Sunday, December 16, 2012

Taking God Out Of Schools And Christ Out Of Christmas?

Since Friday's tragedy, I've been reading and hearing a lot of talk about how this sort of incident could be prevented if we hadn't taken God out of our schools. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that God was absent from Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday morning, or from any other school where a shooting has taken place. I have no doubt there were children and adults who were talking to Him during that time of fear, confusion and pain, whether they survived or not.

True, God in the form of teacher-led prayers, or in the form of teaching students one religion's beliefs to the exclusion of all others, has been removed from the daily schedule in our public schools. But students can still pray at any time, and many of them do so on a regular basis. They also still have the freedom to bring their Bible to school and read it in their free time if they so choose. In my opinion, that's how it should be handled in a public school--if you want your child to receive more religious instruction, that can be done in your home, your place of worship, or in a religious school.

The same goes for claiming that Christ is being taken out of Christmas. I could go on and on about all of the Christmas traditions we, as Christians, took from other religions to create "our" holiday, but that's not the point of this post. The point I have is this: other people may use the terms "holiday tree," "holiday card," "holiday song,"  "holiday party, " and wish us "Happy Holidays." That is their prerogative. For those of us who are Christians, and who celebrate this season as the birth of our Lord, there will continue to be Christmas trees, Christmas cards, Christmas songs, and we can continue to wish people "Merry Christmas." We can also continue to have Nativity scenes displayed in our homes and yards. No one can take that away from us without our consent. At the same time, we can't take away the rights of others to celebrate the season in a way that is meaningful to them.

Our country was founded to provide religious freedom for all its citizens. That means we should be welcoming to those of beliefs which differ from ours, not resentful of them or accusing them of trying to stop us from having our beliefs.

What it all boils down to for me is this: practice your beliefs in the way you see fit, and allow others to do the same. Let's give it a try, and see what happens.  Merry Christmas!   :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Books I've Read In December 2012

I tried to read J.K. Rowling's new adult book, The Casual Vacancy this month.  I say tried because I only made it through the first fifty pages. I was having to force myself to keep reading, so I decided it wasn't worth it, and took it back to the library.

1) Full Black, by Brad Thor

Born in the shadows and kept from heads of state, some missions are so deadly, so sensitive, that they simply don’t exist. When one such mission goes horribly wrong, only former Navy SEAL Team 6 member turned covert counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath can carry out an audacious plan to prevent one of the biggest terrorist threats the United States has ever faced: complete and total collapse. But as the identities of the perpetrators are laid stunningly bare, Harvath will be left with only one means to save America. Unable to trust anyone, he will be forced to go FULL BLACK.

2) Key Lime Pie Murder, by Joanne Fluke

The yummy [ninth] smalltown cozy from Fluke (after 2006's Cherry Cheesecake Murder) finds sometime sleuth Hannah Swensen, owner of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minn., judging the baking contest at the Tri-County Fair. When one of her fellow judges, home economics teacher Willa Sunquist, is murdered, Hannah determines to sniff out the killer. Was it a man from Willa's mysterious past? Or a student she flunked? Fluke has developed a charming supporting cast—Hannah's besotted (and slightly spineless) two suitors, her overbearing but likable mother, her endearing sisters and her levelheaded business partner all feel like friends by the time the murder is solved. 

3) The Fifth Witness ( A Lincoln Lawyer Novel), by Michael Connelly

Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. 

Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too--and he's certain he's on the right trail. 

Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in.

4) Dark Tort, by Diane Mott Davidson

Caterer Goldy Schulz's lucrative new gig, preparing breakfasts and conference room snacks for a local law firm, is time-consuming, but she's enjoying it . . . until the night she arrives to find Dusty, the firm's paralegal, dead. The deceased also happened to be Goldy's friend and neighbor, and now Dusty's grieving mother is begging Goldy to find out who murdered her daughter.
Just because the police are on the case doesn't mean Goldy can't do a little snooping herself. While catering a party at the home of one of the firm's lawyers, she just happens to overhear an incriminating conversation. She also discovers a few tasty clues in the kitchen. Before long, Goldy finds herself knee-deep in suspects. But one of them is incredibly dangerous . . . and very liable to cook Goldy's goose.

5) 11/22/63; A Novel, by Stephen King

Dallas, 11/22/63: Three shots ring out.

President John F. Kennedy is dead.
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away . . . but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke. . . . Finding himself in warmhearted Jolie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten . . . and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.
In Stephen King’s “most ambitious and accomplished” (NPR) novel, time travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

6) Hidden (House Of Night #10), by PC Cast and Kristin Cast

At last, Zoey has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet's evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side -- but she's far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world. First, a mysterious fire ravages the stables. Then, Neferet makes a devastating move that will test them all.
With the seeds of distrust sown and Darkness breeding chaos at the House of Night, everyone must band together -- but that's proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night's former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limit. To top it off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind. She saw something when she looked at Aurox through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Is it possible that Heath has come back in a different form? Is that why Zoey's so intrigued by Aurox, when it's so obvious that he's dangerous? And who would believe her if she told them? Zoey knows that following her instinct about Aurox might be just what they need to defeat evil . . . but if she's wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her.
With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop the spread of Darkness before it's too late?

7) Love Overboard, Janet Evanovich

Dear Reader:
In a previous life, before the time of Plum, I wrote twelve short romance novels. Red-hot screwball comedies, each and every one of them. Nine of these stories were originally published by the Loveswept line between the years 1988 and 1992. All went out-of-print immediately and then could be found only at used bookstores and yard sales.
I'm excited to tell you that those nine stories are now being re-released by HarperCollins. Love Overboard is second in the lineup, and it's presented here in almost original form. I've done only minor editing to correct some embarrassing bloopers missed the first time around. And I changed the title because I thought the original title (Ivan Takes a Wife) was boring!
Love Overboard is a romantic tale about a handsome ship's captain; a wary wench from Jersey City; a hundred-year-old, two-masted schooner; and an entire town of shoemakers. There's some getting naked, some blueberry pie, more getting naked, and at the end . . . Okay, I won't tell you about the end, but it's really good and it'll make you feel happy.
I took my family on the road trip from heck to research this book. When we finally got to Maine it was all worthwhile because we fell in love with the boats and the people who sailed them.

Goal for the year: 70    Read year to date: 73

Monday, November 26, 2012

Books I've Read In November 2012

1) Buyer Beware: Finding Truth In The Marketplace Of Ideas, by Janet Parshall

Have you ever thought why it is that so many Christians are reticent to enter into the 'marketplace of ideas?' Jesus commanded us to go into the world to deliver Hismessage of truth, delivered in love. But He never said it would easy.
In Buyer Beware, Janet Parshall takes the reader on a journey through the public square where ideas are 'bought' and 'sold' but where Truth is sometimes difficult to find. She examines some of the most controversial issues being debated in our culture today, by looking at them through the lens of Scripture.
Using the prophet Jeremiah's instructive letter to the exiles, held in Babylonian captivity, Parshall shows how a people, held captive in a sin-sick, fallen world, can live abundantly and triumphantly by loving God's truth and by boldly declaring it in the public square. Buyer Beware is designed to encourage modern day saints as they enter the 'marketplace' by helping them discover the richness of God's word and the poverty of the world's message.

2) From Dead To Worse (True Blood, Book 8), by Charlaine Harris
The supernatural community in Bon Temps, Louisiana is reeling from two hard blows: the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and the manmade horror of the explosion at the vampire summit in the up-north city of Rhodes. Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, and she's yearning for things to get back to normal. But that's just not happening. Too many vampires - some friends, some not - were killed or injured, and her were-tiger boyfriend Quinn is among the missing. It's clear that things are changing, whether the weres and vamps like it or not. And Sookie, Friend to the Pack, blood-bonded to the leader of the local vampire community, is caught up in those changes. She's about to find herself facing danger and death and, not for the first time, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood has stopped flowing, Sookie's world will be forever altered ...

3) The Diary Of Mattie Spenser, by Sandra Dallas
No one is more surprised than Mattie Spenser herself when Luke Spenser, considered the great catch of their small Iowa town, asks her to marry him. Less than a month later, they are off in a covered wagon to build a home on the Colerado frontier. Mattie's only company is a slightly mysterious husband and her private journal, where she records the joys and frustrations not just of frontier life, but also of a new marriage to a handsome but distant stranger. As she and Luke make life together on the harsh and beautiful plains, Mattie learns some bitter truths about her husband and the girl he lieft behind and finds love where she least expects it. Dramatic and suspenseful, this is an unforgettable story of hardship, friendship and survival.

