Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – Five Sentence Book Review

Back again with another five sentence book review, this time for Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. It’s a book originally written & published in Japanese and translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori.

This book was a confusing read, and felt like a literary rollercoaster ride where I wanted to sometimes scream at the main character, and at other times scream at everyone else.

It felt like equal parts memoir, fiction, and ethnographic study, which would have been perfect had it not been so weird.

I found myself feeling utterly conflicted and as time went on, I went from enjoying the book, to essentially hate-reading it.

I don’t know if it’s cultural differences, but I found some of the book to be frustratingly offensive, and while I think that was in some ways perhaps the point, it made it no less bearable.

I expected a lot of things from this book, and the only thing it delivered on was that it was a short & quick read.

⭐️

If you’ve read this book, I’m curious to know what you thought of it! I picked it up and read it in a matter of hours and I’m now sitting here wondering what exactly I just experienced!

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – Five sentence book review.

This book is a beautiful romance filled with heart-warming moments.

It’s also dark at times – tackling difficult subjects in a really refreshing way.

I loved how well the characters and setting were used and developed, which made it so easy to picture every scene.

What a damn good debut novel.

Go buy/borrow/download/listen to this book!!!!

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Is this a ridiculous way of reviewing a book? Perhaps. But honestly, I often find myself wanting to discuss a book when I’ve finished it, and I also find that I frequently struggle to convey my thoughts properly after reading a book. Sometimes I just want to sit in my feelings, but I often also feel the urge to write about what I’ve experienced too. This felt like maybe it could be a good way to bridge the gap??

Waiting for Tom Hanks – Kerry Winfrey (BOOK REVIEW)

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I went on a bit of a book requesting spree from my local library recently, and Waiting for Tom Hanks was one of the many books I put a hold on. It’s definitely thanks to Instagram, though I can’t remember exactly who inspired the choice, it was likely many of you. It is definitely one of those books that has been posted nearly everywhere!

The title was of course what drew me in, but it was the first sentence on the back cover that had me immediately opening my library app (BEST. THING. EVER.) and putting a hold on the book.

“Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron.”

Yes please. Count me in. You’ve Got Mail is my favorite movie. Sleepless in Seattle is definitely in my top ten, and they’re both easily in the top three for my favorite romantic comedies (with Love Actually completing the trio). So a romance novel with a focus on some of the best rom-com’s in existence? I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I stopped by my local library branch yesterday to pick up my copy on reserve and since it’s a newer release and in such demand, it’s a 7-day only hold. It’s also in the waiting pool, which means that others are in line and I can’t renew it. Of course I got another book that was a 7-day hold as well, so I knew I had to get to reading (leaving my other three reads on the back burner because I swear, it’s all or nothing when it comes to reading for me)! Before we get into the actual book review, let me just say that I really love the cover of this book! Sometimes I wish there was a whole separate Goodreads function for rating book covers because I have some opinions on the matter!

This is not the first book from author Kerry Winfrey, but it is the first book of hers that I’ve read. She has two other novels, and Waiting on Tom Hanks is slated for a sequel with Not Like The Movies.

The book focuses on Annie Cassidy, who is straight-up obsessed with romantic comedies. Perhaps mostly because it’s a connection for her to her parents. Her dad dies when she’s young, and her mother dies while she’s in high school, leaving Annie’s Uncle Don to move in and raise her. It’s just them against the world. A love of romantic comedies is something Annie has inherited from her mother and it’s a safe place for her. This kind of safety/comfort in fandoms is a theme that is carried throughout the book for many of the characters and one which I really appreciated and enjoyed as I relate to it.

Annie’s love for romantic comedies extends beyond mere comfort and enjoyment – she uses them for a guide in her life. Professionally, she hopes to write a successful screenplay (of a rom-com of course). Personally she analyzes her romantic relationships (and those of the people around her) on the formulas within many of her favorite movies. While Annie uses these unrealistically charming and magical movies as her guide in life, she lives her actual life on the safe side. The loss of her mother has made it difficult for Annie to leave the only connections to her that she has: her uncle Don, and her childhood home which they still share. Her neighborhood of Germantown, Ohio is safe and comforting and filled with memories (some good, some bad), and leaving it is a scary prospect. So when a movie comes to town to film, and her Uncle knows the director, ensuring her a job as his assistant, it’s fate. It being a romantic comedy just further proves that. It’s also on this set where her own romantic comedy comes alive, with not one, but three potential suitors (some more house trained than others…), one of which being the star of the film – Drew Danforth.

