Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Fear confines you...

Every week I get so excited to tell you all about a new book or new things happening with books and then a week like this happens.  I often have a topic all lined up with some humor or angst involved.  This week I have not been able to think of a thing – not one!  It could be that all my lilies in their various colors were blooming.  There were hummingbirds zipping and fritillary butterflies fluttering in the gardens.   The wrens and sparrows have fledged and they have been all over the yard.  At night the barred owls have been hooting.  And yesterday two red tailed hawks showed their skills right over my head climbing, diving, swooping and skimming over the tops of the trees. The beauty and joy of the summer days gave me great joy.

Just when I gave up all hope, I read not one but two books that were fantastic. Both books will come out this week and are according to me five plus star books.  (Thank You Net Galley) What are the chances I will read two of them back to back in the same week?  Infinitesimal, for sure.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain brought me into Africa – dry and dusty with the onslaught on colonist coming in to take their dream, with them Beryl Markham, Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatten.  Beryl lead a very unconventional life, she was strong and courageous, certainly a woman who was ahead of her times.  Beryl was a horse trainer and a pilot, both of some renown, but mostly she was a woman searching for her life in a world that expects ladies to be Ladies. The book is listed as historical fiction, but is based on the events in her life, including her piloting a plane from England to North America.

The second remarkable book was by Cathy Lamb, called My Very Best Friend. This book is fiction, however that did not make the story any less poignant. Charlotte Mackintosh is a woman of contradictions. She needed to go to Scotland to sell her father’s cottage and is drawn back into the village life she left.  Something she missed tremendously but had no idea.  Along the way she finds her very best friend and learns truths that rip her heart out and help her find her love and future. 

Both books were poignant, happy and sad, all encompassing.  The quote below highlights a lesson that both Beryl and Charlotte learned. We cannot let fear confine us.  We have to take risks to be happy. Something I am still learning.

“We’re all of us afraid of many things, but if you make yourself smaller or let your fear confine you, then you really aren’t you own person at all – are you? The real question is whether or not you will risk what it takes to be happy.” (Location 2221-2223 Circling the Sun by Paula McLain)

Reading Glasses

Reading Glasses

Recently I have had the opportunity to appreciate how easily I can see the letters on most pages. I have a number of family and friends who need to put on reading glasses to read. I have to admit, I might blow up the print on my kindle a little more than others.  I might also admit that my glasses are progressives. I read without my glasses more often then not, especially when I am wearing sunglasses.  I have always enjoyed watching them (family and friends) pass around glasses to read a menu or the back of the book when only one person can find their glasses. After all sharing is caring. I might have even giggled when the purple, pink or whatever wild colors are available are shared around with my brother-in-law or my boss.  Both of which wear them quite well. 

Recently, I waited in line for a customer to find her glasses in her purse – only to borrow a pair – so she could see to use the card machine.  She later realized that the glasses were pushed up on her head – LOL.  All this builds up to one of my favorite stories about my mom.  (This was her birthday this week – 82 years old.) A bunch of years ago, Mom was struggling to read her work while she was working on some research or paper for college. (I think working on her second master’s degree.)  She came running into the room where I was working to demand if I knew where she left her glasses.  With a straight face, I told her I thought maybe they were upstairs near her bed.  She went racing off to look for them and then hollered that they weren’t there.  I suggested she might want to look in the living room.  When she came running down the stairs, she saw a reflection of herself and realized that they had been on her head that whole time.  I laughed hysterically when she realized! She may have shared bad words at a strident level toward me with the discovery, which made me laugh harder!  The best part – it happened more than once. I love you, Mom!  Happy Birthday!

Happy reading with or without glasses this week!

This week’s readings:

Trapped by Scandal by Jane Feather

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio (book group read)

Paper Towns by John Green (student read)

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery.

A New Hope by Robyn Carr

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

Times are a changing....

Times are a changing....

With technology growing in leaps and bounds, book reading is changing.  I have found all sorts of interesting statistics about book reading. 

  • More people read books in April and February followed up by June and July.
  • Typical Americans read 5 books in 12 months.
  • Most people read an hour or less every week.
  • Fiction and juvenile books account for 27% of new books published in 2013.
  • The fastest growing genres are books about music, science and technology.
  • E-book readers read more frequently than print readers  from work to pleasure to current events.
  • When readers are asked about how they prefer to read:  23% prefer print, 36% prefer their tablet and 41% like both print and tablet.

