Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Baby Afghans and the Lake

What do baby afghans and the lake have to do with interfering with reading?  Well - it seems a lot.  I met relatives out at the lake during the most magnificent days of Friday and Saturday.  There was a breeze, a sun shining on the lake like crystals and great conversations.  What more could I want.  Oh and I finished a baby afghan!

But then there is the Olympics - I find myself staring at the television cheering on the athletes!  I love watching the men and women going higher, longer and stronger! This is coming from someone who has no - zero - nada - athletic ability!  My family would tell you walking up the stairs is my Olympic sport (falling going up the stairs happens a lot).  It is dedication and endurance.  The commitment to their sport over all the other diversions in our world are so remarkable!  

This week, if I could draw a conclusion from all the books I read, it is that secrets are bad.  Even if they are meant to help or protect people - secrets are bad.  Even if the secret doesn’t hurt anyone else - they hurt the person carrying them.  I think I could segue into singing Let It Go… but I will save all of your ears now…

Elise sent in a review of The Chase (US Marshals Book 2) by Lisa Harris. The book sounds like a thriller in three parts. Don’t forget to check out Elise’s interview with Linda Castillo!  The books are all thrillers with the main character Kate Burkholder solving the crimes in a small town that is half English and half Amish.  

Books Read this week:

A Fiancee’s Guide to First Wives and Murder by Bianne Freeman

A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone

The Highlander’s Irish Bride by Vanessa Kelly

Redemption Road by Amanda McKinney

Inked Obsession by Carrie Ann Ryan

 

 

Animals This Week

I sometimes forget how much ‘in the country’ I live.  I saw what I thought was a huge hawk thinking about eating my neighbor's black and white speckled chicken.  Only when I went home and looked it up did I realise it was an immature bald eagle (no wonder I thought it was the biggest hawk I ever saw.) I have seen two foxes; one a red color across town and one gray on my road. I have seen a deer at work standing in the yard eating some of the new growth around the edges.  Using my Merlin App for bird sounds, I heard a broad bill hawk right near the driveway - although I could not find him in the trees.  

I realised that I was seeing more wild animals and how they are coming closer to my place.  However recently, someone made an interesting point.  I have lived here for thirty years, the animals are coming back to their home, it is me who is in their home. As we build more and more in “open spaces” our contact with animals will increase.  Like the big black bear last spring and the huge moose a couple of years ago. (You should have seen the size of his hoof prints left in the yard!)

I find myself more and more in awe of the beauty of my world.  Perhaps I am now slowing down to appreciate the surroundings.  All the surprises when I stop and watch quietly.  Although, quite frankly - ticks can take a hike!  

Elise sent in a great interview with Linda Castillo.  Elise and I are big fans of hers and read all of her books.  If you haven’t read any of the books, check out the interviews and check out some of the books!  Elise reviewed The Fairy Garden Books 1 and 2 by Daryl Wood Gerber, a new series of cozy mysteries.  

I read this week, stretched out in my recliner during the rain!  

Ice Duchess by Tracy Sumner

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt (Fantastic Book!)

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

The Step Sisters by Susan Mallery

 

I also completed but haven’t written the review yet

A Fiancee’s Guide to First Wives and Murder by Dianne Freeman

 

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A Girl and her Recliner

I shared that I bought new furniture.  I shared that I was excited.  I think I even shared that I purchased a recliner.  Now,  I realize I have a recliner!  I am in love. There is nothing like reading while I am in the recliner...it might even beat lying on the couch!  The cats and I have figured out how we can both share the recliner and still give me room to read either a book or a kindle.  What I haven’t figured out is how to drink ice tea while on the recliner reading a book with Gizzie.  We might have had a couple of incidents with one of us wearing the liquid.   

This has been a really rainy month of July.  We are under flash flood warnings until tomorrow afternoon.  The rain has kept me reading. As I am sure - if you saw the list of books you would understand!  I feel badly for the people in the west with the HIGH and dry temperatures!   

