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
           

Thursday, July 14, 2016

THE HANGING GIRL

Author:  Jussi Adler-Olsen
Genre:  Thriller, Department Q Series #6
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Graeme Malcolm
Yearly Count:  41


From NetGalley:
In the middle of his usual hard-won morning nap in the basement of police headquarters, Carl Mørck, head of Department Q, receives a call from a colleague working on the Danish island of Bornholm. Carl is dismissive when he realizes that a new case is being foisted on him, but a few hours later, he receives some shocking news that leaves his headstrong assistant Rose more furious than usual. Carl has no choice but to lead Department Q into the tragic cold case of a vivacious seventeen-year-old girl who vanished from school, only to be found dead hanging high up in a tree. The investigation will take them from the remote island of Bornholm to a strange sun worshipping cult, where Carl, Assad, Rose, and newcomer Gordon attempt to stop a string of new murders and a skilled manipulator who refuses to let anything—or anyone—get in the way.

I thoroughly enjoy the characters Carl, Assad and Rose and felt happy being back in their presence.  Unfortunately, this case ended up being my least favorite in the Department Q series (#5 being the next), and I'm concerned that I may have had enough of the camel jokes/references.  Also, there were so many side storylines that I just didn't enjoy the book as a whole like I have in the past.  This was certainly not a bad read by any means, but again . . . I was disappointed.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SMALL GREAT THINGS

Author:  Jodi Picoult
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  October, 2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  40


From NetGalley:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

 In her well-established style, Picoult tackles racism.  I think she took an honest look and conveyed it very well through her characters.  My biggest complaint was the length; it seemed to go on and on.  What I liked most was the few twists I didn't anticipate.  It kept me engaged in the story.  

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

Sunday, July 03, 2016

THE ELEPHANT WHISPERER

Author:  Lawrence Anthony
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Simon Vance
Yearly Count:  39



Lawrence Anthony, conservationist in South Africa, accepts a herd of disgruntled elephants on his game reserve.

The characters and animals come alive in this book, making the story a terrific educational tool about elephants and more!  This audio version was done exceptionally well.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Reads











Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 31 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  1 - 2 

New-to-Me Authors:  5 - 18  

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

Short Story Collection:  1 - 1

DNF:  1 - 2

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ONE PLUS ONE

Author:  JoJo Moyes
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  38


From NetGalley:
One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

This one was "just okay" for me.  JoJo's writing was still spot on, but the actual story seemed a bit too predictable for me.    

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

SLADE HOUSE

Author:  David Mitchell
Genre:  Paranormal Mystery (?), Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  1/5 (Don't Bother)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Judd & Rodrigues
Yearly Count:  37


From Amazon:
Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

W. E. I. R. D.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

THE TEARS OF DARK WATER

Author:  Corban Addison
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  DNF #2
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Korey Jackson



I listened to 1/15 CDs.  Maybe not enough to give it a good go, but at the moment, I just wasn't interested in the current topic (pirates) to continue.  

Thoughts of Joy

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


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A MAN CALLED OVE

Author:  Fredrik Backman
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
George Newbern
Yearly Count:  36


A Man Called Ove (pronounced ew-va) is about the life of a grumpy, old man.

Oh boy.  I'm feeling like a grumpy reader right now.  I had a love/hate relationship with Ove and the writing.  I did smirk at some of Ove's comments or thoughts, but he never really pulled at my heartstrings.  The writing just had an overwhelming amount of metaphors and similes for my liking and was consumed with blahness.  I can, however, understand how others could love this book.  It just didn't work for me.  I loved the narration, though.  George was great!

Thoughts of Joy


Friday, June 10, 2016

AFTER THE CRASH

Author:  Michel Bussi
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Daniel Philpott
Yearly Count:  35


From NetGalley:
A night flight from Istanbul bound for Paris, filled with 169 holiday travelers, plummets into the Swiss Alps. The sole survivor is a three-month-old girl--thrown from the plane onto the snowy mountainside before fire rages through the aircraft. But two infants were on board. Is the miracle baby Lyse-Rose or Emilie? Both families step forward to claim the child--one poor, one powerful, wealthy, and dangerous.

This one kept me listening; however, I ALMOST gave up on it in the beginning. I finally got past (suspension of disbelief definitely required!) the notion of not being able to identify the baby (and a few other bits) to really give it a chance. I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed it. The narrator did a fantastic job, and the way the story was told intrigued me. 

 Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, June 04, 2016

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING

Author:  Colum McCann
Genre:  Short Story Collection, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Colum McCann
Yearly Count:  34


From NetGalley:
In the exuberant title novella, a retired judge reflects on his life's work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last. In “Sh'khol,” a mother spending Christmas alone with her son confronts the unthinkable when he disappears while swimming off the coast near their home in Ireland. In “Treaty,” an elderly nun catches a snippet of a news report in which it is revealed that the man who once kidnapped and brutalized her is alive, masquerading as an agent of peace. And in “What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?” a writer constructs a story about a Marine in Afghanistan calling home on New Year's Eve.

 Wow.  I like this guy's writing.  It's very engaging and deep.  The novella and all the short stories were well written.  The most unique story was "What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?" (see above)  I have never been privy to that thought process.  Kinda fun!  They all were on the sad side of the emotional spectrum, but not necessary a slap of sad, but a thought-provoking kind of sad.  I listened to Colum read his own collection . . . well done!  

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

THE FEVER

Author:  Megan Abbott
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Davies, Heyborne, Barrett
Yearly Count:  33


From NetGalley:
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

Hmmmm.  The entire time I was listening to this, I thought it was a YA book.  I discovered it wasn't when I went to get the description from NetGalley.  Again, hmmmm.

