AUS Giveaway & Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

October 13, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

AUS Giveaway & Review: Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Orion on July 31, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance
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Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Oh, I hate being the black sheep. And I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, so that makes it all the more disappointing.

Landline explores the issues of a marriage after years of being together. Most romance books are about falling in love, finding your soul mate and a happily ever after. Landline goes beyond that and tells us about the unhappiness and dullness that a couple faces after being together for almost 17 years. It’s not about gestures and romance anymore, it’s simply about trying to communicate your problems with each other, and remembering why you got together in the first place, which is what Georgie does.

If this were a movie, it wouldn’t be random. A random call to a random point in the past. It would mean something. So what did this mean?

Magical realism is something that never sits well with me, if only for the disbelief that you have to suspend while reading about strange magical occurrences that happen in real life. More often than not, why this occurs is never explained, or it doesn’t fit well with the story. That’s part of why Landline wasn’t for me, because Georgie talks to her husband from 17 years ago through a magical phone and we never get answers as to why or how. Even Georgie herself thinks she’s going crazy, but after questioning it herself, she just went with it.

Another reason why Landline wasn’t for me, was because I didn’t like Neal. He was cool, calm and collected, and expressed his dissatisfaction with Georgie’s actions in a passive aggressive way – which drives me insane. Even while Georgie was falling in love with him, it seemed like she did all the work and I never really felt like he was anything special. He storms off with their kids to spend Christmas with his parents, and doesn’t call Georgie throughout the entire novel, despite her leaving endless messages to him. This was never really resolved, I know if it was me I would be really angry. I did admire how Neal wasn’t the typical romance hunk which is always unrealistic; Rainbow Rowell’s males are always flawed in some way.

“Just because you love someone…that doesn’t mean your lives with fit together.” – Georgie

“Nobody’s lives just fit together…Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.” – Neal 

I shipped the best friend, Seth, with Georgie, because at least he seemed to be there when she needed her. And even though life doesn’t always work out the way we wanted it to, it kind of made us think of what if.

Landline ends on a somewhat sudden note that left me thinking – was that all? So many unresolved thoughts and feelings, and actions. I know the message that the author was trying to achieve – that perfection doesn’t happen and that things are never going to resolve yourself if you never try or communicate – but I wanted answers.


Landline will take us through a journey of rediscovering a marriage after things go sour. It’s a thought provoking read about life and relationships in general, however, the magical realism, the husband I couldn’t relate to and the unresolved answers made it fall flat for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Giveaway – Australians only 

I’m giving away a paperback of Landline to a lucky Australian reader! Fill in the rafflecopter form below to enter.

  • Over 13 years to enter
  • Winners will be picked at random and must respond within 48 hours
  • Winner will be announced on the rafflecopter form.
  • Happy Indulgence does not take responsibility for Australia post.
  • Fake entries will be disqualified.
  • Entries close on 20 October 2014 Australian EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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58 responses to “AUS Giveaway & Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

  1. I haven't read any of Rainbow's books, and she seems to either be loved or hated. Either way, this book doesn't sound like one of the best, so I think I will dodge this one! It's a shame you didn't like it though. I hope you next read was much nicer ^^
    Olivia recently posted…The Guardian (Review & Giveaway!)My Profile

  2. Thanks for a great review. Sorry to hear it wasn't that great.

    I love this cover and saw it on so many blogs. I thought it would be good. I don't think I would like it


    I hope you are enjoying your week. I found you in the list of Bloggers Commenting Back. Lovely blog. GREAT POSTS. Going to follow via e-mail.


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  3. Thank you Ebony, it's a shame you didn't enjoy Fangirl but I know a few people felt the same. Her books are just so different and her writing is fresh, so I can kind of see the appeal, but it's not for everyone.

  4. I've only read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell so far, but am looking forward to reading more. It has been a long time since I've read something that didn't focus on a relationship between teens, so I'd love to step outside of that for a change.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway Jeann. Have a great week. 🙂
    YA Book Addict recently posted…REVIEW: Black Ice by Becca FitzpatrickMy Profile

  5. Yeah, it was hard to connect to either of them because I just wasn't sure why Georgie would put up with it and Neal was just difficult without purpose.s Thanks Cyn! I love Attachments.

