Friday, May 27, 2016


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:  26

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


Author:  Jenny Milchman
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Susie Berneis
Yearly Count:  25

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


Author:  David Levithan
Genre:  YA Fiction, Every Day Companion
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Kathleen McInerney
Yearly Count:  24

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


Author:  Gregg Hurwitz
Genre:  Thriller, Evan Smoak Series #1
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Scott Brick
Yearly Count:  23

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


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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


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

Friday, April 22, 2016


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Author:  Lisa Gardner
Genre:  Thriller, Tessa Leoni Series #3
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Christina Traister & Mikael Naramore
Yearly Count:  12

From NetGalley:
My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.

Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero.

I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist.

Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says.

My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t.

Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead.

This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

Too much crazy and not enough solid story.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, February 15, 2016


Author:  Tim Johnston
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Xe Sands &
R.C. Bray
Yearly Count:  11

From NetGalley:
The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, a young family from the plains taking a last summer vacation before their daughter begins college. For eighteen-year-old Caitlin, the mountains loom as the ultimate test of her runner's heart, while her parents hope that so much beauty, so much grandeur, will somehow repair a damaged marriage. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic, as suddenly this family find themselves living the kind of nightmare they've only read about in headlines or seen on TV.

As their world comes undone, the Courtlands are drawn into a vortex of dread and recrimination. Why weren't they more careful? What has happened to their daughter? Is she alive? Will they ever know? Caitlin's disappearance, all the more devastating for its mystery, is the beginning of the family's harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths until all that continues to bind them together are the questions they can never bring themselves to ask: At what point does a family stop searching? At what point will a girl stop fighting for her life?

I am really torn on how to rate this book because there were some things that impressed me and at the same time annoyed me beyond belief.  The actual writing had a special quality to it that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It made me feel like I was there; however, the writing style took me all over the place regarding timeline and who was speaking.  That drove me out of my mind!  I would give Johnston a try again, but only if I knew the story was told in sequential order and was grounded with one point of view.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, February 12, 2016


Author:  Sophie McKenzie
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Marisa Calin
Yearly Count:  10

From NetGalley:
On a quiet, gray, Saturday morning, Livy arrives at her best friend Julia’s flat for a lunch date only to find her dead. Though all the evidence supports it, Livy cannot accept the official ruling of suicide; the Julia she remembers was loud, inappropriate, joyful, outrageous and loving, not depressed. The suspicious circumstances cause Livy to dig further, and she is suddenly forced to confront a horrifying possibility: that Julia was murdered, by the same man who killed Livy's sister, Kara, eighteen years ago.

Desperate to understand the tragedies of her past and hold her unraveling life together, Livy throws herself into the search for Kara and Julia’s killer, who she now believes is someone close to her family. But if that is true, can she still trust anyone? Damien, the man Julia was secretly dating? Leo, her husband’s boss and a close family friend? His son Paul, her husband’s best mate since college? Or even Will, her own dear husband, who has betrayed her perhaps one time too many?

And when Livy finally faces her sister’s killer, and he traps her with one horrible, impossible choice, she must finally decide: is she strong enough to trust herself?

I liked this book better than Close My Eyes (2013).  It kept me unsure of the killer until the revealing, which I appreciated.  The storyline for the most part was pretty solid, but the climax felt over-the-top and formulaic.  Ultimately, I thought it was a good book.  I did enjoy following the clues with Livy.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Reads

2.  Zoom (Banyai) ~ 4/5

3.  Re-Zoom (Banyai) ~ 3.5/5

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 5 

Books:  0 - 0 

eBooks:  0 - 0 

New-to-Me Authors:  6 - 6  

Children's Books (any version):  4 - 4 

*Short Stories:  0 - 0


Author:  Tami Hoag
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook, Julie Whelan
Yearly Count:  9

From NetGalley:
Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until a notorious serial killer tried to add her to his list of victims. Nearly a year has passed since surviving her ordeal, but the physical, emotional, and psychological scars run deep. Struggling with the torment of post-traumatic stress syndrome, plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as dark as the heart of a killer, Dana returns to her hometown in an attempt to begin to put her life back together. But home doesn’t provide the comfort she expects.