The best books read this week..hmm

Fallen by Linda Castillo

Fallen by Linda Castillo is a great murder mystery that actually had me flumuxed for a while.  The premise of the story is that a girl left the Amish way of life twelve years ago and had returned for an unknown reason when she was brutally murdered. IT is the why and the twists that hold you - wondering what really happened. 

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

I did know that many Jews who escaped the ghettos hid out in various places. I had no idea until I read the ending of the book how many survived in the forests in Eastern Europe.  The strength of this storyline is Kristin’s writing and the main character Yona.  While the first couple of chapters were weird, once the story started to roll, the reader was all in.  The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel was a good read and will stay with me.

That Summer In Maine by Brianna Wolfson

That Summer In Maine by Brianna Wolfson asks and answers the perennial question - what makes a family? Hazel was in a whole new world where she wanted to be felt, to be part, to feel whole. The story line was told in multiple voices allowing each story to be shared in the narrator’s own world.  I liked how each voice (narrator) sounded as I would have guessed.   I really enjoyed the novel.  That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson is a good read.

Elise Cooper interviewed Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver with their new book Choose Me.  This is a murder mystery offered in in many voices and the characters are not all likeable.  Tess Gerritsen is one of the authors I enjoy, so I am sure this book will be awesome.  

 

Fallen by Linda Castillo

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

That Summer In Maine by Brianna Wolfson

Falling in Love on Willow Creek by Debbie Mason

When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber

The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

The Therapist by BA Paris

 

Brick and Mortar Bookstore

I went to a real brick and mortar store last week.  A book store - filled with books, paper, pens, and other book paraphernalia. I was overwhelmed with all the colors of the various covers.  I loved it!  There were places to sit with the opportunity of buying coffee and other goodies.  I admit while I did not buy anything to eat or drink, I sat down and started to read - Just taking in the atmosphere with reading, and people watching.  I was disappointed that they only had the best sellers up in hardcovers and not a similar wall on best sellers in paperback.  The manager seemed surprised when I asked about it - perhaps it was a new question. (But I can’t imagine that.)  It was a special occasion for me so I treated myself to two new paperbacks. I think I never figured it would be so long between visiting a bookstore.  I have gone into the library, but even there, people are mostly picking up books and leaving.  It was the staying and browsing that was so awesome!  I now know, I need to find time to do this again...being out and about...exploring books.   

The real reason I was in the big city of Manchester was to buy a new couch and chair for the living room. The couch was about 20 years old.  Sitting on it was a bit of an adventure - when you just keep going and going down, down, down.  I had spent time researching online to find the style and colors.  Luckily when I went into the store - I found a perfect couch and ottoman that will be here in August.  The chair - well - I had to choose another style and color.  Luckily I have been able to read on the new chair already!  Now I just need to put everything together.

My vacation ends on Tuesday morning at 7 am.  I have been grateful for all the time I have had.  

Elise sent us a review and interview with Elizabeth Heiter and her newest book K-9 Hideout.  The book sounds full of action!  Sure to keep you reading! 

Books Read this week:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Love for Beginners by Jill Shalvis

Someone to Cherish by Mary Balogh

Say You’ll Stay by Susan Mallery

 

Cousin Jon

It is finally here. The week that all teachers wait for starting in September. The students are gone,  home for the summer. Now I just have paperwork, more paperwork,  and still more paperwork to finish up. I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks and the time off. I hope to get a good couple of days at the lake soon.   

With the reduced restrictions  in Covid-19,  I have been able to get together with friends. It's been great seeing some friends I haven't seen for over a year. It was wonderful to catch up and hear stories and to know what they did while hunkering down during the pandemic. I think that's mostly what I'm looking forward to this summer, being able to spend time with friends. With all the restrictions and concerns for keeping safe I'm just glad I can go hang out with friends again.

This week I read some great books. If you have any interest in the beginning of folk / early rock and roll, the book called Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie is a great read. I found myself entranced with the story. I know it was loosely based on some of the legends like James Taylor and Jody Mitchell. What I found fascinating was how strong the recording companies were trying to force certain music to be published. Yet these rebels managed to put together new sounds in new ways and start a new genre of music. 

