Book Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Okay world, I am just gonna put this out there. I’m a nice person. Too nice. Here’s the proof.

I finished reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult several weeks ago, but I’ve been dragging my feet about posting the review because in all honesty, the book disappointed me. And I just hate to be negative.
I live by the motto If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.
But I am not one of those people who thinks mean things all the time but keeps them bottled up inside. I am genuinely a very nice person.

So I’ve been contemplating. Maybe I shouldn’t post my opinion of this book. But that’s not fair to readers who are looking for honest reviews. On the other hand, I do have some good things to say about House Rules. So here goes – my not-so-nice review.

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My little dog photo bombed the book, but it’s too cute to redo.

House Rules started out great and kept my attention all the way through. The plot and the writing was so good, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to come home from work every day and read another chapter, which inevitably turned into two or three chapters.

The book is about Emma Hunt and her two sons.  Theo, her youngest, is fifteen, and Jacob, her oldest, is eighteen. But mostly the book is about Jacob. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, and he’s been accused of murdering his social skills tutor, Jess Olgilvy. Excellent premise. If you know anything about disorders on the autism spectrum, then you know Emma has her hands full, and just received a boatload more with her son’s arrest. To top it off, Jacob’s obsession with forensic science does nothing but add to the detective’s suspicion of him.

You can understand why this book was hard to put down. The author has done a great job of letting the reader get to know Jacob and the rest of the Hunt family. She also is a master at making the reader wonder how deep Jacob’s involvement in the crime really is.

My problem with the book came at the end. It was less than satisfying for me. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you that haven’t read it, and it is worth reading. I will only say that I closed the book wondering how some of the subplots turned out. Unanswered questions. Loose ends. Whatever you want to call it. There were some story threads woven through the main plot that did not receive proper endings in my opinion. And I hate to still be wondering what happens next when I finish reading a book.

So there you have it. My less-than-glowing review of House Rules by Jodi Picoult. It’s a good story, but it might leave you with questions. Still worth the read. If anything, you’ll gain a whole new perspective of autism disorders and be entertained along the way.

Click here to hop over to Amazon and order a copy. Or you can probably find this one at your local library. I actually found my copy in thrift store.

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As always, thanks for reading my whatever blog. Remember to jump over to medium.com to check out my lastest flash fiction – a fifty-word story published in The Friday Fix. A Change of Scenery by AJ Cannon

View at Medium.com

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Book Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Summary: When Roo Fanshaw’s parents are murdered, she is sent to live with a wealthy uncle she didn’t know existed on Cough Rock Island. He rarely speaks to her, leaving her care to the hired help, and he’s hiding something. Roo is determined to find out what it is. She also discovers a wild boy who lives on the river and an abandoned garden on the island.

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The description of this book on Goodreads mentions that the story was inspired by the classic novel, The Secret Garden. I’ve never read it, so I can’t compare, but I loved The Humming Room. (I might even need to add The Secret Garden to my TBR list.)

This story is wonderfully written. It is exactly the kind of middle-grade novel that fed my love of reading as a child. The characters are well developed, without too much draggy back story. The plot moves forward at a comfortable pace. And the ending … well, I don’t want to give anything away, but it definitely has a warm and fuzzy feel to it.

I definitely recommend this book to young and old alike. Here is a link to the Amazon listing.     Buy your copy here.

 

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Thanks so much for reading My Whatever Blog. I am excited to announce that The Junction has published a little poem that I wrote. Please click  HERE  here to hop over to medium.com and check it out. If you like it, please show it some love and hit the clap icon a few times. Thanks again, and happy reading. 

View at Medium.com

 

 

Book Review: Matt Jensen, The Last Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

I am finally back, and boy am I behind on reviews. Fear not. I’ve read several books in recent months, and the reviews are in the pipeline. But I am very OCD. I must post my reviews in the order that I read the books.

Today I want to share with you my opinion of the first western I have ever read. (I take that back…I’ve read Lonesome Dove, and it’s one of my all-time favorites.)

Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone with J. A. Johnstone

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As you can see from the photo, I listened to the audio version instead of reading this book. It was perfect for long drives to and from the farm.

First off, this book has everything that a western needs: good guys and outlaws, gunfights, damsels in distress, orphaned kids, old timers with strong morals. It was great. The story follows the life of Matt Cavanaugh from seeing his family murdered by outlaws, through hard times growing up, and then hunting down the killers to avenge the deaths of his parents and sister.

While the plot was predictable at times, it was still very entertaining. I will definitely be reading more of Mr. Johnstone’s books. I am including a link to the amazon listing so you can hop over and get a copy for yourself. It’s available in paperback and on Kindle.

 

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Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you are interested in reading some of my flash fiction, click here for a link to a fun little story titled ‘Ageless’.

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Book Review – In Pieces by Sally Field

Let me start by saying I absolutely loved this book.