4) Nevermore (The Final Maximum Ride Adventure), by James Patterson
Maximum Ride and her faithful friends stand ready to face the two greatest threats that humankind has ever known--now combining forces in an unbeatable plot to destroy life as we know it once and for all. And this time, the enemy truly can't be stopped.

The danger mounts just as Dylan has finally worked his way into Max's heart--and just as her beloved Fang unexpectedly returns to the flock. An explosive confrontation between the two boys with a claim to Max's heart ensues, and the entire world hangs in the balance.

In this powerful and moving finale to James Patterson's epic fantasy series, fans will finally get the answers they've been waiting for--and an ending full of shock, surprises, and the greatest conclusion you never saw coming.

5) Dead And Gone (True Blood, Book 9), by Charlaine Harris
Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, knew little about vamps-and nothing about weres. Until now. The weres and shifters have finally revealed their existence to the ordinary world. And the backlash may have claimed the life of someone Sookie knew well. But her determination to find out who was responsible for the murder is put aside in the face of a far greater danger. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all- too human pawn in their battle...

6) Kill Me If You Can, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
Matthew Bannon, a poor art student living in New York City, finds a duffel bag filled with diamonds during a chaotic attack at Grand Central Station. Plans for a worry-free life with his gorgeous girlfriend Katherine fill his thoughts--until he realizes that he is being hunted, and that whoever is after him won't stop until they have reclaimed the diamonds and exacted their revenge.

Trailing him is the Ghost, the world's greatest assassin, who has just pulled off his most high-profile hit: killing Walter Zelvas, a top member of the international Diamond Syndicate. There's only one small problem: the diamonds he was supposed to retrieve from Zelvas are missing. Now, the Ghost is on Bannon's trail--but so is a rival assassin who would like nothing more than to make the Ghost disappear forever. From "America's #1 storyteller" (Forbes) comes a high-speed, high-stakes, winner-take-all thrill ride of adrenaline-fueled suspense.

7) Dead In The Family (True Blood, Book 10), by Charlaine Harris
After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry...

Goal for the year: 70   Year to date: 66

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Books I've Read In October 2012

1) Wicked Business: A Lizzie and Diesel Novel, by Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich, mega-bestselling author of the beloved Stephanie Plum series, is back and better than ever. Her novels, hailed by GQ as “among the great joys of contemporary crime fiction,” deliver rollicking adventure with crackling wit and hilarious mayhem. And, now, one of the hottest writers today returns with dynamic duo Lizzy and Diesel to prove that when hunting down bad guys, the real fun is in the chase.
When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences, leaving a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and spontaneous seduction.
Janet Evanovich does it again and gives us another exciting un-put-down-able read that is striking a chord with readers everywhere!

2) Definitely Dead (True Blood, Book 6), by Charlaine Harris

As a person with so few living relatives, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse really hated to lose one. But she never guessed that it would be her cousin Hadley—a consort of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. After all, technically speaking, Hadley was already dead. And now, as unexpected heir to Hadley’s estate, Sookie discovers the inheritance definitely comes with a risk.
Someone doesn’t want Sookie looking too deeply into Hadley’s past—or for that matter, Hadley’s possessions. And they’re prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. But who? The range of suspects runs from the Rogue Weres who reject Sookie as a friend of the Pack to the Vampire Queen herself, who could be working through a particularly vulnerable subject—Sookie’s first love, Bill.
Whoever it is, they’re definitely dangerous—and Sookie’s life is definitely on the line…

3) Zoo, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Once in a lifetime, a writer puts it all together. This is James Patterson's best book ever.

TotalFor 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels. Now, he has written a book that surpasses all of them. ZOO is the thriller he was born to write.

All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. 

4) Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure, by James Patterson

One last chance...
for Max, Fang, and Dylan...
before it all ends.

Are you ready for the final chapter? Are you ready for the ultimate flight? Because THIS IS IT. One last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming.

5) All Together Dead (True Blood, Book 7), by Charlaine Harris

Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life-the oh-so-handsome shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a takeover. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

6) Against All Enemies, by Tom Clancy

CIA Special Activities Division Operation Officer Max Moore is on a mission in Pakistan to retrieve a high-value target. When the mission goes awry and Moore's allies are killed, he is recalled to the United States to take part in a new effort against the Mexican drug cartels. Moore and his team attempt to infiltrate the cartels and play them off against each other but are met with varying degrees of success.Although they are able to bring down a major kingpin,they are unable to prevent several Muslim terrorists from entering the United States via a smuggling tunnel.The terrorists have brought a number of surface-to-air missile launchers with them, which are used to target flights in several U.S. cities. Although the attack is partially successful, Moore and associates are able to stop one of the terrorist teams. Moore is then deployed to Belize on a mission to capture the leader of the terrorist cell.