Another great read this week was The Last Night in London. The book was not necessarily intended to be a mystery as much as a slow reveal. I found the story fascinating. There are a lot of books out right now about World War II and this certainly takes a different look at the time by focusing on fashion,  while still managing to focus on the war and all that is coming. I like the lesson in this book, which is that it's never too late to reinvent yourself.

Perhaps that is the lesson I should take to heart  this week. It is never too late to reinvent yourself. That's what we all did during the pandemic. We reinvented how we connect with each other and how we spend time with each other. I think it made all our interactions more personable and important. I do not want to lose that this summer or take it for granted again!

Elise sent us a book review AND an interview this week. Elise interviewed Nicole Trope, an Australian making her US debut with The Boy In The Photo.  She also sent us a book review of Iris Johansen’s newest Eve Duncan book called The Bullet. 

Books read this week: 

The Last Night in London by Karen White

Jude by Daphne Loveling

Barefoot in the Sand by Holly Chamberlin

Outrageous by Minerva Spencer

Love is Blind by Janine Infante Bosco

Forsaking All Others by Janine Infante Bosco

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

 

Reinvent Yourself

Flip flops and summer reading 

I am T minus 4 days until the students are gone. That doesn't mean I won't be working this summer because there is always summer school. It does however mean that it's flip flops and summer reading time. I am particularly looking forward to it this year. It has been a hard year. I took on a new job with new responsibilities and as always more government paperwork to just muck-up the system. I have to admit the last couple of weeks I have really noticed every book  that has a beach, sand on it, or a lake.   I have put many of them on my to-be-read list. I noticed that the newspapers I read and the online book magazines  have come up with a summer list as well.

Looking for my flip-flops however have been a larger issue. At first, I couldn't find any of them. Then when I went to put away my winter boots lo and behold - my flip-flops were in the same compartment. But only one pair. That is very curious because I own many pairs of flip-flops. I have flip flops with flowers. I have flip flops with martini glasses. I have flip flops with the Boston Red Sox emblem. I have red flip flops. I have blue flip flops.  I have flowered flip flops. Today my young friend downstairs, for a reasonable amount of cash, agreed to clean out my car.  All parts of my car -including underneath the seats. Guess what he found?   That's right my pink flower flip-flops, my Boston Red Sox flip flops and  my martini glass flip flops. I am good.   I have flip flops galore to wear.  Well except for that one pair that is still missing - the flamingos flip flops.

This week you'll notice on my reading list that I have read some great books. Jenny Hale's new book called The Beach House was interesting. What's Worth Keeping by Kaya McLaren was a wonderful novel. It really made you pay attention to what is worth keeping. A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor, a historical romance about a man who had three wives and when he dies, the three wives come together for a solution. C J Box has a new novel out called Dark Sky. It is another Joe Pickett novel where we see Joe up against the forces of evil in the wilderness trying to keep a client alive. Today I just finished the Hannah McKenna novel, Message in the Sand. It was a lovely read that reminds you,  families can be with people you choose to be families with, not just people you are related to by blood.

Elise Cooper sent us a book review and interview with J A Jance and her book Unfinished Business. The book focuses on a computer security service in Arizona.  The book sounds like a bit of a thriller.  Meanwhile I really hope all of you have a great  time reading this week.   If you find a book that really makes your heart sing - please drop me a note.   Thanks to all my readers. 

 

The Beach House by Jenny Hale 

What's Worth Keeping by Kaya McLaren

A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Dark Sky by C J Box 

Message in the Sand by Hannah McKenna

 

Flip flops and summer reading

Hope you don’t mind me being early this week...after all the Red Sox are playing the Yankees and in my world that counts as ‘fully present with the game’ moment.  Ball Park Franks, chips, a cold drink for dinner and baseball!  Life is... play ball …good.  

The heat is back with a vengeance and I admit - I practiced hunkering down in a cool quiet place with Gizzelda (the cat).  We both spread out and stayed in our corners.  A few more days of this heat and then temperatures should boomerang back to normal.  

This week's books kicked it!!!  They all were good reads and each left a piece of them with me. Tissues are a required item for a couple of these books.  

The Summer I Found Myself by Colleen French - It is never too late to take a new path.

