Naked Tails

Title: Naked Tails
Author: Eden Winters
Cover artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link Naked Tails
Genre: paranormal romance
Length: 234 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A guest review by Sirius.

Summary: This book widened my horizons as to what kind of shifters may exist in mm romances and overall I thought it was a pretty enjoyable  ride.

Blurb:

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?

Review:

I grabbed this book because, well I wanted a chance to read a good one. Eden Winters rarely disappoints me and I thought her work would be a good bet. As you can see from the cover shifters keep growing in mm romance. I have never read the book with opossum shifters before. I will be very honest – realizing that these critters will feature prominently in the book made me raise my eyebrows a little bit. I was having trouble picturing opossums as romantic characters; moreover I did not even find the opossum on the cover to be very cute.

So I did what I always do when in doubt – I went googling. I found some really cute pictures of these animals online and proceeded with the book in much better mood. They were *adorable*. And go check out the picture of the triplets  on the author’s website if it is still there – so very cute and funny. Yes, there are  triplets running around in the book, no I will not tell you more about them, you should check them out yourself ;). I have to admit though – I do not really think that opposums make very good shifters, but that is just my personal bias 🙂

I thought the story was actually one of the best shifters stories around that I have ever read – based on my simple googling at least the animal side of the shifters was researched and incorporated in the characters’ personalities and behavior extremely well. I was very impressed. It was also very funny in places.

For a paranormal romance this story I would say is very well grounded in reality. Yes, as I said above, the animalistic characteristics of the folks living in Possum Kingdom are quite important in their personalities and in the story, but at the same time we get to see the life in the small city, the politics, even the election campaign of the sorts and it all felt very realistic and amusing to me. In fact I wonder if the election campaign was inspired by elections in the US which we lived through this year. I actually wish that the candidates would have behaved somewhat similarly to how our candidates behave in this book.

But of course the story is not only about the life in the Possum Kingdom, even it is an integral part of the story. The developing romance between Dustin and Seth is front and center and it worked for me. The blurb tells you that the guys had been childhood friends, so I feel I can tell you that more often than not I have very little patience for the story which makes it out that the guys were not able to forget their true love even if they were just little kids all those years ago. I thought this story avoided the silly trap very well – yes the guys remembered each other as one would remember your best childhood pal, but it is not like they were sitting around and were not involved with other people on pretty serious level. I would call their romance more the story of reconnecting with the old friend and realizing that now your friend may become somebody much more important for you than just a friend.

Interestingly enough I *really* enjoyed the separation time for our characters in this story. It made all kinds of sense in the world for them to stay separate for the reason they did for a while, but at the same time it did not feel like they were separated forever. I felt like the love between them did not go anywhere and as soon as they deal with stuff, they will be back together.

The story also has one of the very best female supporting characters I have read about in mm romance.  I am always wishing for better characterization of the women in mm romances and as far as I am concerned there can never be enough of them, but wow even though I have seen few of interesting characters Monica was amongst the very best. She was a force of nature, but what impressed me the most is that the author gave her a very real flaw and did not turn the flaw into “awww how cute she really is, she just does not know it , but everybody around her does”. Monica is rude, or “lacks social skills and she knows it :-)”. Her first meeting with Seth, well let’s just say I wanted to slap her silly for all the crap she told Seth. I get why she said it, but find out what the facts really are woman before you start running your mouth. In any event, what I am trying to say is that I like Monica as I would like the real person – knowing her flaws, but seeing that she has much more good qualities than flaws and I have not yet met a human being without flaws in my life. I thought it was a very skilled characterization here.

Recommended.

26 comments

  • I’m about 25 percent into the book and so far I’m loving the story. I’m trying to think of Seth and Dustin in their human forms rather than as possums, which helps. 😆

    • Would you like some crickets Wave? 😉

      Seriously I am with you, but besides not being able to swoon over them as shifters, I think everything else was lovely. Have you met Monica yet?

  • I am in the process of reading this book and I am loving it. I think it’s one of the most unique shift stories out there. Nice review Sirius! Hugs, Z.

