Tuesday, December 23, 2014

37 Book Boyfriends, Alpha Males, and Danger in the "Safe" Zone plus an HEIR OF FIRE Giveaway

I love alpha males. In theory.

In practice, I want them to be alpha to everyone but me.

At the same time, I love a good old-fashioned gentleman who opens doors and picks up checks and pulls out my chair. In short, a guy who wants to take care of me even though he knows I'm perfectly capable of taking care not just of myself but everyone else in the room as well.

When an author gets the blend of strength, kindness, attractiveness, and loyalty right, that's my personal sweet spot in book boyfriends. Add to that intelligence, humor, and a little bit of brokenness, and I'm in book heaven. I love that so much that, of course, I gave Eight Beaufort those same characteristics in COMPULSION. I also made him charming, protective, and a little bit pushy about doing what he thinks is right, which is okay because Barrie pushes right back.

To me, while many of Eight's characteristics might be included in the term "alpha male," I think we all define alpha males according to our own values. Truly, it's kind of an ambiguous term, and I've been thinking a lot about what it actually means and whether we really want an actual alpha male in real life? Are they as attractive when we meet them in person, or do we like them on the confines of the page because that's a relatively safe zone in which to live out the fantasy?

I also wonder whether we're doing men a disservice by suggesting that we love "alpha males" without putting clear definitions on what that means. I suspect fewer of us want a guy who is violent, domineering, demanding, self-centered, or over-confident. Speaking for myself, I prefer someone who is confident, successful, physically fit, a good leader, and both able to take care of himself and his family and loved-ones and responsible enough to want to do so.

When I look around the world and see the way that so many women are mistreated, it makes me want to cry. Mostly, it makes me want to sit down with my son and have a long talk about what strong really means and about the boundaries of respect that he needs to set for himself.

I recently took a very unscientific poll on this subject by running a 'Tell Santa What You Want in a Book Boyfriend" contest for the holidays. At the time, it was nothing more than a way to have some fun with readers and get to send out one last book for the year. But I'd like to go ahead and share some aggregate results. I've combined things so it's easier to see,

attractiveness (in various subjective forms)
sweet, generous, compassionate etc. 
funny, sense of humor, witty, mischievous, etc.
intelligent, smart, loves books, educated, etc.
tough, dominant, possessive, bad ass, foul mouthed, rugged, brutish, bad boy, etc.
trustworthy, real, reliable, trusting, dependable, honest
gentleman, respectful, good listener, supportive, understanding, thoughtful, old-fashioned, etc
loyal, family oriented, best-friend
loving, romantic, likes to cuddle
loves dogs, horses, animals, cats, coffee, pizza, movies, music, coffee, and various other specific preferences
alpha male, protective
snarky, smart ass, sarcastic, smirky, etc.
charming, smooth talker, outgoing, etc.
bold, fearless, adventurous, brave
adorkable, dorky, nerdy, different, quirky
exciting, passionate, spontaneous
sane, not a criminal, employed, good hygeine, has all teeth, smells good -- aka, the very basics : )
strong minded, strong, determined, confident
intense, haunted eyes, broken, moody, angsty
happy, easy going, balanced

What Do You Think?

Do any of the above qualities resonate with you? What do you want in a book boyfriend, and who are your favorite examples? Leave a comment and complete the Rafflecopter to win a copy of HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas.

This Week's Giveaway

Heir of Fire
by Sarah J Maas
Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Purchase Heir of Fire at Amazon
Purchase Heir of Fire at IndieBound
View Heir of Fire on Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hmm. If this was the real world, I'd be terrified to see the bad-ass list so high up. I don't like domineering, brutish men in either fiction or the real world. Surprised the trustworthy group isn't higher!

    Hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas season!

    1. I was surprised too -- I deliberately didn't fold the "alpha" responses into that category, because I wanted to showcase the qualities that I thought could be problematic. I suspect we get into problems when the romances become blurred with reality. These qualities in a guy who is "tamed" by the heroine of a book are unlikely to be tamed as successfully in real life.

  2. Ditto the first commenter--nasty guys are really that high up the list? Ladies, raise your standards!

    Otherwise, I think alpha males are overrated. I married a very beta guy who is slowly developing alpha qualities, and I love every step of the journey. Unfortunately, most romances don't have that kind of scope, unless we're talking a ten book epic fantasy series. :-D

    1. LOL on the ten-book series, but I'm with you (and Jemi) on the nasty guy thing. I think we all probably define alpha in our own ways, but I preferring a good guy who happens to be a good leader, and I'm lucky that I happen to have one of those.

