Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Lessons from the library

This week I had the opportunity to go back to college for just a quick visit to my old alma mater.  The college has been closed for years (After the late 80s many small liberal arts colleges failed.) and I have to admit, I had not been back for many many years.   I met a college friend and we hung out by what used to be the library on stone benches and shared about our lives.  At our feet there was a brick path that had bricks with names of people who also went to our college.  

I worked at the library for 3 years as my work study. Sometimes I was at the front desk and shelving books, but mostly I was back in the research section.  I realized at that point - how much I love the library and the world of books.  I loved to help people find information and the librarians suggested many times that I might wish to consider a career in library science.  It didn’t happen, but the lessons I learned in the library have help me in life.

  • If you don’t ask the right questions you rarely get the right answer.

Be clear about what you are looking for - otherwise you will not be able to find it.

  • Always put things away where they belong, stacking is not good.

I still need to learn this lesson. {sigh}

  • Books, like other things have time limits, attempt to stay within them. Sometimes you can renew something for a couple of more days and some things do not not ever leave.

I am not terrible with time limits - but I do tend to perseverate until the end.

  • There is a book for every person, even if they have not found it yet.

Sometimes more than one 8>)

  • Never judge a book by the cover

I am sure you have heard this before!

  • Librarians know where to find all sorts of cool information

Never play trivia games with them, unless they are on your team.

  • Perseverance does make a difference.

Keep looking - you will find what you are looking for.  It just might not look like what

you thought it would.

I felt in college, I did not ever have enough time to just read for pleasure.  I know that others have felt the same way.  I remember coming home from college so anxious for a story to carry me away. A novel full of suspense or love or fear or anything but facts and figures.  I know during the summers I inhaled books almost as if it would be the last chance to read ever again.  

For me, seeing the library, knowing that it is now serving new purposes was important but even with the new purposes it still connects people with books, hopes, dreams and practical advice.

Books Change

“A book you finish reading is not the same book it was before you read it.” by David Mitchell

I took the week off, so for me it is vacation week.  I have a list of chores to be accomplished this week including the obvious ones of vacuuming, laundry and dishes.  However for those who know me, the longest part of my list are the books I want to read!  Right now the list is really long so I am not sure where to start.  It does not help that the Red Sox are finally back on and I have the MLB channel as well.

Some of the books are compliments of Net Galley, books that will come out later this month or early next month.  Some are from Rockstar PR and Literary Agency, books that use Rockstar for publicity.  I am lucky enough to be on their list for reading ARC. Some of the books are from the library (I hope if my number comes up). I have a list of five books that I am number 1 or 2 to receive once they ready to be borrowed.  Lastly, I have a bunch on the kindle that I would enjoy reading. After all, you all know I have an amazing amount on my TBR list.  

I have been thinking about the above quote since I first read it about a couple of weeks ago.  I am always sure that with each book I read, I change even if it is in the most miniscule of ways.   I have never thought of it in the opposite way.  

I know it is not just the wear and tear on a book once read: the cat hair or smidge of dirt, but how we see the book and its message.   Once you read a book, all your preconceived notions about the book are no longer.  Your prior connections and knowledge with the book changes as we take in the knowledge and change our notions.

Maybe that quote means for every way a book changes me, means the book changes in equal amounts to me.  It is like whether you are the hard object or the soft object, when they are hit together the result is almost always the same. 

WOW – imagine all the books that might change this week.  

Georgia O'Keeffe and Spring

It was a beautiful weekend.  Sunny and warm with a bit of a breeze.  I loved being out in the air and sun with a book.  I am sure a number of you are shaking your head at me.  The spring just makes me want to be outside and well - read….

I finished a number of great reads this week including a couple that are coming out soon.  I knocked a couple off my to read list and - gasp - returned everything to the library!  Don’t worry - there are lots more on all my lists to read.  

The best of the books this week was Georgia by Dawn Tripp.  It was about the life of Georgia O’Keeffe.  I was introduced to her art by my mom, who loved the swarths of colors and the boldness of the subjects.  While the book was not a memoir, nor a biography, it was based on her life and the materials available about her life.  According to the author, the conversations and the letters were not accurate but based on her research.  No matter what the author said, I felt like I was immersed into her life and art.  I felt what she felt and was mesmerized by her visceral need to feel and see her art. I love that she was a feminist and wanted her art to stand for itself, not as a part of how the art community saw her with her relationship with her lover and later husband Alfred Stieglitz.  I found she was a remarkable woman ahead of her time.  I did not realize she had macular degeneration as she aged and lost her eyesight.   I enjoyed all the books I read this week and would recommend anyone of them, but Georgia really was great!