7) The Wednesday Sisters, by Meg Waite ClaytonFive women, one passion, and the unbreakable bond of friendship

When five young mothers–Frankie, Linda, Kath, Ally, and Brett–first meet in a neighborhood park in the late 1960s, their conversations center on marriage, raising children, and a shared love of books. Then one evening, as they gather to watch the Miss America Pageant, Linda admits that she aspires to write a novel herself, and the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society is born. The five women slowly, and often reluctantly, start filling journals, sliding pages into typewriters, and sharing their work. In the process, they explore the changing world around them: the Vietnam War, the race to the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they believe about themselves. At the same time, the friends carry one another through more personal changes–ones brought about by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success. With one another’s support and encouragement, the Wednesday Sisters begin to embrace who they are and what they hope to become, welcoming readers to experience, along with them, the power of dreaming big.

Goal for the year: 70     Year to date: 59

Friday, September 21, 2012

Books I've Read In September 2012

1) A Feast For Crows (A Song Of Ice And Fire, Book Four), by George R.R. Martin
It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears. . . . With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King’s Landing. Robb Stark’s demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist—or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out. 

But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead. 

It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strong will acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes . . . and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.

Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

2) A Dance With Dragons (A Song Of Ice And Fire, Book Five), by George R.R. MartinIn the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again--beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone--a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all. . . . 

3) Dead To The World (True Blood, Book 4), by Charlaine Harris

When telepathic cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who-or what-he is, but Sookie knows. It's the vampire Eric Northman-but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a very frightened Eric, because it soon becomes obvious that whoever took his memory now wants his life. 

Goal for the year: 70   Year To Date: 52

Monday, August 27, 2012

Books I've Read In August 2012

1) Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Fire And Ice, Book 1), by George R.R. Martin
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

2) Club Dead (True Blood, Book 3), by Charlaine Harris

The novel takes place in December. Bill, working on a secretive computer program, informs Sookie he has to travel away in order to complete the program. Days later, a werewolf targeting Sookie comes into her working spot, Merlotte's, but he is eliminated by Bubba, sent on Eric's orders, before he can harm Sookie. As night falls, Eric and his employees tell Sookie that Bill had actually been in Mississippi, where his former lover and maker Lorena had summoned him. They continue to tell Sookie that Bill has since then gone missing, and Eric speaks of his suspicions on Lorena's involvement. He also states that the vampire queen of Louisiana will need to receive Bill's secret project on its due date, if Eric wishes not to compromise his life. Since Eric is unable to interrogate humans or vampires in the territory of Mississippi vampire king Russell Edgington without provoking a war, he invites Sookie to come along to Mississippi and utilize her telepathy to locate Bill. Sookie agrees, but is shocked at Bill's possible betrayal of her.
The next day, Sookie is introduced to Alcide Herveaux, a werewolf sent by Eric to help Sookie circulate in the supernatural community of Jackson, Mississippi. Sookie takes a liking to Alcide's physique and personality. In Jackson, Alcide escorts her to a local vampire bar, Josephine's, generally known as Club Dead. In this club, Sookie learns by telepathy that Bill is being held captive and that Russell Edgington is possibly involved. She meets Edgington when he aids her after a confrontation with a were patron angered at Sookie rebuffing his sexual advances. Edgington insists they come in the next night as well. In the same night, Sookie is confronted by Alcide's jealous ex-girlfriend Debbie Pelt, a shapeshifter who, despite being at her own engagement party, is furious with Sookie presenting herself as Alcide's escort.
The next day, Sookie and Alcide discover in their closet the dead body of the Club Dead patron who had been making unwanted advances at Sookie. After disposing of the body, that is later revealed to have been an assailant aiming for Sookie killed by Bubba, the duo head out for another night in Club Dead, where Sookie meets her friend Tara Thornton as another vampire's escort. However, she discovers the Fellowship of the Sun, an anti-vampire organization prominently featured in Living Dead in Dallas, has come in Club Dead intent on killing vampires. While preventing the Fellowship from staking one of Russell Edgington's employees, she herself is staked, then rescued by Eric and taken to the King of Mississippi's compound and receives medical attention at Edgington's mansion. Sookie shares an intimate moment with Eric, but Bubba informs them Bill is being tortured in one of Edgington's poolhouses.
At dawn, Sookie heads out to the poolhouse. She frees Bill and manages to stake Lorena as she attacks, but is locked into the trunk of her own car alongside the sleeping Bill when she returns to Alcide's apartment building. When Bill, deprived of blood and sleep for a week, wakes up, he feeds on Sookie and forces himself onto her sexually. Sookie asks Eric to drive her home, fed up with the whole ordeal. While on their way home, two robbers raid a gas station alongside their route looking for Sookie and Eric and in Sookie's home, several werewolves wait for her and attack her. Eric and Bill eliminate all werewolves, but Sookie angrily breaks up with Bill and rescinds both Bill and Eric's invitation to her house. The novel ends with Sookie realizing Bill's special project is inside her house, and no vampire will be physically able to retrieve it.

