Friday, April 18, 2014


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Author:  Tami Hoag
Genre:  Thriller, Oak Knoll Series #3
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kirsten Potter
Yearly Count:  20

A child was abducted and never to be seen again.  The family (and police) have a clear suspect, but they don't have any hard evidence.  Each individual family member handles their grief in different ways as they seek to find peace.  

I was getting bored of the constant reference to the mom's anguish.  I can sympathize with her sorrow and suffering, but telling me over and over was redundant and annoying.  The storyline did keep me interested, but there were too many graphic s*x scenes for my liking.  My preference is no details, thank you very much.  Overall, it was an interesting story, but too much of this and that. 

Thoughts of Joy 

Friday, February 28, 2014

February Reads

10.  Silencing Sam (Kramer) ~ 3/5

11.  Beautiful Ruins (Walter) ~ 2.75/5

12.  Three Weeks to Say Goodbye (Box) ~ 3.5/5

13.  Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (Cameron) ~ 4/5

14.  Trapped Under the Sea (Swidey) ~ 2.5/5

15.  How to Save a Life (Zarr) ~ 3/5

16.  Ask the Passengers (King) ~ 2.5/5

17. The Boys in the Boat (Brown) ~ 4/5

18.  Night Film (Pressi) ~ 3/5

19.  The Jury Master (Dugoni) ~ 2.5/5

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  9 - 17

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 2

New-to-Me Authors:  7 - 11

*Short Stories:  0 - 0


Author:  Robert Dugoni
Genre:  Legal Thriller?!?, David Sloane Series #1
Published:  2006
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robertson Dean
Yearly Count:  19

From Goodreads:

"David Sloane is the best wrongful death attorney in San Francisco. But despite his professional success, he's plagued by a nightmare of a childhood he cannot consciously remember. When he receives a package from a White House confidant who then turns up dead, the contents reveal a history he could never have imagined."

I was tricked.  Or . . . at least I feel like I was tricked.  With a title like The Jury Master, what would you think the book was about?  Let's see, maybe something to do with a jury or legal proceedings?  Didn't happen . . . and I kept waiting for it.  Grrr.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Author:  Marisha Pressl
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jake Weber
Yearly Count:  18

From Amazon (due to pure laziness):

"The daughter of a reclusive horror film director is found dead, and a disgraced journalist and two sidekicks become obsessed with uncovering the truth of her death and the true identity of her infamous father, whose terrifying films (banned from theaters and found only via underground methods) depict what is 'graphic and dark and gorgeous about life, thereby conquering the monsters of your mind.'”

This was an audioread for me.  I would have never read it due to its length.  Even listening to 19 CDs was WAY TOO LONG!  I wasn't drawn in or repelled by the witchcraft talk, but in general I didn't like it, and that was a large portion of the story in one way or another.  The mystery component, looking for clues and following them up was interesting, but it seemed to go on and on and on.  And the ending . . . well, I was left a little confused.  I think.    

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Author:  Daniel James Brown
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Edward Herrmann
Yearly Count:  17

 A crew team at the University of Washington has their eyes set on the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

What a good book!  I am surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  There are facts and details galore, but it still reads/listens like a novel.  The stories of the individual boys, the coach and the boat builder are all present, but the focus is on one crew member, Joe Rantz.  The quotes of the boat builder were thoroughly enjoyed, and I learned a little bit more about Berlin in 1936, too.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Author:  A. S. King
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Devon Sorvari
Yearly Count:  16

Astrid, a high school senior, grapples with her life.  She's conflicted as to where she fits in with her family, friends and potential partners.  

The story, in general, was written well.  I just didn't care for the "ask the passengers" part.  HA!  You'd think the title of the book would give me some sort of clue.  Nope!  Not me.  *sigh*  Some of the story elements were hokey, but I just kept going.  I would definitely read another book by A. S. King due to her writing, but I would delve more into the contents before I began.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Author:  Sara Zarr
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Ariadne Meyers and Cassandra Morris
Yearly Count:  15

A mother and daughter grieve over the death of their husband/father.  The mother decides to adopt a baby and the daughter struggles with relationships.

