Mini Reviews: Movie Stars, Strippers & Cheesy Romances

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Bad Apple
by Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.

Rating: ★★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: A flirty standalone novel* from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy!

One night with him will change her life…

Between her waitressing job, volunteer work, and college classes, there are never enough hours in Maggie Reilly’s day. Especially not for a relationship. Luckily, she’s got the perfect arrangement: a lover she meets three or four times a year. But when she shows up at the hotel expecting to hop into bed with one man, she accidentally ends up with another—Ben Barrett, Hollywood’s most notorious bad boy. 

Ben, determined to lay low after another scandal, just wants some much-needed sleep. What he gets is a scorching make-out session with a gorgeous, naked redhead. He won’t accept her apology, but what he will accept is a place to hide out…and if there’s some hot, no-strings sex involved, why the heck not? 

But Ben soon discovers that one week with his sassy, bed-hopping waitress is definitely not enough. He wants more. A lot more. 

Now he needs to convince relationship-averse Maggie that a bad boy might be oh so good for her—and the best thing that’s ever happened to both of them. 

* Previously published in 2008, Bad Apple (formerly Midnight Encounters) features almost entirely new content, including a point-of-view switch. Enjoy this new version of an old favorite!

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

Bad Apple is a reissue of Kennedy’s previous release, Midnight Encounters. Though it is a re-release, Bad Apple contains new content and an added POV so it’s definitely worth a read, or a re-read. Either way, Bad Apple was new to me so I was definitely looking forward to reading it.

Action movie star and notorious bad boy, Ben Barrett, needs an escape from the paparazzi and the scandalous headlines. So he escapes to NYC hoping to catch a break—what he gets instead is a redheaded waitress in his hotel bedroom. Between waiting tables, classes and volunteering, Maggie Reilly barely has a moment to breathe. So when she gets a night to have fun, she accidentally finds herself  in the bed of a famous movie star. Maggie wants to forget the embarrassing night. Ben is hoping that Maggie will help him find the peace and quiet he’s looking for. But what happens next is something neither of them is expecting.

I was in the mood for a lighthearted cheesy romance and that’s exactly what I got. Set in NYC, Bad Apple starts off with one of the most awkward meet-cutes I’ve ever read. The second-hand embarrassment was so real but at the same time I couldn’t stop laughing. I knew after that moment that this book was definitely going to have a few laugh out loud moments. I liked both Maggie and Ben and the dynamic of their relationship. Ben is Hollywood’s bad boy heartthrob while Maggie is struggling student who hopes to achieve her dreams of becoming a social worker. When they first meet, Maggie has no clue that Ben is a famous actor so she kind of treats him like a basic fuckboi. Then she finds out his true identity and still treats him like a basic fuckboi. I just loved that Maggie didn’t give any fucks at all. Maggie is also super hardworking who has such a good heart because she wants to work with children and make a difference in their lives. Ben was not what I was expecting. Yes he’s super cocky at times, but he’s still a small town boy at heart and doesn’t forget where he came from. The romance is insta-lusty but honestly I wouldn’t have expected anything different since everything takes place between a span of two weeks. The chemistry was definitely there though which is why these two worked so well together. There is a little twist at the end which I wasn’t expecting but I liked how the twist played out and helped Maggie and Ben get to their HEA. I definitely feel that since this is a re-issue, it could’ve been a little longer because the ending does feel a bit rushed. All in all, Bad Apple was a fun read and if you’re in the mood for a cheesy romance to help pick up your mood, this re-release may be just the thing you need.



Flashed (Happy Endings #3)
by Zoey Castile
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Kensington

Add to Goodreads || Buy on Amazon  

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: When a man makes his living by his looks, he can forget that love–and lust–are more than skin deep. But the right woman can remind him . . .

A former soccer player, stripper, and model, legendary party boy Patrick Halloran finally gets his big break starring in the summer blockbuster. But when an accident leaves him changed forever, he hides away in his secluded Montana ranch. Only his new housekeeper is allowed inside–with one rule: she’s not allowed to see him. But Pat sees her, and she’s the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Even her voice is beautiful. Still, Pat can’t allow himself to get close to anyone. Not without a fight at least . . .

