Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Everything from a character

from introvertdoodles

A doodle I found this week from introvertdoodles has given me hope. It is named Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Book. It is obviously based on the poster and poem, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.  While I am still feeling quite disillusioned, I am reminded of a few certainties from reading books. 

The first truth is that in books when things don’t turn out well, there is usually a sequel.  A statement that goes straight to the heart of any bibliotheque. I love reading books that are sequels. I love the traits and fully rounded characters you are shown when you read about them over a long period of time. This is making me feel like I need to be stronger and look for my sequel.

The second truth that struck me based on this doodle is when things go wrong, there is usually a plot twist. Personally I don't think there's a plot twist that's going to show up and make me rethink and look at things with more hope. I remember once reading a brief writing on Tumblr where the writer pointed out that when things go wrong you can yell plot twist and everyone will laugh and ignore what you did. Now personally I don't think in the case of Red Sox baseball we can yell plot twist. However did you notice how long it's taken for the trade of Mookie Betts to go through! Maybe that is a plot twist.

Another truth on the doodle is that all the best characters are flawed. Now I don't like to think of myself as flawed.  After all being a pollyanna is not a flaw, but a statement on how I see the world. It's really hard not to feel like something has failed, when things become so muddled and difficult. I have decided to take this particular statement to heart. I am going to remind myself daily that being a pollyanna is a character trait. That leads us to the last truth on this doodle, that characters are supposed to be weird, different, and complex. I'm just a complex character like all true Pollyannas, even if I am I am disillusioned right now.

In order to deal with my disillusionment this week I have to admit I read a lot of historical romance. I know that's not all of your favorite genres so I won't go on and on about the books I read. However, I will point out, I did read the newest Susan Mallery book called Sisters By Choice and I really liked it. Susan Mallory has a way of writing books about women finding their bond, their strength from each other that I think is very powerful.  I really enjoyed reading it. Elise Cooper's interview with Peter Robinson will be enjoyable for many of you as well. He writes a series of ‘Who Done It’ books that sound quite interesting. In this book he has brought back the character of DCI Detective Alan Banks. 


Books read this week:

Sisters by Choice by Susan Mallery

Table for Two by Chris Keniston

Scott Under the Covers by Susan Enoch

For the Sake of a Scottish Rake by Anna Bradley

Wild, Wild Rake by Jena McGregor



Last month has been one of disillusionment for me, for several reasons.  Taking away the hope of a pollyanna is a dangerous thing. I feel rather raw and definately disillusioned.  I have found myself avoiding social media and becoming less communicative with people. The institutions in my world have let me down.  For that, I am sorry. I am hopeful that this will pass. I am sure the reality won’t change, but perhaps I will feel more hopeful over time.  


Meanwhile I read like crazy this last month and started a couple of projects that I will (hopefully) finish quickly.  The books have been fabulous with some great authors and stories and that has helped. Oscar and Gizzy have been cuddly which has also helped.  I could use a couple of snow days, but with the warmer temperatures and the weirder storms, that is unlikely.  


Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald was a twisted murder-mystery thriller.  The main character Eva is trying to solve her mother’s murder. The only problem is she has no idea what happened because she was hit by lightning, which messed with her memory.  I loved how the story moved back and forth between Eva in the present and Kat (her mother) in the past. I did figure out part of it, but not the whole and how it worked together.  


I did read a couple of historical romances - you know - my favorite genre.  I love quirky characters and fun love stories with fancy dresses. It is interesting I find the fancy dresses so important, when I am a happy camper with my jeans. There were a couple of contemporary romances too, which I enjoyed.  No fancy dresses, but good story lines. I like story lines where people feel like they have saved someone who saved them right back (ie like Pretty Woman). Maybe I keep hoping that will happen to those I love. Or even me someday.  


Elise Cooper has an interview with Debra H Goldstein and her new series called the Sarah  Blair Mysteries. The books sound like fun cosy mysteries around the food industry. There is humorous dialogue and great characters.


