2017 Goodreads Book Challenge Part 3

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  1. Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen. NewRead. This was a fascinating book. Louisa and her family, for many years, were pretty much paupers who lived on the kindness of wealthy friends and relatives as Bronson Alcott had misfortune with various schools he started due to his sometimes overzealous Transcendalist thoughts and beliefs. Even his fellow Transcendalists were often taken about by his philosophy on life.


They lived in many places throughout the northeast, and even lived in a commune at one time existing on only a plant based diet. In many ways though, Louisa and her sisters, Anna, May, and Lizzie,were much liked Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth in Little Women.

Louisa did write often from her own experiences, but also had a gift for writing dramatic fantasies and dramas, and even for a period of time she and Anna performed many of the plays Louisa wrote.

There were darkness in both Louisa’s parents,and Louisa herself, which came out in bouts of rapid mood changes and stages of depression. But through it all, Louisa continued to write, and for years it was by her efforts and prolific writing, that her family finally had a permanent place to call home, all their needs were met, and many of their wants as well.

Louisa May Alcott was a remarkable woman and writer.

  1. Short stories by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. I really enjoyed reading these short stories of Louisa’s. They are quite more realistic and different than Little Women,etc.
  2. Louisa and the Missing Heiress by Anna Maclean. New Read. I enjoyed reading this book very much. Louisa May Alcott is the heroine of this series, and the author includes other members of the Alcott family in it as well. I was drawn easily into the story and stayed there throughout the many twists and turns.
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Re-read. It has been over 30 years since the last time I read Little Women. It was a favorite back then, and still a favorite now. The characters are so wonderfully written and come alive to the reader. It is easy to find yourself drawn into the stories and living alongside Jo and her sisters, her parents, Teddy, and his Grandpa.
  4. Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. It was so much fun to read about the married lives of Jo, Amy, and Meg March.
  5. Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Jo, Amy, Meg, Professor Bhaer, Laurie and their assorted children and the ‘boys and girls’ who came to be taught at Plumfield, and later Parnassus. This was a very entertaining book with lots of warm and well developed characters.
  6. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. I really enjoyed this story about young Rose being introduced to the rest of her family, especially the first dreaded, then much beloved, seven boy cousins. Rich characters, inspirational lessons, well thought out plot and dialogue interactions with the characters.
  7. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. This is the sequel to Eight Cousins. Rose and her seven male cousins are older now, learning what it is like to be young people of privilege and to navigate the ends and outs of society while retaining the many instructions that they’ve all received over the years from their assorted guardians, parents, and other older relatives. I was easily drawn back into Rose’s world and cheered at her triumphs, and was saddened by her disappointments. A thoroughly engaging book to read.
  8. A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. This book is different than any other books of LMA’s that I’ve read so far. It is one of her stories that were originally a serialization in a newspaper and printed in 1866. The young heroine is swept off her feet by a charismatic man who promises her the world, and naive as she is, she falls for it. Only later to learn that everything he told her, except for his fascination with her, is not true. So begins a game of hide and seek, across several countries, until the young woman realizes that despite all the bad things she’s learned about her man, that she still loved him nevertheless.
  9. Kate’s Choice by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. Wonderful and heartwarming stories about the innocence of youth and the power of hoping and dreaming about better days.
  10. The Quiet Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott. New Read. Another set of heartwarming stories about young children whose dreams about being loved and wanted come true.
  11. Invincible Louisa:The Story of The Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs. New Read. Interesting and engaging biography about Louisa May Alcott.
  12. Jedi Sunrise by Kevin J. Anderson. New Read. Loved going back and reading about Jacen and Jaina and their friends when they were younger.
  13. True Stories of CSI:The Real Crimes Behind The Best Episodes of The Popular Tv Show by Katherine Ramsland. New Read. This was a fascinating book to read.
  14. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Re-read. I read this book when I was a kid and remembered how sad I thought it was back then. It is still a sad story. I’m a big animal lover and so I know how Travis felt when he had to kill his dog.
  15. Savage Sam by Fred Gipson. New read. I really enjoyed this sequel to Old Yeller. Sam is a lot like his dad and that made me smile. This book was action packed and had some angst in it as well.
  16. Faith of Helen Keller by Helen Keller. New Read. Helen Keller has always been one of my heroes, from the first moment I heard of her. She did not allow her disabilities to keep her from achieving her dreams.