The Lady has a Past by Amanda Quick - We all have things in our past.  Sharing them with good people helps move beyond those horrible feelings of guilt.  

Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly - It is never too late to love with your whole heart.

Where There’s a Will by Janna MacGregor - Even proper blue stockings can have adventures.

Haven Point by Virginia Hume - One person can rarely give you the whole of a story.  Each story has many truths and points of view.

What’s Worth Keeping by Kaya McLaren - (not finished yet) Sometimes you need to take a journey to find yourself.  (and, I hope) You will find your way back to those you love.  

Disclaimer for those that need to know:  The Summer I Found Myself, Lizzie and Dante, and What’s Worth Keeping all have main characters with various stages of cancer.  

Elise Cooper sent us a book review called Death in Bloom by Jess Dylan.  This is the first of a trilogy of cozy mysteries with fun quirky characters.  She also interviewed Loreth Anne White  about her new book Beneath Devil’s Bridge. The book is based on a true crime podcast with lots of twists and turns.  

Thanks for reading and have a great week full of laughter and joy.

 

and Tissues

"Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future." Elie Wiesel

This weekend we've had rain, rain and more rain. Something we desperately need. However  it does not make it easy to celebrate the men and women who gave their all for our country. That is why I began today's blog with a quote from Elie Wiesel. The quote reminds us that it's really important that we have a memory of what has happened, a memory of why people fought for our freedom, a memory of what our society and civilization looks like. I think it's quite apropos for the difficulties our country is now facing.

This week I read four novels that were romantic with suspense. I think this highlights the difficulty of this week in general.  For almost every school teacher this time of year brings its own struggles. In my case exhaustion, probably in many cases exhaustion. That means for me it's important to read books that hold my attention, but may not have a great deal of meaning behind them.  These novels all match that criteria. Each book was by authors I have read before, so I knew what to expect. I really lucked out that a new Kristen Ashley was available to read this week as well.

An interesting fact - did you notice all the ball gowns on the covers were purple? Come to think of it, some of the other books I read had purple ball gowns on it this year as well. I guess purple is color for ball gowns this season. Certainly when I order my ball gown for the masquerade I shall remember to order in purple. (Laughing hysterically) 

Of course, I would have to actually go someplace. I am just grateful that I have been able to have both my vaccines and I am now free to not wear a mask in some places. I have enjoyed being outside with my friends,  laughing. I wish others would feel the same way knowing that they were safer from  covid.

Thank you to all the soldiers that marched into battle, not knowing whether they would return.  Peace to friends and family.  Thanks for reading.

 

Books read this week: 

Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley 

A Midsummer Night’s Romance by Alyssa Alexander

Her Scottish Scoundrel by Sophie Barnes 

The Virgin Who Humbled Lord Haslemere by Anna Bradley

 

Gratitude

There is a cool wind blowing in tonight.  It means a great night of sleeping.  The last few nights have been warmish, so the windows are open to bring in (with the help of a fan) whatever vestiges of cool weather that is available.  

 

One of the lessons I learned this week is that in order to build a good bridge, you really need to have a strong foundation. Being a teacher, you probably would think I already knew that and I would say I did. However, this week the children and I are making bridges as part of our Ancient Roman Civilization Unit. We can only use popsicle sticks and glue. Our challenge is to see who can make the strongest bridge. Watching my students make these various structures (that I assure you would not hold much weight) is really interesting to watch. The lesson I realize is that it is only as we get older that we learn to plan for a foundation. When we plan for our foundation, do we lose our curiosity or our creativity?  That is what I found myself pondering this weekend. Even though I'm not in the competition I assure you my bridge is strong and has a very strong foundation.  I thought and planned  before I began and while the design is not necessarily interesting, it is strong.  The students however, their bridges are uniquely put together with whimsically placement of sticks sometimes going in every which direction. In most cases the design is clearly stuck to the board they're using for a working surface. I'm hoping that learning about the Roman Civilization gives them an understanding of our civilizations' foundations in language, philosophy, and in government. However, all I suspect they are going to truly remember are the grossest facts:  Romans cleaned their teeth with urine and women used goat fat and bird poop to make their hair styles.  I wonder what those facts will be the foundation of? 

