Review: Cinderella and the Sheikh by Teresa Morgan

cinderella sheikHero: Sheikh Rasyn (Ra-sin) Al Jabar has no interest in becoming the next ruler of his homeland, Abbas in North Africa. He decides a Western wife will surely raise the country’s hackles and get him out of the line for succession. When he spies Libby, he thinks he can fulfill his desire to leave the throne and get pleasure out of the arrangement too. He puts on his most charming face and goes in for the kill.

Heroine: Libby Fay is working as a waitress at Hotel Scheherazade in very posh upscale Manhattan. She earns big tips from the wealthy clientele. Waitressing for Libby allows her to wait on people who need a little tender loving care (TLC). She feels that she makes people’s days easier. Growing up, she and her mom would play restaurant, and that’s when she found her calling. This job is the best job she’s ever had and she’s not about to mess it up for a playboy sheikh… even if he’s devilishly handsome and charming to boot.

Review: Libby is no fool. She doesn’t feel Rasyn’s attentions are genuine. He’s only just met her – how can he be in love with her? When he proposes marriage on the first “date” she’s floored. She doesn’t love him, why would she marry him? She says “yes” to help him save face, but an inch given is a mile taken with Rasyn. Twice in the novel, Libby’s mom provides the push to allow Libby to open up to Rasyn. First, he looks at Libby like her father looked at her mother… and then later when her mom asks if she ever gave her heart a chance to love Rasyn. I liked Rasyn’s line about not marrying a man you love, but marrying a man who loves you. I thought that was great! I also like how his plan to bring in an uncultured Western woman backfires. She’s genuine and kind which draws people to her. So while she makes social gaffs like he expected, their results are anything but catastrophic. Poor Rasyn.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Cinderella and the Sheikh (Hot Contemporary Romance)

Review: Desert Warrior by Nalini Singh

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is the second story that is in the double book (“Lord of the Abyss”) by Nalini Singh.  You will not be disappointed if you buy this double book.  It is a reprint of her August 2003 Silhouette Desire book.

Jasmine Coleridge seems to have a self-esteem problem.  She also wants to design clothing. Tariq al-Huzzein Donovan Zamanat is the Sheik of Zulheil and knows what he wants.  They also knew each other 4 years ago.

There is an intensity between Jasmine and Tariq right from the start.  Mina is the lamb to Tariq’s lion.  Tariq treats Mina as a possession and Mina just wants to be loved.  The story appears to be contemporary but because of where the story takes place it would also fit in as a historical romance.  The desert doesn’t seem to change very much.  Almost like time stands still – the desert is almost untouched by the outside world.

Tariq’s claiming of Mina is very sensual.  You see Mina blossom under Tariq’s touch.  The reader also gets a chance to see how romantic sleeping under the stars can be.  It may give you some ideas about getting romantic with your significant other.

The past keeps getting in between Tariq and Mina’s relationship.  You will have to keep reading to see if the couple can “weather the storm”.  There is a saying “Love conquers all”.  Will their love be able to?

The hunks in some of the romance novels always have a way of saying the wrong thing and his lady-love ends up slipping back into her shell.  As I was reading, I had hoped that Tariq wouldn’t follow suit – but he did.  Now I have to hope that Mina puts him in his place.

Nalini likes to tease her readers.  Will Mina’s love be enough?  Will Tariq realize what he has before it’s too late?  Nalini also adds in the evil sister.  You will have to read the story to find out what she does and if she destroys the love that the couple has for each other.

If you are a hopeless romantic, you will love this book.  I’m used to reading Nalini’s paranormal romances but this was a very nice change.  The only disappointment I had was that the second story doesn’t have its own cover.  With Nalini’s description of what Tariq looks like, you would love to see an actual picture.  But you will not be disappointed if you go and buy the double book (unless you already own the original from 2003).

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of the Abyss & Desert Warrior:

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Review: Desert Nights by Kitti Bernetti

by Carla F., guest reviewer

Summary: Sheikh Ashmit bin Sultan al Nashan is sent by his father the King to rescue an English schoolteacher, Russ Edwards, who is being held in the desert by terrorists. When Ashmit finds the chained Englishman in the terrorist camp, he is overcome with lust. This is unacceptable! He is stunned and appalled that he is attracted to a man. His duty has always been to marry the beautiful Ashwarya and have an heir for the throne. Until then, his father has said that he must remain a virgin. Purity “in mind and body is essential to maintain the authenticity of our bloodline.”

Russ cannot believe how beautiful his rescuer is, and he doesn’t understand why he is so cold one moment and definitely not cold at all in the next.

Review: It was fun reading a gay version of the typical Sheikh romance novel. Like those it has the intelligent, handsome, and sometimes arrogant leader/prince of a mythical non-Muslim country falling in love with a foreign commoner. At first I had trouble dealing with the idea that a King would send his heir to the throne out alone to save a foreigner from terrorists, but it fits into this type of story. (Later is it is revealed that the King had a very good reason for wanting his son to do this.)

Ashmit definitely has issues, but it is understandable considering how he was raised to believe in his duty to his father and country. I liked how his plan for dealing with his pending marriage allowed him to fulfill that duty.

