Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Pigs and Heresy

It has finally happened. The pigs will be flying by at any time – so be prepared.  After years of so carefully protecting and guarding all my electronic wires for all the devices.  It has happened.  I am missing them – now that is not the surprising part.  I lose everything – these are gone – gone.  Totally missing. I even checked the fridge and the freezer.  Nope. Nada. Nothing.

They could have been ‘borrowed’ from me, without permission.  They could have rolled out of my workbag and left no trace.  (Did I mention that I keep them in a Talenti Jar?) They could have grown legs and gone on vacation.  Whatever... they are gone and my kindle is dangerously low on power. I might have to actually read a book this weekend.

I did order a new cord and plug in and they will be here Tuesday – I just need to last that long...  OH and I can read on my phone if desperate.  Really all I want to do is to stamp my feet with frustration.  I have so much to do.  This week I am juggling so many books and have a bunch of reviews to write... Two students are reading separate books and I do not have hard copies of the books.  I have a couple of books I was part way through and now I have to figure out where I was... sigh

It is a beautiful New England Day, sunny and bright with blue skies and puffy white clouds.  The leaves are slowly changing and it is glorious outside... Maybe I will not read this weekend.

I think I just committed heresy... pig flying zone ahead.

Marjaysreadingblog@gmail.com
martha lawton

Letter to my Readers

Dear Readers,

I know when I ended my blog a week ago Sunday, I told you all I was taking a week off.  I was at the Highland Games up at Loon Mountain with family all weekend and did not think I would have time.   Well, I don’t have time, but I am writing anyway!  Why, you ask.  I just need to thank everyone!  

For the past two weeks I have had a HUGE amount of hits.  I am not sure what has changed but I am forever grateful!  It is not easy doing this, even though it is a labor of love. I constantly worry I am not being relevant or interesting.  I worry I will run out of things to say, or great books to highlight.  I guess I need to let that go and just keep writing and take the gifts that are given.

Your continued reading and support mean the world to me, so thank you!!!

 

Life is good with good books.

Reading this week has been a challenge.  I have come home a couple of nights and actually fell asleep reading on the couch waiting for the ballgame.  I guess that tells you one of two things.  I am either not sleeping at night or I am not going to bed early enough.  Both are correct, not that I like admitting it.  It doesn’t help that this was a full week at work and it is always exhausting the first few days with all new students and changes that occur over the summer.  

That doesn’t take anything away from the books I read this week. They all have been good!  Three of them come out in the next couple of weeks and I am on a review crew - so I can not give too much away.  Playing It Cool takes a man who is a star athlete falling love with a woman who thinks, she is not beautiful or loveable.  Her family will just make you cringe with their meanness. Justice for Boone is about Hayden Yates - a sheriff’s deputy and Boone Hatcher, a hot rancher.  It was interesting watching them both trying to take care of the other one while falling for each other. I enjoyed how Hayden was the Sheriff’s Deputy and how protective she was.  Substitute by Nicholson Baker is the one I am working on slowly.  It is not grasping me and holding me enthralled like the others, but is interesting in smaller doses.  The fact it is nonfiction might explain that.  It is Nicholson Baker’s memories of a year spent substitute teaching in Maine.  It is interesting, especially because I have done that and know how hard it can be. 

Anywhere You Are was a great read by Elisabeth Barrett.  It was a lovely story about two people Grace and Marcus.  They are brought together by an unexpected fall and a few days later another meet because of a large Great Dane with penchant to chase squirrels.  The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies was a story between two people - both keeping secrets that are life changing! I enjoyed the story.  The last of the new books I finished was Pumpkin Festival about the last twenty five years of the Pumpkin Festival here in New Hampshire. (I do have to admit, My sister Nancy is the author and my sister Anne had a number of photographs within the book.)

Right now I am reading one of my favorite authors J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts pseudonym.  Her newest book, Apprentice in Death is quite good.  I love the characters of Eve Dallas and Roarke along with their multitude of friends and colleagues working to save the people of New York City from a serial killer.  

Life is good when you have good books to read!!!

PS:  There will be no blog next week as I will be at the Highland Games up in Loon Mountain, watching men in kilts and hearing loads of bagpipes.  

PSS:  If you are interested in ordering Nancy’s book. The link is below:

http://www.its-not-about-the-hike.com/book/pumpkin-book-blue.html

Labor Day Reading

Labor Day…  a day designed to celebrate the hard work that many Americans do on a daily basis.  A day designed to remind us of the difficulties of the labor laws in history and be relieved by better working conditions now.  Maybe even a moment to remind us what we need to continue to work to and for.  