Since I have gotten an e-book I must admit my reading numbers have increased as well. I carry my kindle everywhere and often read while waiting for appointments. The fact I pick my purses after I make sure the kindle fits in easily is a clear sign of my devotion.

Another way technology has changed reading is the huge explosion of book blogs. In order to keep up with so many other blogs and to help me keep organized with the books and technology, I need to make some changes to my blog.  Starting soon and lasting for the rest of this month, I will be changing the blog over with all the reviews put up by the author’s last name.  This is going to be a HUGE undertaking so I ask that you be patient with me as I figure it out. One page has been started A - check it out. The part I am struggling with is how to organize the book reviews. Should the authors be listed alphabetically within the page (all books by J D Robb next to each other) or the books be under the last name of the author but with the most recent reviews on top? If I do not put the most recent reviews on top – how do you as a reader know what the most recent reviews are? Just some of my conundrums – feel free to send an opinion. (My email address is below this blog.)

Meanwhile, it is July and the sun is shining – read outside and collect vitamin D.

What I read this week: (romances and summer reads)

Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble

*Once and Again by Elizabeth Barrett

*The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries

*Danger Wears White by Lynne Connolly

Trapped by Scandal by Jane Feather

*Sinclair Justice by Colleen Shannon

*I did receive these books as ARCs from the publisher via Net Galley for an honest early review.

martha lawton

Counting On Books not Counting Books

Counting on Books not Counting Books

This month is a bonanza for me.  I have days off and lots of new books coming out between late June and early July.  While I was counting on the new books with such anticipation, I was not counting the books!  In a three-week time period thirteen authors, THIRTEEN have produced a new book on my “always read that author - want to read list.”  That does not count two authors who have new books out that I want to read but who are not on my always read that author list. Altogether, if my math has not eluded me, I have fifteen new books to read in two weeks.  No Problem – a book a day! I guess it isn’t a problem, if the dishes aren’t finished or the rug isn’t vacuumed or clean clothes are not put away or the garden is not weeded.  The problems will be lack of food, lack of clean clothes, and mostly lack of going to work. That does not even address the problem of reading fourteen books in such a short time if all the problems magically disappeared.  

The good point of this is that I am thrilled that I received seven of them as Advanced Reader’s Copies (ARC) and have finished five of them already.  That only leaves ten books I can maybe, kind of handle that... except I have the book club book to read too.  The money for all those books could be a barrier, but again seven were for free providing I write an honest review, six are coming from the library and that leaves two I will have to buy.

WAIT – What?  Susan Mallery has TWO books this month – a book and a short story... oh no... If you need me I am hyperventilating under the maple tree with very, very tired eyes. 

Books on the LIST

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Summer With My Sisters by Holly Chamberlin

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

Still the One by Jill Shalvis

The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries

Thrill Me by Susan Mallery

Not Strictly Business by Susan Mallery (short story)

*The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

A New Hope by Robin Carr

*Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst

Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

*Playing With Pleasure by Erika Wilde

*After the Storm by Linda Castillo

*Proposing to Preston by Katy Regnery

*Be the One by Nina Levine

*Moonshine and Magnolias by Jamie Farrell (short story)

* already read

PS – I finished two more between writing the blog and publishing the blog

Be Thrilled This Summer

As I sit at my desk that looks out the window over the lily garden on this bucolic summer day, I am reminded by how few books feel this peaceful. Instead most books need a much more active conflict than the sun and the wind and the birds.  Perhaps this week it explains about how the last few books I have read have been about war, murder and mayhem.  The juxtaposition of where I am and what I am reading does not escape me.

Books need a good story line.  War, murders and mayhem catch and hold interest for many people.  Books like these are hard to put down. For me, it feels like I must know what is going to happen next.  I sometimes find myself so entranced that I miss other things happening (like the Red Sox game) or so nervous that I have to take breaks. I find the ones with sociopaths the hardest to read mostly because you are often yelling at the book (hopefully in your head) about what the characters are doing and you know it is wrong.  You can almost hear the creepy music in the background warning you, even though I sit surrounded by the buzzing and chirping of birds and insects with a purring cat near by.

