Monthly Archives: November 2016

likeloveadore: I was walking my dog today and this little boy stopped to pat her and was asking…


I was walking my dog today and this little boy stopped to pat her and was asking questions about her. He wanted to know where I got her and I said she was adopted from a shelter.

Boy: Have you told her yet?
Me: What?
Boy: Have you told her that she’s adopted?
Me: Yes, she knows.
Boy: That’s good, you should never keep a secret from a dog.

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Book Review: Werewolf at the Zoo, by Charlie Richards

Werewolf at the Zoo, by Charlie Richards

Helping his brother escape the zoo, Rainy discovers more than just an array of animals.

scouts the zoo, planning a mission to rescue his brother, who’d been
sold by poachers while in wolf form. He gets a whiff of the most
intoxicating scent, the man Travis Carlyle, his mate. But he quickly
finds out that before he can claim the handsome veterinarian, Rainy has
to convince Travis that he’s worth coming out of the closet for.

leads a quiet, discreet life, avoiding any situation that could
possibly out him to his family. After so many years alone, Travis finds
the love, affection, and acceptance Rainy offers him too hard to resist.
But just when he decides Rainy might be worth the persecution of
revealing his sexuality, he discovers Rainy has been keeping secrets, a
lot of secrets: Werewolves, Shifters, Mates? When he watches a shift
with his own eyes, Travis is forced to accept the truth.

Too bad
not everyone wants Travis to know the wolves’ secrets, tossing him into a
feud between shifters. When Travis’s father tries to come between them,
can Rainy convince Travis to choose a dangerous, love-filled life with
him instead of the comfortable, quiet existence he’s led with his

Rating: 2 out of 5

This wasn’t a story as much as it was a checklist of werewolf m/m romance tropes. We’ve got your insta-love, fated mates, “I know you by smell”, silly alpha pack dynamics, biting during sex, and so on and so on. Add in some paper-thin homophobia, ridiculously quick acceptance of the impossible, subplots that go nowhere, and stunningly unlikely coincidences. The whole thing was topped off at the end with a lovely scene of, “It’s a shame that I just had to rip that guy’s throat out with my teeth. Hey, the steaks I was cooking look like they’re done. Who’s hungry?” Oh, and don’t get me started on the overdone Irish dialect. Ugh.

Let’s do the math:
+1 star because it wasn’t so awful that I couldn’t make it to the end
+1 star since it had werewolves. Because werewolves.
+0.5 stars for having sentences with subjects, verbs, and direct objects, and a minimum of typos.
-0.5 star for either ignoring the need for lube or using soap as lube. Ow. Just ow.

2 stars it is! Oh, and add one eyeroll for pretty much setting up the next book and telegraphing the plot for it in a single paragraph. I will not be pursuing the rest of this series.

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Rainbow Awards: Best Book Cover

Rainbow Awards: Best Book Cover:


If you are as much in love with the Wolf, WY cover as I am, would you mind showing it some love? Click through the link, put in your email address, scroll, scroll, scroll to select your favourites, then scroll to the bottom and hit submit. ?

Thank you so much!! ???

I voted and you should too! Good book cover design is really hard, as shown by all of the really terrible covers out there 🙂

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As much as I adore books in the m/m romance genre, I admit that I tend to give short stories and…

As much as I adore books in the m/m romance genre, I admit that I tend to give short stories and novellas a wide berth. Unless it’s in a well-established setting with previously-known characters, there just doesn’t seem enough time to lay down the background, create the characters, introduce conflict, and resolve the conflict in a satisfying manner in such a short span. Maybe I’m just not reading the right short stories/novellas, I dunno – I haven’t found one yet I really enjoyed.

(This musing is brought to you by a post by Charlie Cochet about The Soldati Prince. The book looks interesting, but given the characters and the world-building involved, being less than 100 pages is a major turn-off for me.)

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Book Review: Blood Howl (Sanguis Noctis #1), by Robin Saxon & Alex Kidwell


Blood Howl (Sanguis Noctis #1), by Robin Saxon & Alex Kidwell

Gun for hire Jed Walker
doesn’t figure it for a difficult job—a simple smash and grab
retrieval—except his new client doesn’t want money or goods. He wants
shy, gorgeous Redford Reed, a man who turns Jed’s world upside down
inside a day. He is in no way prepared to fall hard and fast for his
newest assignment.

