Archive for April 2010

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

FINALLY!  It took a few weeks, but the newest Jodi Picoult book, “House Rules“,  finally became available for the Kindle.  I was really disappointed that it wasn’t available immediately and I didn’t want to go out and spend $15-20 on it at the store when I could download it for $9.99 eventually.

Single mom Emma has two teenage sons, one of which (Jacob) has Asperger’s, a form of autism.  While Jacob might seem “normal” on the outside, he is not able to function socially like other people, has to follow strict routines, and he absorbs and retains large amounts of knowledge about particular topics that he’s interested in (current topic of interest = forensics).  He also has an IQ of over 160.   He has a special tutor, Jess, who helps him with communication issues by teaching him how he should interact with others.  One day, Jess gets upset with Jacob after a fight with her boyfriend, and the next day, Jess goes missing.  The finger is pointed at her boyfriend first, but then after Jess’s body is found a few days later, Emma think that Jacob may be involved somehow.  When she goes to the police with this information to try to help their investigation, they arrest Jacob for Jess’s murder.

Jacob does NOT do well in police custody or jail due to his Asperger’s.  Emma and Jacob’s lawyer fight for Jacob’s freedom in court and are able to get him released and sent home to prepare for the hearing.  Throughout this whole process, Jacob maintains that he didn’t do anything wrong – but you have to understand that he has a different way of thinking than everyone else.

To be totally honest, this wasn’t my favorite Jodi Picoult book.  I think it was because I figured out the signature “twist” ending way too early in the book and it felt like it was dragging for awhile until the actual situation was revealed at the end.  I don’t think I really was able to do that with her other books that were written in this same format (at least that I could remember).  I did learn a LOT about Asperger syndrome; I don’t know if I really knew anything about it beforehand.  It was by no means a bad story, but just not one of my favorites from her.  If you like Jodi Picoult’s books, then you should at least give it a shot – maybe it would turn out to be one of your favorites!

One Night in Boston by Allie Boniface

Sorry I’ve been a little delayed in between postings; I haven’t had as much time to read lately.  I’ve been tending to start to fall asleep as soon as I pick up my Kindle.  Maybe that just means I should try to read at other times during the day than right before bed!

Anyway.  ”One Night in Boston”  by Allie Boniface is the most recent book I’ve read on my Kindle.  It wasn’t a free one, but it was maybe 5 bucks or so.

Maggie Doyle is a twenty-something interior designer with her own business that she runs out of the first floor of her house in Rhode Island.  She starts to develop some financial problems and is behind on her mortgage payments and the bank is going to be foreclosing on her house if she can’t come up with $16,000 ASAP.  Panicked, Maggie agrees that she’ll have the money by noon the following day.  She decides to ask her stepbrother, Dillon, who lives in Boston and runs a successful landscaping business, to ask him to loan her the month.  The problem – Maggie and Dillon haven’t spoken in about 6 years due to something that happened when they were both teenagers.  Maggie’s best friend is recruited to try to find Dillon and finds out that he’ll be at a charity ball in Boston that evening and gets Maggie and her assistant Neve tickets.  When Maggie gets to the ball, she runs into someone from her past that she never imagined would come back into her life.  That night, she has to face some difficult parts of her past that she had tried so hard to put behind her.

I’ve left out a large part of the story from the middle to the end because I think it’s better not to know before you pick up the book.  This book wasn’t bad, but there were some issues with it that kind of bothered me.  (This won’t ruin the story for you.)  Maggie focuses so much on Dillon at the beginning of the book before the ball, but after that, he isn’t in the story at ALL until the end; someone else takes up all of her focus during that time.  Which is fine, but it just seemed at the beginning like he was a really important part to the story, but really, it’s like he’s not.  Otherwise, the story isn’t bad, but it wasn’t one of my favorites.

Allie Boniface has a few other books out, some with covers of shirtless men…?  (This book was not one of those types of books… trust me.)  There seems to be an overall theme of her books of “Can anything really change in twenty-four hours?”.  I may pick up another one of her books sometime just to see how the storyline is put together compared to this one.

Booth’s Sister by Jane Singer

As you know, I like reading historical stories based on the lives of women, especially if they’re from different cultures.  This book kind of falls into that category, but it’s based on a true story.

