Hot Alphas by Lora Leigh, Laurelin McGee, Shiloh Walker, Kate Douglas
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For something called Hot Alphas with that cover, I feel robbed! This compilation did not quite deliver. My actual overall rating is more like 2.75 stars, but I rounded down because I really didn’t like the book much.
Erin’s Kiss by Lora Leigh
This story didn’t leave much of an impression on me. There are a lot of covert ops going on and I felt like I joined the story in the middle of the action. Apparently, this is part of an ongoing series, which explains my confusion at the ending. The romance portion was resolved, but there’s an obvious To Be Continued that didn’t make sense for me since I haven’t read the series.
Other than that, I thought that the story itself was fine. It’s pretty suspenseful but I didn’t see enough character development to get emotionally invested in the couple.
misTaken by Laurelin McGee
I had so many issues with this story. There are some big, unnecessary misunderstandings between the hero and heroine resulting from poor communication. I wanted the characters to just talk already and stop dancing around each other.
Jaylene is an ardent feminist but when she hooks up with Noah, she suddenly realizes she’s sexually submissive–even though she’s never had an inkling of that in the past. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I didn’t find it believable. Also, she’s constantly going on rants about how romance novels subvert the feminist cause. I liked how she eventually changed her view on this subject, but her judgmental stance for the majority of the book was off putting for me. She comes across like a parody of a strong feminist, rather than a believable one.
Also, I didn’t see what was so magnetic about Noah. He’s not a repulsive character, but I just found him sort of ordinary and I didn’t get a real alpha vibe from him. So, I didn’t understand what specifically about him makes Jaylene want to be submissive all of a sudden (other than him being into it).
In addition, there’s a bit of mystery surrounding Noah’s occupation because he constantly evades the issue, even when Jaylene asks him directly. So when his job is finally revealed, I had figured it out already and really thought that she should have guessed much sooner, too.
Something I did appreciate is that Jaylene is Asian. The majority of heroines in contemporary romance tend not to be women of color, so I’m glad to see diverse characters (and not just in supporting roles).
Burn for Me by Shiloh Walker
Finally, 3/4 of the way through this compilation and I found a story that I enjoyed! Let me get this out of the way first and say that the hero, Tate, didn’t strike me as much of an alpha. I liked his character all the same, though. This was my first time reading Shiloh Walker and I enjoyed her writing style. Burn for Me is a love story at its core but it’s also got some complex family issues, too.
First, the romance: Ali’s a waitress and single mom who’s been seeing Tate, a mechanic and metalwork artist, for three years. They’ve had a casual, friends with benefits relationship, but Ali wants more.
But Tate has issues, especially with letting go. Fifteen years ago, Tate’s parents had a horrible fight and his mom stormed out of the house, never to be seen again. Tate has spent the past decade and a half thinking that his father had something to do with his mother’s disappearance, despite his father’s denials. As a result, Tate has been estranged from his father and has spent all those years with a sense of self-loathing and fear, believing that he’ll only hurt Ali in the end.
The story is equal parts romance and family drama. Tate has to figure out how to make himself a better person for Ali and that can’t happen until he confronts his past. In turn, Ali is a strong character who isn’t afraid to lay down an ultimatum rather than be strung along for another couple of years.
Both the romance and family issues are resolved by the end of the story, which has a satisfying conclusion. Additionally, several supporting characters are introduced in this book, so now I’m curious to see if they’ll get their own books.
Tangled by Kate Douglas
Well, this final story is a mixed bag for me. I didn’t expect it to be as suspenseful as it is, so I liked those parts; but the speed at which the characters fall in love doesn’t seem realistic at all. If you like insta-love, you’ll love this because Cassie and Nate fall for each other the day that they meet.
Cassie is a winemaker and Nate is the new vineyard manager. Originally, Cassie’s father owned the vineyard but after some bad business decisions, he lost the vineyard, which was then bought by a new owner. Cassie kept her job, but her father was diagnosed with dementia and he moved into an assisted living facility.
In addition to the vineyard dealings, there’s a suspenseful subplot involving Cassie’s dad and a mysterious briefcase. When he was younger, he worked for the Secret Service but was forced to retire early after uncovering some unsavory information. So while Cassie and Nate are falling in love, there’s an outside danger threatening the vineyard and the lives of everyone involved.
I think I would have enjoyed the story more as a longer novel since the characters could have been developed more fully. Despite the fact that they fall in love so quickly, I liked the main characters. And Cassie’s interactions with her dad are really heartfelt. But I think that the plot’s wrapped up too quickly and easily.
To summarize, I didn’t love this compilation as a whole. The story by Shiloh Walker was my favorite, but I found the Lora Leigh story in particular to be quite forgettable. And for a compilation, the stories aren’t very cohesive. Thinking back, only one of the main characters strikes me as an alpha and the other characters just seem like ordinary guys. I kept hoping that the stories would get more enjoyable, but unfortunately they just left me feeling lukewarm about the book once I finished.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review.