The next few days the weather is going to be up and down with rain showers and I am back to work. The week after that - VACATION!!! I am so looking forward to the time - to read - hopefully in the sun…  Happy Spring!!

My books this week:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends by Katarina Bivald

Because of Miss Bridgeton by Julia Quinn

Georgia by Dawn Tripp

While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel

Always for You: Jack by Alexis Morgan

Once Upon a Dream by Mary Balogh

The Top One Percent of Reviewers

I did not write a book blog last week.  I think the new TV with the Major League Baseball Stations and pure exhaustion finally caught up with me.  I was feeling that I had not enough time to read.  Perhaps the constant pull of the computer with its games was also pulling me away.  Who knows….  But I am back…

The Goodreads Community sent me an email that said. ” In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads!”  Further down the message they added, “You've written 1323 reviews since joining Goodreads on April 26th, 2009.”  They also added that they have reached the 50 million review mark.  WOW!  The numbers kind have blown me away.  I don’t really think I understand what they mean, but it is cool none the less.

This has solidified my desire to continue on this path.  I was feeling discouraged and although my number of readers and followers have been steady, I have stopped growing as quickly as I had been.  This has made me realize how much numbers can say without really meaning a lot.  One percent sounds like a lot until you realize that there are about 25 million members and 50 million book reviews.  Suddenly one percent doesn’t sound as important and it makes me one of hundreds of thousands….  

So this week has been a catch up week for the students and I.  We have finished three more books with great acclaim from the students: The Boy on the Wooden Box, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Soldier’s Heart.  My head was spinning toward the end as I am also still reading Marvin Redpost and the Orange Princess books at tutoring.  

At least my to read list took a good hit this week as I was able to finish the books for NetGalley that come out next week and am now reading a library book before it is due.  Baseball is important to me, but this week I was reminded that reading is equally important and I had been neglecting it.  Thanks for being some of my top fans!

Books this week:

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos

 

I am reading:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

a new distraction

Life is busy.  People are busy.  There are so many distraction within our life.  People coming and going. People are stressed about all the activities that they and their children are constantly in motion.  I hear parents planning out their daily pick ups and drop offs of children with military precisions.  

No wonder so many people speak about not having time to read in their life.  We are constantly being barraged by so much movement and choices.  Electronic and videos - immediate gratification of constant amusement is available 24/7.  Television with a gazillion channels, including all sorts of movies, sports and everything in between.  It is constant.

I have entered another level of constant entertainment, kicking and screaming.  The phone/cable/internet company I have used for years (and years) has determined that they will no longer offer cable.  This weekend I was hooked up with a dish and the resulting networks.  

I am overwhelmed.  The choices.  I have watched baseball all day and yes, one of the games was the Sox.  I have found the local news once.  I am sure with some more investigation I can find it again.  I found a station that plays jazz all the time.  I even found Star Trek Second Generation…

I know I will cease finding this amazing soon.  Even I will soon be too overwhelmed by all that baseball that I will turn it off.  I even think I will eventually find some of the things I like to watch on TV and then turn the TV off.  Meanwhile I need to just find time to read with another distraction.

 

Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up and Wait seems to be the model for our world.  Everything needs to be done at breakneck speed immediately and then you wait...until it is your turn or time.  One of the best things in this world is that books don’t hurry up and make you wait UNLESS you are a serial reader.  You know who you are.  We wait for the next book in our series to come out and immediately jump when the book comes out.  We put off everything we possible can and read the book, rushing through it - because it is soooo good. And then we wait again.   That is me right now rushing and waiting.

Thank heavens for FictFact or I would never ever be able to keep track of what book in what series comes out when!  FictFact very nicely does that for me by maintaining a list of what books come out when.  Goodreads does a similar thing with their lists of books recommendations based on authors you have read in the past.  Occasionally books do get missed.  In my case, I missed that the newest Jacqueline Winspear book about Maise Dobb, Journey to Munich is out.  

