What I Read This Week: August 1, 2021

I finished four books this week, including one five star read!

One Night Only by Catherine Walsh

Contemporary romance

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Advanced copy from Bookouture, published July 30, 2021. This was a fun read overall. Sarah doesn’t do relationships, she does casual flings and she likes it that way. Then she shows up to her best friend’s wedding celebration where she’s the maid of honor, and discovers the best man is her one night stand from the night before! Declan challenges Sarah in ways no one has before and she breaks her rule of “one night only” to sleep with him a second time. The chemistry between the two of them was hot from the start, and I enjoyed their witty banter. This is a story about believing you are worthy of love, and finding the right person who proves it to you. It’s charming and witty and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I recommend this one for romance readers.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Literary fiction/Audiobook

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This book was a wonderful surprise. It reminds me of the works of Aimee Bender and Kevin Wilson, the story is quirky and uncomfortable at times. The humor is dry and high quality, and the premise is truly thought provoking. We hear the story though the voice of our protagonist/narrator, Keiko Furukura. As a child, she never fit in with her peers or felt understood by her family. At age 18, she starts working at a convenience story and this is where she learns how to be a person in the world. She doesn’t necessarily come to understand the world, but she learns how to act and what to expect from other people. Ginny Tapley Takemon’s narration was spot on. She gave Keiko humor and intelligence. I don’t know if reading a print copy would have been as fun of an experience. I was surprised by how much this book resonated with me, being that it’s Japanese. The writing felt simple and repetitive at times, though I suspect that’s related to translation. This is a story about neurodiversity, as well as societal expectations, particularly on women. It seems silly at times but it’s actually quite deep once you think about it. I highly recommend this for readers of literary fiction and audiobook listeners.

Just Folking Around by Penny Reid

Contemporary romance/novella

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This is the prequel to Penny’s newest novel, Totally Folked. It’s short and totally steamy, which made for a quick, fun read. This story shows us how Jackson and Raequel first meet. It has an abrupt ending, so you absolutely must move right to the next book! I highly recommend this series for romance readers.

Totally Folked by Penny Reid

Contemporary romance

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Book one in the Modern Folktales series, which is a spinoff from Penny’s Winston Brothers series. I was initially disappointed to learn this new book has a plot similar to one in that other series. But then I got to know these characters and was so invested in their story, the similarities didn’t matter. Jackson is a sheriff’s deputy in small town Green Valley, Tennessee. Raquel is a famous movie star who is reconsidering her Hollywood lifestyle by spending some time a friend’s guest house in Green Valley. Penny is always great at writing steamy scenes but this book is the first I’ve read of hers that has a sustained sexual tension throughout, and I loved it. Because the prequel is so hot, by the time we start this book, the tension is high and it just keeps getting higher! This book has a lot of great laughs and Penny’s trademark complex characters who experience a lot of personal growth during our time with them. I highly recommend any of Penny’s books for romance readers. Definitely start at the beginning of the Winston Brothers series OR the Knitting in the City series.


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