  6. I know, I have to agree with your thoughts Nara, maybe it's because we're not married and stuff? Oh my gosh I will have to go and find that cameo now – I completely missed it!

  7. Oh it was SO disappointing Chiara, I love Rainbow Rowell and you know how much I loved Attachments so this was definitely a different route that she took. Hmmm, the more I hear about Belzhar the more I think I would skip it.

  8. Oh I know, I wouldn't have minded the in retrospect timing but it was the whole magical realism thing that didn't make it work for me either. I do like her other books though, especially Attachments and Fangirl.

  9. I know, the magical realism was kind of weird for me as well. Especially since there were no answers. Georgia was definitely selfish with her friendship, and it got weird in some parts, especially with Seth's confession later on. But at least she kind of figured out what to do by the end of the book and stood by her decision. Not my fav by any stretch either – although I do love Attachments.

  10. Oh I know, I've never been a fan of magical realism because in the contemporary setting it is just out of place. Oh well, at least you got it from the library so you always have the option of returning it 🙂

  11. I have yet to read any of Rainbow Rowell's adult books but so far I adore both her YA books especially Fangirl as Cath was like first year uni me. I am intrigued with the 'magic realism' of the book so I might pick this up. Thanks for the giveaway!
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  12. Melissa Tosh

    i have never read a book by this author before so I would love to get into the hype. Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

  13. I'm so sorry you couldn't connect with this one more Jeann. I found that Rainbow Rowell is a bit of a hit and miss for me. I adored E & P but couldn't stand Fangirl. This one I'm looking forward to reading though, after reading Belzhar recently, I had no idea how much I enjoyed Magic Realism. For me it adds that little bit extra to a storyline that makes it all the more enchanting.

    Thanks for the incredibly giveaway Jeann and brilliantly honest review. I hope your next book rocks your world! <3
    Kelly recently posted…State of Grace by Hilary BadgerMy Profile

  14. Aww disappointing that you didn't enjoy this one more!

    I have to say, it's definitely weaker than Rainbow's other novels- I feel like the characters were not quite as likeable and relatable. I actually didn't really mind the open ending that much, because Rainbow does that for pretty much all her novels haha.

    Did you catch the cameo from Cath and Levi though? Towards the end 😀
    Nara recently posted…Flailage: Where I Spill All My Blood of Olympus FeelsMy Profile

  15. NO D: This is so disappointing, Jeann 🙁

    I had a brush with magic realism in Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, and I must say I wasn't very keen. So I'm interested so see how I go with Landline.

    It's a shame that the husband was a likeable character, and I'll probably end up shipping Georgie with the friend, too 😛
    Chiara @ Books for a recently posted…Review: Belzhar by Meg WolitzerMy Profile

  16. I have not yet read any of her books but I always heard they were good. Sorry this one didn't fit for you, I can see why. The unanswered questions would probably bother me too ;/ and Neal..

  17. Trust me, you aren't the only one who disliked this book. I've heard a lot of similar thoughts about this book. I tend not to read books that explore the after the HEA because I know there will be a lot of angst. Neal really does sound unlikable. And I agree with you on magical realism in books. I don't like the sound of Georgia either. She seems like a disaster. I'm glad this book never appealed to me. I would have been very frustrated if I did read this.

    Great review, Jeann!
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Review : Damsel Distressed by Kelsey MackeMy Profile

    • Oh good to hear Nick, I have only read positive reviews on it so far. I think it was an interesting angle, but yeah. Georgia, I wasn't too sure about her either. But you know what? It was probably realistic. Thanks Nick!