I have distinct memories of searching through paperbacks and before I even read the back I would check the publishing date.  If it was quite recent, it probably was the next book in the series.  If not I probably already read it and put the book back.   Now even Amazon helps out by telling me I have already purchased a book for the Kindle with a little message across the top.

I am not sure how I used to keep track so I would not miss a book except with lists and longer lists of old books and when the new ones would come out.  After all I am a list maker.  I am just not an organized  keeper of the lists.  When I cleaned off my desk this week the number of scraps of papers with lists of various important things was quite tall and most of them were no longer needed.  Did I mention how grateful I am for Fictfact and Goodreads to keep me up to date?  Especially since I can no longer find books easily on my Kindle with its new operating system. (Sorry - still am not happy with Amazon. See last week’s blog.)

So yet again I have added another few books to my To Be Read (TBR) list with the help of the electronic systems I have found and use.  And yet I still hurry up and wait.  I quickly emailed the library to put my name on the reserve list for the new Maise Dobb’s book and I’ll wait until the book comes in and then I will quickly read the book and wait to write the review.  So I guess I epitomize the Hurry Up and Wait Model.  Not sure that is a positive characteristic I should encourage within myself.

My TBR list to be added to the longer TBR list

(already out) Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

(April) The 14th Colony by Steve Berry

(April) Bounty by Kristen Ashley

(April) Till Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

(May) Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

(May) Deep Dark by Laura Griffin

(May) Ginger’s Heart by Katy Regnery

Updated Kindle

My kindle is one of my most used possessions.  I buy my purses and bags with an eye to the kindle fitting in safely. However recently the kindle has vexed me to no end.  (I always have wanted to use the word vex in a sentence.)  There was an unexpected and unwanted update with no warning.  

The home page problem is really two fold:  the new cover page and where the books are.  The new cover page leaves me a small square on the upper left corner of the home page with on cover of the book I am reading and two small covers of the last two I read.  Next to that, still on the top are a list of three books with the titles presented in a small font under my reading list. The bottom half of the home page lists book recommendations.  The recommendations are supposedly based on what I have bought or would like. Baloney - if that was the case why, of the five books listed, have I already purchased and read three of them some time ago?   And now - the two I have not seen before, I am less likely to look them up out of spite.

Just for the record we can thank Amazon and their team for finding a new way to throw more suggestions of books at me.  Like I need more suggestions!  Really I have 1,787 books on the kindle and in the cloud (not that I understand that much either) to read or have been read and I need suggestions?

Once you leave the homepage and move to My Library, you run into a morass of epic proportions.  First a bit of history.  This is my second kindle.  When I broke down and updated (It took five minutes to flip a page on the old one) I was unable to get all my old books and categories on my new kindle.  If I wanted to read one - first I would have to find it and then I could resend it to my kindle.  It was a pain, one that I complained about to Amazon.  With this new update - everything is now loaded on this kindle - old categories (like folders), new categories, old books, new books, and deleted books.  There is no order to the madness and I am once again floundering in the the unexpected.

So really what has Amazon done.  They have answered my concern by putting all books on the kindle with their newest update and have left me a MESS of books and categories to figure out.  Just when I became more sanguine to the change, I went on Goodreads today, to look up an author (to help me find a book) and now I know Goodreads is going to be updated also - with a new home screen and - yes, you guessed it - more recommendations.  

Screaming!!!!!!!!!

Reading Speed

I wondered this week what is happening to my reading speed. I noticed on Goodreads I am 12 books behind (Although realistically it is 9 as I have three books without book reviews right now.) Last year around this time, I was behind too - but not by much.  So what is happening?

The speed most people read changes based on the reading difficult, interest and purpose of the reading,  This last week I read three books by authors I enjoy, where the interest and reading levels are not difficult for me and the purpose was pleasure.  Yet I feel I am struggling to read.  I know part of it is my mom’s passing.  

I feel I have lost concentration and find myself gazing off in the midst of a page.  The lack of concentration is the biggest culprit for many people.  It could be that the mental endurance is weaker.  Perhaps being tired could be part of the problem as well.  Definitely dealing with the variety of things is finally catching up with me.

However, there is a solution and I LOVE the solution!  The brain is a muscle and muscles need exercise and training for any endurance activity.  I have to practice more.  I wonder if I can get a doctor’s prescription for this.  Marjay can’t come to work this week as she needs to participate in some therapy to get her reading brain back at a normal reading levels.   Or maybe I need to build endurance another way. I could take breaks of 15 minutes every hour to practice reading.  That might be harder to accomplish while working.  I can see the note now.  Marjay needs to leave her students alone  for 15 minutes every hour while she reads in peace.  Yeah - not happening!

