Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

A Year Ago

It was a year ago this week that Mom died.  I found myself thinking a lot about her this weekend.  Mom was very intelligent and always wanted to learn something.  It was not her cup of tea to read romances or cosy mysteries. She would read fiction novels, if they were books with meaning.   She preferred to read nonfiction, whether it was in books or articles.  She loved having the Boston Globe or the New York Times to read on Sundays.  Later when she lived near Washington DC, she read the Washington Post daily.

Mom would write all over her books - in the margins and in the spaces on the top or bottom. It wasn’t always notes about the books, but her thoughts about different sections or synthesising information from a number of books.  She would underline things and put stars next to parts she wanted to remember.  

Mom also loved Children’s Books, especially when they were Christmas books., which always surprised me. To me the dichotomy always seemed to be striking. She could never remember who she gave various books to and often gave them second and third copies.  She also liked to give away books she thought were so remarkable that she wanted us to read them as well.  

It took me forever to clean out all her books.  I found several copies of different books like Night by Elie Wiesel.  She has several books by Chris Bohjalian.  And loads and loads of books about mathematics, psychology, religion and counseling. I know it took me forever to clean them all out.  She never wanted a book to leave her house, unless she felt you needed to read it.  

I know my love of reading came from my mom and dad.  While I do prefer fiction over nonfiction, I am my mother’s daughter and have had to work really hard to get rid of books that were inundating my house.  Instead my kindle is chocked full of books!  I hope she knew how much of a gift she gave me!

Snow Day!

Snow days Snow days!  I love them in winter, but not so much in June.  We have had three cancellations and one delay in the last six days of school.  The snow bankings are pretty high and I have trouble throwing the snow so high.  This has allowed for reading and snuggling time with the cats, the couch and I.  My neighbor has noticed the local owl hunting during the day, so the cats outside time between not liking to get their feet wet and the owl have been severely cut back.  

All this time has allowed me some great reading time along with time to accomplish a few projects.  I have to admit, I continue to read the newspapers everyday (Globe and Times), which also takes time.  I again had the opportunity to read another new book by a favorite author, Don’t Speak by Katy Regnery.  The books that are part of the Modern Fairy Tales series are my favorite, because she writes the most marvelous love stories that just take your heart away!  I think she is able write stories about those who would not normally be main characters in such a way that you want them to have the love story.  

I read two thrillers, both holding me to the edge of my set as I tried to solve the mysteries with the characters.  Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman comes out on Thursday!  It starts with us meeting a delightful elderly lady who needed to speak with Alex Delaware.  The next day after he met with her, she was found dead, not from old age, but murder.  The whys were most curious and I love how Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis work together to discover those whys.

Laura Griffin writes romantic thrillers.  Her newest one, At Close Range certainly were both thrilling and romantic!  Daniele Harper had the chance to head her first homicides.  The problems with the lack of clues and twists and turns just made the mystery more interesting.  Scott Black despite being told to stay away from the case, couldn’t let Daniele handle it alone.  Even when the evidence seems to point toward him.  Laura Griffin’s books are part of a series that highlight the use of a private crime lab, called Delphi Center.  It is there that the clues are teased out using high tech methods.

Time to go to bed, so after I shovel and then shovel some more I can read tomorrow … Sigh - happy face...until June.

Marjaysreadingblog@gmail.com
martha lawton

Reading and Purring Warmth

Reading and Purring Warmth

Ah - the freedom to read is upon me again, except for a knitting project and a few details like cooking, cleaning and laundry.  Tonight, I still have to cut up snacks for this week, but that will be nicely mindless, I hope. I read three cool books this week, all of them advanced reader’s copies and all of them in different genres.

This week I read a book called The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace.  I felt I was unable to use the right language to express myself with that beautiful book. The characters were finely drawn and so alone, so insular that it touched a deep chord.  June, Iris and Mabel had reasons and back stories that slowly leaked out from the pages insuring your undivided attention.  The Girl in the Garden came out this week.

Her Rebel Heart by Jamie Farrell made me laugh, snort and cry - sometimes all at once.  I think this is one of the best of Jamie’s books if not the best that I have read. I have really liked all of the books about the Ex-Wives club (Moonshine and Magnolias and Southern Fried Blues), but this one with its quirky, wild and unpredictable main character Kaci.  Her Rebel Heart comes out in March.

The last book (and I admit - not quite finished) is Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman.  I love the characters of Dr. Delaware and Milo Sturgis.  They somehow work their way through the detritus of a crime including the grunt work, but they always find a clue, or pull a string that leads to a clue.  In this particular novel Dr. Delaware is invited in to speak with an older lady, who wants to learn and speak about the genetics of criminal behavior.  It is curious until the book slowly evolves into digging into the past.  I felt this book’s premise made it quite interesting. Heartbreak Hotel comes out on Valentine’s Day.  (Yes - the irony.)