Even the name of the genre – thrillers suggests the excitement with the pounding of your heart and increase in your pulse.  After finishing Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline and then followed up by Linda Castillo’s The Dead Will Tell, I am going to be wary of people for a long time.  Be thrilled this summer – read a thriller

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

     It’s about family, but woven in are scenes from the      Blitz of London WWII

Truth or Die by James Patterson

     Always a thriller – with kill or be killed scenes

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

     Sociopath – need I say more?

The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo

     Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police in Painter’s Mills

Case of the Dottie Dowager by Cathy Ace

     Cozy Mystery – 1st in a series

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

     Young Adult - Sociopath



I just finished reading Barbara Delinsky’s newest novel called Blueprints.  The title isn’t just about designing and building houses, but learning to design and build what is important in life – families, love and happiness. In the book, both of the major characters (women) find their professional lives changing in a way that leads them down a different path.  This really resounded with me.  I feel the last couple of years have been about me finding a new blueprint for my life and then carrying it out. I love my new job, teaching in a new school.  I love the time I have to work with a variety of students helping them find their way in an academic landscape.  MOSTLY, I love my newfound passion writing about books.

Recently, I took a poll on Facebook about which would you prefer to be a famous author or a professional review.  I took the road less traveled (29% to 71%) and chose the professional reviewer.  Thanks to all of you, I am able to realize my dreams, certainly on a small scale but a scale larger than what I imagined.  A scale that is growing in an ever-upward spiral.  I have been averaging around 150 hits per week on Marjay’s Reading Blog, with some week totals over 200.  I am honored by all of you – the readers – that you stop by and read my musings and ideas about books.

Books teach me so much about life.  They do not have to be heavy books detailing someone’s idea of how to live a life, but ideas that are introduced as a main characters’ challenge to make you think about life differently.  To celebrate I have looked over the books I have read (or reread) recently to share what they have given me... for blueprints.

Blueprints  by Barbara Delinsky

     Life changes and leads you new ways – embrace it.

Giver by Lois Lowry

     That with out pain there is no pleasure.

The Fault Lies in Our Stars by John Green

     Love is always worth it – no matter for how long.

The Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

     That is up to each of us to allow ourselves to belong.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

     Change is not easy...but possible.

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

     The realization is that we are just a small piece of the whole picture.

Walking on a Trampoline by Frances Whiting

     It is not the falling but the bouncing back

To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper 

     It is not whether you will win, but standing up for what is right.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

     “Wounds Heal.  Love Lasts. We remain.”

The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery

     Life is richer with sisters at your side.  Literally and Metaphorically 


It is just sometimes you need a hard hat!

But What About Me...

But What About Me..

Last week as I was sharing my Summer Reading List, a friend of mine remarked to me, “But what about me...” I realized that my book list did not contain books that he might be interested in. So with that in mind, I have done some research and thinking.  Perhaps my list has become too narrow for many people – what books have I read or would like to read with a larger audience would fit my definition of Great Summer Reads.

Guideline One: The book automatically goes on the list if it is a kick ass author...  That is easy, I love reading books by Steve Berry, Clive Cussler, James Patterson and Jonathan Kellerman.  I cannot forget to add Dennis Lehane from the list as well; I can so hear South Boston in his reads. 


Guideline Two:  It is automatically a better book if the ocean, and/or a lake and a sandy beach are involved... This one is a little more difficult, most thrillers and/or crime and spy books usually need a cityscape to pull them off like Boston, New York or Washington. Not all large cities are the settings, but there seem to be more with the ‘dark underbelly of the night’ found in the seedier parts of a city.

Guideline Three:  If it is a part of a series I am reading, it is almost always acceptable addition to any list... Here we hit my love of series, all the men in Guideline one head to the top. Books by Steve Berry, Clive Cussler, James Patterson and Jonathan Kellerman all fit this guideline as well. 

Hmmm... The list below might meet all the criteria or may not.  I am however going to have to add a couple new books to my reading lists. There are some new authors and some old favorites listed below.


Bum Rap by Paul Levine

The Fixer by Joseph Finder *

Spy/Cold War

Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille

English Spy by Daniel Silva

Invasion of Privacy by Christopher Reich * 

Historical Fiction

Crow Hollow by Michael Wallace *

Piranha by Clive Cussler

*Added to my to read list already.

