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 Stories:  0 - 0

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
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 Stories:  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 Stories:  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.

Friday, April 22, 2016

HOSTAGE TAKER

Author:  Stefanie Pintoff
Genre:  Thriller, Eve Rossi Series #1
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Tanya Eby
Yearly Count:  25


From NetGalley:
In the hushed quiet of early morning Manhattan, in front of the towering brass doors of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, a young woman holds a sign that reads: HELP ME. For one FBI agent, a madman's terrified hostages, and an entire city, a long and harrowing day is about to unfold.

The hostage taker's identity is unknown. But he knows who FBI agent Eve Rossi is—and everything about her past. Along with her presence, he demands five witnesses: ordinary people with some hidden connection. Defying her superiors, Eve begins a deadly dance with an adversary whose intentions are surely sinister, whose endgame is anything but certain, and whose cunning keeps him one step ahead at every turn.


As Eve manages a taut hostage situation, she relies on the combined skills of her team—a secret unit inspired by France's most notorious criminal and made up of ex-convicts with extraordinary talents, oversized egos, and contempt for the rules.


Eve is up against a rapidly ticking clock. But the dangerous man calling the shots has a timetable of his own—and a searing question for his targets: What are you guilty of? As shocking revelations surface, so does another crisis nobody could anticipate—one not even Eve and her team may be able to stop.

This was my first introduction to Pintoff, and she had my attention all the way through!  I enjoyed the mishmash of characters and the storyline.  It reminded me of The Monkeewrench crew in P.J. Tracy's series, but the guys on this crew were definitely more on the grittier side.  I will definitely pick up another by her. 

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

JOURNEY TO MUNICH

Author:  Jacqueline Winspear
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Series #12
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Orlagh Cassidy
Yearly Count:  24


Posing as his daughter, Maisie is recruited to retrieve a man from Nazi Germany.

After the last book, this one proved to be great in getting Maisie back on track.  I look forward to the next book!  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, April 09, 2016

BEING MORTAL

Author:  Atul Gawande
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Petkoff
Yearly Count:  23


As a practicing surgeon, Gawande is attuned to both sides of the medical field - giving and receiving. His goal is to bring to light the fact that we may treat the end of life in a less than perfect fashion.  He focuses on the general aspect of getting older when a person is healthy and when medication is needed.  

I found the book to be somewhat redundant and not new.  However, if the world would take notice and implement Gawande's findings (when appropriate), life could continue to be self-driven even at its ending.

Thoughts of Joy
   

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

THE SHIP OF BRIDES

Author:  JoJo Moyes
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2005
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Nicolette McKenzie
Yearly Count:  22

From NetGalley: 
In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which carries not just arms and aircraft, but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, but the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever.

The time in history was interesting. Interesting enough for me to continue listening, but the story was a tad bit boring. I just didn't have much concern for any of the characters. It picked up in the last 1/4 of the book, but . . . probably too late for me. 

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Reads










Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 15 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  1 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 11  

Children's Books (any version):  1 - 5 

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

DNF:  1 - 1

Monday, March 28, 2016

ELIZABETH IS MISSING

Author:  Emma Healey
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Davina Porter
Yearly Count:  21


Maud (mother and grandmother) who has dementia is very concerned about her friend (Elizabeth) who she believes to be missing.

Maud is not Alice, but she definitely grew to be someone I cared about.  If it weren't for the change in timeframes, I would have rated this higher.  I really did enjoy the storyline of Maud and her sister, though.  There was a bit of redundancy with Maud, but unfortunately, that's the reality of dementia.  There is a mystery with her sister's storyline, and while I appreciated it, there wasn't a definitive resolution.

Thoughts of Joy
        

Friday, March 25, 2016

THAT PART WAS TRUE

Author:  Deborah McKinlay
Genre:  Epistolary Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kellgren & Ganser
Yearly Count:  20


A divorcee living in England writes an author who lives in the USA regarding his work, and he responds!  (must say that is always exciting!)  :)  A friendship develops through their common interests.  

I really like epistolary novels, but sending letters these days is highly unusual -- especially with one word answers and far distances like . . .  over the pond.  That made no sense to me.  Also, I'm not a fan of lots of food talk and recipes in my books.  However, I did enjoy the blossoming of their relationship and loved how the ending was executed.

