Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.


I have learned a new word… multi-slacking.  I love the meme, and the thought that went into it!  After all, reading, drinking coffee and having donuts in jammies - what is not to like?  Although a cat would improve the scene. Saturday was like that for me. Although I was up and dressed and did puttered around with some things, I was definitely loving the idea of multi-slacking. There always seems to be so much to do and so little time to accomplish it, but I know all of you also manage very busy lives as well.


Sorry about missing all of you last week.  In case you didn’t hear, we had a “wicked” storm.  Friday night, while I was watching the Sox game, a weather event moved in.  It has been called a twister (unusual for up here), a wind shear (not even sure what that is), or a microburst (my favorite).  We lost all power when one of the HUGE pine trees came down and ripped all the wires off the house. Interestingly enough there were three other very large pines that took down lines and covered roads to block us in as well.  I do need to give a shout out to all the people who helped us. (Awesome peeps! Thanks!) Power came back on Monday and internet was on a couple of days later! There are still trees down and messes to be picked up, but at least I am able to be back with all of you!  I heard that there are houses that just got power a week later!


You would think that would mean plenty of reading time - since there was nothing else to do…  Amazingly, that didn’t work that way. There was much to do, between carrying water from the local stream for flushing, foraging for food, finding a place to plug in the electronics, and going for supplies!  When it was light - there were things to do outside - like picking up branches and other details! Luckily I had a paperback or two in my possession, since the kindle kept running out of power. (I later realized that it was because it kept looking to connect as the cover wasn’t shut correctly.)  I found the quiet time to read wonderful, but too short. I felt way too much like a pioneer trying to keep everything maintained. I am now pretty positive that I am happy in this century!


A shout out to all the mothers out there - Happy Mother’s Day!  My mom was a reader and helped feed the need to read within me. She made sure we had access to books whether at home or at the library and encouraged us to read.  It is one of the gifts that I cherish from her. I hope your Mother’s Day is as special as each of you are!


Books Read:

The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

Summer at the Castle Cafe by Donna Ashcroft

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (Still reading)



Another weekend comes to a close with rainy gray weather.  The kind of day made for introspection, reading and lots of tea.  This week has been a much needed break in the madness that comes from the end of a school year.  The spring storms, while not uncommon, have left their mark with their frequency. Students and teachers have been craving the sun and fresh air that has been slow in coming.  This vacation has occurred as a glorious week .

I read a great deal this week, crossing off books on my to read list quite effectively. I have enjoyed the beauty of the early spring and raked out some gardens and spent some positive time in the sun. I have attempted to clean the house - but let’s face it - sometimes sacrifices need to be made.

I have spent time this week thinking about the books I read compared to books I choose not to read.  I have realized (perhaps not for the first time) that when things are hectic in my world, I choose to read books that are assured to have positive endings and are not onerous reads.  Most of this week’s read list epitomizes that thought process.

Then I ran into To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear and Love and Ruin by Paula McLain.

Both books deal in part with the time between the Wars (One and Two).  Both authors highlight the absolute devastation of battles that cannot be won books and describe the courage and resolve of the soldiers.  It was then I realized while the the horror of Dunkirk (like in To Die But Once) was like no other, the horror of conflict, or kidnapping are still times when people need to show bravery and strength.  The stories that I dismissed as lighter reads - also highlighted the grit of people in their daily battles of life. Some of the books had main characters who suffered from PTSD from their time in the service and some who felt the need to help others, even when things seemed hopeless.  I realize that not all stories need to contained the horror of Dunkirk, but in each their own way had characters that needed grit to survive. Perhaps that is the key element that gets us through some of our days - grit


Books Read this week

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain (still reading)

To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear

The Sixth Day by Catherine Coulter

The Amazing Spencer Gray by Deb Fitzpatrick

Lone Rider by Lindsay McKenna

Jamison by Chris Keniston

Rome’s Chance by Joanna Wylde

Rock Chick Reborn by Kristen Ashley

Rescuing Sadie by Susan Stoker

Driving Whiskey Wild by Melissa Foster (review to come)

martha lawton


The week before a vacation week is always busy.  This last week was no exception. There were a lot of last minute things to be done, before I took off for Maine to see a college friend.  I always forget how peaceful it is up where she lives. The wide plains near the Kennebec River are always welcome to see. On this journey, I also saw bald eagles several times soaring over the highways, fields and salt marshes. I have to admit, I get such a thrill out of seeing them each time and I hope I never lose that thrill.