Other suggestion that I have read and enjoyed.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnson

Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfourne

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry

Guidelines to summer reading

Guidelines to summer reading

IT is SUMMER – really – even if the weather can’t decide, my calendar says it is!!  I have 13 days left in this academic year.  That means it is time to start planning my reading list for the summer. For those of you who know how I love to read will not be surprised that I have guidelines to help me pick out books in the summer.

 Guideline One:  The book automatically goes on the to read list if it is by a kickass author. There are some authors I read who I know will, time and time again, entertain me and at times knock my socks off.  Certainly I would like to admit the list is short, but we all know that would be a lie. 

Guideline Two:  It is automatically a better book if the ocean, and/or a lake, and a sandy beach is involved.  It is even better when the setting of the book is a beach and you are reading it at a beach. There is a richness that happens when reading by the water in the sun, knowing that this gorgeous day and place will only enhance the book. Not dropping the book in water or sand, especially when it is a library book is always a bonus.

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Summer with You by Nora Roberts

Summer with My Sisters by Holly Chamberlain (setting Maine!)

 *Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

*The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe

*The Sound of Glass by Karen White

*Books I have read already thanks to Net Galley

Guideline 3:  If it is part of a series I am reading, it almost always is an acceptable addition to any list.  I have made no bones about the number of series I try to stay on top of is huge!  I use Fictfact and Goodreads to help me keep track.  Otherwise I would be crazed trying to keep up.

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

Only a Promise by Mary Balogh

A New Hope by Robyn Carr

Trapped by a Scandal by Jean Feather

A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

The last guideline is anything else that strikes my fancy and I can get at the library, net galley or cheap...  Okay, that is not much of a guideline, but it is slightly better than anything else I want....  Happy Reading, Marjay

Needs or Wants

Sometimes life gives you what you need, not what you think you want.  (PP53 from I Swear by Lane Davis)

This quote really struck me when I read it.  I have found that I have gone back to it again and again in the past couple of weeks.  My life has been a little more emotionally fraught than anyone would like ... a situation that we all have run into in different times in our lives.  Several times I have thought about this quote and wondered about wants and needs.

I am sure I do not need an emotional rollercoaster, but it has given me a chance to depend on others to help me and support me. Perhaps that is what I needed to understand, even if I always want to be so independent.  Or maybe the need is something I haven’t even thought of yet and won’t understand it until I can revisit this with 20/20 eyesight.  

Either way, I have taken some time to read some Happily Ever After books. For me the books help me cope when things are not certain.  The last couple of week I have read a few new books by Cora Seton, Jennifer Probst, Katy Regnery, Ella Quinn and Nancy Thayer as well as the Boston Globe sports page. (A girl has to have priorities.)  I have a stack of library books on the couch to read but I have not touched them.  I think this time I am taking, is allowing me to shelter in place. I am reading books that are holding my attention, but not exacting the need for intense concentration.  I am not sure if this is a need or a want, but for now, it feels like a necessity.

The books I read:

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst

The Soldier’s Email Order Bride by Cora Seton

The Cowboy’s Email Order Bride by Cora Seton

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer

Bidding on Brooks by Katy Regnery

A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella Quinn

Memorial Day

Today, I am reminded that the only reason I can write this blog is because of the bravery of many soldiers.  Thank you for those that have died in the service of our country. Today’s books are all about WWII and the service many people gave to their country.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Night by Elie Wisel

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

The Wind is not a River by Brian Payton

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrandt

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

On Folly Beach by Karen White

Day After Night by Anita Diamant

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Reading about New Hampshire

Reading about New Hampshire

I love reading books that highlight my home state.  I am proud of being from and living in New Hampshire.  It is my home and that of my family for hundreds of years.  It is always amazing to me that more people do not realize the special beauty of here, but then again, I am not sure how many more people I want to be moving here.

Some of my favorite authors use New Hampshire as a setting for their books.  Most use the lakes as the setting. With the huge amount of clear lakes and awesome small towns – it is no surprise.  Others have written many books about the seacoast (granted only 13 miles long) and its beauty.  Still others have taken on small towns trying to get readers to feel the richness and humor of people.

The newest book I just finished, The Lake Season, which comes out next month, takes place in a fictional New Hampshire town with a beautiful lake and rolling hills down to the water. Last summer, a new author wrote Equilibrium highlighting a small community in New Hampshire. I know that Our Town is one of the quintessential reads that highlight a small town with its people. Not many people see towns like that any longer as we become more entrenched with today and its technology and ease of movement from one place to another. Luckily the beauty remains.

