Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Reads

2.  Zoom (Banyai) ~ 4/5

3.  Re-Zoom (Banyai) ~ 3.5/5

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 5 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 0 

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 6  

Children's Books (any version):  4 - 4 

*Podcast:  0 - 0

**Short Stories:  0 - 0


Author:  Tami Hoag
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook, Julie Whelan
Yearly Count:  9

From NetGalley:
Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until a notorious serial killer tried to add her to his list of victims. Nearly a year has passed since surviving her ordeal, but the physical, emotional, and psychological scars run deep. Struggling with the torment of post-traumatic stress syndrome, plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as dark as the heart of a killer, Dana returns to her hometown in an attempt to begin to put her life back together. But home doesn’t provide the comfort she expects.

Dana’s harrowing story and her return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend, Casey Grant, who disappeared without a trace the summer after their graduation from high school. Terrified of truths long-buried, Dana reluctantly begins to look back at her past. Viewed through the dark filter of PTSD, old friends and loved ones become suspects and enemies. Questioning everything she knows, refusing to be defined by the traumas of her past and struggling against excruciating odds, Dana seeks out a truth that may prove too terrible to be believed…

This storyline focused on trauma to the brain (PTSD and TBI). That was all fine and dandy, but I didn't find the thriller part to be all that interesting.  I guessed the bad guy early on and was always hoping I was wrong.  I wasn't.  

Thoughts of Joy
My thanks go to Penguin Group and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Friday, January 29, 2016


Author:  Nicola Yoon
Genre:  YA, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (better than eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Bahni Turpin
Yearly Count:  8

Maddy is homebound due to an illness.  The only people she has direct contact with are her mom and nurse, until a boy moves in next door.

This screams YA.  I think I have grown out of the genre, because there haven't been too many that I enjoy anymore.  This is another that is so far-fetched and boring at times that I was happy for the ending.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Author:  Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
Genre:  Children's, 1 of 2
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  7

When a little boy opens his crayon box, he is surprised with a letter from each of the colors explaining why they quit!

I loved the idea of this book and the creativity; however, I was expecting more.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Author:  Ben H. Winters
Genre:  Mystery, The Last Policeman Trilogy #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Peter Berkrot
Yearly Count:  6

Detective Hank Palace, who was promoted due to pre-apocalyptic predictions, takes his job seriously -- even with the impending doom.  He is determined to solve a suspicious hanging.

The first 2/3 was much more intriguing to me than the last 1/3.  I'm not sure why, but I started losing interest in the topic.  Picking up the next in this trilogy won't happen soon, but I'm still interested in reading it.  Mainly because I did like the doggedness of Palace.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 18, 2016


Author:  Ben McCool, Royal McGraw, Elliott Serrano, Ben Fisher
Genre:  Children's Comic, Volume 1
Published:  2016 (as a volume)
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  5

From NetGalley:
Dynamite proudly presents the comic book misadventures of Grumpy Cat, featuring "The World's Grumpiest Cat" and her brother, Pokey!  With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere.  Now, her unbearable cuteness and infectious sourpuss are featured in an all-new, all-sensational collection of comic stories, sure to make fans of all ages laugh!  If you love the memes, the videos, and the irresistible scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey!

This is a compilation of 3 individual Misadventures of Grumpy Cat & Pokey books.  There are several short adventures in each book.  I enjoy the one-liner images of Grumpy Cat, so thought I'd give this book a try.  I did grin or smirk a couple times, but I think too much of Grumpy Cat makes me a grumpy person.  

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Author:  Peter Swanson
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  4

A man and a woman meet on a plane and divulge inner thoughts, which lead to the planning of a murder.

What a good book!  This one kept me engaged every minute, and I didn't ever want to put it down.  I loved the twists and turns.  I enjoyed the different perspectives, as well.  Soooo good.

My first "Best Read" of the year!  Woo!

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Author:  Istvan Banyai
Genre:  Children's Picture Book, Sequel
Published:  1995
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  3

This picture book begins with a portion of a picture then zooms out to get a better view of the object, then zooms out again to a larger view, etc.