While in Maine, we ended up in two used book stores.  One store was having to move so all the books were on sale!  I am telling you those are turning out to be some of my favorite words - on sale.  I was able to find great used copies of some of the Audubon guides! I was stoked!  I was able to get each book for $4.50 - guides to wildflowers, forest animal and birds - all on the east coast!  Total Score!!! In another store, I was able to buy three used romance novels for $2.97 apiece. Another serious score! The fact I was able to hang out with friends at the same time was a bonus.  

I love going through used and old bookstores.  There seems to be such a level of history there.  Books that other people have read with all their thoughts, desires, wishes, hopes and dreams. Sometimes it is almost as if you can feel the awe and reverence when you hold the older books.

This week, Elise Cooper sent in a book review (The Saint of Wolves and Butchers by Alex Grecian) AND an author interview (K.J. Howe was interviewed about her newest book - Skyjack).  Both are quite interesting!  There are two new book reviews from me and two more to write and publish during the week - Yes I am behind in writing again! (Did I mention I was away this weekend?)  I heard the weather forecast is for SUN for two more days. I hope it is enjoyed by all!

Books read this week:

Fallen Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

Beast by Daphne Loveling

The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor (an ARC novel - review to come)

The Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst (an ARC novel - review to come)


Paper VS Digital

This week my musings are taking different routes…. Paper VS Digital

Somehow I managed to get conjunctivitis this week.  So I have spent this weekend, putting drops in my eyes every two hours and will have to continue to put drops in every four hours for the next few days.  My eyes have been crusty and ITCHY. It has been an interesting weekend. I have discovered how much I use my eyes. I have also found how much I miss reading when I can’t.  I found myself watching binge watching some TV shows, just because the strain was less on my eyes. The lesson I learned means I am certainly going to take care of my eyes!!!

While on Facebook, I joined a new page - Chris Bohjalian’s page (author of Midwives and many other books).  One of the discussions that I happened upon was reading a book on paper or a digital edition. One person made a statement about how people learn less from a digital book that a printed book.  I have to say I found that statement very interesting. In my head, I immediately started questioning the statement. I have noted in the past with my own reading that I prefer the kindle for pleasure books (this weekend being grateful for the larger font available.) and printed books for learning.  I have attributed this to my learning style of liking to underline, highlight and write notes while reading to help retention. I also find that it is easier to look back on paper books vs digit. However, having said all that I love to read interesting and new articles on the computer.

What I found in researching is that there are some studies on this information, but not a lot.  The facts seem to be a mixed lot. Both types of readers scored similarly on tests based on reading a short article and a chapter.  The difference was on the frequency of higher scores went to the paper readers. All that did was offer more questions for me. One of the interesting statements within the study was that it often took longer to read the same article on a digital format than a paper format.  Well HELLO - the students were reading on an iPad. The functionality of an iPad meant the students could be doing multiple items at the same time, like checking Facebook or Email. If you are reading a book, you are usually not multitasking. I wonder if this is more about multi-task reading vs single task reading.   It does take me longer to read and write items on the computer on days when I am easily sidetracked. There are so many things to check out and stay on top off. Perhaps that might be the bigger issue of our present reading effectiveness for comprehension. We spend a lot of time multi-tasking and people do not do that as well as they think they do….

I am looking forward to reading this week on my kindle!!!


This week’s reading

Willow’s Way by Sharon Struth

The Duke Who Ravished Me by Diana Quincy

Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin

Beast by Daphne Loveling (only part way through)


Another Week

Another week closer to warm weather.  That is how I have been trying to countdown the time.  It has snowed this week - well mostly squalls - some pretty intense.  I have noticed a couple of plants popping up. Crocuses mostly with some other vegetation.  It is curious how hard I am willing to look for a small bit of green in all the brown. Even the cats have worked at staying outside in the sun for longer periods of time.

