Saturday, September 07, 2019

THE WHISPER MAN

Author:  Alex North
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2019
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  26


From NetGalley:

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window...

Thriller?  Eh.  Not so much.  I was never fully engaged with the story, but was somewhat interested.  The writing was fine, the characters were okay, but there just wasn't enough to make me want to read into the night.  I did finish it -- that says something.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, August 31, 2019

August Reads



I didn't think I finished any books this month, but I have surprised myself with one!  :)


25.  Lies (Logan) ~ 2.75/5



Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  1 - 17

Books:  0 - 4

eBooks:  0 - 4

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 21

Short Story Collection: 0 - 0

DNF: 0 - 0

Thursday, August 01, 2019

LIES

Author:  T. M. Logan
Genre:  Thriller
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  2.75/5
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Leighton Pugh
Yearly Count:  25


From NetGalley:
Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in an altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives—someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

What if your whole life was based on LIES?

Lies was believable until it wasn't.  :(  I had high hopes for this one, and they kept falling as the book progressed.  By the time the ending arrived, I was a bit disappointed.  There were just too many events that didn't ring true.  

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July Reads



YIKES!!!

NOT ONE BOOK FINISHED!




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  0 - 16

Books:  0 - 4

eBooks:  0 - 4

New-to-Me Authors:  0 - 20

Short Story Collection: 0 - 0

DNF: 0 - 0

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Teen Years Begin


Thoughts of Joy is 13 today!

While this space hasn't received much love and/or attention, I still plan to continue keeping a record of my reading/listening.

I decided to put my goal for the 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge really low so I wouldn't feel any pressure to read.  That was all fine and dandy as I was naturally reading at a decent pace.  Well, I was going to exceed the goal quickly, so I changed it.  Now . . . I'm 3 behind.  Go figure!  It's not a big deal, just a mental space I wanted free.  Not sure if I'm going to do something about it or not.  We'll see.

Last summer I did cull many books, but there are many more lingering on shelves and in closets.  I will continue my quest for culling as the mood strikes.

So, my teen years begin with the hope of keeping up with my posting a bit better.  For some reason, I don't receive notification of comments anymore.  I have to go into my blog and look for them!  Sorry to those I haven't responded to in a timely manner.  I have found some more that I will address soon.  Thanks for reading, commenting and celebrating 13 years of blogging with me!

Happy Reading to All!

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, June 30, 2019

June Reads








Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 16

Books:  0 - 4

eBooks:  1 - 4

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 20

Short Story Collection: 0 - 0

DNF: 0 - 0

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

THE ESCAPE ROOM

Author: Megan Goldin
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone 
Published:  2019
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  24


From NetGalley:
Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style—but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.

Invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.

Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?

This was incredibly unbelievable, but I enjoyed it anyway.  Odd, but true.  I much prefer more realistic reads, but I was curious and would pick this up to find out more!  There were two time frames:  an elevator team building exercise and the events that lead up to it.  That, too, was not my favorite style.  So, with an unbelievable storyline and a format I'm not fond of, I still enjoyed this book.  That says something.  The actual writing was an easy read.

Thoughts of Joy

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with the eGalley.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

THE SUSPECT

Author:  Fiona Barton
Genre:  Mystery, Kate Waters #3
Published:  2019
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  23


From NetGalley:
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth—and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

As the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think...


This was just okay.  I didn't dislike it, but didn't like it either.  Unfortunately, I never connected with any of the characters, and I was never curious as to what happened.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, June 10, 2019

THE OTHER WOMAN

Author:  Sandie Jones
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  3.75/5
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Clare Corbett
Yearly Count:  22


From Goodreads:
Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

I was interested, but didn't find it all to be realistic.  Some choices were ridiculous, but that's life, isn't it?  Also, it got a bit choppy when the story was trying to move forward.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, May 31, 2019

April & May Reads

Playing Catch-Up!



