The Me I Used to Be

The Me I Used to Be

In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ryan’s bold new novel, Evangeline Austen returns to her family’s sprawling Napa Valley ranch, determined to rebuild her life and expose the shocking truth about the past.She’s not the naïve girl she used to be… After serving time for a crime she didn’t commit, Evangeline returns home to a cold welcome. Her mother blames her for...

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Title:The Me I Used to Be
Author:Jennifer Ryan
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Edition Language:English

The Me I Used to Be Reviews

  • Jennie

    This is not a happy book because it is about Evangeline who has spent the last four years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She said she did it to protect someone else. At her parole hearing, she is released because of a family emergency. Her father has died. The arresting officer, Chris is there to drive her home. She has been put in charge of determining the fate of the family farm. Everyone is at odds about the future of the land. Everyone is disappointed and angry at Evangeline. I

    This is not a happy book because it is about Evangeline who has spent the last four years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She said she did it to protect someone else. At her parole hearing, she is released because of a family emergency. Her father has died. The arresting officer, Chris is there to drive her home. She has been put in charge of determining the fate of the family farm. Everyone is at odds about the future of the land. Everyone is disappointed and angry at Evangeline. I really enjoyed this book and was glad to read the happy ending.

  • Seema Rao

    Captivating ~ Enjoyable ~ Satisfying

    tl;dr: Post-conviction daugther returns to family farm to fix things.

    This book is like a Romance writer scripted the afterlife for the character from Orange is the New Black. The story has so many expected tropes: jealous siblings, insta-tropes, heart-of-gold lawman. Yet, Ryan seems to turn the expected into something surprising. This fast read is incredibly satisfying. The main characters are appealing, certainly, but Ryan's strength might be her pacing. The

    Captivating ~ Enjoyable ~ Satisfying

    tl;dr: Post-conviction daugther returns to family farm to fix things.

    This book is like a Romance writer scripted the afterlife for the character from Orange is the New Black. The story has so many expected tropes: jealous siblings, insta-tropes, heart-of-gold lawman. Yet, Ryan seems to turn the expected into something surprising. This fast read is incredibly satisfying. The main characters are appealing, certainly, but Ryan's strength might be her pacing. The mystery at the center of the main characters convinction unfolds in an enjoyable pace. I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. Great summer read.

    Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    Seema Rao Write :

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  • Dorine

    - THE ME I USED TO BE by Jennifer Ryan is a breath of fresh air for romance readers in need of the unusual mixed with the unexpected.

    Anyone who follows my reviews understands I’m an eclectic reader, but do you know that my core prefers romance? Not the same-old-same-old we’ve come to expect. There is a formula romance authors follow to give us what we want. Romance readers don’t always like it when an author meanders away from that formula. I do – I want the unusual and unexpected.

    THE

    - THE ME I USED TO BE by Jennifer Ryan is a breath of fresh air for romance readers in need of the unusual mixed with the unexpected.

    Anyone who follows my reviews understands I’m an eclectic reader, but do you know that my core prefers romance? Not the same-old-same-old we’ve come to expect. There is a formula romance authors follow to give us what we want. Romance readers don’t always like it when an author meanders away from that formula. I do – I want the unusual and unexpected.

    THE ME I USED TO BE is the perfect example of an author who takes a risk that pays off in an excellent story.

    This novel begins on the day Evangeline Austen is released from prison. The first lines in this story set the stage for an emotional, and sometimes shocking, story. We know Evangeline is covering for someone, but who? And who is this cop who thinks he’ll bribe her with her freedom to tell him the truth? Surely, Lieutenant Chris Chambers is NOT the hero of this possible love story?

    Evangeline is a sympathetic heroine but she’s not a wimp. Prison taught her to trust no one except herself. She’s scarred on the outside, as much as the inside, from her experience. But she made good use of her four years behind bars by earning a college degree she can use to turn her life around.

    Evangeline returns home amidst turmoil. Her father died. The remaining family feels that her imprisonment, and refusal to see her father, is the cause. The family business is in trouble. This is where she has to live until parole allows something else. Can she make it on the outside?

