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.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

THE LIFE WE BURY

Author:  Allen Eskens
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Zach Villa
Yearly Count:  65


Joe Talbert has to interview, then write a biography about the person for a college English class.  Joe goes to the local nursing home to seek out a subject.  He finds someone with quite the background!

I loved the narrator Zach Villa!  Perfect.  :)  The storyline was unique to me, and I appreciated that all the characters were significant to the whole.  I didn't quite believe everything; hence only a 4/5 rating, but was always engaged.  I will be looking out for more by Eskens and Villa!

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

THURSDAY'S CHILDREN

Author:  Nicci French
Genre:  Mystery?, Frieda Klein Series #4
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Beth Chalmers
Yearly Count:  64


Frieda is asked to help an old classmate's daughter who is dealing with some psychological issues.  This leads Frieda back to her hometown where she hasn't been back in decades.

I found the backstory of Frieda to be somewhat interesting and wanted to listen, but it wasn't as good as the other 3 in the series.  I'm still looking forward to #5 titled Friday on My Mind.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, October 31, 2016

October Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 47

Books:  0 - 1 

eBooks:  1 - 7 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 30  

Children's Books (any version):  1 - 8 

Short Story Collection:  0 - 1

DNF:  0 - 3

Saturday, October 29, 2016

AMONG THE WICKED

Author:  Linda Castillo
Genre:  Mystery, Kate Burkholder Series #8
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  63


From NetGalley:
Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called upon by the sheriff's department in rural, upstate New York to assist on a developing situation that involves a reclusive Amish settlement and the death of a young girl. Unable to penetrate the wall of silence between the Amish and "English" communities, the sheriff asks Kate to travel to New York, pose as an Amish woman, and infiltrate the community.

Kate's long time love interest, State Agent John Tomasetti, is dead set against her taking on such an unorthodox assignment, knowing she'll have limited communication - and even less in the way of backup. But Kate can't turn her back, especially when the rumor mill boils with disturbing accounts of children in danger. She travels to New York where she's briefed and assumes her new identity as a lone widow seeking a new life.

Kate infiltrates the community and goes deep under cover. In the coming days, she unearths a world built on secrets, a series of shocking crimes, and herself, alone... trapped in a fight for her life.

I liked the general plot of the story and, of course, being back with Kate, but the climax was a bit too predictable.  It didn't seem very original either.  Ultimately, it was good, but nothing special. 

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

Author:  Shari Lapena
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  62


From NetGalley:
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

This was a good book.  It kept me interested and engaged throughout; however, it wasn't edge-of-my-seat good or couldn't-put-down good (which would actually be very good or better).  I did like it though and glad to have read it.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

FIND HER

Author:  Lisa Gardner
Genre:  Thriller, D.D. Warren Series #8
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kirsten Potter
Yearly Count:  61


From NetGalley:
Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who's never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she's become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who've never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless.

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who's determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

The D.D. Warren series is one of my favorites.  It's one that I can count on to be a very good read or listen.  This book did not hit that mark.  It started out good, but quickly went into unbelievable territory.  It proceeded to be repetitive and simply just too much.  This series has a good track record for me, so I'm still looking forward to the next.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Penguin Group (Chelsea) and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley. 
      

Thursday, October 13, 2016

DON'T YOU CRY

Author:  Mary Kubica
Genre:  Suspence, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kate Rudd & Kirby Heyborne
Yearly Count:  60


From NetGalley:
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

Funny how this goes.  I was really enjoying the slow build up -- my interest piqued for sure, but by the time I got to the last 1/4 (maybe 1/3) it all fell to pieces.  I didn't like anything about the revealing through to the conclusion.  MEANWHILE, other people hated the beginning and loved the ending.  How does that happen?!  LOL

I'll still be on the lookout for more by Kubica, because I enjoyed Pretty BabyThe Good Girl.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, October 06, 2016

WHEN YOU REACH ME

Author:  Rebecca Stead
Genre:  Middle Grade Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Cynthia Holloway
Yearly Count:  59


This book encompasses sixth graders, a mystery, friendships and home life.

