Once Upon a Bad Boy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

3.5 stars

Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson is a lovely second chance lovestory and I really enjoyed it.

I enjoyed the storyline and I enjoyed watching Sadie and Bo get their second chance at love.

Overall, Once Upon a Bad Boy is a good read and a lovely addition to the Sometimes in Love Series and I highly recommend them all. 

*Thank you to the publisher via Netgalley for the advance copy.*
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Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson is a great stand alone book, but is also a part of a series about five girlfriends who have grown up together and are still close in their adulthood.  There's no background information needed to read this story and everything wraps up and come to a complete and satisfactory conclusion. This is the story of Sadie Goldovitz (aka Sadie Gold) and Bo Ibarra. The tale opens with Sadie working out with her trainer as she a major part in a new movie being filmed. After a terrific workout, Sadie, after meeting up with one of her BFFs, is on her way to her first table read. Arriving at the studio Sadie meets and interacts with Ryan, her co-star. At the table read Sadie is introduced to Bo, who is actually an old boyfriend who dumped her, and is the stunt coordinator for the movie.. The storyline moves along nicely with Sadie's friends moving in and out of scenarios but the story itself  is really concerned with the interaction of Sadie and Bo as he preps Sadie for her stunts. As Sadie and Bo grow close once more there's still the issue of why he dumped her and also involves their families. There are a few rough patches which just make the story more interesting and there's a very satisfactory HEA.
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Okay, so I've finished Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson. I listened to it and I really enjoyed it for multiple reasons - the asshole cat being just a funny one that, okay, I could have used more of lol.

Thread w/ minor but important spoilers and CW to follow.
It's a second chance romance 12 years later w/ the heroine being an actress, hero a stunt coordinator.

Bo and Sadie broke up in HS and hasn't spoken to/seen each other until they meet again on set. Reason for their breakup is unclear through much of the bk and has haunted Sadie.
The chemistry between the couple super worked for me. Sadie is *not* pleased to see him, but she has to be professional. She grew up privileged but worked her ass off to get where she is professionally and is very aware of her public image.
Bo's family struggled to make ends meet and the two of them had to work against their families when they were young and decide if their chemistry they have now is enough to get past all of their differences.
CW + Spoiler: abortion

But beyond just the reason for the breakup (which I won't spoil) is Sadie's own secret - which I think is super important in today's climate to know, plus I know people might need CW. She had an abortion when they broke up.
CW: abortion

The way the abortion is dealt with was done really well imo. Sadie has some complicated feelings but nothing that made me angry. I really appreciated the reactions around her. I would go into more but don't want to give all of it away
CW: body issues

One thing though is that Sadie does discuss dieting and body image a few times. I didn't feel it was egregious b/c she's an actress, she's still eating donuts and eating. It's addressed that she works out and likes her body but wanted to mention it.
Overall I really enjoyed this - the abortion storyline is enough to make the price point worth it to me since it's dealt with well. I like both characters - I really love Sadie's grandmother, Bo's sister, and Clark, the cat, CLEARLY stole the show.
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This was my first read from Melonie and I loved it. It was a quick read and was just perfect. It was a love story that had a little bit of rough edges and kept me engaged. Definitely look forward to reading something else from Melonie!
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I really enjoyed the first two books in Melonie Johnson's Sometimes in Love series, Getting Hot with the Scot and Smitten by the Brit, so my expectations may have been a bit too high for Once Upon a Bad Boy. It starts off fun, but I just didn't like one of the main characters enough to root for this couple.

Once Upon a Bad Boy features Sadie, who we met in the first two books, and Bo. Sadie's been cast as one of the leads in a feature film, which she's hoping will be her big break. That's her focus. So imagine her surprise when Bo, her childhood sweetheart, suddenly reenters her life.

I didn't see Bo as a "bad boy" - mostly, he came off as a jerk to me. I wanted more from him in their discussions. Yes, this is a second chance romance, so you know that's coming... but I wanted much more from him before she agreed to give him a second chance. I also didn't like how he, or her best friend, treated Sadie at times. 