Some great books that are set in New Hampshire

The Lake Season by Hannah Roberts McKinnon

Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson

Leaving Time, Lone Wolf, and 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

The Weight of Water, The Pilot’s Wife, and Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

The Carpenter’s Lady and Lake News by Barbara Delinsky

Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett



I headed down to Connecticut for a few days and brought a couple of library books with me to read.  I am very lucky with the library I use.  I think the people are really nice and they usually can find the books I want to read.  Sometimes they do have to special order them from other libraries. They also use overdrive if I wanted to borrow electronic books (and sometimes do). I love being able to manage my account online. 

My friend lives in a huge town in Connecticut with a large library. She manages her lists on line like I do – only she has 70 books on her reserve list. (And you thought I was overboard with the lists, didn’t you?) I have five right now on the list and get really nervous if the list gets above 10 books.

Sometimes her library orders over 100 copies of a book and still she is often 60 or 70 people down the list. I can’t even imagine that.  Three of the books she is waiting for are: The Liar by Nora Roberts (54th on the list with 66 copies), Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (161st on the list with 160 copies) and Every 15 Minutes by Lisa Scottaline (92nd on the list with 60 copies).  Just for a reference on the same three books.  I was first on the list for The Liar and have it to read now.  I am the eighth person on hold for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins with four copies.  I am the fourth person for the one copy of Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottaline.

All over the country library budgets are being cut.  In some cases by so much money that they have to let professional personnel go and cut their hours dramatically.  One library I read about is not able to get ANY new books this year.  Libraries are more than just books.  They offer programs for all age groups with book clubs, storybook hours, special speakers and activities.  There are computers available for the public use.  They have movies, magazines and books on tape to be borrowed and actually have many local papers available daily. Every statistic I read suggests that the usage of libraries has grown tremendously with our economic struggles.  My friend and I used to buy and share books between us, now we maintain accounts at our local libraries with pride.

Why am I sharing this, you ask?  Libraries need all the funds we can spare.  They are a much larger social and economic help than people realize. Support your local library generously!  (Thanks Baker Free Library!)

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottaline

The Liar by Nora Roberts

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Motive by Jonathan Kellerman

A Divergent Reader

It’s that time of year again for me.  Yes, it can be a difficult period for reading teachers in general. The children are reading independent books.  SIGH.  I know I have a much smaller amount of students than most teachers do.  I also know that I have a wider range of readers than most teachers do. So here is the funny thing.  Even though I have to do it, I do not like to read multiple books at a time. I might have a nonfiction and fiction book going on occasionally I might have a book in print and a book on my kindle.  Mostly I love to read one book at time.  If it is part of a series, I want to read the books sequentially one by one. However, it is not to be.  Right now the students have seven different books happening – all good books, but all different.  Luckily a couple I have previously read and enjoyed.  That helps...

So in honor of my students and their divergent tastes.... Here is what I am reading this month with all of them. Since it is spring break here, I will have time for books on my list - the new Steve Berry, The Patriot Threat and the new Nora Roberts, The Liar among others.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I Swear by Lane Davis

People of Sparks (book after City of Ember) by Jeanne DuPrau

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Middle School The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

New York Times Best Seller Book List

New York Times Best Seller Book List

One of the first things I try to do on Sunday is to look over the bestseller lists from the New York Times. (Only after I check out the sports page in the Globe!) A women with a plethora of books on both kindles, a to read list that resembles the national debt, many series to maintain reading on Fictfact, and way too little time DOES NOT need to find more books to read. And yet I feel obligated to check it out!

When I read the list – I always read it in a certain order.  First I check out the new fiction in hardcovers, knowing full well, I am not buying them.  They go on my TBR list from the library. Then I check out the trade book fiction list again adding them to my TBR booklist from the library. Next up are the fiction books in the mass-market section and then the fiction books in eBooks (which may or may not go on the TBR list). There are some books by authors I do not read – those I skip. There are always some books that sound interesting.  The list does not change as much, so rarely do I have new books to add, and usually books I am already waiting for. This is not to say I only read these books or that the NYT has the only book list.  It doesn’t, but it seems to be my starting point on Sundays.  Perhaps the most interesting part is I rarely read the articles about the books, but I do read the headlines.