Today was a work day - laundry, groceries, dishes and prepping meals and food for this week.  It seems there are always dishes to accomplish, the never ending battle! Reading this week included a number of different types of reads: a thriller, a character driven story, a transgender coming of age and a second chance at love. Each book was a good read with interesting characters, a well developed plot line and in a couple of cases a little excitement before the end.

The transgender book, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo was the book that is going to stay with me for sometime.  I found the entire story fascinating from the first revel to learning to live in a world where all the rules have changed.  I was so upset by the violence and the cruelty horrifying. I am not sure how come some people seem to feel that they can judge another person’s feelings and choices that are causing them no harm.  I also found myself realizing the steps required to change gender were arduous.

Go Ask Fannie was set in New Hampshire.  My favorite place and my home. I loved reading about our capital Concord and the small towns in the north around Franconia Notch.  New Hampshirites and both generous and reticent in various cases. Fannie in the title is Fannie Farmer, I have a vague memory that Mom might have worked in a Fannie Farmer when she was younger.  The shop was a chocolate shop, I think. For the record, there really is a Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook and is stuffed full of recipes.


This week, Elise Cooper has a great interview with Joan Johnston.  http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810

Her latest book called Surrender was released in February and the review is under  http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538796


As always,  thanks to all the readers and viewers!!


Books Read this week

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown


Catch Up Reviews

Brick by Daphne Loveling


Happy Spring

Happy Easter and/or Happy Passover to all my friends and readers.  Today is a gorgeous sunny days with a beautiful blue sky… The wind however can be a bit sharp.  It has been a wonderful week that allowed for reading so I am feeling more settled and calm. When I don’t have time to read, I can be unsettled.  On top of that - BASEBALL has started and I am in heaven…my sox are back.

I enjoyed all the books I read this week.  They were interesting reads that held my attention, which is important in a world when everyone is trying to get attention. Katy Regnery and Nancy Thayer are in my always read list and both books were lovely character drawn romances. Jennifer Ashley was a new author and I really enjoyed the writing and the storyline of her newest Victorian mystery, Death Below the Stairs. Lisa Scottoline’s newest book comes out the week after next and WOW.

There are some writers who can spin a tale and bring me to a ceasing halt.  With Lisa Scottoline’s newest book After Anna  (comes out the week after next), that is exactly what happened.  I so wanted to finish reading the book, while I was so worried about the characters and what was happening with them I just didn’t want more bad things to happen you, so I didn’t want to read any more.  Talk about an oxymoronic situation. The book, by the way is written backward. You start reading at the climax and then each chapter is back further in time, until you are back to the climax, which really …  well enough said. You need to read it!


Smiling Irish by Katy Regnery(comes out Thursday)  and A Nantucket Wedding (comes out Tuesday) by Nancy Thayer were both wonderful love stories with people surrounded by family and friends. Both stories brought you into the story with characters you know and allows you to enjoy the story without needing a lot of back story.  The settings were awesome as well. A Nantucket Wedding was on Nantucket - a place in my mind which reeks of suntan lotion, rich people and endless summer.  Katy’s Smiling Irish setting was more part of my heart as it was located in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee.  While both of the stories were romances, Smiling Irish was a little more edgy with the Irish mob in Boston.  A Nantucket Wedding was more about relationships and the stressors that come with life in relationships.

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley was an historical mystery.  The main character was a cook Kat Holloway, a woman with her own mysteries finding the cook’s assistant dead in the larder.  This was the first full length book in the series, after I finished I found it had been preceded by an earlier story called Soupcon of Poison.  I loved reading about the servants “downstairs”and all the logistics of a rich household.  I enjoyed the mystery, the characters and Kat very much. There is no forgetting Daniel McAdam, the detective (?) who helps Kat.  There is another book planned in the series called Scandal Above Stairs.

Books Read This Week

A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer

Smiling Irish by Katy Regnery

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley


Sap Season

This weekend was a Maple Weekend around the state, so there were lots of people around checking out the different Sugar Houses in the area and learning how to make maple syrup.   It is another week closer to warm weather! I am loving all the sunlight, but still want a wee bit more warmth. I do know it is coming, I might be impatient.