I guess I better go practice some more.

 

Books this week

Sugared by Jamie Farrell

Jackson’s Trust by Violet Duke

Brotherhood of Death by JD Robb

The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery

The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffith

Rereading

Another vacation week has slid by with remarkable speed and it is off to work I go tomorrow morning bright and early.  This vacation has been quite different for me.  I did read but it was different this time.   I did not have a reading list.  I usually do.  I did not have a stack of to-reads as I usually do.  

I do not often reread books.  To me, each new story and new characters really make my reading more enjoyable.  However, with my mother’s death and the subsequent arrival of my family what I needed changed.  This week I reread a portion of a series of books by Kristen Ashley called Colorado Mountain Series.  I found I needed something known yet unknown.  I have not read the books in order before and some I read several years ago, so this series was good for me to reread.

I realized when I was reading how much I do like the familiar.  I was not bored and wanted to keep reading even though I knew how the book ended.  I guess I should have realized as I prefer in general to read books that end happily ever after.  For me this was another discovery, I always thought that there were only a few books I would reread, but I was wrong.  I guess there is a wider range of books I would reread.  

The series I reread was Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley

The Gamble

Sweet Dream

Lady Luck

Breathe

Jagged

Kaleidoscope


This year the last book, Bounty in this series should come out in April. I guess I am ready for the new book.

Becoming a reader

Who taught you how to love books and reading?  For me, it was my family specifically my Mom.  She made sure that there were always books in our homes.  When we were small, the books were at our level.  She did not care if we drew in them or treated them poorly.  She did not care if we could read them or had them memorized.  She wanted us to be readers.  

I did not read until halfway through first grade.  Mrs. Ames and Mom talked about how I had to stay back because I was not reading at all.  Somehow over Christmas break, I magically learned how to read.  When I went back to school, Mrs. Ames called Mom and congratulated her on all her work getting me reading.  Mom told her that she had not done anything, I was just ready.  

My Mom died a few days ago.  She read serious books, full of meaning and information.  She loved learning and wanted to always learn more.  There were books stacked up in our home, in corners and crevices. There were piles around the end of couches, piles on end tables and stacks on desks and chairs.

The tears this week were for the wonderful woman who knew I would read when I was ready.  The woman who didn’t censor my reading, but allowed me free range.  The woman who made sure I had money when I went into the bookstore.  The woman who spent hours trolling through the books with me and thought a good afternoon outing had to include books somehow, someway. The woman who only read books that were full of meaning and serious.

As she descended into the hell of her dementia, reading became a more painful activity.  Slowly she began to read less and less.  I noticed the books she read were ones she had previously read. I noticed she had begun to flip through them instead of reading.  The last couple of years, I was not sure how much she could read and understand, but I always made sure she had a paper and a magazine.  

Mom died this week after a long protracted illness. There were tears and laughter as we took one last road trip with her today, a woman who loved learning and wanted us to be readers.    

A Reading Jag

I have been on a reading jag this week. Emotionally this week has been hard so I have read numerous books to push reality back a bit.  It might not be the best solution, but it is the one I am using.  And let’s face it - we all have ways to destress our lives and beat back the blues.

I reread two of Kristen Ashley’s books about the fictional coastal town of Magdalen, Maine:  Soaring and The Will.  These books are two of my favorite romantic novels of all times.  The main characters are in their late 40s and seem on the surface to be totally unsuitable for each other! Yet somehow they find each other and make a life with love.  The books are longish and they are HOT, bus so good. They are full of hope, love, family and learning to trust and love all over again. There is another book  in this series that I am waiting for about the sheriff in town and I know I can not wait to read it.

I had a series of Netgalley books to read and review.  I have read three ofthem and will work on their reviews this week.  They were so different from each other that each one was able to stand out in their own way.  

No Cats Allowed by Miranda James is the second book in a cosy mystery series about a part time librarian and his Maine Coon Cat.  Murder does follow them and they cannot help themselves by asking way too many questions!  The cast of characters with Diesel (the cat) makes the books a fun read! The book is going to be released Feb 23rd.

