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The Me I Used to Be

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  307 ratings  ·  98 reviews
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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Jennifer England Every book I read adds to my life. Yes this will impact your life giving you time to feel different emotions. I couldn’t put it down. And I felt a…moreEvery book I read adds to my life. Yes this will impact your life giving you time to feel different emotions. I couldn’t put it down. And I felt a completeness at the end. Very good!!(less)

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  307 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Debbie Oliphant
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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The Me I Used to Be 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 frustratio
Seema Rao
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads-win
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Initially I liked the family drama but it kind of fizzled out in the end, and the ending was too perfect and unrealistic for my liking. The heroine was far too nice and forgiving to her family; I feel like she should of held more bitterness and resentment towards them. They all acted like she's a mass murderer when all she did was steal some wine, personally I don't think that's reason enough to abandon and hate your family, call them stupid? Sure. Also I've got to say for an ex-convict she was ...more
Sheila Samuelson
This was my first time reading a book by Jennifer Ryan and I absolutely loved it!! It was mainly a Contemporary with a lil bit of YA and Romance thrown into to. I felt bad for Evangeline through the whole book. What she endured was horrible but I see her dad did it for all the right reasons even tho it cost his daughter 4 years of her life that she can't get back.

I will definitely be reading more book by Jennifer in the future!!!
Sandy Nikolas
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was ok for me. I like most of Jennifer Ryan’s books, but there’s not much romance here.the big secret is revealed a bit too soon and the effects of her time in prison are not delved into much, just scattered about the surface.
May 15, 2019 added it
o perfect
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Sit back and enjoy this read (or listen as will be available as an audio book as well). The description gives you a basic overview, but it is so much more. Once you get started be prepared to lose track of time and all else that is going on around you. It is a compelling story that leaves you with so much to think about. Evangeline is a strong, smart, incredibly loyal loving friend, daughter and sister who spent 4 years and 27 days spent in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. While incarcerate ...more
Nate Brightman
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve always been a huge Jennifer Ryan fan but it had been some time since I’d last read one of her stories. Mostly I think because I’d already read just about everything she’d written. I read an awful lot, mostly contemporary romances. So I have some basis for making my personal observations. I have a feeling this book is going to stand out above most if not all of the books I’ve read this year and it’s really not as much of a romance as it is a story of a young woman overcoming tremendous adver ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Jennifer Ryan's "The Me I Used to Be" featured an intriguing setup and mostly likeable main characters, although Chris, the male protagonist, almost seemed like too much of a paragon to me by the end of the book. He was clearly a good guy and I liked that he was always looking out for Evangeline, the female protagonist, but for some reason he came across as a little too perfect to me. IMO, I think the author may have gone a little overboard in trying to redeem Chris for his past mistakes where E ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
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 offical 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, Evan
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at

This was a fun, quick contemporary romance book.

I normally don't read romance books, but every once in awhile I like to read a light, fluffy book as a palate cleanser. I don't have anything against them, I just like big epic fantasy series and mystery/thrillers more.

Evangeline Austen is a young woman that served time in prison for a crime she didn't commit. It didn't help matters that she refused to defend herself or
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway for my honest review.

Admitedly, this is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own - but I approached it with an open mind and hoped that it would be more than the typical romance book (even though the cover wasn't really giving me a lot of 'hope' in that direction). The premise seemed interesting and so for that reason, I was really hoping the book would exceed my initial expectations. Mostly, I'm giving this book three stars be
Theresa Lorenzo
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Evangeline has just served four years in prison for a crime she didn't commit. At her parole hearing, the officer who arrested her, presents a document saying she needs to get out immediately because her dad passed away and the police need her help in bringing the actual perpetrator of the crime to justice.

No one else knows at this time that Evangeline did not commit the crime - the theft of some high-priced wine from nearby vineyards - and her family blames her for the death of her dad. It seem
Sharon Grow
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I read the summary of this book, I knew it would be special and that I needed to read it. I was so right, very special and a pleasure to read! Evangeline Austen is being released from prison, due to the death of her father, after serving four years for a crime she did not commit. While in prison, she was attacked several times and is now a very different Evangeline, tougher, smarter and determined to get justice. Lt. Chris Chambers, the cop who arrested her, is the only one trying to ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This book started strong as the reader experiences what Evangeline is going through as she sits in front of her parole board and then faces her family, who is convinced she betrayed them and broke the heart of the family patriarch, sending him to an early grave. There's a powerful buildup as readers recognize that Evangeline is holding some big secrets close to her scarred chest. I was engaged, my heart pounding and hurting for this woman.

