Books read in 2013

Once again, it’s time to share the books I read this year.  I read 85 books this year.  My original goal was 70.  What goal should I set for 2014?

  • Silent Prey – John Sandford
  • Winter Prey – John Sandford
  • It Looked Different On the Model: Epic Tales of Impending Shame and Infamy – Laurie Notaro
  • Bones are Forever – Kathy Reichs
  • A Dance With Dragons – George R. R. Martin
  • Pronto – Elmore Leonard
  • Hidden – P. C. Cast + Kristin Cast
  • Leverage: The Con Job – Matt Forbeck
  • Ransom – Julie Garwood
  • Not My Daughter – Barbara Delinsky
  • Riding the Rap – Elmore Leonard
  • Shadow Music – Julie Garwood
  • Raylan – Elmore  Leonard
  • Slow Burn – Julie Garwood
  • Night Prey – John Sandford
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History – Chris Kyle
  • Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors and Other True Cases (Crime Files #16) – Ann Rule
  • Mind Prey – John Sandford
  • Here I Go Again – Jen Lancaster
  • Supernatural: Rite of Passage – John Passarella
  • The Wettest County In the World – Matt Bondurant
  • Sudden Prey – John Sandford
  • Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History – Antonio Mendez & Matt Baglio
  • SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper – Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier – Ree Drummond
  • Messenger: A Walt Longmire Story – Craig Johnson
  • John Doe – Tess Gerritsen
  • Dragon’s Oath – P.C. Cast
  • Leverage: The Zoo Job – Keith R. A. DeCandido
  • On the Street Where You Live – Mary Higgins Clark
  • A Dangerous Inheritance – Alison Weir
  • Nothing Like It in the World – Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Secret Prey – John Sandford
  • The Potty Mouth at the Table – Laurie Notaro
  • The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog – Jen Lancaster
  • Supernatural: Fresh Meat – Alice Henderson
  • Hemlock Grove – Brian McGreevey
  • I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet – Ken Foster
  • New York City for Dummies – Myka Carroll
  • Certain Prey – John Sandford
  • Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris
  • Leverage: The Bestseller Job – Greg Cox
  • The Sisters Montclair – Cathy Holton
  • Step-by-Step Home Design & Decorating – Clare Steel
  • Supernatural: Carved in Flesh – Tim Waggoner
  • Bones in Her Pocket: A Temperance Brennan Short Story – Kathy Reichs
  • Germany for Dummies, 4th edition – Donald Olsen
  • Divorce Horse: A Walt Longmire Story – Craig Johnson
  • Christmas in Absaroka County – Craig Johnson
  • 212 – Alafair Burke
  • The Bestseller – Olivia Goldsmith
  • Easy Prey – John Sandford
  • Wedding Night – Sophia Kinsella
  • Dead Ever After – Charlaine Harris
  • The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes
  • Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns – Lauren Weisberger
  • The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory
  • Window Treatments Idea Book – Sue Sampson
  • The Kingmaker’s Daughter – Philippa Gregory
  • Crazy Little Thing – Tracy Brogan
  • Hell Is Empty – Craig Johnson
  • Curb Appeal Idea Book – Mary Ellen Polson
  • As The Crow Flies – Craig Johnson
  • The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker
  • New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters – Nikki Van Noy
  • Chosen Prey – John Sandford
  • A Desirable Residence – Madeleine Wickham
  • Mortal Prey – John Sandford
  • Whisper Lake – James Melzer
  • The White Princess – Philippa Gregory
  • Light of the World – James Lee Burke
  • Inferno – Dan Brown
  • Infamous – Joan Collins
  • Storm Front – Richard Castle
  • Notorious Nineteen – Janet Evanovich
  • Frozen Heat – Richard Castle
  • Summerland – Elin Hilderbrand
  • Firefly Lane – Kristin Hannah
  • Silver Girl – Elin Hilderbrand
  • Maine – J. Courtney Sullivan
  • Heart of the Matter – Emily Giffin
  • Fly Away – Kristin Hannah
  • Where We Belong – Emily Giffin

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

the lost dogsWhile the descriptions of what was done to these dogs by Vick and his cohorts are sometimes hard to read, the fact that these dogs were allowed to live – and in turn, thrive – speaks volumes about the people involved with this case.

