Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.
Oh My Aching Feet
Once in a while, I help out a friend in her business. The things I have learned...
Let it go - the rudeness, weirdness, and craziness.
Good shoes are a necessity.
Patience for indecision is important.
A strong short term memory is really helpful.
Sometimes it is easier for the customer to be right.
Tonight, as I sit here with my aching feet up (and resting),
I am very grateful for people who help others from food preparation and serving, customer service to people centric workers (nursing etc). It is a surprise to me that not all people recognize other people’s efforts. I think that too often people are
overlooked as they help the rest of us. I hope everyone takes some time this week to thank others.
This week reading was done in short pieces.
As the holiday season explodes with so many things to accomplish, my reading time shortens considerably. (As it does for many people). I hope that as you stand in lines, have a bite to eat, or accomplish a myriad of other tasks, you can appreciate
everyone’s hard work to make the season happen.
Elise has sent along two wonderful pieces - a book review (Into The Night by Sarah Bailey)
and an author interview (Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower).
My Reviews this week
(Lord of Carnage #8) by Daphne Loveling
A Secret Christmas (Chase Family #8) by Lauren Royal
Oscar, Gizzie and the Holiday Lights
Happy Hanukkah to friends! Happy Holiday Season to all.
I love the lights and glitter of this season. Perhaps the greatest gift we receive
during these dark days where we go to work in the dark and come home in the dark are those lights. They light up the dark and dreary days and help me find my way forward. It is the holiday season and to many a time of stress and more. It is hard to maintain
a positive attitude when so many of life’s struggles seem to find their voice in the dark. So let the bright lights and glitter allow us to see the gloriousness of the world while the earth is so shadowed. And hopefully read some great stories.
I was able to read a number of books this week, but did not have a chance to write them all up. It has been busy for me and the writing of review fell behind. We have had some bad weather - like most of the
US and reading is a wonderful way to pass the time - between shoveling. The cats are staying in more often and Gizzie has actually allowed herself to cuddle with Oscar and I. They are so quick to jump away when I wiggle, but purr so loudly when they
are all situated!
Elise has an excellent review this week by Karna Small Bodman with her new book, Trust But Verify. A book that bring political intrigue and suspense to the White
House. I know after reading the review, many of you might wish to read the book. The title alone catches attention!
I read the next book in the Wind River Valley series and once again found Lindsay
McKenna’s portrayal of our service people who return with PTSD poignant. She seems to understand only too well the daily struggle of many coming back into the US while living with flashbacks, nightmares and the permanent horror of war. To
me, each story reminds me how much our men and women in uniform do for us and how little we do for them.
Books read this week:
To Woo a Wicked Widow by Jenna Jaxon
The Girl with the Make Believe Husband by Julia Quinn (review to come)
Home to Wind
River by Lindsay McKenna
Count all Her Bones by April Henry (review to come)
And currently reading:
A Secret Christmas (Chase Family #8) by Lauren Royal
It Gets Dark Too Early
This is not my favorite season, when it gets dark so early and the weather starts to get cold and nasty. Luckily, Thanksgiving helps break it up and it was a wonderful way to end the week. I love having
time to spend with my sister and my nephews. I don’t even mind the drive as much as I used to, perhaps because I know the road so well at this point. My sister and I were able to binge watched part of season one of Designated Survivor and my nephews
taught us new games from Jackbox. Oh and the food was delicious!
I am on a HEA (happily ever after books) reading jag right now! I read romances with HEA when I need escapism. I didn’t consciously
realize I needed it until I realized I was searching out more of them to read. I do not like the dark coming early. I feel closed in and a bit trapped. I miss going out and sitting in the sun on the deck. I use reading HEA as a way to make to the dark
This year, another way I am trying to get through the dark season is feeding the birds at school. The students and I have six feeders that we are using just outside one
of our windows. We are learning the names of the various birds and recognize so many. We also have some fine fat squirrels (We are hoping one of the Red Tail Hawks comes by for the dinner.). My favorite are the woodpeckers especially the male Red Bellied
This morning the weather was slippery and nasty, so I stayed on the couch with the two furballs. Having some extra time to just relax and enjoy the quiet was also special. I hope all
of you had special times as well.
This week, Elise Cooper sent in a review on War Animals. I added a new page called holiday books with two books added to the page already. I will be looking for others
to add. I think it is fun to read books about Christmas during the Christmas season.