Dana’s harrowing story and her return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend, Casey Grant, who disappeared without a trace the summer after their graduation from high school. Terrified of truths long-buried, Dana reluctantly begins to look back at her past. Viewed through the dark filter of PTSD, old friends and loved ones become suspects and enemies. Questioning everything she knows, refusing to be defined by the traumas of her past and struggling against excruciating odds, Dana seeks out a truth that may prove too terrible to be believed…

This storyline focused on trauma to the brain (PTSD and TBI). That was all fine and dandy, but I didn't find the thriller part to be all that interesting.  I guessed the bad guy early on and was always hoping I was wrong.  I wasn't.  

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

Friday, January 29, 2016


Author:  Nicola Yoon
Genre:  YA, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (better than eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Bahni Turpin
Yearly Count:  8

Maddy is homebound due to an illness.  The only people she has direct contact with are her mom and nurse, until a boy moves in next door.

This screams YA.  I think I have grown out of the genre, because there haven't been too many that I enjoy anymore.  This is another that is so far-fetched and boring at times that I was happy for the ending.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Author:  Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
Genre:  Children's, 1 of 2
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  7

When a little boy opens his crayon box, he is surprised with a letter from each of the colors explaining why they quit!

I loved the idea of this book and the creativity; however, I was expecting more.

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Author:  Ben H. Winters
Genre:  Mystery, The Last Policeman Trilogy #1
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Peter Berkrot
Yearly Count:  6

Detective Hank Palace, who was promoted due to pre-apocalyptic predictions, takes his job seriously -- even with the impending doom.  He is determined to solve a suspicious hanging.

The first 2/3 was much more intriguing to me than the last 1/3.  I'm not sure why, but I started losing interest in the topic.  Picking up the next in this trilogy won't happen soon, but I'm still interested in reading it.  Mainly because I did like the doggedness of Palace.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 18, 2016


Author:  Ben McCool, Royal McGraw, Elliott Serrano, Ben Fisher
Genre:  Children's Comic, Volume 1
Published:  2016 (as a volume)
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  5

From NetGalley:
Dynamite proudly presents the comic book misadventures of Grumpy Cat, featuring "The World's Grumpiest Cat" and her brother, Pokey!  With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere.  Now, her unbearable cuteness and infectious sourpuss are featured in an all-new, all-sensational collection of comic stories, sure to make fans of all ages laugh!  If you love the memes, the videos, and the irresistible scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey!

This is a compilation of 3 individual Misadventures of Grumpy Cat & Pokey books.  There are several short adventures in each book.  I enjoy the one-liner images of Grumpy Cat, so thought I'd give this book a try.  I did grin or smirk a couple times, but I think too much of Grumpy Cat makes me a grumpy person.  

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Diamond Book Distributors and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Author:  Peter Swanson
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  4

A man and a woman meet on a plane and divulge inner thoughts, which lead to the planning of a murder.

What a good book!  This one kept me engaged every minute, and I didn't ever want to put it down.  I loved the twists and turns.  I enjoyed the different perspectives, as well.  Soooo good.

My first "Best Read" of the year!  Woo!

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Author:  Istvan Banyai
Genre:  Children's Picture Book, Sequel
Published:  1995
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  3

This picture book begins with a portion of a picture then zooms out to get a better view of the object, then zooms out again to a larger view, etc.

This is a sequel in the sense that it follows the same pattern as Zoom -- it zooms out from an image.  I didn't like this one as much as the first, but it was still interesting and fun to look it.

Thoughts of Joy


Author:  Istvan Banyai
Genre:  Children's Picture Book, 1 of 2
Published:  1995
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  2

This picture book begins with a portion of a picture then zooms out to get a better view of the object, then zooms out again to a larger view, etc.

