Mini Reviews: Stripped & Swagger


Stripped (Happy Endings #1)
by Zoey Castile
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Kensington

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: Skilled, sculpted, and sexy, the men of adult entertainment are the kind of guys a woman reserves for her fantasies, not her reality. But is there more to these professional hotties than meets the eye?…

The day Robyn Flores meets Zac Fallon is one of those days. You know, when you’re already late for work. Mostly because you haven’t really slept since your best friend abandoned you for her fiancé and her exponentially better life. The kind of day you drag yourself to the cleaners to pick up your laundry, only to discover you’ve got the wrong bag—Star Spangled sequined thong, anyone? So Robyn is definitely not ready for the ridiculously gorgeous guy at her front door, except that they have each other’s clothes. But then, is any woman ever ready to meet the love of her life?

There’s just one problem: Zac Fallon is not the love of Robyn’s life. Zac knows, despite the all-too-intimate dinner they share, he doesn’t have a shot at her. Because the next time Zac sees Robyn, he’s front and center of the male revue headlining her best friend’s bachelorette party. So much for wooing the pretty schoolteacher, much less impressing her old-fashioned family, with his upstanding lifestyle. Now he’s only got one way to win his dream girl. It’s gonna be the steamiest, most irresistible seduction she’s ever seen. And this time it will be no act…

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.* 

I have been dying to get my little paws on Stripped ever since the publishing deal for this series was announced. I mean “a ‘Magic Mike’ inspired romance set in NYC”, need I say more?! I live for stripper romances and though I wasn’t particularly a fan of Magic Mike the movie, I had high hopes that Zoey Castile would deliver with this movie-inspired romance.

Robyn Flores’ life is a mess. She’s unhappy with her job, her social life is lonely now that her best friend is getting married and she feels like she’s lost her sense of purpose. Things take a turn when a mishap between Robyn and her new sexy neighbor, Zac Fallon, takes place and sparks fly between the pair. Since neither one is in the right place to start a new relationship, they make an arrangement to enjoy each other’s company until Zac has to leave for his new gig. But when Zac has to leave earlier than expected, will these two be able to go their separate ways as easily as they had hoped?

I had high hopes that Zoey Castile would not let me down with this book and I am happy to say that she did not disappoint! Stripped was the perfect blend of sexy and sweet and I couldn’t get enough! I just want to say that this story takes place in Astoria which is not too far from where I live and never have I ever seen any guys like Zac up in those part of the hood. Like are y’all hiding them somewhere and if so can you hook a girl up, please?! Tangent aside, I love the fact that this book takes place in a setting that I am familiar with. It’s so rare that I ever read a book that sets in my part of NYC. The writing was on point and I swear this shit was like crack because I had a hard time removing my eReader from my hand. There were so many laughable, heartfelt moments that left me smiling and then there were the down right sexy scenes that left me heated. My favorite parts have to be all the stripper scenes. Like I ain’t even ashamed, but the visuals in those scenes had me living! I loved both of our main characters. Robyn is such a relatable character and I feel like we’re both in similar places in our lives. Throughout this book she tries to find her passion again and learns to take risks she wouldn’t normally take. And then we have Zac who is also struggling with happiness because although he loves being a stripper, it’s not giving him the joy he once used to feel. You guys, I fell so hard for Zac. He is a dream babe! The romance is a bit insta-lovey but it worked for me so I didn’t mind it. Also the chemistry between Zac and Robyn is sizzling! I can’t wait to read the next book in the Happy Endings series. I’m sure it will be just as addicting as the first book!



Swagger (Milwaukee Dragons #2)
by Liz Lincoln
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher:  Loveswept

Add to Goodreads || Buy on Amazon  

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: “Tight end,” noun: 1. a position in American football, 2. NFL star Marcus James, 3. what any hot-blooded woman can’t stop staring at every time Marcus walks by.