Books read this week

The Arrangement by Sylvia Day and others

Behind Every Lie by Christine McDonald

Taken With You by Carrie Ann Ryan 

A Reckless Runaway by Jess Michaels 

Vendetta Road by Christine Feehan


The Mysteries and Lost Time

I recently realized how much time I was losing when I was on social media. So I decided to stop.  Then I started to play - just a couple of games, which grew - and now I am losing time on my phone. Even the number of shows on TV or other devices you can binge-watch can suck you in. It is amazing all the different ways that our electronics can take so much of our time.  I have decided that I really need to spend more time away from the electronic devices except for Words with Friends or maybe Baseball and I really like to read the papers on-line. No wonder, it is so hard for kids to put down the electronics.  


What bothered me when I realized the lost time, I could spend that time reading. This week I am going to work on this - maybe.  


The last two weekends, I was able to spend lots of time reading, mostly at the expense of housework, which I am fine with.  However, knowing I am losing time to electronics is not as fine! Isn’t it interesting the number of things you can find to do which seem to eat time.  I remember writing a blog about how time seems to be going faster, so maybe it is more like all the electronics we have helps speed up life. Or maybe they cause the perception of the amount of time we have to spend on other things. 


This weekend I spent time reading thrillers/mysteries.  Jonathan Kellerman’s newest book called “The Museum of Desire” comes out next week.  I am unsure how he keeps coming up with unique storylines each and every time, but he does.  This time the mystery starts with four dead people in a limousine with no obvious connections.  Alex and Milo have to ask lots of questions to find the answers and there are twists and turns. The second thriller I read was The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler.  In this novel, Sienna deals with a psychotic mother, verbal threats and a ten year old murder that she has never been able to forget. Her return has set off a whole series of events. It reminds you that you never really quite sure what is in another’s mind. Perhaps that is what makes thrillers so thrilling.  You never really know… 


This week Elise Cooper has sent us in an interview with Amanda Flowers and her newest book called Matchmaking can be Murder.  The book sounds like fun to read with goats who seem to chase people and fun characters. The main character is an older Amish woman her gets her best friend to help her.  It is the beginning of a new series, which is always fun.    


Books read this week:

The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman

The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler

An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham

Deathwatch by Robb White


This is Oscar

This is Oscar.  He is unhappy with the treat choices given to him.  Never mind the treats were his favorite up until last week when I ran out and had to get another type for a couple of days.  This is my week. When Oscar is unhappy, he wants to play the “In and out” game or the “sit in the doorway” game. That means I am up and down like a jack-in-a-box.  So some of my reading this week has been in spurts, due to Oscar being unhappy with his treats. Then it snowed. Oscar is unhappy with the snow. It interferes with his games of “in and out” and “sit in the doorway”.  This led to a short detente where he slept allowing me to read to my heart’s content. That time has now come to an end, but suddenly he likes his treats again…

Meanwhile, this week has been full of reading.  I have not really found much on TV to watch and I have not set up my new roku yet, so I read.  It helped that three books I wanted came into the library at once ! Plus one of my nieces sent me the first Joe Pickett novel.  So the reading material has been lovely!!!

I finally read The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz.  Last week Elise Cooper had an interview with her about this novel!  I loved it with all its paranormal twists and creepy murders. The main characters were fun and unusual and the mystery was interesting.  My other favorite book this week was the new Robyn Carr book called The Country Guesthouse. Again there were great characters, but this book’s plot line was more ordinary and could be only too real. Two great book from two of my favorite authors.

I have decided that my quest for this year is to read all the Joe Pickett novels so that when the next one comes out, I am all caught up.  This is a worthy goal, I think, even with baseball starting next month and a new set of books to read for my students (and therefore the teacher). 

Elise has sent in a new interview with Sara Driscoll (who is really two friends who write together) and a fun book review of Murder at the Icicle Lodge.  Both of which were quite interesting.  

Meanwhile Oscar is back awake and doing his I am unhappy pacing.  It is too cold and snowy to go out, but he wants to go out. So the “in and out” game has changed to “I want to go out, maybe? but now” game.  And giving me the look. This is Oscar unhappy with the choices available to him. LOL

Books I read this week:

The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz

The Country Guesthouse by Robyn Carr

Blessing in Disguise by Danielle Steel

Open Season by C J Box

About an Earl by Diana Lloyd

Iron and Bone by Cat Porter (review not complete)


Pajama Day

It was a very warm weekend.  Over 50 degrees both days. That meant a lot of the snow melted and we are back to a muddy mess in the driveway.  After the difficulties of the week, I was very glad to have a pajama day! I am sure you know what I mean by a pajama day.  A whole blessed day spent in pajamas! It is the most awesome kind of day when you are all done “peopling” for a while! I have to admit I read almost all day.  It was so lovely - a little ice tea, some coffee and a comfie couch. The books were awesome as well. 

