Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Reads



56. Faithless (Slaughter) ~ 2.75/5

 57. I Am the Mission (Zadoff) ~ 3.75/5

58. Low Pressure (Brown) ~ 3.25/5

59. The 500 (Quirk) ~ 2.5/5

60. After I Do (Reid) ~ 3/5



Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 49

Books:  2 - 3

eBooks:  2 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 26

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

AFTER I DO

Author:  Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  60


From NetGalley:
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.
Another shift in my usual fare . . . women's fiction.  I wanted something quick and easy to read, and that's what I got.  It was incredibly predictable, but quick and easy reading, which is what I required.  Unfortunately, I didn't buy into the premise.  Their "breaking point" did not warrant a year separation.  And, if that's the case in real life, no wonder the divorce rate is so high.      

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

THE 500

Author:  Matthew Quirk
Genre:  Political Thriller, Mike Ford Series #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jay Snyder
Yearly Count:  59


From Amazon:
(no longer available from NetGalley)
A year ago, fresh out of Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed his dream job at the Davies Group, Washington's most powerful consulting firm. Now, he's staring down the barrel of a gun, pursued by two of the world's most dangerous men. To get out, he'll have to do all the things he thought he'd never do again: lie, cheat, steal-and this time, maybe even kill.

Mike grew up in a world of small-stakes con men, learning lessons at his father's knee. His hard-won success in college and law school was his ticket out. As the Davies Group's rising star, he rubs shoulders with "The 500," the elite men and women who really run Washington -- and the world. But peddling influence, he soon learns, is familiar work: even with a pedigree, a con is still a con.

I did not know this was a political thriller.  I thought it was a legal thriller.  BIG difference in my book.  Unfortunately, I did not like the first 1/3 at all.  I was bored.  It picked up steam, and I became somewhat interested in the last half.  I know several people who would like this book and have encouraged them to give it a try.  I'm just not interested in listening to politics and/or business ventures.  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

*Received eGalley from NetGalley, but listened to the audiobook.

Friday, August 22, 2014

LOW PRESSURE

Author:  Sandra Brown
Genre:  Romantic Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Stephen Lang
Yearly Count:  58


Bellamy writes a bestselling fiction thriller based upon the actual events of her sister's murder, that took place18 years earlier, in order to solve the crime and get some peace.

This is not a typical audioread for me, but I've read a couple of Sandra Brown's books and thought they were good books to mix up my genre intake.  This one had a bit too much romance for my liking, and the characters were just okay.  The who's and why's behind the mystery are what intrigued me.   I had two people in mind as the culprit, and one of them was correct, so it turned out to be not much of a surprise for me, but it was still a decent listen.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, August 18, 2014

I AM THE MISSION

Author:  Allen Zadoff
Genre:  YA Thriller,
The Unknown Assassin Series #2
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format: eBook
Yearly Count:  57


From NetGalley:
He was the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody: No name. No past. No remorse. At least until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders -- until he fell in love with his target. Now The Program is worried that its valuable soldier has become a liability.

Boy Nobody, haunted by the outcome of his last assignment, is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to show his loyalty.

His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of a military training and indoctrination camp for teenagers. One target. Limited time frame. Public place. It sounds simple, but a previous operative couldn't do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, or the truth.

I still haven't bought into the "boy-assassin" concept.  It doesn't set well with me (not that adult-assassins do either!) and again, I would not want my teenagers reading it; however, I thought this one was better than the first.  Getting used to the idea may be part of it, but I was drawn into the storyline immediately and liked the twists and turns.  I do like the main character (Daniel in this book) and will pick up the next in the series.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

FAITHLESS

Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Grant County Series #5
Published:  2005
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Clarinda Ross
Yearly Count:  56



Sara, a Georgia medical examiner, and Jeffrey, a police chief and ex-husband of Sara, literally stumble upon a buried box in the woods in which they find a dead body inside.  Jeffrey takes on the case, and Sara does the autopsy.