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Deborah Macomber was another great read.  The story line was about two women who were cheated on by their husbands (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law).  The pain and struggle was evidenced, but somehow so was the desire for happiness and holding up your head and moving forward.  I do not usually read Deborah Macomber books, but that is an error I can fix now.  The book reminded me of how hard and confusing life and love can be with the wrong person and how wonderful with the right person. It was a PC romance that allowed the positiveness to shine. Another release scheduled for Feb 23rd. 

Ruthless by Gillian Archer may have jumped the line - by a month or so.  It was a fabulous MC book with the True Brother’s MC front and center.  The main characters are Zag and Jessica - their chemistry almost burns your fingers!  As always MC books are not for the weak kneed readers.  Once you read it you will understand why it JUMPED ahead of other books in line. April 12th is its scheduled release date.

Lastly I read two historical romances:  The Gentle Knight and The Viscount Who Loved Me.  Historical Romances are my go to after bad boy romances.  In each book I was a million miles away, which is part of the point of a reading jag!  Ashley York in The Gentle Knight brought me back to the Normandy Invasion and the difficulty of life for a woman, while giving me a love story for the ages.   Julia Quinn brought me the Brigderton Family in The Viscount Who Loved Me.  I read the book originally a few years back, but his edition had a new ending - which was fun.  

A reading jag - by my definition must bring you outside yourself into the world of books.  These books did that when I needed it. Life is not always smooth or makes sense.  Reading brings to me peace.  Happy reading and Happy Valentine’s Day.  

Marjaysreadingblog@gmail.com
martha lawton

Multiple Points of View

I love reading books where you are introduced to more than one point of view.  Especially books where there is a chapter for each character telling his or her own story. I love reading about all the characters’ would’ve, could’ve and should’ve (s).  I think the story becomes a better story with more depth and character analysis.  What is the old expression about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes before judging them?  Recently, I have read three such books with great enjoyment.  Sometimes in life you wish you could turn off other people’s points of view, but in a book it is much more manageable.

Chris Bohjalian uses the multiple points of view in many of his books.  It is especially poignant in his newest book, The Guest Room when you read the matter of fact words of the sex slave’s back-story. It enriches the understanding of motive and drive.  I think it also ups the emotional aspect. 

The Forgotten Room is by three authors:  Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig.  This book added still another twist to the multiple points of views.  Multiple points of views over three different stories all centered around two families and one house.  Each main character tells a story over a series of chapters with the three different times.  Olive lived in the late 1890s, Lucy in the late 1920a and Kate in the 1940s.  Each character has their own narrative about their story.  Together they weave the lives of the grandmother, mother and granddaughter into a powerful drama. While the multiple points of view are over three stories - you can tease out multiple points.

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon is another example.  This book comes out later this month (Feb 23, 2016) and is a page-turner.  Not only do you get multiple points of view - but also one of the views is from an unexpected character. I was surprised at how that affected me within the story!  That extra point of view helped drag me to the edge of my seat in this mystery thriller.  

There are other authors that do this so well that I have not named, but the point remains that I really enjoy reading novels that use that technique.  There is one caveat however; I do not want to buy another book that tells the same story from another character’s point of view.  I want the points of view all mixed in with the story.  

Books I read this week - all thanks to NetGalley!

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon (at least 4 stars)

Hard to Handle by RC Boldt (4 stars)

Hidden Heat by Carla Swafford (4 stars)

Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman (4 stars)

Demographics

Demographics and books do not sound like they go together.  However the Marjay’s Reading Blog facebook page has Demographics.  Who Knew!!!

One set of the demographics show information about where people live who have visited my page. The largest majority of people come from around where I live - Concord, Manchester, Warner, and Bow.  (Just what you would have expected).  The next largest group comes from Illinois with people checking in from Peoria, East Peoria, Chicago and Tazewell.  The third largest group was the one that knocked my socks off - Canada!  There were two groups - one from New Brunswick (Centreville and Fredericton) and Vancouver, British Columbia.  Two people from Shanghai, China have visited here too!  How cool is that! The one town that made me laugh out loud was Wide Awake, South Carolina.  What a great name!  People from Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have visited and my page had been translated into French, Spanish and Indonesian.  

I am in absolute awe of the people who have visited and checked out my facebook page.  I hope they have clicked through to my blog on Simplesite.  It is amazing how me - from a little New England Town – have people from around the world reading my page.  I know I people are probably just exploring new sites, but still how wicked cool is that.  (Sorry - a New Englandism - wicked is another word for very.) I hope people leave me messages about where they are from.  

