Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.
I went to Cambridge for a conference this week for a couple of days. Clearly, I was an outsider there as I found myself looking around like someone who had come from outer space. I know I saw more people
at the conference in the big auditorium that I do in a normal day! It was my first time near Harvard University and that area of Cambridge. I came back home re-energized for my job, but realizing I was ready for my quiet home. Today, I realized how lucky
I really am. Out my window, the bright spring light makes the snow sparkle while the birds flicker between the tree branches. The quiet is a need of mine, but I had needed to be re-energized.
I was happy
to be at the conference because I was surrounded by people who understand what I do for a living. I found that I have fallen into the 21st century when I actually took pictures of the books I was interested in. In the past I would have written them down
on a list. I guess you can teach an old teacher new tricks. I also took pictures of a couple of slides I wanted to remember. Maybe I am inching out on that limb of change.
Since I went out of my
comfort zone so much this week, I also went off my list for some reading this week. I wanted to read other books that had been building up on my to read list outside of Netgalley. I read some romantic thrillers including some motorcycle club books. I
liked what I was able to read!.
I continue to be grateful to my readers! Last week my marjay.simplesite.com site had over 400 hits. Thank you for all you do!!!
Books read this week:
Genuine Fraud by e. Lockhart
Ride Dirty by Laura Kaye
Playing His Way by Erika Wilde
Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy
Ghost by Daphne Loveling
by Daphne Loveling
But What About Second Winter?
It has been an interesting couple of weeks and that was before I saw the new storm coming our way. Another dose of snow. Now I am not sure what adjective to use. It seems that the meme I have been seeing
on Facebook with the hobbits saying, “We have had one, yes but what about second winter.” really amuses me. (A play on second breakfasts when they were on the journey to Rivendell). Spring ahead with the time, also adds another element to
One of the books I read this week was a five star read! Viola Shipman’s newest book, The Recipe Box was a fabulous story! I found myself reading the book slowly because
I did not want it to end. The book was full of life, love and family. The main character was searching for her place in life, while her mother and grandmother shared special family recipes with her (and the readers) and as they spent the time together
baking, they shared stories. The slogan for the family orchid was pie = love. (Perfect for this next week as Pi Day is Wednesday.) While I am no baker, I know many friends will enjoy the recipes as well as the story.
Netgalley continues to allow me the privilege to read and review Advanced Readers Copies of books and I am quite grateful! Today I noticed that I have reviewed 379 books for them since 2012 an average of 36 books a year. WOW!
I still have a list of 25 ahead of me to read from March to August, so there will be more reviews to come!
I would like to thank all the readers as well. I am averaging about 300 hits per week, which
brings me to approximately 1200 hits a month. I am quite honored. If you haven’t liked my facebook page, please feel free to do so and drop me a line now and again. https://www.facebook.com/marjaybooks/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Mark your calendars for Friday the 16th as Chris Bohjalian will be at Gibson’s Bookstore with his new novel. I am so sorry that I will miss this event. He is a great speaker and I quite enjoy his books.
Books this week:
The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman
Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd
A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman
Thorn by Daphne Loveling (a catch up review from last month)
This week I was on vacation
This week I was on vacation. I love vacations, mostly because I can sleep later - until eight and read later! I am working on a project that includes a lot of cleaning out
and rearranging. It is not easy to get rid of things, after all I might need it again or someone gave it to me. I found I was bribing myself to work some before I could read some. I do have to admit - I read more than I cleaned sometimes
- okay most of the time. I was able to go exploring some “interesting places” with my sister this weekend too, which was fun. Tomorrow is coming quickly, no matter how much I try to ignore it!
Having time off meant I could read lots… Some new reads by some of my favorite people: Ashley York’s newest book Daughter of the King and Katy Regnery’s newest book Fighting Irish. Both books were great and I enjoyed
having the time to read them! Another new book, The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde was a wonderful thriller. It kept me on the edge of my seat! One of the coolest things I do is to read new books, before they are out. I feel so
lucky to have that privilege.