Most people celebrate it with big cookouts, last beach days and family parties.  However, as you have learned, I am not a big party goer.  I celebrated two of the days, by hanging out on my deck under an umbrella enjoying the majesty of the day and okay - a book - or two.  Yup, I tried to be laborless and enjoy. However life does intrude and I worked on cleaning the kitchen and tomorrow - my bedroom.  Not big bold and fabulous plans by anyone’s imagination, but my plans none-the-less, in between reading.

Reading is my biggest plan.  The last couple of months, I have been reading straight out books from various authors for NetGalley and Rock Star.  This weekend is mostly for me, books that I found for CHEAP on Amazon or other places.  It is lovely.  

Although as always I have books I am reading with various students and I do need to keep up with those as well. I also have a couple of books for NetGalley to read soon.  Oh and Eva Charles newest ARC needed to be read (Petite Madeline).  I also did work on the scope and sequence of the curriculum - I needed to rearrange the lessons, so that we speak about elections during the elections and I did read the Globe and other newspapers.  OK - I read a bunch of stuff that wasn’t on my original agenda.  Thankfully - I am flexible.  

Enjoy tomorrow and the extra day during the best time of the year.  

Balancing

The leaves in the big maple tree are starting to show a couple of patches of orange.  The deck is shaded longer now and the nights are cooling. All hallmarks of what is coming.  School starts this week.

A few years ago, I retired from teaching and worked at the Historical Society.  My book reading skyrocketed and I was able to read so many fabulous (and a few not so fabulous) books.  I began to start tutoring at Parker with just a couple of students.  The next year, I began working at the Academy and tutoring for them.  My reading slowed down, but still I was able to read so many - over 200.  Last year I worked even more hours between the two and my book reading crept up again.  

This year… well I have been behind all year... only two books at this time, with more changes coming.  I agreed to work full time this year for the Academy.  I am balancing a couple of different hats, but full time!  I am wondering if working a more regular shift will help or hurt with my reading.

I am not sure why I actually pay attention to how many books I read.  I think it started as a lark, but somewhere along the line my thinking changed to more is better.  I have to rethink that!  We all can think of different examples where having more is not better.  It certainly does not follow the thought process that balance is important.  Living in the moment is better.  Following the middle path is a more healthy choice.  

This next week, when I have time to read, I will keep that in mind and disregard the numbers.  Not that I am going to stop that category on Goodreads - no need to be silly about it.  After all, I have some of my favorite authors coming out with new books. I have 14 books to read and review in the next couple of months for Net Galley. Perhaps I will make it, after all.

Connections

Well, this is it. The final weekend. The fat lady is singing. The stopping of the buck. The last weekend before I go back to work full time again.  SIGH.  I know that sounds funky as I have been working quite regularly all along.  A very brief review of information for those with a score card, retired from public school and worked at the Historical Society, subbed for Kearsarge and then tutored and taught at Parker. The last couple of years I have worked lots of hours for Parker, but working in a variety of positions, doing combinations between tutoring and teaching.  This year, I am now considered full time and teacher work days start tomorrow!

What a strange ride I have been on the last few years.  This blog has kept me sane and connected many times.  The contact many of you have made to me about books and reading has meant a lot.  I have had the time for reading and still more reading.  I am not sure if I will have as much time for reading, but I am not going to stop this blog.  Connecting with all of you makes it so worthwhile!

This week I have read a some awesome books.  My favorites being The One Man by Andrew Gross and Family Tree by Susan Wiggs.  Both books were great stories that really identified the connections between humans and how important those connections are.  The two books had different plots, settings, timelines and feelings, but that human connection is so important in these books. Andrew Gross introduces us to a man who is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help his country because of his connections.  Susan Wiggs introduces us to Annie Harlow who has to start her life all over again and depend on her connections from the past.  Look Again by Lisa Scottoline has the reader on the edge of their seat when the question of  connections between people might unravel Ellen’s entire life.  R. C. Boldt series called Teach Me shows with her group of couples how together these people can make their bonds of friendship so tight that they are family.   

There are people who enjoy reading descriptions of people and events.  There are people who like to read biographies about people, but to me it is all about the interaction between people that makes or breaks a book.  After all, isn’t that one thing that makes us human - our connections and interactions with others. Especially in our world as things move faster and faster and families are separated by distance and time.  The connections between the characters, people with all their quirks make us unique and human, yet stronger together in groups. I wish that for the world.  People making connections and our world being stronger because we are together - not apart.

