Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
You were a terrible book, but made me laugh which I desperately needed right now. Lord. I am going to try to do a non-spoiler review on this. I should have known I was in for something I was not going to like after the author starts off with the following:
The idea for the novel came to me one summer day as I was pondering what it meant to be forty. As a mother, wife, and full-time employee at a small media company in Toronto, I came to the rather bleak conclusion that life after forty was all carved out -- the future, no longer that bright bountiful sea of possibility, but rather a dark, receding lake where rock bottom lurked menacingly close. Were all my opportunities drying up? If I wanted to change the course of my life at this age, was it even possible?
Yeah. I don't know either. Here we go.
So "Tell Me My Name" follows married couple Ellie and Neil Patterson. The couple drop off their two kids at summer camp and make their way to a cottage they just bought. Neil is hoping that they get the fire going again in their marriage. Ellie is hoping so too. She has been dissatisfied with the state of her marriage and upset since her publishing company went kaput. You will read a lot in this book about that though I don't imagine for a second that Ellie reads books. Anyway, Ellie and Neil get frisky and meet their new neighbor Jake who seems to be...unnerving at times. When Ellie lets him in one day she is chloroformed and wakes up to her husband tied to a bed and her tied to a chair. Ellie is being given three chances by Jake to tell him his name or he's going to take Neil's toe, finger, and then his life. The book then follows Ellie remembering men from her past.
I am laughing right now. Sorry.
Back to the book. Ellie is a mess. You find out about her family's backstory and it's worse than anything I saw on Lifetime. Ellie's sister Bethany who was a gifted dancer ends up in a vegetative coma after a car accident left her injured. Ellie and her other sister whose name I am blanking on are left to deal with the fall out in their family. Her sister is pretty nasty and self involved and Ellie is angry over the fact her parents keep letting her get away with things. Then Ellie starts acting out when she gets to her 20s until she meets her now husband Neil in a bar. She likes Neil, but has a preference for men who look like George Clooney. Okay, still laughing because the George Clooney thing becomes an element of this messed up plot. Anyway Ellie and Neil you have to wonder about since you don't get why they are together. Only married for 10 years I think, the two of them have definitely let the flames burn out. And we find out that Neil is hiding something from Ellie and then we have like two reveals about that and I went are you serious and kept reading. There's also multiple mentions of Ellie's dancing and I kept thinking she looked like this in my head:
The bad guy is a mess. And apparently has superpowers since he kept coming back like the Terminator. I won't get into him at all except nope. And then we get a final reveal about the guy at the end and I went how many twists is this? Six?
The lead detective on this case sucks and ends her calls and conversations by saying toodles-oo and I wanted to smother myself.
There's also the brother in law who should have told Neil to shove it through most of this story and the sister in law who...I don't even understand her purpose. There are so many side characters in this story which made my head hurt.
The writing was bad, laughably so at certain points and the linkage between things was not set up very well. I just started calling things coincide #1, #2, and so on. The author in the beginning talks about how this is a book about love, acceptance, forgiveness, and letting go and I went yeah that's where you went wrong. The whole book is very disjointed I found and throwing in the overall plot with the nonsense with Neil and everything else going on made for a messy book.
The flow doesn't work very well since we jump around in the third person to multiple people. I don't know if it would have been better to say with just Ellie or Neil. Honestly I don't know what could have saved this book.
The setting of this book takes place in Toronto. I am not familiar with the city and can't say much about it since the book jumps all over the place.
The ending was a whole mess. I really wanted to tell the author her trying to tie everything together showed she didn't really have a good grasp of writing. Honestly I felt at times I was reading different stories trying to force themselves into one coherent one.
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
Trigger warning: sexual assault
So this was a bit off to me through my whole reading. I thought that this was setting up to be a funny book about a woman Alice who has a career set-back who now has to live with her current boyfriend's ex. Instead the whole book is full of a lot of angst, the author throws in a me too movement plot point and Alice and Joe (her boyfriend) barely talk in this book. Honestly 90 percent of the issues in this book would have been resolved if they had an actual conversation. Also I am not a fan of cheating in romance books so I started to dread this book the entire time I read it. I am disappointed though that unlike with her latest books, this one has no ties into previous books or characters. I wonder if Ranald would have been better off developing a story surrounding one of the women we have been reading about through her other books like "The Truth About Gemma Gray", "Sorry Not Sorry", "It's Not You It's Him", and "No, We Can't be Friends."