10 Reasons to Love Black Cats

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  1. They are adorable fluffballs when they are born.
  2. They have magnificent green, yellow, or bi-colored eyes.
  3. They are especially adorable when they are being mischievous.
  4. They are skilled hunters.
  5. They are excellent climbers.
  6. They are affectionate and loving.
  7. They have unique personalities.
  8. They are fearless
  9. They are so soft and silky.
  10.  They are sleek and beautiful like their much bigger Panther cousins.

Black Cats Are Awesome!

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Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day! I can’t let the day pass without celebrating the life of my current fur-baby, Mystical Spiritchaser. She is feisty and spirited, loving and cuddly, and she doesn’t let anyone but me touch her or hold her.

She loves to play, eat her treats, bathe in the sunlight, and take naps with me.

She is a protective as a dog, is wary of anyone coming into our house, snarls and hisses and growls at people she doesn’t like, annoy, or alarms her.

2017 Book Challenge on Goodreads Part 2

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68. Small Favor by Jim Butcher. New read. Harry is in neck deep with all sorts of magical creatures. These ‘baddies’ want to not only wreak havoc on Harry’ hometown, but also try to claim his soul, and that of people he loves. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Lots of action and excitement.

69.The Brookline Shoot-out:America’s Bloodiest Peace Officer Massacre by Shirley Walker Garton. New read. This was a fascinating story to read. It is true life, local tragedy that occurred in neighboring cities/counties of Missouri that I currently live in, back in the 1930s. The author’s father was an eyewitness to the bloody massacre and was never the same again afterwards.

70.Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane. Re-read. I have loved this book since I first read it when I was pre-teen. The characters of David and Molly are as loved by me as the Ingalls family in the Little House books.

71.Satan’s Harvest by Michael Lasalandra and Mark Merenda. New Read. Fascinating and truly terrifying true life account of the exorcism of a French farmer named Maurice Theriault. This is another well documented case involving leading Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.

72.Betty White and Friends by Betty White. New Read. Absolutely loved this book. Lots of beautiful photos of amazing animals to look at, interesting bits of information about several of the animals, and entertaining bits about Betty’s encounters with some of the creatures included in the book.

73.A Long Conversation by Cassandra Clare. New read. Happy squeal that Izzy and Simon are getting married. So happy to see Alec and Magnus are doing well with little Max,and definitely love seeing jace and Clary together. Jace pops the “M” question, but Clary doesn’t get a chance to respond because Magnus shows up claiming there is trouble.

74.Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner. New Read. I know a lot of people would find some satisfaction in these stories finally being ‘PC’, but quite honestly I found some of the word usage to be strange to hysterically funny.

75.The Haunted by Ed and Lorraine Warren. New Read. Another fascinating book about one of Ed and Lorraine’s many paranormal cases.

76.Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. New Read. Another interesting, entertaining, and informative book by the founders of TAPS.

77.Will and Grace Fabulously Uncensored by Jim Colucci. New Read. It was great fun to read the behind the scenes, how the cast of actors were chosen for the spot, the episode summaries, and everything else that made Will and Grace come to live.

78.Dawson’s Creek:The Official Companion by Darren Crosdale. New Read. It was great fun to dive into this book and relive some of my favorite moments of watching Dawson’s Creek, learn bits and pieces about the actors and characters that I didn’t already know, etc.

79.The Buffy Chronicles: The Unofficial Companion to Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Ngaire E. Genge. New Read. I had a lot of fun reading this book. Buffy is, and always will be, one of my favorite tv shows, and I enjoyed going behind the scenes to read about the characters,actors, episodes etc of the making of the show.

80.Robert Pattinson-True Love Never Dies by Josie Rusher. I enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Robert Pattinson’s life, when he decided to become an actor, and about the different roles he had leading up to his being cast as Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga.

81.Soul Surfer:A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton. New Read. This is such an inspiring story. Bethany suffered a life altering trauma, but instead of becoming bitter and discouraged, she chose to lean on her faith in God, and with the support of her family and friends, got back into the water and fulfilled her dream of becoming a professional surfer.

82.Love Bites: The Unofficial Saga of Twilight by Liv Spencer. New Read. An interesting and entertaining read, diving into the creation of the Twilight movies, how the cast was selected, their thoughts about their characters that they play and how they interact with one another, etc.

83.The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington. New read. This was a really good YA book. It had lots of twists and turns, a strong female lead, and good characters over all.

84.Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan. New Read. Isabella is courageous and determined to save her beloved brother from the evil Don Reviello, by petitioning Don DeMarco to save his life. She is willing to sacrifice anything for her brother, and ends up losing her heart in the process, but by doing so she also saves Don DeMarco’s soul.

85.Strangers by Lisa Jackson. New Read. I Really enjoyed reading the two separate stories enclosed under this title. Both were filled with lots of action and angst, with a bit of romance added into the mix.

86. Sin City(CSI Novel) by Max Allan Collins. New Read. Gil, Catherine, Nick, Sara, and Warrick are tasked with putting the evidence together to solve the deaths of Lynn Pierce(a housewife that goes missing), and Jenna Patrick(a professional stripper, killed at the club she works at). With top of the line scientific equipment and hard work, the CSI gang are able to put the pieces of the two murders together and catch the killers.

87.Brighter than the Sun by Maya Banks. New reads. This is Joe and Zoe’s story. Zoe is a college friend of Rusty Kelly’s, who is in grave danger. Rusty helps her friend create a new name and background, and then invites Zoe home to the Kelly compound, never guessing that her big brother Joe would fall for Zoe the moment he lays eyes on her, and Zoe fall for him. Their path to happy-ever-after is fraught with danger, excitement, and lots of angst.

88.882 1/2 Amazing Answers To Your Questions About the Titanic by Hugh Brewer. New read. Fascinating read for any lovers of the Titanic. Gives you in depth answers to all the questions one could ask about the Titanic, its crew, the passengers, etc.

89.CSI:Body of Evidence by Max Allan Collins.  New Read. Grissom, Willows, Brown, Sidle, and Stokes work together to solve the murder of the Las Vegas assistant, as well as a high-tech child porn case. Their collective skills and the evidence gets them the perps once again.

90.Time Life: The Most Notorious Serial Killers. New Read. This was a fascinating, yet horrifying, book to read. Many of the most infamous serial killers are mentioned:Ted Bundy, The Zodiac Killer, Charles Manson Family, Jim Jones etc.

91.CSI: Grave Matters by Max Allan Collins. New Read.

Grissom, Willows, Stokes, Brown, Sidle, and Brass do it again. Called to exhume the body of a wealthy socialite whose death is called into question by the socialite’s daughter, Grissom and company are shocked to find that Rita Bennett isn’t the person in her coffin.It’s a young girl in her teens. Now the CSI team as two cases to solve. Who is the girl in the coffin and who killed her, and where is Rita Bennett? Meanwhile, Catherine and Warrick are called to a local long term/retirement facility at the request of the assistant coroner. Both are a little confused and at first, not even sure that a crime has been committed, but as they delve deeper into the happenings at Sunny Days, they discover too many coincidences that lead them to their killer:an Angel of Mercy. Well written, intriguing twists and turns, and some surprising revelations make this book a fun read for any CSI fan.

92. Black Horse by Veronica Black. New Read. This was a very good book. Meadow and Black Horse were made for one another. Both have lots of strength and courage, and face many challenges, but their love endures nevertheless.

93.Heroes and Outlaws of the Old West by Shane Edwards. New Read.

This was an interesting read. Gives detailed info on many of the Old West outlaws and Lawmen. Info About Wild Bill Hickok. Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, among others I had already known before reading this book, but all the rest I had never heard of or hadn’t known much about them.

94.The Great Fire by Jim Murphy. New Read. This was a fascinating retelling of the events during the great Chicago Fire back in 1871. Filled with illustrations of pictures that were taken during the fire, along with first hand experiences.

95.Theodore Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands by Clay S. Jenkinson. New read. This was an intriguing read. I’ve never done much reading about Theodore, except for the things I’ve learned in school when I was younger, so I really enjoyed reading about all his adventures before and after he became our(United States) 26th President.

96.Missouri Historical Review Vol 4 by State Historical Society. New read. I really enjoyed learning about how the institution of banking started in the United States, tidbits about Missouri during its start and around the 1800s.

97. Mssouri Off the Beaten Path:A Guide to Unique Places by Patti DeLano. New Read. This was an interesting read. I learned about many places in Missouri I had never heard of, while others I’ve not only heard of, but been to while growing up.

98. 100 Best Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith. New read. I really enjoyed reading this book. My favorite poems were William Shakespeare’s Sonnets, The Sick Rose by William Blake, A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns, and She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron.

99.Humorous Stories and Sketches by Mark Twain. New Read. A thoroughly entertaining book.

100.Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. New Read. This was a thought provoking book to read.

101.CSI:Double Dealer by Max Allan Collins. New Read. This was a really intriguing case. First case is a mummy found at a construction site, the other happens in an alcove in a hotel. Both are killed by a professional assassin with the same double-tap signature. There are many twists and turns as Grissom, Willows, Stokes, Sidle, Brown, and Brass work together to gather evidence, chase down leads, search for clues, until everything comes together in an explosive finale.

102.Davinci Myths Vs The Gospel Truth by D. James Kennedy. New read. This was an intriguing and interesting book to read as the authors make their points for the side of The Gospel Truth of the Bible against what Dan Brown wrote in The Davinci Code about Jesus and Mary Magdalena being married at the time of The Last Supper, that they had a child together, and it is a sacred bloodline that many people have tried to keep hidden for many, many years.

103.Log Cabin Cooking:Pioneer Recipes & Food Lore by Barbara Swell. New read. This was a very entertaining and informative book to read. Some of the recipes included I had seen before, but more were new to me. I particularly like the various rhymes and sayings written throughout regarding food, the chores of planting, growing, cooking and baking the food, etc.

104.Memories of Anne Frank:Reflections of a Girlhood Friend by Allison Leslie Gold. New Read. Hannah Goslar and Anne Frank were best friends from the time they were four years old. Hannah attended school with Anne, their families celebrated holidays and birthdays together, and even lived next door to each other. Hannah and another close friend of Anne’s went to pick her up the day that the Franks went into hiding, and both were dismayed to find the entire Frank family gone.

Just as Anne often wondered how Hannah was fairing amidst all the chaos of World War 2, Hannah wondered about Anne, believing for awhile the story of the Frank family being safe in Switzerland.

Hannah, like the eight people in hiding, was subjected to the same cruelties and hardships under Hitler and the Nazis. She and her baby sister were the only members of her family to survive the concentration camps. It was at Bergen-Belsen that she saw Anne again, and learned that the Franks had never gone to Switzerland, but had been hiding in Amsterdam the entire time. Hannah is very sick when she is freed from the Bergen-Belsen and spends many weeks in a hospital and then both her and her little sister are transferred to a place in Switzerland(where she can receive more care and Gabi will have someone to care for her while she is recovering) all made possible with the help and financial assistance of Otto Frank, her dear friend’s father.

105.Hunger Games Companion by Lois H. Gresh. New Read. This was a more intense book than I thought it would be. Gresh picks apart the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and very vividly and accurately compares the characters, the games, and many events in the trilogy to factual evidence of dates and events that have happened historically. She breaks down the skills that the Hunger Games participants needs to have to win them, gives detailed information about the different weapons that are used in the series, etc. Definitely a thought provoking book.

106.Anne Frank:Life in Hiding by Joanna Hurwitz. New read. This was a children’s version of Anne’s life in hiding and all she and her family, the Van Daan’s, and Mr. Dussel experienced while they were in the attic.

107.CSI:Cold Burn by Max Allan Collins. New Read.This book is probably my favorite so far out of all the CSI books I’ve read so far. Catherine, Nick and Warrick are called onto a scene of a naked one just thrown into one of the parks. As their investigation deepens, they learn that the woman has been frozen, and manage to identify her as a local businesswoman who’s been missing for a year. Meanwhile Sara has accompanied Grissom to a CSI/Forensics convention at a mountain retreat in the Northeast. Off in a trek in the snow covered woods surrounding the chalet they are staying at, the two CSI’s hear gunshots and soon stumble over a fresh body. Both cases have many twists and turns, keeping the collective CSI’s on their toes as they work to solve their two separate cases. NIck, Catherine and Warrick have to deal with sloppy CSI work from the dayshift CSI’s, etc, while Sara and Grissom have to work through the night and falling snow to preserve as much evidence as they can, along with the help with another CSI from Canada.

Downed phone lines, knowing the murderer is at the mountain retreat with them etc, leads to some very long hours for Gris and Sara. Loved every bit of the twists and turns that occurred during both cases.


Three Chapters…

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Yes! I have been on a writer’s striker or my muse as been on a break, but I haven’t been able to write anything for a couple of weeks. Grr. Hate it when it happens, but it does, and so I have to deal with.

Anyways three chapters written tonight..allowing me to finish another story I’ve been working on for a couple of months, prior to the writer’s strike/block. Yay me!

2017 Goodreads Book Challenge Part 2

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2017 200 Book Goodreads Challenge.

  1. Bones Buried Deep by Max Allan Collins. New Read. Booth and Brennan team up in Chicago to take down a serial killer and get more than they bargained for.
  2. The Divergent Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Kate Egan. New Read. I really enjoyed going behind the scenes of the making of Divergent, learning how the cast was chosen, locations for the shoot were selected, reading cast and crew interviews etc. A book every Divergent fan needs to have in their collection.
  3. Little House on the Prairie: From A to Z by Patrick Loubatiere. New Read. This was a fun and wonderful read. It is filled with lots of pics of the cast, crew, and episodes and is a book all fans of Little House should have in their collections.
  4. Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton.New Read. Wow…I continue to be enthralled with Anita’s world and her men. Most of my favorite characters were included in this book, and it had everything an AB book is suppose to have in it: Action, excitement, danger, magic, love, etc.
  5. My Prairie Cookbook by Melissa Gilbert. New Read. This was such fun to read. Intermingled with all of the delicious recipes(both prairie worthy and now), are anecdotes, photos, answers to fans questions, fun facts, and memories. Truly a book that all Little House fans should have in their collections.
  6. The Myrtles Plantation:The True Story of America’s Most Haunted House by Frances Kermeen. New Read. This was a fascinating read. I have always been intrigued by The Myrtles and it’s on my bucket list to visit some day. I don’t know if I would want to actually stay there, now that I’ve read this book and heard of all the scary and traumatizing events she experienced while owning/living at The Myrtles.
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. New Read. I know this book is considered a classic, but I honestly don’t understand why. Catherine and Heathcliff are horrible, awful people who use and abuse others to get their own way, and make everyone miserable in the process. Yes, I understand that the two of them have loved each other since they were kids, but should we forgive all their terrible deeds, and just accept their love for one another.
  8. The Bohemian Girl by Willa Cather. New read. This was an interesting twist on a pioneering story…a young man comes home to see his family, to find his brother married to the girl he loves, but finds the girl loves him just as much as she ever has, and he manages to convince her to run away with him.
  9. O Pioneers by Willa Cather. New read. This story really depicted the hardships that the earlier settlers faced when they were trying to tame the land and build it up for the benefits of their families and friends.
  10. Finding Me by Michelle Knight. New read. Wow…Michelle is amazingly strong to survive the years or cruelty and torture at the hands of her kidnapper. Instead of letting what she had experienced make her bitter, she has chosen to have hope instead.
  11. The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman. New Read. Interesting book. No mention of the familiar characters from the show yet, except for the ‘Governor’, and he’s just as sick and twisted as he is in the show.
  12. The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor: Part One by Robert Kirkman. New Read. The Governor is one sick character, even worse in the books, than he is on the show. Rick, Glenn, and Michonne make an appearance in this one. Another thing, events of how they meet the Governor is different in the books than it is on the show.
  13. The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. New Read. Interesting to read about how ‘Philip Blake’ became the Governor, but despite the fact that he lost his daughter, it doesn’t change my opinion of the man. He is seriously twisted.
  14. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1:The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotta Vaz. New Read. I enjoyed reading this behind the scenes look at the making of Breaking Dawn part 1. It is filled with lovely pictures, fascinating facts about filming, the characters,actors, etc. Something all Twilight fans should have in their collections.
  15. The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor: Part Two by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga.New Read. Wow what an explosive conclusion to the first part. The way events play out in the book are so very different than what happens on the show.
  16. The Walking Dead; Descent by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. New Read. Things in Woodbury are heating up. There’s a new leader in charge of the group, and she’s way nicer than the Governor ever was. Lilly proves that she’s got the guts to face walkers and anything else that threatens the citizens of Woodbury.
  17. Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs. New Read. Love this series! Temperance, Andrew Ryan, and Oliver Hasty team up to catch a baby killer that leads them into different provinces, where they discover that the perp they were chasing, is the piece to a much larger and twisted mystery that they are determined to solve.
  18. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher. New Read. The more I read about Harry Dresden, the more I like the wizard. These stories were filled with supernatural beings, humor, angst, love, and lots of action.
  19. Love You to Death:The Unofficial Companion to the Vampire Diaries by Chrissy Calhoun. New read. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was full of behind the scene look into the making of TVD, the casting of its characters, interviews with the actors, etc. A book every TVU fans needs to have in their collection.
  20. Dallas by Lee Raintree. New Read. OMG! Pamela and Miss Ellie were quite different in the book than they ever were in the show!. Interesting to read how the story of Dallas began and how different things in the book are than what I remember from the tv series.
  21. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. New Read. This was an okay read…it was formatted like a Q and A session with many different people that were suppose to be key members of various scientific and military backgrounds, discussed the events of the Z War etc…
  22. The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette by Thomas E. Hill. New read. This was a fascinating book to read. It is a very good book to have on hand for any writer who write in this period of time.