I didn't really care for this one.  The plot didn't interest me, and there were too many relationship issues.  I like the edge of the Will Trent series better.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 46

Books:  2 - 3

eBooks:  3 - 6

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 24

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

Author:  Liane Moriarty
Genre:  Chick-Lit, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Caroline Lee
Yearly Count:  55


Alice (estranged wife and mother of 3), hits her head while working out at the gym and loses the last 10 years of her memory.

This kept my interest, but I was always waiting for something BIG to happen.  I never got that.  Maybe reading/listening to many, many thrillers has trained my mind to think something was going to really elevate the story.  Like I said, that didn't happen; however, I still enjoyed the time with Alice as she worked through her memory loss.

Side Note:  The cover doesn't do the book justice.  

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, July 27, 2014

THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER!

Author:  Jimmy Gownley
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  54


Thirteen-year-old Jimmy goes through some growing pains as he discovers what is important to him.

This has received some high praise, but I just don't see it.  It's fine.  There's nothing necessarily wrong with it; however, I would have included some important steps of his path (i.e.:  actual advice for publishing).  I enjoyed the part when he ventures into defending the graphic novel genre.  The theory of any kind of reading is reading prevails.  I do have my own age appropriate umbrella over that theory, but that's just me.  My hope is that this book inspires young adults (and adults, too).

Thoughts of Joy



Saturday, July 26, 2014

THE GOOD NURSE

Author:  Charles Graeber
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Will Collyer
Yearly Count:  53


Charlie Cullen was finally arrested after years and years of skirting by and leaving a wake of murdered patients.

While being a story that can petrify any human being (who wants to go to the hospital in the first place, then add this little twist!?), it is told somewhat repetitively.  I understand if something happens over and over again, that that's how you tell it, but it became redundant, and I lost some interest, especially in the beginning 3 discs or so.  Once he was the target, the story picked up.  So sad for the families that he devastated with his deeds, but so happy to know that Charlie is in prison.

Thoughts of Joy
     

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THE HUNTER


Author:  Richard Stark & Darwyn Cooke
Genre:  Graphic Novel/Fiction, Parker Series #1
Published:  GN 2009,
1962 (2014)
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format:  Book & eBook
Yearly Count: 52


 From NetGalley:
The Hunter, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest. Betrayed by the woman he loves and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind — to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him!

Darwyn Cooke has adapted four Parker books as graphic novels so far. The first three, The Hunter, The Outfit, and The Score have all won Eisner and Harvey Awards. Cooke will be providing all-new color illustrations for The Hunter, the first in a series of hardcover prose novels released in chronological order and featuring Cooke's art.

I received this eBook (right-sided pic) from NetGalley.  When I started reading it, I wondered where the pictures were (graphic novel comics) and discovered that it was a book with full-page illustrations, not an actual graphic novel.  I read part and skimmed the rest, then checked out the graphic novel from the library.  (I originally requested it from NetGalley, because I thought it was a graphic novel.)  Ultimately, I was able to compare the two.  The graphic novel did a great job in pulling the story together.

The popularity of the Parker novels was new to me, but once that was clear, I looked forward to meeting Parker. I loved the New York setting, but not the time frame. It's an old gangster type of crime novel (hard-boiled), and that's not for me. Also, I enjoyed the beginning when Parker was getting himself set up, but the rest was just a bunch of shooting.  Parker did not impress me or encourage me to want to learn more about him.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to IDW Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

LES MISERABLES

Authors:  Victor Hugo and SunNeko Lee
Genre:  Classic Graphic Novel (Manga), Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  51


From NetGalley:
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo's classic novel of love and tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!

The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Miserables!

I thought the story was very clear in this graphic novel form; however, I know it from seeing the musical several times.  The interesting part about it was reading it "manga style."  Reading a book from back to front and right to left turned out to be a very easy transition, but surprisingly, it made my experience a little bit fun.  :)  I thought the graphics were terrific and would certainly read another in this style.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Udon Entertainment and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

THE INVENTION OF WINGS

Author:  Sue Monk Kidd
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Jenna Lamia & Adepero Oduye
Yearly Count:  50


From NetGalley:

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

I felt the story was interesting, but also a little boring.  The shift in narrators from Handful to Sarah was good, but the stuttering of Sarah annoyed me.  It's just like singing in an audiobook -- not necessary! 

