Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 3

Books:  1 - 1 

eBooks:  1 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 1  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Author:  Chelsea Cain
Genre:  Mystery, Kick Lannigan Series #1
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Heather Lind
Yearly Count:  5

Kick, a survivor of child abduction, is asked to help a mysterious man rescue other abducted children.

Well, I didn't buy into this story.  I didn't care for Kick all that much, and then the whole man from who-knows-where appears -- none of it jelled for me.  I did continue and was somewhat engaged, but at the moment, I don't think I'll continue with this series either.  We'll see.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 19, 2018


Author:  Amanda Eyre Ward
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2015
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Cabezas & Plummer
Yearly Count:  4

Two life stories are running concurrently and eventually intersect.  One is a 40-year-old woman and her husband that desperately want a child, and the other is a 13-year-old in Honduras desperately trying to get to her mother in Texas.

Not exactly sure when I finished this and not exactly sure of any details either.  :(  I do remember thinking some parts were interesting and others just ho-hum.  Not disappointed I listened to it, though.  That's good.  :)

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 15, 2018


Author:  Eric Jensen
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  3

From Goodreads:

Discover practical and research-based strategies to ensure all students, regardless of circumstance, are college and career ready. This thorough resource details the necessary but difficult work that teachers must do to establish the foundational changes essential to positively impact students in poverty. Organized tools and resources are provided to help teachers effectively implement these essential changes.

This was read as a Book Study over the last several months.  It was an encouraging read, but nothing new.  It's always nice to dust off and be refreshed, though.  The ultimate goal is to get students to graduate high school and be job or college ready.

Thoughts of Joy

Friday, January 12, 2018


Author:  Lisa Genova
Genre:  Realistic Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2018
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  2

From NetGalley:
An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

Whoa.  I couldn't sleep last night, so I picked this up and finished it at 3:30am.  As I put my iPad down, I continued to sob as quietly as I could to not wake my husband.  Blah.  I don't remember the last time I cried when reading a book.  This book touched me.  BUT, I didn't like how it touched me.  

I love, love, love Lisa's writing.  Love it.  However, even within that, I didn't think this one had enough build up.  It felt like it went immediately into doom and gloom.  Then, it just got deeper and deeper in Richard's failures -- body, mind and soul.  I understand that this was about just that.  That's what ALS does.  It's beyond miserable.  I can't think of any pleasant diseases, though, can you?  

So, ultimately, I learned an incredible amount about ALS and respect Lisa's diligence in getting it out into our hands.  This is not a joyful story, but a very plausible one.  Sometimes those are the most difficult to read.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


Author:  James Patterson
Genre:  Mystery, Women's Murder Club Series #3
Published:  2004
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Carolyn McCormick
Yearly Count:  1

Detective Lindsay Boxer and friends try to find the person who is sending threats to kill someone every few days.  Soon it becomes very personal.

I was somewhat entertained during my drives, but sadly, the twist didn't affect me much.  Not sure how much it will change in book #4, but I am curious.  Therefore, I will continue with the series when I feel the need for a fast audioread.

Thoughts of Joy

Monday, January 01, 2018

Best Reads of 2017

I only read 52 books this year.  🙈  Of those 52, there were 8 books that I rated a 4/5 or above.  Below are my faves which rated a 4.25 or above:

1.  All is Not Forgotten (Walker) ~ Psychological Thriller
4.5/5 (excellent)

4.25/5 (very good +)

5/5 (absolutely outstanding)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Reads

51.  The Child (Barton) ~ 3.75/5

52.  Re-Gifters (Carey) ~ 3.75/5


Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  6 - 38

Books:  3 - 9 

eBooks:  0 - 5 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 34  

Short Story Collection:  1 - 1

DNF:  0 - 3


Friday, December 29, 2017


Author:  Mike Carey, Sonny Lieu & Marc Hempel
Genre:  YA Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2007
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  52  (Phew!  Made it!)

Oh goodness.  This is actually a re-read, which I never do!  I recognized the storyline immediately, but couldn't find it on my blog, so I continued to read thinking it may have been a DNF.  Afterwards, I looked again . . . lo and behold, it was there!  Error on my part, but I still enjoyed the book just as much.  Below are my thoughts that I wrote in 2014.  I feel exactly the same.  :)

Dixie, a martial arts enthusiast, gets wrapped up in her thoughts of true love around the time of a tournament.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.  I was interested in the storyline and artwork . . . even the second time around!