Redford Reed lives his life locked in his
grandmother’s house, haunted by a terrible curse and watching the world
pass him by until Jed shows up, sent by a man who will stop at nothing
to claim Redford as his own. Teaming up with Jed is Redford’s only
chance at survival, but as the violence escalates, so does the tension
between them. Even though they each finally have something to live for,
now it’s going to take all Jed’s skill and every bit of courage Redford
has just to stay alive.


Rating: 4 out of 5

know those movies where you know going in that you’ll really enjoy it
as long as you check your brain at the door? I’m thinking action movies,
superhero movies, that sort of thing. Big dumb fun. Sure, there’s
massive plot holes, but damn the movies can be fun! This is what we have here, in book form.Normally
I’d knock this book on a number of counts: no world-building, little
backstory on the main characters, ridiculous motivations by the
antagonists, and more. But you know what? The story was so much fun and I
enjoyed the characters so much, I will give it a pass.Jed is
pretty much a boisterous, amoral, grade-A asshole. Need someone
assassinated, somebody kidnapped, something blown up? He’s your guy.
This kind of broad character can be entertaining as long as you don’t
examine them too closely. Redford is a perfect foil for Jed. He’s
sheltered, naive, and quiet, an element of sweetness that is the perfect
antidote to Jed’s crassness. The two of them together are an adorable
couple. Also, some of the werewolf scenes are flat-out hilarious.As
noted above, don’t think about the plot too closely. Just go along for
the ride and have a good time! Saxon and Kidwell’s writing is enjoyable.
The dialogue is snappy and the side characters are for the most part
interesting. The big finale is definitely big, and has some intriguing
plot twists that make future books in the series quite interesting
indeed. I’m definitely going to continue to read the series!
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jakubsan: remember, if you see a beautiful woman, alone in the…


remember, if you see a beautiful woman, alone in the dark wood … run! 🙂

‘lady in red’ – new painting from my ‘1863 – Wolfpack ‘ project, about
the group of extraordinary insurgents, fighting against the Russian
Empire in the nineteenth-century Poland.

work process and better resolution:

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The dangers of being public


I’ve been having a fun time! 

My comic from Wednesday, despite not being controversial in anyway, apparently found itself some controversy based on my malaise and sadness from the election results. 

Putting myself out there on the internet with my comic was a big step for me. I’m not a fan, and I knew I wouldn’t be, but there’s no way around being exposed when you make your work so public. 

And I’m not adverse to people criticizing me, but it’s nice when I don’t have to explain to Trump supporters that racism requires structural power in a society, and that in the US, you can’t exactly be racist against white people. You can hate them, you can be prejudiced against them, but frankly, I know that being white isn’t going to cost me potential jobs. I know being white isn’t going to dictate the neighborhoods I can live in. I know being white isn’t going to be a huge safety hazard in certain parts of the country. I know that being white isn’t going to affect my future earning potential. 

But no, being okay with the fact that minorities might be prejudiced against white people gets me called a racist bitch and told to fuck off. Okay! 

I set out to make a feminist, queer comic because I’m a feminist, queer artist. I made a comic with a cast that’s primarily people of color. I made a cast that’s overwhelmingly female. I made a cast that’s mostly queer. I wanted to make something to combat all the sexist, racist, homophobic shit that I deal with every day when I walk out the door. I didn’t make it because I like werewolves. I didn’t make it because I wanted to appeal to anyone in particular. I made it because that’s what I’ve always wanted to read.

But my mistake is that I made something that apparently has broad appeal. So people have been reading and apparently ignoring the feminist and queer angles in my comic and just…enjoying it. Which is great! But when I get political, they don’t like it. I’m not one to tell people what to read and enjoy, but my politics are in my comic, even if you didn’t notice. My politics are what made me make this comic in the first place. 

I’m going to keep making my comic. You don’t have to read it.

If you’re not reading How to Be a Werewolf you absolutely should! Not only is the writing awesome, but the world needs more feminist, queer werewolf fiction, dammit!

Rock on, Shawn! I’m proud to support your Patreon!