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Sally field has been one of my favorite actresses for a very long time, so when I saw this book I just had to read it. I borrowed my copy from my local library. It is available everywhere, I’m sure.

This book is a brutally honest recounting of Ms. Field’s childhood and early years as an actress, almost a search for the history that made her who she is. I don’t know what I expected when I opened this book, but it moved and surprised me in so many ways.

One thing that did surprise me is even though both of her parents were actors, I did not get the sense that Ms. Field grew up wanting to be a movie star. Instead I felt that she was drawn to acting because it offered a way for her to disappear and become someone else. Wanting to disappear is a struggle that I believe many people can identify with. How many of us have felt insecure and uncomfortable in our own skin? It almost feels easier to pretend to be a different person.

Sally Field has done an excellent job of sorting through her past and dumping her emotions onto the page in the form of a beautiful and compelling narrative. This book made me admire her even more. I definitely recommend this book. Click here if you want to go directly to the amazon listing.

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As always, I want to thank you for reading my blog. I love books and stories of every kind, and sharing that love with others is one of my passions. Some of you know that I am also a writer. I want to share this piece of flash fiction that I wrote last year. I feel like it reflects the theme I found in Ms. Field’s book about trying to be someone else.

Knock Knock

Flash fiction by AJ Cannon

No, don’t come in. I’m not ready yet. I need more time. I don’t know, a few more minutes maybe. I’m looking for my mask. Please don’t come in. You can’t see me like this. . . .
Click HERE to continue reading.

 

…and the winner is….

To everyone who read and liked my Valentine Giveaway post, a big thanks from me to you.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

So, the rules of the contest were everyone who commented with their favorite love story would be entered into the drawing. I’m not sure what happened – maybe my comment section wasn’t working, or maybe no one actually commented. It is a mystery to me.

But I promised a free book, so a free book shall be given. I decided to conduct the drawing with the names of everyone who ‘liked’ my post. I had a whopping 5 – count ’em, 5 – likes for my giveaway post. (No discouragement here. I am very new to the blogging world, and every time that little star lights up again, I am thrilled!)

and now….the winner is…..

Amber Jayde of amberjaydereads.wordpress.com

Miss Amber Jayde https://amberjaydereads.wordpress.com/, if you can see this post, please comment or reach out to me in some way so that I can send you a link to your free kindle book.

Happy reading everyone!

 

 

A Valentine Giveaway!

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Source: Pixabay

As Valentines Day approaches I find myself daydreaming about love stories. I have been perusing my TBR list only to find it severely lacking in the romance category. So I am reaching out to all of you for help. Please comment at the end of this post and tell me what is your favorite love story of all time and why. And as a thank you, everyone that responds will be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of my novella Heart of Stone.

Two Winners Will Be Drawn!

So won’t you please help me find some great love stories to read? Just post your suggestion in the comments below and I’ll add your name to the bowl lickety-split. The winners will be drawn on Friday morning.

 

The Fine Print: Winners will receive a gifted copy of my book Heart of Stone via Amazon Kindle – Kindle is the only format this book is available in at this time. If you cannot accept kindle format, please do not enter. The entry deadline is February 14, 2019 at 11:59pm. The winners will be chosen by noon on Friday, February 15th 2019 by random drawing. Thank you.

 

 

Moby Dick – My Honest Opinion

Let’s talk a little bit about Moby Dick, shall we? 

It took me 68 days to read this 200,000 word book by Herman Melville – 68 days of tired eyes and a weary brain wondering when I would see the whale. 

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In my opinion, Moby Dick is more like three books in one. The first part chronicles Ishmael arriving in Nantucket to go on a whaling expedition and his adventure in meeting Queequeg. Then we have the never-ending middle section of the book. These chapters provided more information than I ever wanted to know about whaling and the anatomy of whales. I was tempted to give up several times during these chapters filled with technical jargon and detailed whale killing, but I’m no quitter. And finally, we get to read about the great chase in the final few chapters of the book. 

Melville has a way with words and description. He just seemed to get a little carried away and wordy in my opinion. The entire story of Ahab and his quest to find the White Wale could have been told wonderfully in about half as many words. Don’t get me wrong. I discovered some great phrases and sentences in the book, like this little gem found in chapter 104: 

“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” 

And this insightful line from chapter 29: 

“Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death.” 

I am no English Lit major, and I don’t feel like doing an in-depth study of the themes of Moby Dick. I read for pleasure these days. I love a great many classical novels because no matter how much time has passed since they were written, they are still entertaining and relevant. I think the main theme of this book is a person’s exhausting search for something that is most likely unattainable. Irrational obsessions, if you will. Again, I believe the story could have been told, and the theme well-portrayed in fewer words. 

But the length is not even my main disappointment with Moby Dick. What upset me the most was getting so involved with the characters of Ishmael and Queequeg at the beginning, and then feeling like they were lost in the shuffle toward the end. Even though Ishmael is the narrator, I feel like he was not even part of the plot from about midway to the end. In fact, I forgot he was the narrator until I got to the very end and read the epilogue. 