 

Elise sent us an interview with Nicole Helm this week. Nicole Helm's interview includes information about her two newest books; A Summer Stalker and Shot Through The Heart. They are part of a new series called North Star.    Both books sound quite interesting and I enjoy Nicole Helm as a writer. I'm going to have to check them out.

 

Happy Reading

 

Books read this week:

Improper by Darcy Burke

The Price of Secrets by Jacquie May Miller

Honeymoon for Four by Chris Keniston.

 

Foundations

Another week closer to summer and more unfettered reading time. I am not sure when books became a large part of my world. Mostly because I cannot remember a time when I did not read as if I needed to eat or sleep.  This week I ran across a great quote by Lena Dunham who said,  “Let's be reasonable and add an eight day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”  Finally,  someone who put words to a deep dream of mine.  An extra day of the week to read.  Although now having admitted this I do realize it is a bit self indulgent.  AND really could be called Sunday for me… What can I say, I enjoy reading! 

This week I had to suspend my reading list at the library, because of the sheer amount of work and ARCs I have to read already.  It is always a sad sad day when that happens.  I did pick up two books from the library before the list locked down.  One is called Reunion Beach and it is a tribute to Dorothea Benton Frank.  She was a writer I enjoyed tremendously.  Her writing about the southern coastal land always made me feel like I could slow down and enjoy her language.  She died this last year and her friends and family put together a series of stories, essays, poems inspired by her in her honor.  The book is a lovely tribute and I have only begun to enjoy all the stories.  

It is only in the last year that I have come to understand how much writers support each other.  Perhaps it is because I ran into the Friends and Fiction Group (Check them out on Wednesdays on You Tube) or other authors I really like chatting with each other.  I guess I always thought writing was a solitary occupation, without thinking of the help of rereads, inspirations from friends, critiques from friends and publishers and just the moral support it takes to write a book.  Perhaps it is the writing of this blog that also opened my eyes to all the people who make this so worthwhile to me.  Thank YOU!

So a couple of details.  I am working on learning a couple of new computer tricks so be ready to be surprised (if they pan out).  Mostly I am looking at making the  weekly blog email out smoother, but I am also hoping for a couple of other changes…. Stay tuned.  

Meanwhile, Elise and I read some of the same books again, so there is a great interview with Maisey Yates about her newest books coming out next month.  Usually, Maisey writes romance novels, but she has also moved into a new genre of women’s fiction with some of her books. Elise also reviewed a novel called a Wish For Home by Jo Ann Brown, which sounds like a sweet book.  

 

Books devoured this week:

Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe

Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Solid Gold Cowboy (novella) by Maisey Yates

Undercover Duke by Sabrina Jeffries

Confessions from the Quilting Circle by Maisey Yates

Reunion Beach by a number of writers

 

Another Day of the Week?

Another week closer to summer and more unfettered reading time. I am not sure when books became a large part of my world. Mostly because I cannot remember a time when I did not read as if I needed to eat or sleep.  This week I ran across a great quote by Lena Dunham who said,  “Let's be reasonable and add an eight day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”  Finally,  someone who put words to a deep dream of mine.  An extra day of the week to read.  Although now having admitted this I do realize it is a bit self indulgent.  AND really could be called Sunday for me… What can I say, I enjoy reading! 

This week I had to suspend my reading list at the library, because of the sheer amount of work and ARCs I have to read already.  It is always a sad sad day when that happens.  I did pick up two books from the library before the list locked down.  One is called Reunion Beach and it is a tribute to Dorothea Benton Frank.  She was a writer I enjoyed tremendously.  Her writing about the southern coastal land always made me feel like I could slow down and enjoy her language.  She died this last year and her friends and family put together a series of stories, essays, poems inspired by her in her honor.  The book is a lovely tribute and I have only begun to enjoy all the stories.  

It is only in the last year that I have come to understand how much writers support each other.  Perhaps it is because I ran into the Friends and Fiction Group (Check them out on Wednesdays on You Tube) or other authors I really like chatting with each other.  I guess I always thought writing was a solitary occupation, without thinking of the help of rereads, inspirations from friends, critiques from friends and publishers and just the moral support it takes to write a book.  Perhaps it is the writing of this blog that also opened my eyes to all the people who make this so worthwhile to me.  Thank YOU!

