Friday, August 03, 2018

SHEETS

Author:  Brenna Thummler
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  26


From NetGalley:
Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen year old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she’s worked for.

Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world.

When their worlds collide, Marjorie is confronted by unexplainable disasters as Wendell transforms Glatt’s Laundry into his midnight playground, appearing as a mere sheet during the day. While Wendell attempts to create a new afterlife for himself, he unknowingly sabotages the life that Marjorie is struggling to maintain.

Sheets illustrates the determination of a young girl to fight, even when all parts of her world seem to be conspiring against her. It proves that second chances are possible whether life feels over or life is over. But above all, it is a story of the forgiveness and unlikely friendship that can only transpire inside a haunted laundromat.

This was not for me.  I didn't realize that it was Sci-Fi/Fantasy, so it wasn't an enjoyable read.  The illustrations were very good, but the entire storyline was baffling.  With apparently a big message hidden inside, I hope that others find it comforting or can derive something positive from it.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 12

Books:  0 - 7 

eBooks:  3 - 6 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 12  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Sunday, July 29, 2018

GOLDILOCKS AND THE INFINITE BEARS

Author:  John McNamee
Genre:  Graphic Comic, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  25


From NetGalley:
Pie Comics began as a college comic strip way back is the mid '00s, when flip phones roamed the earth. But it wasn't until a shoulder injury forced John to simplify his drawing style and improvise the comics instead of actually sitting down and writing them that Pie Comics became the beloved strip it is today! This collection showcases some of the funniest and most trenchant of Onion writer John McNamee's online comic strips.

I didn't know about this author's comic strip, so I went in blind.  The comics are based on fairy tales, books/movies and some general life.  Like most comics, some are better than others.  Ultimately, I smiled here and there, some were not familiar to me, and others I didn't really care for.  The drawings are minimal, but they get the point across.  I would read more by him, but I wasn't super impressed either. 

Thoughts of Joy

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

A GATHERING OF SECRETS

Author:  Linda Castillo
Genre:  Thriller, Kate Burkholder Series #10
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  24


From NetGalley:
When a historic barn burns to the ground in the middle of the night, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate. At first, it looks like an accident, but when the body of eighteen-year-old Daniel Gingerich is found inside—burned alive—Kate suspects murder. Who would want a well-liked, hardworking young Amish man dead? Kate delves into the investigation only to find herself stonewalled by the community to which she once belonged. Is their silence a result of the Amish tenet of separation? Or is this peaceful and deeply religious community conspiring to hide a truth no one wants to talk about? Kate doubles down only to discover a plethora of secrets and a chilling series of crimes that shatters everything she thought she knew about her Amish roots—and herself.

As Kate wades through a sea of suspects, she’s confronted by her own violent past and an unthinkable possibility.

Not much of a surprise that I enjoyed this book.  This series has been a winner for me.  It's not too light.  It's not too dark.  It's just right for a comfort read that keeps me interested and connected.  I really enjoy the procedural part of the investigations - all the thoughts and questioning of suspects lets me into the mind of an investigator.  I'm not into the storyline of Kate discovering herself or any of that, but overall, this was a very good quick read.

Thoughts of Joy 

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE

Author:  Zoe Whittall
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Cassandra Campbell
Yearly Count:  23


From NetGalley:
The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

This left me with the thought of ho-hum.  The beginning was enticing, and I was curious as to the outcome; however, it wasn't just about George.  The greatest focus was on his daughter and all her escapades.  After rereading the title, I realized that it states "people."  With many people in the mix, I didn't find much satisfaction in (what I thought was) the main storyline.  Although, it was my bad.

Thoughts of Joy

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


Monday, July 16, 2018

Blogiversary



Sad, not sad.  Reading has been lower on the To Do List this past year, and I'm currently behind on my weekly goal of a book a week; however, it has been fabulous for other hobbies.  I still absolutely love to read and listen to books, and it continues to be part of my every day life, but it doesn't monopolize most of my free time anymore.

To cull or not to cull.  Last summer I culled some of my bookshelves, and this summer I plan to delve into the hiding places (closets and boxes).  I've decided to keep only the books that are true favorites or memorable reads . . . brilliant concept, I know!  ๐Ÿ˜  The most difficult culling project is addressing the TBR piles of books.  I suppose the first glance through will be easy enough (automatically know that I will not read it), but after that . . . eek!  The amount that gets bagged up is to be determined, but a donation of a couple bags to my local library will be a great start.

