Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

second first impressions by sally thorne
second first impressions by sally thorne

Thanks to William Morrow for providing a review copy of Second First Impressions

Y’all should have heard the squealing when Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne arrived at my doorstep – I’m pretty sure I scared my neighbors. Sally Thorne is one of my favorite authors – she has a real talent for infusing emotion, quirkiness, and chemistry into every page of her books. The Hating Game is one of my comfort rereads, so naturally, my bar for Second First Impressions was set pretty high.

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.

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The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Thank you to Berkley for the gifted copy of The Intimacy Experiment

Last year, The Roommate by Rosie Danan was one of my favorite romance reads – it was cute, chemistry driven and oh-so sexy. Naturally, when I found out that there would be a companion book focusing on the bad ass Naomi, I slammed the request button on Netgalley for The Intimacy Experiment.

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.

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Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing a review copy of Life’s Too Short

Life's Too Short by Abby Jimenez

How the hell does Abby Jimenez keep getting better with each book? Seriously – when I first read The Friend Zone, it was one of my favorite romances, then The Happy Ever After Playlist raised the bar even higher. I have no idea how she does it – but she’s gone ahead and topped the amazing The Happy Ever After Playlist with the third entry of the series, Life’s Too Short.

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist.

Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all. . .

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

A court of frost and starlight by Sarah j maas
A court of frost and starlight by Sarah j maas

Recently, I decided to buddy read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series with one of my friends – we were both reading this series for the first time, trying to read the original books before A Court of Silver Flames came out (and we made it!). Though I have strong opinions about the rest of this series – A Court of Frost and Starlight stands out for how truly terrible it is.

This book reads like shitty fanfiction. The overall quality of writing is much lower than the rest of the ACOTAR trilogy – this book feels like it was (poorly) ghost written. Aside from the spectacularly bad writing, the plot was just… non-existent. Nothing happens. It’s basically a bad Christmas special – 272 pages of nothing. 

Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

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Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

serpent & dove by shelby mahurin
serpent & dove by shelby mahurin

I’ve been on a real YA fantasy kick lately – and when I started looking for my next read, Serpent & Dove kept coming up (also it kept showing up on my TikTok). It seemed to be widely loved (and has a high average on Goodreads) so I decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, this book was a massive flop for me.

For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things: a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife, and a wicked scar.

Lou’s death would have ended the ancient war between the Church and witches, but Lou refuses to become a martyr. Forsaking her coven, she escapes to the gloomy city of Cesarine and hides her magic as a thief in the criminal underworld. But life in Cesarine has its own dangers. Huntsmen roam the city revered as holy men. Witches burn without trial. And the Archbishop, the Church’s austere patriarch, revels in violence.

As a huntsman, Reid Diggory lives by one verse: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

He’s devoted his entire life to eradicating the occult and making his surrogate father, the Archbishop, proud. Finally given the chance to capture a witch of his own, Reid is devastated when a foul-mouthed thief thwarts him—and doubly devastated when she too disappears. Hell-bent on bringing her to justice, Reid vows she won’t escape again. But when Lou tricks him into public scandal trying to avoid capture, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Marriage to a huntsman could provide real protection from the witches—if Lou can convince Reid she isn’t one herself. The secret proves difficult to keep as Lou begins practicing magic in secret within the heart of the Church, determined to prepare for her mother’s inevitable return. As time passes, however, Lou discovers yet another danger lurking: her own growing feelings for her husband. But Reid is still dangerous. He’s just as likely to tie her to the stake as defend her if he learns her true identity. With enemies closing in—and more than her own life at stake—Lou must decide who she can trust before it’s too late…and she’s not the only one with a secret.

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