Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.


I am not really a winter person.  Snow and cold are not my favorite thing.  I do however love the birds during the winter and maintain bird feeders outside my office.  This year my office was moved to a new building and getting any birds is a rare event.  Despite the fact I do not have a bird population at work, I now have one at home. The bittersweet climbing a tree across the driveway and all the forsythia bushes make a wonderful shelter for all sorts of birds.  The biggest surprise for me, are the turkeys.  Certainly not the most beautiful, graceful or even interesting of birds, yet I am fascinated by their presence.  Watching them fly up to the branches with their gawky weight, shape and wings is fascinating.  Then seeing them in the trees balancing their weight while looking around captures my attention each time.  I love watching them walk across the field as they stand out against the clean, white snow.  Even now, with most of the flock moving on, there are still a couple in one of the trees near the edge of the field, flapping their wings to move up and down the branches.  Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be a national emblem.  Certainly they are not majestic birds like eagles.  However, maybe they are more like the people of our country, dogged, persistent, looking for success despite the snow, brush and other impediments, no matter how awkward and gawky they might be. 

I was on vacation last week, hence the sheer number of books read.  I am trying to commit myself to turning off the noise machine (TV) and reading more, however BASEBALL season is coming up and for those who don’t know me - I am a diehard Red Sox fan.

Speaking of baseball fans, Elise Cooper has sent in a book review and an author interview this week.  She interviewed Mark Greaney about his newest book, Relentless.  His books sound so full of action and intrigue that I am sure many will enjoy reading him.  Her book review this week was The Minder by John Marrs, another interesting read for sure.  

Have a great week. Thanks for Reading!


Books Read this Week: ( On vacation always means more books.)

A Simple Murder by Linda Castillo

The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

The Kaiser’s Web by Steve Berry

Silver Creek Fire by Lindsay McKenna

Courage Under Fire by Lindsay McKenna

Somebody to Love by Sharon Sala

Good Will by Tiffany W Killoren

The Virgin Who Vindicated Lord Darlington by Anna Bradley


martha lawton

Topsy Turvy World

This week has cemented my belief that the world is topsy turvy.  Nothing is necessarily what you would expect.  Such a funny word topsy turvy.  It means upside-down, reversed, unhinged, disorganized, pell-mell, untidy, riotous, jumbled, chaotic, cluttered and messy. Just what I mean by my life.

Texas is frozen, icy with burst pipes, no electricity with a huge winter storm.  It is not as nasty here in New Hampshire as you would expect. 

There are more variations to the virus, but I am not in line for the vaccines yet. 

 I find that I am still behind in my reading with books and titles piling up everywhere.  

I have lost another one of my co-workers, she has moved on.  In the last year, 7 of my co-workers either moved on or retired.  I am missing them.  

Gizzie and I are getting by.  She seems happy, but I miss a kitty that cuddles with me.  Perhaps I need to start thinking about a new kitten.  

I haven’t done my taxes because I do not want to deal with how much I am going to owe the government as always.  

My house is seriously stacked with so much.  I have so many projects half done or things to be thought about.  

Yet with all the heaviness around me (including me), I am content and perhaps even slightly happy with my world.  That is why it is topsy turvy.  It is not what I would expect with its messy, cluttered and upside down life.  


The books I read this week are a mixture of genres.  I would suggest that everyone check the children’s book Walking Toward Peace. It is a lovely read to give as a gift to your favorite child.  For the adult readers, two new historical romances, a new Burn’s Brother Book and a wonderful twisted murder mystery that Milo Sturgis and Dr Alex Delaware have to solve thanks to Jonathan Kellerman.  


Elise sent us a review and an interview this week.  The review:  Hideout At Whiskey Gulch (The Outsiders Series Book 2) by Elle James is a book that highlights human trafficking in a novel.  Elise found the characters captivating and the story that brings out emotions from happy to sad.    The interview this week is with  J. A. Jance.  Her newest book deals with Sheriff Joanna Brady as she solves issues within her own family and as the sheriff has to deal with it professionally as well as personally.    


Good Reading this week, friends!