Thank you to those that continue to comment.  With life constantly changing, 12 years of consistent blogging seems quite incredible, and I truly appreciate your continual support.  

May all your reading goals be met with pleasure. 

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THE LYING GAME

Author:  Ruth Ware
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Imogen Church
Yearly Count:  22


From NetGalley:
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

This book never grabbed me.  I thought I'd really enjoy the English backdrop and the boarding school aspect, but the story slogged along and didn't pan out in the end either.  I didn't necessarily dislike anything, though.  I have Ware's next book (The Death of Mrs. Westaway) in line, but I think I'm going to put some time in between.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, July 09, 2018

OUR HOUSE

Author:  Louise Candlish
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  21


From NetGalley:
There's nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it's her house. And she didn't sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she's sure there's been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird's nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona's children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram's not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

Oh my.  I have such mixed feelings about this book.  I'm sticking with a "very good" rating due to its intrigue.  I looked forward to my evening read and was engaged all along the way.  The mixed feelings are based on the ending.  It's two-fold, though.  I loved a portion of it, but hated another.  I'm so tempted to give it a higher rating because it has had me thinking about it since I finished it.  But, NO.  The 4/5 remains.  I'm curious as to what others think.  Now, I'm off to see what other books this author wrote.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, June 30, 2018

June Reads



Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  1 - 10

Books:  1 - 7 

eBooks:  1 - 3 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 9  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Monday, June 18, 2018

LOOK FOR ME

Author:  Lisa Gardner
Genre:  Thriller, D.D. Warren Series #9
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audibook/Kirsten Potter
Yearly Count:  20


From NetGalley:
The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four of them savagely murdered, one—a sixteen-year-old girl—missing. Was she lucky to have escaped? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D. D. Warren is on the case—but so is survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether as victim or suspect, is silently pleading, Look for me.

The D.D. Warren series has been a comfort one for me.  I am always happy to see a new edition and know I will enjoy it.  What I enjoyed most about this one was the detailed trail of thought that I was able to follow along with step by step.  I, also, enjoyed the developing relationship between Flora and D.D.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

LIGHTER THAN MY SHADOW

Author:  Katie Green
Genre:  Graphic Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  19


From Goodreads:
Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.

The honest and raw expressions through words and graphics were very clear and precise as to what Katie was experiencing.  The clarity of feelings helped me to understand the illness.

Thoughts of Joy  

Friday, June 01, 2018

UNRAVELING OLIVER

Author:  Liz Nugent
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  18


From NetGalley:
Oliver Ryan has the perfect life. Elegant and seductive, he wants for nothing, sharing a lovely home with his steadfast wife, Alice, who illustrates the award-winning children’s books that have brought him wealth and fame. Until one evening, after eating the dinner Alice has carefully prepared, Oliver savagely assaults her and leaves her for dead.

But why?

The people who know Oliver can only speculate about the reasons behind his brutal act: his empty-headed mistress Moya, vain and petulant; Veronique, the French chatelaine who tragically lost everything the summer she employed him in her vineyard; Alice’s friend Barney, who has nursed an unrequited love for her since childhood; Oliver’s college pal Michael, struggling with voiceless longings that have shamed him for years. What none of them understands is the dark secret that lies behind his immaculate faรงade.

The revelations that come to light as the layers of Oliver’s past are peeled away are as brutal as his singular act of violence. His decades of careful deception have masked a life irrevocably marked by abandonment, envy, and shame—and as the details of that life are laid bare, Oliver discovers that outrunning his demons is harder than it looks.


This had great potential, and I would love to rate it higher, but the ending left me flat. I was intrigued for the majority of the book and expected something more at that point.  All the characters telling their story and involvement with Oliver was done very well. However, as designed, all the character flaws of Oliver appeared slowly, leaving the ending to just sit there. So, I enjoyed the process more than the actual book in its entirety. I am encouraged to read her next book, though. :) 

 Thoughts of Joy 

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May Reads



Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 9

Books:  1 - 6 

eBooks:  0 - 2 

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 7  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

SNAP JUDGMENT

Author:  Marcia Clark
Genre:  Mystery, Samantha Brinkman Series #3
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Angela Dawe
Yearly Count:  17


From NetGalley:
When the daughter of prominent civil litigator Graham Hutchins is found with her throat slashed, the woman’s spurned ex-boyfriend seems the likely suspect. But only days later, the young man dies in what appears to be a suicide. Or was it? Now authorities are faced with a possible new crime. And their person of interest is Hutchins. After all, avenging the death of his daughter is the perfect reason to kill. If he’s as innocent as he claims, only one lawyer has what it takes to prove it: his friend and colleague Samantha Brinkman.