Bree Novak is so close to earning her Ph.D. she can taste it, but she’s supposed to be writing her dissertation, not giving lectures while her advisor slacks off. The semester gets even crazier when veteran tight end Marcus James—Bree’s celebrity crush—enrolls in her “Intro to Physics” class. The man’s even hotter in person than he looks on Sunday Night Football. So why is Bree hoping he drops out? Maybe it’s because Marcus, with his cocky smile and chiseled body, is the ultimate distraction. . . .

Drafted  out of college years ago by the Milwaukee Dragons, Marcus is taking advantage of a season-ending knee injury to finish his bachelor’s degree. Plus, thanks to a required science credit, he’s also getting to know the geek goddess who teaches physics. With brains and beauty, Bree is living proof that opposites attract. She’s even kind enough to give Marcus extra help with the material, as if she didn’t have anything better to do. And the more time Marcus spends with her, the more he realizes he’s not just crushing on his teacher—he’s falling for her.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.* 

I read the first book in the Milwaukee Dragons series a few months back and enjoyed it for the most part so I was hoping that the sequel would be just as good, maybe even better. But “second book syndrome” came through strong with this book and I was fairly disappointed by the end. 

After a knee injury leaves tight end Marcus James off the field for the rest of the season, he decides to go back to school so he can finish up getting his bachelor’s degree. There he meets Bree Novak, a doctoral candidate who is working on finishing up her dissertation in physics and who also happens to be Marcus’ professor. Bree has had a long time crush on Marcus and though getting involved with a student should be the last thing on her mind, Bree can’t resist Marcus’ charm and it’s only a matter of time until these two take things to the next level.

I’m just going to cut to the chase with this book and say what didn’t work for me. I had a bit of an issue with the writing. I think this is the first book I’ve ever read where every single character’s race or ethnicity was stated. And I do mean every single character, even the one’s with no names that showed up for two seconds on the page. Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but to me the diversity in this book felt very tokenized and it rubbed me the wrong way. If the author had done the same thing in the previous book, I would’ve probably let it slide, but she didn’t and it just didn’t feel authentic. Listen, I’m not about to hand out cookies because an author wants to be more inclusive in their writing—authors should be making the conscious effort to be more inclusive just because—but when I see things like this in books, it makes me do a double-take. That’s all I have to say about that matter. Moving on to the characters, I liked Marcus a lot. Marcus is such a charmer who loves playing football, but he struggles with trying to find the balance between pleasing his parents who don’t approve of his career while still holding on to his dreams. I thought Bree’s character was okay, but I didn’t quite connect with her. I felt like there were instances where Bree overreacted to things that Marcus did and instead of jumping the gun, I wish she would’ve taken the time to see that Marcus had good intentions and talked things out with him. Overall, Swagger ended up being an okay read for me, but I don’t think I will be continuing with this series. I’ll still recommend giving the series a chance though and maybe other readers will have better luck with it than I did!  



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I'm Ari, a local NYC bibliophile and a forever daydreamer. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book and my head up in the clouds. I am also a coffee addict and a chocolate connoisseur. I fell in love with the romance genre about three years ago and I haven't been able to stop reading about happily-ever-afters, which is ironic because I'm a bit of a cynical romantic in real life, haha. I hope you all enjoy my blog and fangirling with me about all the smutty reads!

4 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Stripped & Swagger

  1. First, I liked how you put these two titles together. They fit so well.
    I read Stripped and thought it was so much fun. I liked that Fallon was the stripper. You don’t see that very often!


  2. Stripped is on my TBR because of Nick and I seriously want to read. I think it sounds really good and it’s so expensive for the ebook so I can’t get it. I do think it sounds like such an enjoyable read, and never thought I’d want to read a book about a stripper before. Sorry to hear the other book didn’t work so well. I think the push for diversity in books is great because finally, they reflect reality a little bit more but I always hate how the push diversity inevitably leads to folks doing it halfheartedly and it feeling forced. I don’t know, I suppose if I do read I’ll understand a little bit more.

    Liked by 1 person

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