I heard about this book on an episode of Serial and had to check it out.  I really enjoyed it and would like to peruse it with a child.  

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Thriller
Published:  2015  
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathleen Early
Yearly Count:  1

A family falls apart after the oldest daughter has gone missing.

I never thought this book was going to end.  It dragged on and on and on.  I'm guessing that was because I wasn't enjoying it.  The plot was incredibly ridiculous, and the characters were unbelievable.  And to top it all off, it was disgustingly graphic, and I simply didn't like it.

Thoughts of Joy

Read-Along: A Little Life #1 / 20

Welcome to the first informal chat of A Little Life (Yanagihara).  There is no particular plan or guide we are following.  Just chatting about what we just read.  However, you are welcome to throw out any questions that are pertinent to the chapter we have just finished (per the schedule) or have chatted about previously.  I will add them to the home post for everybody to see what is being discussed in the comments.

Today's Chat is on Part 1:  Chapter 1

Just to get us started, I will throw out these basic questions:
(the questions are just prompts to get a conversation going, you may answer them or just share your thoughts)

1.  Who are the main characters and how would you describe them?

2.  Do the characters seem realistic?

3.  What is the setting?

Let's get the chat started!  :)

UPDATE:  We are currently chatting via email.  There will be no further posts or comments here.  If you are interested in joining us, please let me know.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Read-Along: A Little Life Schedule

(First Chat:  January 10 and Final Thoughts:  May 15)

Each "Chat" begins on a Sunday for the previous week's reading.  I'll put up a new post each week, so if someone decides to join in after we have already started, they can go back and comment on previous weeks without any spoilers.

You may read as far ahead as you like (take notes!), but please do not comment on anything past the readings posted.

January 3, 2016:
Begin Reading!  Part 1:  Chapter 1

January 10, 2016:
Chat on Part 1:  Chapter 1
Read Part 1:  Chapter 2

January 17, 2016:
Chat on Part 1:  Chapter 2
Read Part 1:  Chapter 3

January 24, 2016:
Chat on Part 1:  Chapter 3
Read Part 2:  Chapter 1

January 31, 2016:
Chat on Part 2:  Chapter 1
Read Part 2:  Chapter 2

February 7, 2016:
Chat on Part 2:  Chapter 2
Read Part 2:  Chapter 3

February 14, 2016:
Chat on Part 2:  Chapter 3
Read Part 3:  Chapter 1

February 21, 2016:
Chat on Part 3:  Chapter 1
Read Part 3:  Chapter 2

February 28, 2016:
Chat on Part 3:  Chapter 2
Read Part 3:  Chapter 3

March 6, 2016:
Chat on Part 3:  Chapter 3
Read Part 4:  Chapter 1

March 13, 2016:
Chat on Part 4:  Chapter 1
Read Part 4:  Chapter 2

March 20, 2016:
Chat on Part 4:  Chapter 2
Read Part 4:  Chapter 3

March 27, 2016:
Chat on Part 4:  Chapter 3
Read Part 5:  Chapter 1

April 3, 2016:
Chat on Part 5:  Chapter 1
Read Part 5:  Chapter 2

April 10, 2016:
Chat on Part 5:  Chapter 2
Read Part 5:  Chapter 3

April 17, 2016:
Chat on Part 5:  Chapter 3
Read Part 6:  Chapter 1

April 24, 2016:
Chat on Part 6:  Chapter 1
Read Part 6:  Chapter 2

May 1, 2016:
Chat on Part 6:  Chapter 2
Read Part 6:  Chapter 3

May 8, 2016:
Chat on Part 6:  Chapter 3
Read Part 7:  Chapter 1

May 15, 2016:
Chat on Part 7:  Chapter 1
Final Thoughts!

WOO!  I'm excited to begin and
hope YOU'LL join us!