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Book Review: Bayou Dreams (Rougaroux Social Club #1), by Lynn Lorenz

Bayou Dreams (Rougaroux Social Club #1), by Lynn Lorenz

Sheriff Scott Dupree’s
got more problems than he can handle. He’s alpha of his small werewolf
pack and coming up for re-election as sheriff in a year. On top of this,
his mother is casting love spells to find Scott a mate. It’s all Scott
can do to keep the town and pack under control, let alone his urges to

Ted Canedo is openly gay, a disgraced ex-cop from New
Orleans. His patrol partner was killed on duty and Ted took the blame
for taking protection money from the store owner to save his partner’s
wife and kids grief. No one knew Ted was in love with his partner, not
even his partner. Having him die in Ted’s arms killed something inside
Ted too.

When the moon is full and Scott’s momma works her magic,
Ted’s erotic dreams and his work as a PI bring him to St. Jerome and
sexy, straight Scott. Scott’s stunned to learn his wolf is gay and wants
to mate with Ted. Ted refuses to become involved with a straight man,
much less a werewolf, terrified to risk his heart again.

Especially if it he has to watch Scott fight to the death for his right to claim Ted as his mate. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’ll start off here with a bit of a rant. Keeping in mind that the target audience for M/M romances is straight women, the views presented in the genre can sometimes be…distorted. One of the common tropes is “gay for you” (or GFY in the fan parlance). This trope is, “I have been straight all of my life but now that I have met this particular man I am madly in love.” This gets under my skin because it completely ignores the existence of bisexuality and the fact that sexual orientation is a continuum, not a discrete, binary gay/straight thing. Typically not even a nod is given to the possibility of bisexuality which is annoying at best and outright offensive at worst.

There. Having gotten that off my chest I can get on with this review, which ostensibly does fall under the GFY trope, but it skirts around it neatly. The idea presented here is that a werewolf has a human side and a wolf side. The human may be whatever orientation, but the wolf wants what the wolf wants (male or female), and it’s going to get it. This sets up an interesting tension between the characters that was, to be honest, pretty damn hot.

Having gone to school in New Orleans, I’m a sucker for stories set in Louisiana. Werewolf stories in Louisiana? I’m all about that! The characters of Ted and Scott are interesting and their angst at the undeniable draw between them makes for a good story. The rural countryside and swamps provide atmosphere for a fun, fast-paced story.

Unfortunately, in places things didn’t flow quite as smoothly as they could have. The introduction of some characters that are clearly present for future books in the series is a little clunky. Also, I generally give wide leeway for how sex scenes are written. Everyone has something that turns their crank, even if it doesn’t do much for me. Even so, the sex scenes didn’t always quite read as well as I would have liked. This may be just a personal thing, though.

I liked this book a lot and have already bought the next one in the series!

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Book Review: Worth the Wait (Worth #3), by Lyra Evans

A proposal turned political…
Detective Oliver Worth doesn’t always think things through. When he proposed to Connor Pierce in front of all the packs of Logan’s Court, he thought he was being romantic. It was a grand gesture to show Connor he meant it—that they were Fated, that Oliver wanted to spend the rest of his life with Connor. He didn’t think he was proposing a bond that would unify the Courts of Logan and Nimueh, forever solidifying peace between the two kingdoms. If he had, maybe he would have expected the fallout.

Marked a murderer…
When Oliver and Connor’s bonding ceremony is interrupted by news of a murder—with Connor the prime suspect—Oliver and Connor are forced to disappear into hiding in Maeve’s Court. With a dwindling list of allies, they must race to solve the murder and clear Connor’s name. But with every passing moment, the political landscape of the Three Courts shifts toward destabilization and war, with Connor and Oliver at the centre of it all. As the evidence mounts against Connor, and the Courts prepare for all-out war, the case gets more convoluted. Is Connor being framed for murder? Is the murder only one part of a much larger plan? And with Connor presumed guilty across the Three Courts, how far does the conspiracy stretch?

A grasp for power…
The road ahead is more treacherous than Oliver ever imagined. As he pushes to find answers and save his lover, Oliver must hold desperately to the belief that he and Connor really are meant to be. Can they work fast enough to find the real killer and save their Courts from all-out war? Or will their Fated love be Fated to die?

Worth the Wait (Worth #3), by Lyra Evans

Rating: 5 out of 5

This is a great way to cap an extremely enjoyable series! Having established the characters and the setting well in previous book, Evans is free to dive deeply into the characters and the world of the Three Courts. The political machinations take center stage here, as does a pretty clever mystery.