Magdalena “Lena” Martel is a long way from Queens, New York. After a rough patch, the aspiring artist is working her way through college–even if it means keeping house for a man whose gruff voice she can only hear through a closed door. Still, Lena senses Pat’s got a good heart, maybe even a lovable one. She’s intrigued–until his anger sends her running into the freezing woods. Now Pat will have to find her–and when he does he may have found the one woman who can thaw his heart–not to mention the rest of him. But can their new bond survive the paparazzi–and their personal demons?

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

After the second book in the Happy Endings series left me unimpressed, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started Flashed. Actually I wasn’t sure what to expect period because I didn’t read the synopsis so I didn’t know which one of our guys was next up to get their HEA. But nonetheless, I was still excited to continue this series to see what was in stores for our sexy strippers.

Art student, Magdalena Martel, is in need of a summer job so she responds to an ad for a live-in housekeeper at a ranch and is hired on the spot. But there’s one rule Lena has to follow at all time or she’s fired—don’t disturb the homeowner. Patrick Halloran is not too keen on the idea of having a live-in housekeeper, but he knows living off of frozen foods isn’t a sustainable lifestyle. Though he tries to keep his distance, there’s something about Lena that has him drawn in, almost willing to break his own rule for her. Will Patrick be able to let Lena into his world or will the truth push them apart?

Flashed is hands-down my favorite book in this series so far. I said earlier that I wasn’t sure what to expect before starting this book, but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. Flashed is a slow-burning, age-gap romance about two people who are currently down on their luck and they’re just trying to put the pieces back together again. This book is a lot different than the previous two books in the series mainly because we’ve left the bustling city life behind and instead we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere Montana. But I loved that this book is set in a small town because it gave the story a warmer vibe. I instantly connected with Lena’s character. First of all, home girl is from Queens so of course I gotta show some love to my people. But the thing that really had me stanning Lena was when she started talking about how she needed to make sure she had Adobo stocked in the kitchen to cook. That’s a girl after my own heart because if you don’t have no Adobo in yo house then I’m not eating from you, period! Okay, jokes aside I loved Lena’s character. She’s kind of has this Cinderella-esque life where she lost both her parents young and she has an “evil” stepmom who screwed her over. She’s also a long way from home and from her stepsister who she misses dearly. But despite the cards she’s been dealt, she still strives to achieve her dream of getting an art degree to make something more of her life and her drive is inspiring. Patrick is also dealing with his own baggage as he still blames himself for the accident and for the hurt he caused. He chooses to hide from the world because he’s afraid of what people might say. Throughout this book we get to see Patrick overcome his guilt and come to terms with the fact that he can choose to either continue to live in the past or he can move forward and create a better future. This romance is angsty af. Patrick is so insistent that Lena keep her distance but that doesn’t mean things don’t get hot and heavy between these two. There was this one scene in particular…in the kitchen…late at night…that’s all I’m gonna say about that. But getting back to my point, I loved that Lena wasn’t so willing to easily give up on Patrick. She allowed him to set the boundaries and she would slowly test them to help him come out of his comfort zone. That’s what was so great about this relationship because they built one another up. I also have to say that these secondary characters were everything! They seriously had me cracking up and definitely lightened the mood between all the sexual tension. Flashed was an angst filled romance and if this is the final book in this series, then Zoey Castile definitely saved the best for last but if it’s not, then I can’t wait to see what she has in stores for us next!


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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: Movie Stars, Strippers & Cheesy Romances

  1. I was gonna say i didn’t know Elle Kennedy had a new book out but then I saw it was a rerelease. It’s still new to me but sounds like a nice enjoyable read insight check out.

    I still don’t knowhiwt to feel about the Happy Endings books. I read the first one a few days ago and it was a struggle to get through which I feel bad about as isoeanted to enjoy it the writing was good but it still left me feeling a bit meh and I don’t know why. Glad the third book was good for you especially if the second didn’t quite meet expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

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