Happy Holidays My Friends… whether it is Hanukkah or Christmas… I wish you the best!

I would like to thank all of you for following me!  I have enjoyed each and every week’s books and blogs.  DON”T WORRY - I am not stopping.  However, I will not be putting up a blog on Christmas Day and taking the week off!    I will be back on New Year’s Day - hopefully with a whole NEW look.  

There are so many great holiday books available during this season!  I hope you read, laugh and have the holiday you envision.  I am hoping the same for me.  

THEN I am going to return to figure out how things will look in the future.  Please be patient as I figure out how things are going to look moving forward!  I have started to prune some of the pages to help me when it is time to change things around.  

Elise is off celebrating Hanukkah with her family.  She did send in a wonderful interview with Amy Vastine and her book called The Christmas Wedding Crasher!  Elise also sent in a review of (one of our favorite authors) Maisey Yates’ newest novel Merry Christmas Cowboy.  I thought the book was a wonderful read!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we both did.  

Books Read this Week

The Christmas Hummingbird by Davis Bunn

How to Win a Wallflower by Samara Parish

Three Cowboys and a Baby by Kate Pearce

X Baseball in December

Another week closer to Christmas and some days off.  This was the last weekend of Craft Fairs before Christmas.  Another week closer to redoing my website (Thanks for the patience!).  I want to continue to share my gratitude for everyone’s patience while we figure out this new journey!  

Elise knew I had been ill and surprised me with two Maisey Yates newest books about the Four Corner’s Ranch!  The characters - with COWBOYS are wonderful and I LOVED THEM!  As always, her stories are wonderfully thought out with great characters.  It was a lovely, thoughtful gift.  

The big downer this week was my Red Sox made a serious calculation error and did not resign Xander Bogarts.  I am horrified by this!  Really, I am incredibly angry.  The management and front office of the Red Sox have determined that mediocre is okay for the Red Sox.  That having a bargain basement special team is the way forward.  The only good take away from this is that Xander Bogarts now plays for Elise’s favorite team - the Padres.  She loves her Hanukkah present.  The Xan Diego Padres as the papers are calling the team.  

I hope everyone has written up their list of books for presents!  I am so looking forward to having the time to read this winter. Already the days are so short and the nights so long!  

Elise has sent in a book review, Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip Margolin.  The book is a legal thriller with curses, tragedy and a possible serial killer!  Good Luck putting that book down!  The interview this week is with Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin Hill.  Clint Hill was one of the Secret Service Agents that traveled with Jacqueline Kennedy as she traveled.  The book contains many photographs that have never been published.  What a great read.  

Books read this week!

The Reluctant Countess by Eloisa James

Unbridled Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Merry Christmas Cowboy by Maisey Yates


Readers and friends, 

This has been a week of extremes.  Extreme frustration being the strongest of all the extremes.

Since the outset of my blog, I have been blessed with having a site that was easy to use.  I felt comfortable in learning how to use and maintain the site without a lot of fuss.  One of the best parts - to me - was the regularity of their contact with me - weekly sending me an email with the number of hits to the site.  Even though I knew I wanted to do a makeover of the site this winter, I was feeling positive I could figure it out!  However, my site has now been migrated to another service.  The site looks and acts different from what I am used to!  

I ask lots and lots of patience as I learn to use  I have already discovered that their help window is not helpful to me.  Luckily, a friend in town understands this more than I do and has already helped me understand the first steps in learning.  As the month goes on, she has agreed to help me learn how to make the site updated and looking good!  So far, I have figured out how to add to the pages and with some confusion add my information.  I am sure you have figured out how things look differently! Please let me know what you are thinking about how things look.  

Tentatively we are looking at doing the major changes between Christmas and New Years.  So again please be patient with me as we move forward. It hasn’t helped that I have been really sick with some type of cold/virus thing.  I actually took time off from work and stayed in bed.  I hate being that sick especially with the sneezing, wheezing and coughing!

Elise has sent in an interview with Cari Lynn Webb.  You know how we love to romance up those cowboys!  She has also sent in a review of Rhys Bowen’s newest book Perils in Paris.  I so appreciate Elise’s great reviews and interviews as I am sure all of you do as well.   

Books read this week:

You Can Hide by Rebecca Zanetti

Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin

A Gentleman Will Never Forget a lady by Emily Windsor

Presently Reading: The Reluctant Countess by Eloise James

Welcome to Marjay's reading blog.

Ode to my Great Niece,

When I graduated from High School, your Grandfather gave me a card with a copy of the poem Desiderata.  At the time, I was touched by the lines of the poem and found the gift of the card to be thoughtful.  Now - even forty plus years later, some lines from the poem mean much more to me. I would say to you…

Through troubled times, especially the dark times, the reminder that you are a child of the universe has carried me.  Life is noisy, confusing at times and sometimes full of fatigue and loneliness…be gentle with yourself.  Too often it is easier to be hard and blame yourself than to accept that some things happen and our input did not change it or make it better. 