This is a sequel in the sense that it follows the same pattern as Zoom -- it zooms out from an image.  I didn't like this one as much as the first, but it was still interesting and fun to look it.

Thoughts of Joy


Author:  Istvan Banyai
Genre:  Children's Picture Book, 1 of 2
Published:  1995
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  2

This picture book begins with a portion of a picture then zooms out to get a better view of the object, then zooms out again to a larger view, etc.

I heard about this book on an episode of Serial and had to check it out.  I really enjoyed it and would like to peruse it with a child.  

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller
Published:  2015  
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathleen Early
Yearly Count:  1

A family falls apart after the oldest daughter has gone missing.

I never thought this book was going to end.  It dragged on and on and on.  I'm guessing that was because I wasn't enjoying it.  The plot was incredibly ridiculous, and the characters were unbelievable.  And to top it all off, it was disgustingly graphic, and I simply didn't like it.

Thoughts of Joy

Read-Along: A Little Life #1 / 20

Welcome to the first informal chat of A Little Life (Yanagihara).  There is no particular plan or guide we are following.  Just chatting about what we just read.  However, you are welcome to throw out any questions that are pertinent to the chapter we have just finished (per the schedule) or have chatted about previously.  I will add them to the home post for everybody to see what is being discussed in the comments.

Today's Chat is on Part 1:  Chapter 1

Just to get us started, I will throw out these basic questions:
(the questions are just prompts to get a conversation going, you may answer them or just share your thoughts)

1.  Who are the main characters and how would you describe them?

2.  Do the characters seem realistic?

3.  What is the setting?

Let's get the chat started!  :)

UPDATE:  We are currently chatting via email.  There will be no further posts or comments here.  If you are interested in joining us, please let me know.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Read-Along: A Little Life Schedule

(First Chat:  January 10 and Final Thoughts:  May 15)

Each "Chat" begins on a Sunday for the previous week's reading.  I'll put up a new post each week, so if someone decides to join in after we have already started, they can go back and comment on previous weeks without any spoilers.

You may read as far ahead as you like (take notes!), but please do not comment on anything past the readings posted.

January 3, 2016:
Begin Reading!  Part 1:  Chapter 1

January 10, 2016:
Chat on Part 1:  Chapter 1
Read Part 1:  Chapter 2

January 17, 2016:
Chat on Part 1:  Chapter 2
Read Part 1:  Chapter 3

January 24, 2016:
Chat on Part 1:  Chapter 3
Read Part 2:  Chapter 1

January 31, 2016:
Chat on Part 2:  Chapter 1
Read Part 2:  Chapter 2

February 7, 2016:
Chat on Part 2:  Chapter 2
Read Part 2:  Chapter 3

February 14, 2016:
Chat on Part 2:  Chapter 3
Read Part 3:  Chapter 1

February 21, 2016:
Chat on Part 3:  Chapter 1
Read Part 3:  Chapter 2

February 28, 2016:
Chat on Part 3:  Chapter 2
Read Part 3:  Chapter 3

March 6, 2016:
Chat on Part 3:  Chapter 3
Read Part 4:  Chapter 1

March 13, 2016:
Chat on Part 4:  Chapter 1
Read Part 4:  Chapter 2

March 20, 2016:
Chat on Part 4:  Chapter 2
Read Part 4:  Chapter 3

March 27, 2016:
Chat on Part 4:  Chapter 3
Read Part 5:  Chapter 1

April 3, 2016:
Chat on Part 5:  Chapter 1
Read Part 5:  Chapter 2

April 10, 2016:
Chat on Part 5:  Chapter 2
Read Part 5:  Chapter 3

April 17, 2016:
Chat on Part 5:  Chapter 3
Read Part 6:  Chapter 1

April 24, 2016:
Chat on Part 6:  Chapter 1
Read Part 6:  Chapter 2

May 1, 2016:
Chat on Part 6:  Chapter 2
Read Part 6:  Chapter 3

May 8, 2016:
Chat on Part 6:  Chapter 3
Read Part 7:  Chapter 1

May 15, 2016:
Chat on Part 7:  Chapter 1
Final Thoughts!