I am proud that an organization I support, the ASPCA, helped make this possible. And while the Humane Society has seen the error of their outdated thinking with regards to fight-bust dogs, I can’t support them. I’ve had personal experience with their lack of concern for animals in need and I refuse to give my money to an organization that doesn’t practice what it preaches. As for PETA, they’re nothing but a bunch of idiots who could care less about animals, so long as they get their name in the paper.

I’ll admit, I’m conflicted about Vick. On one hand, I think he is heinous. Any person who could torture an animal the way he did is a serial killer in training, in my opinion. At the same time, I’m grateful that because he had money, these dogs will never lack for anything as long as they live. I wish that he had gotten more jail time. But at the same time, as the author wisely points out in the Afterword, Vick lost a lot. He lost a contract worth $130 million. He lost endorsements – and he’ll probably never get those back, because what company wants to be associated with an animal killer, a monster? He missed out on events in his kids’ lives. He has been punished. But at the same time, I am troubled by the fact that he doesn’t seem remorseful about his actions. The only thing he appears to be sorry about is the fact that he got caught. I’m afraid that at some point down the line, Vick is going to do this again.

I am appalled at the NFL for making dog jerseys with Vick’s name and number on them. I’m even more appalled at the pet stores that actually carried those jerseys. I’m horrified that people continued to support Vick even as he was admitting his part in this horrific crime. I’m disgusted with the commonwealth attorney, Gerald Poindexter, who acted like the only reason the US Attorney’s office went after Vick was because he was black. It seems to me that Poindexter had reasons for not wanting Vick prosecuted, and I can only speculate what those reasons were. But it’s obvious after reading this book that he may have known about what was happening on Moonlight Road and chose to ignore it or was paid to ignore it. I’m disgusted at the people who were foolish enough to reelect him because they refuse to see what he is: a bigot with a persecution complex.

But most of all, I am grateful for those organizations who worked together to save these dogs from death. The ASPCA, BAD RAP, Best Friends, Recycled Love and the other rescue groups who stepped up and gave these dogs a second chance and who set them up for success, not failure, have my deepest respect and admiration.

I think everyone who thinks negatively of pit bulls should read this book. I think, and hope, that it will change opinions about pits, just as the Vick dogs, with their successes, are changing perceptions as well.

Books read in 2012

  • Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings – Alison Weir
  • The Whip – Karen Kondazian
  • Found Dogs: Tales of Strays Who Landed on Their Feet – Elise Lufkin
  • Mississippi Off the Beaten Path – Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick
  • Tales from the Barkside – Brian Kilcommons
  • The Mythology of Supernatural: The Signs and Symbols Behind the Popular TV Show – Nathan Robert Brown
  • Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain – Martha Sherrill
  • Every Day by the Sun: A Memoir of the Faulkners of Mississippi – Dean Faulkner Wells
  • A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin
  • Coyote’s Kiss – Christa Faust
  • Supernatural: Bobby Singer’s Guide to Hunting – David Reed
  • Look Homeward, Angel – Thomas Wolfe
  • A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin
  • Puttin’ On the GRITS: A Guide to Southern Entertaining – Deborah Ford
  • Girl in Translation – Jean Kwok
  • Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
  • House of Thieves – Kaui Hart Hemmings
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir – Jenny Lawson
  • Night Terror – John Passarella
  • Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner – Jen Lancaster
  • Bless His Heart: The GRITS Guide to Loving (or Just Living With) Southern Men – Deborah Ford
  • Song of the Swallow – K. L. Townsend
  • A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin
  • Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine – Alison Weir
  • Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey – Alison Weir
  • The Other End of the Leash – Patricia B. McConnell
  • Creating a New Old House: Yesterday’s Character for Today’s Home – Russell Versaci
  • The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation – Elizabeth Letts
  • The Cold Dish – Craig Johnson
  • The Lady Elizabeth – Alison Weir
  • The Next Best Thing – Jennifer Weiner
  • Death Without Company – Craig Johnson
  • Sabrina Soto Home Design: A Layer-by-Layer Approach to Turning Your Ideas into the Home of Your Dreams – Sabrina Soto
  • Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls – One Flying Disc at a Time – Jim Gorant
  • What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating – Amy Johnston
  • Kindness Goes Unpunished – Craig Johnson
  • Southern Living Style – Southern Living Magazine
  • Rules of Prey – John Sandford
  • Little Boy Blue: A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and His Owner’s Journey for Truth – Kim Kavin
  • Sleeping With Schubert – Bonnie Marson
  • Shadow Prey – John Sandford
  • Another Man’s Moccasins – Craig Johnson
  • White Fang – Jack London
  • Eyes of Prey – John Sandford
  • Criminal Minds: Sociopaths, Serial Killers, and Other Deviants – Jeff Mariotte
  • Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha – Karen Marie Moning
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming – Joshilyn Jackson
  • I’ve Got Your Number – Sophie Kinsella
  • Explosive Eighteen – Janet Evanovich
  • Creole Belle – James Lee Burke
  • Gods in Alabama – Joshilyn Jackson
  • Wicked Business – Janet Evanovich
  • No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden – Mark Owen
  • Junkyard Dogs – Craig Johnson
  • Iced – Karen Marie Moning
  • Faith – Jennifer Haigh
  • Heat Rises – Richard Castle
  • Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld
  • That Perfect Someone – Johanna Lindsey
  • Destined – P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast
  • The Dark Horse – Craig Johnson
  • Last to Die – Tess Gerritsen
  • Lone Wolf – Jodi Picoult
  • Ruby’s Tale: A True Rags to Riches Story – Pat Bettendorf