It’s Sam’s obligation to trust her new client. Yet the deeper she digs on his behalf, the more entangled she becomes in a thicket of family secrets, past betrayals, and multiple motives for murder. To win her case, she’s prepared to bend any law and cross any boundary that stands in her way. Sam has always played by her own rules, and it’s always worked…so far. But this case cuts so deep and so personal that one false move could cost her everything.

Well, I wasn't super impressed with this installment. I'm still not a fan of Samantha, but she was toned down considerably from what I remember.  It ended up just being something I listened to on my commute. I did want to know who did what, but other than that . . . whatever.

 Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

THE WIFE BETWEEN US

Author:  Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan
Yearly Count:  16


From NetGalley:
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing.

I enjoyed this.  It kept me interested and surprised me along the way. I will definitely be looking out for this duo in the future. Well done.

Thoughts of Joy 

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

Sunday, May 13, 2018

ENGAGING STUDENTS WITH POVERTY IN MIND

Author:  Erik Jensen
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  15


From Goodreads:
Drawing from research, experience, and real school success stories, this galvanizing book explores engagement as the key factor in the academic success of economically disadvantaged students.

Another successful read by Jenkins. It was very practical and succinct. It can be a good reminder or maybe a new strategy or two can be discovered through the reading.

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

THE GREAT ALONE

Author:  Kristin Hannah
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2018 
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan
Yearly Count:  14


A family of 3 travel to Alaska in the 70s to escape the city life.  However, they don't escape themselves.

 This is not my genre of choice, but I can see how it could be a draw for others.  I happened to hear about it (high praise) and then ran into it at the library, so I picked it up.  However, it didn't wow me like it has others.  The way in which Hannah gets to the endpoint wasn't totally predicable, the actual overall storyline certainly was.  But, I suppose the journey is more important than the ending.  Ultimately, it was better than just okay.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Monday, April 30, 2018

April Reads



12.  Forgive Me (Palmer) ~ 3.25/5 (just okay +)

13.  The Substitute (Lundrigan) ~ 4/5 (very good)



Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  1 - 6

Books:  1 - 5 

eBooks:  1 - 2 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 6  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Sunday, April 29, 2018

THE SUBSTITUTE

Author:  Nicole Lundrigan
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  13


From NetGalley:
Warren Botts is a disillusioned Ph.D., taking a break from his lab to teach middle-school science. Gentle, soft-spoken, and lonely, he innocently befriends Amanda, one of his students. But one morning, Amanda is found dead in his backyard, and Warren, shocked, flees the scene.

As the small community slowly turns against him, an anonymous narrator, a person of extreme intelligence and emotional detachment, offers insight into events past and present. As the tension builds, we gain an intimate understanding of the power of secrets, illusions, and memories.

I usually only read for pleasure before going to sleep at night.  That actually doesn't provide much reading time - lights are off and lids are closing.  And, brain is shutting down.  Those little snippets at the end of a day didn't provide enough continuity for my sleepy brain, so I want to go back (during the daylight hours) and reread some, but I really did enjoy this book.  It was a bit slow going, but I was invested and wanted to know the outcome.  Also, there were some very graphic, gruesome scenes.  Be aware.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to House of Anansi and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

FORGIVE ME

Author:  Daniel Palmer
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Tavia Gilbert
Yearly Count:  12


From NetGalley:
At DeRose & Associates Private Investigators in Virginia, Angie DeRose strives to find and rescue endangered runaways--work that stands in stark contrast to her own safe, idyllic childhood. But in the wake of her mother's sudden death, Angie makes a life-altering discovery. Hidden among the mementos in her parents' attic is a photograph of a little girl, with a code and a hand-written message on the back: "May God forgive me."

Angie has no idea what it means or how to explain other questionable items among her mother's possessions. Her father claims to know nothing. Could Angie have a sister or other relative she was never told about? Bryce Taggart, the US Marshal working with her agency, agrees to help Angie learn the fate of the girl in the photograph. But the lies she and Bryce unearth will bring her past and present together with terrifying force. And everything she cherishes will be threatened by the repercussions of one long-ago choice--and an enemy who will kill to keep a secret hidden forever.