So a couple of details.  I am working on learning a couple of new computer tricks so be ready to be surprised (if they pan out).  Mostly I am looking at making the  weekly blog email out smoother, but I am also hoping for a couple of other changes…. Stay tuned.  

Meanwhile, Elise and I read some of the same books again, so there is a great interview with Maisey Yates about her newest books coming out next month.  Usually, Maisey writes romance novels, but she has also moved into a new genre of women’s fiction with some of her books. Elise also reviewed a novel called a Wish For Home by Jo Ann Brown, which sounds like a sweet book.  

 

Books devoured this week:

Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe

Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Solid Gold Cowboy (novella) by Maisey Yates

Undercover Duke by Sabrina Jeffries

Confessions from the Quilting Circle by Maisey Yates

Reunion Beach by a number of writers

 

Mom

My mom was an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum.  Of course, I am thinking about her today - being Mother’s Day.  She was in some ways so mysterious, but in others so open. She was very intelligent and at times knew things that she had no way of knowing.  At other times, she was clueless but determined to keep moving on her path.  My friends confided in her.  She always had advice that this stubborn daughter did not want to hear.  

Marjorie Anne was the oldest child  - and born “early” as some children were.  She was very intelligent, but never felt that way in a family where some members had an eidetic memory.  She was not cherished by her family and often felt that loss and worked too hard trying to be important to them.  

Mom graduated from college with a BA in education. While we were growing up, she went back to college and earned a Masters in mathematics education.  Then she went back again to UNH and earned a Masters in counseling.  Still, Mom was not done, she earned a CAGS in Counseling/Psychology.  From there, we were grown and she left going off to the University of Maryland and ended up with a Doctorate in Psychology.  Somewhere in all that she became a certified lay minister.  She was proud of her learning and degrees, but I feel now at each step, it was to prove her worth.

Mom was not the stay at home and make cookies mom.  She was a teacher while we were growing up and even now I run into people whose lives she helped mold.  She participated in the local acting group.  She had interests that were not part of raising children and dreams to follow.  Not that we were not important to her, we were, we were just not her all.  She was always still searching.  

As she got older, I began to understand the fragile thread she had with mental health. As her brain deteriorated, so did her mental health and I saw all the horrors she fought in her life. I saw the links with her childhood that made her never feel good enough.  I now understand, she fought crazy for years.  Even with all that I still wish I could tell her Happy Mother’s Day in person.  

Elise Cooper sent in a great review of a cozy mystery Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flowers.  One of my favorite authors - Jayne Anne Krentz aka Amanda Quick was interviewed by Elise Cooper about her newest book, The Lady has a Past.  Enjoy.

To all the mothers today - Happy Mother’s Day.  Thanks to all of you for all you do daily.

Books read this week:

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian 

Heartbreaker of Echo Pass by Maisey Yates 

Colt by Nina Levine

Currently Reading:  The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe

 

 

Harbinger of ... spring

A harbinger of spring for me is Spring Break.  Yes - I just had a week off.  I think you will be able to identify that via the number of books read this week.  It was lovely to have time to read everyday AND I admit to avoid as much housework as I could. However, as always not everything is as black and white.  While I was enjoying time off, the hot water heater/ furnace decided to take a break as well.  While supposedly it has been fixed, it still requires someone to reset it. At least it has been warm, to go with the COLD showers.

The best part was connecting with friends that I haven’t seen for a while.  I am now two plus weeks past my second vaccine, so it was with great joy - and laughter that I went and saw friends I haven’t seen for a long time.  The best part was the laughter!  Although seeing the area I lived in for one summer and how much it changed was interesting and having fried haddock from Billy’s Chowder House was yummy.

Today I found my first tick on me.  Luckily, it was still wandering and had not bit down.  Such is yet another sign of spring.  Everyone has their heebeegeebee moment.  Snakes have always been mine, but ticks are right up there on my list.  I am sure that the cat brought in this creature into the house and to me.  This is another harbinger to spring.  Although I can assure you that as a child I did not get ticks on me, so perhaps this is a better harbinger to global warming.  I know that not everyone follows my beliefs… so I will move on. 