Booth’s Sister” is based upon the memoir of Asia Booth, the older sister of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.  It starts out right after Lincoln was killed; Asia had some visitors come to her house asking where her brother was, convinced that she knew details that could help the investigation.

The story then reverts back to Asia and John’s childhood.  To be honest, this part of the story was realllllly slow to me.  I almost put the book down (well, I didn’t have the actual book, so I guess you could say that I would have just moved onto the next book on my Kindle book list).  The story is told from the first person perspective of Asia.  As a child, she envied her brother, who was going to follow in their father’s footsteps and become an actor.  I guess back in that time, women could not be actors/actresses.  The family is really into Shakespeare, and his quotes are peppered throughout the dialogue.   From the get go, it seemed to me like Asia had more than just a jealousy or admiration of her brother, it almost seems like she is in love with him – it’s kind of odd.

Finally, after learning about Asia and John as children and teenagers, we get to their young adulthood when John becomes a pretty famous stage actor.  Asia tries to go see his plays as much as possible and is in awe of her brother just like everyone else.  When Asia gets married and invites her brother to dinner, a huge argument ensues between John and her husband (also named John) and the other guests regarding Lincoln, slavery, and the government.  That’s when you start to see the signs that he has a bone to pick with the Prez.  Next thing you know, men are beating down Asia’s door looking for John and hold her captive for about almost two weeks before they finally find and kill him.

Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading this book, my boyfriend is reading a book called “Manhunt” about the search for Lincoln’s killer (which he says I “must read”, which I will, eventually).  ”Booth’s Sister” was interesting; it wasn’t exactly what I expected.  The beginning parts about their childhood didn’t seem entirely relevant to the rest of the story of their lives (some thing did, but not all), but maybe I was just missing something.  Maybe it was because this book was BASED on the true story, so perhaps some things were “fluffed” for entertainment value.  For all of you men out there (okay, probably only a few who actually read this), this is a book that you could read – it’s not targeted specifically toward women, even though it’s told from the woman’s perspective.  You’d probably like “Manhunt” better, though.

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is a brand new chick lit author… how’d I hear about her?  From Jennifer Weiner (well-known chick lit author) on Twitter.  Jennifer recommended that her fans go out and get Sarah’s debut novel, “The Opposite of Me“, when it came out a few weeks ago.

For a first-time author, I thought this was a good read.  The story starts with workaholic and overachiever Lindsay Rose, who works at a big NYC ad agency.  She is on the cusp of a HUGE deal and becoming the youngest ever VP in the history of the company.  All of a sudden, in a matter of minutes, her life is turned around when 1) the customer signs with them, but only if he can work exclusively with Lindsay’s coworker, 2) she loses out on the VP role to that same coworker, and 3) she loses her job (I won’t tell you how that one happens!).

Lindsay decides it would be best to move back home with her parents in DC to start over and look for jobs outside of NYC.  When she gets there, she is immediately back into competition with her gorgeous sister Alex, who works as an entertainment reporter.  Lindsay starts to garner resentment toward her sister when her friend, Bradley, who used to have a crush on Lindsay, starts showing interest in Alex instead of her, even though Alex is engaged.  Lindsay decides to get a makeover (basically a major shopping spree for clothes and makeup) to get her mind off of everything and turns herself into a more confident, glamorous version of herself – but only when she’s not around her family.  One day, Lindsay runs into (almost literally) a woman who runs a dating service and she and Lindsay become fast friends and confidants.  Then, Alex starts acting strange and some things occur that turn Lindsay and her family upside down.

Reading over it, I realize that my little summary above sounds a little confusing.  It totally make sense when you’re reading the book.  I know I’m leaving stuff out because you guys know that I don’t like giving away critical parts to the story that make it interesting.

“The Opposite of Me” deals with some interesting topics, like how people grow up in a certain role, even if they don’t know how they got there, and feel like they have to stay within that role the rest of their lives.  The story was a typical entertaining, easy chick lit book that I would definitely recommend.  Would I read her future books (if there are any)?  Yes.  Thanks for the recommendation, Jennifer Weiner!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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