Tonight I feel like I am mourning the loss of time already and it is not even Monday yet. It is a short blog tonight - I have to admit I am in the midst
of Steve Berry’s newest book - Bishop’s Pawn and want to read more before I have to begin the week again.
My heart goes out to the teachers in West Virginia.
Books read this week:
Daughter of the King by Ashley York
Fighting Irish by Katy Regnery
Zander by Maryann Jordan
The Liar’s Girl by
Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Undertaker by Nicole James
Woman Last Seen in her Thirties by Camille Pagan
Runaway Zombee by J. A.
The Marquis and I by Ella Quinn
Kindness of Strangers
I am grateful for the fact there are still good people out there. People who help just because it is needed. Three times in my life, my car has needed help and I have been saved by kind strangers.
This happened yesterday, as I blew a tire in Brattleboro, Vermont. Certainly not something I was expecting, but I swear the pothole jumped in front of me without any warning - and I did not see it! Either way I was waiting for help when a
younger man walked over assessed the situation and proceeded to change my tire to the donut, taught me what all the tools were and how they worked, and found me a garage that could help me get a new tire to get me home. He never told me his name or allowed
me to give him any money. He later checked in to make sure I made it to the garage safely. It is good to know there are kind people who help others because they can.
This week is a vacation
week for me. I am quite grateful. I am tired and ready for a break. Winter vacations are always interesting, for many reasons. I tend to need to sleep a lot this vacation and need to have some quality time with friends and family. My
trip to visit my sister is postponed by a week and I can have a different set of tires put on for the rest of this season and through the summer.
I have to admit, that the recent event in schools
and about teachers has upset me greatly. As a teacher, I will not carry a gun or have one in a school… The politics around this have upset me so much I have read mostly romances this week. I have chosen to bury myself in books this week.
And then to run into a kind stranger to help me - well my belief in humanity has been restored.
Books read this week:
Snake by Lilly
Claiming Felicity by Susan Stoker
The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March
Spiced by Jamie
Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
Fighting Irish by Katy Regnery
Thorne by Daphne Loveling
(to be reviewed)
It has been two years since Mom died. It has been longer since she was “herself” intelligent and vibrant. My sister reminded me of this while I was sitting here missing her. Perhaps part
of the pain came from an email from Elise (guest reviewer and interviewer extraordinaire) about her mom. Perhaps it was from a breakfast meet from an old friend, who spoke about how mom was so alive and full of energy and life.
I think there is no pain like the loss of a parent and yet this year it feels more like an ache of a missing piece of me than pain. I am able to enjoy stories about her more now.
I think the last week’s reading has added to the general malaise. It seems that a mother or a lack of a mother seemed to play into the stories. Some because they were gone and there were unresolved issues and others
that were such a part of the character’s lives. What an ironic set of reads this week!
The Olympics continue to showcase determination and the best of human spirit. The athletes
- most so young with so much riding on each and every choice, run, event. There are so many wonderful stories of work and focus from not just the athletes but their families.
Perhaps poignant or sentimental
is better fit for the week for me, but not for the books. Jonathan Kellerman’s newest Dr Alex Delaware book held me in his hand as the story twisted around with so many unknowns. Kian and The Duke in the Night were romances - one from the past
and one from the present. Rough Ride and Surrender were love stories, but with a thriller, survival element that seemed more important to the story.
Or maybe the fact I am missing
Mom made the roles of mothers more important in the stories and the Olympics and not because the mothers were a key part of the story.
Books read this week:
Surrender by Joan Johnston
A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen
Kian by Melody Anne
Night Moves by Jonathan Kellerman
Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley
Reading brings me pleasure and comfort during the cold, snowy, icy season called winter. I am tired of shoveling and the beauty of the snow is becoming dull almost mind numbing for me. I think the
month of February is the hardest month in winter to survive. It is still dark and dismal, and seems to just keep creeping on. Granted there are some great fun times in February - Spring Training and the Olympics - but it is books that will
help me get through until March!