I enjoy Zarr's writing; however, I didn't find the storyline in this one to be as realistic as the other book I read by her.  That won't stop me from picking up another, though.

Thoughts of Joy


Author:  Neil Swidey
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  14

From NetGalley:
The harrowing story of five men who were sent into a dark, airless, miles-long tunnel, hundreds of feet below the ocean, to do a nearly impossible job—with deadly results.

A quarter-century ago, Boston had the dirtiest harbor in America. The city had been dumping sewage into it for generations, coating the seafloor with a layer of “black mayonnaise.” Fisheries collapsed, wildlife fled, and locals referred to floating tampon applicators as “beach whistles.”

In the 1990s, work began on a state-of-the-art treatment plant and a 10-mile-long tunnel—its endpoint stretching farther from civilization than the earth’s deepest ocean trench—to carry waste out of the harbor. With this impressive feat of engineering, Boston was poised to show the country how to rebound from environmental ruin. But when bad decisions and clashing corporations endangered the project, a team of commercial divers was sent on a perilous mission to rescue the stymied cleanup effort. Five divers went in; not all of them came out alive.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents collected over five years of reporting, award-winning writer Neil Swidey takes us deep into the lives of the divers, engineers, politicians, lawyers, and investigators involved in the tragedy and its aftermath, creating a taut, action-packed narrative. The climax comes just after the hard-partying DJ Gillis and his friend Billy Juse trade assignments as they head into the tunnel, sentencing one of them to death.

An intimate portrait of the wreckage left in the wake of lives lost, the book is also a morality tale. What is the true cost of these large-scale construction projects, as designers and builders, emboldened by new technology and pressured to address a growing population’s rapacious needs, push the limits of the possible? This is a story about human risk—how it is calculated, discounted, and transferred—and the institutional failures that can lead to catastrophe.

Suspenseful yet humane, Trapped Under the Sea reminds us that behind every bridge, tower, and tunnel—behind the infrastructure that makes modern life possible—lies unsung bravery and extraordinary sacrifice.

Oh goodness.  While this was a worthy story to be shared and learned from, the details were absolutely overwhelming.  Under normal circumstances this would have been a DNF for me, but I was interested and appreciated the effort in bringing this story public.  Unfortunately, I had to skim a HUGE portion of this book, and I can't even remember the last time I did that.  I didn't want to miss anything of importance, but couldn't read the minute details of everything!

The individual stories of the men involved in the project and their outcomes held my attention.  The follow-up information was greatly appreciated.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Sarah from Crown Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Author:  Peter Cameron
Genre:   YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Lincoln Hoppe
Yearly Count:  13

James is eighteen and expected to go to college in the Fall; however, James is seriously rethinking that decision.  His interests are elsewhere.

James is a great character.  My absolute favorite parts were his visits to the psychiatrist (urged to go by his divorced parents).  His interaction with her made me smirk - a lot.  I'm on the lookout for more by Cameron.  Also, the narrator, Lincoln Hoppe, was superb.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Author:  C. J. Box
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
John Bedford Lloyd
Yearly Count:  12

After 9 months of caring for their adopted daughter, Jack and Melissa receive a phone call from the agency informing them that the baby's father never signed away his rights and wants her back.

I enjoyed this book, but the first half was much better than the second due to the progression of the storyline.  It became very convoluted and a bit Hollywood.

Thoughts of Joy 

Friday, February 07, 2014


Author:  Jess Walter
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Edoardo Ballerini
Yearly Count:  11

Past:  Italy, 1962 to Present:  Hollywood are the settings for Pasquale, a young man whose family owns a small, seaside hotel, and Dee, an actress who comes to stay at the hotel. 