So, there you have it. I didn’t enjoy reading Moby Dick. This is very unusual. I almost always enjoy a book enough to say more good things than bad about it. But not in this case; and it makes me a little bit sad to know that someone poured so much time and heart into writing a book and I can’t honestly say that I liked it. 

What about you guys? I’d love to know if any of you have read Moby Dick and how you responded to it.  

Audio Book Review – Paper Towns by John Green

I got to enjoy another fabulous audio book last weekend thanks to my friendly neighborhood library. This time it was Paper Towns by John Green. I realize this is an older book (originally published in 2008, according to amazon.com) and it has already been adapted into a movie. I’ve never seen the movie. In fact, I had no idea what the book was about. I grabbed it off the shelf without so much as a glance at the back cover. My car was packed and idling at the curb with the dogs inside patiently waiting for me to choose a book so we could hit the road.

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I absolutely fell in love with this book. It was ready by Dan John Miller, and he did an excellent job. His voice was pleasant and I loved the way he changed his voice for each of the characters. I always knew who was talking.

Like I said, this story grabbed my attention right out of the gate and did not let go. It is the story of 17-year-old Quentin Jacobsen and his quest to find the idealistic Margot Roth Spiegleman, who he as loved from afar for a decade, but has decided to disappear after taking him on the most adventurous night of his life. There is a lot going on in this book, but it all ties together perfectly. I definitely recommend reading or listening to it.

I haven’t decided if I want to see the movie. Sometimes movies just don’t live up to the visions created in your mind while reading. If any of you have seen the movie version of Paper Towns, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments sections.

Here is the amazon.com link for the book, or check out your local library. I promise it will be full of treasures. Thanks for stopping by mywhateverblogsite, and happy reading.

 

December Book Review – 2018

Today I finished listening to the audio version of I’ve Got My Eyes On You by Mary Higgins Clark. (I’m still reading Moby Dick – I expect to be finished in January.)

So every weekend I travel a little over a hundred miles to our farm, and I have recently discovered how great audio books are for these long drives.

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This novel by Clark opens with the murder of eighteen-year-old Kerry Dowling, and we are swept along with the grieving family, the murder suspects and the investigator. The plot was predictable in this story, but it was still interesting. I kept listening even after I figured out who-dun-it about half way through the book. I would recommend this book, especially the audio version. January LaVoy did an excellent job with the reading of this novel in this audio edition by Simon & Schuster.

I borrowed this CD set from my local library, but I will include a link to the CD version that is available on amazon.com at the bottom of this post.

Thanks for reading everybody, and have a very Merry Christmas!

November Book Reviews

Hi all! I have finished reading two books this month that I want to share with you. But first, speaking of reviews, I am elated to tell you that my own novella Heart of Stone received a five-star review on ReadersFavorite.com. Stay tuned at the bottom of this post for a link to the review and my book.

Now, on with the show. This month I read North Haven by Sarah Moriarty and I listened to the audio version of the five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom. I enjoyed both books, but definitely had a favorite.

I received this book quite a while ago as a Kindle First Read with my Prime subscription. North Haven is literary fiction, and every sentence – every word even – is packed with meaning. This story is a peak inside the minds and lives of four adult siblings fighting over whether to keep or sell the lake house they inherited from their late parents. Each character has been shaped by their summers at the lake house in different ways, and they all have strong reasons for their opinions.

I thought North Haven was very well written, but I personally had a hard time identifying with the setting. The many references to sailboats and the region bogged down my enjoyment of the story. I do want to say Moriarty did a wonderful job of developing the characters. I was definitely intrigued by all of them. I would recommend this book for readers who are familiar with New England and the east coast.

I borrowed the audio version of the five people you meet in heaven (read by Erik Singer) from my local library to listen while making the long drive to and from my farm last weekend. I loved this story! I was hooked right away with the whole ‘begin with the end’ tactic. I had no idea what to expect going in because I had never read any reviews of this book before. I really liked the way Albom told the story of Eddie’s life in stages as he progressed through the beginning of heaven.

I definitely recommend this book. It was warm and sad and happy, just to name a few of the emotions. And on a side note, the reading by Erik Singer was great also.

So those are the books I completed this month. As you know from my previous post, I am currently reading Moby Dick. I feel pretty sure I won’t finish until sometime next month, so check back then for my review of the classic.

My own book, Heart of Stone is available exclusively on Kindle. Amy Raines of Readers’ Favorite says “Cannon makes it easy to bond with the characters and feel what they feel as she lays out the plot in a very realistic manner.” Seeing her review of my book made my day yesterday. I was on cloud nine! Here is a link to her full review:

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/heart-of-stone/1

If you are looking for something quick and fun to read between turkey dinner and pumpkin pie, this just might be the thing. I appreciate all readers and all feedback.

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Until next month, happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving.