My favorite books of the last decade

50 Favorite books from 2010 – 2019

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy did her best books of the decade post which I thought was great so I’ve created my own. It was lots of fun to look back at the last 10 years and remember books I’ve loved. I’ve kept a spreadsheet of the books I’ve read every year since 2004 so I went back through my spreadsheets and picked out these books. I didn’t give all of them an A, but these are the ones that have stuck with me.

I’ve listed anywhere from three to six favorite books a year. These books span a number of genres and some are books published that year and some are books published years and years ago. I don’t review all the books I read so if I have a review for the book on my blog I will show a link after the book covers. (I started my blog during 2013 so there are no reviews before that.)


Doggirl by Robin Brande


What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf


The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson


Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

Cold in the Earth by Aline Templeton

In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany


Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lock In by John Scalzi

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Martian by Andy Weir


The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Iron Night by M.L. Brennan

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards


The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Höst




Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Are any of them favorites of yours?

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Ambush by Barbara Nickless

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Ambush by Barbara Nickless

Series: Sydney Rose Parnell #3

Published by Thomas & Mercer

Publishing date: March 19

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Synopsis: Railway cop and former Marine Sydney Parnell is on the hunt. So is a killer she knows only as the Alpha. They’re in a race to find Malik, an eleven-year-old Iraqi boy with secrets to guard. Sydney wants to help him. The Alpha wants him dead.

From the dark alleys of Mexico City to the mean streets of Denver, Sydney and her K9 partner, Clyde, use their wits and determination to chase down the ruthless killer. But when their path collides with his, Sydney realizes just how far-reaching and sinister the Alpha’s past is. And how far he’s willing to go to save his secrets. 


I’ve read the first two books in this series and am looking forward to reading more about Sydney Rose Parnell and her K9 partner Clyde.

What books are you excited about?

Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima

stalking-groundStalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima
Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #2
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Setting: Timber Creek, Colorado–the high country in Colorado
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: September 13, 2016)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
320 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: When Deputy Ken Brody’s sweetheart goes missing in the mountains outside Timber Creek, Mattie Cobb and Robo are called to search. But it’s mid-October and a dark snow storm is brewing over the high country–and they’re already too late. By the time they find her body, the storm has broken and the snow is coming down hard.

While Brody hikes down to bring back the forensics team and veterinarian Cole Walker gathers supplies to protect them from the storm, Mattie and Robo find themselves alone, guarding the gravesite overnight in the dead of the early winter. And that’s only the first long, dark night in a series of them, because as their investigation develops, Mattie, Robo, Brody, and Cole find themselves in the middle of the killer’s stalking ground–with no way out unless they can catch a predator more deadly than any natural threat.

Initial impressions

  • A very good addition to the series.


  • Mattie and Robo make a great team. I like that they’re coming to trust each other more.
  • Mattie has trouble trusting and relating to people sometimes, but I think because of Robo she’s growing more confident and making more friends.
  • When Mattie hears that Deputy Ken Brody’s girlfriend is missing she wonders if Adrienne didn’t just leave. Mattie finds Deputy Brody difficult to get along with and can’t imagine that being his girlfriend is easy.
  • However, the evidence mounts that Adrienne didn’t disappear on her own. And when her body is found Mattie finds herself beginning to understand Brody better and realize he loved Adrienne.
  • There’s a scary scene where Mattie and Robo are alone in the Colorado wilderness overnight guarding Adrienne’s body while Brody goes back to guide the forensic teams and others to the site.
  • I like that Mattie is beginning to make more friends and learning that friends will help–that she doesn’t have to do everything herself.
  • This isn’t a very gritty, dark mystery–and for me that’s a plus as I don’t like dark mysteries too much.
  • I like many of the characters in these books. And there are hints of romance to come in future books. But that doesn’t take over the story.


  • I did have ideas of who the murderer is, but wasn’t sure of the motive. I still enjoyed the mystery and story.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’m hoping for a third book in this series. I hope it comes soon!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Margaret Mizushima has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. Her short story “Hay Hook” was published in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers anthology Crossing Colfax. She enjoys reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/Author Margaret Mizushima, on Twitter @margmizu and on her website.

