Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

You can't have just one

I received a text today from my bestie.  It seems that Judith Krantz has died. For some of you, this might be an unknown name, but for me this is an author that helped me fall in love with reading modern romances of the rich and famous.  She is famous for her books Scruples, Princess Daisy and Mistral’s Daughter among others. Her books were huge stories of people with money and means with lots of drama, sparkles and more drama. Her stories brought me into a world that I never knew existed nor ever expected to join.  I owe her my thanks.


Today started my vacation and I have to admit both my couch and lawn chairs were recipient of the bounty of time.  I read and read and read some more. Oscar joined me at times helping me by blocking the book from view. That was one item on my list of things to do, but it was exactly what I did all day…. happily.  I have started to count my summer reads with 2 so far and 78 for the year to date. According to Goodreads I am one behind my schedule. Whatever! I guess I was stuck on the thought that I can’t have just one book I read today.  

The books this week were a bit of a mixed bag, but all had romance in common.  Three of them (Queen Bee, Evvie Drake Starts Over and A Vineyard Summer) were great summer reads.  All were set in a place I consider a great summer place - near the ocean. One was a romantic thriller (Dangerous Choice) that I read in one sitting - with breaks of course.  One was a good old fashion cowboy romance (The Second Chance Rancher) with cattle, chaps and horses. Last but not least, an older romance that could be called a bodice ripper (Dearly Beloved).  All of the books were good, but my favorite would have to be the book by Dorothea Benton Frank called Queen Bee. There is something about how she writes characters that pull you into the story. Her books are almost always a five star read and a wonderful journey!


Tomorrow I have an appointment with my toes and sand!  


Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

A Vineyard Summer by Jean Stone

Dangerous Choice by Barbara Freethy

The Second Chance Rancher by Kate Pearce

Dearly Beloved by Mary Jo Putney


martha lawton

The # 500 badge

The # 500 badge

When I started my blog I had 50 hits a month, mostly from family. Now I average over 1000 hits a month, definitely not mostly from family. Between Pinterest and Tumblr, I have another 100 followers.  Thank-you to my partner-in-books Elise Cooper with her great interviews, Net Galley for all the ARC books and for the support from my book family and friends. I also am lucky enough to count some authors as a huge support by allowing me to read their ARC novels.  


Each year I save thousands of dollars by borrowing books from the library when possible as opposed to buying them.  Bow’s Baker Free Library has been a wonderful resource for me and I am ever so grateful that I am allowed (I pay now, unlike when I worked in Bow) to use the library.


I have been a member of Net Galley since 2012.  This week, I finally received a new badge for 500 reviews.  It doesn’t seem possible but I have reviewed 510 books for Net Galley and maintained a feedback ratio of over 90%.  Even more important, I have three publishers that send me books, if I ask for them. YUP a guaranteed acceptance. I am auto approved… (giggling to myself)  


Why am I telling you all this?  It is because I am so very grateful.  While I still have more to accomplish,  I have been loving this particular ride in my life.  I am able to read, write and talk about books. Now I just need time to put my toes in sand while I read - vacation is soon.

Books read this week

Nothing to Hide (Lucy Kincaid #14) by Alison Brennan

One Night to Remember by Erica Ridley

Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

Project Duchess by Sabrina James

Summer at Firefly Beach by Jenny Hale


And yes I still buy books

There is one week and counting… to the end of school.  I still have two complete weeks to work, but on Thursday the last of the students are gone...gone...gone. There is a lot of work still to do and it is harder than ever to concentrate - such is the way at the end of the year.  

Meanwhile, life continues with lots of ups and downs to each day.  Each day the sun rises and sets, even if we do not see it, but what happens between those times are ever changing.  It seems the only constancy are the stacks of books to read. I look forward to time off, but mostly to reading with my toes in the sand.  

There are so many tasks to each day, it is sometimes hard to find time to read everyday.  I try to make it a priority, but there are days that it doesn’t just happen. 

I am lucky enough to get ARCs from Net Galley.  I have found that I can break into some markets and not others, but such is the way, if I wish to keep my blog a size I can manage independently.  My newest statistics are just wild. I have a 92% feedback ratio. I have been approved 550 times and given feedback 506 times. I have been awarded a top reviewer badge, a book advocate badge, two badges from NetGalley challenges and a badge for over 200 book reviews.  I think the review badge should change soon to a over 500 books reviewed badge.

According to Goodreads, I have read 85 books so far this year.  I am two behind in my challenge to read 200 books a year (an ambitious goal to be sure). Since I have joined Goodreads in 2009, I have read 2075 books, which is just amazing to me!  I am so grateful to the library and Netgalley to feed my reading habit. And yes, I still buy books….


The books this week:  

The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

Barefoot Beach by Debbie Mason

The Cowboy’s Daughter by Jamie K Schmidt

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe


Read and you will be happier

Readers are happier was the headline of a global survey highlighted on the Amazon blog, Dayone on May 28, 2019.

I have to admit that so caught my attention.  I am happier when I have time each day to read.  I am happiest when I am reading in one of my favorite places.  I am happy reading about books, deciding what to read next, reading books, writing about books AND talking about books.  I am happy camper surrounded by books whether in actuality or on my electronic devices. I just love reading. One of my earliest blogs was called Reading Is My Superpower.  

Granted the survey was commissioned by Kindle but was carried out by Kelton Global.  Over two thousand participants were surveyed in 13 countries. Seventy one percent of weekly readers reported that they were happier compared to fifty-five percent of other readers.  (WOW - I must be ecstatic on weeks when I can read daily.) Some of the more interesting aspects of the survey are listed below.

  • More people would prefer to read than get extra sleep in countries like Brazil, India, Italy, Japan, and Mexico.

  • In 2019, more people want to read more than lose weight in countries like Brazil, China, India, and Mexico.

  • More than 70% of global survey participants admit they have skipped or put off another activity in order to read.

  • Many people prefer reading as their primary self-care activity.

  • More than 80% credit reading for improving their relationships.
  • Nearly half of global participants (45%) are making it a personal development goal to read more this year.

  • Eighty-one percent look forward to discussing at least one aspect of the book with others.

  • More than 65% of people around the world agree that reading is a major turn on.
  • Forty-one percent of global couples say discussing books was one of the things that made them fall in love with their significant other.


The geekoid I am was really happy over all the information - I love facts with percents.  The study is a good way to remind us of how we can allow us to be happier - read more.

So instead of writing more today - I am off to read more of the newest Maise Dobb’s book.

Elise has another great interview with Julia London and her new book Charmer in Chaps.  I have lots of reviews added under June Reviews, but as a reminder April’s reviews will only be up another week or so.  

READ and you will be happier.


Books read this week:

Never Deny a Duke by Madeline Hunter

Shamed by Linda Castillo

In Plain Sight by Linda Castillo

Heather by Chris Keniston

Lily by Chris Keniston

Violet by Chris Keniston


Currently Reading:

The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

The Summer We Lost Her by Tish Cohen




Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading Lists - oh yes please!

Wait - you choose the books - oh no thank-you!

This is the weekend that for a lot of people means summer is here.  That means cookouts, swimming, traveling, family and lots of other fun activities.  It does for me as well, but it also means reading books outside with my feet tucked in the sand, a breeze in my hair and lots of lake views.  

Yes, I do work during the summer.  Yes, I do get some extra time off as well.  

The lake is nearby and my family shows up there at various times as do friends.  The water is clear enough to see fish. The eagle stops by to pick up some food often, as well as the hawk and other birds.  Last year, I was able to watch a flicker feed their family right near where I was sitting. It was magnificent.

Meanwhile, various articles in the news have shown up with various book lists - lists to read over the summer.  I have to admit I do look them over with a bit of a jaundiced eye. My to-read list continues to grow like the Fibonacci numbers. Even though I am certain, I will never read it all, I add books to it regularly, never mind the stacks of books around my home, the number of books on my kindle and those scraps of paper that just keep adding up.  

Ron Charles, a writer for the Washington Post, wrote a piece about the horrors of summer reading, when students are expected to read specific books.  From there he went on to how people treat their summer reading lists like they are going to be judged or quizzed on the books as part of their reading….  “You don’t have to improve yourself — or impress anybody. You need not succumb to the tyranny of your book club or the predictability of the bestseller list.”  He suggests instead to read what you want and to enjoy the reading.  I am in total agreement!