Two storylines were going on at the same time. The investigator's personal story and the one that she was hired to do - track down a runaway.  The runaway storyline seemed very true to life (unfortunately), but it didn't captivate me in how it was told.  And, I didn't care much for the narrator's version of this audiobook.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

March Reads



Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 5

Books:  1 - 5 

eBooks:  0 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 4  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BEHAVE

Author:  Andromeda Romano-Lax
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Elisabeth Rogers
Yearly Count:  11


From NetGalley:
With Behave, Andromeda Romano-Lax offers a provocative fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose work influenced generations of Americans, and whose legacy has been lost in the shadow of her husband's. In turns moving and horrifying, Behave is a richly nuanced and disturbing novel about science, progress, love, marriage, motherhood, and what all those things cost a passionate, promising young woman.
This first 4/5 of the book was not good.  It was very dry and just dragged on and on.  I can't comment much on the actual content, because I don't know for sure what was fictionalized or not.  The only interesting part was the last couple CDs.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

IMPROVING COMPREHENSION

Author:  Wilhelm
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2001
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  10

This book contains detailed strategies for a classroom teacher to assist students into getting the most out of what they read through thinking aloud.

Wilhelm breaks every little nuance of a book down into bite-sized pieces.  Nothing new.  It's also 17 years old!  ๐Ÿ˜

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, March 05, 2018

THE NIGHT STRANGERS

Author:  Chris Bohjalian
Genre:  Fiction (ghost story), Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Fraser and Gramhall
Yearly Count:  9


From NetGalley:
In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.

The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine - a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village - self-proclaimed herbalists - and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?

Blah.  I did not enjoy this.  First of all, I didn't know that it was a "ghost story" (not scary).  I am not a fan of that genre.  The other element of the story that I didn't like (at all!) was that a main character was written in 2nd person.  You do this and you do that.  UGH!  That made it so disjointed and uncomfortable for me and simply just messed up.  It sounded so awkward.

On the other hand, I have enjoyed Bohjalian's writing.  I just didn't care for this story or choice of person he wrote it in.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  0 - 3

Books:  3 - 4 

eBooks:  0 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 2  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Sunday, February 11, 2018

BIG MUSHY HAPPY LUMP

Author:  Sarah Andersen
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  8


Sarah scribbles about her life through these comics.

I enjoyed breezing through this book.  Some were relatable and some were not, but definitely fun to see the humor in some serious and some not so serious topics.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, February 04, 2018

2 Young Reader Books

Due to Privacy Issues I am not going to reveal these books.  However, I want them counted in my reads.

Genre:  Young Readers
Published:  2018
Format:  Book and Book
Yearly Count:  6 & 7

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 3

Books:  1 - 1 

eBooks:  1 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 1  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

ONE KICK

Author:  Chelsea Cain
Genre:  Mystery, Kick Lannigan Series #1
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Heather Lind
Yearly Count:  5


Kick, a survivor of child abduction, is asked to help a mysterious man rescue other abducted children.

Well, I didn't buy into this story.  I didn't care for Kick all that much, and then the man from who-knows-where appears -- none of it jelled for me.  I did continue and was somewhat engaged, but at the moment, I don't think I'll continue with this series either.  We'll see.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 19, 2018

THE SAME SKY

Author:  Amanda Eyre Ward
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Cabezas & Plummer
Yearly Count:  4


Two life stories are running concurrently and eventually intersect.  One is a 40-year-old woman and her husband that desperately want a child, and the other is a 13-year-old in Honduras desperately trying to get to her mother in Texas.

Not exactly sure when I finished this and not exactly sure of any details either.  :(  I do remember thinking some parts were interesting and others just ho-hum.  Not disappointed I listened to it, though.  That's good.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 15, 2018

POOR STUDENTS, RICH TEACHING

Author:  Eric Jensen
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  3


From Goodreads:

Discover practical and research-based strategies to ensure all students, regardless of circumstance, are college and career ready. This thorough resource details the necessary but difficult work that teachers must do to establish the foundational changes essential to positively impact students in poverty. Organized tools and resources are provided to help teachers effectively implement these essential changes.