Books Read this week:

Walking toward Peace by Kathleen Krill

Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman

An Unexpected Earl by Anna Harrington

The Duke’s Wicked Wife by Elizabeth Bright

Torque by Gillian Archer (review not completed yet)


A Serial Reader

A Serial Reader

I am a serial reader.  I love reading books that are part of a series.  Why, you ask?  I love serials, because I am often not ready for a character or characters to leave my life.  This week was a serial week.  I was able to read a number of books that were books that belonged to series and I authors I read religiously.  I love reading these books.  It is like sitting with an old friend having a drink or cuppa tea and hearing all about what is new in their life!  Think about how much fun it is to catch up with a friend.  Reading the next book in a series often promotes that same feeling of joy.  This week was a joyous reading week.  

I LOVE JD Robb aka Nora Roberts.  She is an awesome author.  My favorite series of all times is her series “In Death” about Eve Dallas and Roarke.  This book started - 52 books ago.  We are brought into the future and into the world of NYC in the future.  Cars can fly and food is made by autochefs.  The Urban Wars have ended and we are introduced to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a kick ass homicide detective for NYC.  She is married to Roarke, a hottie who (according to Eve) owns half the world.  Each book is a new case and another chapter in Eve and Roarke’s life.  They are supported by a number of great characters who help with the mysteries/murders.  What has happened over time is that Eve and Roarke as characters have grown.  In particular, Eve is lacking social skills and Roarke has helped her learn.  Personally, I find Eve’s confusion with figurative language and new social situation humorous.  

For those who do not know about the Kellerman Family and their writing, you are missing some fun times.  Faye Kellerman writes a series about Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus and I read her newest novel this week. The series is about solving mysteries after all Peter is a detective.  But Rina just can’t help herself and always helps Peter - or at least cooks for everyone.  After all these books, their children are grown and their lives have changed and will change again.  Jonathan Kellerman also writes thriller murder mysteries, but his main charater is Dr Alex Delaware, a child psychologist who consults for the Los Angeles Police Department.  I have his book, Serpentine  to read this week as it just came out.  They also have a son, who (surprisingly enough) is a writer.  

Elise Cooper has sent in a book review of Hunting a Killer by Nicole Helm and others.  (and yes - it is part of a series) http://marjay.simplesite.com/443139528  She has also sent in an interview with Luanne Rice and her newest book The Shadow Box. http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810


Books Read this week:


The Lost Boys by Faye Kellerman

Faithless in Death by JD Robb

Inked Persuasion by Carrie Ann Ryan

The Spinster and the Rake by Eva Devon

Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Suzanne Enoch



Tsundoku (Japanese: 積ん読) is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without reading them. This is not a word that carries any negative stigma in Japan. Tsundoku carries the underlying understanding that there is at least an intention to read the books you collect. (from Google)

I think Tsundoku is a great way to describe my life with books.  It is hard not to buy books when the price is sooo awesome and I know someday I will want to read them. The problem is the word someday. Like when will that be?  

At this point, I think it would take years and years to read all the books I have stacked (including the kindle too). I have not dared to go into any bookstores during the pandemic.  However, books have still found their way into my house.  Luckily the stacks are still negotiable - mostly.  AND that does not include the authors I love to read, that are still writing books.  Never mind the authors who I will find in the future.

Speaking about favorite authors, I read some of my favorites this week!  I read Kristen Ashley and her newest book Still Standing (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538826). The book was vintage Kristen Ashley with her big, bad, HOT, alpha bikers. This is a whole new series (Wild West MC) and set in a new locale with new seriously bad dudes. While the book followed the pattern of most books of this sort, Kristen upped the hotness and interesting characters factor to make it a fun read.   

I was excited to read another favorite author this week too.   Kristin Hannah’s newest book is called The Four Winds (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538831) It is an emotional read! The book is set during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.  I felt the wind blowing and was sure there was dust blowing madly.  Her books are always great reads.  Interestingly, Elise actually interviewed Kristin Hannah about this same book this week. Cool huh?

Elise sent us in the great interview with Kristin Hannah (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810) AND a review of Alaskan Mountain Rescue (http://marjay.simplesite.com/443139528).  If you haven’t watched her interview from CrimespreeTV - You need to see it!  Elise chats with bestselling authors of stories featuring cowboys:  Maisey Yates, Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm, and Jackie Ashenden (https://crimespreemag.com/crimespree-tv-more-cowboy-authors/)

Books Read this Week

The Project by Courtney Summer

Still Standing by Kristen Ashley

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Currently Reading:  Hit Me With Your Best Scot


A Brobdingnagian List

I do not know about you, but when I speak with the bestie, we often talk about books.  We read some of the same authors, but as we have gotten older, we have also veered off to separate authors as well.  This week we spoke about the sheer number of books on our to be read list.  Bestie has a limited number of books she can put on her library list at a time and we were laughing about the words that can be used to describe our huge stacks, our substantial lists, or maybe voluminous tally…  sometimes the numbers can even be stupendous.   There are other adjectives which had us laughing, but no matter how you put it, we both have colossal numbers of books to read.  BTW Brobdingnagian is another word for mammoth… LOL


This week I was able to read three novels: a romance, a family drama and a thriller. (http://marjay.simplesite.com/448307700)  The romance was a Maisey Yates’ novel and I have to admit, I love her novels!  Her characters in The Rancher’s Wager had to work through a number of personal realizations, while they figured out what they wanted - oh and they were great together. (Elise sent us a link to her newest online interview with Maisey!)  A Vineyard Morning by Jean Stone was a family drama about how families grow and change due to various outside elements.  It was the third book in a series and I felt it was a nice continuation of the series.  The final read was a Lisa Gardner book called When She Disappeared.  Another great book to read, the novel had a flawed main character who moved from place to place to find missing girls after most people gave up looking for them.  I really found the book interesting.


 Elise has been so busy this week.  She sent us a new interview with P.J. Tracy, who are a mother/daughter writing team (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810). She sent us a new review, The Scorpion’s Tale by Preston and Child (http://marjay.simplesite.com/4431395280). Best of all, she sent us a link to a live interview with a group of writers including Maisey Yates and NIcole Helm (https://crimespreemag.com/crimespree-tv-more-cowboy-authors/) ENJOY, I did.


Books read this week:

A Vineyard Morning by Jean Stone

The Rancher’s Wager by Maisey Yates

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner


Currently reading The Project by Courtney Summers


Humanity in Print

“<Books> are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind.  Books are humanity in print…” (citing is at the bottom of the page) 


We are in a time when we need to hear, see and witness humanity.  For me, reading has always been a way to find peace, hope and humanity.  Perhaps that is because I tend to read fictional books with ‘happily ever after’ endings.  This quote was sent to me by a bestie and really resounded with me.  

We are coming to what I like to call the cold dark days of winter.  It is a time when you know the days are getting longer, the sun a little brighter, the spring a little closer. Yet, it is cold, sometimes to the bones, and snowy,icy winter trials.  With COVID our usual entertainment of meeting with friends, hanging out, eating out, going to plays, musical entertainments are not available this year.  I think this is making it harder for many people.  The numbers in NH are going up and down in a rather jagged fashion, so we are still in a high range.

This week, I read a couple of thrillers and a couple of romances.  Driven and Wrong Alibi were books that kept you on the edge knowing that there was more just waiting to happen when you turn the page.  Both novels were written by authors known for their ability to tell a great story.  One of the elements of both books included killers without remorse and a high level of hiding in plain sight.  Elise Cooper interviewed Christina Dodd two weeks ago about Wrong Alibi (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810 ).  You might want to check it out!

This week, Elise Cooper sent in an interview with Maisey Yates and her newest book, The Rancher’s Wager.  The interview is interesting, especially the part about curly hair...lol.  Maisey also listed the books upcoming this year of hers, to add your TBR lists.  

Books read this week: http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538823

The Rakehell of Roth by Amalie Howard

Driven by Rebecca Zanetti

Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd

Ravish Me with Rubies by Jane Feather


Quote from historian Barbara Tuchman on the power of books

Source: The Book, Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Nov. 1980)


The Invasion of Books

The invasion of books is just one side effect of the year 2020.  Being sequestered for months during the pandemic for many people has been very difficult. How did I survive? I read. According to the year in review on goodreads, I have read 72,678 pages in 247 books.   Books have invaded my house, despite my preference to use the library and ebooks.  It is so clear that I must have been worried about running out of reading material - even though I assure you that it is impossible.  According to my kindle alone, I have over 1000 books to be read.  

Many studies have shown how much reading can improve your health by decreasing stress.  Reading allows people to put so many worries on hold, as the stories draw them into other worlds with other characters.  So I believe that the invasion of books in many households helped maintain the sanity of many people.  

This week, I read a couple of humdinger thrillers and a lovely romance.  The thrillers kept me so involved that the time seemed to fly by and before I knew it, it was midnight or later! Elise sent in an interview with VM Burns and her cosy mysteries to add more books to all our bookshelves. 

As the numbers continue to grow and the virus seems to become more virulent - my suggestion is to read.  Not because it allows you to escape, which it does, but because readers, according to studies, gain compassion and that is truly what we need now - Compassion for our fellow man.  

Books read this week:

Shielding Riley by Susan Stoker

Capturing the Earl by AS Fenichel

Outfox by Sandra Brown


Usually Read

What do I usually do everyday?  Read.  What do I usually do every evening before bed?  Read.  What do I usually do Sunday mornings? Read and drink coffee.  What do I usually do during my free time?  READ.  What did I do this week?  Stare at the TV overwhelmed with the images I was seeing.  Just staring.  Not reading - except for headlines in major papers.  I am a pollyanna and really believe in the best of people, however this week has taken on a life of its own.  

I did manage two books this weekend, both thrillers.  All the Colors of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz (who is one of my favorite authors) was an excellent book.  It is based on people having paranormal skills who work toward thwarting others from killing and gaining power.  I love the world that Jayne Ann Krentz has developed.  I love how it is a world within our world and yet it is singularly underground, dark and shadowed.  The fact that this author writes the best characters who are quirky, determined and strong (both male and female) makes me love her novels.  

The second book was Deep Into the Dark by PJ Tracy.  The author (There is an interesting backstory about the author.) was a new read for me and I found the book interesting.  I liked the characters, the storyline, and the resolution.  I found it interesting that the book is the start of a new series about Margaret Nolan, a detective in the LAPD, but she felt a bit more like a secondary character than a main character.  However, that did not take away the creepy and eerie factor.  

My friend Elise Cooper has sent in an interview with Christina Dodd about her newest book Wrong Alibi.  I am waiting (not so patiently) for the book to be available from my local library.  After reading the interview I am even more impatient to read her newest novel.  Elise also sent in a book review about the FBI K-9 Novel called Leave No Trace.  Check them out.

I wish you all a healthy, peaceful week with lots of reading time.  


Books Read this week:

All the Colors of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz

Deep Into the Dark by PJ Tracy


Where are the keys?

Tomorrow, it is back to work for me.  You know how I know.  I can’t find my blasted keys for the car and my office. YUP. Starting out with power for the new year. I think I have looked in all the obvious places.  You know - between the couch cushions, in my jacket’s pockets, in my go to school bag, and the floor around those places.   I did find a pair of scissors that I was unsure where they were.  

I think that's truly the difference between vacation and ‘not vacation’ is the favorite game of where are the keys?  While I am on vacation, I don’t care where the keys are.  I will find them, when I find them.  But when it is time to go back to work,  I need the darn keys to get to work and into the building.  I could make a lot of connections between keys and reading or always putting my keys in the correct place, but we are going to let all that go for today.  Or the keys to being a good teacher, but no - Just where are the keys.

Meanwhile, it is Sunday night and a new year.  I did make sure to open my door at midnight to let out all the bad juju and let in the new year.  Then I crashed.  Didn’t even hear all the messages that came in. I try not to be a Pollyanna, but I am quite hopeful this next year is a more positive one.  

I did not attack the stack of books I have to read, because I binged on a couple of shows.  Not surprising to all of you I watched all the Bridgertons and two seasons of Yellowstone.  I also have been working on my shawl for when I go back to school.  I did however, start on the stack - (see below). 

Elise Cooper was busy this week. She sent us an interview with Tara Moss and her newest book War Widow.  The book sounds fascinating with the main character, Billie, a woman PI at the end of WWII in Australia.  She also sent in a book review:  Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn.

Until next week, friends.  

This week read:  

Courting Trouble by Kerrigan Byrne

The Governess Gambit by Erica Ridley - novella to start the new series

The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley - comes out in February

Stranger on the Home Front by Maya Chhabra (Middle Grade reader)

Out of the Storm by BJ Daniels

Forever Your Duke by Erica Ridley  - read previously but forgot to write up the review.



It is my vacation week and I decided that binge was the correct word for this weekend.  I fell into a historical reading/watching mode. I binge watched the Bridgertons on Netflix and I binge read the Fallen Ladies Series.   I have found the whole experience rewarding.  I have read all the Bridgerton novels by Julia Quinn previously and loved them. However, you know - just because I liked the books, doesn’t mean I like the adaptation.  It was my present for myself.  A great present.  I loved both!

My sister bought me an interesting present called Book of the Month Club, where every month I get a new book that I can choose out of a certain number.  I am sure it was terribly expensive and I will enjoy the gift that keeps giving.  Another gift this year was my nephew proposing to his girlfriend and she said YES!  The gift of a family growing and adding new members is awesome.  The fact she is a wonderful person who is kind and thoughtful makes it even better.  

This year has been hard for so many people and I have to admit, I survived by doing puzzles and reading.  I have found that the blog has grown tremendously this year and I am really honored by the growth of readership and all the positive responses from all of you.  I appreciate all of you and am thankful for all the support. 

Elise’s contribution with all the wonderful interviews and reviews have been a key element to the blog’s success.  Elise sent in an interview with Margaret Mizushima and her newest book, Hanging Falls (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810).  Elise has also started to put together videos of some of her interviews, which I have added the a new video interview (https://crimespreemag.com/crimespree-tv-dog-mystery-authors/).

Wishing you all a Happy New Year in 2021.  

Books read this week:

Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase

Luck is No Lady by Amy Sandas

The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas

Lord of Lies by Amy Sandas


Ugly Fake Tree

It is the week before Christmas and all through the house was wrapping paper, ribbons, and no tape.  There is the tape, but where are the scissors?  What else was I supposed to remember?  Have I found all the gifts?  Does everyone have everything?  

It is during this time, when I have some of the strongest memories of my mother and Christmas.  We would be opening presents, when she would suddenly say, “Did you like the color of the corduroys I found”?  When we looked at her confused, she would then disappear upstairs and we would hear doors opening and shutting drawers opening and shutting and suddenly she would be back with the corduroys, she forgot to wrap. 

Once we were older, my sister and I did a lot of the wrapping.  Not that mom struggled with wrapping presents, but more because she had so much to do and never quite enough time.  Anne and I wrapped each other’s presents and those for other family members and yes we might have not been really good at keeping secrets.  

We always came to Christmas Eve dinner dressed.  Not in fancy or dressy clothes, but wearing Christmas ribbons, bows and bulbs.  Often there were other people staying at our house for the holidays, they always had some place else to spend most of the day, but were there for the best parts, Christmas Eve.  

One year, dad had the idea that we would have a fake tree.  You can just imagine how it looked - one of the first fake trees.  Yea, it was BAD.  The day before Christmas, we ended up (between the time dad left for work and returned for lunch) going to a local place and cutting down a tree AND changing them out, just before a huge storm blew in.  The ugly fake tree did not go up in our house again.  

Now, please don’t get me wrong, not all Christmases were always happy.  There were fights and arguments, poor choices and anxiety.  There was always anxiety.  Mom always wanted everything to be perfect, an absolutely impossibility almost all time especially at Christmas.  

This year with the virus and the huge spread in this area, it is hard not to buy into all the anxiety.  I wish all of you a happy holiday and hopefully one not full of anxiety, but smiles and joy.  