At the end of the book, the author shares what was truth, manipulated truth and what she simply made up.  I found that information fascinating and wish I had known how much truth was really in the book BEFORE I listened to it.  It would have made for an even better experience for me.

I did have an enjoyable connection with this story.  I was making a quilt top while listening to it, and there was much talk about fabrics, quilts and sewing.  Often I remember what I was doing when listening to a book, but this one had such a tie-in that I doubt I'll ever forget it.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Penguin Group and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Can you say 8? Whoa.



Thoughts of Joy is 8 years old today!!!


I can't believe another year has flown by.  My reading habits have changed over the year by becoming more audiobook-based.  There are too many other things to do (fun and not-so-fun) to just sit and read.  Audiobooks give me the option to listen to a book and do something else at the same time.  Audiobooks have been a part of my life since before blogging, but this year they have taken over.  I barely read books anymore.  I miss it, but love the fact that I get more in a day with audios. 

My blog will continue on as is.  I still enjoy reading other blogs and keeping mine as a reading journal.  I miss the camaraderie of bloggers that once was, but nothing stays the same.  Such is life.  Thanks to those that haven't given up on me and continue to stop by.  You make my day with every comment.  

Happy Reading and/or Listening!

Friday, July 11, 2014

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

Author:  Neil Gaiman
Genre:  Paranormal, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Neil Gaiman
Yearly Count:  49


A 40-something man remembers his childhood when he met an 11-year-old girl at the end of the lane when he was just 7.

First things first.  Neil Gaiman.  He should become a full-time narrator!  I didn't remember it was him until I was loving it and looked it up.  Love his inflection and voice.  Perfect.  :)  Now, the story itself, I was really enjoying the peculiarity for close to 4 out of 5 discs.  Then . . . it fell apart for me.  The way it came to a close was too messed up.  I didn't feel like it was a story anymore - more like a mind-wandering collaboration.  So, in the end, I'm left with disappointing feelings.  Oh well.  

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

HIDDEN

Authors:  Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, 
Greg Salsedo
Genre:  Children's Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  48


A grandmother shares a secret (Holocaust based) with her granddaughter about when she was a child of the same age.

I didn't realize that this was from the juvenile section, I thought it was just told through the eyes of a child.  Needless to say, I still read it and thought it was done very well for the age group intended (6 - 10 year olds).  It is a big story told with few words, but the illustrations speak volumes. 

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, July 06, 2014

THE 5TH WAVE

Author:  Rick Yancey
Genre:  YA Post-Apocalyptic, The Wave Series #1
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Brandon Espinoza & Phoebe Strole
Yearly Count:  47


Aliens are attacking the humans through a variety of waves, leaving those remaining perplexed and bewildered as to why.

This book had my attention from the beginning and held it throughout, but not so much that it kept me on the edge of my seat.  It was told from a few viewpoints, which I liked, and was mysterious in its origin.  Some ideas were revealed, but there is so much unknown. 

The Wave Series #2, The Infinite Sea, will be available in September.  I'll be reading it.  :)

Thoughts of Joy      

Thursday, July 03, 2014

WAITING FOR WEDNESDAY

Author:  Nicci French
Genre:  Police Procedural?, Frieda Klein Series #3
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  46


From NetGalley:
Ruth Lennox, housewife and mother of three, is found dead in a pool of her own blood. Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson can’t piece together a motive and calls in Frieda, hoping her talents will offer a new angle on the case.

When it emerges that the mother was hiding a scandalous secret, her family closes ranks. Frieda herself is distracted, still reeling from an attempt on her life, and struggling with her own rare feelings of vulnerability. Then a patient’s chance remark sends Frieda down a dangerous path that seems to lead to a serial killer who’s long escaped detection. Is Frieda getting closer to unraveling either case? Or is she just the victim of her own paranoid, fragile mind? Because, as Frieda knows, every step closer to a killer is one more step into a darkness from which there may be no return . . .

