Title: Snakeskin Boots
Author: Xara X. Xanakas
Cover Artist: Cat Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: 170 pages
Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: This story introduced me to new (for me) additions to the continuously growing family of weres in m/m romance — snakes, scorpions, elephant and some others. Unfortunately these weres were the most original part of the story as I found the plot boring and the characters lacking depth.
Jeff Cordata has always known wolves can be dangerous. Not that his luck with snakes has been any better. It’s not easy being a wereboa constrictor in a world that worships werewolves.
When the customer he’s been watching for months turns out to be an interested wolf, his first instinct is to flee, but his attraction to Brad Cannidy is undeniable despite the strained relations between their families. Then Jeff’s anaconda ex-boyfriend re-enters his life as a pair of snakeskin boots, the hunt begins for the murderer who is turning weres into accessories, and Jeff will have to decide if a boa and a wolf can really mate for life.
I was duly warned about unusual shifters in Snakeskin Boots when I chose it, but I really do like watching snakes (from the distance lol), so I was looking forward to the read. Unfortunately, besides watching how different snakes would behave when shifting, I found little to enjoy in this story.
First, the world-building puzzled me. I always like some sort of integration of the shifters in “our world” and here we are just asked to accept that they exist, which just caused me to wonder about schools, making money and all kind of stuff. One of the main characters works in a bookstore, true, but it looked like most just deal with pack business or nest business. I was also wondering about the whole werewolves v snakes set up, which felt sort of artificial to me and only to create conflict for the main characters. In other words, it felt that the author was using some animalistic behavior of her characters only when it was needed for the plot of the story. And I felt that the conflict was resolved rather awkwardly, even though nothing really was resolved.
Additionally, I just could not understand how and why werewolves would want to rule the wereworld. Maybe if they were werelions it would have been a little easier to grasp for me, but wolves? Additionally, while it is stressed that those wolves with superiority complexes would have liked to rule everybody, why do they have a special problem with snakes? I could understand if the other guy was wererabbit, or werebull, they may want to snack on them, so I can see how believable dislike would grow out of that, but snakes? I felt it was not explained.
But even the world-building was not my biggest problem — the characters were. They lacked depth or development, and after I was done with the book I was still not sure what made the main characters tick. I know that Brad looks like a god, and has REALLY long and heavy dick (22 inches?), so big that he feels a need to apologize to Jeff for it — repeatedly. Jeff thinks that he looks like a snake and Brad thinks he looks like angel. So basically we have a character whose only flaw is insecurity about his looks. The secondary characters are there mostly as walking/talking props, and by the end I just could not make myself care about any of them at all.
And do not get me started on snakeskin boots; so gross and not amusing, in my opinion. I cannot say more without pretty revealing spoilers.
Not recommended. Fans of the author may feel differently.