I hope you read for the enjoyment of the words and the story.  Not for what people think. I hope you pick books that allow you to enjoy the summer and the people without worrying about what others think.  Too long, we have been ruled by other people’s judgements about what is a “good” book or a “proper” book. If it interests you and you like the style - go for it.  Read Away and enjoy your summer.

Elise has an interview with one of my favorite authors Amanda Quick - aka Jayne Ann Krentz.  I have a couple of reviews that are new… and to just tease you I have read and reviewed new novels from a new series Hart Land by Chris Keniston. (Patience - they are not up yet.)

Books read this week:

Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

Presently Reading:

Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline


Be Well

On  Sunday nights, as I watch the Bronx Zoo programming, I reflect on my week.

This last week was a big blur.  I seemed to have contracted the plague - okay fine - a combination of the seasonal allergies and a cold.  I did go to work everyday and spent a lot of time cleaning spaces that I would have touched. I was not the only one with this, so I had someone to suffer with.  LOL Personally, I am pretty sure I ate 3 boxes of popsicles to keep my throat cold. The miserable weather did not help at all. But I survived.

What did not survive was my reading list.  I did nothing but stare at the tv when I was home.  I read a book all week. Yup - just one. I didn’t even read any of my normal newspapers or even - shock - finish a crossword puzzle.  Such is the way it goes!

This was my first week back at the Farmer’s Market.  It was Spring into Warner and there were vendors up and down the street.  The crowd such as it was - small and mostly lookers. I was glad to be out in the sunshine with a nice breeze, as the No-see-ems were out in force (little gnats that bite).  It was a longer day than usual, but still positive!

Elise has an interview with Julia London about her new book, The Charmer in Chaps.  There are some books reviewed the last two months to look over. After all it is time to start planning what your summer reads are going to be.  Meanwhile, be well and enjoy the warmer weather.


Books Read:

When the Duchess Says I Do by Grace Burrowes.


Presently Reading:

Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor





Hope for the future

What a week…at least the days are longer and I am sure it was warm a couple of days.

This month the students are all writing their own ABC books.  The subject was up to them and all of the students could help each other brainstorm sticky letters (j, k, q, x, y, z).  The variety of subjects chosen will make the books so much fun. Some of their ideas include Magic the Gathering, Fortnite, colors among others.  Luckily, we are making them on Google slides so they can import pictures and not have to draw anything (oh the horror). I also am not insisting on rhyming entries (oh DOUBLE horror).   

This challenge has reminded me of a number of things.  How different we all are! How incredible we are with all those differences!  It is the strength of our world and the hope for the future. The students see things so differently and find so many things exciting!  Listening to their dreams and asking why - questioning the status quo. Not understanding why people do some things and hungry to change things.    

This is why I teach.  Not for the money or the schedule (think of me correcting papers late into the night), but for the hope for the future.  

Elise’s interview this week is with Natalie Walters

Books read this week:

One Night of Passion by Erica Ridley

Luck of the Draw by BJ Daniels

The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey

Attracted to the Earl by Bronwen Evans

Forbidden Crush:  A Bad Boy MC by Cassie Cole (not reviewed yet)


Knocked my socks off...

Today ends vacation.  I am always sorry when it ends, but I am glad to have work that I enjoy with great colleagues.

I have pulled out my “summer clothes” and put away some of my heavier clothes. After laundry this week I will have more to go away, except for the couple of things I always leave out in case of a yucky day.  I am determined to get to the bottom of my dishes and vacuum today.

This week I ran into a surprising negative thread.  I know with the onset of social media, many people feel so much freer to express their opinion and many are quite emphatically negative.  On the whole, I do not worry about other people’s negative thoughts on books as long as they are thoughtful. Recently, I have noted that there seems to be a bunch of negative Nellies who say pretty hateful things about a book or an author.  This bothered me tremendously. To me, the comments were more personal.

I do not write negative book reviews and publish them on my blog.  I might not like a book and its content, but I do not feel it is my place to dissuade people from reading certain books and authors.  Just because I do not like a book or an author, does not mean the world should stop, take note and not read them. I do not want that kind of power over anyone’s written word.  