But, Melonie Johnson is great at writing stories that pull you in, and the first two in the series were so much fun. I'm definitely interested in whatever she writes next.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a free e-arc of Once Upon a Bad Boy for review.
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Thanks to Netgalley, Natalie Tsay, and St. Martin's Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review ONCE UPON A BAD BOY by Melonie Johnson.
ONCE UPON A BAD BOY is the third in the Sometimes in Love series. It helps if you had read the first two, but this novel works well as a standalone. Some of the characters from the previous books make appearances, but the storyline mainly focuses on Sadie and Bo.
Sadie has worked hard as an actress, despite people thinking her affluent background has helped. She is finally getting a starring role in a money after paying her dues by working on a soap opera. She is stunned when she finds out that her ex, Bo Ibarra, is going to be the stunt coordinator for the film. Bo broke her heart when he broke up with her eleven years ago. She was so hurt by that she left her the past behind, even cutting off visits to her beloved grandmother. 
Now she is back in in the area to film. She is so happy to spend time with her grandmother, but worries how she will deal with Bo.
Bo is not really a true bad boy. He does come from a family that has had its struggles financially. Bo's father worked for Sadie's family until he was hurt in an accident. Bo is really a good man who has had to make choices to make a life for himself.
Sadie is a young woman who has never really gotten over the devastating end of her youthful relationship with Bo.
Author Melonie Johnson develops the two main characters in an authentic manner and I felt great empathy for them both. Vivid descriptions brought the settings and locations to life.
If you are looking for a romance with a little spice and whole lot of fun, then ONCE UPON A BAD BOY will be perfect for you.
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I thought that this one was not quite as good as Smitten by The Brit, or Getting Hot With The Scot. That being said, it’s still a really adorable story! Going into this one, I was already a little peeved – I’m a perfectionist, so it bothered me that the title of this one didn’t have the same witty alliteration that the first two did. It didn’t seem to fit for me. However, the story more than made up for it.

Instead of finding a handsome man while on an adventure abroad, this one follows our main character, Sadie, reconnecting with her lost love from high school. It was a little predictable at times, but I didn’t find that to be a bad thing. I was kept charmed throughout the whole thing.
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I truly adored this book. It was such a fun and sweet read.

It had such well built characters and a great plot.
I found myself not wanting to put it down.

I loved the contrast between the two main characters too. It made for a much more full and complex storyline. And kept the Pages flipping on my kindle.

Definitely a 5 star read
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It's time for Sadie Gold to get her story, a story that will come with the job of her dreams.  But it will also come with the biggest reminder of her first love.

This is book three of this great series of books that I have been totally incrossed in but I must say this one fall a little bit short of the first two for me.  I can not nail down the true reason why but just to say I didn't get so hooked on this story, that I found I was able to put the book down for other activities in my life.  If I really love a book the world around me goes away completely.

In saying all the above this is still a good story about a character we have met and learned some things about in the other books.  If you have not read any books in this series please be a sured you can start at any time.
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What would you do if the boy that broke your heart returns to your world?  To make it even worse you have to work with him of a movie set you have been dreaming of all your life.  Sadie wants to make her own make with this movie as she has always thought others thought she had been given her early acting career due to her family wealth and position.  This is her time to make it on her own.

Bo Ibarra finds that he is happy with his life now as he has struggled to make name and business for himself.  Bo has overcome his childhood of living in poverty to make a real go of his life.  His new job is the head stunt coordinator for a new movie but the leading actress is someone from his past.  A past that he sometimes regrets

What will happen when these two have to work together?
Will secrets from the past come out to play a place in the future?
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This is the best of the series thus far, even though I had a few issues with it. Sadie is by far my favorite in the friend group now, though I really like Ana and am looking forward to her story. I typically don't like books centered around celebrities and making films, but Sadie was very down to earth, and so was Bo (the hero). Even Ryan, the costar, was likeable. Plus, Sadie loves donuts almost as much as me :D

