Thursday, August 27, 2015

TALES FROM THE FARM

Author:  Jeff Lemire
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Essex County #1
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  49


Lester is a 10-year-old boy who now lives with his bachelor uncle after his mother's death.  

This was a very sparse story, but one that also had a lot of depth.  I enjoyed the illustrations and plan on reading the other 2 in this series.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

AFTER THE STORM

Author:  Linda Castillo
Genre:  Mystery, Kate Burkholder Series #7  
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  48


During the cleanup effort from a tornado that blasted through Painters Mill, Boy Scouts find some bones by an old barn.  Whose are they?  How did they get there?  Was foul play involved?  These are just some of the questions that Kate follows up on.

This was another good edition to the series.  It didn't really intrigued me, especially because we already knew a bit before Kate did.  And, the relationship between Kate and Tomasetti (live-in boyfriend) was just whatever.  There were, also, some spots that were a little hokey in relationship to the plot, but in general,  I still liked it.  I'm hoping for a more dynamic and engaging book next time.  :)

Thoughts of Joy
     

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ELEPHANT MAN

Author:  Mariangela Di Fiore & Hilde Hodnefjeld
Genre:  Children's Non-Fiction
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  47


From NetGalley:
"Gather round--prepare to be amazed! A sight so very gruesome that you simply won't believe it. Ladies and gentlemen... the Elephant Man!"

Every night people swarm to a theater in London to see the Elephant Man, whose real name is Joseph Merrick. They scream in terror at the sight of him. But beneath Joseph's shocking exterior, he longs for affection and understanding.

Disfigured in childhood by a rare disease, Joseph is rejected by his family, bullied in the streets, and ridiculed at his job. While touring Europe with a freak show, he's robbed and abandoned. Joseph seems to encounter misfortune at every turn, but eventually finds friendship with a kind doctor in England. Though he died young, Joseph became world famous and inspired many with his gentleness and dignity.

Masterful illustrations and archival photographs are joined with simple but moving language, bringing the celebrated true story of the Elephant Man to life. Joseph Merrick (1862-1890) is believed to have suffered from a combination of the diseases neurofribomatosis type 1 and Proteus syndrome. This is a tremendously affecting book about being different, refusing to be a victim, and finding happiness in even the most challenging of circumstances.

This is a great illustrated book for older children (upper elementary) that includes topics such as loneliness, bullying and self-worth.  The true story that it is can lead to deep discussions of who we are and how we treat people with illnesses/diseases.  The illustrations were interesting (some scrapbook-like), and they were joined by some real pictures, as well.      

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

SWERVE

Author:  Vicki Pettersson
Genre:  Horror, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  1/5 (don't bother)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  46


From NetGalley:
It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancĂ©, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancĂ© again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait.

One road. One woman. One killer.

Sprinting against the clock, and uncertain if danger lies ahead or behind, Kristine must blaze an epic path through the gaudy flash of roadside casinos, abandoned highway stops, and a landscape rife with horrors never before imagined. Desperate to save her doomed husband-to-be, Kristine must summon long forgotten resources if she’s to go head-to-head against this unpredictable killer. And she’d better hurry. Because she only has twenty-four hours…to make one hell of a trip.

This book is billed as a psychological thriller.  HA!  It is a terrible horror novel.  Had I known, I would not have even picked it up.  I should have shut it down right from the start, but kept hoping for the best.  The amount of ambiguous violence against man and beast was despicable.  The writing was sophomoric and hit me the wrong way at every turn.  The whole plot was ridiculous and filled with crudeness.  This one was definitely not for me.  :(

Thoughts of Joy
  
My thanks go to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

PRETTY BABY

Author:  Mary Kubica
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  45


From NetGalley:
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

I really enjoyed this book.  I didn't find any of the plot twists to be very surprising, but I didn't figure out everything either.  Also, there were bits and pieces that I found to be unbelievable.  However, they didn't cause any disengagement.  It was definitely good enough to find myself reading it at lunchtime!  :)  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks goes to Mira and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA

Author:  Kimberly McCreight
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Khristine Hvam
Yearly Count:  44


A mother is called at work to come pick up her daughter from school for cheating.  By the time she arrives, her daughter has been found dead . . . an apparent suicide.

I had NO IDEA that this was a high school drama story AND adult drama.  It was not what I anticipated at all.  It kept my attention enough to finish it.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, July 31, 2015

July Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 31

Books:  3 - 3

eBooks:  3 - 9

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 22

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY

Author:  Betty G. Birney
Genre:  Children's Fiction, Humphrey Series #1
Published:  2004
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  43


Humphrey is a hamster who lives in Room 26 of an elementary classroom.  He shares his observations and promotes goodness.

