Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Unfated Mates by Lexie Talionis is a fantasy romance story that focuses on Natalie. As she grows up, Natalie struggles to survive her unstable life with her pill-addicted mother. She is constantly picked on at school for not wearing new clothes and being poor. One afternoon, Natalie sees the truck of her mother’s boyfriend and quickly runs into the woods behind her house. She hears him calling her name and keeps running until she finds a clearing. Exhausted, she sits down and believes she is alone until she hears a growl. A large black wolf approaches her and follows her back to her home. Natalie attempts to feed the wolf when he suddenly transforms into a boy, Caleb. Disguising Caleb as her brother is surprisingly easy, especially when her mother believes he is a lost son who has returned. In school, Natalie is still ostracized despite Caleb's popularity. However, Caleb only has eyes for one person.
Natalie does not catch a break in life. Lexie Talionis makes her the epitome of a child neglected in poverty. Caleb seems to be a blessing for Natalie while they are at home. I understood Natalie’s hesitation to engage in a relationship with Caleb; he is a wild animal who does not conform to human behavior. The vivid details of the scenes show how dire their living situation is. The transitions between Natalie and Caleb were seamless. Being capable of seeing every thought that went through their minds made their personalities stand out. The book becomes unpredictable, and several supporting characters add to the suspense of whether Natalie and Caleb can coexist. I would recommend Unfated Mates to anyone who enjoys fantasy romances full of the odds stacked against love.