All three books this week were good: Dark in Death, Judgement Road and About that Kiss. Not all of them are going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but each captured my
attention and took me away from the darkness of this month. I am almost finished reading White Houses by Amy Bloom about Eleanor Roosevelt. The book has caught my attention and made me see the Roosevelts in a very different way. The book is listed
as a novel, but there is historical evidence that Lorena Hickok was Eleanor Roosevelt’s lover. The book is a marvel.
The next book is Jonathan Kellerman’s Night Moves. I am quite looking
forward to hearing Alex and Milo as they once again bring me on a journey of murder (most foul). After that I have a couple of romances both historical and present day. This month will pass with great reading!
I hope that you all are finding ways to pass the cold the icy days of February. I try to live in the moment, but during this period, I find myself wishing for warmth and spring!
Books Read this week
Dark in Death by J.D. Robb
Judgement Road by Christine Feehan
About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis
White Houses by Amy Bloom
Night Moves by Jonathan Kellerman
List for Amara
This week one of my nieces wrote me and asked me for my five favorite books of this past year… I actually panicked for a moment… What books did I read this year and pick only five? Then
I became thankful for GoodReads and the organization that they offer to help me list and rate many books.
For me it is hard to choose - just five and favorite books for someone else, after all, not everyone
likes the same genres I do. However, I wanted to answer her question because I had read some fabulous books this year. I first started with all the top starred reviews and then I had to decide who would like it - would she… So I hemmed
and hawed and finally came up with a list for her.
I realized while I was doing this how personal reading is and how each different book will pull some people in and push others away. Each time,
I offer a suggestion, I find I need to know what people like before I can help. I also realized how some authors have me so firmly in their hold that I buy and read everything they write, so maybe I should just give authors, but then I realized even
the greatest among them have books that are less than stellar. That was no solution. Another issue for me is that I read books from a variety of ages: picture books all the way up to adult only books. So which books do I give??
Despite or in spite of all the questions that flooded my mind, I came up with a list that does not include some of my favorite authors and a couple of my favorite genres, but the list wasn’t for me….
The List for Amara
The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe
The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace
Allie and Bea by Catherine
The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve
The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman
Home for the Summer
by Holly Chamberlin
Books that the other family members might enjoy.
The Breadwinner by Deborah
Ellis (Middle School - MS)
Tracker’s Canyon by Pam Withers (MS)
Survivors Club by Michael Bornstein (MS/YA)
List of Cages by Robin Roe (Young Adult - YA)
The GIrl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry (YA)
Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone (YA)
Life by Cynthia Ryland (Picture Book)
The Yellow Star by Carmen Agra Deedy (PB)
Expanding the Comfort Zone
Sometimes people have to try something outside their comfort zone, or so I have been told. There are hundreds of quotes about doing things outside your comfort zone. Some of them suggest that you can not
grow if you do not stretch while others suggest that life is outside your comfort zone. I am a comfort zone person. I am comfortable reading the same genres, going to the same places, hanging out with the same people and even living in the same place.
I do not feel the need to climb mountains (like a some of my family, who I love). I don’t really feel the need to go to new places and to constantly be onto new things.
I am not saying
that I do not like to be creative and I love exploring new designs and colors. I love enjoying conversations with new people, finding new authors, putting things together in new and different ways. I am willing to move and change with the ups and
downs of life, sometimes even willingly, but I do not think I need to leave my comfort zone as much as other people do. I am mostly happy with my cluttered life with an occupation that brings me joy, hobbies that allow me to create and friends and family
that love me.
This week I read a novel out of my preferred genre. It was a well researched novel about Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters. Yup, nonfiction (and LONG). Definitely, out of the
normal range of historical fiction, historical romances, romances, cosy mysteries and thrillers. I often read historical information about people and I am always interested in finding out cool new facts ( I know - a bit of a geek here), but a whole book
I have to admit, I was fascinated at times with Jefferson’s Daughters. I actually enjoyed the book. So much that I am lined up to read another similar book next month as well. I am not
sure other people would consider this is truly expanding my comfort zone, but I am pretty sure I have.
