Books, Reviews

Second First Impressions Book Review

Have you ever been caught off guard by the sound of your own heartbeat? Maybe you’ve pressed your ear weirdly on your pillow, and now all you can hear is your own proof of life. You are confronted with your mortality in a base, clock-ticking kind of way: you have an engine room, and it has a finite timeline. What a miracle and a privilege. – Ruthie

After reading two intense adventure books, I thought this book was really slow when I first started it, but it was the best surprise!

Plot Summary

I’m not great at describing book plots, so enjoy the one provided from the back of the book:

Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at Providence Retirement Villa for years, living on- site at the beck and call of the wealthy residents – and the rare tortoises that roam the manicured lawns. She has her routine, and not much ever changes. Until she lays eyes on Teddy Prescott, the son of Providence’s new owner and her new neighbor. Tall, tattooed, and with the most magical on Earth (just ask him), Teddy’s in town saving up money to pursue his dream of opening a tattoo shop. He’s the definition of risky, and Ruthie’s dazzled at first sight – until he mistakes her for a little old lady.

Luckily, Ruthie has the perfect revenge for Teddy’s insulting first impression. Her most eccentric residents have just places (yet another!) ad seeking a personal assistant to torment. The Parlonis are ninety-year-old, miniature menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a week. Ruthie knows a quitter when she sees one and is more than happy to offer up Teddy.

To Ruthie’s surprise, Teddy proves to be the ultimate hire, charming his way through the entire villa and into her heart with his joyful, never-serious outlook on life. But with the future of Providence hanging in the balance, and Teddy’s family’s plans threatening to shatter Ruthie’s safe little universe, will Teddy be there when it really counts?

What I Thought

This book pleasantly surprised me and gave me all the sweet and good feels!

After skimming some of the reviews on Goodreads, this book has gotten a bit of dislike… mainly for not being relatable or for the main character being to meek and blah. I find that assessment very unfair, because I happen to relate to Ruthie in so many ways – it’s kind of sad actually. At one part, I took a screenshot of the page and highlighted parts that sounded like me and sent it to my husband and best friend who laughingly agreed. I think discounting a book for a character not that all around relatable or someone you want to aspire to is silly, because everyone is different and I think it points out that she has reasons for her behavior as well as recognizing where she needs to grow. For those curious, here is the excerpt that describes me: “ID,” the bartender calls out in a forbidding voice when I reach the top of the stairs. “Wow, okay,” I reply and hand it to him. “I’m twenty-five.” He checks it, rechecks it, then chuffs a laugh. “You look about twelve.” I’ll take being mistaken for twelve over a Golden Girls cosplayer any day. As I tuck my ID back into my purse I briefly consider getting wasted. Maybe I’ll drink straight from that bottle of green stuff back there. I’ll leave my car here all night and order my first ever Uber home. Like no joke, I’ve had these very thoughts and conversations. So, in Ruthie’s defense, she is relatable to sheltered, sweethearts like myself. 🙂

I’d like to take a second and just say that I adored Teddy. I thought he was fantastic, adorable, and charming. I like how misjudged he was because of his appearance as a rich, confident, bad boy because of his tattoos, motorcycle, family, but as you learn more about him and see how he interacts with literally all the characters, you see that he is so much different and more than that. The “bad boy” trope is just so big right now, but most real girls don’t actually want a bad boy. We want someone to respect us, adore us, cheer us on…. so I reeeeeally appreciated that this book took a different route. I loved the explanation as to why Teddy was interested in Ruthie – because girls like Ruthie can be a catch for all you haters. And I felt that he truly treated her well and their friendship-turned-relationship was so so so sweet and it felt like something out of my very own dreams. I feel like the author got into my head from a few years ago and wrote a feel-good book just for me!

Let’s talk the love scene. I’ve already said that this book was basically written for me and the love scene was no different. It was hella romantic! But let me back up and say that this is chick-lit, not new adult or romance, so keep that in mind. The book is a love story, but it’s more about the getting to know you, becoming friends, accepting the feelings, and the love scene isn’t until the end. So getting back to the scene itself – I appreciated it, because of how sweet and realistic it was compared to a lot of the raunchy scenes out there. It is described as playful and affectionate. They chat a little in the beginning and laugh. There are kind compliments sprinkled throughout. Not to mention consent is present multiple times through phrases like “Want to keep going?” and “Can you keep going?” It was female positive (is that the word?), because the woman is treated as more than just an object or toy – “I never thought about my body as anything other than an instrument for him to find pleasure. All Teddy wants to do is make me smile and shiver, and his own body doesn’t seem to concern him.” It is obvious that feeling safe was a key in this scene from the way they communicate – “If I ever thought touching him in return would be awkward, I was wrong: we are friends above all else, and we can talk about these things: I can tell him how I want to try this, and this… He lets me.” And last but not least there was aftercare which you rarely ever see. All in all, this scene is spectacularly written. It was kind and sweet and vulnerable and sexy. I loved that the author showed you can write a wonderful love scene without making it dirty and raunchy.

The supporting characters grow on you as well. I wasn’t sure about Mel in the beginning, but as the story moves forward, I ended up really adoring her. The Parlonis were quite funny and I could picture them perfectly in my head. I really like elderly people too, so I found them very endearing.

So the book did start out a little slow. It took maybe 3 chapters before I started to really understand where the story was going and care about the characters. But I am SO GLAD I stuck it out, because this might be one of my favorite books now.

My Rating: 5 Stars

I loved this book and really appreciated how a lot of things were written. It was nice to finally have a main character I could relate to and see parts of myself in. It was fantastic to see a beautiful, kind love scene. I could go on and on. Anywho I recommend to those who enjoy chick-lit – a light-hearted, sweet romance.

Let’s be friends on Goodreads!

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