APRIL

13.  The Happiness Project (Rubin) ~ Audiobook, 3/5

14.  Mine (Cole) ~ NetGalley, eBook, 4/5

15.  Rust & Stardust (Greenwood) ~ Audiobook, 3.5/5

16.  The Silent Patient (Michaelides) ~ Audiobook 4/5

17.  Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (Hollie) ~ Book, 3/5

18.  Sometimes I Lie (Feeney) ~ NetGalley, Audiobook 3/5



MAY

19.  So You Want to Talk About Race (Oluo) ~ Audiobook

20.  Comprehension Connections (McGregor) ~ Book, 4.5/5

21.  Into the Darkness (Hodge) ~ Audiobook, 3.5/5




Two Months Combined - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 14

Books:  2 - 4

eBooks:  1 - 3

New-to-Me Authors:  9 - 18

Short Story Collection: 0 - 0

DNF: 0 - 0

Thursday, April 04, 2019

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT

Author:  Gretchen Rubin
Genre:  Non-Fiction, The Happiness Project #1
Published:  2009
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Gretchen Rubin
Yearly Count:  13


From Goodreads:
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.


I just happened to see this on the shelf at my library and, on a whim, decided to bring it home.  I can't believe it's been 10 years since it was published!  The speed of time is scary!

My biggest complaint is that she states throughout the book that she needed to just "Be Gretchen."  However, the entire book is about CHANGING Gretchen.  Whether it be about choice and/or for the good, it's still based on changing Gretchen and that bothered me throughout.  The book on a whole is incredibly overwhelming!!!  Every itty-bitty, minute component/detail of one's existence is in one way or another probed and prodded.  It is examined to the point of exhaustion.  The research behind her ideas were interesting, although I don't recall anything being new or revolutionary.  I enjoyed her as her own narrator.

Anyone know . . .  Is she happier today?

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Reads






Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 8

Books:  0 - 2

eBooks:  1 - 2

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 9

Short Story Collection: 0 - 0

DNF: 0 - 0

Monday, March 25, 2019

IF I RUN

Author:  Terri Blackstock
Genre:  Christian Thriller, If I Run #1
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Nan Gurley
Yearly Count:  12


From NetGalley:
Casey didn't kill her friend Brent. She discovered his body, but she'd never try to hurt him. He's the only person she's ever trusted enough to tell the truth about what happened to her father . . . and there's no doubt in her mind that Brent was killed trying to help her prove it. She has to run before they get to her too.

Dylan Roberts was hired to find Casey and bring her back so that justice can be served. As a former Criminal Investigator for the Army, he can't imagine that tracking down one girl will be that difficult.

But the more elusive Casey turns out to be, the more Dylan digs into her past to try to determine what she might be thinking. What he finds there doesn't fit the profile of a killer at all. She's unlike any other fugitive he's ever seen.

The police refuse to discuss any other possibilities. There's something more going on here. Something more to this fugitive who has captured his attention. Now he just has to figure out what it is . . . and Casey just has to stay one step ahead of everyone who's after her.


How many ways can you roll your eyes?  The narrator had no character voice change, it was very unrealistic and dare I say a bit saccharine (could have been the narrator).  And, you are left with an open ending.  This, of course, is because it's #1 of 3.  Yikes!  I will not be reading anymore in this trilogy, because it simply wasn't for me.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

THE WOMAN INSIDE

Author:  E. G. Scott
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2019
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  ebook  
Yearly Count:  11


From NetGalley:
Rebecca didn’t know love was possible until she met Paul, a successful, charismatic, married man with a past as dark as her own. Their pain drew them together with an irresistible magnetism; they sensed that they were each other’s ideal (and perhaps only) match.

But twenty years later, Paul and Rebecca are drowning as the damage and secrets that ignited their love begin to consume their marriage. Paul is cheating on Rebecca, and his affair gets messy fast. His mistress is stalking them with growing audacity when Rebecca discovers Paul’s elaborate plan to build a new life without her. And though Rebecca is spiraling into an opiate addiction, it doesn’t stop her from coming up with a devious plot of her own, and this one could end absolutely everything.


Another book that had an interesting beginning, which definitely built my curiosity--until it didn't anymore.  Early on I figured out what was going to happen and just slowly watched it unfold.  Of course I couldn't predict all the details, but even those additions didn't thrill me.

