Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 29

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  2 - 6

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 16

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Monday, June 29, 2015


Author:  Dean Koontz
Genre:  Sci-Fi Thriller, Odd Thomas Series #7
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
David Aaron Baker
Yearly Count:  36

Odd returns to Pico Mundo.

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Author:  Duane Swierczynski
Genre:  Crime Fiction,  Standalone ???
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  35

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Author:  Anthony Doerr
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.25/5 (not enjoyable +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Zach Appelman
Yearly Count:  34

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Author:  Jake Alexander
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  1.5/5 (ugh)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  33

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  4 - 27

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 4

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 13

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Author:  M. J. Arlidge
Genre:  Police Procedural,
DI Helen Grace Series #1
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  32

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 29, 2015


Author:  David Levien
Genre:  Mystery, Frank Behr Series #1
Published:  2008
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Scott Brick
Yearly Count:  31

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Author:  Oprah Winfrey
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Oprah Winfrey
Yearly Count:  30

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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Author:  Cheryl Strayed
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Cheryl Strayed
Yearly Count:  29

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


Author:  Emily Giffin
Genre:  Chick Lit/Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Orlagh Cassidy
Yearly Count:  28

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

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

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 23

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 10

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Author:  Paula Hawkins
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5  (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Corbett, Brealey & Fisher
Yearly Count:  27

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Author:  Diane Chamberlain
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susan Bennett
Yearly Count:  26

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, April 17, 2015


Author:  Raffaele Sollecito & Andrew Gumbel
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Seth Numrich
Yearly Count:  25

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, April 13, 2015


Author:  Harlan Coben
Genre:  Mystery, Myron Bolitar Series #6
Published:  2000
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Jonathan Marosz
Yearly Count:  24  

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


Author:  Kanae Minato
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  23

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


Author:  Amanda Knox
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Amanda Knox
Yearly Count:  22

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  8 - 18

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 2

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 6

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Monday, March 30, 2015


Author:  Pat Conroy
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  1969
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Dan John Miller
Yearly Count:  21

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Author:  Andy Weir
Genre:  Sci-Fi, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/R.C. Bray
Yearly Count:  20

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Author:  Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis
Genre:  Fiction, Nina Borg Series #2
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Katherine Kellgren
Yearly Count:  19

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

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

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

Friday, March 20, 2015


Author:  Dave Eggers
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Firdous Bamji
Yearly Count:  18

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Author:  Sarah Jio
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan & 
Cassandra Campbell
Yearly Count:  17

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Will Trent Series #7
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathleen Early
Yearly Count:  16

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, March 08, 2015


Author:  Lisa Genova
Genre:  Realistic Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4.5/5 (excellent)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  15

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, March 06, 2015


Author:  Ann Rule
Genre:  True Crime, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Anne Twomey
Yearly Count:  14

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, March 01, 2015


Author:  Susan Elia MacNeal
Genre:  Fiction, Maggie Hope Series #3
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susan Duerden
Yearly Count:  13

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

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

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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 10

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  1 - 1

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 3

*Podcast:  0 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Author:  Camilla Lackberg
Genre:  Thriller/Patrik Hedstrom Series #1
Published:  2010
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/David Thorn
Yearly Count:  12

Returning to her hometown to take care of the family home, Erica discovers her childhood best-friend dead by suicide.  Patrik, a childhood friend, is the detective on the case.

Since finishing this book, I have read many reviews.  I do agree, there were many things not so good about it; however, I really liked it anyway.  :)  It did keep my attention, and I was very intrigued.  The audio version caused me a little bit of a problem in distinguishing names.  :(  I don't get along with accents very well, so on occasion I was confused in the beginning.  I definitely will be listening to more, though.

Thoughts of Joy


Thursday, February 19, 2015


Author:  Marcia Clark
Genre:  Thriller/Rachel Knight Series #4
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  11

From NetGalley:
A Columbine-style shooting at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide.

In the aftermath of the shooting, LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight teams up with her best girlfriend, LAPD detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey interview students at the high school, they realize that the facts don’t add up. Could it be that the students suspected of being the shooters are actually victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose?

Another winner by Marcia Clark.  :)  I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and look forward to each new addition.  This almost received a 4.25/5 (very good +), but I think it went a little too far with the "surprises."  Although, they didn't surprise me.  I expected them.  I didn't know, but expected.  Despite that, I still love Marcia's writing style.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Author:  Terry Hayes
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone?
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  DNF #1
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Christopher Ragland

I AM DISAPPOINTED.  Taking this book on (19 CDs!) was huge for me to even just get it from the library, let alone listen to it.  I did make it through 7 CDs, so I really did give it a go.  I just wasn't enjoying the format/style of writing or the storyline.  There were parts that gave me hope, but I couldn't waste my time anymore.  Time to say goodbye.  