Elise sent in a great review with Debra Goldstein and her cozy mysteries, that sound great.  

Books read this week:  

Biker Brit and Biker Boss both by Audrey Carlan

Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley

A Lost Lady for a Reluctant Duke by Vivian Brighton

Ten Things I Hate about the Duke by Loretta Chase (not reviewed yet)


Holidays with Lights

Some weeks are harder than other weeks.  This week was certainly a challenge,  but so many people are struggling right now, much more than I am.   I am hoping that everything will work out, not just for me, but for everyone. One of the things that give me strength this season are the lights of both holidays - Hanukkah with the Miracle of Lights and Christmas with the lights of the Advent candles.

I read most of my December TBR list this week.  December’s list is always shorter as not a lot of new books come out in December.   This week’s reads were all romances.Two lovely historical romances, one cowboy contemporary romance and one biker romance.   As you know, my go-to when I am stressed are romances.  All were enjoyable and I would recommend them to anyone.  

I did read a bunch of great holiday books earlier this year and I have put the link right here (http://marjay.simplesite.com/443139515).  Although I do have one more to add with Susan Mallery’s called Happily This Christmas, after I read it this week. To top off my romance week, I just listened to a webcast with Friends and Fiction.  Susan Mallery was the guest and what a prolific writer she is! I enjoyed listening to the ladies talk about writing and the stories around their writing.   

Elise sent in an interview with Amanda Flowers and her second cozy Amish mystery, Courting Can Be Killer.  The interview is interesting and the book sounds like a good read!  

This week is Hanukkah and I wish my friends who celebrate to enjoy the Miracle of Lights.  This week was the third week of Advent for my friends who celebrate Christmas and I wish them a Merry Christmas.  May our holidays, despite the difficulties of the virus be safe and full of love.   


Books Read This Week 

Striker by Daphne Loveling

The Rancher Meets His Match by Kate Pearce

Rules for an Unmarried Lady by Wilma Counts

Earl’s Well That Ends Well by Jane Ashford


Snowflakes and Reading

New England and snow.  It is such a big part of our lives, yet each time we hear the forecast, everyone rushes out like it is the end of the world.  I remember being “snowed in” a few  times in my life, but snowed in lasts a couple of days at the most.  As a child it meant NO SCHOOL which I loved and sledding down a couple of great hills.  For a long time SNOW DAYS were my favorite thing ever, but now with remote learning, I am afraid we have lost the fun of snow days forever!  So yesterday I acted like it was a snow day and didn’t leave my house - and stayed in comfy clothes all day - reading!  It was lovely.

This week, I was able to read four books that ran the gamut of time.  JD Robb’s newest book Shadows in Death is set in the future in New York City as Eve Dallas and her HOT hubbie Roarke.  Eve caught a homicide that happened in a park.  Roarke saw a character from the past.  Somehow that all twists up together into a great novel.  Driftwood Dreams and Before She was Helen are both set in contemporary times.  Driftwood Dreams is a romance with two people who obviously have eyes for each other, but can’t seem to move forward, mostly because of Josie. August is so sweet to help her move forward.   Before She Was Helen is a cosy mystery with a twist. The story had lots of interesting twists and I was surprised by who actually did what!

The last book, How to Fool a Duke was a regency romance.  Sarah and Leo were a fun couple.  I like how they both had the opportunity to grow and change throughout the story. 

Elise Cooper sent in an interview with the great Sandra Brown.  She also sent in a guest review of Diane Kelly’s newest book, Bending the Paw.  Both are quite interesting, so check them out!

Peace to you and yours this season!


Books Read this week:

Shadow in Death by JD Robb

Driftwood Dreams by TI Lowe

Before She Was Helen by Caroline Cooney

How to Fool a Duke by Mary Lancaster and Violette Rand


A Binge Reading

A reading binge situation happened over Thanksgiving.  With all my family in different places under different rules and all of us quarantining, the holiday was unique.  We spent a couple of hours of zoom, all of us together laughing and enjoying our family and pets.  It wasn’t the same as what we usually do, but sometimes that is what life gives us. 


