Saturday, November 15, 2014


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

The saga continues of Aya and her community.

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

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, November 13, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, November 07, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, November 02, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, November 01, 2014


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

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

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

Thought of Joy

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  8 - 63

Books:  3 - 6

eBooks:  0 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  5 - 32

*Short Stories:  0 - 0


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, October 30, 2014


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

The "Good Girl" is kidnapped.

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, October 26, 2014


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

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

Whatever, which is a ditto of Sisters.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, October 24, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, October 19, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, October 18, 2014


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

It's a graphic memoir about childhood sisters.


Thoughts of Joy

Friday, October 17, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, October 13, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, October 04, 2014


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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 55

Books:  0 - 3

eBooks:  0 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 27

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Thursday, September 25, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy     

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, September 04, 2014


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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


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

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

Thoughts of Joy


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Reads

56. Faithless (Slaughter) ~ 2.75/5

 57. I Am the Mission (Zadoff) ~ 3.75/5

58. Low Pressure (Brown) ~ 3.25/5

59. The 500 (Quirk) ~ 2.5/5

60. After I Do (Reid) ~ 3/5

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 49

Books:  2 - 3

eBooks:  2 - 8

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 26

*Short Stories:  0 - 0


Author:  Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  60

From NetGalley:
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

Another shift in my usual fare . . . women's fiction.  I wanted something quick and easy to read, and that's what I got.  It was incredibly predictable, but quick and easy reading, which is what I required.  Unfortunately, I didn't buy into the premise.  Their "breaking point" did not warrant a year separation.  And, if that's the case in real life, no wonder the divorce rate is so high.      

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

THE 500

Author:  Matthew Quirk
Genre:  Political Thriller, Mike Ford Series #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jay Snyder
Yearly Count:  59

From Amazon:
(no longer available from NetGalley)
A year ago, fresh out of Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed his dream job at the Davies Group, Washington's most powerful consulting firm. Now, he's staring down the barrel of a gun, pursued by two of the world's most dangerous men. To get out, he'll have to do all the things he thought he'd never do again: lie, cheat, steal-and this time, maybe even kill.

Mike grew up in a world of small-stakes con men, learning lessons at his father's knee. His hard-won success in college and law school was his ticket out. As the Davies Group's rising star, he rubs shoulders with "The 500," the elite men and women who really run Washington -- and the world. But peddling influence, he soon learns, is familiar work: even with a pedigree, a con is still a con.

I did not know this was a political thriller.  I thought it was a legal thriller.  BIG difference in my book.  Unfortunately, I did not like the first 1/3 at all.  I was bored.  It picked up steam, and I became somewhat interested in the last half.  I know several people who would like this book and have encouraged them to give it a try.  I'm just not interested in listening to politics and/or business ventures.  

Thoughts of Joy

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

*Received eGalley from NetGalley, but listened to the audiobook.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Author:  Sandra Brown
Genre:  Romantic Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Stephen Lang
Yearly Count:  58

Bellamy writes a bestselling fiction thriller based upon the actual events of her sister's murder, that took place18 years earlier, in order to solve the crime and get some peace.

This is not a typical audioread for me, but I've read a couple of Sandra Brown's books and thought they were good books to mix up my genre intake.  This one had a bit too much romance for my liking, and the characters were just okay.  The who's and why's behind the mystery are what intrigued me.   I had two people in mind as the culprit, and one of them was correct, so it turned out to be not much of a surprise for me, but it was still a decent listen.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, August 18, 2014


Author:  Allen Zadoff
Genre:  YA Thriller,
The Unknown Assassin Series #2
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format: eBook
Yearly Count:  57

From NetGalley:
He was the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody: No name. No past. No remorse. At least until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders -- until he fell in love with his target. Now The Program is worried that its valuable soldier has become a liability.

Boy Nobody, haunted by the outcome of his last assignment, is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to show his loyalty.

His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of a military training and indoctrination camp for teenagers. One target. Limited time frame. Public place. It sounds simple, but a previous operative couldn't do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, or the truth.

I still haven't bought into the "boy-assassin" concept.  It doesn't set well with me (not that adult-assassins do either!) and again, I would not want my teenagers reading it; however, I thought this one was better than the first.  Getting used to the idea may be part of it, but I was drawn into the storyline immediately and liked the twists and turns.  I do like the main character (Daniel in this book) and will pick up the next in the series.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Thursday, August 07, 2014


Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Grant County Series #5
Published:  2005
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Clarinda Ross
Yearly Count:  56

Sara, a Georgia medical examiner, and Jeffrey, a police chief and ex-husband of Sara, literally stumble upon a buried box in the woods in which they find a dead body inside.  Jeffrey takes on the case, and Sara does the autopsy.

I didn't really care for this one.  The plot didn't interest me, and there were too many relationship issues.  I like the edge of the Will Trent series better.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 46

Books:  2 - 3

eBooks:  3 - 6

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 24

*Short Stories:  0 - 0


Author:  Liane Moriarty
Genre:  Chick-Lit, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Caroline Lee
Yearly Count:  55

Alice (estranged wife and mother of 3), hits her head while working out at the gym and loses the last 10 years of her memory.