We (finally!) learn both Oliver and Connor’s family histories, and that plays a big part in the story. The heat and passion between these two is there as always, though the on-page hotness is toned down from previous books. The fast-paced story more than makes up for this though as our heroes traverse one end of the Three Courts to the other seeking to clear their names.

As always, the side characters shine here, from the stalwart Donna, Connor’s second in command, to the wild and fearless reporter Rory. The small side-plot involving border guard Brook was sweet and sad, and not something I had noticed in previous books.

I enjoyed this book so much. I’m sad to leave Oliver and Connor but the ending of their story is so perfect I have no complaints whatsoever!

(Side note: That cover…ugh. I mean, at least they’re consistently bad throughout the series, so I guess there’s that.)

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Election Day!

I’m spending today working the election, driving a 20-mile circuit visiting 6 different polling places all day long, 5:30 AM – 7:00 PM+. I’m providing technical support, answering questions about the software, and making sure everyone has all of the supplies they need.

For all of the rancor of the past few years, it is a real pleasure to see people of differing political beliefs work together congenially to make this election happen. Everyone has been polite, considerate, and pleasant to work with. It reminds me that things really are nowhere near as bad as they seem.

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Book Review: Worth the Trouble (Worth #2), by Lyra Evans

Detective Oliver Worth is still new to the whole ‘relationship’ thing. He spends every moment of his free time in Logan’s Court with Connor, then slips over the border to Nimueh’s Court to get back before dawn. It’s exhausting, but it works. After all, Oliver’s still closeted, and the Nimueh’s Court Police Department is hardly the most welcoming of places.

Connor Pierce, on the other hand, feels differently. When he asks Oliver to begin a public courting tradition, Oliver panics and runs back to Nimueh’s Court to think things through. The problem is someone has already made the decision for him. Now he’s the butt of every officer’s joke, and his Captain must disclose his relationship to the Commissioner. Oliver’s sure his life can’t get any more messed up.

But when a call comes in asking Oliver to consult on a murder back in Logan’s Court, Oliver is forced to accept the reality that things have only started to fall apart. With Connor mourning and desperate to find the killer, Oliver barely has a chance to deal with his true feelings about going public. Worse, the case has virtually no evidence and no leads. Having no options and the threat of more deaths around the corner, Oliver gives in and calls for a Special Investigator to help. Only the Investigator they send is the last person Oliver wants.

Now Oliver isn’t just dealing with a dangerous murderer, he’s facing a past he’d long-since buried and the slow crumble of his first real relationship in years. Can Oliver weather the storm of his fears and unresolved feelings to move forward and give Connor what he needs? Or will the past destroy every possibility of Oliver and Connor’s future?

Rating: 5 out of 5

Having dispensed with the majority of the character introductions in the first book of the series (Worth a Shot), this book has time to tell a great story with a tricky mystery as well. Oliver’s mixed emotions toward relationships make sense in the context of his past, which we learn more about here. It’s painful to see his world blow up in his face, though I could wish more time would be spent on the repercussions of this.

Instead, it’s back over to Logan’s Court, submerged in a werewolf culture that Oliver knows little about and struggles to learn on the fly. The tension of the mystery ramps up throughout the book, and in the meantime Connor and Oliver try to sort out where they stand. A big hazard in a story like this is that one part of the story or the other can take over the book. Here, the mystery and relationship development are given a proper amount of weight, as is the interaction between them. As with the first book, I could wish to know more about Connor’s past – maybe this will be addressed in the third and final book, Worth the Wait.

I really enjoy Evans’ minor characters here. The inscrutable Donna, the irritating-yet-alluring Sky, and even the border guards are fun and interesting. This helps create a more complex world that draws the reader in. And as before, the intimate times between Oliver and Connor are incredibly sexy. The settings are a bit offbeat, but that definitely kept this reader’s interest.

