Monkey Wrench by Xara X. Xanakas

Title: Monkey Wrench

Series: Were Menagerie 02

Author: Xara X. Xanakas

Genre: Shifter

Length: Novel (192pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (19th September 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Twenty-year-old virgin Aaron Thorne has a lot of irons in the fire. He’s on a career-making case investigating a new party drug that induces shifts in werecreatures, and his friend is the prime suspect. Outside of work, a literal silver fox has captured his attention. And just when life start going smoothly for Aaron, a tall, dark, scowly bobcat shifter named Iggy appears and sweeps him off his feet.

After being attacked in the course of his investigation, Aaron starts to feel like he has something to prove. It’s a good thing he’s got all the energy of his shifter animal, the spider monkey. He’s going to need it to solve the case, sort out his love life, and decide what kind of man he wants to be.

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Warning: Some scenes of violence and near rape.

Review: This story is part of a series and I recommend they are read in order. Aaron is a monkey shifter who is a police officer. During an investigation, he is attacked and finds himself doubting his skills and wondering if he has really got what it takes to continue with his line of work. Meeting Gerry, a silver fox, gives him a boost and makes him feel safe. But, meeting sexy Iggy’s eyes across a room knocks the breath out of him and leaves him confused. With the help of his friends, he gets his case solved; his love life mediated and sets him on the road to recovering his confidence.

Well, boys and girls, this book is definitely one not to miss if you want a shifter story that is slightly different from most that have come before (except Snakeskin Boots of course, seeing as that’s the first in the series… you know, I’m just gonna shut up now). Aaron is a cute monkey shifter, a bit hyper and very bouncy. He is working undercover to discover who is selling a new drug, but in the process finds himself in danger from someone he thought was a friend. Aaron meets Gerry and has hopes for something more than friends, but then Iggy comes on the scene and throws him for a loop.

This is not an M/M/M it is an M/M for those out there that are confused by the blurb. Gerry is a hopeful love interest, but they never progress from friends, so no cheating or anything like that. just Aaron feeling very confused by his feelings. Okay, so this book is a mixture of all the best ingredients stirred together and baked so we have a wonderful yummy book that delights the senses as we take another bite and discover a different flavor (oh shut up that description is perfect). One minute we have sweet and goofy, then we have harsh and scary, then we have depressed and scared, then we have sweet and sexy, then we have funny and nervous, so you see the further into the book we get a whole new aspect of Aaron and what the storyline entails.

Aaron is a character that you take to heart quite quickly and he holds a place there all the way through the book. When you first meet Gerry you hope that he will be the rock that Aaron needs, but you soon see that although there is an attraction between them there is a spark missing. When Iggy comes on the scene it is pretty late in the book but you get a great idea, straight away, of what was missing with Gerry. Aaron’s feelings were described perfectly throughout the book. the intensity of them at times made my breath catch, and the storyline was brilliant and was pulled together wonderfully.

Although we don’t see much of Iggy and Aaron together, their scenes together are very intense, and you are in no mistake of their feelings for each other. Aaron’s investigation and the turn it takes add a lot of suspense and danger and will keep you reading to the conclusion. We see a lot of Jeff and Brad in this one and they are still as in love as ever. They add a lot in the way of support without ever once overtaking the story.

So, if you love shifters, an investigation, overwhelming instant attraction, danger, a great storyline and a very happy ending then this is a book that I highly recommend.



Snakeskin Boots by Xara X. Xanakas

Title: Snakeskin Boots

Series: Were Menagerie 01

Author: Xara X. Xanakas

Genre: Shifter, Paranormal, Fantasy

Length: Novella (170pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th October 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: 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 were-boa 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.

Review: What can I say about this book except it is a fantastic, funny read?  Jeff is a Were-Boa who works in a bookstore where he has noticed a certain gorgeous customer for months.   Brad is a Were-Wolf who has been haunting a bookshop where the man he fancies works. He finally decided that today will be the day that he asks him out.

Jeff seems to be quite confident except for when it comes to his looks or his love life.   He knows he isn’t anything much to look at and thinks that when Brad asks him out has to be on a dare.  He also had a very bad relationship with his ex-boyfriend which has left mental scars. Brad wants Jeff and he works to convince him that he is serious.

These two are fantastic characters and they have a great camaraderie and witty banter between them.  It’s not instant love but it is quite quick. The sex is spectacular and the feelings are described brilliantly. The storyline is brilliant, the plot is great. We have an assortment of shifters from scorpions to spider monkeys to elephants and then there are the wolves; the majority of which think that they are the best and all other shifter types should be wiped out.

I have to admit that for the majority of the book I chuckled, giggled and laughed and there were one or two moments that were pretty gross (really Xara’s imagination should be kept on a leash) but they added a bit of grit to the story.

I will recommend this to lovers of shifters, hot men, and hot sex, a bit of danger, funny stories and inter-shifter romance.




Wanting by Piper Vaughn

Title:  Wanting

Author:  Piper Vaughn

Genre:  Contemporary

Length:  Novella

Publisher:  Xara X. Xanakas

Heat Rating:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts

Blurb:  Jonah Beckett has been in love with his older brother’s best friend, Laurie, for years. When his boyfriend, Dirk, breaks up with him for refusing to put out, Jonah uses his heartbreak over the situation to ask Laurie to teach him all about sex before he starts college. Problem is, he made Dirk up, and he has no idea what will happen when Laurie finally finds out.

Reviewer:  Portia

Review:  This is the sweetest story that I’ve read in a long time.  It was nice to have two young men who were comfortable with their sexuality, accepted by their families and completely in love.  There were no real betrayals, no verbal or sexual abuse and just the tiniest bit of teenage angst.  This is a relatively short read, but it is well written and made me smile…a lot.

If you would like a very sweet, very sexy tale of a young man losing his virginity in the most loving manner imaginable…this is definitely the book for you.