Alice and her boyfriend of two years Joe are living together. When Alice has a career set-back and can't afford to pay her share of their rent, he asks about his ex Zoe living with them. Instead of saying [expletive] no, Alice agrees and the whole time wonders if Zoe is doings things in order to get back with Joe. Alice starts working at local pub and starts to wonder about what she really wants. Complicating things a bit is the next door brewery owner named Archie that she is starting to feel something for over their games of Scrabble. On top of all of that, Alice has a secret that she has kept from Joe that she worries about throughout the book.
So Alice. I don't know. I liked parts of this character, but think Ranald didn't develop her very well. I liked the other leads in her books I mentioned earlier because those characters were always upfront with the readers via the way the story is told. Ranald doesn't tell us everything that is going on and then we get thrown a curveball that changes up the whole story. I didn't even know what to do with it since it felt like we couldn't get a handle on that before jumping off to Alice still being threatened by Zoe and stressing over Joe. I also wish that the Alice and Joe just talked. There is an opportunity for them to talk but neither do but just do passive aggressive mess to each other. I will say that Ranald does a good job of showing us why Alice loves Joe and they make sense as a couple. I just wish we got more time of the two of them on their own before the specter of Zoe.
Ah Zoe. Nope, didn't like her at all especially when we get the whole confrontation thing finally. I thought Ranald per usual let a character off the hook when they have shown to not be trustworthy. She did this mess with the character of Adam in "Sorry Not Sorry" and the character of Bianca from "Sorry Not Sorry" and "No, We Can't be Friends." Sometimes people are terrible and you cut them out of your lives. I really feel like shouting that from the rooftops.
We don't get much development of other characters. Ranald throws in a side plot about one of her pub regulars that I just went are you serious? It made zero sense to the overall story and think it should have been cut.
The writing felt off to me a bit. I liked the other books which I think did tackle some serious stuff but with humor and romance. This one really didn't I thought. We had I think three love scenes with Alice and Joe and we kept reading about how hurried they were (in two of them) and how Alice misses Joe since they don't really make love anymore because of his hours at work and her hours at the pub. The me too subplot was jarring I think. The whole book took a dark turn at that point. I was definitely not prepared to read about a sexual assault and my insides flipped around. I also didn't like the resolution to it either. It felt like it was inserted, important for a bit, and then we get to see what became of said character and the book moved on.
The flow was up and down since we have parts of Alice hidden from us until the full reveal about everything. And honestly I got bored reading about her working at the pub and the things she was doing. I don't know. It read similar to me when Nora Roberts went on her whole decorating fit in her books and every book was focused on renovating, painting, decorating and us readers were like please stop. No one cares about crown molding this much. Not even people on HGTV.
The ending read as very incomplete to me. It just kind of plops out and I went is that it? So yeah, after loving the other books for the most part, this one is a strong 3 star read.
The book ends with dancing. I just can’t stop laughing. This was terrible. I can’t even be mad right now. The plot sounded so interesting and then this mess happened. The story was too rushed and no one was developed. We had too many coincidences occurring to the point that “plot contrivance” started to wave a sign at me.
Wow. This is the worst book I have read in some time. I should have known when the author started off with a note saying that 40 is all downhill so she started to write about a 40 year old mother who recalls her past. And enter psychopath and cheating husband and a detective that says toodle-oo. The character development is non-existent. I can’t look away.
Not bad. Just not a lot of romance really in this one. The plot was too all over the place too. Wish this had ties into her earlier books but think Ranald introduced new characters here.
Please note that I received this via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
This was really good. I don't know what else to say. Magida did a great job with telling us the story of Noor and how she came to be a spy. Magida also has pictures of Noor's family and different locations that helped tell her story. I also loved that he included further reading for those out there that want to read more information. I finished this book at 80 percent, the remaining parts of it were notes.