I hope each of you finds the beauty, love and hope of the season. Wishing you an excellent week.
Books Read this week:
The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor
The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Lady Osbaldestone and the Missing Christmas Carol by Stephanie Laurens
Whiskey Undone by Carrie Ann
What a Widow Wants by Jenna Jaxon
To Woo a Wicked Widow by Jenna Jaxon
Count All Her Bones by April Henry
It is the season for thankfulness. Some of my friends have started their 30 days of thankfulness on Facebook. Others have put images with thankful messages up on line. I have many things to be grateful
for. Not the least is the thanks I need to send out to all of you! Readers and supporters have helped make my dream of a blog about books come true! I am in awe of the sheer numbers that visit each month and am ever so grateful for your visits
and words of support.
I have always used reading to regulate my life. I read when I am happy, bored, sad, anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. I read when I have extra time or can’t sleep. I read
when I have any time and especially now with the kindle, I can read everywhere. I would prefer to read, to almost any other activity.
I have found some wonderful authors and new series thanks to Net
Galley and am alway glad to share the reviews of books with you. I try to never subject you to books that I did not like! I have written back to publishers and explained my misgivings. However this week, I am breaking one of my own rules and have included
a book that I normally would not have included. I am hoping others find it more interesting than I did.
I am thankful for Elise Cooper. I feel her contribution to the blog has helped it grow and become better.
Every week she shares with us a new interview with a current author. This week she has surprised us with a wonderful interview with Louisa Cannon, a nanny and amatuer slueth from the writings of Jessica Fellowes as well an interview with Jessica
Fellowes. I am sure you will enjoy it as I did.
I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving and a day of love and joy.
Books read this week:
Ancient Nine by Ian K Smith
More or Less A Temptress by Anna Bradley
Ice on Fire: Knights of Silence by Amy Cecil
Wish Upon A Duke by Erica Ridley
Private Princess by James Patterson and
An Interview with Jessica Fellowes by Elise Cooper
A Character Interview with Louisa Cannon by Elise Cooper
Veteran's Day and other thoughts
Tomorrow is the day we honor veterans with Veteran’s Day. Thank you to all who have served and are serving. Your willingness to help
defend our country and go in danger’s way is much appreciated by many.
It has gotten colder here. I have started to pull out all the hats, mittens and other warm weather supplies. It
is always a surprise how quickly it seems to go from the beautiful reds and oranges of fall to the greys and browns of late fall. Luck has been with us as we have only had flurries, especially since I need new tires before snow flies.
With no baseball, I have had plenty of time to read, while still staying on top of my school work. The books this week have been a mixed bag: a thriller, a MC romance, a cowboy romance and a popular fiction author. Face
Off by Brenda Novak was a suspense thriller with a serial murder in the woods of Alaska. Ice and Hannah were both love stories, one with MC and one with cowboys. Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult was a piece of fiction that addressed the controversial subject
of abortion. All the books were good in their own way, but the Jodi Picoult book has not left my mind since I finished. I liked the different way Jodi Picoult wrote her book with the story line going backward. She starts at the climax and works her way
backward through the story hour by hour. The number of characters stories also made the book fascinating. I left the book with more questions than answers. Sometimes that is good - to look at a controversial subject from many points of view.
For those of who read Julia London, Elise has a great interview for you and her book Seduced by a Scot.
Books this week:
Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Ice: Knights of Silence #1 by Amy Cecil
Hannah by Chris Keniston
Face Off by Brenda Novak
The Ancient Nine by Ian K Smith
and please vote
Last night the clock “fell’ back an hour and I was gifted with an extra hour of sleep. It was a luxurious morning to get up and read for a while, meet a dear friend for brunch and then do some
chores before reading some more! I love days like this and am so relaxed after spending such a day. It didn’t hurt that the howling wind made the day look much more blustery than what it really was even though the sun was shining. I did have a
blanket to snuggle in and the two cats deigned to join me. How delightful a day.
I have read a lot of romance this week and found it soothing. My apologies
to those who want to like other genres better. Elise has put together an excellent interview with T.M. Logan and his debut thriller, Lies. I loved reading this book and Elise’s interview with the author reminds me how good the book was!!! I look
forward to reading his next book. I am presently reading Jodi Picoult’s newest book, Spark of Light and find myself immersed in the story line and the interesting parallels between the main characters. As always, her storyline while compelling
is controversial and timely. Next week, the review will be up. There is also a wonderful YA read Girl, Stolen by April Henry that will hold you right on the edge of your seat and remind you what true courage looks like.
