2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I want to start this review by saying that I was attracted to reading this series of books due to a hilarious review on Goodreads which pointed out that the premise of all the stories were improbable and the heroes were all alphaholes. I love the word "alphahole". It's a new word for me and I was most curious to find out what it meant when describing a hero. Might start a whole new trend of heroes!
In reading these books, I also needed to set aside some pretty ingrained personal prejudices against Arab men after a rather harrowing experience while living in the Middle East, which I'm fairly certain has scarred the landscape of my soul.
Taking all that into consideration, here's what I think of the books ...
Warning: this review is going to be long, kick back with a cup of coffee ... and there may be SPOILERS. Don't read the individual book reviews if you don't want to find out the basic plots of the stories.
Book 1: Hostage to the Sheikh ~ Mel Teshco
Right off the bat, I want to say this story ticks all the boxes for me and I want to congratulate Ms Teshco on writing a short story that is satisfying to read and complete in and of itself. I did not feel as though I was left hanging and the ending was rushed, although let's face it, what can you fit into 70 pages when it comes to character, relationship and plot development? You've only got so many words to get there fast, but I'm okay with that. Ms Tescho was able to squeeze into a short story all the elements of a crazy, fantasy romance that I love - virgin, dominating alpha male, pregnancy and marriage, and she even threw in a jealous ex to thwart the path of the happy ever after.
So let's address the alphahole question, shall we? Shahzad did not come across as an alphahole to me if I were to take it to mean alpha male + class A douche canoe (I can't use the other word!). Yes, he was dominating and forceful (and I love that in a hero) but he was also oddly vulnerable in his grief for his parents and honorable in wanting to do what was right for his country. Yes, he did kidnap Lexi against her will and was rather autocratic about how it was for her own good and he knew her better than she knew herself, but again, I like a little highhandedness in a man. It's what the alpha male is all about. He wasn't unkind, he didn't treat her poorly, and he showed an emotional side of himself to her which I liked. Who doesn't like the big, tough alpha male with a soft, vulnerable side?
As for Lexi, fortunately, she didn't annoy me. That's the number one thing I look for in a heroine. Does she tick the annoyance box? I liked that she was sassy and a little horny, it made her rapid leg spreading for Shahzad a little more graspable, along with a small doze of Stockhold Syndrome. I also liked that she questioned herself, her feelings and her choices. I hate that she ran. Drives me crazy when a character runs and needs to be chased. Stay and communicate, fight, for goodness sakes! But baby on first poke, well done! Loved that. Ms Tehsco even managed to throw is a risk to the baby scene. Glorious! Makes my old skool Historical Mills & Boons from the 1980s heart glad!
On to book 2. No alphahole yet. :-)
Book 2: The Sheikh’s Mistaken Bride ~ Christina Phillips
Oooo ... mistaken identity, another virgin and unintentional, unprotected sex. If you haven't realised by now, I love a good romance trope. I love lots of them actually, but not all, just sayin'. And brothers ... I didn't realise this box set had three stories centered around three brothers (I hadn't read the blurb. Just dove right in!). Color my series whore little heart happy!
Tropes aside, what we really want to know is if Khalid is an alphahole. Well ... a little bit. Not in the beginning. He was the perfect gentleman in the beginning and he asked (you'll have to read the book to find out what he asked!). Then duty and his feelings got involved, and he thought he could have his cake and eat it too. Isn't that just typical of a guy? That was when he got to becoming a little bit of an alphahole, but really not enough to put me off him. I was sad right along with him when he realised he couldn't have Sanura and he had to do his duty. And he was only a little bit of an alphahole, not a total douche canoe. And hell, in the end he swallowed his pride and was willing to beg. Gotta love a guy who will do that. :-)
Sanura was delightful. She was so cute, all those innocent blushes. I liked she was upfront right from the beginning even through the case of mistaken identity. It was also great that Khalid realised it was he who jumped to all the conclusions, which fortunately, he realised was his fault. I liked that Sanura stood up for herself and what she wanted, that even before Khalid made the decision to follow his duty, she had decided on what she was willing to accept in a relationship and marriage. Way to go, Sanura! Groveling was very becoming on Khalid.
Oh and this installment? HAWT! The sex scene rocked!
On to book 3. Maybe Rafi will be the real alphahole? He has the potential for it, given the little glimpse I got of him from this story. ;-)
Book 3: Sold to the Sheikh ~ Cathleen Ross
Huzzah! We have found our alphahole ... although not entirely and it's forgivable since May was such a brat to begin with. A virgin brat, but still a brat.
Rafi starts off all scary and foreboding when be busts into May's room to claim her and his language was all alphahole. Seriously, I thought this is it, we have found our alphahole and his name is Rafi. Then you find out that Rafi is an honorable man and he's been in love with May since forever ago and he's been carrying this torch for her all this time, and you melt into a puddle of goo. I loved his protective side too. I mean, what woman doesn't like being protected? Hmm, don't answer that. There are probably women who don't want to be protected because they are strong, independent women, but I am not one of them. I love being protected. Rafi can protect me anytime!
It took me a little while to warm up to May. She comes across as a complete brat at the beginning, rebelling against her culture and rebelling against her responsibilities. Then they get attacked and she's brave. She's got fight and spirit in her, and she wants a better country for her people, with more freedom for the women. Rafi helps her to see her responsibilities are not a burden, with him by her side, she can achieve anything.
Awww ... all finished. *sad face*
Overall, I think there was a lot less alphahole-liness going on than I was led to believe from the review I read. I think the measure of an alphahole is subjective. Some readers may tolerate more than other. Perhaps I am one of those who have a higher level of tolerance?
I liked there was a thread of mystery throughout the story, trying to find out who murdered the three princes' parents and start a war between two neighbouring countries. Of course, it gets resolved at the end and the good guys win. Hooray!
It tickles me crazy that after one white hot sexy time, these girls all fall madly in love with their guys, but these are short stories and I've suspended my disbelief, so I'm happy they're in love. Happy for now drive me batty, so the fact that they all got married and there were babies on the way made my silly, romantic heart happy. And have I mentioned how much I enjoy a good virgin story yet? I got three of them in this box set! Happy dance!
I enjoyed this box set. It's everything about the romance fantasy I love with all the tropes that make me go a little silly inside. Great for when you're short on time but want something satisfying and well written to read.
Quite possibly the most fun I've had reading a book in a while and definitely the most fun I've had writing a review. :-)
One last thing I would like to see though, a table of contents. Bouncing between books or looking up a book was difficult without a table of contents. That's easily fixed in the eBook formatting though and in no way takes away from the reading experience. It's a small thing and it is an easy fix.