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

BORN A CRIME

Author:  Trevor Noah
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4.5/5
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Trevor Noah
Yearly Count:  10


From Goodreads:
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
This was educational, entertaining, and I experienced a whole range of emotions, as well.  The stories weren't told succinctly, but they were engaging nonetheless. That may have been a little more noticeable due to this being an audiobook (no physical break in pages). The foul language wasn't pleasant either, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, March 07, 2019

BRING ME BACK

Author:  B. A. Paris
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  2.5/5 (eh)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
McCarron & Hely
Yearly Count:  9


From NetGalley:
She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained—until now.

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him...even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

Oh goodness. I was interested, even though it was a slow process and had too many possibilities. The ending was ridiculous.  

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Reads




Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks: 3 - 5

Books: 2 - 2

eBooks: 1 - 1

New-to-Me Authors: 2 - 6

Short Story Collection: 0 - 0

DNF: 0 - 0

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A THOUSAND NAKED STRANGERS

Author:  Kevin Hazzard
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.75/5
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/George Newbern
Yearly Count:  8


From Goodreads:
A former paramedic’s visceral, poignant, and mordantly funny account of a decade spent on Atlanta’s mean streets saving lives and connecting with the drama and occasional beauty that lies inside catastrophe.

I thought I'd step into the life of an EMT/paramedic.  Unfortunately, I think I have been permanently scarred!  I will NEVER look at an ambulance or the paramedics inside the same way.  😟  My emotions ran the gamut, but centralized on how perplexed I was regarding the attitude of the author.  He wasn't a horrible person or anything like that, BUT he definitely didn't have the same nature as I do.  What he said was more disturbing than funny.  I do believe I giggled once, though.  HOWEVER, it does take a special kind of person to deal with and perform the duties emergencies require that arise in the medical field.  What's gross or appalling for some is intriguing and compelling to others.  I get that.  And thank goodness for them.  I'm just looking at them with a little skepticism these days.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Friday, February 22, 2019

EDUCATED

Author:  Tara Westover
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Julia Whelan
Yearly Count:  7


From:  Goodreads:

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.

While this was reminiscent of The Glass Castle (Walls), it didn't have the same impact on me, and I'm not exactly sure why.  Both women persevere and work through the life they were born into that was wrought with several forms of abuse.  I suspect there's more to the stories Tara told that she wasn't/isn't aware of, because some were beyond my comprehension.  I just can't see how some of it could slip by others; however, I'm aware that it does.  It's just mind-boggling!  

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, February 14, 2019

HOW IT HAPPENED

Author:  Michael Koryta
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  3.5/5
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Petkoff
Yearly Count:  6


From NetGalley:

"And that is how it happened. Can we stop now?"

Kimberly Crepeaux is no good, a notorious jailhouse snitch, teen mother, and heroin addict whose petty crimes are well-known to the rural Maine community where she lives. So when she confesses to her role in the brutal murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly, the daughter of a well-known local family and her sweetheart, the locals have little reason to believe her story.

Not Rob Barrett, the FBI investigator and interrogator specializing in telling a true confession from a falsehood. He's been circling Kimberly and her conspirators for months, waiting for the right avenue to the truth, and has finally found it. He knows, as strongly as he's known anything, that Kimberly's story-a grisly, harrowing story of a hit and run fueled by dope and cheap beer that becomes a brutal stabbing in cold blood-is how it happened. But one thing remains elusive: where are Jackie and Ian's bodies?

After Barrett stakes his name and reputation on the truth of Kimberly's confession, only to have the bodies turn up 200 miles from where she said they'd be, shot in the back and covered in a different suspect's DNA, the case is quickly closed and Barrett forcibly reassigned. But for Howard Pelletier, the tragedy of his daughter's murder cannot be so tidily swept away. And for Barrett, whose career may already be over, the chance to help a grieving father may be the only one he has left.


I was very engaged with the storyline for most of the book.  The desire to know "how it happened" was strong.  The climax went a bit beyond by the end, and the finale lost its appeal.  If there had been a shocking twist at the very end, I probably would have thought the book was well worth the read.  However, it didn't, and I was disappointed.   It did keep my interest and entertained me, so I'm happy for that.