I read this for our upcoming school-wide book club.  It's cute, and I think the kids will really enjoy it.  There are lessons to be learned through Humphrey's escapades in a non-threatening way and every child, most likely, can identify with someone or some event in this book.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE FAST METABOLISM DIET

Author:  Haylie Pomroy
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  42


This diet consists of 3 Phases:

Phase 1 (Monday-Tuesday):  Lots of carbs and fruits
Phase 2 (Wednesday-Thursday):  Lots of protein and veggies
Phase 3 (Friday-Sunday):  All of the above, plus healthy fats and oils

The diet is designed to heal and revitalize your metabolism in 28 days.

I find the idea of this diet, which Pomroy likes to use the word diet as Did You Eat Today?, to be very doable for me.  I don't have much weight to lose, but feel that it'll make me healthier and who couldn't use a raging metabolism?!  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, July 20, 2015

LITTLE BLACK LIES

Author:  Sharon Bolton
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  41


From NetGalley:
In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely...

When another child goes missing, and then a third, it's no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.

And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise.

But three islanders--Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum--are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.

Hooray! I finally read a book by Sharon Bolton (aka S. J. Bolton) and am encouraged to pick up others by her.  I was completely invested in Little Black Lies and had no clue as to what was to come.  At times, it was a little too descriptive for me; therefore, it didn't receive a 4.25/5 rating, but it was close.  Good stuff.  Very good stuff!  :)

Thoughts of Joy
      
My thanks go to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Friday, July 17, 2015

THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY

Author:  Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrators:  Audiobook/
Julia Whelan & Luke Daniels
Yearly Count:  40


Hayley struggles living with her father that suffers from PTSD.

Hayley had to deal with some serious issues that didn't just involve her father.  The issues were handled well, but there were a lot of them.  Some relief came in the form of Hayley's conversations with boyfriend Finn.  Overall, it was a "just okay" listen.

Thoughts of Joy


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Today Marks 9 Years!



I have spent 9 years of my life blogging about the books I listen to or read.  It's been the perfect place, as I have met numerous like-minded people and have broadened my reading scope.  Thanks for making my 9 years so special.

Happy Reading to all of you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

THROUGH THE WOODS

Author:  Emily Carroll
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  39


This is a collection of 5 short horror stories based on fairy tales.

This was a random pick during a hunt at the library for some graphic novels.  I didn't know what it was about -- had I known, I would not have chosen it.  I am not a fan of horror in any medium.  Also, I did not know these stories were based on fairy tales.  I've never liked fairy tales, so I was unable to identify the inspiration.  On a positive note, they do convey creepiness, so the theme prevails, and I did continue to turn the pages.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SECONDS

Author:  Bryan Lee O'Malley
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  38


In her late 20's, Katie has things going for her until she doesn't.  A house spirit appears and gives Katie a solution to all her problems.

Once the house spirit appeared, I disconnected a bit . . . that's just not my thing.  Also, the manga-ish appearance of the characters didn't help either.  I picked it up because I wanted to read another graphic novel, and it had very high ratings.  The actual story (which is a message) turned out to be just okay for me.  

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

TRASHED

Author:  Derf Backderf
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  37


From NetGalley:
Every week we pile our garbage on the curb and it disappears—like magic!  The reality is anything but, of course.   Trashed, Derf Backderf's follow-up to the critically acclaimed, award-winning international bestseller My Friend Dahmer, is an ode to the crap job of all crap jobs—garbage collector.  Anyone who has ever been trapped in a soul-sucking gig will relate to this tale.  Trashed follows the raucous escapades of three 20-something friends as they clean the streets of pile after pile of stinking garbage, while battling annoying small-town bureaucrats, bizarre townfolk, sweltering summer heat, and frigid winter storms.  Trashed is fiction, but is inspired by Derf's own experiences as a garbage­man.  Interspersed are nonfiction pages that detail what our garbage is and where it goes. The answers will stun you.  Hop on the garbage truck named Betty and ride along with Derf on a journey into the vast, secret world of garbage.  Trashed is a hilarious, stomach-churning tale that will leave you laughing and wincing in disbelief.