It has taken me a good 6 weeks to finish this, but it certainly hasn't been due to the book.  Every time I picked it back up, I was right back in it.  It never lost its appeal to me; however, it wasn't as good as the first 2.  There were some incidents that I didn't buy and some scenes that seemed a bit too choppy, but I'm still interested in this series and look forward to #4.

Thoughts of Joy  

My thanks go to Penguin Group and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 41

Books:  0 - 1

eBooks:  0 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 18

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Friday, June 20, 2014

THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY

Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Scott Brick
Yearly Count:  45


Island Books is owned by a grumpy widower who discovers a lone 2-year-old in his stacks.

I enjoyed this story.  It had an array of topics that produced just as many emotions, and the book talk throughout was delightful.  However, I think it would lose a lot of its charm, if one doesn't know the books in which were mentioned.  Glad I listened to it, but it didn't touch me like it has others, which seems to be the story of my reading life.  :)  

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

THE SON

Author:  Jo Nesbo
Genre: Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Gildart Jackson
Yearly Count:  44


A son breaks out of prison to avenge his father's death.

Boo.  I was really hoping that this one would knock my socks off.  :(  It did have some interesting components in its storyline, but I didn't believe it.  Everything seemed to run a bit over the top.  I do like Nesbo's writing style, though, and I look forward to reading more Harry Hole books.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LONG GONE

Author:  Alafair Burke
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Tamara Marston
Yearly Count:  43


After finally landing her dream job as an art gallery manager and proving herself through a successful show, Alice goes to work one day to find the gallery empty!  The only thing left behind was a dead body.  Alice becomes the center of a homicide investigation.

This was somewhat of a complex storyline and a little confusing at times, but I was still interested.  It didn't have me glued, but I was curious as to why and how this happened.  There were a few bits and pieces of the storyline that I didn't care for, but the worst thing of all was the language.  I suppose reading it wouldn't have been so bad, but I hated the foul language and almost made it a DNF because of it.  Can't say I'm glad I continued, but I did.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, June 02, 2014

INSURGENT

Author:  Veronica Roth
Genre:  YA Dystopian, Divergent Trilogy #2
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Emma Galvin
Yearly Count:  42


A civil war is on the brink in this dystopian world housed in Chicago.

I was happy that this one continued where it left off from the first in the trilogy, but I couldn't remember the first one very clearly and there wasn't much update.  I did catch on.  What I noticed most, even in the down times, was that there was always, always, always something going on.  There was constant movement or plan in place.  Good idea?  I don't know.  It made me feel like nothing was especially important when the high was always there.  Needless to say, overall, I enjoyed it.

Thoughts of Joy


Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Reads







Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  7 - 37

Books:   0 - 1

eBooks:  0 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 17

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FRAGILE

Author:  Lisa Unger
Genre:  Thriller, Hallows Series #1
Published:  2010
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Nancy Linari
Yearly Count:  41


The son's girlfriend of Maggie (psychologist) and Jones Cooper (detective) goes missing and a past disappearance in the small community is brought back to the forefront, as well.

I enjoyed the actual mystery, but there were way too many characters (along with their stories) and change of scenes to keep it cohesive.  There was just too much going on with all the members of the town that I felt disconnected and never rooted.  All the details of everything were given up by the end -- maybe a little too neat for my taste, but still a decent read.

Thoughts of Joy
        

Saturday, May 24, 2014

WE WERE LIARS

Author:  E. Lockhart
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Ariadne Meyers
Yearly Count:  40


Every year, Cadence and her extended family stay on their private island throughout the summer months.  During Summer 15, something happens to Cadence which creates migraines and amnesia surrounding that summer.  

This will probably be more of a thrill ride for the targeted audience -- Young Adult.  For me, it was just okay.  I was somewhat surprised with the twist, but wasn't gasping because I never became deeply invested in the characters.  It's a quick read/listen, with a lot of young adult wonderings.  As I stated already, probably perfect for the YA crowd.  

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, May 23, 2014

SAVAGE RUN

Author:  C. J. Box
Genre:  Mystery, Joe Pickett Series #2
Published:  2002
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/David Chandler
Yearly Count:  39


An environmental activist is involved in a horrific ranch explosion and Joe Pickett, the Game Warden, is called to the scene.

