Review: Second First Impressions (Sally Thorne)

Second First Impressions
Author: Sally Thorne

Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the USA Today  bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.

Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.

Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.

Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.

Hilarious, warm, and romantic, Sally Thorne’s novel delivers an irrepressibly joyous celebration of love and community for fans of 99% Mine and The Hating Game.


I had a good time reading Second First Impressions. Ruthie was a young women who was old before her time. At twenty-five, she acted older than most of her peers. She worked and lived at a retirement community. Her life revolved around that and making sure she followed the rules and schedules she had mapped out for herself. She was a sweet person and I liked her.

Ruthie’s world is thrown out of whack when a new temp in her office comes up with a plan to help Ruthie date. Melanie wasn’t my favorite character. She had a place in this story, but I didn’t always love how she handled things. I don’t feel like she was most qualified to help Ruthie since she didn’t truly understand her.

Things are even more crazy for Ruthie when the property owner’s son, Teddy, shows up. The happy-go-lucky bad boy ends up living next to her. It changes her routines and shows her maybe she doesn’t really know her own “type”. I loved and disliked Teddy all at the same time. I didn’t always get a good read on the guy. I loved what he gave to Ruthie in someone who saw her for who she was. I disliked him because he showed her how he felt when he knew he was leaving. I know everything worked out the way it should, but on the journey this bugged me. I think what won me over in the end was how he treated the two ladies he worked for at the retirement communities. They might not have been very PC with him, but he took it all in stride and it made the book more fun with their shenanigans. Without that fun, this book would have been very dull.

Overall, Second First Impressions kept me entertained. It was character driven, and the characters definitely made the book. The plot was on the weak side, so I appreciated them.

WWW Wednesday: May 12, 2021

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

The last book I read was Conviction (The Consolation Duet, #2; The Salvation Series, #4) by Corinne Michaels.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I was going to try to hold off reading an ARC of this September release until later this summer, but I’m in the mood for this author now. I am starting to read When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting today.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

This is a big ? for me. I have been trying to read books that have been sitting on my Kindle awhile lately. The binge of Corinne Michaels books I just finished has me in a weird mood that I’m hoping the Hunting book fixes.

Cover Reveal: Good Girl Complex (Elle Kennedy)

I am SO excited to share with you the cover today for GOOD GIRL COMPLEX by ELLE KENNEDY! I can hardly wait until February 1, 2022 for its release!

Good Girl Complex
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s

She does everything right. So what could go wrong?

Mackenzie “Mac” Cabot is a people pleaser.  Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It’s exhausting, really, always following the rules. Unlike most twenty-year-olds, all she really wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents’ insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Mac’s had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn’t just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he’s been keeping from her threatens the only place she’s ever felt at home.

Goodreads: https://geni.us/GGCGoodreads

Preorder links:

All links: https://shor.by/GoodGirlComplex
Amazon: https://geni.us/GGCAmz
Kobo: https://geni.us/GGCKobo
Nook: https://geni.us/GGCNook
Google: https://geni.us/GGCGoogle
Audible: https://geni.us/GGCAudible

Top Ten Tuesday: You’ll Find Me in the Forest

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is supposed to be Books with Nature on the Cover. I feel like we’ve done a lot of cover related posts this year, so I wanted to include books with nature on the inside. My post this week will be:

You’ll Find Me in the Forest

All of these books include a forest setting.

Review: Talk Hockey to Me (Kelly Jamieson)

Talk Hockey to Me
Series: Bears Hockey, #3
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: May 10, 2021
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They can resist their attraction…until their hearts rocket them across the blue line.

Hunter
Timing. Hockey careers are made or broken on it, and mine has taken exceptionally broken road. I’m not a star. I’m a grinder, I work hard, and I’m finally at the point I can put the past behind me and get the fat, long-term contract I deserve.

But my agent—the man who stuck by me through every crash and burn—has had a heart attack. I need another agent now, or my one chance for the good money will slip through my fingers. Kate’s a rookie, but she loves the game like I do, so I pick up the phone. And I wonder if she remembers that one night in Cancun as vividly as I do.

Kate
Hockey. All my life I’ve lived it, breathed it, played it. Now it’s my business. As an agent, I’m tied to my phone at all hours, but nothing prepared me to hear Hunter’s voice. The last time I saw him—three years ago—there was a lot of bare skin and horny hormones involved.

I’ve handled it all in my short career—sexism, harassment, being broke, being laughed at. Resisting the attraction between us should be easy. Until it isn’t. And Hunter’s past shakes his confidence hard enough that he could make the worst decision at the worst possible time…


Talk Hockey to Me was another great addition to the Bears Hockey series. It was a feel good second chance romance for me. Kate and Hunter had some missed connections and opportunities to get together in college. All they had was one night on a vacation celebrating their graduation. When Hunter contacts Kate to be his sports agent, they are reminded of how much they liked each other in college. Sparks and chemistry fly from the moment they reconnect.