Oh goodness.  I decided to read this, because I was in need of a graphic novel, and I really liked Backderf's, My Friend Dahmer.  Backderf has incredible drawing skills, but this story left me blah.  I didn't know exact numbers, but I know, in general, what happens to the garbage picked up on my curb, so I really didn't learn anything new in that arena.  

The story was NOT hilarious, didn't leave me laughing by any means, and I wasn't wincing in disbelief (see above blurb).  It's filled with childish bathroom humor that 12-year-old boys would crack up over.  The story was definitely not for me.  It received a 2, because the guy is an artist, and I did feel disgusted and physically dirty after reading it, so he provoked some emotion from me regarding trash.  He got his point across by beating me over the head and leaving me in a disgusted daze.  Not quite the best strategy to encourage change.

Thoughts of Joy
      
My thanks go to Abrams ComicArt and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Monday, July 06, 2015

CALLING ME HOME

Author:  Julie Kibler
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver
Yearly Count:  36


An older woman is called home (across the country) to attend a funeral and invites her hairdresser to accompany her.

Yay!  This was a very good book.  I have to admit, I had a teeny-tiny melt down when I discovered there were two storylines and two timeframes . . . again (my last experience was not a good one)!!!  Thankfully, the utter pain of that realization only lasted for a few moments, because it was handled with perfection!  :)  I had no problem with the time shifts and enjoyed both storylines.  PHEW!

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 29

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  2 - 6

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 16

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Monday, June 29, 2015

SAINT ODD

Author:  Dean Koontz
Genre:  Sci-Fi Thriller, Odd Thomas Series #7
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
David Aaron Baker
Yearly Count:  35


Odd returns to Pico Mundo.

I love everything about Odd Thomas (David Aaron Baker!).  However, like I've said before, I really wanted more story . . . not just a hunt.  Despite my "just okay" rating(s), I still regarding this series as a delightful one.  Odd will always be one of my favorite characters.  

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, June 28, 2015

CANARY

Author:  Duane Swierczynski
Genre:  Crime Fiction,  Standalone ???
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  34


From NetGalley:
It's dangerous enough when an ordinary college girl turns confidential informant. Even more dangerous when she's smarter than the kingpins, killers, and cops who control her.

Honors student Sarie Holland is busted by the local police while doing a favor for her boyfriend. Unwilling to betray him but desperate to avoid destroying her future, Sarie has no choice but to become a "CI"—a confidential informant.

Philly narcotics cop Ben Wildey is hungry for a career-making bust. The detective thinks he's found the key in Sarie: her boyfriend scores from a mid-level dealer with alleged ties to the major drug gangs.

Sarie turns out to be the perfect CI: a quick study with a shockingly keen understanding of the criminal mind. But Wildey, desperate for results, pushes too hard and inadvertently sends the 19-year-old into a death trap, leaving Sarie hunted by crooked cops and killers alike with nothing to save her—except what she's learned during her harrowing weeks as an informant.

Which is bad news for the police and the underworld. Because when it comes to payback, CI #1373 turns out to be a very quick study...

 My experience with this book boiled down to this:  I didn't believe many scenes (even what started the whole thing), but I was intrigued and wanted to continue reading.  It had twists and turns that were easily followed and went at an enjoyable fast pace.  The ending felt like the beginning of a series, and unfortunately, I don't feel compelled to continue.  I suspended my allotment of disbelief for a while.  I do, however, want to try the Charlie Hardie series (Fun & Games #1).

Thoughts of Joy
    
My thanks go to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Author:  Anthony Doerr
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Zach Appelman
Yearly Count:  33


This is a World War II novel based mainly on 2 non-Jewish children:  a young girl from France and a boy from Germany.

The first half of the book, for both stories, was dull and dragged.  The second half picked up and kept my attention a little bit more, but not enough to actually enjoy the experience.  My greatest complaint was that both stories alternated, along with the time period.  Had the story flowed better, I may have liked it better.  At this point, I'm just glad it's done.

*This was posted with dashed hopes, a bit of frustration and disappointment.

Thoughts of Joy
             

Sunday, June 14, 2015

AIRPLANE RIDES

Author:  Jake Alexander
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  1.5/5 (ugh)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  32


From NetGalley:
10 true conversations, anonymously conveyed by airline passengers to the author. Written under the pseudonym Jake Alexander, Airplane Rides follows a highly successful, but emotionally isolated, real life finance executive through actual conversations had with seatmates. The work takes place over a ten year period and is multidimensional across both the passenger stories told and the moral evolution of this modern day nomad who serves as our narrator. It is a unique set of social observations, provocatively unfolded through the often painful lessons learned by others. Airplane Rides captures that seductive state between where we have been, and where we are going and the possibility of finding absolution along the way.

