CLAIMING SHAYLA (True Mates) by Zena Wynn

Description: When Shayla flees Refuge, North Carolina after an intense mating session with Rory McFelan, she thought she was done with the alpha of the Sparrowhawks. But as it turns out, she has to go back for her favorite cousin’s wedding. Also, she’s pregnant. And perhaps most importantly of all, Rory isn’t at all prepared to let her go.

The Good: As always, Ms. Wynn’s excels at introducing really hot sex into unique situations. There’s a lot going on in this book plot-wise: a rip-roaring romance, a meaty family mystery, and some seriously hardcore sex. Ms. Wynn really goes there — so sensitive readers, be warned. I was worried at points by how many balls she had going up in the air, but somehow she manages to juggle them and wrap it all up with a very satisfying conclusion. There’s also a character introduction that is so crazy-intriguing, you’ll be dying for him to get his own True Mates book. Hopefully it’s coming soon!

The Bad:Shayla as a character has serious “show vs. tell” problems. She’s supposed to be a genius, we never see her use her brain. At one point she proudly proclaims, “I won’t whine, mope, or sulk in some corner like a child” after spending several pages whining and moping around in a childish funk. She claims to be traumatized by growing up different, but we never see any evidence of this. In the end she feels like a collection of stated character traits that are never proven. To this point, many readers will figure out an important component of the mystery way before Shayla does, which brings us back to the genius issue.

Also, there are so many characters and POVs, it’s hard to keep them all straight. It’s a bit like watching TRUE BLOOD. In fact, even though she’s bi-racial (black and Asian), Shayla reminds me a bit of Rutina Wesley’s character, Tara — readers are either going to love her or hate her.

The Naughty: Erotic. Physical fighting between couple. Lots of exhibition. Sex while in werewolf form. Hardcore.

Editing issues: 4 typos found.

Publisher: Loose Id

Length: 274

Final Grade: B

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Theodora Taylor writes and reviews in Pittsburgh, PA.