Books of 2012…that I actually read

It’s my end of the year book list again.  Looking back, some were winners and some were just total crap.  So with that in mind, here’s the list:

1.  The Sixth Man:  David Baldacci

2.  Red Mist:  Patricia Cornwell

3.  The Big Bad Wolf:  James Patterson

4.  London Bridge:  James Patterson

5.  Freddy and the Clockwork Twin: Walter R. Brooks

6.  Mary Mary:  James Patterson

7.  Fatherland: Robert Harris

8.  Year of the Chick:  Romi Moondi * none other than our fellow blogger!!

9.  Cat & Mouse: James Patterson

10.  Double Cross:  James Patterson

11.  I, Alex Cross:  James Patterson

12.  Cross Fire: James Patterson

13.  Hunger Games:  Suzanne Collins

14.  Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins

15.  Mocking Jay: Suzanne Collins

16.  At Home on Ladybug Farm:  Donna Ball

17.  Cross: James Patterson

18.  Cross Country: James Patterson

19.  Love Letters from Ladybug Farm:  Donna Ball

20.  Me Talk Pretty One Day:  David Sedaris

21.  The Weird Sisters:  Elenor Brown

22.   13 Reasons Why:  Jay Asher

23.  Heaven is Here:  Stephanie Nielson

24.  When You Are Engulfed in Flames: David Sedaris

25.  The Cinderella Deal:  Jennifer Cruise

26.  Girl Walks Into a Bar:  Rachel Dratch

27.  The Family Fang: Kevin Wilson

28.  Kill Alex Cross:  James Patterson

29.  I Didn’t Ask to be Born:  Bill Cosby

30.  Bet Me:  Jennifer Cruise

31.  Good Grief:  Lolly Winston

32.  Welcome to Temptation:  Jennifer Cruise

33.  The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb:  Melanie Benjamin

34.  In the Woods:  Tana French

35. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  Jenny Lawson

36.  The Fear Index:  Robert Harris

37.  These Girls:  Sarah Pekkane

38.  The Night Circus:  Erin Morgenstern

39.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (& other concerns):  Mindy Kaling

40.  The Innocents:  Francesca Segal

41.  And then There Were None:  Agatha Christie

42.  The Shoe Maker’s Wife:  Adriana Trigiani

43:  11/22/63:  Stephen King

44.  Unholy Night:  Seth Grahame Smith

45.  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter:  Seth Grahame Smith

46.  Doomsday Book:  Connie Willis

47.  The Glass Castle:  Jeannette Walls

48.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress:  Rhoda Janzen

49.  Alice I Have Been:  Melanie Benjamin

50.  Murder on the Orient Express:  Agatha Christie

51.  Always the Designer Never the Bride:  Sandra Bricker

52.  The Lions of Lucerne:  Brad Thor

53.  Path of the Assassin:  Brad Thor

54.  The Witch’s Daughter:  Paula Brackston

55.  Best Friends Forever:  Jennifer Weiner

56.  State of the Union:  Brad Thor

57.  Blowback:  Brad Thor

58.  The Tiger’s Wife:  Tea Obreht

59.  Edgar Sawtee:  David Wroblewski

60.  Moloka’i:  Alan Brennert

61.  Trading Christmas:  Debbie Macomber

62.  The Litigators:  John Grisham

63.  The Year of Living Dangerously:  Quinn Cummings

64.  Dear Cary:  Dyan Cannon

65.  The Broker:  John Grisham

66.  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother:  Amy Chua

67.  A Prayer for Owen Meany:  John Irving

68.  Running with Scissors:  Augusten Burroughs

69.  My Mother Was Nuts – a Memoir:  Penny Marshall

70.  The Bone Bed:  Patricia Cornwell

71.  Half Broke Horses:  Jeannette Walls

72.  Elvis and the Dearly Departed:  Peggy Webb

73.  The Dressmaker of Khair Khana:  Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

74.  The Playdate:  Louise Millar

75.  Secret Daughter:  Shilpi Somaya gowda

76.  Girls in White Dresses:  Jennifer Close

77.  The Language of Flowers:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh

78.  Pioneer Woman – Black Heels to Tractor Wheels:  Ree Drummond

79.  Elvis and the Grateful Dead:  Peggy Webb

80.  Takedown:  Brad Thor

81.  Notes From the Underwire:  Quinn Cummings

82.  Where’d You Go Bernadette:  Maria Semple

83.  Mr. Churchill’s Secretary:  Susan Elia Macneal

84.  When in Doubt Add Butter:  Beth Harbison

85.  The Alchemist:  Paulo Coelho

Book List 2011

Back in 2008 I made a goal of reading at least 50 books during the year.  Of course that was the only year I actually met that goal.  But anyway, here’s my list from 2011:

