And here’s why: It’s fun, it’s February, and … I liked it.

Maybe that’s not a great reason (because that’s one reason in my head) to be glad I binge-read a book, but this is a rom-com that won’t leave you feeling sullied and, though I’m quite sure it’s more a “she reads” than a “he reads” kind of thing, I wouldn’t have any problem admitting I liked it.

No shame in reading what Carolyn Astfalk writes, but it’s not because she’s not cool enough to, uh, know what goes on, if that makes sense.

Her latest, Come Back to Me, is a sequel that stands alone. (How do I know? Because, while I remembered that I loved Stay with Me, it’s been five years and I didn’t really remember ⏤ OK, FINE, I forgot almost completely.)

Here’s my short answer to the question of why I’m glad I binge-read this: It’s fiction done well, rom-com done clean, and reading done right.

Fiction isn’t easy. Granted, I haven’t written any, but I’ve read a fair share. And the more I dive into the classics (it’s an ongoing interest of mine), the more I realize just how hard it is to write ⏤ to craft ⏤ not just good stories, but good plots and good characters. Truly, it’s a gift.

One that I love opening and enjoying. In the form of ongoing reading siestas. 😉

Rom-com isn’t my favorite genre but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying it the way I enjoy ice cream for dinner once in a while. It’s not my coffee of reading choices, but I like it done well. And there are some authors who I know are going to “get it” the way I like it.

Enter Carolyn Astfalk, who, I’m pretty sure, is my soul sister somehow. Her characters are so spot on, so right, so believable. She told me once that she’s writing the books she wants to read. Well, guess what? I want to read them too!

And that brings me to my third point: This is reading done well. I read a lot of books, and I enjoy most of them. (I don’t often finish books I don’t like or enjoy, which is why my reviews skew positive. I remain unapologetic.) Not every book, though, gets me to binge-read. I can put many of them down.

Astfalk, though, is one of the authors who has a way of keeping me riveted. She’s not writing suspense (at least, not in this one), but it keeps me on edge. I’m invested. I. Must. Know. (It probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve learned to not start her books until Friday afternoon…😉)

More about the book:

Alan Reynolds slid into marriage. When his wife kicks him out, it looks as if he may slide out just as easily. Forced to bunk with his newlywed younger brother and his pregnant wife, Alan gets a firsthand look at a blissfully happy marriage while his wife rebuffs his attempts at a reunion.

Caught in the middle, Alan and his wife’s mutual friend Megan grows increasingly unhappy with her own empty relationships. If that weren’t enough, her newly sober brother has found happiness with Jesus, a goody-goody girlfriend, and a cockeyed cat.

When Alan and Megan hit rock bottom, will there be grace enough in their bankrupt lives to right their relationships and find purpose like their siblings have?

More about Carolyn Astfalk:

Carolyn Astfalk resides with her husband and four children in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where it smells like either chocolate or manure, depending on wind direction. She is the author of the contemporary Catholic romances Stay With Me, Ornamental Graces, and All in Good Time, and the coming-of-age story Rightfully Ours. Carolyn is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, Catholic Teen Books, Pennwriters, and is a and Today’s Catholic Teacher contributor. True to her Pittsburgh roots, she still says “pop” instead of “soda,” although her beverage of choice is tea.