Thoughts of Joy


Friday, March 18, 2016

MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE

Author:  Susan Elia MacNeal
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Maggie Hope Series #5
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susan Deurden
Yearly Count:  19


From NetGalley:
December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States' entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady's aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt's inner circle—as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.

This blending of a fictitious story with real historical characters didn't sit well with me. There were many historical topics brought in and most didn't feel genuine. I didn't care for it at all.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

GHETTOSIDE

Author:  Jill Leovy
Genre:  Nonfiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  DNF #1
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Rebecca Lowman


I gave this a good try -- 2.5/11 CDs.  And, while it is an incredibly important topic, I found there to be too many characters, too much detail and not enough story.  It just wasn't cohesive enough for me, and it lost my interest.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

Author:  Jane Isaac
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  18


From NetGalley:
I concentrated hard, desperately listening for something familiar, the sound of life. I heard nothing. Just my own breaths and the wind, whistling through branches above… The thought made me shiver. I am buried alive. Following an argument with her British boyfriend, Chinese student Min Li is abducted whilst walking the dark streets of picturesque Stratford-upon-Avon alone. Trapped in a dark pit, Min is at the mercy of her captor. Detective Inspector Will Jackman is tasked with solving the case and in his search for answers discovers that the truth is buried deeper than he ever expected. But, as another student vanishes and Min grows ever weaker, time is running out. Can Jackman track down the kidnapper, before it’s too late?

This book was good, but it didn't compel me to pick it up, and I wish it had. I still enjoyed the storyline and would read another by this author. 

 Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Legend Press & NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Friday, March 11, 2016

THE GROWNUP

Author:  Gillian Flynn
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone Short Story
Published:  2014 (under different title)
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan
Yearly Count:  17
(Goodreads counts this as a book)


A woman with unsavory skills gets wrapped up in a family's drama.

So, I didn't like the basic topic at all -- for many reasons.  However, I do like Flynn's writing and did get wrapped up in the story.

Thoughts of Joy


LIFE OR DEATH

Author:  Michael Robotham
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/John Chancer
Yearly Count:  16


From NetGalley:
Why would a man serving a long prison sentence escape the day before he's due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent ten years in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. During that time he has suffered repeated beatings, stabbings and threats by inmates and guards, all desperate to answer the same question: where's the money?

On the day before Audie is due to be released, he suddenly vanishes. Now everybody is searching for him—the police, FBI, gangsters and other powerful figures—but Audie isn't running to save his own life. Instead, he's trying to save someone else's.

This was not quite a "very good" audioread, because I am beyond annoyed for waiting forever for things to be revealed and thoroughly disappointed that this story had numerous flashbacks.  UGH.  However, it was a storyline that intrigued me, and I continued to listen eagerly.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, February 29, 2016

February Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 10 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 0 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 8  

Children's Books (any version):  1 - 5 

*Short Stories:  0 - 0

Saturday, February 27, 2016

MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON

Author:  Elizabeth Strout
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kimberly Farr
Yearly Count:  15


Lucy Barton is in the hospital recuperating from a routine surgery.  During Lucy's stay, her estranged mother comes to visit her in the hospital.

After not caring for and giving up on Olive Kitteridge, I decided to give this author another try.  I decide that AFTER I discovered it was only 4 CDs.  (insert smirky face here)  I am glad that I made it through, but it was incredibly bland and disjointed.  Neither of which make for a good experience for me.  However, I can appreciate the author's talent.  :)  She incorporated a lot of emotional topics, which could provoke some deep discussion.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, February 26, 2016

THE DAY THE CRAYONS CAME HOME

Author:  Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
Genre:  Children's, 2 of 2
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  14


The crayons are asking to be rescued from their individual fates.

This book was much more colorful (pun intended) than The Day the Crayons Quit!  It had more creativity and intrigue.  Cute.

Thoughts of Joy


Thursday, February 25, 2016

THE ROSIE EFFECT

Author:  Graeme Simsion
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Rosie Sequel
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Dan O'Grady
Yearly Count:  13



From NetGalley:
Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.

Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked Don and all his efforts, but I did not like Rosie at all.  She rubbed me the wrong way.  I also didn't like some of the events that took place against Don.  This was not a pleasant read for me.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Simon & Schuster & NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.