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Author:  Fiona Barton
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.75/5 (good +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count:  51

From NetGalley:
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers human remains, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who has been found at the building site?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A child was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

I happened to read a negative review of this book prior to choosing it and that put a cloud of doubt in my mind, because I didn't think I was going to enjoy it.  Happily, I liked it much more than I anticipated.  :)  I liked the chain of events (I did have to juggle some characters for a while, though) and the bits of twists.  The storyline had several facets to it, which I found to be a good blend.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, December 18, 2017


Author:  Michael Harvey
Genre:  Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Robbie Daymond
Yearly Count:  50

Graduate students are enrolled in a seminar that explores freeing those that are in prison that have been falsely accused a crime.

This was just okay.  It reminded me of the TV show, How to Get Away with Murder, but different, of course!  I liked the chatter of school, but it didn't entice me to pick it up other than on my commute.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Author:  Agatha Christie
Genre:  Mystery, Hercule Poirot Series #4)
Published:  1926
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Robin Bailey
Yearly Count:  49

Roger was murdered.  Who did it?

I randomly guessed who the murderer was and was right.  I didn't find this to be any great mystery, but it was okay to listen to.  I think the style of writing didn't fit my mood, but whatever.

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2 Young Reader Books

Due to Privacy Issues I am not going to reveal these books.  However, I want them counted in my reads.

Genre:  Young Readers
Published:  2017
Format:  Book and Book
Yearly Count:  47 & 48

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Saturday, December 09, 2017


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

This book is a collection of 14 Appalachian stories.

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, December 03, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Reads

41.  My Story (Smart) ~ 3.25/5

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 32

Books:  1 - 6 

eBooks:  1 - 5 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 31  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 3


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, November 27, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, November 26, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, November 03, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  3 - 29

Books:  0 - 5 

eBooks:  0 - 4 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 28  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 3

Thursday, October 26, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Wednesday, October 04, 2017


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

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

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

Thoughts of Joy

Sunday, October 01, 2017

September Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  1 - 26

Books:  0 - 5 

eBooks:  0 - 4 

New-to-Me Authors:  0 - 26  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  1 - 3

Monday, September 25, 2017


Author:  Marcus Sakey
Genre:  Paranormal, Brilliance Trilogy
Published:  2013
Personal Rating:  DNF  #3
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Luke Daniels

I really tried to like this book.  After listening to close to 4 CDs, I gave up.  It just wasn't a good fit for me.  I'm disappointed, because I have the other books in the trilogy and was really looking forward to all 3.  Oh well.

Thoughts of Joy  

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Author:  Karen McManus
Genre:  YA Mystery, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Various
Yearly Count: 35

From Goodreads:
One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive.  Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

I've been incredibly busy with life lately, and trying to find a book that would keep my attention has been a huge endeavor -- until this one.  It kept me engaged, and I enjoyed it.  Although, I guessed totally wrong, but had fun trying to figure it out.  This was a well done YA mystery.

Thoughts of Joy 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 25

Books:  0 - 5 

eBooks:  1 - 4 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 26  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 2

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Author:  Christophe Chaboute
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh +)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  34

From NetGalley:
From its creation, to its witness to the fresh ardor of lovers, the drudgery of businessmen, the various hopes of the many who enter its orbit, the park bench weathers all seasons. Strangers meet at it for the first time. Paramours carve their initials into it. Old friends sit and chat upon it for hours. Others ignore the bench, or (attempt to) sleep on it at night, or simply anchor themselves on it and absorb the ebb and flow of the area and its people.

I have mixed emotions about this graphic novel. The lack of color was interesting, yet it turned out to be very boring and drab; however, it was apropos for its purpose.  The scenarios depicted with a variety of people was fine, but incredibly repetitious -- again, apropos for its purpose.  The stories that developed were okay, nothing exciting or intriguing.  I just kept turning the pages.  Now, the actual drawings themselves were very good, especially using only black and white.  They felt like the black was etched off to create a white scene.  I liked that a lot.  Ultimately, mixed emotions remain.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Author:  Lisa Lutz
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2.75/5 (eh )
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Madeleine Maby
Yearly Count:  33

From NetGalley:
In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it...

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

Well, I didn't have much luck with Lutz's other books, but I really wanted to give this one a try.  I still am not a fan of her style, BUT I actually finished this book!  And, I didn't strongly dislike it!  :)  There was definitely an element of wanting to know what was going to happen instilled in me, and that was a good thing.  Can't say I'm interested in picking up another, but this one wasn't so bad.  😝

Thoughts of Joy

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

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Author:  Reed Farrel Coleman
Genre:  Mystery, Gus Murphy Series #1
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  3.25/5 (just okay +)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Chris Andrew Ciulla
Yearly Count:  32

From NetGalley:
Gus Murphy thought he had the world all figured out. A retired Suffolk County cop, Gus had everything a man could want: a great marriage, two kids, a nice house, and the rest of his life ahead of him. But when tragedy strikes, his life is thrown into complete disarray. In the course of a single deadly moment, his family is blown apart and he is transformed from a man who believes he understands everything into a man who understands nothing.