3) 10th Anniversary (The Women's Murder Club), by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

For every secretDetective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals--but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie
At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life--a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children. Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die
Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family. With James Patterson's white-hot speed and unquenchable action, 10th Anniversary is the most deliciously chilling Women's Murder Club book ever.

4) A Clash Of Kings (A Song Of Fire And Ice, Book 2), by George R. R. Martin

In this thrilling sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any we have ever experienced.
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel . . . and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

5) A Storm Of Swords (A Song Of Fire And Ice, Book 3), by George R. R. MartinOf the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

Here is the third volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Goal for the year: 70   Year to date: 49

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Books I've Read In July 2012

1) Cocktails For Three, by Madeleine Wickham 
Roxanne: glamorous, self-confident, with a secret lover -- a married man

Maggie: capable and high-achieving, until she finds the one thing she can't cope with -- motherhood

Candice: honest, decent, or so she believes -- until a ghost from her past turns up

At the first of every month, when the office has reached its pinnacle of hysteria, Maggie, Roxanne, and Candice meet at London's swankiest bar for an evening of cocktails and gossip. Here, they chat about what's new at The Londoner, the glossy fashion magazine where they all work, and everything else that's going on in their lives. Oralmost everything. Beneath the girl talk and the laughter, each of the three has a secret. And when a chance encounter at the cocktail bar sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events, each one will find their biggest secret revealed.

In Cocktails for Three, Madeleine Wickham combines her trademark humor with remarkable insight to create an edgy, romantic tale of secrets, strangers, and a splash of scandal.

2) Dead Or Alive, by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood
After almost a decade, Tom Clancy returns to the world he knows better than anyone: a world caught in the crossfire of politics and power, placed on the edge of annihilation by evil men.
But there are those who are honor-bound to protect their homeland by any means necessary. Those men work in the covert force known as the Campus.
Led by Jack Ryan, Jr.-son of the legendary Jack Ryan-they are the best line of defense against a terrorist mastermind who has vowed to destroy the West...

3) Rasputin's Daughter, by Robert Alexander
Called “brilliant” by USA Today, Robert Alexander’s historical novel The Kitchen Boy swept readers back to the doomed world of the Romanovs. His latest masterpiece once again conjures those turbulent days in a fictional drama of extraordinary depth and suspense. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Maria Rasputin—eldest of the Rasputin children—recounts her infamous father’s final days, building a breathless narrative of intrigue, excess, and conspiracy that reveals the shocking truth of her father’s end and the identity of those who arranged it. What emerges is a nail-biting, richly textured new take on one of history’s most legendary episodes.

4) Butterfly Garden, by Annette Blair
Amishwoman Sara Lapp, all but shunned for studying with the local doctor to become a midwife, is shocked that, after months of waiting, her first call comes from “Mad” Adam Zuckerman, a self-appointed outcast. Adam doesn’t want her to attend at a birth, but to tend to his children because his wife has died in childbed. Adam wants to love his children, but he is afraid he will hurt them in the way his father hurt him. Without his late wife, Abby, to protect them, Adam must find someone else to care for the girls. He can think of only one woman brave enough, Spinster Sara Lapp, the little midwife whose passion for things beyond her control is greater than is good for her. Though Sara knows the four little girls belong with their father, how can she leave them with a man who seems not to care for them? As much as she loves and wants the girls, she will only take them long enough to teach Adam to love them. Then Adam falls from the barn loft and Sara moves in to look after him. But in the Amish community a man and woman living together must marry or be shunned. The Bishop takes a stand and Sara and Adam are forced to face the greatest challenge of their lives.