There are so many cute aspects of this book. This being a contemporary romance novel, I should expect that to be the case. But while the book has no shortage of adorable, charming moments, it was also a bit of a slow burn for me. It’s a really cute story, but Annie’s love for romantic comedies often borders on obsession and this repetitiveness got a bit grating to endure at times.

I found myself rooting for Annie throughout the book, but there were times where she frequently made me cringe. She’s the type of character who often gets in their own way, and while I know part of her story was her learning to let go, take risks, and move on, there were moments where she was a more than a little exhausting. But perhaps that’s just the thing when you’re seeing a character from your outside perspective – their flaws are much more noticeable than the flaws you yourself might possess, even if they’re the same or similar.

There’s definitely a bit of that “will they/won’t they” apprehension hanging in the air as the book progresses and I’m glad that it wasn’t entirely predictable from the word go. That tension is often what makes a romance novel good right?? It leads to those moments, just like in the romantic comedies of screen, where everything just crescendos and the story reaches its climax. Winfrey definitely nails the classic romance formula, but in a refreshing way. I loved all the various pop-culture/nerdy elements throughout the book – between all the talk of Nora Ephron films and Frasier, it felt like the book was quite often speaking to me, and me alone.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is really a lovely book – full of dynamic, very well developed characters. Looking beyond some of the early repetitiveness, it ended up being a super easy read for me as I plowed through the book in a little more than a day. It should certainly make its way onto everyone’s summer reading lists because it’s just the right blend of heavy and lightheartedness that I think we could all benefit from right now. Come on, couldn’t we all use an escape??

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5 stars.

For more of what I’m reading, you can follow me on Goodreads and Instagram!

Doctor Who: The Many Lives of Doctor Who – Richard Dinnick – REVIEW

Hey guys – so I know Tina tends to be more of a book-lover on the blog than myself, but one of my goals for this year is to read more as a way to expand my knowledge as well as to give myself and my eyes, some much needed “R&R” away from screens. I intentionally set the bar low on my Goodreads with only 10 books because I know it can be hard during the school semester to read for classes let alone for myself. Plus, I want to get back into the habit of reading more!! I remember when I used to whizz through books during high school so my hope is to return to my former reading glory of satiating several books monthly. Considering I’ve already read four so far this January, I’d say I’m doing well!

The latest book I’ve finished has been the graphic novel Doctor Who: The Many Lives of Doctor Who from Richard Dinnick. I’ve been learning that I enjoy reading graphic novels. I used to read manga and have more recently enjoyed reading the March historical trilogy from Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and earlier this month, I polished off Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. It really shouldn’t surprise me that I like graphic novels so much, seeing how I loved reading the comics as a kid (I absolutely loved Opus the Penguin).

I’m also quickly becoming a Whovian. I’ve been working my way through watching both the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctor, and my eventual goal is to watch every single Doctor. I’m no where near done, but I have a basic understanding of both the order of the Doctors and some of the creatures from the iconic British science fiction program. Now that I’ve explained that, let’s talk about the book itself!!

The book kicks off right as the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) regenerates. While the regeneration process takes place, The Doctor revisits past incarnations of himself as a means to prepare the latest and current Thirteenth Doctor (played by Jodie Whittaker) to travel through space and time dimensions. While I mentioned before I’m not yet as well-versed in all versions of The Doctor, I think this book was a fun read despite that and it’s not really necessary to have that knowledge to read it. The fourteen different stories from prior versions of The Doctor provided a really enthralling read as they travel through space and time from New York in the 1980s, Northern Italy in 49 B.C.E, and beyond. The stories not only feature the 14 different versions of The Doctor but also incorporates some of the beloved companions, other characters, and creatures like the Daleks and Cybermen throughout the series. The stories also incorporate various established characteristics from the series such as The Doctor’s distaste for pears. Regardless of how much you may or may not know about the series, this book does a good job about making a series of short tales that are captivating without needing extensive knowledge about everything within the Doctor Who series.

The stories in Dinnick’s book would be nothing without the mesmerizing illustrations. The illustrations within are individual masterpieces as each story was done by different illustrators. Like each incarnation of The Doctor, the illustrations have their own discernible creative differences but every illustration is both authentic and gorgeous visual representations in their own way. I think one of my favorites were the illustrations of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor – they’re absolutely adorable and fun and made me want to switch to watching the Fourth Doctor now!