(And again…ugh, that cover. It still has no relation to how I picture the characters, but whatever…)

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Audiobook Review: Sidecar, by Amy Lane, performed by Chris Patton


The year is 1987. The boys wear pink Izod shirts, the girls wear big hair, everyone has a stash box, and AIDS is just an ugly rumor rumbling like a thunderstorm from the cities. A teenage runaway wanders the side of the road, a heartbeat away from despair, and is rescued by a long-haired angel on a Harley. But that’s just the beginning of their story.  Josiah Daniels wanted peace and quiet and a simple life, and he had it until he rescued Casey from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Suddenly Joe’s life is anything but simple as he and his new charge navigate a world that is changing more rapidly than the people in it. Joe wants to raise Casey to a happy and productive adulthood, and he does. But even as an adult, Casey can’t conceive of a happy life without Joe. The trouble is getting Joe to accept that the boy he nurtured is suddenly the man who wants him. Their relationship can either die or change with the world around them. As they make a home, negotiate the new rules of growing up, and swerve around the pitfalls of modern life, Casey learns that adulthood is more than sex, Joe learns that there is no compromise in happy ever after, and they’re both forced to realize that the one thing a man shouldn’t be is alone.

Sidecar, by Amy Lane, performed by Chris Patton (9 hours, 32 minutes)

Ratings: Book – 5 out of 5; Audio performance: 5 out of 5

The book: This may be one of my favorite books by Amy Lane ever. It is sweet, thoughtful, and sad at times. I teared up in places even on the second time through! There’s not much suspense or even a lot of action, but there doesn’t need to be. This is a simple story of two men who love each other very much carving out a place for themselves in the world over a span of twenty-five years. The love and affection between these Casey and Joe is a joy to read, and seeing them build a life together was wonderful.

The story is told in a series of extended vignettes, hopping through the years. One of the things that I frequently mention in my reviews is the importance of knowing a character and understanding their motivations. Sidecar is my yardstick by which other books are measured. As the point of view alternates between Joe and Casey the reader sees exactly where each one is coming from and it makes them both tremendously sympathetic.

One of my favorite things about Lane as a writer is her knack for dialogue. She has a flair for the rhythms of a conversation, and you can look at the dialogue and say, “Yeah, this is pretty much the way people talk.” They’re not always witty or sparkling, but they can be snarky and tender when warranted.

It’s no huge giveaway that the book ends happily, although the road there is filled with twists, turns, and detours. Still, it’s the kind of book that when you read the last word you put the book down and sigh happily. I highly, highly recommend it!

The performance: I don’t listen to many audiobooks due to time available, but I figured I’d give this a shot and listen while walking the dogs or working out at the gym. I’m so glad I did! Even though I first read the book only six months ago, listening to Chris Patton’s performance really added to the experience. Patton has done voiceover work for an astonishing number of anime series, and many audiobooks as well. I know that I would definitely seek his work out in the future!

The concern I frequently have with audiobooks is following the conversation and figuring who is speaking when. Patton gives each character a specific voice, a unique pitch and cadence, which both fits them well and makes them readily identifiable. Unlike some audiobooks I’ve heard, Patton performs the dialogue, bringing additional meaning and nuance to the conversations. It greatly enriches an already excellent book.

Oh, and if you ever thought that listening to a steamy sex scene in an audiobook would be awkward…no, no it is not. *fans self*
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Book Review: Worth a Shot (Worth #1), by Lyra Evans


Worth a Shot (Worth #1) by Lyra Evans

Detective Oliver Worth has everything he needs-the job he always wanted and a knack for picking one-night stands. When a high-born Witch is found murdered on the steps of Nimueh’s Court, Oliver is given the case of the century-because no one else will touch it. Not when it looks like the murder was committed by a Werewolf.

The Treaty between the Courts of Nimueh and Logan has stood for over a hundred years, and peace was hard-won. If a Werewolf is responsible, the murder counts as an act of war and would plunge both kingdoms into chaos. Something Oliver’s Captain is keen to point out.

Treading lightly, Oliver has no choice but to venture alone into Logan’s Court to investigate. The trail of clues leads right to Connor Pierce, a newly minted Alpha of Logan’s kin. Connor is gorgeous and captivating and absolutely a suspect. Determined to do his job and catch the killer, Oliver finds he’s now got more to worry about than an inter-kingdom war. He tries to ignore his growing desire, but Connor keeps drawing him in. Everything about Connor is intoxicating, and Oliver isn’t sure how long he can fight off temptation…

Now there’s not just the peace of two kingdoms on the line-there’s also his heart.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Now, I appreciate hot, steamy scenes in my reading as much as the next gay guy, but I prefer for a book to be plot- or character-driven, and the intimate stuff is a nice garnish. This book though…wow. The overall plot is OK, and the characters are interesting. But the level of heat throughout most of this book is incredible, and not even particularly explicit.