Thoughts of Joy

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


Thursday, January 31, 2019

January Reads










Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 2

Books:  2 - 2

eBooks:  1 - 1

New-to-Me Authors:  4 - 4

Short Story Collection:   0 - 0

DNF:   0 - 0

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

INK IN WATER

Author:  Davis & Kettner
Genre:  Graphic Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  5


From Goodreads:
Blending bold humor, a healthy dose of self-deprecation, vulnerability, literary storytelling, and dynamic and provocative artwork by illustrator Jim Kettner, Ink in Water is an unflinching, brutally honest look into the author’s mind: how she learned to take control of her damaging thoughts, redirect her perfectionism from self-destructive behaviors into writing and art, and how she committed herself to a life of health, strength, and nourishment.

Davis's story was told very well.  It was succinct, and I wanted to keep turning the pages.  Also, her brutal honesty was appreciated.  The illustrations were spot on, but Davis is a real person, so I think I would have preferred a little less cartoonish.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 28, 2019

KINGDOM OF THE BLIND

Author:  Louise Penny
Genre:  Mystery, Three Pines Series #3
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robert Bathurst
Yearly Count: 4


From Goodreads:
When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.

Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional - until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem far more menacing.

But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots - and the terrible things hiding there.

 Another successful read by Louise Penny.  Even though I haven't loved (definitely liked, though) every single addition to this series, I am always excited at a new release and know that it's going to be another nice visit with the people of Three Pines.  This one had two big storylines and both were very good.  I was fully on to one of them, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment.

Thoughts of Joy
    

Saturday, January 26, 2019

HER ONE MISTAKE

Author:  Heidi Perks
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2019
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  3



From NetGalley:
It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter....

I enjoyed reading this, but knew from the start what a major twist would be, and I was right.  However, there were other little turns I didn't see coming.  I didn't connect with either of the main characters, but didn't need to.  My interest was piqued from the start and wanted to keep reading.  I'm definitely interested in more books by Perks.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

THE LOST BOY

Author:  Greg Ruth
Genre:  Sci-Fi YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  1/5 (Don't Bother)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  2


From Goodreads:
Some mysteries are too dangerous to ignore. . .

After Nate moves into his new house, he discovers an old tape recorder in his bedroom and is suddenly thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many years ago. Now, as strange creatures begin to track Nate, he must partner with Tabitha, a local sleuth, to find out what they want with him. But time is running out, because a powerful force is gathering strength in the woods at the edge of town, and before long Nate and Tabitha will be forced to confront a terrifying foe and uncover the truth about the Lost Boy.

This is not the genre for me! I'm sure there are many, many people who thoroughly would love this graphic novel. The artistry was terrific, but again -- just not for me.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, January 10, 2019

THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP

Author:  Marie Kondo
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Magic Cleaning #1
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Emily Woo Zeller
Yearly Count:  1


From Goodreads:

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo's clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house "spark joy" (and which don't), this international best seller featuring Tokyo's newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home - and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.


DON'T BE FOOLED BY MY RATING, and I didn't audioread this book to jumpstart a New Year's Resolution!!!  (Also, the new show didn't have anything to do with it either.)  

I audioread this book, because it was short.  Period.  I was trying to reach my 52 books for the year; therefore, I had a collection of shorter books and audiobooks.  This happened to be one of them.  I didn't need it for 2018, so it became my first of 2019.  

My rating is purely based on two facts:  it kept me entertained and engaged (crazy talk, I say, crazy talk), and it left me with positivity, encouragement and inspiration.  I think that's worthy of a very good rating.

The nitty-gritty of the text was absurd.  Marie is the ULTIMATE PERSONIFIER.  I dislike personification immensely.  It's just not my thing.  I'm surprised I didn't topple over with dizziness while listening due to the amount of eye-rolling I did.  HOWEVER, for someone that is prone to clutter or just doesn't have the wherewithal to clean up after themselves, this method may be useful. 

Most importantly for me, I finished the book truly feeling revitalized.  Maybe just listening to someone else sort and throw out stuff does that for me . . . who knows?!  LOL  I do have a closet to clean out (tentatively scheduled for winter break).  Will I use the KonMari method?  NOPE!  Unless my clothing and/or other closet items start talking to me, then I may have to reconsider.

Thoughts of Joy
  

Monday, December 31, 2018

Best Reads of 2018



Reading 52 books was quite the task for me this year.  I even had to read several graphic novels in the last few weeks of the year to make it!  Did I have to read 52 books?  Of course not; however, I did enjoy reading.  I'm usually doing something else these days and being "forced" to read was a pleasure.  What I didn't like was the pressure.  I have removed the pressure by only pledging to read 26 books in 2019 with the hope that I read more.