WOO!  I'm excited to begin and
hope YOU'LL join us!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Reads of 2015

Out of 19 (70 total) books that I rated a 4/5 or above, these 6 made my Best Reads list!

1.  Inside the O'Briens (Genova) ~ Realistic Fiction

3.  Calling Me Home (Kibler) ~ Historical Fiction

5.  Igniting a Passion for Reading (Layne) ~ Professional Non-Fiction

Regarding books (being that this is a book blog and all), I hope that 2016 brings us all lots of great reads.  In all else, much health, joy and happiness.

December Reads


Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 49

Books:  0 - 6

eBooks:  2 - 15

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 39

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

DNF:  3



Author:  Thrity Umrigar
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Sneha Mathan
Yearly Count:  70

A psychologist and young Indian woman develop a friendship.

I enjoy Umrigar's work, especially after reading an abundance of the same genre (suspense & thrillers).  I appreciate that she writes authentically.  Also, Mathan is a terrific narrator.  

Thoughts of Joy

Read-Along: A LITTLE LIFE (???)

If you know of a read-along for A Little Life (Yanagihara), please let me know asap!  :)  This is a lengthy book (difficult for me), so I would prefer to read it with someone or a group.  I don't want to lead the read-along, though.  I'd just like to be able to chat with others about it as we move through the book at a planned pace.  Does anybody know or want to lead the Read-Along?!  

Monday, December 21, 2015

THE PRIVATE EYE (Deluxe Edition)

Author:  Brian K. Vaughan
Genre:  Graphic Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  1.5/5 (ugh)
Format:  eBook

From NetGalley:

THE PRIVATE EYE is an eerily prescient sci-fi mystery about an unlicensed private investigator who stumbles onto the most important case of his life. The series is set in 2076, a time after "the cloud has burst", revealing everyone's secrets. As a result, there is no more Internet, and people are excessively guarded about their identity, to the point of appearing only masked in public.

I thought the description was intriguing, but by the time I reached 1/2 way, I disconnected.  Apparently, it is a rather loved comic.  It just didn't work for this reader.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Author:  Caroline Kepnes
Genre:  Suspense/You Series #1
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Santino Fontana
Yearly Count:  68

From NetGalley:

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Phew! I need a brain wash!  This book is a barrage of bad language and bad actions.  I had a very difficult time listening to the constant s*x talk and the descriptive words and actions; hence, a very difficult time rating it!  Had I known that this was what the book was about, I would not have read or listened to it.  It's just not my thing.  

However . . . 

once I picked it up, I was pretty much glued with anticipation.  I couldn't wait to get back to it and find out what was going to happen next.  The narrator, Santino, was fantastic.  Hidden Bodies, Book 2, is waiting for me, and I'm excited to get back to see what Joe is up to now.  If it goes down the same path as You, I think this one will be easier on my poor brain, because despite the awesome narration, I won't be listening.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Author:  Chevy Stevens
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  67

From Goodreads:
Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.

This time there's nowhere else to run.

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty and evil.

This started out great.  I was really enjoying it and didn't want to put it down, but then it started on a downward turn.  Questions kept popping up in my head that anybody in real life would ask, so once again, the implausible actions came to bite me.  However, I did want to keep reading.

Thoughts of Joy
My thanks go to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Author:  Jennifer Nivens
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kirby Heyborne
& Ariadne Meyers
Yearly Count:  66

Finch & Violet meet on the ledge of a school bell tower.  Under the stressful situation, a relationship buds, then blooms.

I can absolutely see the references to The Fault in Our Stars (3/5) and Eleanor & Park (4/5).  But for this book, it wasn't too long before I started not buying in.  Sadly, I didn't even care about either of the main characters.  Too unrealistic.  There ended up being so much that I just didn't believe that my rating ends up below TFioS, and I'm disappointed.  It appears to be another YA book that works best for YAs.  