Reading Challenges





Burning Man by Alan Russell

burning-manBurning Man by Alan Russell
Series: Gideon & Sirius #1
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Setting: Los Angeles, California
Published by Thomas & Mercer, 2012
E-book, Kindle Unlimited
328 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog partner Sirius became reluctant celebrities after capturing a notorious serial killer in the midst of an inferno. For their heroism, they were chosen to head up the newly formed Special Cases Unit. Now the duo tackles out-of-the-ordinary cases, anything deemed unusual or bizarre even by Hollyweird standards.

When a teenager is found crucified in a city park, Gideon and Sirius are handed the bizarre case. Confronting the gruesome tableau and having to work the case worsens Detective Gideon’s PTSD, a condition he has tried to hide from others. Gideon’s burns may have healed, but the fire haunts him still…in more ways than one.

Eerily prescient since that terrible night of the fire, Gideon has unusual insights into the crimes he investigates, a skill he and Sirius must learn to trust as much as they do each other if they are to solve—and survive—this case.

One of the occupational hazards of being a K-9 cop is loss of hearing because of your partner’s barking and howling.


When the two of us worked together in K-9, there had been clear divisions of rank, with frequent classes and exercises to reinforce that pecking order. The dogs are taught their handlers are generals and that they are grunts that have to obey no matter how insane the orders are. Sirius always went along with this game so as to not make me look bad, and still does.

Initial impressions

  • If you’ve read past reviews you may know that I really like police procedurals and also a police procedural featuring K-9 partners. This book has both and I really like it.
  • Michael and his K-9 partner Sirius are both heroic and go through a lot together.

The story

  • At the beginning of the book LAPD policeman Michael Gideon and his dog partner are sent to search for a possible serial killer. They have to follow the suspect into a brush fire and Michael, Sirius and the suspect are all badly burned.
  • It takes months for Michael and Sirius to recover, but when the do the police chief offers them a positions in a newly formed Special Case Unit.
  • Michael is suffering from flashbacks and nightmares from the fire, but he hides that from everyone and goes back to work.
  • They have several cases sent their way–a crucified teenager, a dead abandoned baby.
  • Since the fire Michael often has insights into cases he never had before. He has to decide whether to trust these insights.


  • I really enjoyed this book. However, there were several scenes which were hard to read since the main character was badly burned while arresting a killer. He relives these scenes over and over in nightmares.
  • Michael’s wife died before the book began so he’s been through a lot. His wife named Sirius after the Dog Star. Both Michael and Sirius miss her.
  • Sirius is a great character. Very loyal to Michael. They make great partners.
  • I like the procedural work of the book–talking to witnesses, writing and reading reports, trying to figure out why something happened the way it did.
  • The abandoned baby case is one which hits home for Michael since he was abandoned as a baby, but found by a priest who named him Michael Gideon. The priest is still a good friend of Michael.
  • The cases Michael is working on–the crucifixion, the dead abandoned baby–are very different cases, but still need standard case work.
  • I liked many of the other characters in the book. They are interesting and help provide insight into Michael.
  • The suspect Michael brought out of the fire is the serial killer he was looking for. Even though the serial killer is on death row, he apparently has a lot of clout among certain people on the outside. Something Michael finds out first hand.


  • Michael visits the serial killer he arrested in prison every month. The FBI asked him to visit since the killer refuses to talk to anyone else, but Michael doesn’t seem to visit to find out information. It was uncomfortable to read about since the killer seems to have the upper hand.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
  • I hope in the next book Michael is making progress getting over the PTSD and not visiting the killer in prison anymore.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • When Alan Russell writes his novels, he always plays the “what if” game: What if you were the son of a serial murderer and it suddenly appears to the world as if you are repeating your father’s sordid history? What if you are the holder of a grim secret with international consequences, but telling that secret implicates you in the death of an innocent? What if you are a homicide detective trying to solve a murder case in which the only witness is a young woman who offers up clues in the forms of her exotic multiple personalities?
  • Like his readers, Alan is eager to know what is going to happen to his characters, and says, “If I am passionate about what I am writing, then that passion will be infectious to my readers.”