It was lovely to read this week and be surrounded by purring warmth. I am thankful.

The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace

Her Rebel Heart by Jamie Farrell

Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman

Time for reading

Another week has raced by.  Lately I think they all do!  I spent even more time at work this week getting ready for our onsite (name for the inspection by state) and have found myself coming home and staring at the TV.  It seems like politics are all over the news and facebook and take more time away from reading time.  I am really rather disgusted with how much time,  I have lost without being able to read, which is a problem for me.  Reading soothes me and grounds me.  It allows me a way to disconnect from the pressures of my world.  No reading means, everything seems bigger, badder and busier.  

I did finish a lovely book by Catherine Bybee called Staying for Good.  A contemporary love story with fun characters and a series message about families and home.  I also finished reading Ashlyn Macnamara’s book To Tame a Wild Lady, an historical romance with lady with a passion for horses and not so much for marriage to another in her ‘class’.  Both stories were good  and the type I love but not having much time to read them made them seem to last forever.  Certainly not a problem with the stories, but a problem with lack of reading time.  

Hopefully, after Tuesday everything will calm down and there will open up time for reading.  Maybe even a whole night or two for reading.  I am trying not to jinx myself, but all my fingers and toes are crossed metaphorically (otherwise typing would be a little rough).  I hope all of you are finding time to read and enjoy the lengthening of the days.  Here’s to hoping!

This Week and Reading

This week has not been a huge reading week for me!  I am afraid I was sucked into the TV with all the political upheaval. I also was sucked into a knitting project. I feel going back to work tomorrow a little unfinished and unready.  After all, I have only one book review written and only a couple of books read.  I can’t even pretend to push it and act like I read this really complicated pattern after reviewing a whole bunch of choices.  Didn’t happen.  

I did find a new author that I am enjoying and I admit despite the fact I am enjoying her books, I did not read the series as I intended.  Chris Keniston has taken the idea from the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  I know she is not the first one to come up with the ideas, but I am liking the family she is writing about and the new book boyfriends that she has come up with for me.  Her stories do include cowboys, a ranch and a mutt that keeps showing up. The first book is Adam, but I admit that I am already out of order as I read the book about Ethan first.

The only review I wrote this week was a new book called Sisters One, Two, Three.  I was curious about the title - especially since there are three of us sisters.  The other hook for me was Nantucket.  I love reading about the people that live on an island - not that I really want to live on one - I just find it fascinating.  It was a good book and there were a couple of great twists, which I love.  One of the premises is about how you never really know what is in another’s mind, hit home with me.

Next week, I won’t be knitting a special project and I have some books due.  So I should be back to normal for reading.  

Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star

 

The Farraday Brothers by Chris Keniston

Adam #1 presently reading

Brooks #2 own on kindle

Connor #3 own on kindle

Declan #4 own on kindle

Ethan #5 need to write up

Finn #6 not out yet

Pipe Dreams

 After a long weekend you would think I have loads of books to put up on the site.  Alas - woe is me - I do, but they cannot go up yet.  I am participating in four either ‘day of’ or ‘week of’ reviews. Next week, there is one more publishing day review for this month. I know - wicked cool, I am such a neophyte that I still get a kick out of doing this!  Luckily, the authors and/or promo companies like me doing this.

I was contacted this week by a publishing company because of my reviews of a specific author, offering to allow me to review for his newest book. {Screaming, in my head of course) Did I mention it was Steve Berry?  They even offered me books if I wanted to have a giveaway on my blog for one of his new books.  Unfortunately, I am not set up for that right now, but someday, I will be.  

I guess that means I am moving on up in my own little world of reading and reviewing.  Perhaps by the time I am “big stuff”, I will be ready to retire again. HAHAHAHA  Pipe dreams…

 

Meanwhile this week I read:

Sweet Serendipity by Jamie Farrell

Shelter for Adeline by Susan Stoker

An Eagle in the Snow by Michael Morpurgo

 

And these but you will have to wait for the reviews:

Adoring Ink (1/17) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Contract Signed (1/17) by Marie Harte

Girl Breaker (1/18) by Harper Kincaid

Big Shot (1/19) by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

 

And next week:

Dirty Dealer(1/24) by Tia Louise

 

Time off to Read

Happy New Year Readers.  I hope this next year brings you joy and peace.

I am hopeful that the first week of the year will not be a harbinger of what is to come.  Back to back I started and did not finish two books.  I am pretty careful about the books I choose.  I feel like I am making a committment to read the ARC novels that I am given to read.  I do not like to leave negative reviews (even if the book is poor), instead I choose to not leave any reviews.  So over a year’s time I might not review maybe 10 books tops.  However, this week, there were two books back to back that I put away not to finish.  One was not interesting and the other one contained way too much angst. (And I hate too much teenage angst.)

 

I used to make myself read them all the way through, but now - no way!  If it is not interesting or written in a way I like - I do not read them.  Perhaps I got some of the stinkers out of the way early, but we will see.  

 

Meanwhile, I had time off to read and read I did.  I found that I could not only catch up, but move ahead of my to-read list.  You will find many pages of books under the January and December Review pages. At the bottom of each page there will be a link to older books- just keep clicking to see them all.  

 

 

 

January 2017 Reviews: http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538822

 

December 2016 Reviews: http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538821

 have read some great books over the last two months:

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (YA)

The Season of Us by Holly Chamberlin

A List of Cages by Robin Roe (YA)

The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club by Lexi Eddings

The Hideout by Watt Key (MS)

When all the Girls have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

 

Great Romances - Contemporary

Love Always and Forever by Alexis Morgan

The Maverick Cowboy by Kate Pearce

Wind River Rancher by Lindsay McKenna

 

Great Romances - Historical

Lord of the Privateers by Stephanie Laurens

Ready, Set, Rogue by Manda Collins

 

Hot Stuff Baby

Ink Exposed by Carrie Ann Ryan

Love Restored by Carrie Ann Ryan

Jamison by Nicole James

Saint by A. Zavarelli

 

Happy New Year 2017

Another year for the books...literally.  According to Goodreads, 210 of them to be precise.

I am so glad my love affair with books continues.  This year has been one of challenges for many people, myself included and books have allowed me to move forward in so many ways.  

Writing this blog continues to be a source of joy for me.  I hope that you continue to enjoy it over the next year. Some of the best of the best for me are listed below:

Middle/High School

Hideout

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

The Boy on the Wooden Box

Ready Player One

The Bone Sparrow

The Row

Adult fiction

Georgia

Flight Patterns

From Sand and Ash

Say Goodbye for Now

Me Before You

The One Man

Watching Edie

The Guest Room

Small Great Things

Romance

Tru Blue

Dark Sexy Knight

Lured In

Daughters of the Bride

Firefly Summer

A Lowcountry Wedding


There are loads of new reviews up and the regular blogs will be back next week.  I wish you joy and happiness in the new year.  

Interesting Times

This week I was almost overwhelmed by the feeling of litch (another fun new word). Traveling by Main Street Book Ends and then later that same day by Gibson’s was almost painful.  I am surprised my car didn’t pull over on its own.  I thought I was home free when I didn’t stop.

Until, I was in line at the grocery store and found myself being pulled to the book display. Luckily, someone pulled behind me blocking me from the display and I was able to to pull myself away. Even all day as I was catching up on my reviews and downloads I kept finding myself looking at other books - drawn to them like a cat to a mouse, or a dog to a bone.

I find it hard to explain to people how owning books can become a need so strong.  You know - just in case you find yourself snowed in for two years or so and might need enough to read that whole time.  There are so many wonderful stories to be read and each one can move you to see the world differently or take you someplace new!

My kindle has a huge bunch of books and I have even more I can download without leaving home. I have a couple of stacks of unread books and already read books I can reread to my heart’s content.   Books to read are not the problem.  It is the love of owning and having them around to be read.  I mean doesn’t everyone decorate with books?  

I survived my weekend without buying books.  None for me and none for gifts.  I was able to to live with the litch all weekend.  I think I am happy with that conclusion...maybe…

Books read this week:

The Island House by Nancy Thayer

When all the Girls are Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Christmas Romance by Natalie-Nicole Bates, Sharon Kleves, Jennifer Connor and Angela Ford.  

Seaside Whispers by Melissa Foster

Riddick by Kathy Coopmans

Some of my favorite things…

I am about to share a big secret with you….  BIG.  It takes a lot of organization and work to keep on top of the books I am reading, going to read, want to read, hope to read and/or already read. I have lists everywhere, both on paper and electronically.  I do rely on a number of web sites to help, but one site doesn’t solve everything.

