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!

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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!

February 2019 TBR + January Recap

This is big. I think this might be the ONLY time ever, where I’ve been able to say the following: I READ MY ENTIRE TBR!!! Okay, so it was only four books – small fish for most of you out there, but I was trying to stay somewhere between aggressive and realistic when I put my January TBR together, and I did it! I read all four books and then some!

In this post, I said that my goal was to read 50 books in 2019. I also shared the four books that I hoped to read in January. I made it through all of them, plus some others that I picked up from the library. My local library is a rather small one, but I love that our county system allows you to request books (or other materials) from any library and have them sent to the library of your choosing. It’s $0.25 to have a book sent from anywhere in the county, to the library five minutes from my house. You can’t beat that! In an effort to be more frugal this year, I’ve been trying to utilize my library a bit more (I’m also no longer buying books on Amazon…or really, much of anything, but that’s a whole different story)! I’ve never had anything against the library, I just also love collecting books, so sometimes I need to curb my book buying a bit. 😉

In total, I read EIGHT books in January.

Here’s what I read:

  • Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
  • I’ll Be There For You – The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
  • #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
  • If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery (#2) by Jenny Colgan
  • Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery (#3) by Jenny Colgan

You can see my ratings for everything I read over on my Goodreads page (feel free to friend me over there!), but I think my favorite book this past month was Little Beach Street Bakery (the first over the two that follow in the series). I’ve learned in the past year or so, that I really enjoy chick lit – especially when set in England/UK/Europe. I’m realizing that there’s perhaps a bit of an escapism theme in the entertainment I’ve been enjoying, especially in recent years. With such a messy reality, who can really blame me?

Grad school started up again at the very end of the month, and I have to admit that I haven’t opened a book for pleasure in a few days, but I’m still trying to be hopeful that I can continue making time for personal reading goals despite everything else. I’m keeping it simple again this month with a four book TBR, but I’ve also got some holds from the library that I’m in queue for, so we’ll see what happens there (I’m number 33 in line for one particular book!).

February 2019 TBR

  • Betty White In person by Betty White
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
  • The Many Lives of Doctor Who by Richard Dinnick

Every book on this list is from my own personal collection, and has been sitting on my shelves for a bit, except for the Agatha Christie. I’ve always wanted to read her books and when I came across a whole bunch at the thrift store recently I picked them up for super cheap figuring it was worth the risk since it’d be cheaper than one single book new!

The Doctor Who book is a graphic novel / comic and Missy recently reviewed it if you’re interested. I figured it was perfect for my TBR this month since I was looking for light and simple to try and keep my reading momentum going!

I’d love to know what is on your TBR this month, and what you’ve loved reading in January! Lets talk about it in the comments! Of course, if you’ve ever got suggestions for me, I’m all ears!

Happy Reading!

Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge + January TBR

Last year I ended up reading 38 books – surpassing my goal of 30 for the year. Despite not reading for long chunks of time (hello, grad school), I feel pleased with my progress and like I have successfully found *some* of my reading mojo again. Reading has always been a huge love of mine, but life and school have often gotten in the way of it over the years. This year, I’m stepping up that goal because I want to really focus on making reading not just something I make time for, but something that I consistently make time for.

I view reading as not just entertainment, or an educational tool, but also as a means of self care – a way of distracting me when perhaps I’m not feeling my best. Whenever I go through a period of time where I don’t pick up a book, I feel off – like some part of my routine is missing or unsatisfied. I can’t promise that I will read (for pleasure anyway) every single day, and I know that when school is back in full swing, there’s likely to be many days where I don’t pick up a book. But my hope is to try and read at least a little bit every single day!

In 2019, my Goodreads goal is to read 50 books.

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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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A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas – REVIEW


I know, this book came out months ago – so to some it might seem unnecessary to review it. However, I don’t always get to books right when they come out. There’s just not enough time for me to do that with all the books that I find myself interested in. Further, I just started this series last month – from the beginning. Since I’m now here reviewing A Court of Frost and Starlight – the fourth installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I suppose its safe to say that I’ve enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the benefit of reading a series well after its come out (and received loads of hype and fans…), is that you can immediately proceed to the next book. Like binge watching a series. Only now it means that I have to wait like everyone else for the next installment… boo, hiss.

It also feels somewhat odd to review the fourth part of a series, having not shared my thoughts on the first three, but I still felt compelled to do it. I’ve been meaning to start incorporating more book reviews, and I didn’t feel like waiting until I was done with this series. That just felt silly. The first book pulled me in and opened my eyes enough to have me immediately seeking out the second. The second filled me with so many feelings – anger, intrigue, fear, … to name a few. The third book absolutely wrecked me at so many moments, but in a bizarrely rewarding way. I feel like that sounds awfully weird, but I can’t think of a better way of putting it?? I picked up the fourth book yesterday from the library and made reading it a priority.

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