"Code Name Madeline: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris" follows Noor Inayat Khan. She is flying in a plane under the cover of night during a full moon into France. From there Magida traces her family's history (her father was Inayat Khan and was descended from nobility, her mother was Ora Ray Baker, an American). Magida goes into Khan's family and their disapproval of Ora and then we get to Ora's birth in Moscow of all places. The book jumps forward and then we are following Noor as she decides to do what she can to resist Hitler and the Nazi regime. Her story is one of determination and also sadness because you find out what became of her. I had never heard of her before this book and I have to say that Magida did her justice.
The writing I thought was crisp and was filled with so many historical tidbits it keeps you reading. Magida is able to fan your interest with not boring you to death which many writers of history are not that great at.
The flow of the book was really good and was broken up with pictures of Noor, her family, and other things. It really made her came alive to me with the addition of the pictures.
The setting of Europe during the Nazi regime is heartbreaking. Finding out what became of Noor and others during the war still boggles my mind. You wonder how human beings can be so cruel to each other.
The ending to me is bittersweet:
At the close of the day when life's toil fades away,
And all so peaceful sleep,
No rest do I find since Thou left one behind, 'Till
Death around me doth creep.
Bitter nights of despair hath made fragrant the air,
Tear drops hath turned into dew,
I watch and I wait 'till Thou openeth the gate, And
Thy love leadeth one through.
"untitled," Noor Inayat Khan
Finishing up the following book:
During the critical summer months of 1943, Noor Inayat Khan was the only wireless operator transmitting secret messages from Nazi-occupied France to the Special Operations Executive in England. She was a most unlikely spy. As the daughter of an Indian mystic, raised in a household devoted to peaceful reflection on the outskirts of Paris, Khan did not seem destined for wartime heroism. Yet, faced with the evils of Nazism, she could not look away. She volunteered to help the British; was trained in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance; and returned to France under cover of night with a new identity and a code name: Madeleine.
and starting this one:
Ellie and Neil Patterson are eager to settle in to some quality time at their new cottage. It’s the first time in ten years they’ve been alone … or are they?
When a friendly encounter with their new neighbour leads to their violent kidnapping, they awake to a living nightmare. Insisting he is Ellie’s soulmate, the stranger gives her three chances to say his name. If she guesses wrong, it’s Neil who will suffer the consequences. This propels Ellie on a desperate trip down memory lane to dredge up the dubious men of her past.
and this one:
After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.
In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.
Last Friday in May! I hope you all are safe where you are right now. I haven't wanted to talk too much about what is happening in the US right now, but I am angry and sad. I am also sadly not shocked. Books have been helping and also having this place to go to and to interact with.
Enjoying reading about Noor. So far Magida has set up her family's backstory and now we are at the start of WWII. I have to say I love the little historical anecdotes he has dripping through this book. His comments on Jefferson and Paris and how Jefferson often needed to away from people was great. Also his comments on Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier, and Mussolini are good.
Well this takes place in France and is not my country of residence. I need to finish this NetGalley book soon anyway, it's getting published in June.
Onto the next book!
RULES OF THE GAME:
Everyone starts on 1. There are two alternative ways to move forward.
1. Read a book that fits the description on the space number as listed below and you can roll two dice to move forward more quickly.
2. However, if you can't find a book to fit the square, don't worry about it. You can read any book, and roll one dice on random.org. This is to ensure that if a reader cannot find a book to fill the square, no one gets bogged down and can't move on.
All books must be at least 200 pages long. Short stories count, so long as you read enough of them from a collection to equal 200 pages.
You do not need to hit space 100 with an exact roll. In order to win, you must complete space 100 as written.
1. Author is a woman-"In Five Years" by Rebecca Serle
5. Published in 2018-" A Touch of Gold" by Anne Sullivan
14. Author is dead-"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte
20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence
21. Set in Europe
22. Set in Asia
23. Set in Australia/Oceania
24. Set in Africa
25. Snake - go back to 5
26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long
27. Set during WWI or WWII
28. Written between 1900 and 1999
29. Someone travels by plane
30. Someone travels by train
31. Road trip
32. Genre: thriller
33. Set in North America
34. Snake - go back to 1
35. Has been adapted as a movie
36. Set in Central or South America
37. Has won an award
38. Newest release by a favorite author
39. A reread
40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry
41. Characters involved in politics
42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry
43. Characters involved in the law
44. Characters involved in cooking/baking
43. Characters involved in medicine
44. Characters involved in science/technology
45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year
46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years
47. Snake - go back to 19
48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.
