Monday, June 26, 2017

CAMINO ISLAND

Author:  John Grisham
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  27


Five priceless manuscripts have been stolen from Princeton's Library, and they want them back.  Mercer has been approached to help recover them due to her connections to Camino Island where the powers that be think they reside.

As usual, this was a good book.  I find Grisham to be one of few authors that I can count on for a good read.  His writing style is comfortable and lets me breeze through, yet maintains my interest.  This one definitely fits a female audience, which isn't my preference, but I still thought it was good.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Saturday, June 17, 2017

WHAT WAS MINE

Author:  Helen Ross Klein
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  26


From NetGalley:
Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

After being engaged throughout the entire book, the ending left me incredibly unsatisfied.  I didn't even particularly like any of the characters, but I wanted to listen every chance I got.  Such a disappointing way to end a good experience.  :(

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

  

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

BEFORE THE FALL

Author:  Noah Hawley
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Petkoff
Yearly Count:  25


From NetGalley:
On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the tragedy and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the crash heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy: Was it merely dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations--all while the reader draws closer and closer to uncovering the truth.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

This started out good, but ended up getting bogged down with too many characters that I didn't care about in the least.  And, the completed storyline felt underwhelming.  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Friday, June 02, 2017

READING IN THE WILD

Author:  Donalyn Miller 
Genre:  Professional, Companion Book
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  24


From Goodreads:

Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage and assess key lifelong reading habits,  including dedicating time for reading, planning for future reading, and defining oneself as a reader.  It contains accessible strategies, ideas, tips, lesson plans and management tools along with lists of recommended books.

This a companion book to The Book Whisperer.  It contains all the details needed to run a reading classroom.  It's filled with Miller's experience and has much value for a novice.  

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Reads





Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 19

Books:  1 - 2 

eBooks:  1 - 2 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 19  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 2

Friday, May 26, 2017

ORPHAN TRAIN RIDER

Author:  Andrea Warren
Genre:  Young Reader NF, Standalone
Published:  1996
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  23


The true account of Lee Nailling riding an orphan train is told with chapters of the history.

I enjoyed reading the story as a whole, but the writing was a bit choppy.  It was a good introduction to this period of our history and could inspire a child (or adult) to read more.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, May 25, 2017

THE BREAKDOWN

Author:  B. A. Paris
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format: eBook
Yearly Count:  22


From NetGalley:
If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her . . .

 This was a quick read, mainly because it kept me intrigued, so I wanted to keep reading -- even though I figured out a lot of it from the get-go.  No worries, though.  I really enjoyed it.  Yay for Paris, another "very good" from me!

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

THE TEARS OF DARK WATER

Author:  Corban Addison
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Korey Jackson
Yearly Count:  21


From NetGalley:
Daniel and Vanessa Parker are an American success story. He is a Washington, DC, power broker, and she is a physician with a thriving practice. But behind the gilded façade, their marriage is a shambles, and their teenage son, Quentin, is self-destructing. In desperation, Daniel dusts off a long-delayed dream of theirs—a sailing trip around the world. Little does he know, the voyage he hopes will save them may destroy them instead.

Half a world away, on the lawless coast of Somalia, Ismail Adan Ibrahim is living a life of crime in violation of everything he was raised to believe—except this: the love and loyalty driving him to hijack ships for ransom and to plot the rescue of his sister, Yasmin, from the man who murdered their father. There is nothing he will not do to save her, even if it means taking innocent life.

Paul Derrick is the FBI's top hostage negotiator. His twin sister, Megan, is a celebrated defense attorney. They have reached the summit of their careers by savvy, grit, and a secret determination to escape the memory of the day their family died. When Paul is dispatched to handle a hostage crisis at sea, he has no idea how far it will take Megan and him into the past—or the chance it will give them to redeem the future.

Across continents and oceans, through storms and civil wars, their paths converge in a single, explosive moment. It is a moment that will test them, and break them, but that will also leave behind an unexpected glimmer of hope—that out of the ashes of tragedy and misfortune the seeds of justice and reconciliation can grow.

 This book moved at a snail's pace.  The first half is the introduction of characters and being hijacked on the ocean. The second half is figuring out why it happened.  For me, much of it was just boring.  (second attempt)

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

ALWAYS WATCHING

Author:  Chevy Stevens
Genre:  Thriller?, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Joyce Bean
Yearly Count:  20


A psychiatrist realizes that she has much more in common with a patient than she ever imagined.

It was not believable, but I still listened to it.  And it definitely wasn't a thriller.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Reads











Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 17

Books:  1 - 1 

eBooks:  1 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 17  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  1 - 2

Thursday, April 27, 2017

THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO US

Author:  Annie Barrows
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  DNF #2
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Full Cast



I tried reading and listening (over 4 CDs!) to this twice, but it never grabbed my attention.  I was waiting and waiting and waiting for something . . . anything to happen.  Sorry to say, it was just too slow and boring for my taste.  Time to say good-bye.

