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!

Books, Reviews

Fable & Namesake Book Review

Like a weary bird flying out over the most desolate sea, I finally had a place to land. – Fable

Wow! I haven’t written a book review in a long time, maybe a couple years, but this duology really grabbed my attention that made me want to fly through the pages in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time. It was refreshing!

Plot Summary

I’m not great at describing book plots, so enjoy the one provided from Goodreads:
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men. Fable takes you on a spectacular journey filled with romance, intrigue, and adventure.

What I Thought

I am shocked at how much I enjoyed both of these books. Fable drew me in and I turned the pages quickly and wanted to know more and more about her world. I was so enthralled with it that the night I finished it, I ordered the second book. I finished Namesake in 24 hours and was sad that it was over. I want – maybe even need – more of her story and her world.

Truthfully, I grabbed Fable off the shelf at Target, because the cover was just so darn pretty. I never in a million years thought I was going to be drawn in and obsessed with a story about pirates (although the word pirate is never used). It is a gritty, cut-throat world that I would never want to live in, but I loved escaping to it. It sucked me in and I could picture it all perfectly in my mind. I loved the juxtaposition of how dirty the ground was, but all the underwater scenes were so beautiful.

This series had it all – adventure, family, romance, grit – I couldn’t get enough. I am pretty much always up for a love story and I really like a love story that is entangled in a bigger story especially one with some stakes. I liked that the romance builds as the story moves forward. I liked West and Fable together and was rooting for them from the start.

The characters are so great. I liked the crew so so much. I wanted to know so much more about all of them. Even though they were all dark and mysterious, I couldn’t hate or dislike any of them. I thought Fable was a fantastic female lead. She was tough and strong, but also vulnerable. I know West gets a lot of hate for being reckless, dark, and kind of controlling, but I liked him from the very beginning; I felt like he was more steady and reliable with a reckless side when it came to the ones he loved. I liked the backstories provided and the character redemptions. I even liked the bad guys.

If you can’t tell already there wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about this series. It had just enough of everything I needed. It was so so enjoyable and took me on a thrilling ride!

My Rating: 5 Stars

I give this duology 5 stars. Both of them. Fable was definitely more fast paced and Namesake provided a bit more background. But if you like adventure or if you like adventure with a bit of romance, then I highly recommend you give this series a read and then come tell me about it. 🙂

Has anyone else read these books and loved it as much as me?

Let’s be friends on Goodreads!

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Life Update // Time Flies When You’re Reading

Geez, I can’t believe it’s already been thirteen days since my last post. I thought I would be updating the blog a lot while stuck in the hospital, but instead I got engrossed in reading. Literally reading a new book every couple of days. And it has felt amazing!

Being in the hospital for over a month now has been really hard, but once I sat down and forced myself to finish the book I had been trying to get through ever since Jameson was born, I just couldn’t stop. Somedays I actually found myself relieved to be in the hospital with a book instead of facing the outside world. I’ve been living here for so long now, when I do leave, regular life is so strange and overwhelming. It’s honestly more exhausting.

The time in the ICU flew by because I spent every day and most of the night reading. I finished six books during our twenty-two days we were there. I have now read more books this year so far than the past two years combined. I used to be a total bookworm, but ever since getting married and having kids, it’s just fallen to the wayside… but being here and having the time, I have actually started to feel more like myself. Getting so invested in a book, in the characters, in the world, that I laugh and cry and cringe and my heart beat gets faster and I dream about it. It’s one of the blessings that has come out of this experience – getting reminded of who I am and what I enjoy.

The books I have read since being in the hospital:

  • Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  • Fable by Adrienne Young
  • Namesake by Adrienne Young
  • Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The greatest part is that all of these books have been pretty good reads (except for Holding Up the Universe which I found difficult to trudge through). Such good reads that I actually wanted to write a review for some of them which I haven’t been interested in doing in years. I even found a new favorite series that I can’t get out of my mind and am dying to tear through the sequels… I mean how have I never heard of The Court of Thorns and Roses series??? Boy, have I been missing out.

In other news – for those who don’t already know – Jameson is still in the hospital. We are on day 31. He was released from the ICU and moved to the general pediatric floor a few days ago. His current goals to go home are for him to be weaned off all of his medications and to be finishing feedings. Right now he is on three medications: Ativan, Methadone, and Hydrocortisone. He is fighting through withdrawals – tremors, sneezing, and occasional diarrhea. Jameson’s feeds are hit or miss, but he hasn’t finished a bottle yet. We are making progress. I am hoping we can go home mid to late next week, but if I’ve learned anything being here it’s that their projections kind of mean nothing. As always, we appreciate all your prayers, thoughts, and good vibes!

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Books I Plan to Read in 2021

As so many of you know, I love reading. It’s what got me into blogging and through so many rough times. It’s an escape like no other. I used to read so much – my best GoodReads challenge was back in 2014 (the first year I signed up for the challenge) when I was a lonely college freshman and I read 31 out of 30 books. Over time life has just gotten in the way. Ever since I had Hazel, I have literally read three books. THREE. Just acknowledging that frustrates me and breaks my heart.

I didn’t make any resolutions this year, but I am consciously making an effort to make time for reading. I think it will be good for my daughter to see me reading and maybe sit down and read next to me. So with that in mind, I picked up Jodi Picoult (my favorite author)’s newest novel and started reading it on the first of the year. My goal was just to read at the very least a page every night before bed… just to get back in the habit. Well that has taken on a life of it’s own and I can’t seem to put down the book. And you know what, that feels incredible, like I’m – dare I say – finding myself again.

Now that I’m currently on fire for reading again, I started looking into what books I might want to read this year. My goal is 12. I’m thinking it will be a mix of fiction, parenting, and potty training. 🙂

Fiction

  • The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  • Fable by Adrienne Young
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Writers and Lovers by Lily King
  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Parenting

  • How to Raise a Reader
  • The Montessori Toddler
  • The Whole Brain Child
  • No Drama Discipline
  • The Yes Brain
  • Raising Good Humans
  • How Parents Can Raise Resilient Children
  • Conscious Parenting of Your Toddler
  • The 5 Love Languages of Children
  • Baby Sign Language Made Easy
  • Gentle Discipline
  • Raising Boys to Be Good Men
  • Strong Mothers, Strong Sons
  • How to Raise a Boy
  • Better Boys, Better Men
  • Boys Should Be Boys
  • Decoding Boys

Potty Training

  • Early Start Potty Training
  • Potty Training in 3 Days
  • Potty Training for Busy Parents
  • Oh Crap! Potty Training
  • The No Cry Potty Training Solution

What books are in your TBR pile this year?