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Preview: "Thoughts of Joy..."

"Thoughts of Joy..."

Updated: 2018-04-16T08:42:19.020-04:00


March Reads


Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  2 - 5

Books:  1 - 5 

eBooks:  0 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  2 - 4  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0



Author:  Andromeda Romano-Lax
Genre:  Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2016
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Elisabeth Rogers
Yearly Count:  11

From NetGalley:
With Behave, Andromeda Romano-Lax offers a provocative fictional biography of Rosalie Rayner Watson, a woman whose work influenced generations of Americans, and whose legacy has been lost in the shadow of her husband's. In turns moving and horrifying, Behave is a richly nuanced and disturbing novel about science, progress, love, marriage, motherhood, and what all those things cost a passionate, promising young woman.
This first 4/5 of the book was not good.  It was very dry and just dragged on and on.  I can't comment much on the actual content, because I don't know for sure what was fictionalized or not.  The only interesting part was the last couple CDs.

Thoughts of Joy

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



Author:  Wilhelm
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Standalone
Published:  2001
Personal Rating:  3/5 (just okay)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  10

This book contains detailed strategies for a classroom teacher to assist students into getting the most out of what they read through thinking aloud.

Wilhelm breaks every little nuance of a book down into bite-sized pieces.  Nothing new.  It's also 17 years old!  😝

Thoughts of Joy



Author:  Chris Bohjalian
Genre:  Fiction (ghost story), Standalone
Published:  2011
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format/Narrator:  Audiobook/
Fraser and Gramhall
Yearly Count:  9

From NetGalley:
In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.

The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine - a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village - self-proclaimed herbalists - and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous?

Blah.  I did not enjoy this.  First of all, I didn't know that it was a "ghost story" (not scary).  I am not a fan of that genre.  The other element of the story that I didn't like (at all!) was that a main character was written in 2nd person.  You do this and you do that.  UGH!  That made it so disjointed and uncomfortable for me and simply just messed up.  It sounded so awkward.

On the other hand, I have enjoyed Bohjalian's writing.  I just didn't care for this story or choice of person he wrote it in.

Thoughts of Joy

My thanks go to Crown Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.

February Reads


Monthly - Yearly

Audiobooks:  0 - 3

Books:  3 - 4 

eBooks:  0 - 1 

New-to-Me Authors:  1 - 2  

Short Story Collection:  0 - 0

DNF:  0 - 0



Author:  Sarah Andersen
Genre:  Graphic Novel, Standalone
Published:  2017
Personal Rating:  4/5 (very good)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  8

Sarah scribbles about her life through these comics.

I enjoyed breezing through this book.  Some were relatable and some were not, but definitely fun to see the humor in some serious and some not so serious topics.

Thoughts of Joy

2 Young Reader Books


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

Genre:  Young Readers
Published:  2018
Format:  Book and Book
Yearly Count:  6 & 7

Thoughts of Joy

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



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



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



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



Author:  Lisa GenovaGenre:  Realistic Fiction, StandalonePublished:  2018Personal Rating:  4.25/5 (very good +)Format:  eBookYearly Count:  2From 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 JoyMy thanks go to Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for providing me with this eGalley.[...]



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

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)


December Reads


44.  The Bear (Cameron) ~ 1/545.  Nothing Gold Can Stay:  Stories (Rash) ~ 3.75/546.  Miracle in the Andes (Parrado) ~ 5/547.  Young Reader Book48.  Young Reader Book49.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Christie) ~ 3/550.  The Innocence Game (Harvey) ~ 3/551.  The Child (Barton) ~ 3.75/552.  Re-Gifters (Carey) ~ 3.75/5YEAR END STATS:Monthly - YearlyAudiobooks:  6 - 38Books:  3 - 9 eBooks:  0 - 5 New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 34  Short Story Collection:  1 - 1DNF:  0 - 3TOTAL BOOKS READ:  52[...]



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



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.



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



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

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



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



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



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

November Reads


39.  A Deeper Darkness (Ellison) ~ 2.5/540.  Down A Dark Road (Castillo) ~ 3.75/541.  My Story (Smart) ~ 3.25/542.  The Best We Could Do (Bui) ~ 3/543.  Glass Houses (Penny) ~ 3.5/5Monthly - YearlyAudiobooks:  3 - 32Books:  1 - 6 eBooks:  1 - 5 New-to-Me Authors:  3 - 31  Short Story Collection:  0 - 0DNF:  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.