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Words can hurt, be gentle to everyone.  Be humble in accepting praise and generous in sharing achievements. It is with helping others through rough times that we can truly live our best life.

Walk with your head up, facing the sun and move forward with gentle purpose toward your dreams.  Remember that the path is an important part of the journey, not just the destination.

Find your passion and live within it.  Do not let other people’s dissatisfaction with themselves change your path…For you are a child of the Universe and have a right to be here

Treat the beauty and magnificence of nature with awe. Bask in the peace, but be prepared for the fury and the destruction which is also a part of nature.  With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

May your life bring you days of laughter and joy to balance out the days that are not.  Congratulations, Aunt Martha

Elise Cooper has sent in a review and an interview this week.  The interview is with Joanna Schaffhausen and her newest book, Long Gone.  She sent in a review for the new book, Red Flag by Lisa Black.

Books Read this Week:

Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley

The Emerald Tide by Davis Bunn

Blame It on the Earl by Jane Ashford

The Time for Love by Stephanie Laurens

Spreadsheets for reading?

My family likes lists and organization.  When I was younger, I wasn’t sure I really belonged, because I didn’t have lists and I thought in a chaotic fashion.  The older I get the more I realize I was wrong.  I do like lists and I find I need them more and more!  (Much to my chagrin.) Right now I keep the books I have to read from NetGalley in one list. The “sticky note” on my computer is always available and to top it off - I take a picture of it on my phone to help me stay on track.  BUT then I also have books purchased and library books to read.  I do use Goodreads to help, BUT my “to be read list” is over 900 books.  That is where I am struggling.  I have three lists and recently seem to be struggling with keeping them all in line.  

My bestie uses a spreadsheet and I have been thinking about that recently.  I mean I use a spreadsheet for my lesson plans.  I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the number of viewers each week on Simplesite.  Somehow it seems organizing the books to read in such an order seems like overkill.  However, I am going to have to come up with some method.  So I am throwing out the question to all of you.  How do you keep track of your list of books to be read?  Please leave a comment to help me out.  

Meanwhile, I have really enjoyed the beautiful weather and the gorgeousness of where I live.  I hope you have had a chance to enjoy something this week!  

One of the things I always enjoy is seeing what Elise Cooper is going to send us each week.  She has shared a guest review of Wyoming Promise by Anna J Stewart AND an interview with Tess Gerritsen about her newest book, Listen to Me.  Check it out!!!  The book is on my to be read list - creeping toward the top!  

Quicksand by Janet Dailey

The Runaway Orphans by Pam Weaver *** Great Read!!!

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Books read this week:  

One Thursday Afternoon by Barbara DeLorenza

Love Out Loud by Marrisa Clarke


Another HOT, HOT few days this summer.  We actually have been under a heat advisory for several days now.  I have taken to running an errand in the middle of the afternoon some days, just for the air conditioning in my car and stores.

This week I watched a delightful tidbit about shopping for school supplies (cheaper to buy in person at Target/Walmart).  I realized how close school was to opening up. I was reading over resumes when I heard that many schools are starting this year without all the teachers they need.  Many Schools equals hundreds - if not thousands.  I knew I was near the end of a dying breed, but I guess I didn’t realize how many teachers are just all done.  The reasons, teachers are leaving:

Lack of support by administration and other support.

Lack of support from parents (see jackhammer parents)

Lack of decent pay/Quality of Life (needing to work multiple jobs to make ends meet).

Out of Control Students

Lack of support by the community and the governing bodies of the town/state. (politics)

Overwhelming stress (see above)


No wonder so many people are leaving for new careers or retiring early.  Just reading the reasons and statistics made me feel overwhelmed and under supported.  My two cents this week:  Support your local schools and teachers.

This week I stuck to the genre of historical romance.  I needed to read my TBR pile down!  Not that 3 books made a huge dent!  LOL

This week, Elise interviewed Rachel Fordham and her book, Where the Road Bends.  I have to admit after reading the interview and the book blurb, I am interested in reading the book.  She also included a book review for the novel Lethal Game by John Gilstrap.  The thriller novel has the hunters becoming the hunted and needing to rescue themselves.

A Week of Great Reads

Some weeks, the books just seem to be perfect!  I was so lucky with this week’s reading list!  I was able to read 2 historical romances, one historical fiction, one thriller and one Southern fiction.  I have to say I would encourage anyone to read any of them!!! 

Sandra Dallas’s newest book called Where Coyote’s Howl is a story of the early 1900s and the harshness of living in Wyoming on the high plains.   Ellen and Charlie loved each other almost from first sight.  They were devoted to each other living out on the plains far from neighbors and town.  The story outlines the grit and determination the early settlers needed for survival.  It is clear that Sandra Dallas did her research to bring alive these pioneers.  She was able to present their life in such a way that you cried when they did and cheered when they did.  Tissues are helpful!