This book blog has been a slow and steady journey of discovery for me.  I did not know where this was going to take me and each new step has allowed me such joy… Please drop me a line about what you are reading and where you are from.  I would love to hear from you! 

Read this week

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Lauren Willig and Beatriz Williams

Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson (need to write review)

The Millionaire’s Proposal by Janelle Denison (need to write review)

Adult Read

Drake Restrained:  Book 1 in the Drake Series by S. E. Lund (not finished yet)

YA Books

Cutter Boy (Lorimer:Side Streets) by Christy Watson (need to write review)

Elementary Level

Marvin Redpost books #5 (Class President) and #6 (A Flying Birthday Cake) by Louis Sachar

Perfectly Princess:  #5 Blue Princess Takes the Stage by Alyssa Crowne

Writing with stuttering and stopping

Some weeks, words just seem to flow from me when thinking about books and other weeks are more difficult.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing the blog and about books, but some weeks the words seem to stutter and stop with each new thought. This week is one where the words are not flowing.  It is not from the lack of information to share, after all we had the opportunity to meet Chris Bohjalian this week and hear him read from his new book.  

Our book group have heard and meet Chris previously and we enjoyed the experience.  This time was no different.  He was able to share the quirky humor of being an author in places where he was an unknown.  Chris read part of his newest book to us and was kind enough to take questions and sign our books.  There is something so precious about having a book signed by an author to you. The book takes on a new life, becoming not just a  story to curl up and enjoy, but a special gift of a story to you.  I am sure for some people a signed book is not big deal, but for me it is always special.  I have had books signed by a couple of special authors and each time I feel like I’m on top of the world.

Life this week for many people included being snowed in and for many losing heat and electricity.  We were lucky so far north to be snow free this weekend, but that did not stop me from declaring a partial snow day and read for part of Saturday. Chris’s newest book really held my attention and was finished.  I also had to finish the book for our book club.

Writing with stuttering and stopping.

Yet with all that book related stuff happening, I feel stuck.  I can not imagine how a writer manages to write everyday and keep stories moving forward.  So many different plots and twists and settings with all the different ways to resolving conflicts are manufactured by so many people.  How do they work through the block.  Some of told me that they write anyway.  Chris Bohjalian this week reminded us this week that it is easier to edit written work than a blank page.  So following his advice, I am writing none the less.  I hope the meanderings do not stutter and stop like I feel they do.  

This week I read

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Nellie by Cynthia Woolf

Hard to Handle by RC Boldt (review will be in the future)

Winter Reading

In today’s Boston Globe there was an article about how winter and cold weather really cause people to hunker down.  The article suggested a number of different activities and ways to help boost your energy from taking in more sun to planning a fun activity after work with friends. I appreciated reading the article because I hate going out in the cold weather and really miss seeing the sun.  I find myself curling up on the couch earlier than usual and reading a book.  

I am a ‘happily ever after girl’ when it comes to books.  I like knowing that there will be a positive resolution to the story.  I realized that I tend to lean toward cosy mysteries and romance/ romantic thrillers more in the winter.  In the summer I read a wider variety of literature, but not in the winter.  I also noticed that the books I do read in the winter more often than not are set in a warmer place or time of year.  Let’s be real...it is harder to wear a sexy little black dress with high heels when it is snowing or sleeting.

I did however take one of the suggestions.  I am going out on Wednesday with some friends as we go to one of the local independent bookstores to hear Chris Bohjalian speak about his latest book, The Guest Room.  I even have the book sitting in my to be read pile (from the library) and plan on reading it Monday and Tuesday.  We are going to grab a bite to eat before that as well.  I hope that helps kick the winter blues, but realistically I know that I use winter as a time to curl and read - hopefully with one of the cats cuddling nearby.  

This week I read several books on my kindle

The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan

The book comes out in a couple of weeks and I did enjoy it. The review is posted.

Contract to Wed by Holly Bush

Cute HEA with characters from Texas after it became a state.

Sebring by Kristen Ashley

I love this author and was sorry to that this series is done. The review is posted.

Dirty Sexy Saint by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

A fun read by two awesome authors.  It comes out later this week.