This kept my interest, but I was always waiting for something BIG to happen.  I never got that.  Maybe reading/listening to many, many thrillers has trained my mind to think something was going to really elevate the story.  Like I said, that didn't happen; however, I still enjoyed the time with Alice as she worked through her memory loss.

Side Note:  The cover doesn't do the book justice.  

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Author:  Jimmy Gownley
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  54

Thirteen-year-old Jimmy goes through some growing pains as he discovers what is important to him.

This has received some high praise, but I just don't see it.  It's fine.  There's nothing necessarily wrong with it; however, I would have included some important steps of his path (i.e.:  actual advice for publishing).  I enjoyed the part when he ventures into defending the graphic novel genre.  The theory of any kind of reading is reading prevails.  I do have my own age appropriate umbrella over that theory, but that's just me.  My hope is that this book inspires young adults (and adults, too).

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Author:  Charles Graeber
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Will Collyer
Yearly Count:  53

Charlie Cullen was finally arrested after years and years of skirting by and leaving a wake of murdered patients.

While being a story that can petrify any human being (who wants to go to the hospital in the first place, then add this little twist!?), it is told somewhat repetitively.  I understand if something happens over and over again, that that's how you tell it, but it became redundant, and I lost some interest, especially in the beginning 3 discs or so.  Once he was the target, the story picked up.  So sad for the families that he devastated with his deeds, but so happy to know that Charlie is in prison.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Author:  Richard Stark & Darwyn Cooke
Genre:  Graphic Novel/Fiction, Parker Series #1
Published:  GN 2009,
1962 (2014)
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format:  Book & eBook
Yearly Count: 52

 From NetGalley:
The Hunter, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest. Betrayed by the woman he loves and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind — to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him!

Darwyn Cooke has adapted four Parker books as graphic novels so far. The first three, The Hunter, The Outfit, and The Score have all won Eisner and Harvey Awards. Cooke will be providing all-new color illustrations for The Hunter, the first in a series of hardcover prose novels released in chronological order and featuring Cooke's art.

I received this eBook (right-sided pic) from NetGalley.  When I started reading it, I wondered where the pictures were (graphic novel comics) and discovered that it was a book with full-page illustrations, not an actual graphic novel.  I read part and skimmed the rest, then checked out the graphic novel from the library.  (I originally requested it from NetGalley, because I thought it was a graphic novel.)  Ultimately, I was able to compare the two.  The graphic novel did a great job in pulling the story together.

The popularity of the Parker novels was new to me, but once that was clear, I looked forward to meeting Parker. I loved the New York setting, but not the time frame. It's an old gangster type of crime novel (hard-boiled), and that's not for me. Also, I enjoyed the beginning when Parker was getting himself set up, but the rest was just a bunch of shooting.  Parker did not impress me or encourage me to want to learn more about him.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Authors:  Victor Hugo and SunNeko Lee
Genre:  Classic Graphic Novel (Manga), Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  51

From NetGalley:
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo's classic novel of love and tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!

The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Miserables!

I thought the story was very clear in this graphic novel form; however, I know it from seeing the musical several times.  The interesting part about it was reading it "manga style."  Reading a book from back to front and right to left turned out to be a very easy transition, but surprisingly, it made my experience a little bit fun.  :)  I thought the graphics were terrific and would certainly read another in this style.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Author:  Sue Monk Kidd
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Jenna Lamia & Adepero Oduye
Yearly Count:  50

From NetGalley:

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

I felt the story was interesting, but also a little boring.  The shift in narrators from Handful to Sarah was good, but the stuttering of Sarah annoyed me.  It's just like singing in an audiobook -- not necessary! 

At the end of the book, the author shares what was truth, manipulated truth and what she simply made up.  I found that information fascinating and wish I had known how much truth was really in the book BEFORE I listened to it.  It would have made for an even better experience for me.

I did have an enjoyable connection with this story.  I was making a quilt top while listening to it, and there was much talk about fabrics, quilts and sewing.  Often I remember what I was doing when listening to a book, but this one had such a tie-in that I doubt I'll ever forget it.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

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

Can you say 8? Whoa.

Thoughts of Joy is 8 years old today!!!

I can't believe another year has flown by.  My reading habits have changed over the year by becoming more audiobook-based.  There are too many other things to do (fun and not-so-fun) to just sit and read.  Audiobooks give me the option to listen to a book and do something else at the same time.  Audiobooks have been a part of my life since before blogging, but this year they have taken over.  I barely read books anymore.  I miss it, but love the fact that I get more in a day with audios. 

My blog will continue on as is.  I still enjoy reading other blogs and keeping mine as a reading journal.  I miss the camaraderie of bloggers that once was, but nothing stays the same.  Such is life.  Thanks to those that haven't given up on me and continue to stop by.  You make my day with every comment.  

Happy Reading and/or Listening!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Author:  Neil Gaiman
Genre:  Paranormal, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Neil Gaiman
Yearly Count:  49

A 40-something man remembers his childhood when he met an 11-year-old girl at the end of the lane when he was just 7.