Books read this week
Alone by Kristin Hannah
Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison
More of Less a Marchioness by Anna Bradley
Whiskey Secrets by Carrie Ann Ryan
By the Book by Julia Sonneborn
Living a good life
Winter in New Hampshire is a time to read and shovel and read and shovel again. Sometimes there are these days where the weather is warmer and you can glory in the beauty, but for me it feels mostly like snow
and shoveling. Luckily shoveling falls on my “I don’t mind” chore list most of the time mostly because this year’s storms have brought me the blessed snow days!
days are blessed for a couple of reasons, I can stay mostly in my pjs and I do not have to drive anywhere. Now granted I do get out of my pjs when it is time to shovel, but I am good with going back inside afterward and putting them back on when the
shoveling is done. I am lucky in that shoveling only includes the stairs and deck as well as around my car. The plow guy takes care of the rest. I also love knowing that I can stay home all day without anyone having any expectations I will show
Snow days are made for Professional Development and for emails and contacts with parents. I do spend the time following through on my duties, but it also gives me some “found” time
to read. The biggest benefit for snow days is reading in my pjs with no expectations or having to go anywhere! What a true gift - hunkering down with a hot beverage, a book and time to read.
I know I read a lot and people constantly are surprised by the fact that I read so much. I am a bookworm first and the rest of my life falls behind! That is my idea of a good life - with some snow days and beach days thrown in. Oh and the cats
BTW - I am reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - it is fabulous so far!!!
Books Read this Week:
Whiskey Secrets by Carrie Ann Ryan
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
Curses, Boiled Again by
A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (OMG)
Three Day Weekends
Three day weekends are a gift from the gods. Weekends for many working families mean at home chores such as laundry, recycling, vacuuming, groceries and other chores. The two days of stuff to do with
a three day weekend allows one day to catch up on other things. AND as we all know - reading is what I am going to chose to do! Although realistically, I need to spend part of my day working on organizing and more cleaning out of “stuff”.
Yesterday, I finished the newest Jayne Ann Krentz book and really enjoyed the quirky characters! Today I read A Duke in Shining Armor, a fun historical romance. What is next? I don’t know…
I mean I have a number to choose from. There are over 2000 books on my kindle, twenty-five for NetGalley, and a couple of library books that need to be read. Never mind the books that are stacked in different places that are unread. I
am just not sure the genre I am going to read tomorrow, maybe one of the five I have left to read for the month (Jefferson’s Daughters) or one of the library books (Murder for the Books) or just one I have wanted to read (Whiskey Secrets).
Today I finished the recycling and the laundry is done, but not put it away. Dishes are closer to done than not and I spy my kitchen floor, which could use a washing. Perhaps that will be finished, but in reality
I really want to read! Might be time to pull out the bribery read… (chapter - chore - chapter - chore)
I think I want to read either Whiskey Secrets and Murder for the Books… maybe
Books read this week:
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
A Duke With Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
The Secret of Flirting by Sabrina Jeffries
Reluctantly Royal by Gillian Archer
Executive Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan
Reading new releases
Happy New Year Everyone!!! Thanks for starting the new year with my blog!
I love that
we are now in January, mostly because it is slowly becoming lighter longer. I am happiest when I am not going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. The fact that this next week is going to warmer also is making me really happy!!
I have really enjoyed having Elise Cooper join me with her interviews of various authors! This week she interviewed Jayne Ann Krentz, one of my favorite
authors. I have read all of her books whether she writes as Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle! I always feel her characters are dynamic and sometimes quirky (which I love). I was so excited to read the interview, especially
since I am on the waiting list from the library for her newest book Promise Not to Tell.
Every month or so I spend time looking ahead to the new releases that may or
maynot catch my attention. There are such huge lists of books coming out. Between Book Page, Net Galley, Good Reads and following my favorite authors; the list is often long and complicated between those I have to read by a certain date and those
I can not read until a certain date. (The color helps me with that.)
I am concerned about whether I can read that many books in a month… and sometimes I can’t but reading is supposed
to be fun and not onerous. So what is - is what is...