    THE ME I USED TO BE is very addictive. One shocking thing after another happens to make Evangeline’s world impossible for most people. But that’s where her strength proves to be essential. If they’re going to get out of this mess as a loving family, Evangeline needs to use her gifts to their best advantage.

    It was hard for me to imagine that Chris would ever turn out to be a believable hero. He is tough, but he has a soft spot for Evangeline. I couldn’t figure out why, at first, but once I did, then I understood how this was meant to be.

    That doesn’t mean this story is easy. Far from it. What it does mean is that author Jennifer Ryan is a gifted storyteller. She made me believe what I never thought possible.

    Of course, not – I’m a Romantic Suspense (RS) critic who is always looking for that perfect style I crave. I didn’t love everything about the RS portion. Some of you will absolutely love it. I also didn’t like how some of the bad guy stuff caused more bad things to happen to more good people. But it had to be that way for this plot to work.

    The part I disliked the most was the quick-fall-into-love section, while fighting the bad guys with the man who put the girl in jail. That’s a bit tough to swallow. Oh, I get it that Chris is one gorgeous, sexy, hard-to-resist cop. I melted into a puddle, too. He came off as a bit of a bad-ass as well. I felt their romance needed more backstory. Or maybe more time alone to simmer. It seemed to come about too quickly. And, then there were a couple TSTL moments from our heroine while in the danger-zone. Those always annoy me, but that’s part of that cranky RS reader again.

    But – I forgave all that because I loved how the plot concluded. I really enjoyed how Evangeline used her empowerment as a smart, educated woman to resolve her family’s business issues. I was thrilled that she didn’t wallow in self-pity, which she had every right to do.

    This woman went through four years in jail – fighting, literally, to survive something she didn’t deserve. As a young woman, she earned mental and physical scars most of us will never experience in a lifetime. That survival empowered her to become the “me” she needed to be. This is her journey and the bulk of the book is dedicated to her story.

    That means that the romance takes a back seat until the last quarter of the book. Then it’s fast and furious, so much so that I wasn’t sure I’d believe it. But by the end, I was completely convinced and cheering her on.

    The novel got too wordy about feelings and thoughts toward the end. I was ready for the conclusion, so I did speed read through some of that.

    This is me as a cranky Romantic Suspense reader. I love them and hate them. It’s a tug of war most authors don’t win with me.

    I expected a lot from what I’d heard about her books, so I’m thrilled I chose this standalone title as my sample.

    It’s really hard to categorize this book into a sub-genre of fiction because it’s so unusual. It does have some RS techniques, but it’s not typical. It leans heavily in the contemporary women’s fiction direction without the small-town connotations, with a good crime subplot. I can’t say much more than that because to appreciate this book, you really need to experience it for yourself.

    THE ME I USED TO BE is full of surprises, including the very sweet ending. If you want different, and LOVE heartbreaking stories that make you smile in the end, give THE ME I USED TO BE a few hours of your time. I hope you’ll appreciate all its nuances like I did. With an almost 5 rating, I can’t wait for Jennifer Ryan’s next foray into the unusual.

  • Debbie Oliphant

    I really enjoyed this book!!!

    I read this in one sitting because I could not put this down. There are a couple storylines woven into this story and it fits nicely.

    The story begins with Evangeline facing a parole board after serving 4 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She is released but is escorted out by the officer who arrested her, Chris. Chris makes her a deal to expunge her prison record and she agrees. He escorts her home to her family ranch where she faces her family who is

    I really enjoyed this book!!!

    I read this in one sitting because I could not put this down. There are a couple storylines woven into this story and it fits nicely.

    The story begins with Evangeline facing a parole board after serving 4 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She is released but is escorted out by the officer who arrested her, Chris. Chris makes her a deal to expunge her prison record and she agrees. He escorts her home to her family ranch where she faces her family who is so bitter and angry at her because they blame her for her fauther's death who recently passed away. She is filled with guilt and because she has no place to go, she is forced to stay with her family.