What it did give me was the space and time to binge read.  I had a stack of library books that needed to go back, a couple on my kindle to catch up on and I had a stack of books for Net Galley to read.  So I did.  I felt so good reading.  Lying on the couch with Gizzie sleeping near me, reading regency romance and thrillers.  SIGH.  Life doesn’t get much better than that (Well if my house were cleaned and someone else cooked)!  I loved the time and feel like I broke out of my reading slump (see the last couple of weeks blogs).  Mostly the days were wet and cloudy, but even the sun could not drag me away from the books.  There is a certain peace that comes from being one with my surroundings. 


Today, I have to force myself back into the world.  I have loads of work to accomplish both for home and school.  I know I need to focus on accomplishing them, but things are more in perspective for me.  Yes there is much to do, but I have been lax in allowing myself binge worthy time.  (I might have binged on The Crown too.) I need to face the rest of this ugly pandemic time with my feet firmly planted on the ground and with time to put my nose in a book! I also have a couple of more thrillers to catch up on, before they need to go back to the library.  


My newest reads are listed below and can be found on Simplesite under November reads.  (http://marjay.simplesite.com/443139513).  Also if you are looking for Christmas reads - check out this Simplesite page (http://marjay.simplesite.com/443139515).  Elise Cooper has sent along a book review, This Secret Thing.  She also sent us an interview with Lisa Harris and her new book, The Escape.(http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810)    


 I wish for peace and goodwill to all people.  


Books read this week: 

Notorious by Minerva Spencer

The Truth about Dukes by Grace Burrowes

An Unexpected Temptation by Sophie Barnes

Sea Glass Castle by T.I. Lowe

Mistletoe and Mayhem by Cheryl Bolen and others

Cold as Ice by Allison Brennan



Gratitude is the quality of being thankful.  I have to admit at times this year, I have struggled to be grateful.  Despite all the challenges,  I have found some glimmers of joy, kindness and strength. But each step forward has not been easy.  The last two weeks in particular have been difficult.  I know that the correct approach is not traveling and not spending Thanksgiving  with my sister.  I have struggled with this.  A cousin reached out and invited me, but I needed to turn her down as well.  Keeping people safe requires sacrifice by each of us.  My sacrifice this year will help us spend holidays in the future.  

Then I ran across this quote, “‘The struggle ends when gratitude begins.’ This quote by Louie Schwartzberg is full of truth. Gratitude is a practice that can bring so much inner peace and happiness. When we focus on what we are grateful for, it puts our daily dramas into perspective and releases stress immediately.”  So I am trying to focus on gratitude, being thankful for the small kindnesses, the moments of laughter, the warmth of friends and family.  

And books from the library.  It is a small joy being able to have a stack of books from the library to read. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I was not able to get books from the library.  This week, I hit the trifecta with a whole stack of wonderful books to read. I spent time stretched out on the couch with a blanket and the cat sleeping on me while I was able to read a glorious historical romance and then a humorous novel that had me laughing out loud.  The unexpected gift of time of not driving is a saving of hours and luckily I can connect remotely with people. It is not the same and it is not a good solution...but it is a safe solution. I am going to focus on the small joys.  I can be grateful for the books , the computer connecting me to my family and friends and Gizzie. (She has now started sleeping on my lap.)  I suppose hoping for an elf to do up my dishes is a bridge too far.  

Elise Cooper sent in an interview with Rosemary Simpson, author of Death, Diamonds and Deception.  It is an interesting read.  I have added a number of reviews for November and hope you will check them out.  


Books Read This Week

Devil’s Own by Liana LeFey

Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich

Virginia and the Wolf by Lynne Connolly

Biker Beloved by Audrey Carlan

My Last Duchess by Eloisa James


Hope and lots more Hope

One of the funniest quotes I saw recently was :  “I don’t get enough credit for the fact I do all of this unmedicated”.  I have to admit after my first bark of laughter, I thought wow - that is what we are all doing right now.  Survival is not easy these days.  Not just because I have to cook for myself - which I do - and not just because of the cold weather starting, but the rest of the stuff we deal with!   Thank Heavens all the politics with all the ‘vote for me’ has stopped!  That at least is a saving grace.  I don’t get “way too much junk mail” with all the political stuff stopped!  