1.   The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

2.   Little Bee

3.   Winter Garden

4.   No One Can Take Your Place

5.   Think Twice

6.   Love, Lucy

7.   Bossypants

8.   The Truth About You and Me

9.   The Shop on Blossom Street

10.  Thin Rich Pretty

11.  Conspirita

12.  Her Fearful Symmetry

13.  And One Last Thing

14.  Secrets of a Shoe Addict

15.  Man in the Middle

16.  Mrs. Kimble

17.  Swan Thieves

18.  The Hunt

19.  The Beach House

20.  The Lifeguard

21.  The Swimsuit

22.  Port Morturary

23.  The Devil in Jr. League

24.  The Sisters of Hardscrabble Bay

25.  Pop Goes the Weasel

26.  Mortal Allies

27.  Seriously…I’m Kidding

28.  The Kingmaker

29.  Roses are Red

30.  Simple Genius

31.  First Family

32.  Stories I Only Tell My Friends

33.  Jack and Jill

34.  Violets are Blue

35.  4 Blind Mice

36.  Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed

37.  The Alchemist


So no surprise most of the books are thriller/murder mysteries.  And obviously I discovered James Patterson this year which I’m not sure how I avoided for so long since those are my favorite types of books.

On a happy note, this is the year I graduate…not till December, but still.

Picture Update

I really didn’t mean to disappear for a couple of months but every time I came to the computer to write something I decided against it and before you know it, it’d been nearly two months.  So here’s what I’ve been up to during that time.

I had a month long break from school before starting back up again about three weeks ago.  This first summer term I’m taking Research Methods and just typing it out makes me snoozzzzzzzzzze.  In about another three weeks I’ll be adding Child Development to my load before getting a two week break before starting fall semester.  See what I mean?  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

During my month of May break, I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to do but you know, time passes quickly and I didn’t do nearly half of it.  I did manage to read 8 or 9 books which more than doubled what I had read this whole year up to that point.  Yay me.  And I’ve still been keeping up with my garden which has yielded barely any vegetables so far:

I have since picked and eaten the veggies in these photos and they were really good.  I’m sure more cucumbers are to come because the plants are huge and full of flowers.  So is the watermelon plant and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one because I have become obsessed with watermelon this summer.

I added to the backyard by planting a lot of flowers and bushes.  It needed it badly and I was in the mood to experiment.  So far the majority of the flowers are thriving and slowly but surely our backyard is looking better and better.  I can’t wait for the sunflowers to finally get big and bloom but it might not be for a couple more months.  In the meantime here are some pics of just some of the flowers I’ve got back there:

I did notice the other day one of the flowers looked like it had been chewed and it didn’t take long to discover the culprit:

Every year we have wild rabbits that seem to roam through our neighborhood.  I have no idea where they actually live and I usually don’t mind them in the yard.  Just not when the eat my plants.

I also went on a little trip with my mom and sister down to Hot Springs.  We did some horseback riding and went to a wax museum among other things.  I’ve gotta be honest.  The wax museum was horrible.  It was so random and no one really looked like anybody they were supposed to.  Here are some of my favorites:

Ack!!  Seriously?!  Prince Charles reminds me of a rat and Queen Elizabeth hasn’t looked like that for at least 60 years.  I had to read the plaque to know who she was.

It was so dark in this section of the museum I took this picture mostly just to see what it was.  And then I had to laugh.  But the laughter really got going when we went into what I suppose was the kids/Disney section and saw this:

Gah, let’s take a closer look:

Hey what do you know, my new facebook profile picture.  I absolutely love his face.

In the beginning of May our town celebrated its annual Toad Suck Daze celebration.  In its honor, we had the kids at the preschool bring toads to school for some toad racing.  Imagine 16 preschool kids with toads but believe it or not, it was fun.  There are a couple of toads that live in the yard of the preschool and the kids LOVE to play with them.  I feel bad for the toads.  We had a frog fatality and I’ll spare you the details but will say barefeet = dead frog.

I hadn’t actually gone to the Toad Suck festivities since I was in high school but my brother and I decided to go and check it out this year.  This included walking the parameter and then leaving.  Too many people and a lot of lame stuff does not a good time make.  Trust me.  Although, one of the booths had a karaoke machine and was inviting participants.  When we waked by some white trashy girls (I know that sounds harsh but you weren’t there) were singing quite loudly and off key to R Kelly’s song Ignition.  It. Was. Hilarious….and terrible.  My brother got some video of it that I will have to get and post.

