The Challenge
by Serena Shay, paranormal (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-581-7

Serena Shay's The Challenge encapsulates everything I find tedious and boring about the whole mate-mate-mate bloom in paranormal romances. The hero smells the heroine, immediately decides that she's his mate, and that's it for sexual tension.

Our were-panther hero Bastian LaRue spots our heroine Marina Jamison while raiding a junkie's hovel and right away he smells her as his mate and before I know it, he's ordering her to put out and she complies. Of course, this is actually a good thing, because we are dealing with these creatures, whom we all know exist to reenact smutty sex scenes for our romantic pleasure. Bang, bang, bang, and then we have some issues about Mari's half breed pedigree, but you know how it is. The right smell, the multiple orgasms - it's love, baby!

What happened to subtlety? What happened to romantic build-up?

The Challenge is such a lifeless rehash of the formula that made Lora Leigh a bestselling success, only this time Ms Shay doesn't even do anything more than to slap a declaration of love at the end of the pointless sex marathons and expect me to buy the romance. Nothing about this story feels new or interesting. The one good thing I can say about this is that it is easy to read, hence the pretty high score for a story that I find completely joyless and forgettable. The rest is just a dull retread down a well-worn path.

Rating: 56

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