Divorced and working as a courtesy van driver for the run-down hotel in which he has a room, Gus has settled into a mindless, soulless routine that barely keeps his grief at arm's length. But Gus's comfortable waking trance comes to an end when ex-con Tommy Delcamino asks him for help. Four months earlier, Tommy's son T.J.'s battered body was discovered in a wooded lot, yet the Suffolk County PD doesn't seem interested in pursuing the killers. In desperation, Tommy seeks out the only cop he ever trusted—Gus Murphy.

Gus reluctantly agrees to see what he can uncover. As he begins to sweep away the layers of dust that have collected over the case during the intervening months, Gus finds that Tommy was telling the truth. It seems that everyone involved with the late T.J Delcamino—from his best friend, to a gang enforcer, to a mafia capo, and even the police—has something to hide, and all are willing to go to extreme lengths to keep it hidden. It's a dangerous favor Gus has taken on as he claws his way back to take a place among the living, while searching through the sewers for a killer.

I liked Gus and Coleman's writing style, but I found the storyline to be a bit lackluster.  It was a little slow with not much happening.  However, Gus and the narrator (Ciulla) were a good team, and I'll be happy to visit with Gus again.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

July Reads

29.  Roughneck (Lemire) ~ 4.25/5

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 23

Books:  1 - 5 

eBooks:  1 - 3 

New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 24  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 2

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Author:  Cate Holahan
Genre:  Thriller, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  3.5/5 (good)
Format:  eBook
Yearly Count:  31

From NetGalley:
Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.

Liza Jones has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing down in both her professional and her personal life, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone providing for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, Beth sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the river.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the Hudson and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

Oh my goodness.  I liked so much about this book, but frankly, it was just too confusing!  It took me about 1/2 the book to get into the swing of the two storylines.  I enjoyed them both immensely, I just couldn't keep anything straight; therefore, not knowing what was real and what wasn't.  (Later to find out, I didn't have all the subtitles in my version.  Uhhhhh, that would have helped tremendously!)  Anyway, I liked the complexity of the story, but I'm writing this a week after finishing it, and I don't remember the actual final ending.  Ultimately, this one seems a bit too confusing to read sporadically (and without subtitles).  : /  I will gladly read another by this author, though.

*subtitles = chapter title headings

Thoughts of Joy

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Eleven years!  Eleven!!  My oh my, the years have just flown by!  Although, all the while, I've been having fun!  :) 

Not much has changed since last year; however, I have felt the desire to read actual books lately.  I have read some (read:  not very many, but more than before) and have really enjoyed the old-fashioned method.

Listening to audiobooks remains the priority due to the ability to multi-task, but reading an ebook or picking up an actual book is still a favorite past-time.  I'm very happy to continue keeping track of my reads (in any form) here on Thoughts of Joy.  I hope you'll continue to join me.

Happy Reading!

Thoughts of Joy
(11 years old today!)   

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Author:  Karin Slaughter
Genre:  Police Procedural, Standalone
Published:  2014
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/Kathleen Early
Yearly Count:  30

From NetGalley:
Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.
Hmmm.  This one is terribly difficult for me to rate.  I thought the manhunt was done well, but everything surrounding it was incredibly tough to hear.  There was every kind of discrimination and "ism" you can imagine.  Reality of the times (70s Georgia, and maybe even now), but nonetheless, it was tough to hear over and over and over.  Not a pleasant listen for me, but solving the crime kept me from making it a DNF.  (yikes)

Thoughts of Joy

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Author:  Jeff Lemire
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  29

An ex-hockey player and his sister reunite and attempt to bring their broken lives to a better place.

I sat down and read this in a very short period of time.  Obviously, as a graphic novel it's going to go fast, but I was intrigued by the story and the graphics, which encouraged me to keep turning the pages.

Thoughts of Joy

Thursday, July 06, 2017


Author:  Alexandra Oliva
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Chamberlain & Zanzarella
Yearly Count:  28

From NetGalley:
She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show.

Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show's producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all of her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will either be her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

Dour.  That's the first word that comes to mind to describe this book.  I did not enjoy it for a couple of reasons.  One - it was dour.  Two - I think I prefer to watch reality TV shows over listening to all the monotonous descriptions of every little expression or movement of the contestants.  Just blah.

Thoughts of Joy

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Reads

Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 21

Books:  2 - 4 

eBooks:  0 - 2 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 21  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 2