I really enjoyed 2 standalone books written by C. J. Box and the first one in his Cody Hoyt series, but this one didn't come close.  I'm not exactly sure what went wrong with this listening experience, but I was SO bored.  I think it may be Joe, himself, because the storyline was fine.  He didn't have enough personality to keep me interested.   At this point, I don't think I'm going to try any more Joe Pickett books, but I will absolutely continue with Cody Hoyt and standalones.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, May 17, 2014

SAVE ME

Author:  Lisa Scottoline
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Cynthia Nixon
Yearly Count:  38


A volunteer lunch mom is put into a peculiar predicament when an explosion goes off in the school kitchen and a fire breaks out.  Does she save the girls she's with or does she go save her daughter?

The storyline goes beyond her decision.  It also becomes so boring and ridiculous at certain points that I just rolled my eyes.  When she becomes an amateur sleuth, I sighed out of exasperation.  The narrator didn't help the blah characters at all.  She actually made the young daughter sound like she was stoned.  This was not an enjoyable audioread and a bit disappointing.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, May 15, 2014

IN THE BLOOD

Author:  Lisa Unger
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Gretchen Mol & Candace Thaxon
Yearly Count:  37

Lana Granger, a college senior, seeks out a job.  She's quickly hired as a babysitter for a troubled boy.  Lana feels she can handle his peculiarities.  Meanwhile, Lana's roommate goes missing, and Lana doesn't quite share the truth about her whereabouts at the time of the disappearance.

There were several times when things got a little far-fetched or unbelievable, but I was too engrossed in the storylines (yes, there were a couple) to let them bother me.  I was always eager to get back to this engaging and intricately woven book when reality required me to put it down.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, May 09, 2014

PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS

Author:  Richard Lloyd Parry
Genre:  True Crime, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Simon Vance
Yearly Count:  36


Lucie Blackman, at the age of 21, moves to Toyko to work for a few months to pay off her debts.  She never returns home.

This unfortunate, true story could have been told in half the amount of pages/hours.  It dragged so many times for me that there were times when I lost interest.  Not to say there weren't interesting parts -- there were.  Those were what kept me going.  Ultimately, I'm glad to be done and moving on.

Thoughts of Joy  
      

Saturday, May 03, 2014

BROKEN

Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Will Trent Series #4
Published:  2010
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Natalie Ross
Yearly Count:  35


Special Agent Will Trent gets summoned by Dr. Sara Linton to Grant County, who just happens to be home for the Thanksgiving holiday, to investigate a murder and suicide.

This was another good addition to the series, but I was confused many times due to reading this series out of order (#5 before #4) and having read a book in the Sara Linton series recently.  Too many events got jumbled up in my mind.  The jury is still out on whether I like the fusion of these two series.  I think I'd prefer separate, but we'll see. 

For me, the narration was terrible.  I was incredibly annoyed and would cringe when the line included "She gave a loud sniff." or "He coughed a dry, hacking sound." or anything that described a noise the narrator could make because she did!  She would sniff or cough or chuckle or whatever.  This is an audiobook, not drama or acting class.  Just read the book, please.  UGH!    

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Reads




27.  Attachments (Rowell) ~ 3.25/5

28.  Wave (Deraniyagala) ~ 2.5/5

29.  Roomies (Zarr & Altebrando) ~ 3/5

30.  The Deepest Secret (Buckley) ~ 3/5

31.  Mindset (Dweck) ~ 3.5/5

32.  Indelible (Slaughter) ~ 3.5/5

33.  Me Before You (Moyes) ~ 4.25/5

34.  The Gods of Guilt (Connelly) ~ 3.75/5




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 30

Books:   1 - 1

eBooks:  1- 3

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 16

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Sunday, April 27, 2014

THE GODS OF GUILT

Author:  John Connelly
Genre:  Legal Thriller, Mickey Haller Series #5
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Peter Giles
Yearly Count:  34


Mickey Haller is hired to defend an accused murderer.  The defendant happens to be an internet manager of call girls and the victim was one of Haller's past clients -- one of which he thought he assisted in putting on the right path.   

