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Preview: "Thoughts of Joy..."

"Thoughts of Joy..."

Updated: 2018-01-19T07:24:38.494-05:00




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


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.



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



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



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.



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

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



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.



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



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

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



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  



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