Mini Reviews: Slow Starts…But Strong Finishes


The Girl in the Painting
by Max Monroe
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC

Rating: ★★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: Ansel Bray, an artist known around the world for his tragic hiatus from the canvas.
Ansel Bray, a broody, handsome man not known by me, at all. 

Long dark hair, blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. I’ve never met her, but her image is imprinted in my mind. An angel muse who inspires me to paint again.

There is something about him. Something that spurs a need to be as close to him as possible. A need to find out why.

There is something about her. Something that draws me in. Something that urges me to find out what her presence means.

Why does the girl in his painting look so much like me?

Who is this girl, and why can I see her so vividly?

I shouldn’t fall in love with him.

I shouldn’t fall in love at all.

But fate plays her hand.

But fate has other plans.

The lines of my life will blur.

The needs of my heart will change.

What a beautiful mess we’ve made.

Last year I read my first Max Monroe book and slapped myself for not reading this author-duo sooner. This year, I got my act together and decided I would no longer sleep on Monroe’s releases. When I read the blurb for The Girl in the Painting, I was both intrigued and confused because I had no idea what type of story this would be. But Max Monroe had yet to let me down so I dived in and crossed my fingers, hoping for the best.

Five years ago, famous artist Ansel Bray lost his sight in a tragic accident. One year after that horrific day, he gained the ability to see again after a risky but successful surgery. With a paintbrush in hand, Ansel is ready to return to the one thing he loves most and soon finds himself obsessed with the vision of a woman he has never met before…that is until the day she walks into his gallery.

Both the blurb for this book and my attempt at writing a synopsis are rather vague but I think it’s best to go into this story blind (no pun intended). The Girl in the Painting was a story that drew me in immediately and I became obsessed with trying to figure out what the connection between Ansel and Indy was. The writing is hauntingly beautiful and suspenseful and the authors did a wonderful job at building the momentum and I was in utter shock by the time we got to the plot twist. I gotta say, I was not at all expecting this story to go in the direction that it did. Max Monroe took a plot twist that has been used in numerous horror movies and managed to put a romantic spin on it. It was a little cheesy but I really liked it and it hit me right in the feels. While I loved the way this story was told, I had some issues when it came to the romance and the characters. It took me a very long time to connect to Indy’s character. She just felt very flat for majority of the book and it wasn’t until “the big reveal” happened that I somewhat started feeling something for her. I think if Indy was just more opened emotionally throughout this book I would’ve probably connected more with her POV. Just a heads up, this romance does have some cheating so if that’s a hard limit for you then you might want to pass on this book. The romance felt a bit rushed at times, especially in the beginning. I also wished that the romance was more emotional and angstier (is that even a word, lol). I just wanted to savor things a little more. My favorite part of this story has to be Ansel. I just loved his character so much and his desire to create and how he was humbled by his experience. Despite the minor hiccups, The Girl in the Painting was still a captivating page-turner and I can’t wait to see what this author-duo has in stores for us next!



Diary of a Bad Boy
by Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Self-published

Add to Goodreads || Buy on Amazon  

Rating: ★★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: From USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn comes a forbidden romance about an Irish rebel who falls in love with the wrong girl.

Dear Diary, 

I might have gotten myself into a wee bit of trouble—and I’m not talking about the “court mandated community service,” or “therapy sessions from bashing a bloke in the head” kind of trouble.

I wish it were that simple. 

Nope. I’m talking about the “falling in love with one of my client’s daughters,” kind of trouble . . . The kind of problem I can’t talk my way out of when the truth gets out.

How I ended up with her phone is a long story—and when she called to get it back, I took things a bit too far. One innocent exchange wound up leading to so much more.

Fun, new, and totally immune to my charm, Sutton is different. And I had no idea she was the daughter of Foster Green. 

Blame it on the dark colored stout running through my veins, pushing me toward one bad decision after another. Pushing me toward her even though I know right from wrong; even though she’s my client’s daughter. 

Dating her might be the best or worst decision I’ve ever made. Only time, whiskey, and one more roll around the mattress with her will tell. 


By now I’ve read a good amount of Meghan Quinn’s books and while she’s made me fall in love with a number of heroes, the bad boy is one I had yet to experience but I was so ready to see what the deal was with Roark McCool!

As one of the best sports agent in NYC, Roark McCool spends his days locking down deals and keeping his clients happy. But despite his name, keeping his cool is something this hot-tempered Irish has yet to lock down. He’s currently on probation however that doesn’t stop him from getting into it one night and as a result, he ends up grabbing the wrong phone by accident. Now he’s got a girl named Sutton Green ringing him all hours of the day and even though he knows it’s wrong, Roark can’t help toying with her and finds every excuse to not give her her phone back. The more he talks with Sutton, the more he wants her but there’s one thing stopping him from making his move—she’s his client’s daughter.

If you’ve read The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister then you will recognize Roark as the rough around the edges Irish man who can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. Fun fact about me, Irish heroes are my kink so was ready to be all over Roark like hot fudge on a sundae! Diary of a Bad Boy started off in true Meghan Quin fashion and had me laughing me ass off. Yes, there are actual diary entries throughout this story and being in Roark’s head was a riot. The first half of this book is light-hearted and fun as we see Roark and Sutton bicker back and forth and push each other’s buttons. I will admit that watching these two argue did become tiresome after a while and it felt a little bit childish. When we did finally move on from the phone debacle, that’s when things really started to get good and I became invested in this story. This romance has its ups and downs and Meghan Quinn once again pulled at my heart strings when shit got really intense and emotional. I just wanted to hug Roark because even though he was a dick for most of this book, seeing him let down his walls and allow himself to feel love was a beautiful thing to see. He was turning over a new leaf and it was all thanks to Sutton Green, a girl who wouldn’t give up on the man she loved. Now, Sutton and I didn’t quite get off on the right foot. I think it was her whole “innocence” vibe that put me off because I was wondering how this shy girl was gonna deal with a guy like Roark. But she eventually grew a backbone and found her voice and put Roark in his place and that’s when I started to like and respect her. These two really compliment each other and I’m so happy things worked out for them in the end! Though Diary of a Bad Boy made me want to pull my hair out at time, Quinn managed to win me over in the end and now I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the next book set in this world. I feel like Quinn saved the best for last with Rath’s story and I can’t wait to see how things play out for his love life. 




Posted by

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!

7 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Slow Starts…But Strong Finishes

  1. I feel like you’ve only read Max Monroe’s serious stuff. I need you to read their rom com stuff. I am happy you ended up enjoying both of these books. I think you’re right– this is the first bad boy we’ve gotten from Meghan. I liked that. I hope she writes another.


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