I liked the trial, but I felt the storyline jumped around a little bit and neglected to give important information in a timely fashion.  Otherwise, it was another good installment to the series.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ME BEFORE YOU

Author:  Jojo Moyes
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Susan Lyons & Crew
Yearly Count:  33


Louisa Clark is hired by the mother of a paraplegic to assist with his needs for a 6 month stint. 

Me Before You.  Hmmm.  I think Jojo Moyes is a fantastic storyteller.  I was engaged the entire time and looked forward to getting back to it when I had to set it down.  However, I wasn't thrilled with the ending.  Yeah, I know, life doesn't have a great ending, but . . .   I am happy that I can finally talk about this book with the friends that I purchased it for, and, of course, look forward to more by this special author.  

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, April 18, 2014

INDELIBLE

Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Grant County Series #4
Published:  2004
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Deborah Hazlett
Yearly Count:  32


Two stories unfold:  one from the past and one from the present.  The past story details the beginning of Jeffrey and Sara's relationship and the happenings when they give Jeffrey's hometown a visit.  The present consist of an invasion in the police station where guns are blazing.  

For many chapters, I wasn't comfortable going back and forth in the audio version.  It was abrupt, and  I was confused for a short bit every time there was a time change.  After a while, I adjusted, but I didn't like it throughout the book.  It would have been easier to read this one.  The actually story lines were both good, though.  I find Slaughter's writing to fall into my "go to" category of books.  They seem to always hold my interest, even when I don't think they are great novels (Grisham is another).

Thoughts of Joy
    

Sunday, April 13, 2014

MINDSET

Author:  Carol S. Dweck
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2006
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  31


Mindset focuses on two ways of thinking:  Fixed-Mindset and Growth-Mindset.  It delves deep into how our mindset affects parenting, business, school and relationships.

Again, this was another book that didn't offer much new information to me, but I enjoyed exploring the two mindsets (despite it being very repetitive).  For the most part, it didn't change my way of thinking; however, it helped me to understand others better (particularly students) and verbiage to use to encourage them.

Thoughts of Joy

THE DEEPEST SECRET

Author:  Carla Buckley
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook  
Yearly Count:  30


From NetGalley:
Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception. Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night. For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.

Until the night the unthinkable happens. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that this family is not the only one on the quiet cul-de-sac that is more complicated than it appears. And as Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control—and some secrets that not even love can conceal.

Deeply moving and stunningly suspenseful, The Deepest Secret is a novel of rare power—a story about hope and forgiveness, about the terrifying ways our lives can spin out of control and the unexpected sacrifices that may save us.

I have a desire to like books outside of my preferred genres.  I am rewarded on occasion, that's why I continue to venture down these paths.  This book was another one of those strolls.  It turned out to have the makings for a soap opera; however, it wasn't as disappointing as The Husband's Secret (Moriarty).  It took me a long time to read it, because nothing kept me glued to the pages, but I never wanted to give up on it either.  It ended on a good note for me, so YAY!  :)

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Friday, April 11, 2014

ROOMIES

Authors:  Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrators:  Audiobook/
Becca Battoe & Emily Eiden  
Yearly Count:  29


Elizabeth, from New Jersey, and Lauren, from San Francisco, are both moving to the University of California - Berkeley.  They have been assigned as "roomies" and communicate via email to get to know one another prior to moving in.

I really did enjoy the style of the book.  It was creative and interesting.  What I didn't connect with was either of the girls.  Hence ... just an okay audioread for me.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, April 05, 2014

WAVE

Author:  Sonali Deraniyagala
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Hannah Curtis
Yearly Count:  28



This is the memoir of Sonali who experienced the devastation of the Sri Lanka tsunami when she lost her family.

For me, this is another one of those cathartic memoirs - the kind that are good for an individual to write, but to keep it to themselves (or share with a therapist) for healing purposes.  Most of the book was pure heartache/gloom/grief; however, towards the end she shares some happier memories of her family.  It's her truth, but it's strictly a purging of all the negative thoughts she had beginning when she first saw the wave.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

ATTACHMENTS

Author:  Rainbow Rowell
Genre:  Chick Lit, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Laura Hamilton
Yearly Count:  27


An almost 30-year-old man works at a company in the technology department.  Part of his menial job (his opinion) consists of monitoring emails through a program that flags inappropriate words.  His job allows him to learn about people in the company, particularly two females.