Whether you’re a fan of the longstanding sci-fi series or just looking for an in to the Doctor Who fandom (I’d say that this book is a great way to enter this world, that can honestly feel overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar), this book is a very short read and if you’re anything like me, will leave you wanting more. The book earns a 3.84 rating on Goodreads, but I personally would’ve given a higher rating of 4.5. It is absolutely brilliant and it’s safe to say I want to dive further into Doctor Who graphic novels!!

The Cafe by the Sea – Jenny Colgan – REVIEW


Lately I’ve been having such a hard time finding my reading “groove”. I read a variety of different genres and sometimes, deciding what I’m in the mood for is easier said than done. I’ve started quite a few books over the past couple of weeks, only to abandon them because they just didn’t feel right. I’ve picked up countless library holds, and then brought them back not fully read. I definitely have favorite genres though, and there’s a certain style of fiction that I find absolutely comforting, which generally speaking, seems to always get me out of a reading rut!

I’m talking the light hearted, vaguely romantic, “chick-lit” type of fiction. Ideally set somewhere in the UK because I’m an unashamed Anglophile who has a serious longing for a place she’s never even been (don’t we all?). I read a lot of different genres and there was admittedly a point in time where I felt ashamed to admit that I enjoyed anything that would classify as chick-lit but really, I think it’s stupid that we should feel any ounce of shame for what we enjoy reading! I’ve come to embrace what I like and I feel much better for it. 🙂 When I find that nothing I try to read is really working for me, a little escapism from reality through chick-lit seems to always do the trick. Thankfully, I picked up The Cafe by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan from the library on Thursday because it has totally turned my reading mood around.

I’ve read one other Jenny Colgan book before (The Book Shop on the Corner), and now I have to say, that I want to read them all! Her writing is so enjoyable and it was so easy to devour this book, just like the last one. I actually had to force myself to go to bed the first night because I wanted to stay up all night reading. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that kind of pull with a book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopeleslly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…

There may be spoilers beyond this point!

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84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff – REVIEW


As a lover of books and an anglophile, I was immediately drawn to this book when I first came across it while browsing Book Depository. I ordered it, waited weeks for it to arrive, and then shelved it where it sat forgotten for about a year. The other day I was rummaging through my shelves trying to find something I “put in a safe place”, and met 84 Charing Cross Road again. It’s a teeny little thing so it’s no wonder that it go lost on a bottom shelf. Whoops.

The edition I have is actually two books in one. It includes 84 Charing Cross Road and the sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. The first is a collection of letters between the author, Helene Hanff of New York City, and a small bookstore in London called Marks & Co. Her correspondence begins when she is in search of a specific book and grows from there. The sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is in diary format and chronicles Helene’s experience when she finally makes it to London to visit. I honestly didn’t realize that I was getting two books in one when I purchased, I just liked this cover best (one of my favorite parts about ordering from Book Depository is all the lovely covers we don’t get here in The States)!

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Hope Never Dies – Andrew Shaffer – REVIEW

Politics right now in this country are complicated and draining. We don’t dive into it much, but it doesn’t mean we’re not distressed. So when I heard about this book, I felt like it was just what the doctor ordered!


Hope Never Dies, written by New York Times best-selling author Andrew Shaffer was released in early July. As soon as I heard about it on Twitter, I quickly reserved it from our local library (Seriously go support your local libraries, folks!!) Shaffer has also authored parody works including Catsby: A Parody (a feline riff on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby), Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (a parody on Fifty Shades of Grey) in addition to other humor works such as the yuletide-themed It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like F*ck This and the amusingly-titled How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attack.

Published by Quirk Books, Hope Never Dies is about 300 pages worth of mystery intrigue in what seems to be the first in a possible series of Obama/Biden fiction. Classified as a Mystery/Thriller fiction, this book isn’t just your run of the mill Sherlock Holmes-inspired mystery! The premise really says it all:

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

If you were to combine elements of any Sherlock Holmes mystery, pepper in antics seen in many comedy films such as The Hangover, and of course sprinkle in elements of our beloved political bromance – you’d get this book. Is it cheesy at times? Oh YES! But in these chaotic times isn’t that something we kind of all need?

CAUTION: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

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