Books:

The One Man by Andrew Gross - comes out on Tuesday

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Looking Again by Lisa Scottoline

Series: Teach Me by R.C. Boldt

  1. Wildest Dream

  2. Hard to Handle

  3. Remember When

  4. Laws of Attraction

Push Pause

I love weekend mornings!  The knowledge that I do not have to rush off anywhere is so comforting to me.  It is like the world knows I am on break from it, even if it is just for a little while.  

Weekend mornings I like to hang around in my PJs.  If necessary, I will get dressed for the Farmer’s Market or other important adventures.  Sometimes, there is the necessity to forage for immediate food, but that too can be overlooked for a while. Completing important errands is a slippery slope when I am wanting to be home, especially if the weather is cold, wet or combinations thereof.  

The couch becomes my favorite piece of real estate.  The chaise part is arranged in such a way that I can sit kitty-corner and put up my feet.  The correct angle is important to obtain for reading purposes, but lately I just remove my glasses and all is well.  The other reason the angle needs to be precise is that I will need to sip my iced tea while I read.  With my hair pulled off my face and my PJ, I am sure I am a sight to behold, but who cares - it is a weekend morning.

Mostly Oscar runs out and then returns quickly.  His idea of weekend mornings means lots of cat kisses and laying across my chest.  It is a constant battle between us for him to allow me to read, while cuddling him, and sipping ice tea.  Sometimes he wins and sometimes I do. His loud purring helps maintain the proper atmosphere those mornings.  

I can hear my neighbors out and about.  The early ones off to work, the later ones going off on errands like laundry and groceries. And yet I lie reposed upon the edge of the world reading.  What a luxury this is… I know there are many who do not have the time for this, but don’t worry - I can do this for you, if you need me to.  

The day can begin without my presence.  My reality is firmly ensconced in the book with all thoughts totally involved with the main characters and the plot of the story.  Occasionally people will text, call or knock looking for me and my time ends suddenly and dramatically.  Gone until the next weekend day, when I can once again push pause for a little while.

Live Longer - Read

Several newspapers this weekend reported a study done out of Yale that spoke to book readers living longer.

Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale, is quoted in The New York Times as saying, “People who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read.” “And the survival advantage remained after adjusting for wealth, education, cognitive ability and many other variables.”

From my point of view this new study is awesome.  I work with students  in reading, not just to help them decode difficult words, or understand convoluted plots, but to find the joy in reading. The worlds that students can open by reading, the new information they can find, and the increased understanding of people.  Now I have another tool to add to my tool box.  I can tell them they will live longer if they read for at least a half-hour a day.  Keeping in mind the age group I work with and their beliefs that they are immune to death, old age and diseases, perhaps this might not be helpful information.

The study goes on to say that reading magazines and newspapers are good, but books are better. I feel, as do many others that there are days where reading the headlines is all I can complete. The are many articles that list all the important things to do to prolong life.  Good diets, exercise, less stress and other important items all lead to a stronger body and better health.  I don’t think many people actually realize the importance of reading.

I have to admit, now that it is summer and my schedule has freed up, that I do read much more than one half hour a day. On days off I tend to poke through the news in two or three newspapers and then I will pick up a book.  However, baseball games and the Olympics will definitely cut down on the reading time. (Bet you didn’t know I was a sports junkie for the Olympics - did you?)  I have no problem reading for hours each day.  I wonder how many years I have added with all my reading - I bet it is years and years...it is that other pesky important health stuff that is in my way.  SIGH

Returning Books to the Library

I have gotten myself into a bit of a pickle again this month.  It happens sometimes even when I try to be careful.  I know I have to work on planning better, making better choices on what I do with my spare time.  I know all this, but still it happens…. {sigh} I will not be able to read all the books I need to have read  from Net Galley and the library before they are due.  

I get the majority of my books from three major sources: Baker Free Library, Net Galley and Rock Star.  Sometimes there is a trifecta like this month where a number of books are due all at the same time.  On top of that I actually broke down and bought a book (Yes, you heard it here first - Marti purchased a book) granted a paperback - but it was Jayne Castle’s newest book - just out!

So how to solve this problem…  Well first of all the books are due over the next few days and about half have been read, reviewed and either queued for the release date or put up already. The books that were due from Rock Star are already read and ready to go.  This really cuts the list down!   Now I am down to only the four books from the library and two books on Net Galley.  