The writing did keep me somewhat engaged, which was a very good thing, because in general, I didn't care for the storyline.  I believe this was my first Megan Abbott book, and I'm still game to give another a try.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

May Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 25 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  1 - 2 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 13  

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

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 1

THE WIDOW

Author:  Fiona Barton
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating: 3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  32


From NetGalley:
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman's husband died last week. And Jean doesn't have to be her anymore.

There's a lot Jean hasn't said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there's no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that's all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

Sadly, this book took me approximately 2.5 months to read!  It was by no means the book or my lack of interest . . . quite the opposite, in fact.  I just haven't been literally reading much at all.  It's mainly audiobooks that have me gleefully listening while having the ability to do other things.  I actually have expressed to those around me that I miss reading and miss reading an actual book . . . with paper!  Therefore, that's what I'm going to do.  Woo!

Anyway, The Widow would have probably received a little bit higher rating had I read it consistently.  The only thing I really did not like was the shifts of time.  There was more involved than just Before and After.  Loved the different points of view, though.  I would be happy to pick up another by Barton.  

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

FAR FROM TRUE

Author:  Linwood Barclay
Genre:  Thriller, Promise Falls Series #2
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/O'Neill & Zeisier
Yearly Count:  31


From NetGalley:
After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father's house. Cal discovers a hidden basement room where it's clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in....

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound.

As the lies begin to unravel, Cal is headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. Evil deeds long thought buried are about to haunt the residents of this town—as the sins of the past and present collide with terrifying results.

Barclay is a comfort read for me.  I know I will enjoy whatever he writes to some level.  Unfortunately, this series (or trilogy) has not been my favorite.  There are waaaaaaay too many characters and storylines for my liking.  If I had read it, it may have gelled a bit more, but listening to it . . .  I really had a difficult time keeping everybody and their connections straight.  I will definitely read more in this series (or trilogy) to see it to its conclusion, but I am really looking forward to another standalone.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

AS NIGHT FALLS

Author:  Jenny Milchman
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susie Berneis
Yearly Count:  30


From Goodreads:
Sandy Tremont has always tried to give her family everything. But, as the sky darkens over the Adirondacks and a heavy snowfall looms, an escaped murderer with the power to take it all away draws close.

In her isolated home in the shadowy woods, Sandy prepares dinner after a fight with her daughter, Ivy. Upstairs, the fifteen-year-old—smart, brave, and with every reason to be angry tonight—keeps her distance from her mother. Sandy’s husband, Ben, a wilderness guide, arrives late to find a home simmering with unease.

Nearby, two desperate men on the run make their way through the fading light, bloodstained and determined to leave no loose ends or witnesses. After almost twenty years as prison cellmates, they have become a deadly team: Harlan the muscle, Nick the mind and will. As they approach a secluded house and look through its windows to see a cozy domestic scene, Nick knows that here he will find what he’s looking for . . . before he disappears forever.

Opening the door to the Tremont home, Nick brings not only a legacy of terror but a secret that threatens to drag Sandy with him into the darkness.

I liked this book quite a bit until it became a bit repetitive in general actions.  It caused my interest to wane, and if I heard about the size of Harlan one more time . . . AAAHHHHH!  I'm still very interested in reading another by Milchman, though. 

Thoughts of Joy   

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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

ANOTHER DAY

Author:  David Levithan
Genre:  YA Fiction, Every Day Companion
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  29


From NetGalley:
Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

I didn't remember all the happenings of Every Day, so this didn't seem too much like a rehash for me. Therefore, it was an enjoyable YA book.  It has a good message regarding looking at a person's inner being versus their outer appearance.  And, I liked the ending.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, May 07, 2016

ORPHAN X

Author:  Gregg Hurwitz
Genre:  Thriller, Evan Smoak Series #1
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Scott Brick
Yearly Count:  28


Evan was raised by the government in the Orphan Program to become an assassin.  After breaking ties, Evan transitions into the Nowhere Man.  Using his skills, he does everything possible to protect an individual who is in dire need of assistance.

What stands out to me most about this book was the narrator . . . Scott Brick.  The man can read!  He was perfect.  :)  I really enjoyed MOST of the book.  Towards the end, the action began to be too much for me, so I started to tune out.  It's perfect for the movie screen, though.

Also, it did remind me of the YA Unknown Assassin Series (Zadoff).

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 21 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 13  

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

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 1

MISSING PIECES

Author:  Heather Gudenkauf
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Christina Traister
Yearly Count:  22


From NetGalley:
Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

This was my least favorite of the three books I have read by Gudenkauf.  The negatives tended to stand out to me.  :(  I didn't care for the narrator trying to sound like a male.  Ridiculous.  As for the writing, there were some lame happenings.  For example:  Oops!  My purse accidentally knocked over the file on the desk, and I saw some important information.  Ridiculous.  And, I thought the relationship between Sarah and Jack was awkward, especially after being married with children for so long.  Ridiculous.  HOWEVER, the actual story was still okay.  :)

Thoughts of Joy
      
My thanks go to Harlequin & NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

THE GUEST ROOM

Author:  Chris Bohjalian
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrators:  Audiobook/
Marno & Experience
Yearly Count:  26


From NetGalley:
When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother's bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law's for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother's friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard's life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat.

I had NO idea what this book was about (common practice for me) and was incredibly shocked at the crude language and topic (not my genre choice).  It definitely is a cautionary tale and one that I did want to see to the end.  There were a few bits that I didn't buy, and I'm not a fan of changing timeframes (which that's all I seem to run into these days!), but in general, it was good.  I do enjoy Bohjalian's writing.  :)

Thoughts of Joy
  
My thanks go to Doubleday Book & NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.