Sutherland’s Secret by Sharon Cullen

A historical romance from Scotland - men in kilts - no need to say more.  

The review is posted and it too comes out soon.

Hidden Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

A novella  about the Montgomery Family and their tattoo shop.

Book Boyfriends

The snow has finally found us - granted not much, but enough to declare winter is here.  We have had some nasty cold days as well.  Winter is a great time for reading, mostly because you are able to read for hours at a time where usually very few if any people are going to bother you!  Which is a SCORE, especially if it is snowing and cold at the same time.

For me, this means lying on the couch - head on the arm of the couch with cushions behind my back and a blanket nearby just in case there is a need for an intervention.  There is plenty of light to read by with both the lamp and the window.  It is also wonderful if the cats come up and join you by sleeping near you.  Nirvana has been achieved once a book is being read voraciously while you are stretched out, knowing that you will not be disturbed for hours.

However, the problem with Nirvana is that the peace can be intruded upon unexpectedly.  Last night I was on the couch living vicariously through Kristen Ashley’s book, Motorcycle Man, one of the best of the best biker romances ever!  There was a knock on the door and for a moment - yes - just one - okay maybe more, I thought Tack Allen might be at my door.  That was a wrong guess when I saw the nice clothes and heard him speak about one of the political candidates. He was looking for another apartment, which was lucky for him and left. I was able to get back into reading quite quickly and once again enter the world of Kristen Ashley and Tack, leader of Chaos Motorcycle club.  

This morning, I started a new book by Jayne Ann Krentz - Secret Sisters, I thought about the different main characters between the books and I realized how lucky I was it was not Tack Allen on the other side of the door last night.  Tack Allen would mean that today I would not be able to read about Jack Rayner or tomorrow Clay Kincaid or later this week Brice Sutherland .

While reading, I can have a different hot hero every day.  I can imagine and swoon over the situations they get in and I can leave them up on a pedestal.  Living with one of the heroes of my books would require me to leave the couch to pick up their dirty clothes or cook someone dinner or - horror of all horrors - realize they are just flesh and blood and ordinary.   Thank goodness, I don’t need to have my delusions broken so emphatically!  As long as they stay in their pages, I can obsess over them forever.  

I am going back to reading,  Jack Rayner is going to do something wonderful next … surely he is going to save Madeline somehow!

Reread this week

Mystery Man, Wild Man, Law Man and Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

Read

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

A 'Bookaholic' Resolution

It is the time of year where people have made new resolutions and goals for their life.  Since I am a ‘bookaholic’, mine of course are about books. I think that should be mine is (not are), because I still only have one goal.  I want to keep reading and sharing the fun of reading as well as introduce some great new books with my friends and family.  Goodreads asks that I quantify that number so I chose 200 books.

Now before you go into shock, let me remind you this is the same goal that I have had and met several times, already.  For a while, I actually thought of qualifying it even more.  A couple of different friends have put up these Reading Quests for 2016, requiring you to read certain books or types of books in a variety of genres.  I did consider it and then I got real.

I would cheat...  Well I would.  I really don’t want to have to read specific books that meet an arbitrary criterion.  I would say I did just to get it over with so I could go back to reading the books I love...  I think that makes me a stubborn ‘bookaholic’. Never mind the fact that I have a gazillion unread books on my kindle or stacked in my house and then there is the library with all their lovely books to be borrowed and read. 

I look forward to reading and sharing books with you for another year!  I have been growing my blog by stretching where the information can be found.  So if you are new – Welcome. Stop in and read a while.  Let me know about the fabulous books you are reading as well.

You can find the blogs, and book reviews at the web addresses below.

http://marjay.simplesite.com/

http://marjaystuff.tumblr.com/

www.pinterest.com/marjay7/my-reading-blog/

https://www.facebook.com/marjaybooks?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

New Reviews this week include: (Look Under Dec and Jan)

Thread and Gone by Lea White

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

One White Lie by Jeannette Winters

The Best of Me by Elisabeth Barrett

How to Say Goodbye...

It is time to say goodbye – not to you – but to another series coming to an end – The Unfinished Heroes.  Kristen Ashley is one of the authors I love to read.  I find her books interesting to read with characters that you want to love.  They are strong and determined.  The books are not always a smooth read. There is a rawness and grittiness to her books that some do not like. 