I know for some the New York Times book list is the premiere place to go to find good book.  I believe it is only one of many. I have come to realize that I am an eclectic reader with a heavy side of romance.  That means – not all books on the list are interesting to me.  After all life is short - why read books that are not interesting to you?

My already read list from the NYT

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – fabulous book

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – really good book

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - really good book

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn -  good 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - good

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin  - good

Private Down Under by James Patterson and Michael White - good

Still the One by Jill Shalvis - good

The Beekeeper's Ball by Susan Wiggs

Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde - really good book


My TBR list from the NYT

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry  (This one I have here at the house to read)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Binge Reading

Binge reading – that is what I have done the last couple of weekends.  Other people binge watch shows, but I forget they are on when I have a book in front of me... I tend to forget everything when I am reading. (Including the dishes and the laundry)  I read until the book is done, thinking I will only read to the next chapter or few pages. I can only wonder about what is next or how the problem is going to be resolved.  I am not interested in anything but finishing the book, well except for food and the Red Sox.

I know I read to escape and for pleasure.  Right now I am escaping the mixed up weather – wet and muddy and enjoying the pleasure of the stories so far out of my reality.  The music of baseball in the background along with the purring of the cats keeps me rather grounded. 

I seem to be mostly on an historical romance binge right now – bikers and millionaire are on the back burner with Lords and Ladies, Earls and Dukes front and center (although, they tend to be rich too). That binge will pass especially when I have a chance to read all the contemporary novels that are on my library waiting list. 

I know that when the weather starts to warm up, I will want to be outside and enjoying the yard and the gardens.  There will be time for weeding and planting.  Cookouts and hanging out with friends in the sun at a swimming hole, but for now my couch and kitties are my favorite things along with my binge reading!  

Where's the ballroom?

Where's the ballroom?

This week has been all about historical romance.  It has been a while since I have enjoyed the fancy ball gowns, tea parties, carriages and formality of the regency period.  I had three books lined up to read all by favored authors from this period for this week. Eloise James, Victoria Alexander, and Grace Burrows all write novels within this genre.  Each author has many books out and their books are quite popular. 

However the joke was on me...  I was expected flowing gowns, brilliant jewels and dark dashing men.  Did I mention the joke was on me?  Each of the three novels were about the “upper crust” in England and each were about lords and ladies, but there was only one scene with a ball and that was secondary to the plot.  Vander and Emilia lived out in the country and did not go about in London nor were interested in living that life.  Douglas and Gwen were both more about the land and helping keep the land productive, so the majority of their time was also in the country.  Lucy and Cameron were the only couple who resided in and story lines included most of the story line in London.

The stories in other ways more than met my expectations.  Two people who fall in love, but for various reasons, usually secrets they do not or cannot share that information.  The main characters spend most of the book circling each other, usually mad or frustrated by the other. Each of the couples found each other by different methods Vander was blackmailed by Emilia to marry her to save her nephew from a nefarious relative.  Mutual friends who wanted both of them to be happy set up Gwen and Douglas.  Cameron was looking for a muse to help write his book and to prove to his father that he could write and he found Lucy. The characters spend an extraordinary amount of time thinking, avoiding, plotting, and planning assignations with each other. There are foolish statements, ridiculous declarations and huge houses with rooms and more rooms, although the stables play a larger part with Vander and Emilia. 

All in all... the books were just what I wanted and loved!

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander (Lucy and Cameron)

Douglas: Lord of Heartache by Grace Burrows (Douglas and Gwen)

Four Nights With the Duke by Eloisa James (Vander and Emilia)

The Figurative Lemon

The Figurative Lemon

When Life Gives You Lemons, Read a Book.  That is today’s motto for me.  I have a cold, laundry to do, a house to clean, garbage to take out and it is yet again SNOWING.  It is not like we haven’t had enough of the white powder.  I still have not seen bare ground here at home. Despite all that or in spite of all that, it is a great day to make lemon tea and read a book.  Which is exactly what I am going to do! 

Life has given me lemons in the past and I am sure I will have them again in the future, but on the whole I have a good life. Books continue to be my comfort and relaxation.  When things are hard I read to escape the reality and when things are good I read for pleasure. I find myself always looking toward the next book to read or working on writing up a new review for all of you...

Perhaps a better expression for me should be “books are my defense against lemons”. Not lemon poppy seed muffins, of course, or Italian lemon cake or any lemon cake for that matter, or lemonade – the figurative lemon...