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

THE BOOK WHISPERER

Author:  Donalyn Miller
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  19


A sixth grade reading teacher shares her philosophy of teaching reading.

Another book that did not shed any new light on the topic; however, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  It has reawakened the desire in me to tweak a thing or two, and for that, I'm grateful.  Miller's writing is very genuine.  Together we share the love of books (not genres, though!), so I feel a bit of a kinship with her.  :)

Thoughts of Joy
  

HILLBILLY ELEGY

Author:  J. D. Vance
Gerne:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/J. D. Vance
Yearly Count:  18


This is an account of a self-professed Hillbilly who makes it against many odds.

Since I have read numerous books regarding poverty (and see it in my profession), this book didn't hold any revelations for me, but it was interesting.  Vance did a great job reading his own work, and I appreciated his efforts in showing that getting out from underneath can be accomplished.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE ROANOKE GIRLS

Author:  Amy Engel
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Brittany Pressley
Yearly Count:  17


Lane Roanoke returns to her grandparents home after the death of her mother.

Incredibly predictable.  Boring.  Incredibly predictable.  (Oops!  Did I say that already?)

The narrator's forced, gravelly voice was the first sign I was in trouble.  It simply was not my type of book.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, April 08, 2017

THE DRY

Author:  Jane Harper
Genre:  Mystery, Aaron Falk Series #1
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  16


From NetGalley:
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

This is Harper's debut novel, and I think she did a great job! I enjoyed the characters, the mystery and the pace.  I was concerned when I realized there were going to be flashbacks, but they didn't bother me at all, which is very unusual.  I suppose a compelling story is enticing whether it's in real time or flashbacks.  Kudos to Harper!

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for providing me with the eBook.
        

Friday, April 07, 2017

WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?

Author:  Zoe Heller
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2004
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Nadia May
Yearly Count:  15


An art teacher in a UK school has an affair with a 15-year-old student.

Other than liking the title, I'm not sure how this arrived in my iTunes stash of audiobooks.  It came in handy when I needed a short book, though.  Overall, it was rather boring.  I didn't want to give up on it, but it was difficult to keep my interest.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, April 01, 2017

THE RENTED MULE

Author:  Bobby Cole
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/David de Vries
Yearly Count:  14


Cooper has a marriage that's falling apart and a business partner (with problems of his own) that wants to sell the business.  That happens to be just the beginning of the trouble coming his way.

The audiobook performance was not to my liking, but I did want to keep listening.  The plot was a bit goofy, as were the characters; however, I think I just wanted to know how Cooper was going to resolve his dilemmas.

Thoughts of Joy
   
  My thanks go to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Reads





Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 13

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 0 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 11  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  1 - 1

Friday, March 24, 2017

THE LIFE LIST

Author:  Lori Nelson Spielman
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Rebecca Gibel
Yearly Count:  13


When Brett's (female) mother passes away, she must complete some selected items from her Life List that she made when she was 14 years old, in order to receive her inheritance.  

I have no clue how this got in my collection of audiobooks, but I saw it there and for some reason it appealed to me.  I began to get dizzy with all the eye-rolling I was experiencing, but . . . I admit it, I wanted to know how she would accomplish her goals.  It ended up being totally cheesy with lots of predictability, but somewhat enjoyable nonetheless.  😝

Thoughts of Joy


  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THE RIVER IS DARK

Author:  John Hart
Genre:  Thriller, Liam Dempsey Series #1 
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)  
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Erik G. Dove  
Yearly Count:  12


A little boy is the surviving victim in a brutal attack against his family and another.  He only can identify the assailant as a monster.

This book had great potential.  I was enjoying the storyline and the characters until the ending, which was a bit predictable and ridiculous.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, March 05, 2017

SHOPAHOLIC TO THE RESCUE

Author:  Sophie Kinsella
Genre:  Chick Lit, Becky Brandon Series #8 
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Clare Corbett
Yearly Count:  11


Becky gathers up friends and family to assist her in the search of her father.

Someone I know has just started the series and loving it, so I was inspired to audioread the latest.  I didn't dislike it or anything, it just wasn't very good.  It only got a couple of smirks.  Oh well.

Thoughts of Joy


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Reads








Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  10 - 10

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 0 

New-to-Me Authors:  5 - 9  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  1 - 1

Monday, February 27, 2017

THE THINGS WE KEEP

Author:  Sally Hepworth
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Plummer & Kreinik
Yearly Count:  10


Anna enters a residential housing situation due to her diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's.

This was not an enjoyable audioread.  I didn't care for either of the storylines, which was pretty much all negative.  And, on occasion, I was confused as to the timeframe.  Blah.  