Meanwhile, what is on your list… I would love to hear from you!
The English Wife by Lauren Willig
The Killing Season by Faye Kellerman
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
My To Read List
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp 1/2
Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz (note the interview this week by Elise) 1/2
Whiskey Secrets by Carrie Ann Ryan 1/2
Out in January
Reluctantly Royal by Gillian Archer 1/16
Tempt Me by Carly Phillips 1/16
View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble 1/23
Watch Me by Jody Gehrman 1/23
About that Kiss by Jill Shalvis 1/23
Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery 1/23
Jefferson's Daughters 1/30
A Devil In Scotland by Suzanne Enoch 1/30
Curses Boiled Again by Shari Tandal l1/30
Executive Ink by Carrie Ryan Hyde
Dark in Death by JD Robb
See you in the new year
As I count my blessings this Christmas season (Can you tell I watched White Christmas recently?), I realize all of you - who read my blogs and reviews are a blessing for me. I am able to share my love and
thoughts of books and life with you weekly and I am grateful for your continued support.
This week there is no blog… Just my gratitude.
There is a new interview by Elise Cooper with Laura Griffin with two of her new books. I have to admit I love Laura Griffin’s Tracers Series and I am going to have to seriously read her Alpha Crew Series!
There are some new reviews up as well - some short Christmas novellas and the newest book by Kristen Ashley - the Hookup.
Thank You. See
you in the new year!
Love, Hope and Peace
This will be my last blog until after Christmas. I am working, helping out a friend, heading to see my sister and other various adventures until after Christmas. I wish for you and your family love, hope
and peace for this season!
This last weekend, my family celebrated together - no presents, no fancy food, but time together with pizza, cards and lots of laughter. More and more it is times like
these that I cherish. There are no expectations, no worries beyond trying not to take any tricks in cards. There is sharing and laughter and love - lots of love.
I have found myself becoming
more dismayed by the constant negative comments, name calling, hateful speech that people are throwing out and politics. This weekend, however reminded me I am not alone and that there are others feeling the same. I loved the warmth of love of everyone
and it filled me with hope. Not just for me, but for the family and the future. I am not sure why it filled me with hope, but it did.
As I get older, I understand the importance
of time shared over other expressions of love. I am looking forward to some reading time, seeing the new Star Wars’ Movie and spending time shared with my family.
This week I read..
A MC series of books: Rush, Crash, Ride and Stand by Daphne Loveling (as well as a prequel Stone)
Countdown to Midnight by Katy Regnery (not written up
Single Dad on Top and Single Dad plus One by JJ Knight (not written up yet)
The Spirit of Giving
To me, this time of year needs to be filled with gratitude, kindness, and the spirit of giving. Tom Egelhoff wrote in 12/2/15 that...
"The true spirit of giving is doing for others with no expectation of gain. It might be a gift you bought, one you made, or the gift of time or volunteer to benefit others. Giving means different things to different people and that's how it should be.
Giving is an emotion.Giving is an emotion. It’s not logical."
I would suggest that in these times we must show the spirit of giving. In this last year, we have had hurricanes, huge forest fires,
snowstorms, heavy rains and winds. People have lost everything, yet we continue to build, grow and hope. People are struggling to do with less in a world where we are shown more and more.
Gift of the Magi by O Henry is one of my favorite Christmas stories. A story that highlights how two people wanted to give the best gift ever to the other, but in order to do this they had to sell their prize possessions. It is only then that they
realize the greatest gifts are not things but the willingness to give up all for the other.
While I do not expect anyone to give up everything for another. I think we can show more of
the true spirit of giving with each other, with our family and our community.
This week, there are reviews, interviews and a blog. Please enjoy reading. I wish for you the spirit
Generosity of Spirit
Welcome to the most wondrous time of the year. A time when we all think we hear sleigh bells, carolers, and the ho ho ho of Santa. What we really all need to keep in mind is that the anxieties this
time of year are also ringing in people’s ears. The worry of money, extra bills, darker nights, too much food and alcohol, longer working hours for many people, and the buildup of excitement all lead to difficulties this time of year for many people.