And then the story fell flat. What should have been a po
Jun 24, 2019 marked it as to-read
The Me I Used To Be by Jennifer Ryan 4 stars

This is not my first Jennifer Ryan book and I have been a fan for years. As far as I know, this is her first stand alone book. I enjoyed this book very much and was sorry to see it end. Evangeline was caught transporting stolen goods, she plead guilty and went to prison. As the book opens, she is in front of the parole board for her second try at getting out. The officer that arrested her arrives and has an order to let her out now. Her father has died
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Me I Used To Be is a must read romance. Yes, I had some small issues with the story but overall it was a fantastic read. The author hit it out of the park with the way people treat someone they think of as a criminal and how you can't always judge a book by it's cover.

I loved that Evangeline had a plan. She implemented the plan. She wanted to be successful and get away from her criminal past. She was a great heroine.

One of my peeves with the book was that no one pointed out that the Chris m
Elle's Book Blog
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: Women's Fiction. Romantic Suspense.
Actual Rating: 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 fo
Tina Burch
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Four years and twenty-seven days. That's how long Evangeline Austen was in prison for; for a crime she didn't commit. On the day of her second parole hearing, she gets horrible news involving a member of her family. Left with a hard decision of running the family business that was left to her, bringing her family back together, and starting her own business, Evangeline is determined to find a way to do it all. And in the middle of it all, love and happiness finds her when she least expects it. E ...more
Taylor Freeman
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book starts off with Evangeline in prison for a crime she plead guilty to, but did not commit.

This book isn’t just a romance but also has some suspense to it because when she is released from prison she is trying to figure out how to take down the real bad guys who got her locked up to begin with.

I loved her dynamic with Chris, the cop who put her away. Every emotion and movement he made you could tell how badly he felt and how he wanted to do right by her.

I really loved the family dynamic
Mandi Lynn
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have never read anything by Jennifer Ryan- I have, however, read a significant number of contemporary romance authors (Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber). This was a very satisfying book based on my previous experience with romance novels. From what I understand it is a stand alone, so that is a plus for me (no waiting for sequels). The characters are engaging, the writing is clear and easy to get into. Once I had the time to read (life intrudes a lot) it went pretty quickly. I like ho ...more
Iris Howorth
May 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
The book opens at a parole hearing for Evangeline, who has spent 4 years in prison, convicted of stealing and transporting cases of wine. Just when she is hopeful, Chris, the police officer who took such pleasure in arresting her, walks in dressed in full uniform. But, it's a good news-bad news situation. Good news... Her parole is granted. Bad news.. Her father, who she has refused to allow visit her in prison, is dead of a heart attack.

I don't want to give away too much, but I will say, every
Kathleen Gray
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Evangeline kept a secret the four years she was in prison. She's come home now, after the death of her father, to find her family is even angrier with her now than they were before, chiefly because their father left her a chunk of money and control of the decision of what to do with the family ranch. She's remade her life but she's still got an obligation to Chris, the sheriff's deputy who arrested her to help break up the people who were really stealing wine. Her old boyfriend Darren and his br ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the beginning part of this book until in the blink of an eye the main character Evangeline all of a sudden, after stating she didn't trust anyone at all, was in love with and trusted the cop that put her in jail. Then it was over the top with wanting him etc etc. And then the villain Darren immediately trusted her to get right back into helping him steal... no suspicions or anything that she was trying to get back at him. I skimmed over pages because of these situations. Even the parts ...more
Bookgasms Book Blog
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: missy
From start to finish, The Me I Used to Be drew me in and kept me riveted until the last word. This is a story of deception, fractured family issues, forgiveness, and embracing the future.

The Me I Used to Be is a quick read with a compelling storyline and characters you’ll fall in love with. You’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat as Evangeline works through the secrets and lies that put her in prison in the first place. You’ll find yourself wanting to step into your kindle to help Evangel
Emilie Davis
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely entertaining!

This was a very complicated and compelling book. We meet Evangeline as she gets ready to leave prison and is released early due to the death of her father. 4 years and 27 days in a cell and subjected to quite a few indignities, battered, but not broken. She deals with a fractured family, and guys who got her arrested in the first place and a man she hates, kinda. Jennifer Ryan's book takes off after the first few chapters and the reader is along for the ride, cheering Ev
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Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted and McBrides Series, writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. Whe