  3. I don't love alpha males. I love guys who care and are kind, and now how to become an alpha male if it comes down to protecting or caring for people they love.

    LOVED Eight!!

    thank you so very much :)

    1. Thanks, Christina! That's an excellent way to describe it. There needs to be a reason for the alpha behavior. There's nothing wrong with protectiveness, when someone is in need of protecting. : )

  4. I can't deny the appeal to alpha males however, i will always root for the guy who is kind and loving who treats his girl with respect :D.

  5. By this list it seems the numbers say that what is wanted in a fictional guy is a fantasy.
    Personally, attractiveness (while important) wouldn't be at the very top of my list- because I think that books that focus more on this tend to lean more into "insta-love/insta-lust" category- which isn't my thing. I think the way the guy interacts with the MC is more of a draw.
    And the whole "bad boy" liking I think just adds on to the fact the readers just want some sort of fantasy- though that's not really the kind I go for… Although… I guess I can think of some fictional-guys who are kind of "bad-boys" but even then I think the draw is they don't cross certain lines AND they show hints that it's all a facade.
    Interesting list.
    Thanks for the giveaway! Maas is UH-MAZING and I would love my own copy of Heir of Fire… ^^

    1. That's exactly right. The bad boys in books don't cross the lines with the romantic lead -- or even with other women. At least not in the books I read. And I guess that comes down to the point that I won't read books where the MCs cross the line. Abuse in any form is simply not something I want to read.

  6. I'm surprised the snarky, sarcastic guys weren't rated higher on the list! I love a guy with snark, it's sooooooooooo great. I read those boys right up! haha Thanks for another great giveaway Martina! And Merry Christmas!! :)

  7. This is a great giveaway!

  8. Those results are a little scary but perhaps that could be a part of wanting to live out a fantasy (at least that's what I hope!) or what movies and television makes us think what we want. Some movie and TV romances I have seen are very warped.

  9. I love this giveaway!

  10. I think the quality that most resonates with me is the one about being a gentleman and respectful. I find that most guys are not as respectful/gentlemanly as I would like. I find respectful guys very attractive though.

  11. The intense/broken/moody category is a must for my book bfs! (This is based off of my obsession with JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series) Neat poll! Thanks for the giveaway! I still need this one and I just love this series!

  12. My ideal book boyfriend is more in the witty/mischievous category, but I guess if the guy is written well I can like almost anyone

  13. Does it make me bad that I think wealth is an important factor? Most people are kind and humorous. Very few people are part of the super rich. I guess maybe my fantasies are just a bit more outlandish.

  14. I love giveaways! I really want this book!

  15. I love the poll. It gives me an idea what everyone else thinks.

  16. I love giveways:) I hope I win. Good luck everyone.

  17. I love the poll glad to see that it is not brutish men that are at the top, I need one that is kind courageous handsome will defend me if necessary and who loves me as I am. Thanks for the awesome giveaway Martina

  18. Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to win Heir of Fire!

  19. Heir of Fire IS SOOOO amazing. I really hope I'm lucky enough to recieve it.On the topic of book boyfriends I think there needs to be a bit of everything on the poll, and you got the perfect boyfriend!

  20. Snap I have been wanting to read this so bad! Thank for another kick ass giveaway! :D
    Mary G Loki

  21. Hmm, so more people liked the sweet guy instead of the bad boy? I personally, like the bad boys better.

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  23. Wolf from Marissa Meyers' Scarlet is the perfect book boyfriend for me.

  24. I like Adam from the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I love the relationship Mercy & Adam have together.

  25. This book sounds amazing, I'll be reading ALLLL the books, can't wait!

  26. Alpha males. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Love this series!!!

  27. I'm actually relieved to see that the "sweet, compassionate" traits are so high up. So many authors write male love interest who, to me, seem pushy and arrogant - big turn-offs of mine.

    Plus, I like when the guy doesn't try to out-badass a badass female protagonist. Peeta from The Hunger Games was a revelation for me - sweet, smart, eloquent, and totally worthy of Katniss even while being clearly no match for her in terms of combat. I'd like to see more of that!

  28. Sometimes alphas in real life are not compatible with my headstrongness but damn they are quite irresistible in books!

  29. Sarah J. Maas is an amazing writer. Love her books. Thank you for this amazing chance! :)


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