There's not much to say about this one other than I did NOT like the narrator (aka: the author), which translates into I did NOT like the book.  On a positive note, I thought 2 of the 10 stories were decent (saved it from being a DNF), but overall, the writing was lacking and the author was too!

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL

Author:  Sheri Fink
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  DNF #2
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kirsten Potter*



Being that I read Zeitoun not too long ago, I decided this book would be a great tie-in (Hurricane Katrina).  Ugh.  I listened to 4/14 CDs, but couldn't go any further.  I was bored.

Thoughts of Joy

*I just looked up a previous DNF, and it was narrated by Kirsten Potter as well.  Hmmmm.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 27

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 4

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 13

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Saturday, May 30, 2015

EENY MEENY

Author:  M. J. Arlidge
Genre:  Police Procedural,
DI Helen Grace Series #1
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  31


From NetGalley:
Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Inspector Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense....

I think the premise of this book was incredibly intriguing.  It truly had great potential, but something was missing OR overdone.  Instead of so many victims, I wonder if Arlidge honed in on less victims' experiences, it would have had more substance.  Just a thought.  :)

Coming from the UK, the second in this series, Pop Goes the Weasel, will be available as an eBook on October 6.  The remaining 2 (currently there are 4 in the series) are sporadically being released.  My interest is still piqued for this author's work and look forward to the next in the series.

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

CITY OF THE SUN

Author:  David Levien
Genre:  Mystery, Frank Behr Series #1
Published:  2008
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Scott Brick
Yearly Count:  30


A 12-year-old boy doesn't return home from his morning paper route.  Since the police don't seem to be making any progress on the case, the parents hire PI Frank Behr to find their son.

This book was an okay listen . . . nothing memorable either way.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE

Author:  Oprah Winfrey
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Oprah Winfrey
Yearly Count:  29


This is a selected compilation of the articles Oprah writes in O, The Oprah Magazine.

What an interesting way to experience this book . . . back-to-back with Cheryl Strayed's, Tiny Beautiful Things.  Without agreeing or disagreeing with the advice/sentiments, the most obvious difference for me was the tone and general maturity level.  

Even though the Dear Sugar letters/questions were of a serious nature and for the most part were responded likewise, I viewed Strayed's book as entertainment.  As real as they were, it was like listening to gossip at work or watching all the commotion on the side of the road.  Serious?  Important?  Life changing?  Yes, Yes and Yes.  However, in comparison to Oprah's What I Know For Sure, it lacked a genuine heartfelt feeling, mainly due to her presentation.

Oprah's articles of What I Know For Sure touched me in a whole different place.  I'm not a major fan or follower of Oprah, but I do believe she has a gift to share her experiences and knowledge in a profound way.  I soaked in the gentle, honest, soulful thoughts of what Oprah knows for sure and started thinking about what I know for sure.  I came up with one.  LOL  Then I realized I know more than I think I do and came up with another 3 immediately.  I like that Oprah inspired me and brought my heart some peace. 

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, May 16, 2015

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Author:  Cheryl Strayed
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Cheryl Strayed
Yearly Count:  28


This is a collection of letters that were responded to by advice columnist Sugar.

I have conflicting feelings about this book, but I am ending with a "very good" rating.  The letters and responses definitely kept my attention, but I cringed at the language and crude way this woman talked.  It just wasn't for me.  I will keep my opinions to myself regarding her advice.  :)

Thoughts of Joy
    

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

WHERE WE BELONG

Author:  Emily Giffin
Genre:  Chick Lit/Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Orlagh Cassidy
Yearly Count:  27


This book boils down to a teenage pregnancy/adoption story.

It's been a couple weeks since I finished this book, and it's not coming back to me.  I know I was listening, but not intently due to it being a chick lit* book.  I'm not sure how (or why) I got my hands on it, because I don't seek out this genre.  Anyway, I do remember several hokey parts and stuff that I'm not interested in; therefore, it landed below just okay.

Thoughts of Joy
      
*I do admit that on occasion I buy in and enjoy this genre.  :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 23

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 10

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Author:  Paula Hawkins
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5  (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Corbett, Brealey & Fisher
Yearly Count:  26


Rachel, an alcoholic divorcee, watches a couple at their home from the train she travels on daily.  The women goes missing, and Rachel feels the need to help the police with what she has observed. 