My biggest complaint is that the entire book didn't feel like the intended adult book.  It felt as if the characters were all teenagers.  If it was a YA book, I think I would have liked it more.

Thoughts of Joy

March Reads




20. Down the Darkest Road (Hoag) ~  3.25/5

21. Indigo Slam (Crais) ~ 3.75/5

22. Fallen (Slaughter) ~ 4/5

23. Quiet (Cain) ~ 4.25/5

24. So Cold the River (Koryta) ~ 2/5

25. The Ruins (Smith) ~ 1.5/5

26. Sycamore Row (Grisham) ~ 3.75/5 (good +)




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  7 - 24

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  0 - 2

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 13

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Friday, March 28, 2014

SYCAMORE ROW

Author:  John Grisham
Genre:  Legal Fiction, Jake Brigance Series #2
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Book & Audiobook/
Michael Beck
Yearly Count:  26


Jake defends the will of a very wealth man.

Sycamore Row wasn't a surprise.  It was a typical John Grisham novel, which for me, is a good thing.  The first half of this book, while never boring, was definitely not exciting.  However, once the second half began, my interest deepened.  I did figure out the "why" of the book, but I still enjoyed all the details till the end.  Not quite a very good book, but better than good, nonetheless.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

THE RUINS

Author:  Scott Smith
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Standalone
Published:  2006
Personal Rating:  1.5/5 (Ugh!)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Patrick Wilson
Yearly Count:  25


A group of college kids go to Cancun for a party-filled vacation when the brother of a group member doesn't return from a mini-excursion.  They go looking for him in the jungle.

To quote the book, "... astoundingly stupid ..."  To reduce it to a one word from me, "ABSURD."

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SO COLD THE RIVER

Author:  Michael Koryta
Genre:  Paranormal, Standalone
Published:  2010
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Petkoff
Yearly Count:  24


A dejected filmmaker is asked to make a documentary about a 95-year-old billionaire.  He isn't given much to go on except a childhood location and an old bottle of water.

Oh dear.  This is NOT a genre I like - at all.  The only reason I kept listening was because I really like Robert Petkoff, and I was too busy sewing to take the time to find another audiobook.  AND, I actually kinda liked the main character . . . that is until the end.  Anything else I say would be negative, so I'll end here. 

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, March 13, 2014

QUIET

Author:  Susan Cain
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathe Mazur
Yearly Count:  23


A study of introverts (and by default - extroverts).

There wasn't a lot of earthshaking, surprising revelations in this book; however, it was incredibly interesting, and I enjoyed how it was shared.  I did learn a thing or two (minor things) that help in understanding both types of people.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, March 08, 2014

FALLEN

Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Will Trent #5
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Shannon Cochran
Yearly Count:  22


Will Trent's partner, Faith, is in need of help when she discovers her mother missing from her home and a hostage situation in her place.

Oops!  I accidentally skipped #4.  However, that didn't matter too much.  There were a few things that I didn't remember or didn't know, though.  I didn't remember Will ever talking so much, and the most interesting aspect of the storyline was the relationship between Sara Linton and Will.  I didn't remember them meeting either.  Maybe all of that was in #4 or I just don't remember.  Needless to say, this one another very good progression in the series.

Thoughts of Joy 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

INDIGO SLAM

Author:  Robert Crais
Genre:  Mystery, Elvis Cole Series #7
Published:  1997
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/David Stuart
Yearly Count:  21


Elvis is hired to find the father of three siblings.

This has been on my unsure list for a very, very long time.  I wasn't sure if I read it or not being that I started this series eons ago.  I discovered that I hadn't read it and enjoyed it!  Now this completes the holes I had in the Elvis Cole series, and I am up-to-date!  

This edition was typical Elvis Cole (witty), but the storyline did contain a few surprises for me.  It had a bit too many shooting scenes, but nonetheless still an enjoyable audioread.

Thoughts of Joy