According to research from 2017, world wide there 2.2 million books are published each year.  In the United States there are over 300,000 published alone. There is no way anyone can read each and every book.  There is no way anyone would want to read each and every book. There are so many choices and genres, why should I limit anyone - or have anyone limit me?  


There are so many negatives in the world, I am determined not to add to them.  

I hope everyone has a great day.  


Books read this week:

Heather by Chris Keniston (review to come)

Mad About Moon by Melissa Foster

The Mister by E.L. James

No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

It’s All About the Duke by Amelia Grey



Vacation week for me!  And it is going to be a rainy one!  That means plenty of time for reading...oh and housework...SIGH. Although I do have gardens to rake out and laundry… sigh

This week, I was thrilled to read another Viola Shipman novel.  The Summer Cottage comes out at the end of this month. Once again, I loved the writing and plotline of the of Viola Shipman’s novels.  A woman starting again with determination and a new lease on life. An old cottage full of love and laughter becomes a new bed and breakfast on the lake.  A series of rules for fun, guaranteed to remind you of summers, swimming, sand castles and ice creams. I loved the book and hope others do too.

Robyn Carr knocked my socks off with her newest novel, The View from Alameda Island.  The story of a woman who endured a marriage until her children were safe. A woman who final left only to have to figure out how to start again, who to trust and how to live. She finds a great friend only to have more mysterious things happen… short version - watch out.  It will pull you right in until you have to find out everything!

The Mother-in-Law was an interesting murder mystery and let’s face it - not everyone gets a good mother-in-law.  It intertwines the family drama with the stories of two women, who cannot seem to see eye to eye. It seems clear what happened until it doesn’t.  The story will resound with a lot of people.

Elise Cooper’s interview this week is with by Linda Fairstein whose new book is Blood Oath. The book follows Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and her newest cases. Fascinating Interview!  


Happy Easter or Chag Pesach sameach !

I wish you peace for you and your family.  


Books this week:

The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

Breaking Without You by Carrie Ann Ryan


Peace to You

The week before the week before vacation has ended!  Best yet, I have emerged rather unscathed. Only two pair of jeans paid the ultimate price and are missing in action.  This is troublesome as they were my favorites AND I do laundry at a laundromat. I am hoping the day person found them - but not holding out a lot of hope. The Red Sox - well let's just say - it is hard to watch.  


The spring weather this weekend was so lovely, I was able to sit in the sun for a little time on Saturday.  I can hear the cardinals and woodpeckers. The goldfinches are gold and all the other finches and cool sparrows have returned.  My spirits were lifted tremendously knowing my toes and warm sand will soon be reunited.


Three ARCs were on my list to read and each one was good! Maybe even better than good!  The best read this week was The Line Tender by Kate Allen. It checked all my boxes - lovely story line, redemption, coming of age, and poignant.  It is for middle schoolers and I think it is so special! The Hummingbird Dagger was a clean historical romance/mystery was interesting, Saving Meghan had me twisting and turning figuring out the motives and guilty parties. I was also able to read two historical romances this week for escapism and enjoyed adding Amelia Grey to my list of authors to read!


Elise Cooper has a great interview with Laura Griffin and her newest book Stone Cold Heart.  I reviewed the book last week and with her interview this week, you are introduced to the author’s thinking.  I love all books she has written about the Delphi Center. This one particularly caught my attention with the rock climbing and the interesting characters.  


Have a great week.  


The Line Tender by Kate Allen

The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

To the Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne


and missing jeans

Actually paper books

This week, I read actual books.  The three books I really wanted to read were not going to be available at the library.  So when I checked the ebook prices, I was shocked that the actual paperback was cheaper.  Granted about one dollar - but still cheaper. So I ordered the paperback copy and this week I read them (along with two arc novels I had received to read). I really enjoyed reading the books and do need to think about how realistic it is:  paper vs ebooks. Although I have to question at least in my mind - why would a digital copy cost more?


According to:   Are E-Books Finally Over? The Publishing Industry Unexpectedly Tilts Back to Print By Joshua Fruhlinger • 11/03/18

  • E-book sales have slipped by 3.9 percent so far this year (2018) while hardback and paperback book sales grew by 6.2 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

  • During the first nine months of 2018, hardback and paperback sales generated nearly $4 billion combined; comparatively, e-books only raked in $770.9 million.