Hot scene: There’s a temple in the desert that has some interesting carvings and an alter.

Overall: A quick fun read suited to those who like Sheikh and/or LGBT stories.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Desert Nights, Desert Nights (UK)

The Top 10 Hero Types:

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Who is the ultimate hero in your books?

  1. Bad Boy Hero:

The Bad Boy hero is in a league of his own. More heroines and readers/viewers have fallen for the Bad Boy than any other hero. He is the ultimate rebel: mysterious, seemingly indifferent, and hard to get. He starts off behaving badly and unrepentant. His inner good is revealed however by the end of the novel due to actions of the heroine or circumstances that force the Bad Boy to become the knight in shining armor.

  1. Alpha Hero:

Oh the Alpha Hero… how we love to hate and adore him. The innate leader in any situation, all look up to him and want to be him. He’s cool, confident, steady, strong, and sure. His ultimate role, I’ve noticed, is to take care of the heroine.

  1. Brooding Hero:

Our poor tortured lonely Brooding Hero, how we love to torment him! Aloof, angry, wounded, and ultimately one of the most vulnerable heroes out there, the Brooding Hero has captured the most hearts in very recent history with Angel and Edward Cullen. (The Brooding Hero is a perfect foil for the Paranormal Hero.)

  1. Rogue Hero:

The Rogue, who by any other time period outside of Regency, is a promiscuous cad in need of a physical. Utterly charming, completely dashing, and carelessly carefree about life and love, the Rogue is ready to live life to the fullest. Commitment is not a word in his vocabulary until the heroine sweeps into his sphere of influence.

  1. Nerd Hero:

Another name for the Nerd Hero is the Beta Hero. He’s kind, sweet, and decent. He’s the best friend or the slightly awkward gentleman. The Nerd Hero almost always meets his full potential because of the heroine. He rises to the occasion… in more ways than one!

  1. Tycoon Hero:

This hero type literally litters Harlequin presents. He can be a millionaire, billionaire, prince, sheik, or wealthy boss. Ninety percent of the time the Tycoon starts out isolated and jaded in the novel only to wind up happy and easygoing by the end.

  1. Protector Hero:

The Protector Hero comes in many disguises and professions, most are obvious, but some not so much. You can find him playing the role of a cop, firefighter, spy, detective, bodyguard, part of the military, etc. The plot behind many Protector Hero stories involves a mystery where he almost loses the heroine while trying to save her.

  1. Daredevil Hero:

Pirates and superheroes compose the majority of the Daredevil Heroes. They love action, they love fights, and they love thrills. Give them a damsel in distress and they’re all over that like white on rice.

  1. Warrior Hero:

The Warrior Hero, funnily enough is a very reluctant hero. He thinks himself above it all. His mission in life is to fight and protect his home, his country, and his men. Then a woman gets thrown into the mix all kinds of chaos and havoc ensure and he fights it every step of the way only to get conquered by the heroine.

  1. Paranormal Hero:

Oh yes, the Paranormal Hero, when a normal man just won’t cut it the Paranormal Hero steps in prepared to win hearts and steal our very souls. He oozes sex with his otherworldly good looks and quickens our imagination with images of the extraordinary. Call him a vampire, a wizard, a lycanthrope, or any other kind of superhuman being it’s all the same to him.

Which Hero Wins Your Heart? (You can pick two!)

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Researching the Sheikh – Your Help Wanted!

by Cathy Jean  and Trysh Travis, guest bloggers and romance researchers

Greetings, romance readers! We are two researchers at the University of Florida and we want to get your opinions about the romances you read—especially if you love sheikh novels.

Our research suggests that there are a lot of misconceptions out there about these books and the people who read them, so we want to gather information and set the record straight.

The top stereotypes we’ve encountered:

  1. People assuming that sheikh romances show Arab culture as “primitive” society.
  2. People assuming that the male characters in these books are unusually cruel and/or kinky, with the suggestion (sometimes just hinted at) that this is due to the “primitive” society they come from and their fascination with and/or hatred for “civilized” or Western society.
  3. People assuming that the women who read sheikh romances don’t know anything about the “real” Middle East.

It really is pretty amazing the attitudes people have and we could really use your help!

If you read this blog, you are an expert on the romance genre, so please share your wisdom with us by completing a quick (about five minutes) survey here: http://kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=NOJLLK_6ed851cb

Cathy and Trysh need you’re help so don’t wait! Take the survey! I did it and it doesn’t take very long at all to complete. Really just five minutes. :D

*You can ask for your personal information to be held private if that’s a concern.

Sheik Romance and the Passion of Arabian Nights

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There are many fictional desert kingdoms in Sheik romance. In these desert romances the handsome and enigmatic sheik or prince finds love with the white woman for her sass and zeal of life. She is usually American or English. Powerful and very masculine he domineers her despite her Western background.

Did you know the term bodice-ripper comes from Sheik romance?

