Friday, December 19, 2014


Author:  Jane Austen
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Manga Classic Series
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  98

From NetGalley:
Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King.

Pride and Prejudice.  Never read it.  Now I have.  I will not venture into reading the novel version, but I am so glad I finally know this story.  The graphics were incredibly detailed and fully developed the characters and their feelings.  It was a pleasurable read . . . backwards and all!  :)

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Author:  Nathaniel Hawthorne
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Manga Classic Series
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  97

From NetGalley:
A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter.

Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne's tragic saga of Puritan America.

 I enjoyed the idea of reading a Manga style graphic novel again and found this one to be pretty good.  The graphics were done well, but nothing compels me to say it was any better than that.  I definitely love the idea of reading classics in this format.  That idea is a 5/5!  :)

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Diamond Book Distributors and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.


Author:  Jerry Spinelli
Genre:  YA fiction, Sequel
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Mandy Siegfried
Yearly Count:  96

Apparently this is the sequel to Stargirl, which I did not read.  Oops!  Anyway . . . Stargirl moves with her family and leaves behind her whole life.  It's written in epistolary style as Stargirl writes the longest letter to an ex-boyfriend.

I didn't enjoy this.  It didn't keep my attention, and I definitely didn't care for a character or two.  I just didn't buy in.  Maybe if I was a teen I'd enjoy it.  Who knows.  

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, December 12, 2014


Author:  Laura Lee Gulledge
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  95

Paige and her parents have moved to New York from Virginia.  Paige struggles with adjusting to a big city and all that a new environment brings.  Her love of drawing also suffers.

This had good insight into an artist's struggles (teen or not) and had interesting drawings.

Thoughts of Joy


Author:  Jerry Spinelli
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Suzanne Toren & Cassandra Morris
Yearly Count:  94

Both coming from sad home lives, David (9) and Primrose (13) become awkward friends.  

I didn't like this one starting from the beginning.  I imagine it's supposed to be realistic fiction and that did not ring true to me.  I also didn't like the narration.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Author:  Mike Carey, Sonny Lieu & Marc Hempel
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  93

Dixie, a martial arts enthusiast, gets wrapped up in her thoughts of true love around the time of a tournament.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.  I was interested in the storyline and artwork.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Author:  Jerry Spinelli
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Conor Donovan
Yearly Count:  92

Middle schooler Will Tuppence deals with life with his friends and family (mainly pesky sister).  

I enjoyed these characters; however, the storyline was pushed a bit too far towards the end.  This book is not intended for adult readers, so maybe the YA generation would accept and go with the flow easier than I did.  Despite that . . . still a good audioread.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, December 07, 2014


Author:  James Swanson
Genre:  YA Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Will Patton
Yearly Count:  91

Chasing Lincoln's Killer is a young-adult version of Manhunt.  Both are authored by James Swanson and both are fascinating.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, December 06, 2014


Author:  Dorothy Sayers
Genre:  Mystery, Lord Peter Wimsey Series #1
Published: 1923
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/David Case
Yearly Count:  90

A male corpse is discovered in the bath tub of an architect. 

Hmmm.  This mystery concludes like a ridiculous (outlandish) comedy episode, but not humorous. 

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, December 05, 2014


Author:  Rick Geary
Genre:  YA NF Graphic Novel, Series  
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  89

The murder of Stanford White (famous NYC architect) is revealed in a graphic novel format.

As (almost) always, another fantastic rendition of a 20th Century murder by Geary.  

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, December 01, 2014


Author:  Emily St. John Mandel
Genre:  Post-Apocalyptic, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  DNF #1
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kirsten Potter

I've read numerous books this year that I really haven't enjoyed; however, this is the first one that I am actually putting in the category of DNF.  I listened to 2 of 9 CDs and simply couldn't bear another minute.  It obviously just wasn't for me, because I was incredibly bored. 