  23. The Top 10 of Film by Russell Ash. New read.This was a very interesting read. Gives you all the background for movies that have been filmed over the course of the 100 years that films first began to be shot.
  24. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. New Read. I felt sorry for the character of Nick throughout this book. Yes, he had cheated on his wife, but she was a horrible person who manipulated everyone around her, created all kinds of chaos, including manufacturing her own kidnapping, committed murder, and got away with it.
  25. Elvis by John Boertlein. New read. This was a fun and entertaining book to read. Gives all kinds of important info about Elvis Presley. A book any Elvis fan would love to add to their collection.
  26. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. New read. Such a sad, sad story, but beautiful too. The love between Hazel and Augustus is sweet and sad as well, because they don’t get their happy ending.
  27. Ghost Hunt 2: More Chilling Tales of the Unknown by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. New Read. Jason and Grant took some of their best cases and turned them into stories that most ages could read. I enjoyed for the simple entertainment that it was.
  28. Forever Lucy by Joe Morella. New Read. I really enjoyed getting the chance to learn about Lucille Ball’s and Desi Arnaz’s lives while they were growing up and getting started in showbiz. Liked seeing how they met and fell in love with one another and how “I Love Lucy” came about, and many other things about their lives together.
  29. The Bone Collection:Four Novella by Kathy Reichs. New read. Loved reading these stories. I really liked the last one, although it had a sad ending. The Temperance Brennan series has been a favorite of mine since the first book I read in it.
  30. Just One Fool Thing After Another: A Cowfolk’s Guide to Romance by Gladiola Montana. New Read. This was a fun book, filled with amusing and romantic sayings, was a joy to read.
  31. Tales from the Secret Annex by Anne Frank. New read. I really enjoyed reading these little stories and essays that Anne wrote during her time she and the others were hiding out.
  32. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 & 2 by JK Rowling. New Read. I really enjoyed this story. Albus Potter is a lot like his father in some ways. He is just as scared about fitting in at Hogwarts, of wanting to make friends, and make people forget that he’s Harry Potter’s son. In the end though, he learns that being Harry Potter’s son isn’t so bad after all.
  33. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich. New Read. Loved this book. Stephanie Plum and her friends are a wild bunch of characters that get into the craziest schemes!
  34. The Walking Dead Compendium Vol Two by Robert Kirkman. New Read.This was a fun and interesting read. I don’t read many graphic novels, but I wanted to see how the story that the show is based on was started. There are many differences in character relationships, how people met, who lives longer than others etc, than what is shown on the show. Overall I enjoyed reading it.
  35. The Walking Dead Compendium Vol Three by Robert Kirkman. New read. Another fun and entertaining read. Been interesting to see the how the events in the graphic novel differ from that on the tv show. There are many similarities as well.
  36. Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman who Helped Hide the Frank Family by Miep Gies. New Read. This was not only an interesting, but thought provoking book to read. It gives such a more in-depth look into the lives of the Franks and the others who shared their secret hiding place, as well as all their helpers, including Miep and Henk Gies.
  37. Only Call Us Faithful:A Novel of the Union Underground by Marie Jakober. New Read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Elizabeth is a strong woman, with a strong moral code, and is determined to do everything she could for the Union, even while living in the middle of the Confederacy. She endured much ridicule, suspicions, etc from everyone around her, but managed to keep her head held high.
  38. My Vicksburg by Ann Rinaldi. New Read. Claire Louise is a young girl whose family is drawn into the middle of the Civil War when her older brother Landon signs up with the Union Army as a doctor, and their father joins the Confederate Army to serve as a doctor for them. She and her mother, younger brother, and a couple of their servants have to flee their home and go live in a cave as danger encroaches on Vicksburg. Throughout the struggle to stay safe, stave off starvation, and the fear of losing both her brother and father, Claire stays brave and does whatever she can to help out, including caring for her younger brother and writings letters for wounded soldiers.
  39. Lover Revealed by J R Ward. New Read. This is Butch and Marissa’s story. Been quite awhile since I last read one of these books, but upon reading the first couple of pages, I was immediately sucked right back into the world of the Brotherhood. Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
  40. Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward. New Read. This is Vishous and Jane’s story. Vishous has always been one of my favorite of the Brothers, so I was glad to see that he was finally mated. He and Jane go through quite a bit before they are destined to be together, but in the end they finally are and I was very glad to read it.
  41. Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward. New Read.This is Rehvenge and Ehlena’s story. Rehvenge is a known for being one heck of a bad guy, and although he is to some degree, he is also a man of honor. He takes care of the people he is closest too, and who are loyal to him. Meeting Ehlena has changed him forever and he will do anything to protect her, even if it means sacrificing himself. In the end though, things things work out, and they are mated for life.
  42. Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward. New Read. This was Payne and Manuel’s story. Payne is Vishous’s twin sister…a twin he didn’t know he had until she arrived at the Brotherhood estate in critical condition. Jane, Vishou’s shellan goes for the one person she thinks can help Payne, her old boss Dr. Manuel Manello.  Lightning strikes between doctor and patient and soon its clear to everyone that Payne and Manuel are destined to be together.
  43. The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman. New read.This is how it all started. I got to see how Rick reacted to waking from a coma to find that the world around him had gone crazy.