Elise has sent in a review of K-9 Cold Case by Elizabeth Heiter.  The main character and his dog (Jax and Patches) are investigating a bomb explosion in an Alaskan town.  She also sent in an interview with Laura Griffin and her newest book Flight.  The interview was interesting and will make you want to read the novel.  (I did, it was awesome!) 

As for the quick review of reading this week:  For those readers who love a good thriller - The Good Sister, The Perfect Daughter, The Newcomer and Rattlesnake Road were all delightful thrillers.  Picnic in Someday Harbor was a cross between a cozy mystery and a small town mystery.  For those that want to read something a little more edgy - Minus.  Heiress in Red Silk was a historical romantic thriller and Seven Perfect Reasons was just a lovely read about finding a new life. 

Meanwhile - have a great week.  I am finishing up  Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalien.

Heiress in Red Silk by Madeline Hunter

The Newcomers by Mary Kay Andrews

Picnic in Someday Harbor by Jodi Hunter

Minus by Jack Davenport

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Perfect Daughter by DJ Palmer

Seven Perfect Reasons by Catherine Ryan Hyde 

Rattlesnake Road by Amanda McKinney

 

Serendipity

Serendipity is an unplanned fortunate discovery; something that occurs or is discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.  

Lately, I crave reading books about beaches and lakes.  Guess I am trying to get to summer faster.  However, I also get lists of free or cheaper books sent to my email.  I chose a book called Miramar Bay, thinking it was going to be about a California beach (and the fact that Tom Cruise went to TOPGUN at Miramar).  The book was a good read (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538827).  It was a little meatier than a simple beach read - I enjoyed it.  So what was the serendipity - the next book I picked up to read was a book I found on Net Galley - offered by Kensington House Publishing was called The Cottage on Lighthouse Lane (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538827).  It was by the same author and was a later book in that same series at Miramar Bay.  What are the chances?  I did not even realize the books were connected until I read the first few pages.  What a lovely surprise!  And YES, I found all the books in between the first and the last book and ordered them!  Luckily each of the books can be read as a stand alone.  

Serendipity also plays into this week.  I am now two weeks out from my second vaccine, and it is vacation week!  I am going to visit friends who I have not seen FOREVER!  Well - the last year and a half anyway.  I am not good at writing and keeping up with people on the phone, I am better in person,  I have missed much this year without seeing them.   

I know some people believe that all luck is serendipity and that there is not really luck at all, but paying attention to the details around them.  If that is the case, then getting a warm shower tonight was serendipitous as the hot water system is on the blink here until the plumber comes tomorrow - so knowing that the furnace was just reset to allow for some hot water was paying attention to the details. I think I would call that good planning. 

Meanwhile, all the books I read this week had the ocean on the cover. Two were about the town of Miramare in California. One was about a beach in the south and one was about a harbor in Maine. None of them were traditional “beachy reads”. All had an element of family drama, and three had some seriously interesting dilemmas to resolve. What great reading!

Elise Cooper has sent in a couple of interesting additions to check out. She has interviewed Elizabeth Goddard about her newest book, Present Danger. She also sent in an interesting book review of The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen. 

Meanwhile, I hope there are some unplanned but fortunate discoveries for you this week.

Books Read this Week

 

Margreete’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse

The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak

Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn

The Cottage on Lighthouse Lane by Davis Bunn

 

 

 

Contradictions

Life is a series of contradictions. Spring (mud) season is the biggest contradiction of all, right now. The end of this week is a perfect example of a contradiction. On Friday we had a snow day, but on Saturday the sun was shining and today it is almost 60 degrees outside. It is this type of contradiction that seems to highlight my week. The forsythia is blooming with snow on it. I don't have enough time to read the books I want to read, but the next few books are long books. The documents I wrote this week most were mostly accepted but a couple were denied with sarcasm and vitriol.   People were either extremely helpful or not. Never mind that the local Dunk’n Donuts was already closed at 10:30 this morning. I'm thinking that this is a larger situation than just these last few days of mud season. It seems you have to choose A or B, up or down, side or other side, red or blue, black or white. In politics you have to choose one side or the other.   There is no amalgamation,  no melding, no combining, no blending.  Perhaps paradox is a better word.  Personally,  I think it's exhausting. I'm hoping this week will be different.