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Author:  Walter Walker
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Stephen Hoye
Yearly Count:  65

From NetGalley:
A murder on Cape Cod.  A rape in Palm Beach.

All they have in common is the presence of one of America’s most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney’s office. George has always lived at the edge of power. He wasn’t born to privilege, but he understands how it works and has benefitted from it in ways he doesn’t like to admit. Now, an investigation brings him deep inside the world of the truly wealthy—and shows him what a perilous place it is.

Years have passed since a young woman was found brutally slain at an exclusive Cape Cod golf club, and no one has ever been charged. Cornered by the victim’s father, George can’t explain why certain leads were never explored—leads that point in the direction of a single family—and he agrees to look into it.

What begins as a search through the highly stratified layers of Cape Cod society, soon has George racing from Idaho to Hawaii, Costa Rica to France to New York City. But everywhere he goes he discovers people like himself: people with more secrets than answers, people haunted by a decision years past to trade silence for protection from life’s sharp edges. George finds his friends are not necessarily still friends and a spouse can be unfaithful in more ways than one. And despite threats at every turn, he is driven to reconstruct the victim’s last hours while searching not only for a killer but for his own redemption.

I did not enjoy this book very much.  The mystery seemed incredibly drawn out, and the characters were not people I cared to read about.  I, also, didn't like all the s*xual innuendos.  AND, the ending wasn't satisfying either.  Overall, not a good experience for me.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 45

Books:  1 - 6

eBooks:  0 - 13

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 35

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Author:  S. J. Watson
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susan Lyons
Yearly Count:  64

Julia loses her sister, Kate, to murder and is determined to find her killer.  Even if it means pretending she's something she's not.  Or is she?

I was engaged.  I was appalled.  I was surprised.  I was shocked.  I was never really sure if I liked the book or not.  Since finishing, I have determined that I liked it very much, but I did not like the main character as a person.  She was one self-absorbed woman with an addictive personality who made crazy choices.  When I reminded myself that she had a problem, I could accept the events much more easily.  Otherwise, it seemed too preposterous.  Lots of twists and turns! 

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, November 16, 2015


Author:  David Vann
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan
Yearly Count:  63

Twelve-year-old, Caitlyn, waits for her mom to pick her up after school at the Aquarium in Seattle, Washington.  While viewing the fish, Caitlyn befriends an old man.   

I'm not sure where I originally saw this book, but it was the setting that drew me in . . . Seattle.  And, the Aquarium (real place) that we were too late to visit.  :(  I did get an education on a lot of the fish in the book, which I didn't particularly care for (a major attempt at metaphors!), but it was fun to know the streets and area.

I love being surprised or shocked when reading or listening to a book.  However, that doesn't always translate into loving the book.  This book is a prime example of that.  I was quite surprised and even shocked on an occasion or two, but it was like seeing an accident on the side of the road.  It's hard not to look, but it's not a good scene.  I had so many thoughts throughout and disbelief that it made for an unenjoyable audioread.

It perplexes me that sometimes a scene can make me cringe in a very bad way (hence, not enjoy it) versus another scene that is bad in nature, and I'm intrigued and think it's the best thing ever.  ???  Maybe it has to do with children!  No.  I have loved numerous books with children in them.  Maybe it's the adults and how they treat the children.  ???  I'm not sure, but I do know I didn't like this one.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, November 13, 2015


Author: Kent Haruf 
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Mark Bramhall
Yearly Count:  62

Addie and Louis, senior citizens and neighbors, agree to become companions to ward off loneliness.

This was a surprisingly, engaging audioread!  I loved the majority of the book and the narrator.  However . . . (why did there have to be a however?!) . . . there was a character that frustrated me beyond belief.  And, the ending . . . eh.  

I have discovered that this author is no longer with us, but I'm thankful he has left me several books to read, as this one was my first.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Author:  Jo Nesbo
Genre:  Thriller, Blood on Snow Series #1
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Patti Smith
Yearly Count:  61

A fixer with heart (anti-hero) has a job to do.