5) Dead Until Dark (True Blood, Book 1), by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse lives with her grandmother, Adele, and has an older brother, Jason. Early in the book, Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. After first meeting Bill, Sookie saves him from some "drainers", people who steal blood from vampires. Bill returns the favor several days when the drainers attack Sookie.
Several murders occur in Bon Temps, and Bill becomes a suspect because many of the bodies have fang marks. Sookie's brother Jason is romantically linked to two of the victims, prompting the Bon Temps police to arrest him. Wanting to help her brother, Sookie asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia, which is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff much older and more powerful than Bill.
Eric realizes that Sookie's telepathy can be useful and commands Bill to direct Sookie to use her ability to determine the identity of the one embezzling from Fangtasia. Once Sookie identifies Long Shadow, who is Eric's partner and also a vampire, a confrontation ensues that nearly kills Sookie. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her. Meanwhile in Bon Temps, Adele is murdered within the family kitchen.
Bill, concerned with Eric's power over him and Sookie, decides to improve his own position within the vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim-witted vampire, who was "the man from Memphis", to protect Sookie while he is gone. Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam, is a shape-shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep on her bed and finds a naked Sam in the morning.
While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is her brother's friend Rene Lenier. He almost kills her, but she fights back. Badly injured, Sookie wakes up in the hospital and finds the police by her side, telling her Rene has confessed to the killings. Bill appears later that night and tells Sookie that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.

6) Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King
When a master of horror and heebie-jeebies like Stephen King calls his book Full Dark, No Stars, you know you’re in for a treat--that is, if your idea of a good time is spent curled up in a ball wondering why-oh-why you started reading after dark. King fans (and those who have always wanted to give him a shot) will devour this collection of campfire tales where marriages sway under the weight of pitch-black secrets, greed and guilt poison and fester, and the only thing you can count on is that "there are always worse things waiting." Full Dark, No Starsfeatures four one-sitting yarns showcasing King at his gritty, gruesome, giddy best, so be sure to check under the bed before getting started.

7) Living Dead In Dallas (True Blood, Book 2), Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Vampires suck the poison from her veins, saving her life.
When one of the vampires asks for a favor, she obliges, and soon Sookie is in Dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She is supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. That is easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.

8) One Summer, by David Baldacci
It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

Goal for the year: 70   Year to date: 44

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This post is written from a prompt, provided here:


1.) Recycle a favorite post from July of any year that you have been blogging.

This post is from July 25, 2011: 

At times like this, when I feel sad, depressed, and basically just don't have a CLUE what to do with my life, I always wish I had a friend, especially a "best friend." You know the one I mean...the one you can tell anything....the one who always tells you the truth, even if it hurts or makes you mad...the one who doesn't mind seeing you at your worst, physically or emotionally.

I've always been a shy, quiet person, and it's always been hard to let someone else into my life very far. There's always been SOMETHING going on that I couldn't risk letting other people find out, you know? Whether it was the fact that my parents were arguing and yelling all the time, or that I was so miserable I didn't want to live any more, or that I was overwhelmed with trying to raise two small children practically on my own on the other side of the world from my family, or that my husband was hitting me, or that we'd had our electricity turned off for the last three months, or that I was having an affair, or that I was sick to death of being who everyone else thought I should be, or that I didn't have the slightest clue who I really was anymore....there was always something there that, if I let anyone get close enough, I was sure they'd find out and run as far away as they could, as fast as they could.

So, here I am, once again feeling that totally overwhelmed, just don't give a damn about anything anymore feeling....with no one to talk to about it. Saturday was a real crisis day--no one has any idea just HOW close I was to giving up on life that day. I had the whole plan worked out in my head, and even had a page of instruction written out for my funeral. I'm still not sure what stopped me, but I'm still here, obviously.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this, except to make it clear that I'm NOT always as together and as strong as everyone keeps saying they KNOW I am....deep down, on the inside, where the real Teresa hides, if you could ever get close enough to see her, is still that shy, scared little girl who used to cry herself to sleep because "nobody likes me."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Who I Am

This post is written from a prompt, provided here:


4.) Fill in the blanks of this template and create your own I Am poem.