This week I read two particularly fine books. They both were long, but absorbing. 

 Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey was a wonderful tale of two people and choosing your own family. It had a lot of great characters and even when things seemed hopeless there was another path, another choice. I mean the book had a crazy relative,  interfering mothers, frozen embryos,  a fishing contest and two people who weren't sure how to move forward. It was a great read!

 Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly was another example of a great read. The book followed two people, Georgy and Jemma, and their journeys up to, during and after the Civil War. Georgy was determined to become a nurse,  to help people and to eventually open a nursing school.  Georgy wanted to be treated fairly as a person who mattered. Jemma was sure that she would someday be free, but she wanted her family with her.  Through a series of happenstances Jemma ended up being a Drummer Boy, conscripted by the Union Army until she was shot.   That's when Georgy and Jemma came together in the story. This book really shows the strength and determination of people who want to make a difference and it shows the horror of the Civil War where families fought against families.   This too was a great read.  

Elise Cooper sent us in an interview with Mary Burton and her newest book called Near You. It is a psychological thriller that Elise tells us that it is a perfect blend of tension and suspense.  

 I wish you all a week of peace and not a lot of contradictions to muddy up the road. 

Books read this week:

 

Sunflower Sisters by Mary Paul Kelly

Under the Southern Sky by Christy Woodson Harvey 

Currently reading:

Margreete’s Harbor by Eleanor Morse

 

April Showers

Another beautiful weekend is coming to an end…  sigh.  It was lovely to be able to be outside in the sun, planning for summer, but I have two weeks of HARD work, before a week off.  A LOT of work.  Ah well.  This weekend was enjoyable and somewhat busy.  Rain this week would be good.  We need some April showers for the May flowers.

The books this week were in a couple of different genres.  Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano was a fun read.  Finlay is down on her luck and is a writer of murder mysteries.  So what happens when she is overheard at Panera about her newest plot, someone slips her a note about killing her husband.  While I did not laugh out loud, I enjoyed some of the situations that really made the book fun.  Finlay and her live in nanny, Vero area stars. It is a light cozy type mystery from a slightly skewed view point.  

Lost in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson was an historical fictional story. Hannah and her mother, Margo had no idea about what great-grandmother Ivy’s life was like before America.  Finding a deed and a key to an apartment was a mystery.  This opens up the story of Paris about the before WWII.  It is where Ivy was wanting to start a life with her ability to sew clothes.    Germany is looming.  The city is full of famous writers, poets and artists. The story is full of love and  hope.  Life is tenuous and both Margo and Hannah have choices to make.   

Yes, there were three historical romance books. Each was a wonderful glittering world of the rich and famous.  Each included a woman no one had paid attention to in the way they needed.  Each had a prospective male character who thought they were all that, only to find out they needed to learn a lesson or two.  Yes for the power of women!  

I enjoyed all of the books this week, but you know by now I do not put up reviews for books I do not like.  The month of April is going to have some great books coming out.  A couple I have had a chance to review, but there are more coming (I am on the list at the library)!  

Elise Cooper sent us a review of the book, Unstoppable by Joshua M. Green.  The book follows the life of Siggi B. Wilzig, a survivor of the holocaust and a person who makes a difference in our world.  There are some great quotes of Siggi’s that are enlightening.  Elise interviewed Joshilyn Jackson about her new thriller, Mother May I.  Elise has shared that the book is a thriller with twists and turns!

Tuesday starts the celebration of Ramadan.  Wishing you all the blessings of the holy month.  

Books Read:  Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Life in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson 

How to Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

The Wildflower’s Wild Wedding by Eva Devon

A Gentleman for Judith by Sahara Kelly

 Reading a nonfiction book by Alison Weir called Queen of the Crusade.

 

 

 

 

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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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