Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

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

Book Cover

Second First Impressions was everything I want from a romance novel. It made me laugh. It made me swoon. It had side characters that absolutely made the story better. We follow Ruthie who works at the front desk of a retirement village. But her boss is on vacation, so she’s temporarily in charge. While she’s in charge, she has a temp assistant, Melanie. The slow friendship that developed between Ruthie and Melanie was adorable. I really loved the two women forming a relationship. They are such different people, but they end up good friends despite not having much in common. Melanie has decided that she needs to shake Ruthie out from living like one of the residents of the village. She’s in her twenties, not her eighties. So, Melanie gets Ruthie on a method of her own creation to get back into dating. Enter Teddy. Teddy is the son of the CEO that just bought the retirement village. Ruthie has been tasked with giving him a job. So, she has him interview for the two residents that can’t seem to keep an assistant.
This story was a fun one. I loved all the little details, like how Ruthie cares for the turtles. I liked Ruthie. I can really relate to being stuck in a routine and feeling significantly older than I really am. I think while she wasn’t the most exciting character, sometimes even a little unlikable, she was realistic. I liked seeing her come out of her shell and start having some fun.
Teddy was a good love interest. It was clear from the start that he was going to be the romantic interest. I’ve seen others say that he’s too likable. Which I actually can understand a little, but I liked him. The only thing I didn’t really like was that his interest seemed more like he was interested in chasing Ruthie. He did spend time to get to know her, but he inserted himself in her life. He didn’t ask to spend time with her, he just came into her house. He did things like that a lot. Never asked her, just chose to do things. But I did like how he brought Ruthie out of her shell and I could totally see the attraction between them.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. I liked the characters, especially the two old women. I liked that Teddy and Ruthie both had goals that they were working toward. I enjoyed this one and I’m looking forward to reading whatever Thorne comes out with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

GoodReads Summary:
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
99 Percent MineReview:
As I said in my review yesterday for The Hating Game, enemies to lover’s isn’t my favorite trope. So, I think I just assumed that 99 Percent Mine would also be a story that included that. I’m a little mad at myself for not looking more into it because this book is one that includes my favorite trope, childhood friends to lovers (probably because this is how my own love story went down.)
99 Percent Mine follows Darcy as she works with her twin brother’s childhood best friend, Tom. The two are working to remodel the house of Darcy’s grandmother. It was in her will that the house was remodeled, then sold and the sale money would be their inheritance. But there’s a lot of memories within that house. Those memories, along with Tom’s arrival, bring back Darcy’s feelings for him. So, when she finds out that Tom and his fiancé broke up (four months ago) she literally tells him to get in her.
I loved this story so much. Darcy was so awkward and tried to hold back her thoughts before they made it out of her mouth. And she even succeeded sometimes, but when she failed it had me laughing so hard. I like that Darcy isn’t the typical girl. She’s got a heart condition and she’s a bit of a rebel. She’s traveled the world to take photographs, but right now is working on finding a new direction.
Tom has just quit his job and taken half his fellow coworkers with him to start his own construction business. I loved this aspect of the story because I feel like I grew up on construction sites. Tom is hesitant to let Darcy finally pull him in because he fears that once she does, she’ll leave again.
I really enjoyed the two talking and opening up to one another, reconnecting and learning that the other has always loved them. Their friendship and the eventual relationship was so enjoyable. It was hot and sweaty, but also sweet and thoughtful. I thought the conflict of Tom being Darcy’s brother’s best friend was a good one. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to make a move on your best friend’s sister.
I loved the family ties and friendships. This book was funny and sweet and I totally loved it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

GoodReads Summary:
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
The Hating GameReview:
I know everyone loves the enemies to lover’s trope, and while it’s one that I think is fun and enjoyable, it’s not my favorite. I think that’s why it took me so long to pick up this book. Everyone that I know that has read it gave it at least four stars if not five. Despite that, I just didn’t think I’d ever pick it up. But with having to stay home I’ve been binging all my romance and contemporary books, so eventually, I ran out of books. I made a rather large order from my local indie bookstore and figured I’d see what all the hype was about. I’m so glad I did.
I absolutely devoured this book. I totally loved it. Lucy was hilarious. She’s the child of strawberry farmers. She collects smurfs. I just loved her. She’s confident and sassy and everything I wanted her to be. I loved that she worked in the publishing industry, but I would have liked more for her to have worked a bit more directly with books. When she and Josh have to compete for the same promotion, things get interesting.
Josh starts off as this jerk (read: asshole.) But the further we get into the book and the more we learn about him, the more I couldn’t help but love him. His banter with Lucy was hilarious. I actually found myself laughing out loud a few times (which always gets me funny looks from my husband). I loved that Josh taught Lucy to stand up for herself so that people would stop letting the fact that she’s nice be a reason to walk all over her. I loved that Lucy made Josh more confident.
Overall, this story was so much fun. I adored the enemies to lover’s dynamic. Their relationship was hot and fun and exciting, but it was also sweet and romantic. I had so much fun reading this that when II finished I had to immediately pick up Sally Thorne’s next book, so keep your eye out for that review later this week.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.