I typically have a few issues with second-chances romances, and this one was no different. The chemistry was palpable when Sadie & Bo reunited, but I could tell Bo still had a lot of issues with them being from "different worlds", both when they met as children and as adults. His catalyst for ending things between them the first time was just lame. And because of this, Sadie's sitting on a big secret to tell him. BIG props to the author for including the subject that she did without making it something shameful or dirty. I won't name the trope, but I actively avoid second-chance romances that use the situation Sadie was put in as a romantic situation to be used later. It's not, it's a scary place to be, and I'm glad a realistic alternative was presented. I would have honestly given 5 stars for how all that was handled, except for Bo's reaction when she told him. An apology should have been immediate. Not OK to me. After screwing up twice, I would've been done. Sadie was also far too forgiving of his nasty sister, even if she started to relax by the end.

I also felt the book ended rather abruptly (though I'm sure we'll see glimpses of the future in the next one).
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After reading the first two Sometimes in Love books (Smitten by the Brit and Getting Hot with the Scot) I was over the moon when my NetGalley request for Once Upon a Bad Boy was approved. The first two struck a great balance of sizzling romance and heart - with no shortages of chemistry. Unfortunately, Once Upon a Bad Boy failed to live up to my expectations and was ultimately a forgettable serial romance with some problematic tendencies.

While all of the books in this series have been a little bit predictable, they at least added their own spice and chemistry to their familiar romance plot lines. In Once Upon a Bad Boy, it really felt like a million romance books I've read before. There wasn't anything to set it apart from the herd, and I have a feeling that in a few weeks I likely won't remember much about this book. The plot was predictable to the point that it was boring to read at times. Also, there were definitely way too many cliches jammed in - I don't mind one or two in my romance books, but their overuse can really bring down the quality of a book.

The biggest issue with this book - and this is a spoiler - how it handled the topic of the main character getting an abortion. It was treated as a big plot twist, but little was done in terms of developing Sadie's thoughts and emotions around the whole situation. Using abortion as a plot device without fully fleshing out the emotional impact on the character made it feel trivialized and poorly handled. It was built up to, dropped like a bombshell, and then all of the focus went to how those around Sadie dealt with it. And was that ever painful to read - her 'best friend' Ana, was ultimately angry at Sadie for not telling her that she had gotten an abortion - rather than being supportive of her friend's choices and privacy. It was cold, self-centered, and showed just how poorly the friendships in this book were developed. Bo's reaction was even worse - he was angry that he wasn't made aware of her choice and that she had taken what he perceived to be his child away. He lashed out at her and was deeply vicious and far, far beyond redemption in my eyes.

Once Upon a Bad Boy just fell flat, especially when compared to its predecessors. It was a very basic, well trodden story line with flat characters and virtually no chemistry. Also, the poor handling of deeply personal and sensitive issues really rubbed me the wrong way. I would still highly recommend the first two books in the series to people who are looking for some good whirlwind romances with excellent chemistry. 2/5.
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Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson is the third book in her Sometimes in Love series. This time it follows actress Sadie Gold as she returns home to film her first leading movie role. This book has every contemporary romance trope I love: star-studded, second chance, first love. Seriously y'all I was hooked from the start and finished the book in less than 24 hours. If I hadn't desperately needed sleep, I would've finished it in one sitting. 

Sadie Gold is an easy character to like. She's not the typical, full of herself actress that the tabloids portray. Instead she's the girl-next-door type. She keeps to herself, has a few very close friends, and doesn't really date. This movie she is training for could make or break her career, and she is ready to tackle it head on. What she is not ready for is working with the man that broke her heart all those long years ago.

Bo Ibarra is, quite simply, a good man. He works hard for everything he owns and for the business he is a partner of. When Sadie reenters his life, he is as prepared as he can be. He knows he must face her, and he's ready. Maybe fate throwing them together is a second chance, if she'll have him. 

The tension between Sadie and Bo drive this plot. Sadie never stopped loving Bo, but she never forgave or understood why he left her all those years ago. Bo never stopped loving her either and his reasons for leaving are flimsy at best. Yet Sadie is willing to put her heart on the line and pursue a possible future with this man. The problem: there is a big secret hanging between them that once brought to light could unravel that future Bo is building. 

Overall, I enjoyed Once Upon a Bad Boy. I enjoyed it so much that I'd like to go back and read the previous stories of the series. While the book can be read as a standalone, the characters from the previous books pop in and out and there are spoilers to those books in this one which is why I'd like to go back and read those. If you enjoy contemporary, second chance romance, I highly recommend this one.
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Sadie is fulfilling a life long dream of being the leading actress in a major motion picture. And who should walk into this dream but her childhood sweetheart, Bo. He's the stunt coordinator on the film. Their second chance at romance is both heart warming and heart wrenching at times. With the support of Sadie's friends she discovers that she can take chances and chase what she wants. 

I really enjoyed this book. I've read the other two books in this trilogy and this one was definitely the deepest. Though a few of the moments felt a bit rushed considering the timeline, there were others that covered really well. At one point Sadie and her best friend have a conversation comparing finding your prince charming to finding the perfect piece of cake. And I'm so here for that comparison. 

I want more from this series. The friendships that this series follows makes me so happy. I recommend this book (and series) to anyone who wants a fun adventure with a group of friends as they find true love.
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❤️❤️❤️❤️ out of 5
The cover of this book doesn’t scream Hollywood romance and yet it is but also has some smaller town country vibes at the same time that somehow just worked! This was a second chance romance that I surprisingly really enjoyed (considering it’s not my favourite trope).
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Our heroine has grown up the being thought of as the spoilt little rich girl and when she lands the lead in an action movie about a strong woman she can’t wait to shed her old image. One thing however doesn’t go to plan- the stunt coordinator for the movie is not only her ex but also her childhood sweetheart and the one she never got over. With the two of them forced into close proximity for the first time in a decade you can bet that sparks are going to fly.
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I loved the setting of this book, I loved both main characters as well as the secondary (and even tertiary) character who have their own books but I never felt like this wasn’t a stand alone book. The thing I loved most however was a certain topic (which I don’t want to spoil) and was part of the climax of the book- it was handled EXCELLENTLY (if you’ve read it you know what I mean) because yes as a woman we have the right to own our bodies (hope I didn’t spoil it there but I’m totally vibing this).
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I enjoyed the first two books of Melonie Johnson's Sometimes in Love series - Getting Hot with the Scot and Smitten with the Brit - and Johnson upped the intensity factor with Sadie's second chance at love story.  Sadie is reunited with her first love, Bo Ibarra, when he is hired as the stunt coordinator for her star-making turn in an action movie.  She has been waiting and working for this break and doesn't want to mess things up, but memories and old secrets abound.

While this is the third book in the series, it reads fine on its own. Johnson writes well and her stories draw you in and don't let go.  One element of the plot did disturb me on a personal level; however, Johnson stays true to her characters and story.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The final book in the series was Once Upon a Bad Boy. Honestly, this was the book in the series I was looking forward to least. I hadn’t really connected to Sadie in the previous books, and she was not my top choice to follow. Sadie is an actress and she is getting her big break. When her high school boyfriend shows up on set as the stunt coordinator, she feels like fate has brought her back to where she needs to be. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of Sadie and I honestly didn’t like Bo, the male interest, much either. The beginning of the story was ok for me, but the longer the story went on the less I liked it. There was also a story line of “big event that happened in the past that as hidden but comes back to bite the character in the butt” that I didn’t like at all. I wanted to just flip by it, but I couldn’t. I think what bummed me out the most about this book is that I liked all of the other girls from the other books, and they really weren’t in this one. Unfortunately, this book was a miss for me, but I still liked the series overall.
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Sadie is trying to move past her reputation as a pretty face and a family with money. She has an upcoming role in a movie to train for and it is with her ex-boyfriend Bo. Bo came from a poor struggling family and the two couldn't maintain a relationship due to their different backgrounds. Now that they are adults, things have changed but are the feelings still there? A good second chance read.