The only other thing I’ve been busy with is watching TV.  While I’m waiting for the summer shows like Burn Notice to start, I’ve become obsessed with Bones.

I’ve seen the show a number of times and like it but can’t watch it during the season because it’s on at the same time of a number of other shows I watch.  Lucky me, the reruns are on constantly.  There are about 12 episodes that get put on the DVR each week and I recently discovered all the seasons in their entirety on Netflix that I can access through my brother’s Xbox.  Lucky me indeed.  It’s taken me a while to actually be able to tolerate the character of Temperance Brennen.  Admittedly I watch the show for Seely Booth and his sarcasm.

I also spent a day making a ton of homemade strawberry jam that was/is absolutely heavenly and could quite possibly make applesauce a little later in the summer.  I might just be one of the oldest young people I know.

And there you have it – a run down of my two month hiatus.  You missed me didn’t you?

Book List From 2010

Some were great, some were crap.  Some were repeats and some were just random fillers.  Here’s my book list from this past year:

1.   Good Luck

2.   Bet Your Bottom Dollar

3.   Quentin’s

4.   A Rumor of Bones

5.   Questionable Remains

6.   The Heretic’s Daughter

7.   Let Them Eat Fruitcake

8.   Fallen Idols

9.   Archangel

10.  Little Children

11.  Far From Home

12.  The Undaunted

13.  The Help

14.  The Scarpetta Factor

15.  I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This (Bob Newhart autobiography)

16.  Second Helpings

17.  Hope in a Jar

18.  The Frog Prince

19.  A Year on Ladybug Farm

20.  Chill Factor

21.  Hour Game

22.  Murder on a Bad Hair Day

23.  Two Girls in a Blue Dress

24.  The Pink Ghetto

25.  Total Control

26.  The Winner

27.  The Associate

28.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

29.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

30.  The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

31.  Split Second

32.  The Camel Club

33.  This Time Together (Carol Burnett autobiography)

34.  Here We Go Again (Betty White autobiography)

35.  The Alchemist

36.  Where the Sidewalk Ends

37. Sideways Stories from Wayside School

38.  Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars

39.  The Girl Who Played with Fire

Lincoln’s Identities Revealed

Have you heard of this new book that depicts Lincoln as a vampire hunter?  Hogwash.  Based on these wooden carvings I saw when I was in Charleston, it’s quite clear he was more zombie than vampire:

Let’s take a closer look shall we:

Yep, those are the eyes and face of a zombie.

Or what about this guy?

I can see some similarities between the two.

Or if you remove his head from his body, just go with me on this, he has the same frame as Gumby

Whether as a zombie, shrunken head, or Gumby one thing can be said for Lincoln

he stood head and shoulders…and chest (ba dum dum.  Thanks folks I’ll be here all week.  *sigh* No I won’t.) above all others in American history.

2009 Book List

The last couple of years I’ve set a goal for myself of reading 50 books during the year.  Honestly I thought I was being a bit easy on myself – 50 books?  No problem.  I got laid off from work exactly one year ago and have had all the time in the world to read.  Did I?  Nope, I re-discovered TV.  It seems I make time to read when I have a full schedule with loads to do, go figure.  Nevertheless, these are the books I did somehow manage to read during commercial breaks in 2009:

1.  Firefly Lane

2.  Ladder of Years

3.  The Book of the Dead

4.  Hypocrite in a White Puffy Dress

5.  The Thirteenth Tale

6.  The Rossetti Letter

7.  The Stolen Child

8.  Daisy Faye and the Miracle Man

9.  Pompeii

10. Secret Sanction

11. The Last Lecture

12. Egnima

13. Lincoln

14. The Bell Jar

15. The Red Tent

16. The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard

17. Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three

18. Scarpetta

19. Evening Class

20. The Crazy School

21. Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders

22. Brimstone

23. Dance of Death

24. My Life in France

25. Freddy and the Bean Home News

26. The Lost Symbol

27. Freddy and the Ignormous

Little Surprises

I’ve been wanting to write something for a while now but I’ve been in a rut…again.  I’m STILL unemployed which on one hand is kind of nice because I can do whatever during the day but sucks obviously, because I have no money.  So while my day consists of watching TV, reading, and not much else I’ve tried to see what I can make of that for a post.  So here are my little surprises.  Mostly good with a couple that are deserving of an annoyed sigh and eye roll.