I Am
I am compassionate and loving
I wonder how the world really sees me
I hear the whispers in the wind
I see a rainbow in the sky
I want to be more courageous
I am compassionate and loving

I pretend that everything is fine
I feel the sand beneath my toes
I touch the hearts and minds of others
I worry about my children and my husband
I cry about the people that I miss
I am compassionate and lovign

I understand that life is short
I say live every day to its fullest
I dream of what could have been
I try to make others happy
I hope that I'll be remembered fondly.
I am compassionate and loving
© 2012 Teresa Kander

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not Real Parents? Really?

I posted the following on my Facebook page yesterday, in support of the two ads depicted: Photobucket

Shortly thereafter, I received this comment: "Makes me feel bad for being straight! They won't even advertise real parents!!!" I'm sorry, but that just made me angry. Since when do you have to be straight to be a real parent?  I happen to know that in many families with two mommies or two daddies, at least one of them is the biological parent of the child, which would be about as real as it comes. And do you then want to say that anyone who isn't a biological parent isn't a "real" parent? What about stepparents? What about adoptive parents?

It's not what you do in the privacy of your bedroom that makes you a "real" parent, at least in my opinion. It's the fact that you love the child, that you make sure the child is provided for, that you're there when the child needs you. Whether you have a biological connection to that child or not is the very LEAST of the qualifications for the title of Mom or Dad.

As the old saying goes "Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy." And it also holds true that "Any woman can be a mother, but it takes someone special to be a Mommy."

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Am NOT A Racist!!

Just took part in a discussion about immigration laws and illegal immigrants in the United States. Turns out that because I believe in being a law-abiding citizen, I'm a racist....and people like me are turning this country into a bunch of isolationists. Who knew?

I have nothing against immigrants coming to this country--as long as they go about it LEGALLY. We're a nation of immigrants, after all. But people who sneak in under cover of darkness, who want to start their life here right off the bat as criminals (that's what illegal MEANS, people, so don't get all defensive when I use the word!) are a different story.

And don't give me the line about how all the Europeans who came here and settled this country were illegal aliens as well. At that time, there were NO immigration laws in place for them to break, so all immigrants, no matter how they got here, or where they came from, were legal. Once the laws were put in place, however, it should be expected that immigrants follow them, as well as all of the other laws of the land.

I also don't agree with the benefits that are given to illegals, especially when we have so many of our own citizens in need who CAN'T get help. How does it make sense to give food stamps, medical assistance, and free tuition to people who aren't citizens, but deny it to those who are? That seems topsy-turvy, if you ask me.

I guess I'm just going to have to learn to walk away when this subject comes up in the future, since I refuse to take the politically correct view of things.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

50 Shades Of Weirdness......

I've been on the waiting list for 50 SHADES OF GREY for weeks now, and looking forward to finally getting to read it. So many people I know, and people I'm in Facebook groups with, have read it and talked about how erotic and exciting it truly sounded like something I would enjoy as a summer read.

Today I finally was able to pick it up from the library. As soon as I got home, I made myself a cup of tea and settled in for what I expected to be an entire afternoon of reading. What actually happened was the most unusual experience I have EVER had with a book!!!

The minute I started to read about the first encounter between the two main characters, Anastasia Steele and  Christian Grey, I had an emotional reaction. The guy just made me feel uncomfortable, for want of a better word. There was just "something" in his mannerisms and the things he said that was setting off alarm bells in my head. By the time I was reading about their second meeting (and bear in mind I still hadn't gotten to anything erotic yet!), I was thinking that, if I were Anastasia, I would get up and RUN, not walk, away from this guy. At that point, I had to put the book down and walk away from it for fifteen or twenty minutes.

I eventually went back and started reading again. The uncomfortable feeling returned almost immediately, and it wasn't long before I felt my skin starting to "crawl" and my hands were shaking. By the time I got to the chapter where he showed her his "playroom" and they started discussing their contract, I thought I was going to throw up any second.

Down went the book again, and this time I have no intention of EVER picking it up again. I don't know what it was that reading those things was triggering, but I'm fairly sure that I don't want to find out any time soon. Just writing about it here has me shaking again, so I think this post is going to have to come to an end, too. Count me out of the "50 SHADES' fan club, for sure!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Books I've Read In June 2012

1) Changeless, by Gail Carriger (Book Two, The Parasol Protectorate)
Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.

But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. 

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

2) Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Book 2)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

3) Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book One), by Jessica Spotswood
Blessed with a gift...cursed with a secret.

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood - not even from each other.

4) Blameless,by Gail Carriger (Book Three, The Parasol Protectorate)
Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season.

Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

5) Heartless, by Gail Carriger (Book Four, The Parasol Protectorate)
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

6) Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Book 3)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Gamestrilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

7) Timeless, by Gail Carriger (Book Five, The Parasol Protectorate)
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

Goal for 2012: 60     Year To Date: 36

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Books I've Read In May 2012

1) The Witch's Daughter, by Paula Brackston
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins…
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn't have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers' market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories--and demons--long thought forgotten.
Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches. Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself, and protect the protégé she comes to love.

2) Kill Alex Cross, by James Patterson
The only wayDetective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene of the biggest case he's ever been part of. The President's son and daughter have been abducted from their school - an impossible crime, but somehow the kidnapper has done it. Alex does everything he can but is shunted to the fringes of the investigation. Someone powerful doesn't want Cross too close.
To stop Alex CrossA deadly contagion in the DC water supply threatens to cripple the capital, and Alex sees the looming shape of the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced. He is already working flat-out on the abduction, and this massive assault pushes Cross completely over the edge.
Is to kill himWith each hour that passes, the chance of finding the children alive diminishes. In an emotional private meeting, the First Lady asks Alex to please save her kids. Even the highest security clearance doesn't get him any closer to the kidnapper - and Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes. A full-throttle thriller with unstoppable action, unrestrained emotion, and relentless suspense, Kill Alex Cross is the most gripping Alex Cross novel James Patterson has ever written.

3) Deep Dish, by Mary Kay Andrews
After years of hard work, Gina Foxton, chef extraordinaire and former runner-up Miss Teen Vidalia Onion, is hosting her own show, Fresh Start, on Georgia public television. She's also dating the producer. But when Fresh Start goes bad—and her boyfriend is caught in flagrante delicto with the boss's wife—Gina decides it's time to pursue bigger dreams. Namely a gig on national television.
Gina knows she's destined to be the Cooking Channel's next superstar. But the execs also have their eyes on Tate Moody, Mr. "Kill It and Grill It" himself, host of the hunting, fishing, and cooking show Vittles. The ultimate man's man, Tate is a tasty side of beef with a large, swooning female fan base. Gina's loyal devotees consist of her free-spirited college-dropout sister and her mother . . . who calls every single day.
When the smoke clears there can be only one TV chef standing, and Gina and Tate are ready for the cook-off of their lives.

4) The Sixth Man, by David Baldacci
Edgar Roy-an alleged serial killer held in a secure, fortress-like Federal Supermax facility-is awaiting trial. He faces almost certain conviction. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called in by Roy's attorney, Sean's old friend and mentor Ted Bergin, to help work the case. But their investigation is derailed before it begins-en route to their first meeting with Bergin, Sean and Michelle find him murdered.

It is now up to them to ask the questions no one seems to want answered: Is Roy a killer? Who murdered Bergin? With help from some surprising allies, they continue to pursue the case. But the more they dig into Roy's past, the more they encounter obstacles, half-truths, dead-ends, false friends, and escalating threats from every direction. Their persistence puts them on a collision course with the highest levels of the government and the darkest corners of power. In a terrifying confrontation that will push Sean and Michelle to their limits, the duo may be permanently parted.

5) Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book One), by Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

6) So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore, by Wayne Jacobsen
What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That's Jake's dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him, and whose way of living challenges everything Jake had previously known. So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore is Jake's compelling journal that chronicles thirteen conversations with his newfound friend over a four-year period and how those exchanges turn Jake's world upside-down. With his help, Jake faces his darkest fears, struggles through brutal circumstances and comes out on the other side in the joy and freedom he always dreamed was possible. If you're tired of just going through the motions of Christianity and want to mine the depths of what it really means to live deeply in Christ, you ll find Jake's story will give you hope for your own. This book probes the difficult questions and offers some far-reaching answers. It just might turn your world upside-down as well!

7) Tick Tock, by James Patterson
NYC's #1 detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem--the Son of Sam, the Werewolf of Wisteria and the Mad Bomber are all back. The city has never been more terrified!

Tick--a killer's countdown beginsA rash of horrifying crimes tears through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.

Tick--Michael Bennett is on the chase
The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, his grandfather, and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does it tear apart their vacation, it leaves the entire family open to attack.

Tock--your time is up
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. From the creator of the #1 New York detective series comes the most volatile and most explosive Michael Bennett novel ever.

Goal for the year: 60     Year to date: 29

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