  18. I wasn't a huge fan of this one either – I did not even expect the magical realism part (Maybe I should have paid more attention to the blurb lol) and while I didn't hate it it felt weird to me. And I usually love magical realism books so it's not just you! I And YEs about Neal! I also was not a big fan of Georgia and how she wanted her cake and eat it too. She was def selfish in the way she went about her friendship with Seth. I did love his character and their friendship but if you want to be married you need to sometimes think about how who you hang out with affects the other person you know. But anyways, I still found it an alright read but it was not my fav by Rowell.
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  19. Bec

    I am so disappointed that you didn't like Landlines! Rowell is one of my favourite YA authors, so this is a little saddening. But if you don't like the genre and one of the protagonists, then it's kinda hard to like the book. I live for magic realism. It's why I loved Meg Cabot so much in high school Maybe I'll have better luck with it? I so need to buy this (you know, if I don't win it haha:-P)

    Have you given Eleanor and Park or Fangirl a go? Those books blew my ffreaking mind!
    Bec recently posted…What you may not know…My Profile

    • Oh I know, I really do love her writing but this subject matter just wasn't for me. I did love Princess Diaries back in the day as well. I think it might be up your alley! I loved Fangirl, still need to read E&P.

  20. Aww it's such a shame that this one didn't work out for you! I've read a lot of positive reviews and tis is one of the first negative ones I've read and honestly, so glad that I did because I HATE magical realism a lot of the time, and now I have something to expect!

    Lovely review, Jeann! <33

    • I know, I was a bit bummed that I didn't love it after everyone's reviews! But I guess I can see why it wasn't for me, because of the magical realism. It's such a big no no that I can't really see it happening in my head.

  21. Oh no! This sucks that Landline disappointed you 🙁 I've heard mixed things about it so I haven't decided if I'm going to read it yet. Plus I loved Fangirl and Attachments so I'm scared to attempt her other stuff in case I don't like it :/

    Hope your next read was better!
    Bec @ Readers in Won recently posted…The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasMy Profile

  22. I was really worried I'd be a Rainbow Rowell black sheep too. >.> I didn't really love Eleanor and Park. I mean, it was GOOD. But it wasn't flailingly brilliant like I thought it'd be. BUT THEN I READ FANGIRL. Which is, probably, the bestly written introvert I've EVER read. I just connected so much to Cath. Hehe. So I'm definitely interested in reading an adult book by Rainbow Rowell, but I'm dubious.
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    • I know, Fangirl was really brilliant wasn't it? I just loved the sisterly relationship in there and oh Levi. He was so sweet. I really loved Attachments so I was expecting to love this one too, but I guess it's not for everyone! Oh well.

  23. Oooh..yeah. I'm not the biggest fan of magic realism either, Jeann. Actually, I'm not a fan of contemporary BUT if I had to read it, I'd prefer the magic in it. But sometimes it just doesn't sit well with me because I start thinking, it's contemporary but no one really ever questions the magical aspect. Which is so odd because I would be thoroughly freaked out. I've only read Rowell's younger works but have countless people telling me to check out her older stuff. Perhaps I'll start with Attachments instead? It's a shame you didn't enjoy this one as much–I wouldn't either with an open ending! Fantastic, honest review Jeann <33
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    • Oh I know, contemporary and magical realism just can't escape the logic in my mind. I prefer magic on it's own, I guess. It is really weird, I mean why is this even happening? At least there's no cop out "it was all a dream" sort of endings. Oh gosh, I LOVED ATTACHMENTS so much. I had so many feels. I hope you enjoy it!

  24. This is something I don't often see: a negative review attached to a giveaway.

    At least you're honest 🙂

    I haven't actually read any Rainbow Rowell books (mainly because they're contemporary, and I don't go out of my way to read contemporary), but I'm always willing to try new books.

    • Hehe yes, the giveaway was funded by myself so I thought, why not? Lots of people might want to give this book a go too. I do like her writing, this one just wasn't for me because of some of the subject matter.

  25. Oh dear! It's a shame you didn't like this one very much Jeann. Though I can understand why magical realism might put you off — for me it has to be done really well, otherwise I'm not likely to enjoy it. Which is probably not great news that I borrowed this one from the library on the weekend! Still, hopefully I'll like it. 🙂 Great honest review.
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