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  8 - 71

Books:  3 - 9

eBooks:  0 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 38

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Friday, November 28, 2014


Author:  Robert Galbraith
Genre:  Mystery, Cormoran Strike Series #1
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Glenister
Yearly Count:  88

From NetGalley:
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

I have never had a desire to read a Harry Potter novel, so I thought this book would give me a perfect opportunity to read her (Rowling's) work in a genre that interested me.  Ultimately, I liked it, but I wanted to love it, and that didn't happen.  The good news was that it was very detailed and incredibly descriptive.  The bad news was that it was very detailed and incredibly descriptive.  There were times when it drew me in and others when I was annoyed beyond belief.  During the times when I was annoyed, the book dragged.  Other than that, I enjoyed the detective work and look forward to the next one.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Author:  Marguerite Abouet
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Aya Series #3
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (just okay)  
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  87

"Slice-of-life peek into African culture" continues.

I experienced an overload of soap opera events by reading this book.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Author:  Zeina Abirached
Genre:  YA Graphic Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2012 (English version)
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  86

Two young children are left in their Beirut apartment when their parents don't return from visiting their grandparents.

This gave great insight into the civil war in Lebanon.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Author:  Blue Balliett
Genre:  YA Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  2/5 (Not Enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Bahni Turpin
Yearly Count:  85

The Pearls (Dash, Summer, Early and Jubilation) live in an apartment in Chicago.  Dash works in a library and loves to celebrate words.  He passes this love onto his family.  One day, Dash doesn't come home from work and the family seeks help, and then resort to some of their own sleuthing.

UGH.  I didn't like much about this book.  Instead of going on with a list of dislikes, I will say that I liked that there was a mystery.  AND, I thought the Chicago shelter scenes were interesting. 

Thoughts of Joy  

Monday, November 17, 2014


Author:  Ellen Hopkins
Genre:  YA Fiction, Burned Series #2
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Thaxton & Lavoy
Yearly Count:  84

Smoke is a continuation of Burned (#1) with Pattyn Von Stratten on the run and her sister at home with her mother and siblings.

I didn't remember Burned, so this was somewhat of a new story to me.  It was okay, but I don't think this one will stick with me either.  I wasn't bored, if that matters.  Well, yes it does, so that's good news.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Author:  Marguerite Abouet
Genre: YA Graphic Novel, Aya Series #2
Published:  2008
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  83

The saga continues of Aya and her community.

The many storylines seem like a soap opera.  However, I like the idea of reading a graphic novel for variety, and this series has kept my attention.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Author:  Chevy Stevens
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone    
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jorjeana Marie
Yearly Count:  82

Teenaged Toni and her boyfriend Ryan are convicted of a vicious crime.

I liked this story, but had no clue that it was about teenaged angst gone bad . . . very bad; therefore, I wasn't thrilled that I was unexpectedly listening to virtually a YA book.  Not only that, it was sooooooooo drawn out that I thought it was never going to end.  There were some minor twists that I liked, and I sympathized with the frustration and angst the main characters endured.  So, in the end, it was a good book, but not great.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, November 07, 2014


Author:  Dorothy Sayers
Genre:  Mystery, Lord Peter Wimsey Series #6
Published: 1930 (WHOA! Had no clue!)
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Ian Carmichael
Yearly Count:  81

A very theatrical performance due to British characters; however, in this case, it was very appropriate to express the proper intonation of the phrases.  BUT, I still am not a fan.

This was my first Wimsey book, and I was a little bit confused.  I didn't know if he was scheming, playing or serious.  His relationship with Harriet was baffling to me.  I did like some of the humor (Jeeves-like) in this book, but I have not been encouraged to read more.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Author:  Alex Kava
Genre:  Thriller, Maggie O'Dell Series #8
Published:  2010
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Tanya Eby
Yearly Count: 80

A cooler is found floating in the ocean filled with wrapped body parts.  Maggie is sent to investigate.

Keeping my attention is key, and this one did an okay job of it.  The story line was okay, but some of the events were unrealistic.  

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, November 02, 2014


Author:  Jack Gantos
Genre:  YA Fiction, Norvelt Series #1
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jack Gantos
Yearly Count:  79

Jack is grounded for the summer, yet his mother loans him out to an elderly neighbor to do chores.

I enjoyed some of the humor, but I didn't like the story.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, November 01, 2014


Author:  Laura Schroff
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Pam Ward
Yearly Count:  78

A 12-year-old, not 11 like the extended title states (discovered later he was 12 and not 11 - big deal!) asks for money from a woman walking by on a New York City street.  She offers him lunch at McDonalds and a relationship begins.