I'm not sure why I didn't like this book more.  No reasons are popping up other than I can't say that it wasn't better than "very good" to me.  I enjoyed it and look forward to more by this author.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, April 23, 2015

THE SILENT SISTER

Author:  Diane Chamberlain
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susan Bennett
Yearly Count:  25


When Riley's father passes away, she discovers family secrets.

My thoughts wavered on this one, but they never reached a good status.  I wasn't bored, though, so that was a good thing.  There were parts of the storyline that didn't interest me, and I guessed some of the others.  That wasn't a big deal, but overall, the story just didn't intrigue me.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, April 17, 2015

HONOR BOUND

Author:  Raffaele Sollecito & Andrew Gumbel
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Seth Numrich
Yearly Count:  24


Raffaele, a native Italian, meets an American student named Amanda Knox.  They immediately develop a relationship, but just as quickly are pulled apart by the devastating murder of Amanda's roommate.  They are accused and imprisoned.

I think I like Raffaele's telling better than Amanda's (Waiting to Be Heard), but that may have more to do with their personalities than the writing.  However, not enough to change my rating of the book.  I really enjoyed the narrator.

Thoughts of Joy
            

Monday, April 13, 2015

THE FINAL DETAIL

Author:  Harlan Coben
Genre:  Mystery, Myron Bolitar Series #6
Published:  2000
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Jonathan Marosz
Yearly Count:  23  


While Myron is taking a break from life on a Caribbean island, his partner is placed under arrest for the murder of a client.  Myron is immediately summoned back.

I always enjoy Myron, and this visit was no different.  

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

CONFESSIONS

Author:  Kanae Minato
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  22


From NetGalley:
Her pupils murdered her daughter.  Now she will have her revenge.  After calling off her engagement in the wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old child, Manami.  Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.  But first she has one last lecture to deliver.  She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers and sets in motion a diabolical plot for revenge.  Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you'll never see coming, Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger.  You'll never look at a classroom the same way again.

This was an incredibly difficult book for me to rate.    Right from the start I had an awkward time following along.  I wasn't sure who was talking and who they were talking about.  Once I figured that out, then there was a new voice to figure out.  (Foreign names always cause me trouble, though.)  I experienced lots of angst, but my curiosity was peaked.

I found the storyline very convoluted and depressing.  However, the twists made it interesting and drew me in further.  I wasn't surprised by the twists, but they were twists nonetheless.  This is definitely not a book for everybody.  Revenge is the key word, and it's not pretty.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

WAITING TO BE HEARD

Author:  Amanda Knox
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Amanda Knox
Yearly Count:  21


Amanda travels abroad to study in Italy.  Her desire to learn the language and soak in the culture turns to a very limited environment . . . prison.  She was convicted of murdering her roommate.

This wasn't an edge-of-your-seat kind of book (mainly because I know the current status); however, it was told very succinctly and encompassing.  I was able to follow and understand everything she went through:  physically, emotionally and mentally.  

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  8 - 18

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 2

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 6

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Monday, March 30, 2015

THE WATER IS WIDE

Author:  Pat Conroy
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  1969
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Dan John Miller
Yearly Count:  20


Children on Yamacraw Island, off the coast of South Carolina, receive a new teacher . . . Pat Conroy.

I didn't find this to be anything special.  I suppose if I had read any of Pat Conroy's work beforehand, I may have been more intrigued with his life before writing.  

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, March 28, 2015

THE MARTIAN

Author:  Andy Weir
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/R.C. Bray
Yearly Count:  19


The botanist/engineer member of the Mars mission, Mark Watney, gets stranded on the planet after a dust storm.  

I think I'm the only person on this planet that doesn't think this book is out of this world.  :(  I almost gave up after the first 30 minutes or so, but knew there had to be something more coming (because of all the hype), so I made myself continue on.  One of the greatest adjustments I had to make was to listen differently.  I did not need to follow every ounce or degree or whatever else he was trying to figure out.  The details didn't matter.  Thank goodness, because there were billions of them!!!  

In general, I liked the basic storyline, but overall, it was just "good."  Mark and his quips saved the day.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

INVISIBLE MURDER

Author:  Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis
Genre:  Fiction, Nina Borg Series #2
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Katherine Kellgren
Yearly Count:  18


From NetGalley:
Red Cross nurse Nina Borg hunts for the source of a mysterious illness spreading through a small community of Hungarian refugees.