Reading Challenges

Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

killing-trailKilling Trail by Margaret Mizushima
Series: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #1
Genre: Contemporary Mystery, Police Procedural
Setting: Timber Creek, Colorado–the high country in Colorado
Published by Crooked Lane Publishing, 2015
Hardback, Library
320 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: When a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside Timber Creek, life-long resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 police dog Robo, are assigned to the case that has rocked the small Colorado town.

With the help of Cole Walker, local veterinarian and a single father, Mattie and Robo must track down the truth before it claims another victim. But the more Mattie investigates, the more she realizes how many secrets her hometown holds. And the key may be Cole’s daughter, who knows more than she’s saying.

The murder was just the beginning, and if Mattie isn’t careful, she and Robo could be next. Suspenseful and smart, Killing Trail is a gripping read that will have readers clamoring for more Mattie and Robo for years to come. Fans of Nevada Barr and C.J. Box will love this explosive debut.

Deputy Mattie Lu Cobb liked her new partner. In fact she was quite taken with him. She enjoyed being with him, something she’d found lacking with previous partners, and they seemed compatible. . . .

. . . Mattie stole a quick glance. Born in Russia, he was a handsome guy: straight black hair, intense brown eyes, and white teeth that flashed when he grinned. Large and muscular, strong and rugged, he was the only one in the department who could outrun her in a cross-country foot race.

Initial impressions

  • I love this book. And can’t wait for the next one. The Colorado setting, mystery and story of Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner K-9 police dog Robo are excellent.

The story

  • Because drugs have become an issue in Timber Creek and the surrounding national forest Timber Creek County have purchased a police service dog and assigned Officer Mattie Cobb as his partner.
  • Mattie and her new partner Robo have returned to Colorado after receiving training at K-9 Academy.
  • They answer a call about suspicious activity at a cabin and Robo finds the body of a local teenager buried in the National Forest near the cabin.
  • The rest of the book is the investigation of the murder and where it takes the police and the community.


  • Mattie and Robo are such good characters. They are getting to know each other and Mattie has to learn to trust Robo. I love watching that happen.
  • I love reading good police procedurals. I’m picky about the ones I read. I don’t like the gritty, intense stories about police officers who are as dirty as the criminals they’re after. I know those police exist and I know the longer a police officer is on the job the more jaded and pessimistic they often become. But I want to read about police who are trying to do a good job the best way they can.
  • That is the case with this book. Mattie hasn’t had an easy life. She was raised in foster homes and she has trust issues, but she wants to help people when she can. She’s a very solitary person, but she’s learning to trust a few other people as well as Robo.
  • Other characters–police officers, the veterinarian, foster care people and others–are interesting and multi-faceted. We don’t always know why some of them react the way they do, but they’re an interesting group of people.
  • I especially like Dr. Cole Walker, the veterinarian in the book. Most of the story is told from Mattie’s point-of-view, but we also have some of Cole’s POV. As the book opens he has received divorce papers and is wondering how to tell his two daughters that their mother wants nothing to do with the three of them.
  • The scenes with Cole interacting with animals shows his deep compassion for them. The author’s husband is a veterinarian so I felt those scenes were accurate and I really liked reading about the things a vet has to do to care for animals. And he’s trying to juggle that and raise his two daughters.
  • I really like the way Mattie and Robo learn to work together during this book–the different ways Robo works depending on the commands and equipment Mattie uses. That is fascinating to read about. I have so much respect for the ways dogs can help us in the military and police as well as search and rescue dogs. I also like the way the book shows Robo and Mattie work in the community in positive ways–not just as arresting officers.


  • I don’t really have any!

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • This is one of my favorite books so far this year.
  • I’m so excited that another Timber Creek K-9 mystery written is set to be published September 2016! I can’t wait.


  • Debut Mystery of the Month for December, 2015, by Library Journal
  • Nominated by RT Reviews for the RT Reviewer’s Choice award for Best First Mystery

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Margaret Mizushima has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. Her short story “Hay Hook” was published in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers anthology Crossing Colfax. She enjoys reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/Author Margaret Mizushima, on Twitter @margmizu and on her website.

Reading Challenges