The very first Sheik romance/s contained a rape scene. In an article published in 2006 by the Chicago Tribune, staff writer Patrick T. Reardon, writes, “this pattern of kidnap-rape-love, rooted in a pre-1980s cultural belief that unmarried women shouldn’t go looking for sex, involved ‘forcing pleasure on women.’ For their own good, apparently.” Of course in these rape fantasies the heroine never truly suffers or afterwards is traumatized. The experience is a passionate one on both ends and eventually ends in love.

Interesting Fact: The Biblical Dinah was raped – or not – and when Shechem asked for her hand in marriage, he was told only if he and all his compatriots were circumcised. While they were recovering, Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, killed them all. To take a woman, then ask for her hand, was one way to ensure you could marry her, especially if the two of you were interested in each other, and the match might not otherwise be received. (Gen: 30-34).

The Sheik:

In desert romances, the male lead is darkly exotic with dark eyes, handsome features, and tawny sun-kissed bronze skin. He’s been educated at Harvard or Oxford and has learned to tolerate or prefer Western culture, ingenuity, and technology. Almost always, he is forward thinking and Westernized to some degree.

Possible Plots:

Some themes in Sheik romance include marriages of convenience, kidnapping, and rescues, similar to Highlander romance.

The Lure Behind the Desert/Harem Fantasy:

Sheik romance like Paranormal romance has risen in the last few years. In an age where chivalrous princes are nearly nonexistent, Sheik romance offers a modern prince to romance readers. He’s a little bit wild, more than a little dangerous, but very much in love with his heroine. Combine this irresistible masculine force with the exotic and (most times fantastical and fictional) lands of Africa, the Middle East, and the East and it’s magic in the making.

Difference between a Sheik and a Sultan:

Abstractly, the word sultan means strength and authority. A sultan is like a king. Some basic research shows that lands under or previously held under sultan rule could be found anywhere in the East or Middle East.

Lands held by a sheikdom are usually solely Arabic. A sheik in Arabic means “elder” and refers to the elder in a tribe or lord of a tribe. Also it can be in reference to Islamic study and is a title earned upon completion of studies. But in desert romances the title is used as the official title of the Bedouin tribe leader and for nobility.

*You can also spell Sheik with an ‘h’ as in Sheikh romance or sheikhdom.

Review: Her Every Pleasure By Gaelen Foley

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By: Marcia, guest reviewer

Her Every Pleasure is the third book in the Spice trilogy about three siblings, British citizens, who have grown up in India. It is a story of duty, honor and destiny which would seem predictable for a romance novel; but add an ambitious Sheik and ruthless Janissaries bent on conquering Europe and converting it to Islam, and it becomes much more interesting.

Gabriel Knight has retired from the Regulars and withdrawn from life while recuperating from an arrow in the abdomen as well as the horrors of war. Having had an after death experience, he believes that he has a destiny to fulfill. At six feet, four inches tall and heavily muscled, he is the epitome of tall dark and handsome. A warrior and leader of men he must learn to follow before fulfilling his destiny.

Princess Sophia has been attacked on the road to London and has fled to hide in a barn on what she supposes is an abandoned farm. She intends to masquerade as a servant while waiting to be rescued by her security team. Over the years, one by one, her entire family has been assassinated until she is the last in line to rule the Greek island kingdom of Kavros. She has been taught to defend herself by her head of security and will kill when necessary. When Gabriel finds her asleep, he assumes that she is a gypsy with loose morals that his brother sent to ‘take care of his needs’. They are strongly attracted to each other but each resist because of duty, honor and destiny, not understanding that those are the very reasons that they should be together.

Her Every Pleasure is told with vivid visual descriptions and a tightly constructed plot. The characters are fully developed and sympathetic. Although the characters and events are entirely fictional, the story is told with historical realism. Galen Foley is always a good read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Her Every Pleasure

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Review: Cinderella and the Sheikh by Natasha Oakley

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My only complaint is that this novel isn’t longer! I feel like this was a good start and now the author should flush it out with more details, more scenes, more, more, more. The ending was much too rushed to wrap everything up to my satisfaction. I felt like I read half a book only to get about four paragraphs of the ending. I feel very deprived. Pout.

This story is very chaste, no sex and only a few passionate kisses. The build up was there and could have developed further. I did enjoy the line about her response to him making a mockery of her modesty.

Pollyanna (Polly) has devoted her energies into Shelton, the historic seat and castle of the ducal Missenden family. Polly’s mother, had been the family’s housekeeper for years and married into the Missendens, but Richard’s offspring do not approve. Anthony the heir puts up the most fight and subsequently Polly has never felt she belonged. She does not have any rights on the castle that has always been her home and Anthony would just as soon be rid of her and the castle. (He gambles and the money would help him pay his debts.)

It’s time for a change. Joining her friend Minty’s documentary production crew Polly is off to Amrah, the Arbian kingdom her great-grandmother fell in love with (at a price.) Polly is also instantly drawn to Amrah’s playboy sheik, Rashid.

For his part, Rashid wants to keep a close eye on Polly. He’s determined to find out if she knew and was behind her stepbrother’s plot to swindle him on a thoroughbred horse. Of course his intentions and attentions get muddled as his motivation changes from revenge to lust.

Rating: ★★★☆☆