What books would be on your ideal bookshelf?

This blog inspired me to try to answer that very question.

I’m a big fan of James Lee Burke, so any of his Dave Robicheaux series would do, but I’m partial to The Tin Roof Blowdown.  If you want to read a fictional account of what Katrina was like, it’s worth the read.

Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes would definitely make the shelf.  It’s probably my favorite out of all the books she’s written.

I would have to include something by Ann Rule, probably The Stranger Beside Me, her book about serial killer Ted Bundy, whom she knew from working with him at a suicide hotline.  Ann is the only true-crime writer I’ve ever read.

I also have to include The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough as well.  I go back and reread this book every couple of years.  It has stood the test of time and still has a relevant message even after all these years.

I’m a big history buff, so I would have Alison Weir’s The Life of Elizabeth I on my shelf.  Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, strong-willed and exceptionally intelligent.

To lighten things up a little, I would have Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris,  The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life by Laurie Notaro, and Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.

I have to have the classic western novel Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  The mini-series they made from this book is one of my favorites and stays relatively true to the novel.

Another favorite is Weekend in Paris by Robyn Sisman.  This is the first of Robyn Sisman’s work that I read and it remains my favorite.  It serves as a reminder that sometimes you just have to take a chance in life.

In the same general vein is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.  I know many people absolutely hate this book.  They call Ms. Gilbert selfish and self-centered.  I think she chose happiness over what was expected of her.  I think that’s what really offends people about this book.  You can read my views on Eat, Pray, Love here.

I would also include the creepy and disturbing Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.  It shows a really awful side of human nature and what some people will do for money.

Last, but not least, I would have The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun on my shelf.  This book is the one that got me to start reading the mystery genre in the first place.

This is just a small sampling of the books I’ve read over the years.  It’s difficult to pick favorites, so I chose books that I keep going back to over and over again.  There are others that I could have listed here, but then I wouldn’t have a shelf, I’d have an entire bookcase of titles.

My favorite things

Favorite thing #1: books

I love to read.  Between my husband and myself, we have hundreds of books.  I’m one of those people who will read one book by an author and if I like it, I will then read everything that particular author has written.  I’m also a big fan of expanding my horizons and reading a genre I’ve never read before, like westerns or fantasy.

(image by me)

Of course, there are a couple of authors that I have a love/hate relationship with.  I love most of Jennifer Weiner’s early work, but lately, I’ve been less than impressed.  Instead of buying her books, I’ve been borrowing them from the library because they just haven’t been that good!  I also feel this way about Phillipa Gregory.  I really enjoyed her Boleyn series of books, but the rest have been lackluster – or just flat out freaky (the Wideacre trilogy).  I stopped buying Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books because they just keep retreading the same ground over and over and frankly, I’m sick of it.

Currently, I’m a big fan of James Lee Burke.  His Dave Robicheaux series is incredible and makes me think of home.  Tess Gerritsen is another favorite.  I started reading her Rizzoli & Isles series after the first season of the TNT show aired.  I also like Kathy Reichs, but I went completely off Bones after that bullshit with Zack being the Apprentice crap.  I’ve been watching the current season so far and I’m still having trouble getting used to the idea of Bones and Booth together.  Another author that I came to by way of the television series is Longmire author Craig Johnson.  I’ve read three of his so far and I think I may have made my husband a fan too.  I have other authors that I read pretty religiously, but we’d be here all day if I started listing them all.

Who are your favorite authors?  Why do you like their work?