Normally I’m not one for flashbacks, but I loved how they were done in this book. Rather than dispersed throughout the book, Kate and Hunter’s college days were done quickly toward the beginning and helped set up the romance. The story in the present was just as powerful. Kate and Hunter’s friendship felt real. I loved how they bonded over their shared love of hockey. They also had some fun banter. What I adored most of all was how they were able to share their deepest fears and shortcomings with each other. Their strong friendship made their romance stronger.

I mentioned the fears above. Hunter had been through some stuff that fans of the series will understand from the previous books. I loved how even though it was darker and sadder stuff, the book didn’t feel darker or sadder. It felt more like an awakening for him. Also, don’t let this put you off starting with this book if you haven’t read the previous ones. It can be read as a standalone.

So, yeah. I just really enjoyed reading this book. It kind of felt like it might have been a conclusion for this series, but I hope not. I want more books in this hockey world.

Review: Wildflower Season (Michelle Major)

Wildflower Season
Series: Carolina Girls, #1
Author: Michelle Major
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She always followed the path of least resistance…until it leads her to a small town where she can follow her dreams.

When Emma Cantrell’s marriage imploded, she learned a fast and painful lesson about trusting her heart. Then, on a visit to Magnolia, North Carolina, to see her brother, an elegant, if dilapidated, mansion for sale presents the opportunity to start over. Risking everything on her dream of opening the Wildflower Inn, Emma buys the house…just as the storm of the century hits, severely damaging the structure. But a chance meeting with Holly, a bride-to-be in desperate need of a new venue, gives her hope…and the name of a contractor who’ll work fast and cheap, allowing Emma to repair the inn in time to host the wedding and save her investment.

A furniture builder who hasn’t picked up a tool in the five years since his wife died, Cameron Mitchell has no intention of agreeing to help this beautiful—and, he’d guess, entitled—woman insisting that he fix her inn. Until he learns that Emma was sent by Holly, the little sister of his late wife. Grudgingly, Cameron agrees to do the work, with one condition: that he be left completely alone. But the more time they spend together, the more Emma touches a part of his heart he was sure died long ago, forcing him to try making peace with his past.


The Carolina Girls series is a spin-off of The Magnolia Sisters series. It’s set in the same small town of Magnolia with nods to the original sisters, but can be read as a standalone romance.

Emma is a transplant to Magnolia. She fell in love with a house and wants to turn it into an inn. She’s basically there to reinvent herself, but she quickly makes friends. Cam grew up in Magnolia, but has tried to avoid people since the death of his wife. When Emma approaches Cam to help her with construction at her inn, sparks fly. Cam and Emma’s relationship was sweet. Their start at co-workers helped develop a strong friendship (with benefits). I loved how they influenced each other to accept the past and move on from it.

One of the fun things about this book was the small town setting. It made the connections between all of the characters fun. Everyone knew everyone. The couples from The Magnolia Sisters series popped up here and there. A bunch of new characters were introduced. I liked seeing possible relationships that could pop up in future books. Although, there were times that all these introductions felt like it slowed down Cam and Emma’s story. I guess maybe that’s understandable for a first book in a new series.

Overall, Wildflower Season was a good read. The North Carolina setting was beautiful. Both the main characters and the side characters had depth. I enjoyed that everything wrapped up nicely at the end. It was a good start to the series.

WWW Wednesday: May 5, 2021

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

The last book I read was The Pact (The MacGregor Brothers, #1) by Karina Hale. It was from a TBR I have from a TTT list of ten books that have been sitting on my Kindle for a long time that I am determined to read this year. It’s the eighth book I’ve read off that list so far. 

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

After The Pact I tried to read another from my list, but it ended up being a DNF and putting me in a funky mood. I decided to read my library copy of Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne since it’s due soon. I like it so far.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I don’t know for sure. I’ve been trying to mostly mood read. I think my next read is going to be Shameless (Texas Nights, #1) by Lex Martin. 

Cover Reveal: Fortunate Son (Jay Crownover)

I am so excited to share the cover of FORTUNATE SON by Jay Crownover with you today! FORTUNATE SON is part of  Forever Marked: The Second Generation of the Marked Men and it will be releasing June 22nd. You can preorder it now. It will go live on Amazon on release day. 

Join Jay’s Group for details about all of her titles. 

FORTUNATE SON by Jay Crownover
Forever Marked: The Second Generation of the Marked Men  |   Coming June 22, 2021

————

Preorder your copy of FORTUNATE SON today!