This felt like a very, very long book.  That is not how I like to feel while reading or listening.  The story not only bounced between past and present, but had many separate stories and a vast amount of characters that caused for a lot of juggling in my mind.  I didn't really dislike the stories or characters, but nothing truly pulled me in.  The narrator did a good job, though.    

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, February 01, 2014


Author:  Julie Kramer
Genre:  Mystery, Riley Spartz Series #3
Published:  2010
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Renee Raudman
Yearly Count:  10

Riley gets riled (yes, pun intended) when a gossip columnist uses her as his article target, until she targets him with a glass of wine.  Soon after, Sam turns up dead.  Guess who is the prime suspect?

This was another easy listen and perfect while working on a home-improvement project (removal of wallpaper - ACK!).  It kept my mind busy, but wasn't over-taxing, which could deter me from getting the job done efficiently.

Everybody in this edition seemed like they were trying too hard to be a character, and none of them captured my interest.  I think the new narrator (different reader than the first two in the series) had more of an impact (negative) on that than the actual characters.  She changed the experience.  However, the storyline wasn't very intriguing either, but I did learn a little about turbines.  I'm still thankful for the audio keeping me entertained during a grueling job.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 31, 2014

January Reads

3.  Trash (Mulligan) ~ 4/5 

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  8 - 8

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 1

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 4

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Author:  Linda Castillo
Genre:  Mystery, Series #5
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  9

A father with his three young children are traveling home from an appointment in town when their buggy is hit by a vehicle, which in turn has left the scene.

My real only complaint was that the plot felt very tunnel-visioned.  That doesn't make much sense (and isn't necessarily true), but that's how it came across to me.  Maybe I was expecting something different.  Needless to say, it was still good, better than good, but not one of my favorites in this series.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Author:  Lucy Christopher
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Emily Gray
Yearly Count:  8

Gemma, a 16-year-old, tells the story of her abduction in a letter to her abductor.

This was just okay.  Both Gemma and her abductor were a little blaze, and it was incredibly unrealistic, but I was somewhat interested.  I didn't necessarily tune-out, but it wasn't captivating either.
Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Author:  Jussi Adler-Olsen
Genre:  Thriller, Department Q Series #4
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)   
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  7

From NetGalley:
In 1987, Nete Hermansen plans revenge on those who abused her in her youth, including Curt Wad, a charismatic surgeon who was part of a movement to sterilize wayward girls in 1950s Denmark.

More than twenty years later, Detective Carl Mørck already has plenty on his mind when he is presented with the case of a brothel owner, a woman named Rita, who went missing in the eighties: New evidence has emerged in the case that destroyed the lives of his two partners— the case that sent Carl to Department Q.

But when Carl’s assistants, Assad and Rose, learn that numerous other people disappeared around the same weekend as Rita, Carl takes notice. As they sift through the disappearances, they get closer and closer to Curt Wad, who is more determined than ever to see the vision of his youth take hold and whose brutal treatment of Nete and others like her is only one small part of his capacity for evil.

This series is SO good!!!  I have to admit though, I was a little confused in the beginning and had difficulty settling in.  I'm fairly certainly that was my fault (due to other books going at the same time), and I'm getting a wee bit tired of flashbacks.  Despite that, I knew from the get-go that it was of the same caliber as the others in this series and needed to get past myself.  I was not disappointed!  

Carl, Assad and Rose are such interesting characters (as a team and individually), and their cases are just as intriguing.  Mr. Adler-Olsen keeps you glued to the pages and wanting more.  I can't wait for the next one!

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Author:  Walter Dean Myers
Genre:  YA Magical Realism, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/JD Jackson
Yearly Count:  6

With a drug deal gone bad, Lil J needs to make some decisions in his life, and he may have just stumbled upon some help.

