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 façade.

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!  😝

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.  🙈  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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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:  2017
Format:  Book and Book
Yearly Count:  47 & 48

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

MIRACLE IN THE ANDES

Author:  Nando Parrado
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  5/5 (absolutely outstanding)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Josh Davis
Yearly Count:  46


A survivor of the 1972 Andes plane crash recounts his experience of life and death in the mountains.

Absolutely outstanding.  I was touched in so many ways by Nando's story from beginning to end.  He made me feel what he was feeling, made me see what he was seeing and simply . . . made me feel like I was there.  Truly a remarkable book of survival.  I love Nando.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, December 09, 2017

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY: STORIES

Author:  Ron Rash
Genre:  Short Story Collection, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  45


This book is a collection of 14 Appalachian stories.

Rating this book poses a problem for me.  Without a doubt, I thought every story was intriguing and presented vibrant characters.  Loved that.  However, every ending left me with a bit of a let down.  I'm not exactly sure what I actually experienced as a catch all reason.  I think I just may have been invested and wanted more.  I will for sure continue with more Ron Rash, but am somewhat questioning this collection.  

Thoughts of Joy
  

Sunday, December 03, 2017

THE BEAR

Author:  Claire Cameron
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  1/5 (don't bother)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Cassandra Morris
Yearly Count:  44


Five-year-old Anna takes charge of her 3-year-old brother after a black bear attack of their parents.

UGH.  This was absolutely horrible.  I only continued to listen, because I was in the middle of multi-tasking and just left it running.  Otherwise, this would be a DNF along with a toss across the room.  UGH.  Unless you like unrealistic, continual bathroom talk and 5-year-old ridiculous narration . . . don't bother.

Thoughts of Joy
      

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Reads




41.  My Story (Smart) ~ 3.25/5





Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 32

Books:  1 - 6 

eBooks:  1 - 5 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 31  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 3

GLASS HOUSES

Author:  Louise Penny
Genre:  Mystery, Three Pines Series #13
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  43


From NetGalley:
When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

The mysterious figure standing in the village was bizarre; however, that's what kept me intrigued.  I didn't care for the moral conscience aspect of the storyline.  It felt too in-your-face.  I, also, wanted more interaction with the villagers.  Overall, I still wanted to read it and enjoyed it.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

THE BEST WE COULD DO

Author:  Thi Bui
Genre:  Graphic Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  42


Prompted by giving birth to her firstborn child, Thi Bui tries to understand her parents and how the past made them who they are today.

This was a terrific history book of Vietnam; however, that was not my intention for reading it.  It was definitely done very well (story and illustrations), but I didn't connect or have much interest in it.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, November 26, 2017

MY STORY

Author:  Elizabeth Smart
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Elizabeth Smart
Yearly Count:  41


Elizabeth Smart shares the nightmare she experienced when she was kidnapped for 9 months at the age of 14.

While the story was heartbreaking to hear, I think it could have been presented in a much better way.  Elizabeth was expressing her sassy and sarcastic 14-year-old attitude when she described certain aspects of her captivity.  That didn't bode well with me.  It sounded childish and not the mature adult she is today.  However, I love her attitude regarding the terrifying 9 months of her life and how she has moved on to help others.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

DOWN A DARK ROAD

Author:  Linda Castillo
Genre:  Police Procedural,
Kate Burkholder Series #9
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  40


From NetGalley:
Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a "fallen" Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

It was nice to get back to work with Kate Burkholder.  There were moments of disbelief for me, but it was still a good story, and it held my attention.  I enjoy this series as a whole and always look forward to the next.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, November 03, 2017

A DEEPER DARKNESS

Author:  J. T. Ellison
Genre:  Mystery, Samantha Owens Series #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Joyce Bean
Yearly Count:  39



Samantha Owens is a medical examiner who has lost much in her life, but has tried to carry on.  Her ex-boyfriend's mother calls her to perform a second autopsy on him.  Sam gets more involved than intended.

I was definitely interested in the beginning, but as time went on the storyline became a bit too much.  It had characteristics of a soap opera, but without some of the romantic twists.  They were included, but just not as much as a soap opera.  The list of characters involved were tied by this or that, and they were okay, but not strong enough to encourage me to pick up the next in the series.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Reads





Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 29

Books:  0 - 5 

eBooks:  0 - 4 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 28  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 3

Thursday, October 26, 2017

CLOSE YOUR EYES

Author:  Michael Robotham
Genre:  Mystery, Joseph O'Loughlin Series #8
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Sean Barrett
Yearly Count:  38


From NetGalley:
When a former student bungles a murder investigation, clinical psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin steps in to face a ruthless killer.

A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other posed like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Joe O'Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, trading on Joe's reputation by calling himself the "Mindhunter," jeopardizes the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.

Joe discovers a link between these murders and a series of brutal attacks where the men and women are choked unconscious and the letter "A" is carved into their foreheads. As the case becomes ever more complex, nothing is quite what it seems, and the fates of Joe and those closest to him become intertwined with that of a merciless and unpredictable killer.

I have read a few books in this series and have enjoyed Joe.  This book was no different.  I actually enjoyed his personal life more than the mystery.  Ultimately, I had the same feeling about the audioread - not quite good enough for me to say it was "very good," but I did like it.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

THE HATE U GIVE

Author:  Angie Thomas
Genre:  YA Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Bahni Turpin
Yearly Count:  37


High schooler, Starr, lives in a poor, gang-invested neighborhood, yet she attends school in a posh environment.  She struggles with where she fits in.  With the past and current violence around her, Starr needs to figure out who she is and what she stands for.

This book was interesting, and it kept my attention, but it may be more eye-opening for the intended audience of young adults.  Actually, it's perfect for them.  It delves into a lot of teen topics (adult, as well) and gives a personal feel to emotions experienced.  Good book, but not great.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE

Author:  Gail Honeyman
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Cathleen McCarron
Yearly Count:  36


Eleanor is an awkward woman who holds onto a difficult childhood.  She meets a co-worker and the life she knows begins to change.

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.  It didn't make me laugh, but it did remind me a little of a more uptight Rebecca Bloomwood (Shopaholic Series).  I "saw" people I know in real life that have had traits like Eleanor and actually wanted to help her at times.  However, other times, I felt it was a bit far-fetched that she didn't know or understand something.  The storyline was definitely stretched here and there.  Ultimately, I'm happy I listened to this book and was delighted that something surprised me.

Thoughts of Joy