First things first.  Neil Gaiman.  He should become a full-time narrator!  I didn't remember it was him until I was loving it and looked it up.  Love his inflection and voice.  Perfect.  :)  Now, the story itself, I was really enjoying the peculiarity for close to 4 out of 5 discs.  Then . . . it fell apart for me.  The way it came to a close was too messed up.  I didn't feel like it was a story anymore - more like a mind-wandering collaboration.  So, in the end, I'm left with disappointing feelings.  Oh well.  

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Authors:  Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, 
Greg Salsedo
Genre:  Children's Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  48

A grandmother shares a secret (Holocaust based) with her granddaughter about when she was a child of the same age.

I didn't realize that this was from the juvenile section, I thought it was just told through the eyes of a child.  Needless to say, I still read it and thought it was done very well for the age group intended (6 - 10 year olds).  It is a big story told with few words, but the illustrations speak volumes. 

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, July 06, 2014


Author:  Rick Yancey
Genre:  YA Post-Apocalyptic, The Wave Series #1
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Brandon Espinoza & Phoebe Strole
Yearly Count:  47

Aliens are attacking the humans through a variety of waves, leaving those remaining perplexed and bewildered as to why.

This book had my attention from the beginning and held it throughout, but not so much that it kept me on the edge of my seat.  It was told from a few viewpoints, which I liked, and was mysterious in its origin.  Some ideas were revealed, but there is so much unknown. 

The Wave Series #2, The Infinite Sea, will be available in September.  I'll be reading it.  :)

Thoughts of Joy      

Thursday, July 03, 2014


Author:  Nicci French
Genre:  Police Procedural?, Frieda Klein Series #3
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  46

From NetGalley:
Ruth Lennox, housewife and mother of three, is found dead in a pool of her own blood. Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson can’t piece together a motive and calls in Frieda, hoping her talents will offer a new angle on the case.

When it emerges that the mother was hiding a scandalous secret, her family closes ranks. Frieda herself is distracted, still reeling from an attempt on her life, and struggling with her own rare feelings of vulnerability. Then a patient’s chance remark sends Frieda down a dangerous path that seems to lead to a serial killer who’s long escaped detection. Is Frieda getting closer to unraveling either case? Or is she just the victim of her own paranoid, fragile mind? Because, as Frieda knows, every step closer to a killer is one more step into a darkness from which there may be no return . . .

It has taken me a good 6 weeks to finish this, but it certainly hasn't been due to the book.  Every time I picked it back up, I was right back in it.  It never lost its appeal to me; however, it wasn't as good as the first 2.  There were some incidents that I didn't buy and some scenes that seemed a bit too choppy, but I'm still interested in this series and look forward to #4.

Thoughts of Joy  

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 41

Books:  0 - 1

eBooks:  0 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 18

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Friday, June 20, 2014


Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Scott Brick
Yearly Count:  45

Island Books is owned by a grumpy widower who discovers a lone 2-year-old in his stacks.

I enjoyed this story.  It had an array of topics that produced just as many emotions, and the book talk throughout was delightful.  However, I think it would lose a lot of its charm, if one doesn't know the books in which were mentioned.  Glad I listened to it, but it didn't touch me like it has others, which seems to be the story of my reading life.  :)  

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Author:  Jo Nesbo
Genre: Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Gildart Jackson
Yearly Count:  44

A son breaks out of prison to avenge his father's death.

Boo.  I was really hoping that this one would knock my socks off.  :(  It did have some interesting components in its storyline, but I didn't believe it.  Everything seemed to run a bit over the top.  I do like Nesbo's writing style, though, and I look forward to reading more Harry Hole books.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Author:  Alafair Burke
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Tamara Marston
Yearly Count:  43

After finally landing her dream job as an art gallery manager and proving herself through a successful show, Alice goes to work one day to find the gallery empty!  The only thing left behind was a dead body.  Alice becomes the center of a homicide investigation.

This was somewhat of a complex storyline and a little confusing at times, but I was still interested.  It didn't have me glued, but I was curious as to why and how this happened.  There were a few bits and pieces of the storyline that I didn't care for, but the worst thing of all was the language.  I suppose reading it wouldn't have been so bad, but I hated the foul language and almost made it a DNF because of it.  Can't say I'm glad I continued, but I did.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, June 02, 2014


Author:  Veronica Roth
Genre:  YA Dystopian, Divergent Trilogy #2
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Emma Galvin
Yearly Count:  42

A civil war is on the brink in this dystopian world housed in Chicago.

I was happy that this one continued where it left off from the first in the trilogy, but I couldn't remember the first one very clearly and there wasn't much update.  I did catch on.  What I noticed most, even in the down times, was that there was always, always, always something going on.  There was constant movement or plan in place.  Good idea?  I don't know.  It made me feel like nothing was especially important when the high was always there.  Needless to say, overall, I enjoyed it.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  7 - 37

Books:   0 - 1

eBooks:  0 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 17

*Short Stories:  0 - 0