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  • Ryanne Harper

Goodreads Challenge: February Reads

Every year, I sign up for the Goodreads reading challenge and, not to brag, y'all, but every year I crush it. I crush it primarily with the help of audiobooks. This year, I am challenging myself to spend less time watching television and more time reading and writing. I do a good amount of all three, but do I really need to watch season nine of RuPaul's Drag Race for a third time? Probably. But the point is, I'm making an effort to read more. To help myself, I'm removing the audiobook crutch.

The goal: 60

Current count: 11

Fleishman is in Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner

3 martinis

The clever thing about Fleishman is that it's a marriage story in reverse. Toby and Rachel are ending their marriage and, through a narrator, we get the story of their unraveling as well as flashbacks of their budding relationship. I liked the premise, I liked Toby, and, though she was painted with an unflattering brush - the narrator isn't, and never has been, a fan of Rachel - I liked Rachel. I get where she's coming from.

Did she make a bevy of mistakes? You bet.

Did she kinda lose her mind and abandon people who relied on her? Absolutely.

But I liked her.

Where this book missed the mark for me is the length. I felt it was unnecessarily long. But it's a debut and I will definitely give Taffy another chance.

The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell

4 martinis

Lisa Jewell has become my go-to for a quick psychological read. She's a master of both the unreliable narrator and insane twists.

I loved this book.

You can read a full review, with spoilers, here. And, while you're at it, read the other Lynx & LeRoux blogs because, frankly, we are hilarious.

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

4 martinis

Before We Were Yours was my book club's February pick. It's the story of children who are taken from their families and sold to rich families. So, you know, a light read.

The book is told in two separate times: 1939 and the present.

In 1939, it's told from the POV of a child, Rill, who has been taken by the state and placed in a home while her parents were away at the hospital having more babies. Rill and her four siblings are ripped from a loving home and placed in a nightmarescape.

The present is told from Avery Stafford's POV. She's the daughter of a prominent politician and doing her best to live up to the family name.

Do these stories cross paths? You bet.

My Salinger Years, Joanna Rakoff

5 martinis

Joanna is a young twenty-something who took a job at a literary agency in the late '90s. The Agency is like a time capsule. A capsule I would very much like to be in. Her job, to me, sounds hella interesting. She types letters, reads manuscripts, and answers the Salinger letters.

What are the Salinger letter, you might ask? They're letters from J.D.'s fans. He was a recluse and refused to have mail sent to his home. So, the Agency was tasked with replying to the letters, and Joanna was the low man on the totem pole.

Does she stray from the form response? You bet.

Does she, in her attempt to be Salinger, develop her own voice as a writer? Read the book to find out.

Maybe in Another Life, Taylor Jenkins Reid

2 martinis

It pains me to say it, but I didn't care much for this book. I LOVE Taylor Jenkins Reid, but Maybe in Another Life was a miss for me. I know this is weird, but I feel like this book is about cinnamon rolls.

Look, Hannah (our leading lady) is super into cinnamon rolls and high buns - that's not a second pastry, it's a hair style. Anyway, we are beaten over the head with the fact that she digs cinnamon rolls. Like, girl, we get it. I mean, it's dough, spices, and icing, what's not to like?

Anyway, the story is told in two parallel worlds. One where, on a pivotal night, Hannah goes home with her friend Gabby, and another where she goes home with her ex-boyfriend Ethan. The concept sounded cool, but it ended up becoming repetitive because several plot points were the same in both story lines. So, we really get to lean into the cinnamon roll obsession because they factor heavily into both worlds. In fact, at one point, Hannah mentions that maybe there's another world where her soulmate is a cinnamon roll. Girl, I think that's the world you're currently in.

If you aren't familiar with Reid, give Daisy Jones & the Six or Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo a shot instead of this one.

Okay, so, I slacked off a little bit this month, but it took me longer to get through Fleishman and Maybe in Another Life than I anticipated.

Did you miss last month's challenge update? Get caught up here.

Okay, I'm off to have a cinnamon roll.

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