Good Reads?: My 2020 Challenge So Far


It’s the site you may have used some time ago and stopped, and/or if you’re like me started using it only a year ago. It allows the user to record, recount, and find new and old books you’ve read or want to read. You also can write reviews and participate in annual reading challenges.

Last year my goal was ten books and I quickly surpassed that challenge. So for 2020 I decided to go for twenty books. I find finishing a book to be equal to receiving a trophy. I mean, you can display both—a plastic golden basketball player and your book in the same place—on your favorite shelf. Even though we are currently in a state of limbo due to COVID-19, I’ve been so lazy and have not read as much as I had wanted. Weird, right?

So to motivate myself, I’m going to be listing the first half of my twenty. And by the time, I’m done, hopefully I would have read enough to make another post! Fingers crossed.

Early on in this challenge I decided that I would stick to reading only female authors for the first nine books and then switch to a male author for the tenth. Why? Well, why not? If there are spoilers, I am sorry. But first, let’s start with three.

*Goodreads uses a star rating (out of five) but for some reason WordPress doesn’t have a star in their toolbox so I’m going with hearts here.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

This winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019, follows the interconnected stories of twelve characters who are mostly black British women. These stories span decades, covering love, loss, racism, family, friendships, identity, and more.

My rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

My Goodreads review:

Simply breathtaking. The stories of these women are written beautifully and with raw emotion. Each are unique and follow their own paths, but all are linked by someone, and in the end we are left with the message of togetherness.

This is one book I know that I can go back to and read again. When I finished it, I had a resounding feeling of being content even though I know that this book wasn’t written for me—a white woman. That feeling shows what a talented author Evaristo is because I was able to relate to it in some way and that led to a better understanding of the stories of these women of color, and furthermore, a better understanding of how people of color live and have lived.

Burnt Pine Magazine recommends: “firenze,” “First Kiss,” “Hair.,” and “Suggested Taxonomies.”

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

The first novel in the The Rajes series. Dr. Trisha Raje (Darcy) is an accomplished neurosurgeon who loves her family but is haunted by her past and that guilt has driven a wedge between her and her family, and DJ Caine (Elizabeth) is a chef who’s given up everything to move in with his sister, who happens to be suffering from a brain tumor. These two meet when Trisha’s family hires DJ to cater a family function and that’s where their banter begins.

My rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

I didn’t write a Goodreads review for this title, which is a reflection on the fact that I’m not a perfect reviewer—and you’ll see more of this later on with other books on my list. Now, it’s been a bit since I’ve read this book, so I’ll go with my gut feeling: I loved it. I’m a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, so I’ve read a couple different retellings; for instance, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, and Dragonwyck (I consider this last one to be a mix of Austen and Brontë—Jane Eyre).

I am a sucker for a light read and for anything related to Austen so I’m a bit biased. However, Dev skillfully folds the love of food and family into the plot, and mixes in the themes of classism and culture to create a clear picture of who these characters are and their motives. DJ just wants to save his sister and Trisha just wants her family to forgive her. All in all, if you love Pride and Prejudice, you’ll love the rich flavor you’ll get when you tear into this novel.

Burnt Pine Magazine recommends: “Blossoms,” “Coffee,” and “Rendezvous.”

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Shay Miller is unlucky in love, in her work, and generally in life. She’s alone. But after she witnesses a stranger jump in front of a speeding train, her boring life changes forever. Shay becomes obsessed with this stranger and why she took her own life, and eventually meets this woman’s friends and becomes wrapped in their lives and their lies.

My rating: ♥♥

My Goodreads review:

I have not read the two books the authors have written prior to this one but for a third novel, it isn’t bad. As the story comes to the climax, it becomes the typical framing. I had had an inkling early on about who could’ve played a part in the suicide, however.

The writing is fine. But to a general reader they may find this compelling because of how it ramps up in the end. If you liked the first two books they’ve written then I think you’d like this one.

Predictable. Sooo underwhelming. I’m a huge fan of the psychological thriller and have read more than dozen books in this genre and nothing in here surprised me. Shay is smart but I felt like she becomes so naive and doesn’t see the obvious. I was waiting for her to figure it out and that was so annoying. The woman’s friends were indistinguishable and at one point I had forgotten who a character was and had to go back. However, it seems that a lot of readers on Goodreads loved this and love the authors other work. I guess this just wasn’t for me.

Burnt Pine Magazine recommends: “The City Sometimes Sleeps,” “Too swift,” and “Hagley Park.”

Let us know what you’ve been reading and feel free to share your Goodreads challenge too! WE WANT TO SEE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

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