I was surprised to find that the core of this book was magical realism.  It was a short book, so I was fine with that (not a fan of magical realism), but more importantly, it was an interesting way to present the topic/issues in a realistic manner.  The story (especially the ending) can certainly be a portal to conversation for those that can relate.  

Thoughts of Joy     

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Author:  Dean Koontz
Genre:  Sci-Fi Thriller, Odd Thomas Series #6
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
David Aaron Baker
Yearly Count:  5

Odd returns to save the children he sees in a vision.

This is another one of those audioreads when the narrator IS the character, and boy did I love visiting with him (Odd) again.  As usual, the wit made me smirk and the character he chums up with was great, but the storyline wasn't all that interesting to me.  The two of them could have had a conversation at a kitchen table with a cup of coffee, and I would have been very happy.  I'll still continue on with Odd's callings, but I'm hoping for more intriguing storylines.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Author:  Graeme Simsion
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Dan O'Grady
Yearly Count:  4

Don decides that it's time for him to find a wife, therefore; he creates a 16-page questionnaire that is deemed The Wife Project.  Don sets out to snag that perfect woman for his socially awkward self.  

The first half of this book was full of spunk and getting to know Don was delightful.  However, the spunk drastically slowed to a trickle in the second half making the experience for me not as good as I had hoped.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 10, 2014


Author:  Andy Mulligan
Genre:  YA Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2010 
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Full Cast
Yearly Count:  3

Three teen boys get into a heap of trouble when one of them decides to keep something important he finds on the job at the dumpsite.

Despite the sadness the squalor in this book invokes, it was really a good story.  The numerous characters narrating it was a surprise, but I didn't mind!  They actually helped the story progress by sharing their point-of-view when they were most involved.  It was a smart way to tell the story and to depict the varying lifestyles and problems of this unnamed country.  The plot was filled with action and for the most part, kept my interest.  

Thoughts of Joy    

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Author:  Louise Erdrich
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Gary Farmer
Yearly Count:  2

 The Round House is a coming-of-age tale of a 13-year-old Indian boy whose family member has been brutally hurt.

Oh boy.  There were more tangents taken in this novel (and some very long-winded, crazy ones at that!) than I could ever count.  I just wanted the storyline (which in general was a good one) to stay on track and get to the end.   Not only was it frustrating for me, it promoted boredom.  Not consistently, but boredom did visit - more than once or twice.  :(

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 03, 2014


Author:  John Sandford
Genre:  Police Procedural,
Lucas Davenport Series #4
Published:  1992
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Richard Ferrone
Yearly Count:  1

Dr. Mike Bekker (character from Eyes of Prey #3) escapes from a courthouse and begins another killing spree.  Lucas Davenport is asked to assist in the investigation.

There were a couple of things that kept me from really enjoying this addition to this series:  I did not care for the narrator at all (unfortunately I discovered that he narrates #5 as well - I now may be reading that one), and there wasn't a lot of suspense or intrigue (bit boring).  In general, I enjoy police procedurals, so it starts with a decent advantage, but overall, this one was just okay.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Reads of 2013

I have 29 ratings of 4/5 (very good) and above.  These are my highest 4s.

1.  The Aviator's Wife (Benjamin) - Historical Fiction

2.  Tuesday's Gone (French) - Thriller, Frieda Klein Series

3.  A Conspiracy of Faith (Adler-Olsen) - Thriller, Department Q Series

4.  My Friend Dahmer (Backderk) - YA Non-Fiction Graphic Novel

December Reads

98.  A Place at the Table (White) ~ 3/5

99.  The 7 Habits of Happy Kids (Covey) ~ 4/5

100.  The Dinner (Koch) ~ 3/5

101.  Catch Me (Gardner) ~ 4/5

102.  Paperboy (Vawter) ~ 3.25/5

103.  Sharp Objects (Flynn) ~ 3.5/5

104.  Perfect (Joyce) ~ 3.5/5

105.  Boy Nobody (Zadoff) ~ 3.25/5

Year End Stats and Final Thoughts of My 2013 Reading:

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 60

Books:  1 - 21

eBooks:  2 - 24

New-to-Me Authors:  5 - 61

*Short Stories:  3 - 52


4 - 4.75/5 ratings ~ 29

3 - 3.75/5 ratings ~ 62

2 - 2.75/5 ratings ~ 13

1 - 1.75/5 ratings ~ 1

DNF ~ 6


* Didn't realize that I hadn't reached my goal of 52 short stories until I started putting this post together!  I had one read that I didn't post, so I quickly sat down and read two more just to make my goal.  Phew!  :)  I really wanted to meet that goal, because last year I didn't come close.

* Met my goal of 104 books PLUS one extra!  :)

* Read 61 new-to-me authors!  That means I only had 44 repeat authors.

* Really want more 4/5 (very good) and above ratings in 2014!

My HOPEFULS: 2014 list is going to remain the same as my HOPEFULS: 2013 because I only read four.  Sad, very sad.  There are many books that I look forward to reading on my HOPEFULS: 2014, so maybe, just maybe if I attack that list, I'll see more 4 ratings!  Here's hoping!

May all your reading in 2014 bring you much joy and happiness!
Happy Reading!   

Three Short Stories

Title:  Stay Up With Me
Author:  Tom Barbash
Genre:  Short Story Collection
Published:  Stay Up With Me, 2013
Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
(ss) Yearly Count:  50

I liked the writing, but didn't feel like the story went anywhere.

Title:  Puppy : The New Yorker eMagazine
Author:  George Saunders
Genre:  Short Story
Published:  The New Yorker, 2007
Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eStory
(ss) Yearly Count:  51

A family is out looking to buy a new puppy.  This was interesting at first, but turned weird.  It didn't leave me with good feelings.

Title:  Adams : The New Yorker eMagazine
Author:  George Saunders
Genre:  Short Story
Published:  The New Yorker, 2004  
Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eStory
(ss) Yearly Count:  52

A neighbor comes into the house and stands in their kitchen facing the children's rooms.  Another weird story that left me feeling ick.


Author:  Allen Zadoff
Genre:  YA Thriller, Boy Nobody Series #1
Published:  2013  
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/John Salwin
Yearly Count:  105

A 16-year-old is a boy-assassin.

I was somewhat curious as to what was going to happen in this debut series, but if I had teens, I would't want them to read it.  I'm not exactly sure why I feel that way.  Maybe I wasn't given enough background or persuaded enough to feel sympathetic towards Boy Nobody, so he just seemed too eager (or it was easy for him) to please his "parents."  I'm fairly certain the author was going for the anti-hero character spin, but it didn't fully work for me.  If this is truly a series, I would be willing to read the next in the series to see what develops.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Author:  Rachel Joyce
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  104

From NetGalley:

Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother’s heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, for eleven-year-old Byron nothing can ever be the same.

What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan. . . .

This was my first introduction to Joyce Rachel's work.  She produced a quiet setting and unique storyline.  I appreciated the book for those qualities most, but was always waiting for something special.  None of the characters were endearing to me, and I sensed where the story was going.  So, it definitely was not an enticing read for me, but it was good.  Like I said, I felt in a different place, so the writing transported me, and that's always good.

My thanks go to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley. It is scheduled to be published on January 14, 2014.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Author:  Gillian Flynn
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2006
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Ann Marie Lee
Yearly Count:  103

Two young girls' deaths beckon a reporter who grew up in the same town.

Hmmm.  Neither this one nor Dark Places touch Gone Girl.  They have all gone down hill.  HOWEVER, that's not to say they were not good.  And, once again, I LOVE the creativity and unique story lines that Flynn produces.  I have not read anything like them and that keeps me intrigued.  This one produced didn't feelings at different points throughout the book, leaving me uncertain as to how I really feel about it.  I decided to stick with "good."