2018 brought me 21 books that I rated a 4/5 (very good) or above.  My favorites are below:



1.  Every Note Played (Genova) ~ Realistic Fiction
4.25/5 (very good +)

  




2.  Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind (Jensen) ~ Non-Fiction
4.25/5 (very good +)






3.  Escape From Camp 14 (Harden) ~ Memoir
4.25/5 (very good +)


December Reads






YEAR END STATS

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  5 - 27

Books:  5 - 14

eBooks:  2 - 11  

New-to-Me Authors:  7 - 27  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 2

DNF:  0 - 0


TOTAL BOOKS READ:  52

AWKWARD

Author:  Svetlana Chmakova
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Awkward #3
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  52


From Goodreads:
Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don't get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope--Peppi--Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she's already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the "nerder girlfriend." How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can't help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he's a member of her own club's archrivals--the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

This first in the trilogy (read them backwards) is not my favorite, but still worthy of a good rating.  The hardcopy of this book had terrific drawings like the others, but it had less color - making it different from the other two.  Not sure what happened there.  Like the others, lessons to be learned in a fun way.

I'm not sure if they all have them in it or not, but raccoons abound!  :)

Thoughts of Joy

BRAVE

Author:  Svetlana Chmakova
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Awkward #2
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  51


From Goodreads:
In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different - math is hard, getting along with friends is hard...Even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure's on even more once the school newspaper's dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen's always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone's cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real life problems?

I've been reading this series backwards, but no matter. They can all be read independently. This is a good story for middle grades - maybe teach them a thing or two. The art work is terrific - loved it.

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, December 30, 2018

THIS ONE SUMMER

Author:  Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  50


From Goodreads:
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Not much to say about this graphic novel. Some of it felt realistic and some not, but whatever. I continued to read, so that says something.

Thoughts of Joy

THE TWENTY-THREE

Author:  Linwood Barclay
Genre:  Mystery, Promise Falls #3
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Poe & O'Neill
Yearly Count:  49


From NetGalley:
Everything has been leading to this.

It’s the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms—and dozens have died. Investigators quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town?

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is faced with another problem. A college student has been murdered, and he’s seen the killer’s handiwork before—in the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. Suddenly, all the strange things that have happened in the last month start to add up…

Bloody mannequins found in car “23” of an abandoned Ferris wheel…a fiery, out-of-control bus with “23” on the back, that same number on the hoodie of a man accused of assault…

The motive for harming the people of Promise Falls points to the number 23—and working out why will bring Duckworth closer to death than he’s ever been before…

This was a bit of a manic start, then it just took forever to move forward.  I'm glad there will be no more Promise Falls (end of trilogy).  It wasn't my favorite Barclay work - easy listening, though.  I do, however, look forward to more standalones.  He's a comfort read/listen for me.  Hooray for that!

Thoughts of Joy

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

Saturday, December 29, 2018

QUIET GIRL IN A NOISY WORLD

Author:  Debbie Tung
Genre:  Graphic Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  48


From Goodreads:
This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung's experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie's life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.
This was a great way to understand an introvert.  Debbie describes her feelings very well, and I enjoyed the read.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14

Author:  Blaine Harden
Genre:  Memoir, Standalone
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Blaine Harden
Yearly Count:  47


From Goodreads:
North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin's Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.

In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin's life unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden's harrowing narrative of Shin's life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world's darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.

Whoa.  This was another eye-opener, even though I knew about North Korea's reputation.  Some of the story is beyond comprehension.  And, even though Shin is not very personable (understandably so), my heart still broke for him and all the other prisoners in that country.  

Thoughts of Joy
  

Sunday, December 16, 2018

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

Author:  David Grann
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Patton, Lee & Campbell
Yearly Count:  46


From Goodreads:
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off.

A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

Oh my goodness!  I feel a bit naive, but I'll just chalk it up to nobody told me!  While this was quite a tragic part of history, I think it could have been told in a better fashion.  Maybe audio wasn't the way to go with this one, because I do recommend it.

Thoughts of Joy