Thoughts of Joy
    

Thursday, February 23, 2017

THE SNOW CHILD

Author:  Eowyn Ivey
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Debra Monk
Yearly Count:  9


Making a new homestead in Alaska during the 20's proves to be quite a lonely task for Mabel and an exhausting one for her husband, Jack.  They build a snow child one snowy day and that begins a life they never thought they'd know.

This was not my type of book.  I didn't enjoy it at all, but kept listening as I was busy with my hands. I liked the narrator fine, but the content just wasn't my thing.  I can understand why others may like it, though.

Thoughts of Joy


Friday, February 17, 2017

THE MIDWIFE OF HOPE RIVER

Author:  Patricia Harman
Genre:  Fiction, Hope River Series #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Anne Wittman
Yearly Count:  8


Patience works as a midwife in West Virginia during the Depression Era.

If you want to read about this birth and that birth and the other birth, then this book is for you.  :)  In all fairness, the births are nothing but miracles and each event blessed; however, there wasn't much more.  There was a lot of "today times" sprinkled in, which didn't seem to fit, but I wasn't around then, so what do I know.  I know that I was bored most of the time.  :(

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, February 12, 2017

ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN

Author:  Wendy Walker
Genre:  Psychological Thriller/Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Dylan Baker
Yearly Count:  7


Jenny, a high-school student, is given a controversial drug to help erase a traumatic event.  With that success comes the fact that it's a failure, as well.  Not knowing was causing even more of an emotional toll on Jenny.

I didn't think I was going to like this book after hearing only one narrator talk and talk and talk.  I gave it some more time and . . . I couldn't stop listening.  Listening to the topic and graphic nature of the storyline was still difficult, but it was presented very well.  The characters, the suspense, the memory function explanations, the dilemmas raised regarding childrearing, marriage issues -- virtually everything captivated me.  It wasn't perfect, but I found it to be an excellent audioread.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Friday, February 03, 2017

MY SISTER'S GRAVE

Author:  Robert Dugoni
Genre:  Thriller, Tracy Crosswhite Series #1
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Emily Sutton-Smith
Yearly Count:  6


Tracy Crosswhite abruptly changed careers from teacher to detective to seek the answers to her sister's disappearance 20 years ago.  When her sister's remains are discovered, her determination kicks into high gear.  She gets more answers than she ever anticipated.

The flashbacks and repetition were annoying, but I think it was a good introduction to Dugoni's work, and I want to read more.  Hopefully Tracy grows on me, though, because I thought she was just okay.  

Thoughts of Joy
  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 5

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 0 

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 4  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  1 - 1

Sunday, January 29, 2017

GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT

Author:  Monica Hesse
Genre:  YA Historical Fiction/Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Natalia Payne
Yearly Count:  5


In 1943, Amsterdam, Hanneke seeks after black market items for customers.  One customer asks her to locate the missing teenager she had been hiding.  Hanneke reluctantly accepts the challenge.

There was much research acquired for this book, and it was apparent.  However, there still were scenes that didn't feel realistic, but the whole Nazi occupation seems unfathomable.  So who am I to say?  I enjoyed the storyline and found some surprises along the way.  It was definitely a good, YA historical fiction read.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 27, 2017

THE TRUTH FACTORY

Author:  Cody McFadyen
Genre:  Thriller, Smoky Barrett Series #5
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  DNF #1
Format:  eBook




I could cry over this book.  This author has had me on a roller coaster.  Loved, loved, loved his books, then he disappeared (moved to Germany apparently).  Lo and behold a new book was published and FINALLY translated to English (for the left behind crew here!), and it's an absolute DUD.  What happened Cody?!?  It had an intriguing beginning, but soon after that -- plummet!  I have been struggling to get through it (hoping the tide would change) since the end of October.  I made it 1/2 way and can't do it anymore.  I'm done.  :(

Thoughts of Joy  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WATCHING YOU

Author:  Michael Robotham
Genre:  Psychological Thriller,
Joe O'Loughlin Series #7
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Sean Barrett
Yearly Count:  4


From NetGalley:
Marnie Logan often feels like she's being watched: a warm breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye that vanishes when she turns her head.

Now her life is frozen. Her husband Daniel is missing. She can't access his bank accounts or his life insurance. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin.

O'Loughlin discovers Daniel's Big Red Book--a collage of pictures, interviews, and anecdotes. The book, which Daniel intended as a surprise birthday gift, now leads to a shocking discovery. Any person who has ever crossed Marnie has paid an exacting price. And O'Loughlin may be next in line.

Oh my!  I was thoroughly enjoying this book until it went a bit off the rails for me.  It, fortunately, didn't overtake the plot, but I was let down - big time!  I must admit that if I had read it, I probably wouldn't have been as affected by it in a roll your eyes kind of way.  The pace kept me engaged and the characters were interesting, which is vital.  I look forward to more by Robotham.  