This did not entertain me for a minute, but there was nothing in particular that struck me as horrible either.  I just did not enjoy or care anything about it.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Monday, October 03, 2016

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Author:  B. A. Paris
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Georgia Maguire
Yearly Count:  58


From NetGalley:
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

This was a very good audioread for me!  It had some issues with plausibility, but I pushed those aside.  Ultimately, it kept me intrigued, and I didn't want to stop listening (terrific narrator!).  Love when that happens!  

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 43

Books:  0 - 1 

eBooks:  1 - 6 

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 27  

Children's Books (any version):  2 - 7 

Short Story Collection:  0 - 1

DNF:  0 - 3

I LET YOU GO

Author:  Clare Mackintosh
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Nicola Barber & Steven Crossley
Yearly Count:  57 


After a hit and run accident, Jenna Gray escapes to a remote beach coast to hide from her past.

What I found most interesting about this book was the fact that I was a little surprised here and there. I didn't know (aka guess) anything until towards the end, and it kept me fully engaged.  It also encompassed several genres which was a nice feature as well.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

GIFT FROM THE SEA

Author:  Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  1955
Personal Rating:  1/5 (don't bother)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Claudette Colbert
Yearly Count:  56


Here lies a bunch of rambling words trying to make connections between life and sea shells. 

I seriously must have a different book from everybody else.  This did absolutely nothing for me.  It didn't touch me, talk to me or even breeze by me.  I'm bewildered.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, September 19, 2016

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

Author:  Katherine Applegate  
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy, Standalone 
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Adam Grupper
Yearly Count:  55


Ivan, the gorilla, makes a promise to a fellow elephant friend.  And promises are forever.

Not my thing.  I don't like personification, and ALL the animals talk in this one.  UGH.

It makes me like Crenshaw even more.  Crenshaw does talk, but not a lot, and of course, we know that he's just in the little boy's imagination.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, September 17, 2016

CRENSHAW

Author:  Katherine Applegate  
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy, Standalone 
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kirby Heyborne
Yearly Count:  54


Jackson has an imaginary friend named Crenshaw.  Crenshaw is a very large cat.

This seriously is a great book for 3rd - 5th grade.  Personally, I would have liked to have "seen" much, much more of Crenshaw.  Loved his character.  A bit more activity would have made me happier, too.  However, I'm not the target, sooooo ... .  Lots and lots to talk about with the kiddos though - making for a great classroom book or child at home.  The narrator Kirby Heyborne was perfect!

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A GREAT RECKONING

Author:  Louise Penny
Genre:  Mystery, Three Pines Series #12
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Bathurst
Yearly Count:  53


The 12th in the series . . . a map, four cadets, Three Pines and a dead professor.  Armand Gamache comes to save the day.

I loved being back with the peeps from Three Pines and the little witticisms that were shared.  However, I prefer a little more action and suspense in my mysteries.  Currently I'm on the low end of the spectrum of ratings with this one.  It's being regarded quite highly.  

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, September 10, 2016

BLOOD DEFENSE

Author:  Marcia Clark
Genre:  Mystery, Samantha Brinkman Series #1
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  52!!! (Goal met)


From NetGalley:
Samantha Brinkman, an ambitious, hard-charging Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, is struggling to make a name for herself and to drag her fledgling practice into the big leagues. Sam lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star—and the defendant is a decorated veteran LAPD detective. It promises to be exactly the kind of media sensation that would establish her as a heavy hitter in the world of criminal law.

Though Sam has doubts about his innocence, she and her two associates (her closest childhood friend and a brilliant ex-con) take the case. Notorious for living by her own rules—and fearlessly breaking everyone else’s—Samantha pulls out all the stops in her quest to uncover evidence that will clear the detective. But when a shocking secret at the core of the case shatters her personal world, Sam realizes that not only has her client been playing her, he might be one of the most dangerous sociopaths she’s ever encountered.

I was incredibly disappointed with this book.  Sam's character is somewhat offensive to me, and I'm actually surprised Clark took this route.  I rated all four of her previous books a 4/5 or better - loved her writing and storytelling ability.  This one didn't come close.  It has weakened my fandom for sure.  I definitely want to read the next in this series, but I'm hoping Sam (Marcia) has a change of heart and goes in a different direction.  Fingers crossed!!!   