On my pajama day, I finished a new novel by Diane Chamberlain. BIg Lies in a Small Town was written with storylines that went back and forth between two time periods.  It was one of my favorite types of books where there is a mystery in the present and you just know the part of the book in the 40s was when the mystery happened. Each successive chapter brought you deeper and deeper into the mystery.  I loved the characters and plotlines. I found myself trying to figure out the answers and getting worried for Anna and Morgan. The story was awesome.

I also inhaled Jill Shalvis’s newest book Almost Just Friends.  I have to admit that she is one of my always-read authors. I don’t know how she manages to make me cry and laugh almost simultaneously.  I love her characters, often finding them to be so well written that you can imagine having a conversation with them. Her romances are always hot and sweet!  The book was a fun read.

Elise Cooper has been busy this week.  She has sent in book review of Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas.  She has also sent in two interviews. One of the interviews was with Jayne Ann Krentz and her new book called The Vanishing.  She is one of my favorite authors, so I was very excited to read about the awesome new book. I am on the waiting list at the library for it! The second interview is with Iris and Roy Johansen about their new book, Hindsight - a great murder mystery.  

I hope you have had a chance for a  pajama day really soon.  


Books read this week:  

Sexy Hers by Carly Phillips

The Bachelor by Sabrina Jeffries

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis


From Elise Cooper

Book Review:  Christmas in Winter by Jodi Thomas

Interviews with Iris and Roy Johansen about their book, Hindsight 

and Jayne Ann Krentz about her new book, The Vanishing


Today’s forecast: 100% Reading

Today’s forecast:  100% Reading

Sometimes I need to break out and try something new.  No, not skydiving or something wild like that. For me breaking out is trying something slightly outside my usual reading choice, like reading a new author or a different genre.  I thought I was getting into a rut reading the same type of books and authors, so it was time.  

I like to read.  I read for pleasure, entertainment and refuge.  I like to read series, and enjoy certain authors.  I like knowing I am going to enjoy the book. Books are expensive, even if they are kindle books and while I have no problem using the library, they are not going to buy all the books I want to read.  For me the other issue is that I receive a lot of books from Goodreads and I am expected to leave a review. Just because I do not like a book, doesn’t mean that someone else might like the book. I also know that authors spent a lot of time working on writing their books and I do not want to cause any harm.  

So the new author was C.J. Box and I LOVED reading the book!  I read his book called Wolf Pack. The novel is part of a series about a game warden named Joe Pickett in Wyoming.  Remember when I said slightly - I like reading about the west - so it wasn’t a huge departure for me. A number of other books I have read have been set in the west and I like reading thrillers.  It was a great choice for a slight departure.

I grew up reading my dad’s westerns. He read Zane Gray and Charles Alden Seltzer. He loved reading them and reread them often.  Many were books he searched for and found at yard sales or other places, some were actually first editions. Dad’s Dad also read Zane Gray as well and Dad remembered reading them then too.  Being the book lover, I am... I still have them all. 

This year I am interested in reading some new authors and books.  So I am asking you, my readers, to send me some new authors and books.  No guarantees, but maybe you can help me move in a new direction. If I choose your book, I will ask you if I can do a call out on my blog to thank you.  

Books read this week:

The Last Real Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Wolf Pack by C. J Box

All in a Drop by Lori Alexander (middle school reader)

In Her Sights and Risk It All by Katie Ruggles

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas


The End of the Year

As the year comes to a close,  another massive storm has swept in.  The storm first hit in Southern California with all the rain and moved across the US into a sleet storm that is expected to last two days here.  From what I read, it has caused snow in the West, tornadoes in Oklahoma and rain in Tennessee. It has also caused accidents all across the country.   I know the familiar quote about lions and lambs is all about March, but I think it may be true about this year too. The year is going out like a lion certainly sounds true.  I can only hope that the beginning of the new year is more lamb like. I am hoping that the new year is more lamb like for the year.  