  44. Lover at Last by JR Ward. New read. This is Qhuinn and Blaylock’s story. The two Brothers finally work out what’s keeping them apart and become lovers.
  45. The King by JR Ward. New read. New complications arise between Wrath and his shellan Beth. She is nearing her needing time and desperately wants a young, which he seriously as reservations about. On top of that, the Gymeara Council tries to take the throne away from Wrath, but with Beth and the Brotherhood’s help, Wrath thwarts their attempts to to dethrone him.
  46. The Beast by JR Ward. New Read. Rhage and his shellan Mary have both been a little distant from each other. Him with his continued work with the Brotherhood, her with her work at Safe Place. When he is mortally wounded on the battlefield, then brought back by Payne’s powers…it is a wake up call for them both. The future and young are on both of their minds, but they cannot have them the conventional way. Enter Bitty. An orphaned girl with no home. Rhage and Mary open their hearts and except her into them.
  47. Sweet Valley University:Kiss of the Vampire by Francine Pascal. RE-read. Been a long time since I’ve read any of the Sweet Valley books. Picking up this one and reading it again, I was drawn easily back into the world of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield and their friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book again.
  48. The Shadows by JR Ward. New read. This was Trez and IAms story. The Shadow brothers are different than the Brotherhood, but have the same wants and desires as the other males. Both find their mates, but sadly, Trez loses his beloved Selene and has to learn to go one without her.
  49. Sweet Valley University:Wanted for Murder by Francine Pascal. Re-read. Jessica Wakefield has gotten her twin sister Elizabeth into some messes before, but this one could very well get them both murdered. Picking up strange men on the side of the road is never a good idea, no matter how cute they are. This was a fun and entertaining read.
  50. Once in the Saddle by Laurence Ivan Seidman. New Read. An interesting and entertaining look into the history of cowboys.
  51. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara. New Read. I was immediately drawn into the lives of Robert E. Lee, Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, and the other main characters of the book as they navigated through the myriad mess of secession and organization of both the Union and Confederate armies. The battle sequences were well crafted and intense, but I didn’t feel as if I was reading a textbook. I felt as if I was in the thick of all the fighting alongside the characters. I felt their anger, pain, confusion, compassion, etc.
  52. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp. New Read.This was a wonderful story to read. Sound of Music has been one of my favorite musicals since I was a kid, and now reading about the extraordinary family it is based on was great.
  53. Blind Spot by Nancy Bush. New Read. This book had many twists and turns that kept me turning pages, and eager to find out what happened next.
  54. Native American Doctor:The Story of Susan Laflesche Picotte. New Read. This was a wonderful book to read. Susan dedicated her whole life to making things better for the Omaha people, her people. She not only was their doctor, but she was their defender, protector, and adviser as well. She was truly a remarkable woman and doctor.
  55. Troublemaker by Leah Remini. New Read. I couldn’t put this book down. Leah holds nothing back about her life in Scientology and her reasons for leaving. I admire her courage in making the decision to do what she felt was best for herself and for her family.
  56. Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman’s Passage in the American West by Sally Denton. New read. This was a fascinating read. Jean Rio Baker is an intriguing pioneer woman who left her life of leisure in London to travel across choppy seas and over perilous landscape to reach the Salt Lake, all in the name of her new faith. She was the epitome of what a pioneer woman was. She strong of mind and faith, determined and intelligent, and eager to make her new life a success.
  57. In The Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham. New Read. What a heart-wrenching, yet inspiring story. Gracia survived her kidnapping ordeal,but others didn’t, including her husband. It took great courage to relive the details of her ordeal in order to honor those who died, but also those who lived as well.
  58. Tears of Rage:From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice; The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case by John Walsh. New Read. John Walsh takes us through the heart-wrenching and chaotic first few months of his son Adam’s disappearance into the days of nearly paralyzing grief he and his wife experienced when they learned this son was murdered, onto the depths he took to help get the Missing Children’s Act into place, as well as how America’s Most Wanted came to be.
  59. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. New Read. Elizabeth is an amazing young woman who experienced such inhumane cruelties at the hands of her captors. Her faith, and the love of her family and close friends, has helped her to move past the horror of those nine months when she was fourteen years old, and live a relatively happy life.
  60. Ghost Trackers by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. New Read. This is a novel, not a factual telling of some of their Ghost Hunters cases. I thought it was a pretty good book.
  61. The Martian by Andy Weir. New read. This book was entertaining and amusing, with a strong dash of seriousness mixed in with it. My favorite parts were the journal parts by Mark Watney. I enjoyed reading it.
  62. Hush by Nancy Bush. New Read. This was a definite page turner. Good thriller with lots of twists that had me guessing as to who the killer was right to the last part of the book.
  63. Captain Jack’s Tale by Tennant Redbank. New Read. This is a cute adaption of the first Pirates of Caribbean movie.
  64. The Beaded Moccasins:The Story of Mary Campbell by Lynda Durrant. New Read. This was an interesting and factual, as well as entertaining, story to read. Mary is only 12 years old when she is captured by the Algonquin near her home in Pennyslvania. Though terrified and worried about her white family, she quickly acclimates into the new world she has been forced into. Taken to replace a cherished granddaughter(who has died), she soon becomes a loved member of the tribe’s chief, daughter, and son-in-law. Mary never stops wondering if she’ll ever return to the Campbells, but grows to love her new family as well.