I mention that I watch a lot of TV.  Most of it I actually do online which I’ll get to in a second.  Because I’m trying to save a little money where I can, I don’t have cable.  Which means I get about 4 channels.  The other night I accidentally hit the reset button on my remote and bingo, I magically had 7 new channels.  More than double what I had – WHOO HOO!!  That was a nice little surprise.  Especially when I realized one of the channels was ABC and two others play reruns of Friends, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill so score!  Three of them are Spanish stations with plenty of telenovelas and Sabado Gigante.  This would be an eye roll surprise.

Bless the networks or whoever decided that streaming shows online would be a good idea.  And not just current shows either.  I’ve spent the past week watching old episodes of Judging Amy and Family Ties.  I noticed 21 Jumpstreet is streaming and may have to check that out next.

Wednesday night I’m going to a friend’s wedding reception.  I know there have been posts debating the whole registry idea and while I’m not going to get into it I will say I’m against the registry.  I looked at the stuff they selected and thought oh please.  No one is going to buy you the $800 TV or the Ipod Nano you selected.  But the only things I can really afford on their list are the washclothes and soap dispenser.  I’d rather not get them either.  So I fell back on my favorite (and pretty much only) gift I give which is the gift card.  I thought it would be better to put the gift card in an actual wedding card rather than slipping it to them in line.  Who knew wedding cards are almost as expensive as the gifts themselves??  And they all have these lame, sappy poems in them.  Can’t one just say Happy Wedding and be done with it?  Grrr.  While I resisted going home and pulling out my crayons and making them a card, I did settle by buying the plainest (and let’s face it the ugliest) card I found.

Right now I’m reading Lincoln by Gore Vidal.  Honestly I wasn’t sure I was really going to like this book but the more I read the more I like it.  I can’t believe how ignorant I am when it comes to the Civil War and this presidency.  I mean, hello, I am an American for crying out loud.  You would think I would know more about my nation’s history.  So this has definitely been a good surprise.  The reading and liking part, not my ignorance.

Another good surprise?  Re-discovering naps.  I’ve always been one to say “I wish I could just take a nap” but would never actually do it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep at night and then I wouldn’t be able to get up the next day, blah blah and the cycle would go on and on.  Well, now it doesn’t matter since I don’t have to get up if I don’t want to.  I’ve been taking 1-2 hour naps a few times a week and am loving it.

And the biggest suprise of the past couple of weeks?  My sister called, invited and payed for me to come out for a visit this Memorial weekend.  Yeah!  A good surprise and definitely one to look forward to.

Obligatory New Years Post

It’s a good thing procrastination isn’t something I want to work on this year or I would have already shot myself in the foot with posting this entry the night of the 7th rather than on the first.  Instead of having resolutions I have goals or improvements for the year.  Towards the end of 2008 I started working on a few things that I hope to continue for 2009.  I started being a little more serious about my running and plan to keep that up.  I read  50 books and will be doing that again.  I started eating a lot healthier and began to get interested in cooking/baking.  If I had to pick a big surprise of the year, cooking might possibly be it.  I never ever thought I would enjoy doing that.  What’s next?  Shopping?  Ha, I won’t hold my breath on that one.  But if any of you have any easy, yummy recipes you want to share please do because I’m on the look out for some more.  And possibly my favorite thing I did this past year was to buy my awesome camera and get into photography.  So this year, I think I would like to actually learn how to use this awesome camera.

We all know I lost my job a couple of weeks ago and am now a free agent for whatever may come my way.  See how I’m trying to make unemployment sound cool and exciting?  Well, I guess in some ways it’s nice to not have to get up and do anything but then again, before I started writing this post I was just sitting on my bed making faces at myself in the mirror because I’m bored.  So another goal for the year is to get a job.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I’ve been living here in Utah for a little over four years now which is the longest I’ve stayed put since I graduated from high school.  But now I’m getting that itch to do something else, somewhere else.  While I was in California I interviewed with a company and was offered a job but because of a couple of things it’s not going to work out.  But I still think this is my perfect opportunity for something new so in a couple of weeks I’m planning on driving down to Mesa to check it out.  I’ve never been to Mesa but I know it’s warm and somewhere different.  Could it be a giant fiasco?  Yep, it sure could be.  Could I find myself staying in Utah?  Possibly.  Is it possible that I’ll run out of money before I get a job and have to move back home to Arkansas?  Sure is.  But it could turn out great and who knows, I may love it so much I stay there longer than four years.  I’m excited for this year and excited to see where it’s going to take me.