This week was not conducive to a lot of reading.  Luckily, there are so many games on my phone to play while we hurried up and waited.  Words With Friends was reloaded and played often. Our Christmas was not what we had planned, but we found a way to make time to celebrate.  Sometimes, holidays are just not what you expect, but it is what you make of them and celebrating the time with people you love.   

Elise took this week off, but please check out all her interviews from the year.  There’s lots of cool information to learn and books to explore. I have left the last three months of reviews up for all of you to check out.  I am sure you will find something - just right - to read.  

I wish for all of you a happy and healthy new year with lots of time to read and access to books for reading.  


Books read this week:

The Duke’s Desire by Erica Ridley

Forgiveness: Lord of Carnage MC Christmas by Daphne Loveling

A Study in Scandal by Caroline Linden

Joy to the Duke by Darcy Burke


Book Statistic Geek

I have a secret that I have not shared with all of you. Not that it is really bad or anything, but I am a bit of a geek.  I like numbers that explain or describe things. I find them fascinating. Since I have learned to use Google spreadsheet this year, I have geeked out, making several charts using totals and averages so far.  This week when Goodreads came out with the end of the year statistics, I of course made another spreadsheet!


I found out some interesting things about myself.  I have read 697,869 pages in the last ten years with Goodreads.  What a remarkable amount of pages! I have averaged 63,443 pages a year!  How incredible! I told you I was geeking out! I average 206 books a year over this ten year time period, although in the last five years I have a higher average.  The other cool part is I still have 9 more days of reading this year and I am on vacation!! Wooohooo!


The other statistics that I found fun were the lengths of books.  So in the last 10 years, the average length of all the books I have read was 313 pages.  Now this statistic is a little fuzzy as I believe it has included sets of books when bought as one as well as specific books.  The average range of books from shortest to longest was 70 pages to 729 pages. Isn’t that just fascinating? 


I know not everyone is going to be as interested in the statistics as I am, but if you belong to Goodreads, I suggest you check out how your statistics look!  


Meanwhile I wish for you, a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year! I hope everyone gets either books or gift cards for books this holiday!  


Books I read this week.  I swear I have read another one, but for the life of me I can not find it on my kindle!

Loving Chloe by Chris Keniston

Dare Me Tonight by Carly Phillips

Take Me Done by Carly Phillips 


YA Books

Fellow Readers.  I know many of us are in the midst of shopping for a holiday.  I too have been shopping and are just looking for a couple of more things to fill out the gifts.  As always I am hoping for books or at least gift cards for buying books. I am sure some of you are also hoping for books.


As always my to read list is so long that I would need to do nothing but read for the next 5 years. Even then I am not sure I would be caught up because there are so many wonderful new books coming out!  I have made my goal of reading over 200 books this year. I still find my love of reading such an important part of my life. I hope it brings you the same joy as it does for me. 


One of the cool parts of my job is that I get to go to conferences to hear about various new things (or recycled new things) with teaching.  This week I went to a conference about the best books that have come out this year for Middle Grades and High School. The presenter was Karen Scott, a woman who is well known for her understanding and knowledge about YA book.  Instead of adding the normal list of books I read this week, I have added her list about Middle Grade (mostly) reads for 2019 in case you too have some readers in this area. I will be working on my list for purchasing new books when I can winnow down the list a bit more.


Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy. .

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake:  

Jake and the King of Chaos by Naomi Milliner (crappy cover)

Redwood & Ponytail by K A Holt 

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrew. 

Operatic by Kyo Maclear

Stargazing by Jen Wang.

The Line Tender by Kate Tender.  

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart.

Look Both Ways:  A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds 

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell 

Internment by Samira Ahmed 

Insignificant life of a Cactus (book one) and Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus (book two ) by Dusti Bowling. 

Dreaming in Code:  Ada Byron Lovelace, Computer Pioneer by Emily Arnold Mccully



martha lawton

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Kirke | Reply 25.11.2019 11.05

Much media suggest teachers teach only subjects, but really: "... our job as teachers to help her learn to read, understand and think critically on her own."

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

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Latest comments

25.11 | 11:05

Much media suggest teachers teach only subjects, but really: "... our job as teachers to help her learn to read, understand and think critically on her own."

29.08 | 02:19

I love reading. I will start reading Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley after my https://www.goldenbustours.com/grand-canyon-tours/ and hope it would be interesting.

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!

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