COVID - well that is another story.  My state is up 132% this week!  That is HUGE!  Three hundred sixty-one cases.  My small town alone has 42 active cases.  This is some serious stuff.  I know some people are struggling with staying safe without going insane.  I have to admit it is HARD.  I am a person who has not minded being alone for long periods of time, but now I feel like I am being forced.  


I think the hardest thing to accept now is the uncertainty and certainty of the times.  (Great sentence isn’t it! oxymoron) The uncertainty of the virus, who catches and who doesn’t is hard.  Knowing that you can get it badly and maybe not make is bad enough, but it is almost worse knowing you could have it and give it to people unknowingly.  Everyday, you wonder what will close next.  Everyday, you wonder when it will ever end.  Then there is the certainty of things to know. You have to wear a mask almost all the time (not at home and when I am driving alone in the car).  Knowing I cannot see my family at Thanksgiving.  Knowing that what we know, isn’t enough all the time.  Knowing that this is the battle for our times. 


So what do we do - suck it up!  Put on a good face and move with the times and try to stay cheerful.  And hope - lots and lots of hope.


This week I was too overwhelmed with work to read much.  I loved Chris Keniston’s newest book Poppy.  The book is the last in a series about Hart Land and I have loved the sweetness of the books and the magicalness of the town and setting.  I am sorry to see the series end.  I am reading a compilation of short historical romances called Mistletoe and Romance, which I am loving.  I am also reading Flipped with a student and loving it as well.  


Elise sent in a great interview with Maisey Yates and a review of Assault by Fire by H Ripley Rawlings.  Both are interesting reads.  


Wishing you hope - lots and lots of hope!


Books this week:

Poppy by Chris Keniston

Undressing with the Marquess by Christi Caldwell

Mistletoe and Romance by many authors…. 


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Jeannie | Reply 08.02.2021 12:46

I am reading Firefly Lane so I can watch the show on Netflix. Bow library does not have HAnnah’s Four Winds yet, tried to get on list. Like most of her stories.

Jeannie | Reply 18.01.2021 09:39

Hear, hear! Agree totally. Compassion, respect, inclusion.

Jeannie | Reply 16.11.2020 10:12

Hi Marti,
Yes. We need to grin and go forward to hope for open doors, stuff we can do and smile.

Jeannie | Reply 01.06.2020 12:56

Yes, rioting hits heart and soul. How much more can we endure?
How much more can go wrong?

Be strong.

Kirke | Reply 18.05.2020 09:26

If you want a REAL macabre horror story do some research on how black flies actually "bite you." Just a hint it involves saws and tongues, stay inside and read!

Jeannie | Reply 30.03.2020 13:05

Nice thoughts, yes, hope and grace. I am appropriately reading Gentleman in Moscow who is confined at the Metropol Hotel. Eery coincidence!
Be safe and well.

Kirke | Reply 23.03.2020 10:13

Kurt Vonnegut I think? In an insane world a sane person will appear insane....

Jeannie | Reply 16.03.2020 11:36

LOL, serious , but a run on toilet paper?
Guess we missed Bojhalian.
Be well! Happy reading!

Kirke | Reply 25.11.2019 11:05

Much media suggest teachers teach only subjects, but really: "... our job as teachers to help her learn to read, understand and think critically on her own."

Kirke | Reply 10.06.2019 12:03

The news Jacquelyn Winespear is on my summer reading list.
Looking forward to another Maise Dobbs

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Latest comments

08.02 | 12:46

I am reading Firefly Lane so I can watch the show on Netflix. Bow library does not have HAnnah’s Four Winds yet, tried to get on list. Like most of her stories.

18.01 | 09:39

Hear, hear! Agree totally. Compassion, respect, inclusion.

10.12 | 12:39

Thanks so much for the interview and letting me stop by your blog! Happy reading all!

16.11 | 10:12

Hi Marti,
Yes. We need to grin and go forward to hope for open doors, stuff we can do and smile.

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