I am looking forward to my phone being quiet after Tuesday. I will be glad to not hear political ads with their negativity and noise. I urge everyone to vote (if you haven’t
already). Tuesday night, I will be doing my civic duty of voting and then hanging around to count the votes. In my small town, we vote with paper ballots and then after the election in a time honored tradition, count the ballots by hand. It is done with
people counting and checking both watching the others to keep everything above board. I always bring my own number 2 Ticonderoga pencils nicely sharpened to help tally. It is a powerful reminder that every vote matters and counts.
Books this week
Girl, Stolen by April Henry
My One and Only
Duke by Grace Burrowes
Kiss of a Duke by Erica Ridley
Rescuing Emily by Susan Stoker
Ends by Kristen Ashley
Spark of Light by Kristen Ashley
Light in Darkness
It is with a sad heart that I write this blog today. All week, I have heard incident after incident about violence against people. I have heard people say how much the other person has caused it -
without taking their ownership of their own part. I am heartsick by the escalating violence perpetuated by the hatred in the our society. I work hard to teach students to listen to each other and accept other people’s perspectives, but it is that
same something that is missing in our society. My sympathies are with the people of the Pittsburgh and the people of the Tree of Life Synagogue.
week I, as well as a lot of New England, have been focused on the Red Sox. I am pretty sure the World Series has taken on a life of its own. As you know I have been gifted with the writing of Elise Cooper. She adds weekly to the blog with guest
reviews and author interviews. I am glad of her work on the blog and I am honored that I can call her a friend. She is backing the Dodgers. I have enjoyed our repartee back and forth about the games. I am sorry however, she cheers for the Dodgers. Elise
and I might live two very disparate lives, yet we can bond over our mutual love of books and sharing them with people! Together we are stronger with our goals then we are apart. To me, it is relationships with various people that allow us to grow, adapt,
understand and celebrate life. Thank you Elise.
This week between innings and before games I have been reading like crazy. I must admit most of
the books fall into my preferred genre of romance with or without the thriller addition. I hope that you all have a chance to check out the reviews, Elise’s author interview and guest review….
Books read this week:
Home to Honeymoon Harbor by JoAnn Ross
Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross
Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman
Stroke of Luck by PJ Daniels
When You Find Me by PJ Vernon
Stuck in Manistique by Dennis Cuesta
What a week! The Red Sox have won the pennant of the American League! Without baseball being a constant companion, I found I had more time to read! Amazing isn’t it!
Luckily, the Sox ended the series early with the Astros. Next comes the World Series between the LA Dodgers (Elise is cheering for them) and the Red Sox(my favorite of all times)! It will be interesting how this goes…
There may be another week of few books, but then books can then again be more easily consumed!
This week, romance ruled the reads. There were two historical and two modern romance stories. Winter
Cottage was a love story as well, but there were other story lines as well to follow, like old mysteries and unknown parentage. Secrets are almost always part of stories. I find it fascinating that so many stories are all about secrets. I guess secrets
are a big part of being a person. We hold some parts of us back, so we do not feel so exposed. Sometimes, it could be because we are embarrassed or other times we are ashamed. In stories, of course the hero or heroine eventually forgive the other for
keeping the secret. At times, the when the secret eeks out, the significant other does not understand why it has become such a huge concern for the other. I find those secrets much more interesting, because we sometimes build things up so much that they
overwhelm us and leave us frozen, unable to move forward or trust again.
I wish for you lots of great reading this week. Next week perhaps the World Series will be over… Sorry
Elise.. GO SOX
Books read this week:
A Ladies Escape by AS Fenichel
Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor
Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber
The Rancher by Kate Pearce
Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley
When You Find Me by PJ Vernon
The Eyes Have It
I have thought a lot about vision the last few weeks. I work with students who struggle to read and often tell me the letters look different to them. I grew up in a family where glaucoma and macular
degeneration have occurred with the older generations. Even my younger sister has had a battle with her eyes. Except for my glasses, my eyes have been fine.