I'm perplexed by the narrator.  It didn't sound like a female and if it were, I don't understand why a female was used instead of a male.  ???  And, she (?) totally took me by surprise.  Her tone was very flat and mundane.  However!  It worked and she grew on me.

As for the story itself, it was short and pretty interesting, but nothing great.  I don't understand how the series continues, so I will be checking that out.

Thought of Joy

Sunday, November 08, 2015


Author:  Jacqueline Winspear
Genre:  Mystery, Maisie Dobbs Series #11
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Orlagh Cassidy
Yearly Count:  60

Maisie, on her way home to England, decides to take a pit stop in Gibraltar and finds herself in the hunt for a murderer.

Oooohhhhh, this one disappointed me.  Right from the start, I didn't like the jump in time told mainly in letters.  I feel like I missed so much of Maisie's life.  More details emerge as the story continues, but . . .  Needless to say, I still enjoyed visiting with Maisie and hope that doesn't happen again.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, November 02, 2015


Author:  Lisa Gardner
Genre:  Thriller, D.D. Warren Series #7
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book/Audiobook
Yearly Count:  59

From NetGalley:
My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.

The last thing Boston Detective D. D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear. . . . She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.

My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D. D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.

D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women, he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:

Fear nothing.

Oh my goodness.  I read 1/2 of the galley before the book was published and was loving it.  Life just got in the way and other things took over, then it found its way on the bottom of a pile.  :(  I truly was engrossed and wanted to read it!  How does that happen?!?  

Once I rediscovered the book, I decided to listen to the audiobook so I would actually finish it.  I started at the beginning to refresh my memory and ended up enjoying it, but not as much as I did reading it.  I've only read/listened to a handful of books and never really felt this much discrepancy before.  It makes me wonder if all my 3 ratings would be higher had I read the books instead of listening to them.  Hmmmm.  Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to sit and read, so audiobooks will continue, but this exercise has me really pondering the reading vs audiobooks experience.  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Christine Ball from Penguin Group and NetGalley for providing me with the galley and eGalley.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 40

Books:  0 - 5

eBooks:  1 - 13

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 33

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Author:  Celeste Ng
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Cassandra Campbell
Yearly Count:  58

Lydia, the daughter of a mixed-race couple, is dead and nobody knows why. 

One word to describe this book would be: expectations.  In each family member, expectations are pervasive.  I could imagine the scenario in real life with variations in race or age, etc., so a lot of it rang true to me.  However, the whole book was so frustrating and difficult to listen to at times.  There wasn't a redeeming character anywhere to be found.  It didn't grip me, but I wanted to know the outcome.  I was not satisfied . . . at all.  :(

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, October 16, 2015


Author:  Charles Martin
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2008
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Mark Deakins
Yearly Count:  57

A wife is dying of cancer and her husband attempts to make her "Bucket List" come true.

I had absolutely no idea what this book was about.  Had I known, I probably wouldn't have listened to or read it.  It's just not my thing.  The writing was fine, but I'm not a fan of the Nicholas Spark-esque books.  Although, there was one thing I did not like for sure . . . there were no warnings that the timeframe was going to change.  One paragraph just led into another one.  Ugh.  So, not a great audioread for me.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Author:  Agatha Christie
Genre:  Mystery, Hercule Poirot Series #15
Published:  1936
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Hugh Fraser
Yearly Count:  56

The host of a bridge party is murdered.

I found this book to have too many suspect.  It virtually could have been anybody, so all I did was listen to who was chosen to be the culprit.  I don't try to figure out mysteries, but this one was very apparent that I was just listening and not engaged.  

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Author:  Julia Heaberlin
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  55

From NetGalley:
A girl's memory lost in a field of wildflowers.
A killer still spreading seeds.

At seventeen, Tessa became famous for being the only surviving victim of a vicious serial killer. Her testimony put him on death row. Decades later, a mother herself, she receives a message from a monster who should be in prison. Now, as the execution date rapidly approaches, Tessa is forced to confront a chilling possibility: Did she help convict the wrong man?

