Amanda Reads: Waiting for Tom Hanks

Summer time=reading time. I had the joy of camping in the Adirondacks a few weeks ago, which of course meant that I got an extra dose of reading time.

Naturally, I spent it curled up with a lovely rom com of a book–Kerry Winfrey’s Waiting for Tom Hanks. 


I’ve been a fan of Kerry’s ever since I encountered her blog, A Year of Rom Coms, in which she spent a year watching and rewatching romantic comedies. Like many women around our age, I, too, grew up on romantic comedies, and was thrilled to see this blog filled with unapologetic joy for the genre. Romantic comedies over the past decade have fallen out of fashion, in part due to some incredibly valid criticism about their lack of diversity and reliance on sexist tropes, among other issues. While we are (thank goodness) starting to see Rom Coms again (thanks, Crazy Rich Asians & Netflix), there’s a special place in many of our hearts for the classics of our youths.

All that is to say, my favorite genre of read is without a doubt the romantic comedy style book. Naturally, I awaited the release of Waiting for Tom Hanks eagerly, sure that my fellow Ohioan romantic comedy fan would deliver a book I could fall in love with.

I was oh so correct on this front. While I expected something in the Young Adult vein, I was presently surprised to find the protagonist was exactly my age, struggling with the same existential career woes I am. Add in the fact that the book references Dungeons & Dragons with frequency, takes place in Ohio, and is littered with references to romantic comedies, and you’ve essentially created a Summoning Circle for one Amanda Kay Oaks.

This book took a few unexpected turns as I tried to do my usual “predict the plot” antics within the first few chapters. It has a delightful mix of romantic comedy tropes while still angling for something new and mixing it up where it counts. The protagonist can be a bit frustratingly unaware of the obvious, but seeing as that’s part of the genre, I could forgive her stubborn refusal to understand and process reality appropriately when it comes to The Love Interest.

Waiting for Tom Hanks features a wide array of well drawn characters, taking the time to hash out even the side characters with their own personal details and idiosyncrasies. I absolutely loved this book and it felt every bit like the written version of an on-screen romantic comedy. I’ve no doubt that I’ll be returning to this time and time again, and suggest that you pick it up, too.


Amanda Reads: The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky

I’m breaking my MFA thesis hiatus to write a quick review of the super fun romance novel I managed to find time to read this weekend: The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer Heacock.

Title for Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer HeacockI got an arc of The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky via NetGalley back in the summer months when I had time for things like pleasure reading and not wringing my hands over the essays in my thesis. This weekend, I realized I needed to read something not thesis related, so I dug up my copy and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

If someone had been writing specifically to an audience of Amanda, they couldn’t have done much better than this book. Cupcakes! Awkward issues preventing successful sexy times! Banter! More cupcakes!

Now, I read romance fairly irregularly because it takes a very specific level of awkwardness for me to enjoy it, so I could be off base here, but I’ve never personally encountered a book that deals so deeply with physical issues in the bedroom while also somehow providing steamy sexual tension.

Main character Kat has somehow forgotten to make time to deal with some physical issues preventing successful sexy times with her longterm boyfriend and as the two year mark approaches, she gets a little bit desperate to find a way to reignite her spark.

While Kat was sometimes oblivious to her own emotions and behaviors, it was still fun being along for the ride. Plus, the side characters each had their own fleshed-out backstories and personalities, which lent her girl gang of cupcakery coworkers some authenticity–even if one of them is named Butter, which seemed a bit far fetched. The love interest was also adorably nervous and nerdy, which is more or less catnip for me, so I was 100% head over heels for this story.

As is often the case for me when I read romance, I felt that the plot pacing was a bit odd at times, with everything speeding along after a given point. But as someone who likes a good slow simmer (see: Jim and Pam in The Office) that’s probably just personal preference speaking.

All in all, spending my weekend with this book was a delightful way to reset and refresh. I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks sexy times can be a bit awkward or who loves some good banter. Or cupcakes, for that matter.