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, February 13, 2015


Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller, Will Trent Series #6
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathleen Early
Yearly Count:  10

A college student goes missing.  However, the book is more about Amanda Wagner, deputy director and supervisor/mentor of Will Trent.

This was my least favorite book in this series.  I may have enjoyed it more if I wasn't burnt out on the  back and forth in time strategy and the focus being on Amanda.  There were some mysteries solved surrounding Will's past, but that wasn't enough to keep me interested.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, February 02, 2015


Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre:  Fiction, The Clifton Chronicles #1
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Roger Allam & Emelia Fox
Yearly Count:  9

Set in England, Only Time Will Tell is a family saga revolving around the Clifton clan in the 1920s - 40s.

Saga.  Saga.  Saga.  That's what I had to remember as I began this book.  Once I had my head around the idea that it was going to be slow going, I was able to just listen.  Ultimately, I actually thought it was good, maybe even a little better than good.  AND, I'm not opposed to picking up the second in this mini-series.  I definitely have to be in the right mood to listen to this type of book, though.  

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  7 - 7

Books:  0 - 0

eBooks:  0 - 0

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 2

*Podcast:  1 - 1

**Short Stories:  0 - 0

Friday, January 30, 2015


Author:  Liane Moriarty
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Caroline Lee
Yearly Count:  8

Trivia Night at the local school provides the backdrop for the culmination of several lives to explode, which all began during Kindergarten orientation.

Out of the three Moriarty books I have read, I enjoyed this one best.  However, I picked out the culprits AND the supposed "twist" from the beginning.  So, seriously, this book had no surprises for me.  Oh!  Yes.  There was one.  Minor, but there was one.  I was definitely engaged enough to want to continue listening and find out what really happened on Trivia Night.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 26, 2015


Author:  Ron Rash
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Merritt Hicks
Yearly Count:  7

Laurel resides in the Appalachian Mountains with her brother and lives a difficult life due to the perceptions of a birthmark.  Laurel becomes intrigued with someone she discovers in the woods.  That someone changes both of their lives forever.

I love Ron Rash's work, but this one was a bit of a disappointment.  His ability to create vivid scenery and atmosphere usually keeps me glued to another time and place.  This time I was bored.  The last 1/4 saved the book.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Author:  Linwood Barclay
Genre:  Thriller, Sequel to No Time for Goodbye
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Brian O'Neill &
Graham Winton
Yearly Count:  6

In the same neighborhood as the Archers, a retired couple is murdered for no apparent reason.  Soon after, the daughter, Grace, chooses to rebel against her parents and date a wayward boy.  Trouble ensues.

When I saw another Barclay book in audio that I hadn't listened to yet, I was a happy person.  He usually writes with a family theme and that's different from most other thriller books I read, so I enjoy the variety it brings.  Unfortunately, this one didn't work for me.  Can't say specifically, other than it seemed too far from reality.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Author:  Josh Malerman
Genre:  Horror?!?/Apocalypic, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Cassandra Campbell
Yearly Count:  5

People going berserk has made it to the news.  Many times.  All over the country.  People need to protect themselves from the unknown.  Malorie is one of them.

This reminded me of Heart-Shaped Box (Hill) (Ahhhh!  Just realized they both have Box in the title), and I didn't like that one at all.  So, at least this one had something to keep me interested enough to finish.  However, there were times when I almost gave up.  It was so slow and boring.  The last 1/4 saved the book, and I have thought about it since putting it down.  That deserves a "just okay" for bringing it out of the dumps.  

I did not know what this book was about before diving in.  Had I known, I would had never picked it up.  I think this genre is ridiculous and not for me.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Author:  Sophia Kinsella
Genre:  Chick Lit, Becky Brandon Series #7
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Claire Corbett
Yearly Count:  4

The Brandon family move to LA for a few months in order for Luke to deal with a famous client.  Meanwhile, Becky decides she wants to be a stylist to the stars and sets out to do just that.

UGH.  So sad.  In general, I do not care for chick lit, but for some reason this series has tickled me.  In the past, Becky's antics and just plain silliness made me at the very least . . . grin.  I'm not sure if Becky has run her course with me or if this just wasn't a winner, because I don't remember even grinning once.         

