Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Melinda's Review: Stripped

Stripped by Zoey Castile
Publisher: Kensington (August 28, 2018)
Series: Happy Endings, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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 fiancĂ© 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… 

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Melinda's Review:

So this book is basically Magic Mike fan fiction…and I’ve never seen Magic Mike! I know, I know, I need to get to that movie – most of Romancelandia informs me that it’s a great movie so it’s on my to watch list, for sure. But, happily, this is a book that is easy to read without having that entry point. Robyn and Zac meet as neighbors and the sparks fly pretty quickly but she’s unaware of his stripper job until she meets him *on the job* later that night. The two seem to be nothing alike, with Robyn being a teacher set in her ways, and Zac being a stripper who has traveled the world. They decide to have a fling over the summer with a set end date when his stripping show moves out of town.

There is so much that I liked about this book and a lot of that revolves around Zac and his job. I loved that he is not ashamed of stripping and how he embraces it completely. I found it unusual that the stripper in the story was a male and not a female since that is more typical in the romances I’ve read and I am always a fan of flipping conventions. I loved his co-workers and friends and how much they loved their jobs too, the camaraderie cracked me up. I’m a sucker for a good friend group in a book. Robyn has to come to grips with her prejudice against Zac’s job and I thought that Castille handled that very well. While Zac embraces his job he also struggles with feeling like he’s good enough for Robyn and I thought that was very realistic to see in any relationship. Watching that struggle between the two as well as with what to tell those outside of their relationship was probably my favorite part of the whole book.

Robyn was complicated and I really liked her as I felt I could relate to her but I also had some issues with her portrayal. She was going through some issues personally and was just falling down on her job professionally and personally as the Maid of Honor of her best friend, Lily’s, wedding. She seems overall depressed and unhappy with her life which is the part I could relate to but I didn’t feel was explored enough in terms of an actual cause or to get help with that. I’m not sure if that was the point – that there was no actual cause, or if the point was that she was just unhappy overall. I did really appreciate the portrayal of friendship that was struggling. I often feel that friendship is so damn rosy in books and this was much more realistic – messy and imperfect.

Overall, this is a really fun and sexy book. It has an excellent villain who I violently hated, which I always enjoy! Robyn and Zac have great chemistry and the author did a wonderful job at poking holes at societal conventions. I definitely hope we get to see more of this world and these characters in the future.


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Source: eARC, publisher

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Thanks for the review, Melinda! 


Until Next Time,

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