Still Life of Books (1628) by Jan Davidsz. de Heem [x]
So here is my reading wrap up for March, April, and May.
1. Golden in Death (In Death #50) by JD Robb - 4 stars
2. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera - 3.5 stars
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - 2.5 stars
1. Pox: An American History by Michael Willrich - 4.5 stars
2. A Distant Melody (Wings of Glory #1) by Sarah Sundin - 3 stars
3. The Scandalous Suffragette by Eliza Redgold - 3 stars
4. The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - 5 stars
5. Beauty Queens by Libby Bray - 4 stars
6. The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby - 4 stars
1. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty - 1 star
2. Eisenhower 1956: The President's Year of Crisis - Suez and the Brink of War by David A. Nichols - 4 stars
3. War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow - 5 stars
4. Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed - and Why It Still Matters by Andrew Gumbel and Roger G. Charles - DNF
5. Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) by Rachel Caine - 1 star
6. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh - 4.5 stars
7. The Dead & the Gone (Last Survivors #2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer - 3 stars
8. 1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal - 3 stars
9. The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan Mallery - 4 stars
10. A New Life (West Meets East #1) by Merry Farmer - 2.5 stars
Goals and Challenges:
GoodReads: 40/125 (32%)
Library Love: 17/24 (70%) - I am thinking of moving up my goal to the next level
Participated in BoB28
Participated BL's Snakes & Ladders 2020
Participated in Dewey RAT
Participated in 24 in 48 Stay at Home RAT
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.