    • Oh thank you, I think it is definitely an original story and one of the most researched ones, although I same as Wave preferred them in human form. I convinced myself that opossums are cute, but that as far as I could go.

  • Sounds like it might be interesting. But I gotta say possums are nasty scavengers, eatting any rotten or dead thing around. Then again, a possum will run off a skunk, so there is that.

    • Hi Gb, yes they were often hungry :). If you decide to get the book, let me know what you thought please? Thanks for commenting.

  • Great review, Sirius! I have this book, and am looking forward to reading it even more. I mean, Diversion was such a good book by this author, and I can’t resist an unusual shifter creature (and I’ll admit that opposums are really pushing the envelope in shifter fiction in that they’re far from sexy, at least at first impression).

    I love the last line of her blurb. That just made me snicker. 😀 Is that what possums eat?

    • I’m no expert, but possums will eat insects. They also eat dead things (like roadkill) and garbage. From what I’ve read, they’ll eat frogs, fruit, earthworms, and even waste of other animals.

      • I forgot to add, if you have time and so desire, check out post dated December 17 2012 on Eden Winters’ website, I just checked it is there. I just cannot see how these three can be considered not cute 🙂

    • Thanks Val. The only reason I can see (and of course you may prove me wrong and find others :)) for you not to enjoy the book would be if you indeed find oppossums to be too much for you as critters :). And as you can see I struggled with it too, I settled down on cuteness, but did not make a jump into romantic – otherwise it was very lovely done. Yeah, I knew nothing about them, but as far as I read they do, amongst other things 🙂

  • I loved this book to pieces! Though initially I had the same reservations as Janet did–but then again, we’ve seen rabbits, lambs, dragons, birds in m/m shifterdom, why not rodents? Seth and Dustin are just so right together, and I totally agree with you on Monica.

    • Hi Feliz – yes the family of mm shifters seems to get bigger and bigger ;). I thought romance was great and Monica was awesome.

  • Sorry, I tried but I just can’t get pass the fact that their rodents. Love Eden Winters though and great review.

    • Hi Janet, believe me I hear you. I like my shifters big and bold ( or is it Raine who likes them that way ? Eh same thing :)). But I liked them enough to enjoy everything else in the book if that makes sense.

  • Thanks for the review, Sirius!
    I wasn’t so sure about this book when I found it on the Dreamspinner homepage, but now I will give it a try. Thanks again 🙂

      • Sorry it took me a while Sirius, but here I am again 🙂
        Last night I finished Naked Tails and I really liked it a lot.
        You were so right with what you said about Monica. I wanted to slap her over the head (hard!) more than once. But the same is true with Seth. (This man and his unfortunate addiction with his stupid social medias :doh:)
        But I got over it 😆
        They felt like real people to me with reals issues. Not over-the-top-heroes, but people who tried and did the best they could. I really loved that about this book. Very believable.
        And about the possums as the shifters: I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist them. There are so much wolves and big cat’s and dragons in the shifter world, everyone of them so heroic, that I found it really refreshing to read about little furry shifters who love crickets for a change. And about possums not being sexy, I think the main point is other possums drooling over them ^^
        So thanks again for your review. I’m not sure I would have bought this one without it. :skoal:

        • Hi Eve, thank you so much for coming back and letting me know what you thought about the book.

          I completely agree that they felt to me as real people instead of over the top heroes and I really liked that. Did you like election campaign and them trying to get the votes? I thought it was hilarious in a sense that I was hoping more politicians would consider actually trying to do some good things for the people before getting their votes.

          Oh I agree that possums are cute, pictures convinced me of that :). And you are probably right – as long as other possums find them sexy, that’s what should matter.

          I did not actually wanted to smack Seth – I felt bad for him, so I forgave his addiction to social media (I know some people who have had it worse ;))

          • Hi Sirius,
            the election campaign was one of my favorit parts of the book. The whole time while reading it, I had to fight the giggles. 😀

            • Yep me too Eve :). There is another moment I was dying to discuss with somebody who finished the book. What did you think of Seth’s grandmother and what she did? I actually could see her view very well even though IMO it ended up hurting Seth a lot. But I felt for her quite a lot surprisingly.