I am not sure when it happened, but suddenly
I am in the “older generation”. Just as suddenly, I am now in a whole new world, I have an appointment with a specialist next month as a diagnosis of narrow angle glaucoma. It is not a happy diagnosis for various reasons, but it is entirely
curable with today’s technology. It has made me rethink how important my eyes are to me and how much I depend on them on a daily basis. I love reading books and watching my Sox. I drive daily to work, love to create art with various pieces of old
china and patterns and teach others to read. I love to watch the birds at my feeders and enjoy the various wildlife I see. What a different world I would live in without sight.
I think about how hard it
was for my relatives with their diagnosis. They struggled with so much of life especially with how hard it was for them to depend on others for help. Knowing your family genetics with eyes is one thing, but now knowing that you are going to start
a similar struggle is another issue. My hope and strength is my younger sister. She had the same diagnosis and underwent treatment and has not has a struggle since then. I am holding on to that string right now with both hands.
Thanks again to Elise Cooper for covering for me last week!!!! I really appreciated her guest blog, so I could focus on the Warner Fall Foliage Festival.
Books read this week
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis
Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery
Just This Once by Mira Lyn Kelly
Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor
Guest Blog by Elise Cooper
The Ancient Nine by Ian Smith is based on his time as a Harvard student in the 1980s. Readers might think of a fraternity, where male students
rush to join, in this case it is called “punched.” As with fraternities there is hazing, sexism, and underage drinking. But these “final clubs” are not fraternities but are really secret societies that have been in existence since the
1700s, with many of the rules of its members very archaic.
Harvard University conjures up images of a very prestigious and exclusive
school whose acceptance rate is only 5.2% of its applicants. Within the surrounding million dollar mansions are privileged all male clubs. Smith told how pressure is put on these clubs to integrate.
They have allowed token blacks, Jews, and Hispanics, but not women. Because these groups are not associated with the University it claims its hands are tied. What they have done is to prohibit any student
who has participated in these clubs from holding leadership positions in student government, refusing them any recommendations for scholarships, and not permitting them to be a captain on any varsity team. Unfortunately, the faculty and alumni are pushing
back saying it is a violation of free association rights.
The character Spenser Collins is actually the fictional personality
of Smith, while his friend Dalton Winthrop is a compilation of people that he knew at Harvard. As in the book, he recounts how he received an invitation while a sophomore that was slipped under his door. Only
ten to twenty students are chosen out of an original invitation to 250 students. Founded in the nineteenth the Delphic Club has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members. It is a who’s who with members
from the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, and Kennedys.
Smith explained, “Spenser is me.
I was raised by a single mom, from a working-class family, pre-med, and played basketball. I never heard of the Delphic Club, but found out that it was more of a microcosm of a country club.
Members are able to have lifelong interactions and engagements. Members get access to some of the most powerful people in this country, are a part of the inner circle, and are able to network.”
The fictional part comes into play after Spenser in researching the club’s past, learns that a Harvard student, Erasmus Abbott, vanished in 1927 after attempting to break
into the Delphic Club. Spenser decides to investigate, and the path to the truth, of course, proves perilous. A club within a club is the Ancient Nine. It is even more secretive, this shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute.
The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger.
Considering that the book details graphic scenes of what should be considered sexual abuse it is a surprise that someone has not come out against these men who appear to have had a MeToo Movement
moment. A scene in the book, at the end of an offsite ritual, pledgers are presented with a group of beautiful women, wearing nothing but high heels, who stand waiting to “entertain”
them. Smith noted, “I think the MeToo Movement focused on guys who used their power to suppress and manipulate women. They abused their power and harassed women.
They should be taken down. But what happened in the Clubs are just bad relationships and guys doing some bad things, which has happened for 1000’s of years.
I would not shut the door on a woman coming out and saying ‘I was at this party and this happened to me.’”
Harvard and Cambridge are characters in the book. “I wanted to write how the location plays an important role. Harvard has its own brand and own
assumptions people make about it. There are images, visions, and beliefs. I had the characters interact with the campus and its surroundings.
I purposely sprinkled some history of the University as readers get to know this character, Harvard.”
wants readers to get out of it, “These are independent clubs with their own land, own mansions, and is not part of the University. The problem is the University does not own these clubs so there is no official link with it.
I hope people think about what goes on behind closed doors. The time has come for these clubs to be open and the exclusion should be eradicated.”