about watching the World Cup where Denmark is participating. With luck we may go on from the first round. The Spain-Portugal match last night was brilliant.

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