    Chris's deal involves the reason for Evangeline's time in prison........he believes she is innocent and wants to solve this crime. He believes she also went to prison to protect someone that she cares for. Evangeline wants to move on with her life and will agree to Chris's risky plan to catch the real criminals. While she is managing this plan, she is also trying to reconnect with her mother, who is so angry at her, and her two brothers who have distanced themselves from their sister while she was gone. This changes as her father's will requires her to be the decision maker of how the family ranch must be managed. One brother wants to sell, while the other wants to keep the ranch. Her father trusted her to use her to make the best decision and the pressure to find the best choice is weighing heavily with her.

    This author adds a love story that is not forced and feels like someting that the main character deserves. I really liked the layers of storytelling as you felt ineganged immediately. Alot of healing, forgiveness and feels, many feels. Evangeline's character is very strong and you are cheering her on as she embraces her independence and elevating the "me she used to be".

  • Elle's Book Blog

    July 2, 2019

    Women's Fiction. Romantic Suspense.

    4 stars

    Jennifer Ryan can write sexy romances and intriguing mysteries as proved by The Me I Used to Be. I found this book to be intriguing, original, frustrating at times, and intense. When I say frustrating, I mean I HATE how Evangeline was treated. I also don't like the fact that she served time in prison after being wrongfully accused, but that IS the point of the story and I loved her essential fight

    July 2, 2019

    Women's Fiction. Romantic Suspense.

    4 stars

    Jennifer Ryan can write sexy romances and intriguing mysteries as proved by The Me I Used to Be. I found this book to be intriguing, original, frustrating at times, and intense. When I say frustrating, I mean I HATE how Evangeline was treated. I also don't like the fact that she served time in prison after being wrongfully accused, but that IS the point of the story and I loved her essential fight for her life in the aftermath.

    That being said, this book is a very good read. It's also pretty intense as you are going to be rooting for the characters but also feeling all the built up tension from everything going on. That my friends is how an author should write books like this, btw. I love the feelings it brought out of me and I truly enjoyed Evangeline as a character.

    If you are looking for something different, I would HIGHLY recommend reading The Me I Used to Be by Jennifer Ryan!

  • Erika

    I don't typically read fluffy romance, most of my romance involves demons, dragons, aliens, vampires, or werewolves. But I received a copy of this book from a Goodreads contest and was more than happy to try it out. The book was cute and told a very simple and straight-forward story. I think I disliked two major things--first, the author over-explained tremendously. She would take paragraphs talking about how a character felt, but I think that by the action and conversation in a book we should

    I don't typically read fluffy romance, most of my romance involves demons, dragons, aliens, vampires, or werewolves. But I received a copy of this book from a Goodreads contest and was more than happy to try it out. The book was cute and told a very simple and straight-forward story. I think I disliked two major things--first, the author over-explained tremendously. She would take paragraphs talking about how a character felt, but I think that by the action and conversation in a book we should be able to tell. She consistently went back over facts again and again, re-stating what had happened in a previous chapter or what someone was thinking. It was torture. The other problem is the spoiler here--everything is great--she falls in love, her brother gets his house, the ranch is saved, the bad guy is caught, everyone forgives everyone, and every single possible plot line in the story is resolved. It was rather absurd. It was fun to read about people falling in love (albeit quickly) and I was rooting for the "good guys", but overall the story was simplistic and formulaic. I did appreciate trying a new genre and the goodreads win to be able to review. But, this is a generous three star book.

  • Sabrina

    *

    was a crazy intriguing story with a lot of heartfelt moments. The book follows Evangeline after she's released from prison where she served 4 years for a crime she didn't commit. There's no going back to her life from before she was in prison, so now she'll have to figure out how she's going to navigate this new life post-jail time. But with one major obstacle in the way - catching the real criminals.

    I have to say, there was a lot of

    *

    was a crazy intriguing story with a lot of heartfelt moments. The book follows Evangeline after she's released from prison where she served 4 years for a crime she didn't commit. There's no going back to her life from before she was in prison, so now she'll have to figure out how she's going to navigate this new life post-jail time. But with one major obstacle in the way - catching the real criminals.