              • Hi Sirius,
                IMO Seth’s grandmother was simply horrible! I can understand that for her it was quite a shock in the beginning. But she had years to come to terms with it and the entire time she did nothing at all. (When you love your child, would you not try to understand and make peace with the situation??? For both sakes???) And then, when her daughter is dead, she sweeps in, and seperates Seth from all he has left and all he has ever known and loved. All in the name of “saving him”. And did she try to give him a replacement for all she took from him? No, not at all. He is not allowed to have close friends or anything else which would make the changes in his life a little easier. He was a small child for god’s sake!
                I can understand that she didn’t want to loose Seth, like she lost her daughter, but in the end, it was her own fault that she did loose her, because she couldn’t accept her daughter for what she was.
                And before I step down from my soapbox, one, maybe two last thoughts: it’s very sad, but I think very much bad things happen because people doing something because “they mean well”. Sometimes I think this is the most abused justification: I meant well.
                And the second one: how didn’t she know Seth wouldn’t shift all alone in the big city with no one to help him? Scary thought! And all because she meant well….

                • Hi Eve, I LOVE discussing things about the books, arguing even, cannot get enough of such discussions, so please please do not ever apologise about getting on the soapbox or anything like that.

                  I guess I should put SPOILERS WARNING just in case.

                  I do agree that what his grandmother did turned out to be completely horrible for Seth. At the same time where I can relate to her is that I can see how in her misguided ways she wanted to protect Seth IMO.

                  I mean, yes, of course she had years and should have come to terms with her daughter’s choice of the husband who has unusual abilities and her desire to share them. I am not talking about that now, I am only talking about the fact that had she not met her future husband she may have had a much longer life span, right?

                  I mean, granted, we never know what can happen to us tomorrow and she could have died from any other reason without ever meeting her beloved, but the facts are that she died because she wanted to share her husband’s shifting abilities. It was of course her voluntary choice and her mother was wrong to ignore that, but I can see how her emotions could have gotten the best of her and she would have wanted to protect Seth from ever coming close to manifesting those abilities. JMO of course.

                  • Hi Sirius,

                    I love to discuss books, too! 🙂

                    I get where you come from when you say that perhaps she wanted to protect Seth but I’m not really convinced. I see as well, that she apparently blames Seth’s father for her daughters dead, but here I have to pull on my esoteric hat. 😀
                    I strongly believe that each person works on his or her own destiny and nobody else is to blame. (I don’t talk of being murdered and such other things of course!)
                    To me Seth’s grandmother seemed more a cold bitch than a loving, protecting and nuturing person. (That would be his auntie!)And the way she treated Seth when he lived with her only confirmes that IMO. I got the impression that she had very clear ideas how her daughter should have lived and what kind of family she should have had. And the same applied for Seth.

                    • I certainly agree with you Eve about
                      each person having their own destiny,
                      I just think that often we cannot
                      help how we feel, you know? I also
                      agree that what Seth’s grandmother
                      did to him did not do him any good,
                      quite the contrary. I guess I just
                      cannot bring myself to feel angry
                      at her if that makes sense? Yes I
                      loved his Auntie too. The women in
                      this story were awesome I think. Did
                      you like that older lady who decided
                      to be Sam’s fan? I was giggling every
                      time she appeared.
                      On another note I also appreciated
                      how the book went off the beaten path
                      not just with the type of shifters
                      the author chose but with some predic-
                      table plot developments which went
                      their unpredictable ways IMO. Granted, after election campaign I suspected that their meeting and electing the leader may not go the predictable road, but i did not expect how it would actually happen, without you know, massive confrontations and all that. I mean something intense happens but not what I expected at all.

  • I completely love it that you went out to find photos of cute possums before reading this story! I’m looking forward to reading this one – thanks for the review.

    • Oh thanks Pea I hope you will enjoy it :-). I just did not want to start reading it with the strike against the book in my mind already so to speak. I wanted to be as fair to it as I possibly could.

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