I use Fictfact to keep track of the series I read and new books that are coming out in the series. Netgalley has a “bookshelf” to keep track of the books that are shared with me and their publishing date from their site.  Rock Star Lit PR actually has a calendar on its site that we both can use.  The library keeps lists of what books are out and when they are due as well as all the books on my waiting list. TRSOR does not seem to have any method to keep track available to the user.  They do send out information about a week ahead of the due date. Even Amazon keeps lists of what you have bought already and keeps lists of books for you on their site.  
It is Goodreads that I mostly rely on.  Here I can keep track of reading, want to read and have already read books.  But even this site doesn’t do it all,  so I have lists on paper and on “sticky notes” on the desktop.  I have a list of all the books I am reading and when they are due.  There are lists of books by specific authors that some day I would like to read, or hope go on sale so I can read.  
Reading about new books coming out and paying attention to to the various series takes a couple of hours each week. I am constantly updating the lists.  Sometimes it is exhausting and overwhelming - because let’s face facts - I am a random thinker.  I don’t necessarily do things one at a time or in order.  I do something which leads to something else which leads to - well you get the idea.  This week I had a full page of books to investigate - most of them were able to be put on the library list, but some are still on my list for having to find them from different sources. SIGH - I sometimes wonder what I have got myself into, and then I remember how much I love to read and then share the knowledge with all of you!   Wait - maybe this isn’t a secret.... 

Read this week:

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

Chase by Sidney Bristol

Bad Boys After Dark: Mick

Turbulent Desire by Melody Anne

Tied to his Betrayal by Stacey Kennedy

The Feeling of Litch

Time off to me equals time to read.  More time off, more time to read… The problems then becomes more reviews to write.  Which means having to wait until the weekend, which cuts into reading time.  It is an circle of things to do, but a joyous circle nonetheless.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my time with friends and family.  I love seeing them and do not mind traveling to see them.  I don’t even really mind running errands.  But I do live for down time over the weekends.  This time of year, I hit a bonanza of time. No ballgames - so more time to read, which means more reviews… I know you are understanding the pattern of my life.  

This last week I finished some fun books, but one book really wiped me out.  Me Before You by JoJo Moyer was a special book,  It really put some things in perspective:  the importance of living to the fullest, loving to the fullest and caring about people.  The poignancy of the book has made it hard for me to read another book.  It is like I can not move on, and let the book go.  Even writing the review was a difficult task, with all the emotions coming back up.  

I love the books I read.  I love having a bunch of book boyfriends and series that I follow without missing a book.  All that seems so meaningless, when you read a book that wrings you out with all the emotions of of a good meaningful book. Sometimes a book just rearrange the axis of your world. This one did.

Books read this week:

Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon Cullen

To His Betrayal by Stacey Kennedy

JC and the Bijoux Jolis by Katy Regnery

The Reluctant Cowboy by Kate Pearce

Turbulent Desires by Melody Anne

Wind River Wrangler by Lindsay McKenna

Love Always and Forever by Alexis Morgan (an ARC read way too early)

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Big Secret

I saw a pin this weekend with a series of bookcases.  Each bookcase had a name under it suggesting the type of owner that belongs to the book case.  The names were all ironic and silly. However, for me, the best part was all the comments from booklovers. Pretty much everyone made a comment about how their bookshelves are double stacked or overstuffed.  For me, this made me chuckle - as I have stacks and stacks.  

I have emptied books and books out of my place, bringing them to the historical society barn sale, the transfer station, and to anyone and everyone! The book cases in the hall are much clearer and do not have many books on them - which was my goal.  In the living room, I do have some books on shelves, but I have to admit, they are set up to be decorative - with some of my favorite authors. 

It is the extra room that is a huge, huge problem.  The shelves have books on top of the books. There are stacks in baskets and stacks on tables and stacks on stacks.  There is no rhyme or reason to the stacks, except for the lack of organization.  To make everything even more fun,  I still have some boxes down in the storage room of children’s books. (Although those are a short term storage as they have a place to go.)  

Not all book lovers have storage problems - some people’s shelves are pristine. I am never sure how they pull that off.  My bestie does not let books stay.  Once they are read, they are donated or given away, but the majority of her books come from the library, so they do not stay for long. A couple of other people have “public bookcases” - where they can be seen, but stacks in other places. A skill I am trying to cultivate without having stacks in other places.  But let’s face it - it is really really hard when you can’t pass a bookstore without going in.

I have noticed in several design magazines and on Pinterest that there are people who actually store their books based on color. All the books of each color are placed next to each other.  Or in one case the books were arranged by color in a pattern. I know in some places, interior decorators buy books for the looks not by what is read. Simply out of my understanding!

My most recent bookcase is too small to see.  It is on the kindle and it is growing.  I have lots more books on my account and not downloaded.  Sometimes this is awesome - no need to dust. Sometimes it is a pain, because you can not find what you are looking for by size and color and where you have stacked the last set of books.  Next weekend the books in the storage room leave and I will feel another weight gone and (wait for it) another page in my life turned!  