    I have to say, there was a lot of frustration from seeing how Evangeline's family treated her, and many moments where I just wanted to reach into the book and slap them. But I liked that the book had me reacting that strongly to the characters. It had me fully captivated by everything going on that much. Especially the mystery surrounding Evangeline's arrest and her crime. I loved the suspense that it added and how the mystery was the thing pushing Evangeline and Chris together.

    Honestly there wasn't anything major that I didn't like about the book but as an overall story I felt like it lacked a little something. It kept me intrigued, but also had me searching for more depth from the characters. Sometimes things were maybe just a little too easy to fall into place and that's what had me feeling as if the story was lacking.

    Bottom line, this was a easy and quick read that I found enjoyable. I liked Evangeline as our main character and I was definitely cheering her on as the book progressed. It gets a recommend from me and I think anyone that picks this book up will get sucked into it just like I did and hopefully enjoy it as much also.

  • Skippypeanuts

    2.5. I REALLY wanted to like this book, I did. The concept was interesting and the setting was relatable.

    But I just couldn't get my head around it. Evangeline spends 4 years in prison pretty much getting the crap kicked out of her then the cop who helped put her away shows up. She makes a point of saying she's afraid of him and the power he has over her life, then BAM she can't get enough of him, can't stop thinking about him, and gives him MORE power over her life with her parole deal.

    On top

    2.5. I REALLY wanted to like this book, I did. The concept was interesting and the setting was relatable.

    But I just couldn't get my head around it. Evangeline spends 4 years in prison pretty much getting the crap kicked out of her then the cop who helped put her away shows up. She makes a point of saying she's afraid of him and the power he has over her life, then BAM she can't get enough of him, can't stop thinking about him, and gives him MORE power over her life with her parole deal.

    On top of that, is the behavior of Evangeline's family, who treats her like absolute crap. Their behavior only softens a little when she "proves she's worthy" by saving be her nephew. Then all is instantly forgiven once they realize she was innocent and protecting her dad.

    Her mother wouldn't talk to her and accused her of being the cause of her dad's death. But all the verbal abuse is forgiven and forgotten in moments once her mother realizes she wasn't responsible, thus "worthy" of being treated like a human being again.

  • Kim

    2.5 stars

    2.5 stars ✨

  • Miki

    After four years in prison, Evangeline is up for parole. Imagine her surprise when her arresting officer enters the hearing room! A whispered conference with the parole board and she is immediately released on compassionate grounds. Immediately. Right now. Hit the road. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and do not go through official channels for release. And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    That is just the first of a slew of improbable happenings in this book. Before it begins,

    After four years in prison, Evangeline is up for parole. Imagine her surprise when her arresting officer enters the hearing room! A whispered conference with the parole board and she is immediately released on compassionate grounds. Immediately. Right now. Hit the road. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and do not go through official channels for release. And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    That is just the first of a slew of improbable happenings in this book. Before it begins, Evangeline was arrested for a crime she did not commit, tried and sentenced in a period of about 4-6 weeks. Right.

    She went in as a pampered co-ed at the age of 19, survived six violent episodes while imprisoned, four of which culminated in a hospital stay, at least one of which incidents was life-threatening, while at the same time getting a four-year degree with honors in web design. She also set up her own business which was against the rules. This last accomplishment was proudly announced later by her arresting officer.

    Once out, she takes over the failing family business, making some savvy decisions that make her brothers and mother financially secure, suggests a business venture for her mother to keep her busy, helps solve the crime that sent her to prison and catches the guy responsible, sets up several amazing websites that AT ONCE send the profits for each business through the roof, and falls in love with the aforementioned arresting officer. She also mends the broken relationships with her family, who without exception thought she was guilty, and who treated her like dirt. All this in the space of about a month.

    I'm not sure in what universe all this takes place, but the people there must surely die young. Of exhaustion.

    I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank goodness I didn't buy it. If I had, I would be quite put out.

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