This week I ran smack dab into that and needed reminding of the importance being kind to people. There are many generous spirits during the holidays, but we hold the keys to our own happiness with love, kindness and generosity of spirit.
Perhaps that is what has allowed me to read more this week. The allowance to myself of the generosity of time.
This week I fell into a couple of romances, and a book about woman and friendships. The
romances were fun, one historical and the other modern day, but the slower moving novel of friendship was what reminded me of generosity of spirit. The novel followed four women through college (at Smith, no less) and the first four years of their life
after college. In any place where there is a difference of lifestyles and belief systems, there is going to be conflict, harsh words spoken, and the need for generosity to move beyond the moment. Perhaps that is what is meant with something I read
a long time ago - reminding us to be gentle with each other.
This week, I am going to be gentle with others, but also myself. We are often much harder on ourselves that others are on us. It is easier to
believe badly about ourselves than not. OH and be being gentle with myself, I hope that means more reading.
Binging on Netflix
Binging on Netflix
I have had a week of family and cleaning. Cleaning for the family and then enjoying the family. Having a major cleanout before a
holiday is always cleansing. You wouldn’t believe the number of books I found stacked in the extra room! I thought I had done so well to get rid of a lot of them, only to find just as many stashed in corners, on end tables and in piles.
I already had a stash of books already piled up to give away and was feeling pretty accomplished to be so organized. Until I found more and more books in every crack and crevice. Suddenly, my accomplishment
wasn’t such a big deal.
Meanwhile, my book count is almost non-existent. I finished one book and enjoyed it, but I admit the bigger problem is that I have been binging on Netflix.
Mostly I found a new series called Longmire… What’s not to love... Tall, taciturn, western sheriff and deputy - murders and mayhem. The problem - my reading time is severely compromised. Even now when once I finish
this I could be reading - I am still binging.
The Book I did successfully read was Knight Treasures by C.C. Wiley (not reviewed yet).
part of a two part interview with John Douglas about his bestselling book and Netflix original series.
Throw Kindness around like Confetti
Throw kindness around like confetti…
Cultivate kindness. What a wonderful idea! I wish it could be one that more people adopt. This
is the season to give thanks and show gratitude. To me showing kindness is showing gratitude for others, even those who are less than kind, or act in a mean spirited way. They need even more kindness.
One of the reasons I read so many Happily Ever After books is because there is almost always a person who is kind and caring, or wacky and wild, but kind or strong, full of wisdom and kind. Mostly one of the main characters is kind. She or he
find something nice in everyone and are willing to give people a break and be kind. To me they are the role models most of us should be.
Let’s face it - it is hard to always be kind. Too many
people have so many struggles in their lives that it is hard to show kindness when they are just crawling through the day. Some people struggle with kindness, because they are always suspicious of people taking advantage of others. Still others cannot
show kindness because they are so unhappy and discontent. Our world is not an easy place. There is so much me vs them or similar attitudes. I find myself becoming almost becoming jaded by the hate in the world. So I am going to cultivate
I will throw my kindness around like confetti and hope it sticks to people. I will show kindness to people who cut me off in traffic or don’t use blinkers. I will show kindness
to telemarketers (mostly by not answering the phone). I will endevour to be patient and kind standing in line and show kindness even when the child in front of me throws a tantrum. All situations that increase blood pressure and cause people to
lash out or react negatively.
Buddha, I am not, but I can try….
Books I read this week (* or read previously and I
am catching up)
Complicated by Kristen Ashley
Twelfth Night with the Earl by Anna Bradley
Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
*Knox by Christie Ridgway (book 4 of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
James by Roxanne St Claire (book 5 of Seven
Brides for Seven Brothers)
Max by Lynn Raye Harris (book 6 of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
Finn by Jo Ann Ross (book 7 of Seven Brides for Seven
*Truly Madly Whiskey by Melissa Foster
*Wilde in Love by Eloisa James