Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Picture This - Book Review

Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan
Harper Collins 2012

Format? Oversized paperback 
Where from?  TLC Book Tours sent me this one for review :)

Why? I'm all about stories where there's a good dog, supposedly rescued by a human...when in actuality, the dog is the one doing the rescuing :)  
Picture This is the sequel to Lost and Found, which I reviewed yesterday.

What Now?  I will certainly be on the lookout for anymore books by Sheehan about Rocky and Cooper :) I will more than likely pass this one on to the library.

Golden Lines

It wasn't that Rocky disliked donating to libraries or animal rescue organizations, and she considered explaining that to the caller, but she didn't like being called.  She didn't like the membrane of this fragile, tiny house being punctured by the outer world.

Cooper greeted Rocky's entrance with his full-throttle, body twisting euphoria, as if he was amazed at her return.

We can go as slow as we need to," he had said.  "Your husband made the terrible error of dying, and I know that you're still sad and you'll miss him for as long as you live.  I am 90 percent through a divorce, so you and I aren't exactly at the starting gate.  But I don't want anyone except you.

Cooper had stationed himself in front of the screen door, catching the morning breeze, lifting his nose in celebration of a good dog day.  Peterson entertained herself by pouncing on Cooper's tail whenever he moved it.

But every dog carried the thread of genetic material that could be instantly tapped if the home was in danger.  There was a responsibility for everything, and he willingly paid the price to protect his pack.  The scent hovering around Natalie made Cooper stand up.  He would have to listen more intently, sniff more carefully.  Something was coming closer.

Caleb spoke up. "And now may I ask a question?  What were you thinking?  Why did you let this girl move into your house?  Is your brain shrinking?

Melissa heard something familiar in Rocky's voice, the smarter, kick-ass part of Rocky, and she breathed in a sliver of relief.  She had nearly given up, had been ready to abandon all hope for Rocky as an intelligent life form.


Rocky has been living on Peaks Island, Maine for over a year since her 42 year old husband Bob died suddenly of a heart attack.  She has finally begun putting the pieces of her life back together when a young woman named Natalie calls claiming to be Bob's daughter.  Rocky's new world is shaken by the possibility that a part of Bob still exists. Natalie is damaged, having been left by her mother and passed through the foster care system, but Rocky is determined to be the family Natalie never had, something she knows for sure that Bob would want his daughter to have.  Rocky's friends are concerned as she begins making quick and large decisions about her life based on Natalie as part of her family before Rocky is even sure that Bob was Natalie's father, and Natalie's appearance particularly puts a wedge between Rocky, Melissa, Cooper and Hill.
Is Natalie who she says she is? If so, how can Rocky gently assimilate her and create their own new family?
If Natalie is not who she says she is, then what is her true agenda? And how will the lives of those at Peaks Island be affected?

What I Liked

Rocky's relationship with Melissa - these two have figured out a way to co-exist...counselor and eating disordered teen...without every really discussing Melissa's problem...it's as if they have their own language about it.  This speaks volumes to me about what kind of counselor Rocky was...a very smart one indeed...she knows when to push, when to back away, and when to ease into something.  This is also the reason I was so mad at Rocky through half the book when she started acting like a doofus.

Hill - what a guy.  Rocky's ambivalence toward him frustrated me.  Is it so hard to find an honest, hardworking fella to spend the rest of your life with?  And, would it be too much for her to quit jumping to conclusions?  

Melissa - I want to know more about this girl.  Damaged herself, she doesn't take crap from anybody...and she sees the truth before anyone else does.  She's found her therapy in Cooper and in her newfound eye for photography, and she fights her eating disorder straight on without whining.

Tess and Len - this is THE love story, the recovering alcoholic ex-husband who realizes all he's missed, but is satisfied with being friends with his ex-wife if that's all she'll allow him to be.

The End - everything's not wrapped up in a nice little package at the end, leaving room for another Cooper/Rocky novel :) but also when you're dealing with damaged individuals (and aren't we all damaged somehow?), every single day is a work in progress.  

Everybody can't be saved - there's a huge bite of reality here...those who want to work on their issues work on them.  Those who don't, don't.  And, sometimes damaged people are just too far gone, some hurt runs too deep, and trauma can change a person's very core.

What I Didn't Like

The House's perspective - I can actually see where a story told from a House's perspective or as a major part of another story would be effective...but this felt thrown in to me.  There were only a few places where the old house Rocky buys is the focus of the chapter, but again, it just didn't feel right.

When Natalie appears, Rocky loses it.  Her behavior becomes erratic and I got really really tired of it. She could also come up with some really corny reasons to justify her impulsive actions...and the mother instinct thing got old fast as well...who in their right mind would long to parent a teenager...let alone allow one to move into your home without checking him/her out thoroughly????? 
Honestly, when I looked back at my annotations in the book before writing this review, I actually found some frowny faces, the comment "OH BROTHER" and several cartoon faces with the tongue stuck out.  I loved one particular quote by Melissa because she said EXACTLY what I was feeling, "It was like Rocky had gone stupid."  I drew a big smiley face with stick hair by this comment :P
As much as I dislike this Rocky, I realized eventually that Sheehan very possibly made me feel that way on purpose.  I just wish she'd let me in on her strategy a little sooner because honestly for about 1/2 the book, I was so disappointed...then WHAM, here we go.  I couldn't put it down after that.

Natalie - I can't say much here except that she gave me chills in places...and not the happy kind.

Overall Recommendation

As with Lost and Found, an interest in animals and psychology are a must for this story as is reading Lost and Found first.  I think if you've read Lost and Found and already love these characters, you'll push through the slow parts and get to the really good stuff.

Other Stops on the TLC Book Tour 

My Bookshelf

Visit Jacqueline Sheehan's website
Jacqueline Sheehan's Facebook page

**I received a complimentary review copy of Picture This from the publisher via TLC Book Tours; however, the opinions and content of this review are my own.


  1. I like the way you did your review.

    1. Thanks, Esme :) I just had to keep playing with it until I found a format that works for me and lets me review within my own personality and what I'm comfortable with :)

  2. Told from the house's perspective? Hmmmm...interesting.

    I am writing a review for a book right now that features dogs prominently. Good read. Sweet story. It's called Words Get In the Way by Nan Rossiter.

    1. I'm a sucker for a good dog book, so I'm adding this Words Get in the Way to my WishList :) Do you think there will ever be enough time to read all the good books on our lists? ;)

  3. Thanks for the review! I've been looking for a new read... this will be it!

    1. GREAT! Just keep going if it seems a little slow at first...it's worth the ride at the end :)

  4. Wonderful review -- I'm kind of intrigued although I hate it when female characters lose their ability to act rationally for totally arbitrary reasons!

    1. Me too, Audra...and it really threw me in Picture This! At one point I did have to look ahead to make sure Rockey was going to eventually come to her senses...once I was sure she would make a turnaround, I convinced myself to keep going. It's still worth the read though...that's how fast and unputdownable it becomes in the 2nd half.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Sounds like this one would be great for a few of the dog lovers I know!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. Thanks, Heather...I've so enjoyed the tours I've been involved in so far :)