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley and am leaving a review.
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the third book in the series and is now the chance of actress Sadie to find her happily ever after. I would highly recommend that you read the books in order, as the characters are key to the story, even if each book concentrates on another of the college girlfriends. Whilst the first two are the result of people they met on their Europe tour, Sadie finds herself working with her first love, Bo, and that gives a whole new slant to the story.

Sadie has been the very worldly member of the girl gang. Her parents are super wealthy and she has been on a national TV series for a while. She finally gets her chance as a serious film actress, and cannot believe it when Bo, the man who told her on her prom night that they should NEVER see each other again, is her trainer. And she took him at his word, so has avoided all knowledge of him.

They give off such mixed messages when they first meet, yet it is clear that they are both jealous of others being near their one-time love. It was a lot of fun when co-star Ryan plays around, but even more amusing that he sets his sights on Sadie's BFF, Ana. There is definitely a story to be told there – which I am looking forward to reading soon (hint hint).

As we start to learn just what happened all that time ago, and why both of them were so badly affected by the breakup, some really rather sad and even shocking revelations are going to have to be made. Through this, Sadie rekindles her relationship with her beloved Nana, and I loved seeing how close they were and how grateful Sadie is at being given the chance to heal that bond.

A great story, with lots going on, and I have to say, some fabulous humour – I did spend a lot of time chuckling at some of the chaos that they manage to get up to! A lovely second-chance love, which brings the total number of loved up couples to three – a few more to go yet!


Mary Jo – ☆☆☆☆
I love second-chance romances and this one delivers.

Sadie and Bo loved each other immensely although they only saw each other during the summers. She was the daughter of a wealthy family and he was the son of her grandmother's estate manager. Bo realized early on that being with him would only keep Sadie from achieving her dreams and he broke her heart.

Sadie left Chicago and never looked back for Bo. Telling herself that if he didn't want a life with her, she didn't need him. Closing the chapter and that box of memories, Sadie set out on becoming an actress – a star.

Ten years later, she's back in Chicago to film a movie and Bo just happens to be the stunt coordinator on the film. Not sure how to handle this, she does what she always does – turns to her best friend Ana for advice.

The movie gives both Bo and Sadie time to work out their problems, deal with the teenage drama/trauma, and realize that the people they are today are not the people they would have been if they had stayed together. Realizing that life happens for a reason, they accept the past and look forward to the future, until someone tries to sabotage them with a long held secret.

Taking advice from her beloved Nana, Sadie owns her choices and dares anyone to condemn her for them.

I enjoyed this book. The secret that Sadie held is one that both empowers and devastates the person making the choice. Bo makes up for his insensitivity by making a profound discovery about himself that redeems him in the end.
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Very heartwarming, emotional and witty second change that had me laughing and crying all at the same time.... was a great read from beginning to end and filled with lots of witty banter, wonderful charters, heart pounding action and exciting turns. Really enjoyed reading this romantic journey.
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***I received an ebook copy from the publisher at no cost***

Another amazing story by Melonie Johnson! 

Second chance romances are among my favorites, and Once Upon a Bad Boy is just that—a hot and wonderful second-chance romance story. 

Sadie’s story is told in this book. She finds herself reconnected with an old flame, Bo, on the set of the movie that she’s starring in. Bo is the stunt coordinator, so the two end up working closely together on the set. And, surprise, the embers that once burned between them haven’t fully gone out yet. 

This story was hot and fun. I loved the chemistry that was still there between Sadie and Bo. IT was obvious these two had a rich history. And Bo is amazing. I love a good bad boy and he definitely fits the bill. 

Sadie is a fun character. She’s a fierce and smart heroine. I love that Melonie Johnson creates female characters that are strong and easy to relate to. 

As always, I enjoyed the writing in this book. Things flowed perfectly, it was easy to read, and Johnson was detailed enough that I felt like I was there living the story with Sadie and Bo. 

If you haven’t checked out Melonie Johnson yet, grab one of her books and get started! 

Four stars to this novel!
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