I enjoyed the beginning of the book, then I noticed it was taking me a long time to read.  It just wasn't  keeping me engaged, so I didn't pick it up much.  Overall, the ending was a bit of a disappointment, but those feeling were building from the lack of enticement.  

Thoughts of Joy

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


Author:  Jessica Knoll
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  DNF #3
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Madeleine Maby

I didn't like the main character.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, October 04, 2015


Author:  Linwood Barclay
Genre:  Thriller, Promise Falls Series #1
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Brian O'Neill &
Quincy Dunn-Baker
Yearly Count: 54

From NetGalley: 
After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent.

Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own—a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch.

When the baby’s real mother is found murdered, David can’t help wanting to piece together what happened—even if it means proving his own cousin’s guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla’s mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past…in blood.

When I see a Linwood Barclay book come available, I jump, even though his family oriented thrillers have not received consistent ratings from me.  This one landed in the "just okay" range due to the abundance of storylines.  I realize he was setting it up as a series, but I didn't know what went together and what didn't.  However, just like always, I will be seeking out the next in the series with hopes of it being a bit more focused.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 36

Books:  1 - 5

eBooks:  0 - 12

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 29

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Author:  Bryan Reardon
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
George Newbern
Yearly Count:  53

There's a school shooting at the local high school, and Jake, a student who attends there, is missing.

I loved the narrator.  :)  The storyline itself was good, but I didn't find it to be anything special.  It was told in two timeframes:  before Jake and now.  The before Jake merges into today as we experience Jake's childhood through the eyes of his dad.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, September 18, 2015


Author:  Louise Penny
Genre:  Cozy Mystery,
Armand Gamache Series #11
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Bathurst
Yearly Count:  52

While Armand Gamache and his wife are relaxing in Three Pines following Gamache's retirement, a local boy runs into the village with another one of his tall tales.  He soon disappears, and the village wonders if there could have been any truth to his tale.

I am always eager to read the next in this series, but I rarely find them outstanding.  However, I do enjoy Louise's writing and characters, the storylines just haven't interested me much.   That's what happened once again with this one.  

The narrator Robert Bathurst had HUGE shoes to fill.  He did a good job, and I enjoyed his voice in general.  I didn't care for it much when Robert became dramatic (especially with Gamache's character) or when Robert did the voice of some of the other characters.  Although, overall, I think he's a good choice/fit.  It will just take some time getting used to him.

Thoughts of Joy


I'd like to introduce Nuzzle!
Nuzzle is the mascot for my recently opened Etsy Shop:

Since I learned how to crochet . . . I haven't stopped!  I LOVE it!  It truly has been a joy to make blankets for babies and adults, alike.  In my shop, I have focused on baby blankets in thick, plush, multicolored chenille yarn and a football style blanket that can be made with the same soft, cuddly yarn to match your favorite team!  Every adult and baby that has received one has declared it their favorite blanket!  Check out Pure Joy Crochet, one of my blankets may become a favorite of yours, too!  :)

Monday, September 07, 2015


Author:  Kristin Hannah
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Polly Stone
Yearly Count:  51

Two sisters living in France at the time of the occupation choose different paths of survival.

I'm not terribly surprised that I didn't love this book like others have, but I did rate it higher than the other books I read by Hannah, so that's good news.  Sadly, the characters didn't feel real to me nor their storylines, and it was dreadfully long.  There were parts that did feel genuine, and I was interested enough to want to know how their lives turned out (sorta), but ultimately, it was just a decent audioread.  I just don't think this author is my cup of tea.  

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, September 04, 2015


Author:  Steven L. Layne
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  50

Steven Layne shares his thoughts and ideas (tried and true) on how to "ignite a passion for reading" in K-12 classrooms.  

At the moment, I don't remember anything bright and shiny NEW, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book anyway!  I loved the stories shared and the bit of humor thrown in from the author, as well.  It's not a 5/5 only because I don't buy into all his ideas 100%, but that's good!  We each have our own spin on how to teach and can make adjustments to suggestions to fit the needs of our students.  It has great reminders and is an encouraging book.

Thoughts of Joy