I have very mixed feelings about this book and think it's best to keep my specific thoughts to myself.

Thought of Joy

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  8 - 63

Books:  3 - 6

eBooks:  0 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  5 - 32

*Short Stories:  0 - 0


Author:  Marguerite Abouet
Genre: YA Graphic Novel, Aya Series #1
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  77

The story is set in 1978, suburban Ivory Coast, Africa.  It shows that Africa (during that time frame) had the same family, sibling and teen relationships as did the rest of the world.

It was fine.  I wouldn't recommend it, but it wasn't a bad read either.  However, I will be continuing with the series.  I need to catch up on my yearly count.  : /

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Author:  Mary Kubica
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrators:  Audiobook/4 Individuals
Yearly Count:  76    

The "Good Girl" is kidnapped.

What a VERY good book!  I really enjoyed it.  I almost gave it a 4.25/5, but I did not care for the 4 individual narrators.  My preference is that one person reads the book without giving a performance.  I'm fairly certain I would have thoroughly enjoyed this had I read it.   

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Author:  Raina Telgemeier
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  75

This is a graphic novel about putting on a middle school play and all the drama that comes with it.

Whatever, which is a ditto of Sisters.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, October 24, 2014


Author:  Linda Castillo
Genre:  Thriller, Kate Burkholder Series #6
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  74

Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide.  The evidence is suggesting otherwise.

This series is one I can count on to keep my interest, and The Dead Will Tell was no different.  It actually was very good, but the implausibility factor was too high to give it a 4.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Author:  Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Genre:  YA Fiction, Dairy Queen Sequel
Published:  2008
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Natalie Moore
Yearly Count:  73

Eleventh grader, DJ, experiences realistic high school and family angst.

I did not buy into the family angst at all!  Actually, I believed the event, but not how it was handled, so it was hard to like the book.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Author:  Raina Telgemeier
Genre:  Graphic Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  72

It's a graphic memoir about childhood sisters.


Thoughts of Joy

Friday, October 17, 2014


Author:  Beth Kephart  
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jennifer Ikeda
Yearly Count:  71

Elisa writes short verses for boys who want to woo their girlfriends.  Is she hiding behind her writing?    

This landed in a boring section of my mind.  It wasn't bad, but there really wasn't anything interesting about it either.  Ho-Hum.  

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, October 13, 2014


Author:  Barry Lyga
Genre:  YA Thriller, I Hunt Killers Series #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Charlie Thurston
Yearly Count:  70

Jazz is the son of a convicted serial killer, and he grapples with the idea that he may become one someday, as well.

I was never bored or disengaged from the story, and I actually liked the 2 boys, but I needed to suspend disbelief in order to really like it.  That's what I had a hard time doing.  There were repetitive thoughts on Jazz's part that became annoying, as well.  Not sure if I'll read Game (#2) or not.  We'll see.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Author:  Anita Shreve
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2001
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Blair Brown
Yearly Count:  69

1899, a 15-year-old girl has an affair with a 41-year-old man.

I had no idea what this book was about before I began listening to it.  Once I got into it, I never bought into the storyline.  Could it happen?  Yes.  However, it would be very unlikely.  The girl's character seemed more out of place than the man's.  

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, October 04, 2014


Author:  Chris Bohjalian
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Grace Blewer
Yearly Count:  68

Teen, Emily Shepard, runs away from being placed in foster care after a meltdown of a nearby nuclear plant.  

I did not like how this book was told at all.  It was confusing and made me work at trying to piece the actually storyline together.  It also made it difficult to sympathize with the main character, because she was jumping all over the place.  I realize she was a teen, but . . . .

The story itself was just okay, too.  It was definitely on the gloomy side, and there was a lot of foul language.  Not a favorite.  