I am not as worried about the two Net Galley books - mostly because the books were given to me within days of their due date - so it is acceptable if they are done soon.  Often Net Galley or specific publishers will send me messages about authors I have read or subjects of books I like.  I must admit that I do not always look at the dates when I get excited about a new book.  Note to self:  check out the due date.

The library books are the big losers. {sigh} I have four books due in the next 3 days.  I am only part way through the first one and will need to choose which book to read out of the three left. The other two will need to go back without being read and they will need to go back on my to read list.   

I haven’t even planned out the rest of the month by sending a list of books I want to read to the library … although I only have 5 on my must read for Net Galley.   I am not sure when reading became a chore for me to keep up.  I am thinking I might need to resolve that …. or not…  Either way four books will go back to the library on Tuesday and only two of them will have been read.

Blogging is hard work

Blogging is hard work.  Not the reading so much as keeping up with all the reviews.  Once again this week I fell woefully behind with the writing part!  Really I want to blame it on the Algebra course I am taking and struggling with, but I am afraid it is not the sole culprit!  (Who knew word problems with 2 variables and 2 equations would be the death of me!)

I read some great books this week from the library.  Jill Shalvis and Stephanie Lauren never fail to entertain me.  Both authors write great romances, but that is where the comparison ends,  Jill Shalvis books are set in the modern day and there is always an element of humor in her books!  Stephanie Lauren’s book are historical romances and there are always adventure and mysteries to solve.  Whoops - one other common item - the couples don’t always communicate as well as they could - which quite frankly often adds to either the humor or the adventure.  I did not yell at any of the main characters - so they were not that foolish to underestimate the other too much.

The books from Net Galley this week were good.  They were not spectacular, wonderful - run out and buy them reads.  The books has some good characters, good situations and were good to read.  Toby by David Johnson was my favorite of them.  Toby, a dog, was one of the main characters.  His owner Symphony had some hard times happening and Toby helped her find her way.  I mean what is not to love?

However, back to my original topic.  I am behind this week in writing the reviews for the books I enjoyed so much.  There is really no reason other than I have been reading, socializing with friends, watching baseball and fighting {sigh} over word problems in Algebra.  I mean really does it matter how old Charlie is going to be in 5 years compared to Alice.  Evidently, it seems to be a problem for many people.  Especially when I don’t care is not a solution!  Meanwhile, I have written a brief synopsis of the books below that I have not reviewed.  Enjoy.  Check out the ones I did review and remember - I don’t care how old you are going to be in 5 years compared to your three times removed cousin.

Jill Shalvis newest book Sweet Little Lies, focuses on Finn and Pru.  One of the plot lines is about how secrets are always a problem, but Pru just can’t seem to tell Finn the whole truth.  The book has some fun characters and I love how they always seem to be in the midst of something.

The two books from Stephanie Laurens are part of one of her newer series, The Adventure Quartet.  Stephanie brings us more of the Frobishers.  Hot men who work secretly for the British Government in covert operation and find their true loves while they are dashing around solving crimes.  In book 2, The Buccaneer at Heart, we are introduced to Robert and Aileen.  Robert is investigating missing people in Freetown when he meets Aileen who is looking for her brother.  They “help” each other to fall in love mostly!  Book 3, The Dare Devil Snared is about Caleb Frobisher and how he finds his love Kate and discovers a horrid person who is capturing Englisher in Africa and making them work under threats.  Both books are great reads.

Oh Darn

My faith in humanity has taken a hit these last two weeks.  People killing people over race and religion is heartbreaking to me.  The idea that one race or religion supersedes another boogles my mind.  Tragedy after tragedy and it feels like everything is ramping up.  I don’t think it helps that the Republican Convention is being held this week in Cleveland. Various delegates have been speaking to the media about bringing their guns to the convention.  Notice I am not even mentioning the candidates…  

In order to avoid listening to more news and more horror - I put on the Red Sox game and picked up the newest James Patterson Book called The Games.  I thought perfect - the Sox are playing the Yankees and James Patterson never fails to excite….  WOW - wrong, wrong, wrong! First of all, the Sox lost to the Yankees - never good.   

Mostly it was the James Patterson book, The Games that did nothing to help my avoidance of reality.  The book focuses on the organization called Private. An organization that takes on various assignments that no one else can or will accomplish.  In this book, they are helping provide security to the Olympics in Rio….  Yup.. Something that is going to start in just a few weeks!  Athletes from around the world will all show up and answer the call for the strongest and fastest.  In the book, Jack Morgan, the owner of Private with his team has to race around to save a kidnapped person and then unravel another mystery - One I will not share with you since I do not want to give up the plot.