Meanwhile there are very few things in my life that give me the same pleasure as reading books. Storage issues and dusting be damned.  

Books this week:

Dirty Sexy Sinner by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

Tru Blue by Melissa Foster

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Woman of God by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deece

This One Did

bookclipse :  A phenomenon in which a book is so engrossing that it completely obscures one’s perception of time.

I love watching baseball, but it is over. There are very few shows left on TV that I watch. I have felt overwhelmed by the commercials on TV and even Facebook for politicians. (Sorry to my Words with Friends people - political commercial after each play!) I do not answer my phone - either one and lately only responding to texts.  Thank heavens, political season is almost over.  I look forward to moving forward with our President Elect.   This week was a ‘bookclipse’ week

A ‘bookclipse’ week means I read every night after finishing up what I needed to accomplish.  Reading skews my perception of time totally!  I do read quickly. (Although not as fast as some.) I do not usually read books that are heavy with complex sentences and awkward clauses.  I tend to like more straight-forward text with shorter chapters that leave you in the midst of something.  And time before you know it has moved on and it is suddenly late at night and I should be asleep.  

I love that about books.  Stories that can take you away places, out of your surroundings and into other realities.  I feel like I have been reading more and more romantic thrillers, where Person A has been saving Person B from dastardly deeds and then they fall in love (if they haven’t already.)  The cool part is that usually they both save each other.  

When I am reading the pervasive negative energy from this election season cannot enter.  The name calling and lying doesn’t touch my cocoon. All that time that was sucked up by TV and people fade away as you read.  Realities such as bills, a broken tooth, too many errands, the holidays coming fade away as well.  Soon you are hanging on each and every word worrying about people you never have met or will meet except in books.  Then the book ends and you suddenly realize it is 12:00 or 1:00 am and you have to get up at 6.  SIGH….the rest of the world returns. I think ‘bookclipse’ is a wonderful word that describes what happens.

What I read this week:

A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig

Lover’s Lane by Jill Marie Landis

Three Weeks to Wed by Julia Quinn

Widow by Chuck Gleason

Nitro by Nina Levine (not reviewed yet)

And in the Gray Wolf Security - Texas Series by Glenna Sinclair  Book 1: Defending Tierney (also not reviewed yet)

BTW:  If you are driving through Wilmington, VT Bartleby's Books is an awesome bookstore.

 

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Jeannie | Reply 20.02.2017 16.35

Moms are uniquely special and mold us in so many ways. We love them always.

Starry Storyteller | Reply 07.02.2017 16.41

What a nice website! I love how it's done. I love how you organized it with letters. You are a great writer. Check out my website at thewplace.simplesite.com!

Jeannie | Reply 21.11.2016 15.30

I read the sequel After You and am reading One Plus One. Can't wait to discuss the book at book club. So glad you were provoked!!!

Jeannie | Reply 10.10.2016 02.18

Gee, Marti, sounds like you need a hug! Escape this negative world and just read! We love you and would never give you a hard time, unless you merited it! LOL.

Eva Charles | Reply 05.10.2016 20.04

I love Katy Regnery's fairy tales too! All her stories are great. Congratulations on the uptick of traffic on the blog.

Eva Charles | Reply 05.09.2016 12.08

So glad you read Petite Madeleine! Thank you! I hope you enjoyed the similarities between the Blues and your beloved Sox 😉

Marjay 05.09.2016 16.33

I did enjoy the similarities between the Sox and the Blues. Loved the story. Loved the characters. The review will go up on the day it is released!

Jeannie | Reply 18.07.2016 12.12

Right on! Sad state of global reality, but we must live on. . .

Jeannie | Reply 09.05.2016 23.12

Tune out all around you. Go into another world. Yes, meditative!

Jeannie | Reply 18.04.2016 12.04

Will read Georgia. I have always been intrigued by her art, raises questions which this book might answer!

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Latest comments

20.02 | 16:35

Moms are uniquely special and mold us in so many ways. We love them always.

...
07.02 | 16:41

What a nice website! I love how it's done. I love how you organized it with letters. You are a great writer. Check out my website at thewplace.simplesite.com!

...
21.11 | 15:30

I read the sequel After You and am reading One Plus One. Can't wait to discuss the book at book club. So glad you were provoked!!!

...
10.10 | 02:18

Gee, Marti, sounds like you need a hug! Escape this negative world and just read! We love you and would never give you a hard time, unless you merited it! LOL.

...
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