Thoughts of Joy

Side Note:  The narrator, Grace Blewer, is the author's daughter.  I enjoyed the interview with both of them at the end of the book.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Author:  Jacqueline Mitchard
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Rebecca Gibel
Yearly Count:  67

From NetGalley:
What We Saw at Night is the story of three outsiders, teens with a deadly allergy to sunlight that forces them to live a life opposite of everyone else in their small town. When they discover the extreme sport Parkour, it seems that they’ve finally found something uniquely theirs—even if leaping from buildings in the dark feels somewhat suicidal. Everything changes when they witness a horrible crime while practicing on an allegedly empty building. Worse: what they see, sees them, too.

I was not impressed with this book, and frankly, just didn't enjoy it.  And, I certainly didn't buy into the storyline.  Teens running around jumping across buildings at night . . . please.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Soho Press and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 55

Books:  0 - 3

eBooks:  0 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 27

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Author:  Sophie McKenzie
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Marisa Calin
Yearly Count:  66

From NetGalley:
I wake with a start from a bad dream. Anxiety clutches at my chest.  Something’s gone ... something’s missing ... Beth ... Always Beth ...

When Geniver Loxley lost her daughter at birth eight years ago, her world stopped… and never fully started again. Mothers with strollers still make her flinch; her love of writing has turned into a half-hearted teaching career; and she and her husband, Art, have slipped into the kind of rut that seems inescapable. For Art, the solution is simple: Have another child to replace Beth. For Gen, the thought of replacing her first child feels cruel, nearly unbearable. A part of her will never let go of Beth, no matter how much she needs to move on.

But then a stranger shows up on their doorstep, telling Gen the very thing she’s always desperately longed to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was taken away as a healthy infant. That Beth is still out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. A fissure suddenly opens up in Gen’s carefully reconstructed life, letting in a flood of unanswerable questions. How could this possibly be true? Where is Beth? And why is Art so reluctant to get involved?

As Gen delves into the darkest parts of her past, she starts to realize that finding the answers might open the door to something even worse, a truth that could steal everything she holds close. Even her own life.

This book kept my attention; however, that doesn't make the grade on its own.  Unfortunately, there were so many things that bothered me.  It was incredibly predictable, but that wasn't really a bad thing.  It was just a little ho-hum knowing what was coming.  The very worst part for me was everything tied to the suspense.  It dragged and was a bit annoying, but once we finally got there, the character describes everything in the area -- and sometimes, at great lengths.  That's how you kill suspense and anticipation.  :(

I'm ending a bit disappointed, but I was entertained for many, many hours, and glad I finally got to it.

Thoughts of Joy     

My thanks go to Shelf Awareness, NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC and an eGalley; however, I listened to the audiobook.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Author:  Linwood Barclay
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Mark Zeisler
Yearly Count:  65

A grieving father becomes involved in the drama of a missing girl when she taps on his car window the night before and asks for a ride.

I know that Barclay's writing will keep me engaged, and it did.  It wasn't anything special, but a good story, nonetheless.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


Author:  Louise Penny
Genre:  Mystery, Three Pines Series #10
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Ralph Cosham
Yearly Count:  64

Armand Gamache and his wife are enjoying retirement in their new home in Three Pines.  Clara, a resident of Three Pines, brings about a missing persons case to Armand.  

I, as always, enjoyed being back with the Three Pines villagers; however, the plot was sorely lacking oomph.  It was a bit hum-drum with a lot of philosophical mumbo-jumbo.  A bit disappointing, but Penny's writing can never be bad.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, September 04, 2014


Author: A. A. Milne
Genre:  Children's Poems, Winnie-the-Pooh Series #4
Published:  1927
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/?
Yearly Count:  63

This was just one disc filled with child-like poems.  These were better and cuter than When We Were Very Young, but definitely nothing special.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Author:  A. A. Milne
Genre:  Children's Poems, Winnie-the-Pooh Series #3
Published:  1924
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/?
Yearly Count:  62

A collection of poems that contained some cute ones and some not so cute.

Thoughts of Joy


Author:  Christina Baker Kline
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jessica Almasy
& Suzanne Toren
Yearly Count:  61

A troubled teenager and an older woman work together on a project.  They develop an understanding for one another along the way.

I thought this was good.  Had I not listened to Rodzina last year, I may have liked it more.  There was more subplots going on in this book, but I didn't learn anything new about the orphan trains.

Thoughts of Joy

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


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


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


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


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


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