49. Recommended by a friend
50. Has a domestic animal on the cover
51. Has a wild animal on the cover
52. Has a tree or flower on the cover
53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover
54. Is more than 400 pages long
55. Is more than 500 pages long
56. Was published more than 100 years ago
57. Was published more than 50 years ago
58. Was published more than 25 years ago
59. Was published more than 10 years ago
60. Was published last year
61. Cover is more than 50% red
62. Cover is more than 50% green
63. Cover is more than 50% blue
64. Cover is more than 50% yellow
65. Snake - go back to 52
66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long
67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)
68. Something related to weddings on the cover
69. Something related to travel on the cover
70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover
71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake
72. Involves the mountains/forests
73. Categorized as YA
74. Categorized as Middle Grade
75. Set in a fantasy world
76. Set in a world with magic
77. Has a "food" word in the title
78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)
79. Main character is a woman
80. Main character is a man
81. Ghost story
82. Genre: urban fantasy
83. Genre: cozy mystery
84. Genre: police procedural
85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books
86. Author's debut book
87. Snake - go back to 57
88. Comic/graphic novel
89. Published between 2000 and 2017
90. A new-to-you author
91. Snake - go back to 61
92. Reread of a childhood favorite
93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)
96. From your favorite genre
97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE
98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS
99. Snake - go back to 69
100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes
The last time I recall someone telling me that a book was the greatest romance they ever read, they were speaking about "Fifty Shades of Grey." I was reluctant to even read this one because I knew that I probably wasn't going to like it. I started to read it and went, yep do not like. I gave this two stars honestly because it's engrossing to read even though I didn't like one character save the two servants (Nelly and Joseph). And I was pretty much luke-warm on Nelly for most of the book. I don't know, maybe this would have worked better if the story was told from Catherine or Heathcliff's point of view. Most of the story follows Nelly's POV and a man named Mr. Lockwood.
"Wuthering Heights" begins in 1801 when a man named Lockwood begins the tale. Lockwood is a new tenant at Thrushcross Grange and he goes to pay a visit to his landlord a Mr. Heathcliff. Mr. Heathcliff lives in his home called Wuthering Heights. Lockwood is repelled by most of the household (same boy, same) and wonders at the young woman named Cathy that lives there and a young man that Cathy seems to despise named Hareton. When Lockwood stays overnight in Wuthering Heights, he finds the diary of a woman named Catherine Earnshaw and starts to wonder about the people who lived there. He eventually gets his housekeeper, Nelly to tell him about what went on at Wuthering Heights. Bronte then proceeds to take up the rest of the tale explaining about Catherine, her brother Hindley, Heathcliff and the Linton family.
So, there's so much going on that the narrative told by Nelly doesn't help. Nelly is like the priest in Romeo and Juliet to me. Knows a lot about what is going on, but does nothing to help.
I honestly don't get why women were swooning over Heathcliff. He's a bully and as much of a mess as Catherine. I do feel badly for how he was treated by Hindley, but he purposely went about trying to ruin people and play God with other characters.
Catherine seemed ridiculous to the extreme to me. I just imagine that the men fought over her because no one else was in the vicinity besides Isabella.
Hindley I found to be terrible and I honestly pitied Edgar and Isabella. The last two are just used as chess pieces and don't seem to be viewed as people with real hope for love and a happy marriage.
The writing was a bit tough to get through. It just didn't work for me at all as a Gothic romance. I really loved Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte so just figured this would work for me too. I think if the book had switched things up so that we stayed with one narrator this would have made things stronger.
The flow was off. I think switching from narrator to another narrator and I think some other narrators (my brain shut off) it just made the story too unwieldy to follow after a while.
The setting of Wuthering Heights sounds desolate and unforgiving though.
The ending just leaves you with a shake of your head. You are left thinking that maybe a cycle has been broken, but you wonder since once again, the families in this story are a hot mess.