My Rusty Dennis

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My Rusty Dennis


A couple of days ago, I picked up a used DVD of the movie Mask. Not the one with Jim Carrey in it, but Cher. I have loved this movie since I first saw it. Not only for the entertainment purposes, but also because there are a lot of similarities between the relationship between Rusty Dennis and her son Rocky, and the relationship between me and my Mom.


Rusty Dennis was the mom of ‘Roy L ‘Rocky’ Dennis. He was born with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, a very rare bone disorder. It gave him a leonine appearance.


I was born with panhypopituitarism. While Rocky’s illness affected him on the outside, my illness created chaos inside.


There’s a scene in the movie, where a new doctor comes to talk to Rusty about Rocky’s condition, and gives her a bunch of statistics. Rusty pretty much tells him that if she had listened every time a doctor told her that Rocky was going to die, she would have had him in a grave many times over.


I remember my mom pretty much reacting in the same way to the many doctors who have told her over the course of my childhood that I had one fatal malady or another.


In another scene, Rusty and Rocky are at a new junior high school trying to register Rocky for school, and the principal tells her that he wasn’t sure their school was the right one for Rocky. Rusty asks him if they teach Math, English and History, and the principal says yes. Rusty tells him that’s all Rocky needs.


Each new school I went to, I hated going to register. For most of my childhood and well into my teen years, I was much shorter than my peers. So short those in charge didn’t believe I was as old as I was and didn’t want to allow me entrance into the right grade etc. My mom set them straight real quick. She didn’t make friends much with any of the various school authorities, but she definitely made them remember her.


I can recall so many other occasions when my mom had to set people straight or stand up for me. I wasn’t always appreciative then of some of the ways she chose to defend me, but I am now.


Like Rusty loved Rocky, my Mom loved me.


She was always my greatest champion and staunchest supporter.


She was my Rusty Dennis.

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