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, September 02, 2016

DARK MATTER

Author:  Blake Crouch
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Jon Lindstrom
Yearly Count:  51


A man is kidnapped, then finds himself in another universe.

Well, I didn't find this as captivating as many others have, but it was still a decent listen.  I was very intrigued in the beginning, the middle was just okay -- it became a little redundant and I was ready to move on, and then the ending was predictable.  Even though I've rated it a 3.25/5, I certainly don't feel it was a waste of time.  It definitely was an interesting concept (which his writing conveyed very well) and one that we often think about . . .
what if . . . ? 

Thoughts of Joy


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Reads





Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 39 

Books:  0 - 1 

eBooks:  1 - 5 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 23  

Children's Books (any version):  0 - 5 

Short Story Collection:  1 - 1

DNF:  1 - 3

Monday, August 29, 2016

TRULY MADLY GUILTY

Author:  Liane Moriarty
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Caroline Lee
Yearly Count:  50


Friends, parents, neighbors, kids, work . . . life.

Unfortunately, I was annoyed from the beginning, because it felt like a repeat plot format of Big Little Lies.  Also, it was incredibly drawn out and wasn't very intriguing.  There were little nuggets dropped here and there to keep the story going, but ultimately, I didn't find anything special about this one.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY?

Author: Bill Clegg 
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  DNF #3
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Bill Clegg



I listened to 1/6 CDs and couldn't do it for another minute.  The story was incredibly dull and the narrator drab.  At least the two meshed together; however, still not my thing.

Thoughts of Joy

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


Sunday, August 14, 2016

THE SOUND OF GRAVEL

Author:  Ruth Wariner
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Ruth Wariner
Yearly Count:  49


Ruth, a child of polygamy, tells her coming-of-age story.

This was quite a story.  It reminded me of The Glass Castle (Walls); however, I wish I read this book.  If the author read like she talked in her book trailer, all would have been well.  But, she didn't.  :(  Needless to say, I kept listening and the story took over.  Ruth's love of her family is prevalent and her determination to be applauded.  May her life be filled with joy and peace.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

HOW WE LEARN

Author:  Benedict Carey
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  48


From NetGalley:
From an early age, it is drilled into our heads: Laziness, distraction, and ignorance are the enemies of success. We’re told that learning is all self-discipline, that we must confine ourselves to designated study areas, turn off the music, and maintain a strict ritual if we want to ace that test, memorize that presentation, or nail that piano recital.

But what if almost everything we were told about learning is wrong?

And what if there was a way to achieve more with less effort?

In How We Learn, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. What he discovers is that, from the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematize the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming. Is a dedicated desk in a quiet room really the best way to study? Can altering your routine improve your memory? Are there times when distraction is good? Is ignorance always bad? Is repetition necessary? Carey’s search for answers to these questions yields cunning strategies that make learning more a part of our everyday lives—and less of a chore.

I usually love educational books, but I am incredibly sad to say I did not enjoy this one.  I suppose it's more about expectations than anything.  Reading 25 million studies, including numerous details of each, was not my thought going in.  Were there some interesting antidotes?  No.  Was there anything new?  No.  Not quite sure how this is new thinking or understanding, but with all the studies, this book can inform you how his questions are answered.  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Random House & NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Monday, August 08, 2016

FINDING AUDREY

Author:  Sophie Kinsella
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Gemma Whelan
Yearly Count:  47


Fourteen-year-old, Audrey, is dealing with diagnosed anxiety disorder brought on by an undisclosed event.

Sophie Kinsella always makes me giggle a time or two (often more) in her books, no matter the topic.  Even though this was a more serious topic of teenage anxiety, she still managed to tickle me.  Her version of a young adult (14) was depicted very well.  I appreciated that Audrey didn't act like a child with incredibly immature behaviors left and right (some were anticipated, though, she is 14).  I didn't feel like this was a serious attempt to cure anxiety or anything like that.  It was a glimpse into one girl's life as she works through her problems.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

A MOTHER'S RECKONING

Author:  Sue Klebold
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Sue Klebold
Yearly Count:  46


This is Sue Klebold's account of her family and the way in which they have dealt with the tragedy of Columbine.