Nook    |  Apple  |  Kobo

About FORTUNATE SON: 

Ry Archer and Bowe Keller are as different as night and day. But that doesn’t stop the childhood frenemies from reconnecting whenever one of them needs some help tackling any of life’s major puzzles, like figuring out why getting what you always thought you wanted isn’t living up to all the hype. They might constantly rub each other the wrong way (except for the times when they rub each other the really-really right way), but there is no denying they’ve always made one hell of a great team. They manage to balance each other out… when they aren’t driving each other crazy. For Ry, he thought he had the perfect girl, the one who was going to run headfirst into a methodically planned future. He was going to marry young and have the same kind of legendary, life-long romance his parents did… or so he believed. His girl was going to stand by his side as he chased his dream of being a professional football player all the way to the NFL. He was wrong. Now, Ry’s gotta figure out the difference between a bruised heart and a broken one, and the only person who can teach him the difference is Bowe. Bowe always felt like she had to run before she learned to walk to keep up with her father’s musical legacy. He’s her hero, and she wants nothing more than to make him proud. Bowe’s about to figure out that maybe she wasn’t meant to be in a rock and roll band and that it is possible she let her father’s success cloud her idea of what making music should be. Bowe needs to find her own path to fame, and there’s a good chance she wouldn’t be brave enough or bold enough to start over if Ry Archer hadn’t charmed his way back into her life when she least expected it. Some days they’re enemies. Other days they’re lovers. For a while, they were strangers. But now, it feels more like they might have always been soulmates. Eventually, Ry and Bowe realize that letting go of an old dream and creating a new one is much easier to do with the right person by your side.

Add FORTUNATE SON to your Goodreads TBR here!

———————

About JAY CROWNOVER:

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road. Connect with her:  Website  | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads  |  Reader Group IS-Blogger-1-1024x158

Review: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba (Chantel Cleeton)

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
Series: The Cuba Saga, #4
Author: Chantel Cleeton

Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros–who changed the course of history.

A feud rages in Gilded Age New York City between newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. When Grace Harrington lands a job at Hearst’s newspaper in 1896, she’s caught in a cutthroat world where one scoop can make or break your career, but it’s a story emerging from Cuba that changes her life.

Unjustly imprisoned in a notorious Havana women’s jail, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros dreams of a Cuba free from Spanish oppression. When Hearst learns of her plight and splashes her image on the front page of his paper, proclaiming her, “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba,” she becomes a rallying cry for American intervention in the battle for Cuban independence.

With the help of Marina Perez, a courier secretly working for the Cuban revolutionaries in Havana, Grace and Hearst’s staff attempt to free Evangelina. But when Cuban civilians are forced into reconcentration camps and the explosion of the USS Maine propels the United States and Spain toward war, the three women must risk everything in their fight for freedom. 


I have been a fan of Chanel Cleeton’s Cuba Saga since I read the first book. It’s been a delight to learn more about Cuba, its history, the people, and its relation to the United States through her words. Each book has a told a different story through multiple view points. The same was done with The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. For this review, I’m going to tell you a little bit about each character and then I’ll sum up my final thoughts.

Grace Harrington – Grace wanted desperately to be a newspaper reporter like Nellie Bly. In order to become one, she found herself entrenched in the battle between the Journal and the World papers. This battle brought her attention to the one going on in Cuba. To be honest, it took me a while to get into this character’s story. I wasn’t immediately drawn to her desire to be a newspaper reporter. Once I got several chapters in her point of view, her involvement in the story became more fascinating to me. That was good because the majority of this book seemed to be in her POV. I also enjoyed Grace’s interactions with Rafael.

Evangelina Cisneros – This was the POV that I kept wanting more of. Evangelina was a real life person who went through some horrible things in Cuba. I could tell Cleeton did her due diligence researching her plight and life. I, like Americans of the time, found her life fascinating. I could have read a book entirely in Evangelina’s POV. I would have liked more of it in this book.

Marina Perez – It’s always nice to learn more about the Perez family. I found her backstory to be very interesting and her current life situation as well. I liked how her POV tied the story together. Marina was probably the least fleshed out character with the least amount of time spent on her POV. I would have loved more inclusion of her in this story.

Now for more on the book as a whole…

I found the subject of the Cuban Revolution to be incredibly interesting. I hate to say that I knew nothing about it prior to this book, but I knew nothing about it. I loved how Cleeton used real life inspiration to craft her story and create her characters. Each woman’s tale was well written and inspiring. I do have to mention that at times I found The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba to be quite information heavy. It had more information than her past books in this series and less focus on the romantic relationships. Being a romance reader, I missed the focus on that aspect. That being said, it was still a great read that fans of this series are sure to love.