50 Down

At the begining of 2008 I made a goal to read 50 books by the end of the year.  I honestly thought I would be able to do it in my sleep and would most likely exceed this.  I was doing really well until about July when I started reading a book that I found boring but wanted to finish anyway.  It took me almost a month and a half to finish it and when I did I didn’t want to pick up another book for a few weeks following.  I think at one point I was nearly 20 behind my schedule of a book a week but still wanted to reach my goal.  Thank goodness for long airplane flights because I finished book 50 on December 31st as I was flying from CA to Arkansas.  Here’s the list:

1.  The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

2.  Book of the Dead

3.  Twilight

4.  New Moon

5.  Eclipse

6.  Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

7.  One Hundred Years of Solitude

8.  Life of Pi

9.  The Liar’s Diary

10. The Kite Runner

11. The Island

12. Wicked

13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

14. The Friday Night Knitting club

15. The Ghost

16. Water for Elephants

17. The Witch of Portobello

18. Moment of Truth

19. beneath the Skin

20. Life Support

21. Ashes to Ashes

22. Mistaken Identity

23. The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club

24. Mistress of the Art of Death

25. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven

26. Postmortem

27. Body of Evidence

28. Blowfly

29. The Big Bam

30. The Alchemist

31. Eat, Pray, Love

32. All That Remains

33. Cruel and Unusual

34. Fom Potter’s Field

35. Cause of Death

36. Unnatural Exposure

37. The Tightrope Walker

38. Thale’s folly

39. Point of Origin

40. Black Notice

41. The Last Precint

42. Ultra Marathon Man

43. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

44. Trace

45. Playing for Pizza

46. A Christmas Caroline

47. Predator

48. Tuesdays with Morrie

49. The Catcher in the Rye

50. Girls Poker Night

Some of course, were better than I thought they would be and some were worse.  But I think it’s a goal I’m going to hang on to and try again this next year.

I Need Money

Plain and simple.  There’s a camera  I want and have decided “it will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine.”  The problem?  It costs $800.  Eight hundred dollars that I don’t necessarily have to spend on a camera.  Yes, technically the money is in my savings account but what if I lose my job tomorrow?  What if my car breaks down again?  What if…. well, you get the point.  So I’ve been brainstorming on some money making ideas that are sure to get me my camera.

1.  Selling my books

This is actually pretty hard for me.  I have a reverence for books and can’t dispose of them lightly.  However, I went through bins and shelves lastnight and came up with a nice stack I’m willing to part with.  The problem is that I don’t think it will generate much dough.  Mostly because I’m only willing to sell old text books and old kids books like my Sweet Valley Twin series.  Yes, I’m going to pawn off the Sweet Valley Twin girls and hope they’re worth something.

2.  Selling Clothes

Granted I don’t have much in the way of clothing and most everything there is has holes.  Pammy Girl did remind me that I was given a pair of Armani shoes a few years ago that I’ve never worn that could bring in some cash.  And I do have two pairs of Diesel jeans that I’ve been storing in the hopes of losing those extra 10 lbs.  At this point the weight’s not going anywhere so maybe it’s time for the jeans to head out the door.

3.  Working Overtime

Right now work is so slow I’m having a hard time finding something to do for the 8 hours I’m supposed to be here.  But how hard would it be to tack on a little extra time here and there.  I’ve been coming into work 15-20 min earlier and staying about that much time after.  An extra 1/2 hour a day could go a long way.

4.  Babysitting

Yes I realize this is really a job for 14 year olds.  But the advantage I have over those teens is that I’M NOT 14!!  Honestly, wouldn’t a parent rather leave their kids with a competent and capable 28 year old rather than an inexperienced 14 year old?  I’m even willing to do a couple of overnighters.  Maybe even a full weekend of babysitting.  What 14 year old would do that?  Better yet, what 14 year old would you want to do that?

5. Putting Ads on My Car

No work involved but money in hand.  This doesn’t sound too bad.  Hmm, scratch that, this is where I draw the line.  I’m not desecrating my car, even I have limits afterall.

6.  Donating Plasma

Ah, yes.  The old college standby.  I’ve actually never done this before but from what I’ve heard and read it’s not that big of a deal.  For just a few hours a week you too could make a little extra cash.  Plus I can sit there and read the whole time.  What’s not to like about that?

7.  Selling My Kidney

I have two and only need one.  Why should I be so selfish?

8.  Selling My Eggs

Think about it.  There could be little Nandangos running around out there someday.  The thought almost brings a tear to my eye.

9.  Being a Surrogate

This one just might be my golden ticket.  I can already read the ad, “Uterus for sale!  Mint condition!  Never been used!  Act fast!”  Potential parents are bound to come running.  Money for me, kid for them…this is a win-win.  Plus if I time it right I can be pregnant during sweater season and pop that kid out in time for summer.

My fellow bloggers, in this election year I turn to you.  Please vote on the idea you think is best for me or come up with your own.  A camera’s future life depends on it.