Let me share one key element I took from this - sometimes reality sucks.  However, I have hope that somehow there are enough good, honest, caring people who are willing to stand up and help start a new revolution to bring us back from the edge of this crevasse we are on.

Meanwhile, I just picked up the next book to read - hoping for light and flighty - unrealistic as all heck - nope it is a dystopian novel about global warming…  OH DARN

A Rainy Weekend

It has been a rainy weekend!!!  YEA!!!  

One of my favorite things this times of year is a rainy day,  Not just because it will help all the plants - which it does - but because I can pretend that I can not go anywhere!  That means Jammies, Red Sox, Kitties and BOOKS! (It also means I have some work to do with the online classes, but that is another story.)  It even required a blanket and a sweater to cuddle up in!!!

Luckily I was inundated with books to read and enjoyed each and everyone of them

I read Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo - loved it!  The Sapphire Affair - enjoyed it - but it is only one of three.  Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery - beyond loved it! I just finished reading The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.

Among the Wicked is the newest book in the Kate Burkholder series.  Kate is a police chief in a town that has a mixed population of “English” and Amish.  Kate is uniquely qualified for the job as she grew up Amish, left and then returned to her hometown to take over the Chief’s job.  In each book that Linda Castillo publishes, more and more of Kate’s backstory comes out while she is in the midst of solving a crime and beginning her new life.  They are great books with psychological twists and often I am surprised by a turn of events.  This novel is no different!  Among the Wicked comes out on Tuesday.  (http://marjay.simplesite.com/239538810)

Daughters of the Bride is Susan Mallery’s newest book. It is about a wedding for Mother, but really it is about bravery and the three daughters. It takes place in a small town in California, but realistically - it could happen anywhere.  I am participating in a book reveal on Tuesday, so I can not tell you any more than WOW, and LOVED IT.

The Pursuit is the newest in the Fox and O’Hare series with Kate and Nick.  Kate works for the FBI.  She is tough, rough and focused.  Her dad and a cadre of characters are constantly backing her up, because of Nick.  Nick is a highly wanted thief.  He is constantly working on a con and trying to live the “best life”.  Kate is secretly his handler as together they participate in some wild times without getting caught or blowing her cover.  The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg is their newest adventure and it  includes diamonds, diseases and Serbian thugs.  The books are always entertaining and a quick read.  Tomorrow I will have to write up the review and since the book is already out you can pick it up to read right away!

What a lovely weekend!  It is a shame I am having to wrap it up and tomorrow join the world again as an ascensioned human being - well at least try.

 

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Eva Charles | Reply 05.09.2016 10.08

So glad you read Petite Madeleine! Thank you! I hope you enjoyed the similarities between the Blues and your beloved Sox 😉

Marjay 05.09.2016 14.33

I did enjoy the similarities between the Sox and the Blues. Loved the story. Loved the characters. The review will go up on the day it is released!

Jeannie | Reply 18.07.2016 10.12

Right on! Sad state of global reality, but we must live on. . .

Jeannie | Reply 09.05.2016 21.12

Tune out all around you. Go into another world. Yes, meditative!

Jeannie | Reply 18.04.2016 10.04

Will read Georgia. I have always been intrigued by her art, raises questions which this book might answer!

Kathy-CT | Reply 13.04.2016 20.05

According to Pew Research, nearly a quarter of American adults have not read a single book in the past year. How sad! Thanks for picking up the slack!

Ronda | Reply 22.02.2016 15.06

Thank you for sharing the wonderful and personal story about your mother and her effect on you as a reader. May you continue to find comfort in reading.

Jeannie | Reply 17.02.2016 11.51

Books are indeed a comfort as well as welcomed escape! We are lucky to love reading

Pauline | Reply 09.02.2016 10.17

Thank you for opening this style of writing with some fine examples. I never thought about this before.

Jeannie | Reply 10.01.2016 19.35

Loved the trend of this meandering. Can picture it all!

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Latest comments

14.09 | 09:34

Thank you for the lovely review! Like the Blues, I hope your team (and mine) is still playing in October!

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05.09 | 14:33

I did enjoy the similarities between the Sox and the Blues. Loved the story. Loved the characters. The review will go up on the day it is released!

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05.09 | 10:08

So glad you read Petite Madeleine! Thank you! I hope you enjoyed the similarities between the Blues and your beloved Sox 😉

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18.07 | 10:12

Right on! Sad state of global reality, but we must live on. . .

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