  • E-books’ share of all books sold is also on the decline, accounting for 27 percent of total sales in 2015 compared to 23 percent in 2016.

I found the information fascinating.  I really enjoyed holding the books and reading them.  I did not enjoy the extra weight in my purse from having to carry a book around as opposed to my phone/mini iPad.  Is the ebook revolution over? Is that why the paperback books were cheaper? Is this a trend?


Meanwhile, I have a thousands of books on my kindle, so as long I still have electricity I will never need to get another book in my life?  Like that will happen! I am still a huge library person and between that and Netgalley’s arcs, I always have books to read. Although I do not often read them strictly in order - shhh - don’t tell.  


This week Elise Cooper has an interview with Betty Webb with her final installment with of Lena Jones Mystery Series.


Meanwhile this week:

One Night for Seduction by Erica Ridley

It’s Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch

Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

The Wish by Patricia Davids

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay


Actually paper books vs ebooks

I have discovered that the more I read, the more I wonder about about how stories are written.  Not that I am going to write a book, but I find myself wondering… This week, I read and read and read.  Perhaps it was because the Red Sox have just been bad… The pitching…. My boys and their pitching… it has not been pretty.

So I read… three love stories - each different, two mysteries  - each different and one book - not yet reviewed of popular fiction.  I learned that I loved sweet stories this week. I loved the characters I read about.


But I did wonder…

Why did Stephanie Lauren’s style change with this series?

How did she come up with all the historical accuracy?

That question always strikes me with historical novels whether they are fiction or romance. In The Pursuits of Lord Cavanaugh, the story was not the same as many novels, but it was a good read with thoughtful storylines.


Have you ever wondered how authors come up with their stories?

Why they end the way they do?

What is  point the author wants you to get?

How they determine when a character dies?  Or lives?y

The Rain Watchers by Tatiana de Rosnay left me swimming in confusion.  I felt so confused by the story line and the ending. I did not find the end as rewarding as I wanted.  It did make sense and maybe over time I can find the comfort of the ending that was intended, but now it feels unsettled.


How did Erin Hahn write such a wonderful novel for her first book?

Why did I just love the young singers of Annie and Clay?

How does some talents can cause problems for some and not others?  

Why do some stories hit the heart and stay with you after they finished?  

That is the best question of all and perhaps the only one that matters.  That is what makes a book, something special. For me the book that hit that level for me was You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn.  There was growth, poingnancy, hardship and love.


Elise Cooper has a great new interview with Harlan Coben that you should read! I love reading how the authors came up with their stories.  I loved the novels I read this week and am looking forward to reading more awesome stories.


Books Read this Week:  

The Pursuits of Lord Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens

The Rain Watchers by Tatiana de Rosnay

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

The Last Second by Catherine Coulter and JT Ellison

Ink by Numbers by Carrie Ann Ryan

The Case of the Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson


Write a new comment: (Click here)

Characters left: 160
DONE Sending...

Kirke | Reply 10.06.2019 12.03

The news Jacquelyn Winespear is on my summer reading list.
Looking forward to another Maise Dobbs

KATHY | Reply 24.12.2018 00.28

Always look forward to your weekly blog, Marti ... safe travels this week. Merry Christmas!

Jeannie | Reply 01.10.2018 16.20

Happy Birthday! I remember when book club started when you turned 50. OMG! 100% agree with political status. So disappointing. Happy Foliage!

Jeannie | Reply 27.05.2018 23.23

Outraged, too! It is just getting coverage. This government is shameful under this leadership.

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.

See all comments

| Reply

Latest comments

10.06 | 12:03

The news Jacquelyn Winespear is on my summer reading list.
Looking forward to another Maise Dobbs

24.12 | 00:28

Always look forward to your weekly blog, Marti ... safe travels this week. Merry Christmas!

01.10 | 16:20

Happy Birthday! I remember when book club started when you turned 50. OMG! 100% agree with political status. So disappointing. Happy Foliage!

27.05 | 23:23

Outraged, too! It is just getting coverage. This government is shameful under this leadership.

You liked this page