While this is #7 in a series, you'd never know!  It most definitely can be read as a standalone.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.
     

Friday, January 20, 2017

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10

Author:  Ruth Ware
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Imogen Church
Yearly Count:  3


From NetGalley:
Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

After I suspended disbelief, I enjoyed this mystery.  In general, it actually started out pretty good for me, then it got a little far-fetched.  I was curious enough to know what really was going on and am glad I did.  It wasn't anything special, but a decent audioread.  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TRUST NO ONE

Author:  Paul Cleave
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Paul Ansdell
Yearly Count:  2


From NetGalley:
Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter—a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of forty-nine, Jerry’s crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?

Hmmm.  I did not like a lot about this book, however, the strong desire to keep listening shifted the pendulum solidly into the positive realm.  :)  I was definitely hooked.

The switching of timeframes AND people was confusing in the very beginning.  After I thought that settled out in my mind, I continued to experience confusion from time to time.  :(  I had to pay close attention, and that wasn't enjoyable.  Also, the lack of complete closure - answers to all my questions - caused a bit of turmoil in me, amongst other unrealistic events.  After all of that, I oddly, still really liked the story.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, January 02, 2017

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Author:  Paulette Jiles
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Grover Gardner
Yearly Count:  1


During the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Kidd, a traveling newspaper reader, is asked to deliver a 10-year-old girl to her relatives 400 miles away.

This book was my introduction to Jiles.  I enjoyed her style of writing and thought the storyline was good, but incredibly predictable.  Now the narrator, Grover Gardner, was very good. 

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best Reads of 2016

I read 11/70 books that I thought were very good (4/5) or above.  These 5 books were my favorites:



1.  The Kind Worth Killing (Swanson) ~ Psychological Thriller






2.  Thirteen Ways of Looking (McCann) ~ Short Story Collection


















5.  Behind Closed Doors (Paris) ~ Psychological Thriller




I'm hoping for a STELLAR 2017 in all things!  

December Reads




YEAR END STATS:

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 54

Books:  0 - 1 

eBooks:  0 - 7

*Children's Books:  0 - 8
(3 Middle Grade, 5 Picture/Comic)

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 33  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 1

DNF:  0 - 3

TOTAL BOOKS READ:  70


*Books, eBooks and Audio
which were not included in other categories

Monday, December 19, 2016

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD

Author:  Laura McHugh
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Blue, McManus & Willingham
Yearly Count:  70


From NetGalley:
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.

What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.

Another book that just didn't grab me.  There were some interesting moments, but nothing that made me want to listen.  The worst part was how it was told.  Lots and lots of going back and forth in time and different people telling their story.  Not a fan.  :(

Thoughts of Joy
   
 My thanks go to Random House Publishing Group & NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Friday, December 09, 2016

BE FRANK WITH ME

Author:  Julia Claiborne Johnson
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Tavia Gilbert
Yearly Count:  69


An unusual mother and writer needs to complete her book, so her publisher sends Alice to assist her.  Ultimately, Alice's job is to keep the writer's son, Frank, who is even more unusual, occupied.

I did not enjoy this.  I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the narrator, and most important, I didn't like the story.  Blah.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, December 04, 2016

November Reads








Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 52

Books:  0 - 1 

eBooks:  0 - 7 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 33  

Children's Books (any version):  0 - 8

Short Story Collection:  0 - 1

DNF:  0 - 3

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NO ONE KNOWS

Author:  J. T. Ellison
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Schnaubelt & Podehl
Yearly Count: 68


From NetGalley: 
The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on. She just wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Who anonymously sent Aubrey her favorite cocktail at the bar where Josh stood her up? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious and strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

It's been almost a week since I finished this, and honestly, I can't remember much about it.  :(  I do know that I liked some of it; however, I didn't like more than I liked.  I remember teetering between a 3/5 and 2.5/5, but I was not a fan of the ending, so there ya go . . . 2.75/5.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A LION CALLED CHRISTIAN

Author:  Anthony Bourke & John Rendall
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/John Lee
Yearly Count:  67


Two traveling, Australian men purchase a lion from Harrods Department Store in London.  This is their journey with a lion they name Christian.

I enjoyed this short adventure.  It lacked depth for me, though.  After reading about the elephants, this one seemed to skim the surface; however, it was still good.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, November 11, 2016

YOU WILL KNOW ME

Author:  Megan Abbott
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Lauren Fortgang
Yearly Count:  66


From NetGalley:
Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.

Even though I didn't know what the final outcome would be exactly, I did guess some of it, and most important, I didn't enjoy the journey at all.  This was my second attempt (first here) at reading this author.  I just don't think she is for me.  The narration was not pleasing either.  Boo.

Thoughts of Joy

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