Reading has taken a back seat this week.  I admit that I have kind of puttered around the house this week and spent most of Saturday helping out a friend. Today, I had some other things to resolve, so today was not a reading day either… SIGH

I am working on reading a great book by Jessica Strawser called Not That I Could Tell. The novel is a good book, a bit of a thriller and I am feeling nervous for a couple of the characters - just as I am sure the author meant the reader to feel.  I also am curious about what really happened and I am sure I will be WOWed at the end of the story.

I also finished (at least to date) Daphne Loveling’s series called Lord of Carnage MC. I enjoyed them and was sorry to run out of them - at least to date. There is something about biker romances that are more fairy tale than reality that makes them interesting to me.  They are so out of my normal.

For the last month, each week the readership of the blog has grown.  Last week I had 500 hits, the largest yet. I am hoping that if the numbers remain solid, I can (hopefully) meet the requirements that Harlequin expects in order to allow me some of their ARC novels.  I am not holding my breath. I suspect because I am logged on as an educator, that I am looked over as a series blogger. Ah Well. I love the opportunities I have and all the readers I have now. When I think that the first couple of weeks, I had under 10 hits and that was not so long ago!  Thank you twenty-nine thousand, seven hundred four times.

Books finished but may or may not have a review, yet

Hawk by Daphne Loveling

Brick by Daphne Loveling

Gunner by Daphne Loveling

Currently Reading

Not that I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser


The Conference

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

Hawk 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 the confusion.

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. Watson


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 Atlas

Claiming Felicity by Susan Stoker

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

Spiced by Jamie Ferrell

Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Fighting Irish by Katy Regnery

Thorne by Daphne Loveling (to be reviewed)


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Jeannie | Reply 26.03.2018 16.01

At first I thought it said spa season. Either way it is a sign of rejuvenation! On a Kristin Hannah kick, loved Winter Garden. Happy reading!

Jeannie | Reply 19.03.2018 14.10

Cities are fun but exhausting. Like you the quiet is needed.

Kirke | Reply 28.08.2017 06.12

August snow days! What a fantastic idea! I've been reading Martin Walker's Bruno series set in rural France full or recipes. Yum

Kirke | Reply 17.07.2017 09.13

Like you Marty, neither my heart nor my brain have ever been able to grasp why an adult would humiliate a learner. Slowness and errors are just part of learning

Barbara | Reply 02.07.2017 06.35

Hey, Marti - Found the blog about your dad. Very nice. I have to tell you that Zane Grey is one of my favorites, too. I've read Riders of the Purple Sage 2-3x

Kathy | Reply 18.06.2017 23.27

What a lovely tribute to your dad! And an excellent example of how a father's attention and a shared love of reading can positively impact a child's life.

Kathy | Reply 29.05.2017 23.45

It IS sad that so few people read, and even fewer actually finish the books they start. I read 12+ books per month and couldn't live without my library card!

Jeannie | Reply 20.02.2017 16.35

Moms are uniquely special and mold us in so many ways. We love them always.

Starry Storyteller | Reply 07.02.2017 16.41

What a nice website! I love how it's done. I love how you organized it with letters. You are a great writer. Check out my website at thewplace.simplesite.com!

Jeannie | Reply 21.11.2016 15.30

I read the sequel After You and am reading One Plus One. Can't wait to discuss the book at book club. So glad you were provoked!!!

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Latest comments

26.03 | 16:01

At first I thought it said spa season. Either way it is a sign of rejuvenation! On a Kristin Hannah kick, loved Winter Garden. Happy reading!

19.03 | 14:10

Cities are fun but exhausting. Like you the quiet is needed.

30.08 | 21:25

Have loved reading every one of Lisa Scottoline's books. Can't wait for the next one to arrive on bookshelves. Thanks for sharing your remarkable talent!

28.08 | 06:12

August snow days! What a fantastic idea! I've been reading Martin Walker's Bruno series set in rural France full or recipes. Yum

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