This was read as a Book Study over the last several months.  It was an encouraging read, but nothing new.  It's always nice to dust off and be refreshed, though.  The ultimate goal is to get students to graduate high school and be job or college ready.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Friday, January 12, 2018

EVERY NOTE PLAYED

Author:  Lisa Genova
Genre:  Realistic Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  2


From NetGalley:
An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

Whoa.  I couldn't sleep last night, so I picked this up and finished it at 3:30am.  As I put my iPad down, I continued to sob as quietly as I could to not wake my husband.  Blah.  I don't remember the last time I cried when reading a book.  This book touched me.  BUT, I didn't like how it touched me.  

I love, love, love Lisa's writing.  Love it.  However, even within that, I didn't think this one had enough build up.  It felt like it went immediately into doom and gloom.  Then, it just got deeper and deeper in Richard's failures -- body, mind and soul.  I understand that this was about just that.  That's what ALS does.  It's beyond miserable.  I can't think of any pleasant diseases, though, can you?  

So, ultimately, I learned an incredible amount about ALS and respect Lisa's diligence in getting it out into our hands.  This is not a joyful story, but a very plausible one.  Sometimes those are the most difficult to read.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, January 07, 2018

3RD DEGREE

Author:  James Patterson
Genre:  Mystery, Women's Murder Club Series #3
Published:  2004
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Carolyn McCormick
Yearly Count:  1


Detective Lindsay Boxer and friends try to find the person who is sending threats to kill someone every few days.  Soon it becomes very personal.

I was somewhat entertained during my drives, but sadly, the twist didn't affect me much.  Not sure how much it will change in book #4, but I am curious.  Therefore, I will continue with the series when I feel the need for a fast audioread.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Monday, January 01, 2018

Best Reads of 2017


I only read 52 books this year.  ๐Ÿ™ˆ  Of those 52, there were 8 books that I rated a 4/5 or above.  Below are my faves which rated a 4.25 or above:



1.  All is Not Forgotten (Walker) ~ Psychological Thriller
4.5/5 (excellent)






4.25/5 (very good +)

5/5 (absolutely outstanding)




Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Reads









51.  The Child (Barton) ~ 3.75/5

52.  Re-Gifters (Carey) ~ 3.75/5




YEAR END STATS:

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 38

Books:  3 - 9 

eBooks:  0 - 5 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 34  

Short Story Collection:  1 - 1

DNF:  0 - 3


TOTAL BOOKS READ:  52

Friday, December 29, 2017

RE-GIFTERS

Author:  Mike Carey, Sonny Lieu & Marc Hempel
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  52  (Phew!  Made it!)


Oh goodness.  This is actually a re-read, which I never do!  I recognized the storyline immediately, but couldn't find it on my blog, so I continued to read thinking it may have been a DNF.  Afterwards, I looked again . . . lo and behold, it was there!  Error on my part, but I still enjoyed the book just as much.  Below are my thoughts that I wrote in 2014.  I feel exactly the same.  :)

Dixie, a martial arts enthusiast, gets wrapped up in her thoughts of true love around the time of a tournament.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.  I was interested in the storyline and artwork . . . even the second time around!

Thoughts of Joy
       

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

THE CHILD

Author:  Fiona Barton
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  51


From NetGalley:
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers human remains, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who has been found at the building site?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A child was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

I happened to read a negative review of this book prior to choosing it and that put a cloud of doubt in my mind, because I didn't think I was going to enjoy it.  Happily, I liked it much more than I anticipated.  :)  I liked the chain of events (I did have to juggle some characters for a while, though) and the bits of twists.  The storyline had several facets to it, which I found to be a good blend.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

THE INNOCENCE GAME

Author:  Michael Harvey
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Robbie Daymond
Yearly Count:  50


Graduate students are enrolled in a seminar that explores freeing those that are in prison that have been falsely accused a crime.

This was just okay.  It reminded me of the TV show, How to Get Away with Murder, but different, of course!  I liked the chatter of school, but it didn't entice me to pick it up other than on my commute.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, December 14, 2017

THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD

Author:  Agatha Christie
Genre:  Mystery, Hercule Poirot Series #4)
Published:  1926
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robin Bailey
Yearly Count:  49


Roger was murdered.  Who did it?

I randomly guessed who the murderer was and was right.  I didn't find this to be any great mystery, but it was okay to listen to.  I think the style of writing didn't fit my mood, but whatever.

Thoughts of Joy