This was an incredibly sad, yet very articulate reckoning.  Saying my heart goes out to Sue Klebold doesn't accurately convey the depth of my sympathy for her.  She is someone I would like to be my friend -- that's how close I felt towards her after reading her journey.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Reads





Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 35 

Books:  1 - 1 

eBooks:  2 - 4 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 20  

Children's Books (any version):  0 - 5 

Short Story Collection:  1 - 1

DNF:  0 - 2

Saturday, July 30, 2016

THE SIXTH IDEA

Author:  P. J. Tracy
Genre:  Mystery, Monkeewrench Series #7
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  45


From First to Read:
The peaceful Christmas season in Minneapolis is shattered when two friends, Chuck Spencer and Wally Luntz, scheduled to meet in person for the first time, are murdered on the same night, two hours and several miles apart, dramatically concluding winter vacation for homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth.

An hour north of Minneapolis, Lydia Ascher comes home to find two dead men in her basement. When Leo and Gino discover her connection to their current cases, they suspect that she is a target, too. The same day, an elderly, terminally ill man is kidnapped from his home, an Alzheimer’s patient goes missing from his care facility, and a baffling link among all the crimes emerges.

This series of inexplicable events sends the detectives sixty years into the past to search for answers—and straight to Grace MacBride’s Monkeewrench, a group of eccentric computer geniuses who devote their time and resources to helping the cops solve the unsolvable. What they find is an unimaginable horror—a dormant Armageddon that might be activated at any moment unless Grace and her partners Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, along with Leo and Gino, can find a way to stop it.

This was a welcomed visit with the Monkeewrench gang that went by quickly.  It had all the characters in it, but I still wanted more interaction between them.  The actual plot had a moment or two of confusion, and in general, was just okay.  However, I felt very comfortable being back with the gang and was happy to pick it up every day.

Thoughts of Joy
 
My thanks go to Putnam and First to Read for providing me with this eGalley.

Friday, July 29, 2016

TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME

Author:  Carol Rifka Brunt
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Amy Rubinate
Yearly Count:  44


In this coming-of-age novel (1986, New York), fourteen-year-old, June, has a close relationship with her dying Uncle Finn.  June eventually discovers love in places she didn't expect.    

Without an ounce of prior knowledge, I got something totally different from what I anticipated.  Once I got my head wrapped around the idea that this was virtually a YA book, it was too late.  I didn't buy into anything.  The things the girls (June and her sister) said and did were unbelievable, as well as, other characters.  The writing was good, but I couldn't wait for the story to be done.  I'm definitely in the minority with this one.  Blah.

Thoughts of Joy
    

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTER

Author:  Jonathan Kellerman
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathe Mazur
Yearly Count:  43


From NetGalley:
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents' death in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace's harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace's renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she'd outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she'd long ago fled.

Well, this wasn't my first Kellerman book . . . and it won't be my last, but it certainly didn't live up to my expectations.  :(  I did not buy into the main character at all.  While she is made out to be bold, she was fake and bland.  Her actions made no sense to me.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Random House & NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.
    

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

LOST AT SEA

Author:  Bryan Lee O'Malley
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2003
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  42


Raleigh is on a road trip with 3 other students from high school.

What?!  This was just a bunch of rambling thoughts of nothing.  I kept reading because it's a graphic novel (short) and was hoping something would come of it.  Nope.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Decade of Blogging!


Amazing.  10 years ago today, I began Thoughts of Joy.  Like life, change in the book-blogging community has been inevitable, but for the most part my blog has maintained its initial intent . . . a record of my reading.  I'm content with that.

Over the past 10 years, my literal reading has had its own ebbs and flows.  I've reached record highs in my "Yearly Count" of books read, but during the last 2-3 years, I've backed down on reading paper books or even eBooks.  Reading has become scarce due to my hobby of crocheting.  I do continue to read everyday; it's just in very small bites.  I'm happy with that.

The ability to listen to audiobooks (hence, multitask) makes me gleeful, and if I choose to pick up a book or an eBook -- my house and iPad are still overflowing with them.  That has not changed. 

Happy Reading to one and all!  :)

Thoughts of Joy