Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Peace to You

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


and missing jeans

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


Actually paper books vs ebooks

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



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


The Need to Read

Another week closer to summer.  Another week with more sunlight and warmer weather.  We are clearly in the midst of mud season and maple syrup season.  Taking out the trash is a bit of a tromp, missing the deeper parts of the mud and hoping that no shoes will be eaten on the way.  


This weekend a number of sap houses were open for people to come in and check out how maple syrup was made.  No matter what road you travel down, you see sap lines running around trees to large barrels. Such is the life in a small town.  Town meetings have finished and more people are trying to get out and about.


I found this quiet weekend a perfect companion for me.  This last week, I have struggled with either a bad cold or a glancing blow of the flu.  Either way, everyday I feel a little better and breathing is a little less of a battle. It has made me more likely to sleep as opposed to read this week.  Despite that I did enjoy reading this week.


I started a new MC series by Daphne Loveling - The Ironwood Series and enjoyed it.  Both stories followed the expected pattern. MC member meets a woman, acts all caveman trying to help/save her, and after lots of heat, they fall in love.  Some are more realistic than other - this series falls in the middle of book realistic, not necessarily life realistic.


I read an older Mary Jo Putney book called Silk and Shadows.  Certainly a traditional historical romance with the thriller elements.  Good vs evil main characters - who normally have an antagonistic nature for the other.  Usually a fair damsel of the town is drawn to one of them, but forced to put up with the other one.  It was a good read, with a jerkier evil character than usual, with an interesting twist toward the end.  


For Netgalley, this week’s read was a horror/thriller novel called The Perfect Girlfriend.  OH MY that book was like the movies where you cover your eyes at the scary parts, but book was scarier and the evil more insidious.  Imagine what happens when a person breaks up with a girlfriend who somehow manages to become such a part of his life that there is no way out… now make sure she is crazy…  It is like watching a car wreck. There is no way to stop looking or to believe what might happen next. Karen Hamilton’s The Perfect Girlfriend was thrilling and chilling.


Elise Cooper has shared an interesting interview with Rhys Bowen and her newest book, The Victory Garden.  I have to admit I might have to add that book to my to-read list. It sounds great mixing facts and mysteries into a historical fiction book about WWI.


I hope you all had time to read this week.  I always love to hear what you are reading!


Books read this week:

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo Putney

Dirty Santa (novella) by Daphne Loveling

Iron Will by Daphne Loveling


Book currently reading:

The Last Second (A Brit in the FBI #6) by by Catherine Coulter and JT Ellison


martha lawton

Tissues are an option to consider…

Tissues are an option to consider…

This week has been an interesting week.  According to friends Mercury is in retrograde.  I am not really sure what that means, but they assure me now is not the time to buy a house, sign a lease, and to expect chaos with negotiations and everything will be very fluid and changeable.  Now, there is no proof this is correct, just like there is no proof that things are crazy on a full moon night. I will go with communication this week was interesting…. And as some of my more intuitive kids will tell you interesting means good and bad and well just interesting.

I read two books I received from Net Galley this week - and both required tissues, but for different reasons.  I am not a pretty crier. I get blotchy skin and snuff a lot. The Things We Could Not Say by Kelly Rimmer had me crying so hard that I had to stop reading to wipe my face - and not just once.  Sometimes stories are more than stories. They are words that transport you into a unknown world and you live vicariously through the characters. The fact it was about WWII and the occupation of Poland and the horror that goes with that story made it more poignant.  The book was one of the best of the best and I will never forget it.

The second book was called In The Blink of The Eye by Jesse Blackadder.  I did not like this book. The story and the characters all rubbed against me like sandpaper.  I don’t think the reader was supposed to like the book. I think it was supposed to  make you feel and it did.

Of all the books I read this week only one was totally my choice - Susan Mallery’s newest book called California Girls.  Three sisters, all different, all were in an self identify crisis. I love how the stories meandered around each other. I also love how the stories ended - thank heavens for HEA. (no tissues needed)

Elise Cooper also had a busy week, but still found time to share a guest review called Let It Go by Elizabeth Goddard.  It is a thriller with a love story interwoven. The cold case catches your attention right away according to Elise. Check it out!

Meanwhile, I hope you have tissues available when you need it.  Myself, I will be needing to buy a new box.

The books read

The Blink of The Eye by Jesse Blackadder.

The Things We Could Not Say by Kelly Rimmer

California Girls by Susan Mallery


Currently reading:  

Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo Putney


Pajama Day

Today was a pajama day ALL DAY!  It was divine! Except for when I had to shovel and clean off the car and move for the plow.  But really it was a pajama day! There was a couch, some blankets and a couple of furballs involved as well.  Oscar in particular was particularly lovely.

The Red Sox are in spring training (not that they are winning).  It is sunny and warm in Florida and the boys (my boys) of summer are out there on the field looking fine - except they are not winning right now. I watched them today as there was a snow storm today that kept me home.  I had homemade garbage nachos for lunch and tonight is homemade pizza. This is the life. I might even have a hot cup of decaf in a few. I am telling you this is the life!