Oliver is quite a complex character – open about his sexuality in the off hours, but deeply closeted in a professional setting. Although we don’t get a whole lot of backstory on any of the characters in this book (maybe in the sequels?) we learn enough about Oliver to understand what makes him tick. Connor is more of a cipher, but that is by design. We learn about the werewolf society (Logan’s Court) bit by bit as Oliver does. One thing that is very clear – sex and sensuality are very much integral to the wolves and their interactions.

The world-building is nicely done here as well. This is a society where magic exists and is a fact of life. Dirty clothes are taken care of by laundry wards, and cocktails are served with anti-intoxication potions mixed in. At the same time, there are cars, computers, and cell phones. The setting is built organically – not a whole lot of exposition going on. This doesn’t always work for me, but it definitely fit in here. Also, although this is ostensibly a shifter story, very little of this plays into the plot except to define the different societies (and associated prejudices).

A large portion of the book is taken up by Oliver needing to pose as Connor’s consort to interview a key witness. As a plot device it’s a little flimsy, but the attraction, temptation, and intimate pas-de-deux between Connor and Oliver is hotter than hell and kept my attention throughout! The mystery is resolved nicely and while the ending is a bit unexpected (in a good way) it sets the stage for future stories, although this book is self-contained.

I liked this one a lot. Recommended!

(Side note: Ugh, that cover. I know I’m not the target demographic but that’s over the top. The way these guys are described, neither of them works out or does anything that would be necessary to maintain ridiculous chiseled abs like that. Ah well…)

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Book Review: Naked Tails, by Eden Winters

Naked Tails, by Eden Winters

Seth McDaniel wasn’t raised among a shifter passel and has no idea what it’s like to turn furry once a month. An orphan, torn from his father’s family at an early age, he scarcely remembers Great-aunt Irene. Now her passing brings him back to Possum Kingdom, Georgia, to take up a legacy he doesn’t understand and reconnect with a friend he’s never forgotten.

As Irene’s second-in-command, Dustin Livingston has two choices: assume control of the passel or select another replacement. Unfortunately, the other candidates are either heartless or clueless. Dustin’s best hope to dodge the responsibility is to deliver a crash course in leadership to his childhood pal Seth, a man he hasn’t seen in twenty years. However, while Dustin’s mind is set on his task, his heart is set on his old friend.

Seth’s quest for answers yields more questions instead. What’s with the tiny gray hairs littering his aunt’s house? Why do the townsfolk call each other “Jack” and “Jill”? Do Dustin’s attentions come with ulterior motives? And why is Seth suddenly craving crickets?

Rating: 4 out of 5

This was a fun, goofy read that was way better than I expected it to be! Offbeat shifter books don’t usually do it for me, but this looked interesting, plus it takes place not too far from where I grew up so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Eden Winters does a nice job evoking the area and the people of North Georgia where “Possum Kingdom” (not too far from the real town of Clayton) exists. Seth has been away in the city environment of Chicago for so long he’s forgotten his country roots (the fact that I live near Chicago now is pure coincidence but probably added to my affinity for the book!). Going back to the red clay of his youth leaves him absolutely out of his element, but he learns to adapt. I liked Seth and really sympathized with his confusion and reluctance to stay in Possum Kingdom. Dustin was a little more difficult to read and I would have liked to see more of him in the story, but it makes sense why he was not. Monica, Dustin’s second in command, was a hoot! I’ve met Southern women like her and I can definitely say there are plenty of grounds in reality for her character.

The plot to the book isn’t anything particularly special. Stranger comes in and must assume command, learn about his heritage and the local society, and train to fight like a possum (as one does). The latter part of the story seemed a bit rushed after the relaxed, enjoyable setup, and that’s the main reason I rate this a 4 out of 5. I would have liked to see things drawn out a bit more and have more time to explore Seth and Dustin’s time together, reconnecting from their youth.

I quite enjoyed Naked Tails, and look forward to exploring more of Winters’ back catalog!

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