 I have read some great novels this last month worthy of 4 or 5 stars from Goodreads.

  • The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
  • Soaring by Kristen Ashley
  • Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  • Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
  • Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway
  • Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting   (Yes – this was from last month but my bestie read it this month so I am counting it again!)

To Reread?

To Reread?  

This week has been a busy one and I admit that I have used this time to reread a couple of previously enjoyed books.  It does not happen often.  Some I have read twice and some many more times.  Not surprisingly I enjoyed them the second (or more) times as much as the first time!  I sometimes reread books in a series if it has been a while before the new one comes out, but most times, once they are read – I am all done with them. 

I am sure I am not the only re-reader you know... but I might be the only re-reader with strict rules.

1. Rereading suspense is not as suspenseful – so unless there is another story line – oh well.

2. Rereading books with students – if I have read the book once, I do not need to reread it as long as I have good notes – an exception to the rule is always To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders and Where the Red Fern Grows

3. Rereading historical fiction is out!  After all how many times can you read about some subjects like the wives of Henry the VIII.

4. Rereading self-help books – although the chances of me getting all the way through them the first time is pretty slim.

5. Rereading books with sad endings – not happening – cried once over the unhappiness.

If I reread a book I only want to read books with great characters and a great story. Some of them are grown up fairy tales and some are just the best of the best of the best. Most of them show up on my best of the best list, which I shared earlier, so I won’t bore you with the whole list of like.

My reread list includes:

  • Lord of the Rings (on my third set of books)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (second copy of the book, also on kindle)
  • The Outsiders (not even sure how many times)
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (not sure how many times)
  • Motorcycle Man (a scary number of times)
  • Knight (a scary number of times)

My Super Power - Reading

I finally found my super power!!!  I have been looking for it for years.  There was a time I thought it might be floating in the water, or sitting with my toes in the sand, or keeping my hands dirty in the soil of my garden. But it turned out to be none of them. 

I began to question if I even had a super power.  I was depressed and walking around sadly holding my book, until I remembered how much I loved reading and all the different books I read.  That is when I knew – my super power had to do with books...

Mistakenly I thought it had to do with the number of books I kept.  Luckily that was discovered to be wrong before my towers of books entered a hoarding zone.  Then I thought it had to do with the number of books I cleaned out.  Until I had to buy some of them back when I moved to teaching middle and high school students. For a while, I thought it had to do with the number of reviews I wrote on various sites, but no – that turned out to be wrong.

Now I know – it is the reading itself that is my super power.  Not the numbers of books, or the number of reviews (That doesn’t mean you can stop reading this page!), but the absolute joy I find in reading and try to share with students and peers alike.  Maybe I can just pass on the names of books that made my heart sing or tore it right out of my chest, while I work on my super power. 

Some of my favs – in no particular order

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

19 Minutes, My Sister’s Keeper and Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Midwives and The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer

The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss

The Weight of Water and The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

The Guersney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

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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.

Jeannie | Reply 22.07.2015 18.57

I have my little LL Bean bag to hold my current constant companion of a book.
Still in love with print in the tangible, bound book version. Happy reading!

Kathy-CT | Reply 26.06.2015 21.49

"Blueprints" is my next read, this weekend. I actually snagged a book from my library within two weeks of its release! Always enjoy reading Delinsky's books.

husam | Reply 18.06.2015 03.26

this really cool site

Marjay 18.06.2015 07.05

Thank you!

Kirke | Reply 15.06.2015 09.42

Thanks for the updated list. I am a lover of mysteries and series, my current favorite is Louise Penny. Her setting is Montreal and its idyllic surroundings.

marjay 17.06.2015 19.51

Thanks Kirke for another author

Aqua-girl | Reply 07.03.2015 12.05

you have been busy

marjay 07.03.2015 14.54

I have been busy...but always more to read... I guess I need to accept that I will never catch up!

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Latest comments

26.07 | 13:00

Thank you Jeannie.

26.07 | 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.

22.07 | 18:57

I have my little LL Bean bag to hold my current constant companion of a book.
Still in love with print in the tangible, bound book version. Happy reading!

26.06 | 21:49

"Blueprints" is my next read, this weekend. I actually snagged a book from my library within two weeks of its release! Always enjoy reading Delinsky's books.

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