I didn't care for this book very much.  However, I think it had more to do with the audio version than the actual book.  The narrator yelled a lot.  She raised her angry voice and sped up her reading when something was "happening."  Drove me nuts!  There was also many repeats of phrases.  I don't think that was purposeful, though.  Nonetheless, it was annoying.  As for the storyline . . . eh . . . that didn't grip me much either and there was lots of foul language.  Not a pleasant listen in the least.  Don't think I'll be continuing with this series.  :(

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

ZEITOUN

Author:  Dave Eggers
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Firdous Bamji
Yearly Count:  17


Zeitoun, a Syrian-American, stays behind after his family packs up and moves away from oncoming Hurricane Katrina.  After a week of daily communication, Zeitoun abruptly stops all contact.

I got a great sense of Zeitoun's surroundings and plight, but I tuned out a couple of times.  It wasn't necessarily boring, but maybe a little stagnant here and there (no pun intended) -- too drawn out maybe.  Other than that, it was interesting to live vicariously through Zeitoun in the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Thoughts of Joy


Sunday, March 15, 2015

THE LOOK OF LOVE

Author:  Sarah Jio
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan & 
Cassandra Campbell
Yearly Count:  16


Jane was given a rare gift at birth.  She is able to see love.  Her predecessor has given her the task to identify the 6 different types by her 30th birthday.  She has a year to complete it or she will reap the consequences of failing the task.

This was not my kind of book; however, I did become invested in a couple of the relationships and wanted to know what would become of them.  Other than that, the basic idea of the book did not work for me.  It was unrealistic and a bit silly.  

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

UNSEEN

Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Will Trent Series #7
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathleen Early
Yearly Count:  15


From NetGalley:
Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes. The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally. But undercover and cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.

Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Sara holds Lena, Jared’s wife, responsible: Lena, a detective, has been a magnet for trouble all her life, and Jared’s shooting is not the first time someone Sara loved got caught in the crossfire. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.

I think this series may have run its course for me. There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with this book, but I simply didn't care. I listened and went along for the ride, but the whole Sara and Will relationship does nothing for me, and Lena, well, I've never cared for her, so there really wasn't much left. Not sure what will come of this series and me. I'm guessing I'll continue, but I'm not drawn or eager anymore.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Bantam Dell and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

INSIDE THE O'BRIENS

Author:  Lisa Genova
Genre:  Realistic Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  14


From NetGalley:
Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Alice :: Alzheimer's       Joe :: Huntington's

What an eye-opening book!  Knowing many facts about the disease is one thing, but experiencing it through the O'Briens is another.  Lisa has a way of sharing her knowledge in a very personal, realistic and touching manner.  After only picking it up a few times, it zipped by, making it a very fast read.  There is a sense of suspense to it as well, but there were a couple of very poignant scenes that really make this a special book.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, March 06, 2015

PRACTICE TO DECEIVE

Author:  Ann Rule
Genre:  True Crime, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Anne Twomey
Yearly Count:  13


From NetGalley:
Nestled in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island is a gem of the Pacific Northwest; accessible only by ferry and the soaring Deception Pass Bridge, it is known for its artistic communities and stunning natural beauty. Life there is low-key, insular, and the island’s year-round residents tend to know one another’s business. But when the blood-drenched body of Russel Douglas was discovered the day after Christmas in his SUV in a hidden driveway near Whidbey’s most exclusive mansions, the whole island was shocked. A single bullet between his eyes was the cause of death, but no one could imagine who among them could plot such a devious, cold-blooded crime. At first, police suspected suicide, tragically common at the height of the holiday season. But when they found no gun in or near the SUV, Russel’s manner of death became homicide. Like a cast of characters from a classic mystery novel, a host of Whidbey residents fell under suspicion.

 I thought this was pretty good.  It was a little cumbersome with characters and side stories, but it wouldn't be a book if it were a cut and dry type of case, right?  Even though, the ending was a little anti-climatic, and it wasn't all that compelling, I still enjoyed the process of solving the crime.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, March 01, 2015

HIS MAJESTY'S HOPE

Author:  Susan Elia MacNeal
Genre:  Fiction, Maggie Hope Series #3
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susan Duerden
Yearly Count:  12


From NetGalley:
World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad—and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war—and of her own past.

This series hasn't been a big winner for me, but I still want to continue it.  I think it's because it reminds me of Nancy Drew.  Maggie is the grown version of Nancy, but unfortunately, she's not much more sophisticated.  And, the storyline has so many coincidences that it becomes ridiculous at times.  However, like I said, I'm still drawn to it, so there's something good inside there.  :)

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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 10

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 1

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 3

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0