And today, I read a book.  Yesterday, I read a book too.  My secret power is back. I thought I had lost my ability to read whenever.  I read a book today and a book yesterday. I am so happy. I thought my ability to focus on reading was compromised forever, but it wasn’t.  It was just hibernating - like for the winter. I think I am really relieved as well. It is hard to lose something that is so completely part of you.  It is like I was lonely for it and missed it horribly. But it is back!!! (Dancing madly around the room - in my head - it is safer.)

So what did I read, you ask?  A little of everything - a couple of thrillers, a twisted family drama with a bit of a thriller thrown in, and a couple of historical romance novels.  All were interesting in their own way and I loved being dragged into the story so completely. Elise and I actually read the same book this week, so there are TWO book reviews on Never Tell by Lisa Gardner.  We both agree the book is quite good with likable characters and exciting elements. Lisa also has an interview with Christopher Rice and his book Blood Echo (a mix of superhero and sci-fi elements). Great Reads all around.   

I hope everyone has a great book to read this week!

Books Read:  

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry

Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

The Liar’s Child by Carla Buckley

A Lady’s Virtue by A.S. Fenichel


Currently Reading:  

California Girls by Susan Mallery


Don't forget the Couch

A miracle has occurred… well not a miracle for anyone but me.

Gizelda and Oscar actually both slept on my bed, near each other.  There was only one altercation in the middle of the night, that I could settle easily enough.  Gizzy purred and purred for about 15 minutes after she go settled. I am not sure this is going to happen again, but it was a nice surprise.  I think she has been sleeping right outside the door, which made me feel badly.

Vacation week and although I am not sure where all the time went, but it seemed to go so quickly.  I am always happy to lie on the couch and read a book! I was able to read a couple of great books, including the book, I am presently reading by Steve Berry called The Malta Exchange.  It is another thriller that wraps up legends, the Roman Catholic Church and the Hospitaliers, along with secret letters from Mussolini to Churchill. There are many characters, with double crossing and lots of strange clues that only Cotton Malone can figure out.  The book is fabulous and quite frankly why I am hurrying to write this tonight… I can’t wait to finish reading the book.

The other books I read were just as interesting, but all in different ways.  Love in Catalina Cove was a hot, hot, hot read with lots of twists in the story and is the start of a new series by a new author - and you know I love them!  Daughter of the Town was a more thoughtful narrative with loads of self reflection and personal growth by the main character. Arrange Me was about a woman wanting to be married so much that she applies to a site that arranges marriages and is accepted.  

This week, Elise Cooper also read a thriller book with Joseph Finder’s new book Judgment. Two great choices if you like spies, crimes and espionage. She also interviewed Karen Rose with her newest book called, Say You’re Sorry.   It is time to plan for school tomorrow, depending on snow. I hope you all have a great week of reading and not too much snow!

Books read this week:

Love in Catalina Cove by Brenda Jackson

Daughter of the Town by Miriam C Crouch

Arrange Me by Katy Regnery


Book presently reading:

The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry


Living the Dream

Vacation Week is here!  The excitement! The thrill!  The housework, laundry, dishes and vacuuming.  What can I say - living the dream here… But all the extra time for reading almost makes it all worthwhile…  


This week the biggest plan is to have surgery on my left eye.  Since I have already had the right eye done, the unknown fear factor is gone. Now I have the known fear factor.  It is not really a big deal especially since it takes away some of the chances of going blind. I have found that statement to be a powerful motivation for moving forward.  


I have friends that love to listen to books. I have friends that rely on listening to books.  The last time I tried to listen to a book, I forgot it was on and then wondered where the noise was coming from. LOL. Recently in the last couple of years I have listened to baseball games and NPR, so maybe I am grown up enough now to listen to a book.  But there is a difference knowing that you will have to listen to a book as opposed to choosing to listen to a book.


The latest incident with human trafficking has come to light by the alleged inclusion of Robert Kraft.  Once again, we were told these women were tricked and deceived into a life where they felt they did not have a way out.  In this case, it has been reported that the women were brought into the US via airplanes and ports of entry thinking they were starting a new life.  I encourage us all to help do our part in helping victims of sex crimes to find safety again.


This week Elise has written a wonderful review of Christina Dodd’s newest book, What Doesn’t Kill Her.  I can’t wait to read this book, especially now I have read Elise’s review. She also has included a interview of Mark Greaney and his newest book, Mission Critical. I have written a review of Julia London’s newest book, Devil in Tartan, an interesting read.  I also just finished the newest (out last week) Carrie Ann Ryan’s book Jagged Ink. Gosh, I love those Montgomery books.


Books Read this week:

Devil in Tartan by Julia London

Jagged Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan


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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.

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!

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Latest comments

30.03 | 21:07

📚🌻📚🌻❤️... GREAT REVIEW

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.

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