This would be the fifth series she has ended.  {It is really hard – not to say - on me.} The Unfinished Heroes Series are about heroes that are not the typical heroes.  If anything they are anti heroes.  They have their own code and in some cases not the code others would find acceptable (never mind legal). In January her last book in this series comes out - Sebring.  A book I am looking forward to reading. 

I hate ending a series of books. Sometimes it is time and I stop reading them, but some series cannot end – they are intertwined with me in my life. {Eve Dallas for example} Some series get under your skin and the books and characters become a part of your life in such a way that it is hard to let go.  I am sure each of you have authors you like to binge on – you read their books with eagerness knowing that you are going to get another fix on the characters and places you love.  I am thankful for the books I get to read and the authors I love so much – but really – do the series ever really have to end???

 

Some of my favorite serial authors

Katy Regnery – The Blueberry Lane Series (English Brothers, Winslow Brothers, etc)

J.D. Robb – In Death Series with Eve Dallas and Roarke

Susan Mallery – Fool’s Gold Series

Sue Grafton – Alphabet Mysteries – Kinsey Millhone

Jonathan Kellerman – Alex Delaware Novels

Faye Kellerman - Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series

Statistics Don't Measure

Statistics Don't Measure

Goodreads sent me my annual notice about the books I read this year on Friday.  I guess they know how few books most people can read over the holidays with all the activities. According to their record keeping I have read 217 books this year with 63,082 pages.  (Just for your information, it was only in 2013 that I readmore books with 263.)

The shortest book I read was 32 pages and the longest I read this year was 641 with an average length of 314 pages.  I wonder if other people have such a huge range, although I imagine many people who read aloud to small children would have similar short books on their lists.

This year the most popular book I read was The Giver with 1,581,768 readers and the least popular book I read was the Christmas Coal Man with 24 readers. Out of all the books I have read since I joined Goodreads, romance and popular fiction are the two genres that were the highest. I also have read more books on the Kindle followed by borrowing books from the library.  

The one statistic that makes me smile is that the average rating for the books this year was 4.1 stars. I know for many of you - that you will find this a high average, but realistically, I rarely bother to review books that are under three stars.  I figure that the authors work really hard to write books and I should not make it any harder for them, even if I don’t like a book,  After all who I am to be negative about another’s creative endeavour - at least on a site where many many people see it!

What the statistics don’t show you is how reading is still my passion and my escape.  They do not tell you how I have met some of the nicest people while reading.  They do not tell you how I have laughed and cried over the triumphs and sorrows of the characters.  I have curled up on the couch or stretched out in the sun (don’t tell the dermatologist, please) with anticipation or horror.  Books open so many roads and adventures...that is not a statistic that can be measured.

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Jeannie | Reply 18.04.2016 10.04

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

Kathy-CT | Reply 13.04.2016 20.05

According to Pew Research, nearly a quarter of American adults have not read a single book in the past year. How sad! Thanks for picking up the slack!

Ronda | Reply 22.02.2016 15.06

Thank you for sharing the wonderful and personal story about your mother and her effect on you as a reader. May you continue to find comfort in reading.

Jeannie | Reply 17.02.2016 11.51

Books are indeed a comfort as well as welcomed escape! We are lucky to love reading

Pauline | Reply 09.02.2016 10.17

Thank you for opening this style of writing with some fine examples. I never thought about this before.

Jeannie | Reply 10.01.2016 19.35

Loved the trend of this meandering. Can picture it all!

Jeannie | Reply 21.12.2015 18.12

Agreed! Intrigue and escape into other worlds!

Jeannie | Reply 21.09.2015 15.17

Really, Marti! Worth relinquishing books for interesting views like that!
Good to read about men, too, and conjure up our own variations of wonderful.

Jeannie | Reply 26.07.2015 10.59

Marti, this commentary is beautiful, poignant and an affirmation of living one's own life. Moreover, it is beautifully written!! Right to the heart.

Marti 26.07.2015 13.00

Thank you Jeannie.

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Latest comments

18.04 | 10:04

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

...
13.04 | 20:05

According to Pew Research, nearly a quarter of American adults have not read a single book in the past year. How sad! Thanks for picking up the slack!

...
22.02 | 15:06

Thank you for sharing the wonderful and personal story about your mother and her effect on you as a reader. May you continue to find comfort in reading.

...
17.02 | 11:51

Books are indeed a comfort as well as welcomed escape! We are lucky to love reading

...
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