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 09, 2015

SERIAL (Podcast)

Author: Sarah Koenig 
Genre:  Non-Fiction Crime, Season One
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Podcast/Sarah Koenig
Yearly Count:  3

In Baltimore, 1999, a high school senior was murdered.  Her ex-boyfriend was convicted of her death, and as he sits in prison, he still maintains his innocence.  Koenig seeks the truth.

I really enjoyed walking through this story.  All my questions weren't answered to my liking, but most were addressed.  This was a great way to get realistic detective work without the gore that many books describe.  On the other hand, it is disappointing because it IS realistic and not all angles or events are clear cut.

There will be a Season Two with a new case later this year.  Can't wait.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, January 04, 2015


Author:  Hillary Jordan
Genre:  Dystopian, Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Heather Corrigan
Yearly Count:  2

Due to Hannah's indiscretion, she has been chromed Red.  She spends her time figuring out how to navigate her new world.     

I had no idea where this book was going and was surprised at some of the paths it took.  There were times when I was engrossed and wanted to hear more, but other times when I was disconnected and could care less.  It was definitely not Mudbound quality and not necessarily a read worth recommending, but not a total disappointment.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Author:  Michael Harvey
Genre:  Crime Fiction, Michael Kelly Series #2
Published:  2008
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Stephen Hoye
Yearly Count:  1

Michael Kelly is approached by his ex-girlfriend to look into her husband's coming and goings.  While doing so, Michael stumbles upon a dead body.  

This one was filled with too much political and historical nonsense for my liking; however, I still have interest in continuing with the series.  I've listened to #1 and #3, so I have now filled the gap with #2. 

Thoughts of Joy

New Beginnings

The year of . . . GOING BACK TO BASICS!

GoodReads 2015 Reading Goal???*  NOPE.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!  Well, at the moment, that's how I feel about setting ANY reading goals.  I fell behind in February, 2014 and have been stressed out ever since because I couldn't get caught up (finally did in the nick of time with the help of graphic novels!).  Needless to say, it was not a pleasant reading year. :( Why? Why did I put that pressure on myself?  Stupidity.
Self-imposed stress is stupid. 

Because Plan A has been exhausted.  Here is . . . 

"Read whatever I want, whenever I want.  Period."

I think I can live by that.

All those NetGalley ebooks that I request will be read . . . IF I WANT TO!  All the Shelf-Awareness ARCs will be read . . .  IF I WANT TO!  All the unsolicited book offers will be accepted and read . . . IF I WANT TO!  Purchases, gifts, wins, suggestions, and all other books will be read . . . IF I WANT TO!

 There will be NO book that I will allow myself to read other than    . . . IF I WANT TO!

If I only read 25 books (random pick) this whole year, then that's fine with me.  I do not want ANY pressure, just excitement.  I want the joy of choosing and reading a book that I'm drawn to.  Easy peasy.  What a relief!  Who would have thought?

I'll leave you with this:

 There was one tidbit from Nora Ephron's book that has made me think.  Nora mentioned the idea of being "raptured" by books.  I think that is a really great word to describe when one is totally engrossed in a book.  You know, like when everything around you disappears, and you are transported elsewhere.  Then when you're interrupted (never fails!), you have to blink several times or gently shake your head to come back to the present.  What do YOU call that blissful event?  Unfortunately, it hasn't happened in my reading life as often as I would like.  I'm beginning to think that it's just the type of reader I am -- not necessarily the books that I read.  I know some people are lost in every book they pick up and others that read so lightly that nothing truly grabs them.

 What do YOU think?  What's the word(s) you use to describe being swept away in a book?  And . . . do you think it has more to do with the reader or the choice of books?

I hope your 2015 Reading Year is the best it's ever been!

Thoughts of Joy

*ADDENDUM:  I literally just set a GoodReads Reading Challenge Goal.  The reason I did it was because the badge is purple!  Yes, friends, that's the real reason.  : /  However, I made it so there will be NO pressure:  24 books.  I think I can handle reading and/or listening to an average of 2 books a month.  Oh dear.  What have I done?  Kidding.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Reads of 2014

This year, I only have 13 books with ratings of 4/5 (very good) and above.  There's a new plan on the horizon to boost that number, though.  :)  These are my highest 4s:

1.  The Purity of Vengeance (Adler-Olsen) ~ Thriller

2.  Quiet (Cain) ~ Non-Fiction

3.  Me Before You (Moyes) ~ Women's Fiction

4.  In the Blood (Unger) ~ Psychological Thriller

5.  Madison Square Tragedy (Geary) ~ Graphic Novel

6.  Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Swanson) ~ YA Historical Fiction