Southern fiction is a category I have made up.  It consists of great women authors who write about women from the south and their families and their life.  Often they are set on the ocean or in the mountains of Appalachia.  The stories often seem to have elements from the past that add an element of unknown to the story.  The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor is one of those books.  It balances two story lines (one present, one past), the ocean, interesting characters and a secret that will change everyone’s understanding of their families.  It is a great read!

The Gatekeeper by James Byrne was a thriller unlike any I have read for a while.  The main character appears to be on the interesting side with a lot of intelligence and intrigue.  Dez is short for Desmond Aloysius Limerick.  He considers himself a gatekeeper - someone who can open and keep open gates for people.  He was a mercenary, but has decided to hang out in Southern California.  The storyline revolves around missing money, insurrections, and a plot to succeed from the Union.  There are a lot of interesting characters that make the story fun and the action just keeps on moving.  The Gatekeeper is an interesting rollercoaster of a read.

Sophie Barnes has a new series out called Brazen Women with two books in the series (Mr Dale and the Divorcee and Mr Grier and the Governess).  Both books were quite enjoyable with the men (rich, well educated, and perhaps a wee clueless) and the women who would not be considered their social equal, had them totally befuddled.  Unfortunately, the women did not realize it either.  Fun Reads. 

Elise Cooper has shared with us a book review about cyber criminals by Elizabeth Goddard called Critical Alliance.  The story sounds like a great read with lethal threats, cyber espionage, and lots of growing tension.  The author she reviewed this week is Catherine Bybee and her newest book, When It Falls Apart.  The interview is fascinating.  This is a book I also read and have a review under July books about the book as well.  

I hope everyone survived the heat wave and is ready for another lovely week of summer.  My thoughts go out to the people in Kentucky with all the flooding and damage.  Congratulations go out to my nephew for competing in the Never Summer 100km Run and doing so well. 

Jeannie 03.10.2022 01:22

Wonderful emotional connections merging character with reader. Irrestible. Picoult’s Book of Two Ways elicited same connections.

Jeannie 13.12.2021 15:51

Loved the imagery of hands up or hands squeezing in terror. Hope everything resolves in a good way for you. Happy Holidays!

Jeannie 20.09.2021 14:51

Hi Marti,

Beautiful fall weather is in the air. Glad you are still enjoying the Highland Games. Yes, retirement is riddled with a little of this and that.

Jeannie 23.08.2021 16:21

I left the old Conant for the same reason, did not like the new principal and the way I was treated. Hang in there, hope you can work it out. Thinking of

Jeannie 08.02.2021 17:46

I am reading Firefly Lane so I can watch the show on Netflix. Bow library does not have HAnnah’s Four Winds yet, tried to get on list. Like most of her stories.

Jeannie 18.01.2021 14:39

Hear, hear! Agree totally. Compassion, respect, inclusion.

Jeannie 16.11.2020 15:12

Hi Marti,
Yes. We need to grin and go forward to hope for open doors, stuff we can do and smile.

Jeannie 01.06.2020 16:56

Yes, rioting hits heart and soul. How much more can we endure?
How much more can go wrong?

Be strong.

Kirke 18.05.2020 13:26

If you want a REAL macabre horror story do some research on how black flies actually "bite you." Just a hint it involves saws and tongues, stay inside and read!

Jeannie 30.03.2020 17:05

Nice thoughts, yes, hope and grace. I am appropriately reading Gentleman in Moscow who is confined at the Metropol Hotel. Eery coincidence!
Be safe and well.

Kirke 23.03.2020 14:13

Kurt Vonnegut I think? In an insane world a sane person will appear insane....

Jeannie 16.03.2020 15:36

LOL, serious , but a run on toilet paper?
Guess we missed Bojhalian.
Be well! Happy reading!

Kirke 25.11.2019 16:05

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 10.06.2019 16:03

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

KATHY 24.12.2018 05:28

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

Jeannie 01.10.2018 20:20

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

Jeannie 28.05.2018 03:23

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

Jeannie 26.03.2018 20:01

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 19.03.2018 18:10

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

Kirke 28.08.2017 10:12

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 17.07.2017 13:13

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 02.07.2017 10:35

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 19.06.2017 03:27

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 30.05.2017 03:45

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

Jeannie 20.02.2017 21:35

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

Starry Storyteller 07.02.2017 21:41

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

Jeannie 21.11.2016 20:30

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

Jeannie 10.10.2016 06:18

Gee, Marti, sounds like you need a hug! Escape this negative world and just read! We love you and would never give you a hard time, unless you merited it! LOL.

Eva Charles 06.10.2016 00:04

I love Katy Regnery's fairy tales too! All her stories are great. Congratulations on the uptick of traffic on the blog.

Eva Charles 05.09.2016 16:08

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 20:33

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 18.07.2016 16:12

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

Jeannie 10.05.2016 03:12

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

Jeannie 18.04.2016 16:04

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

Kathy-CT 14.04.2016 02:05

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 22.02.2016 21:06

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 17.02.2016 17:51

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

Pauline 09.02.2016 16:17

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

Jeannie 11.01.2016 01:35

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

Jeannie 22.12.2015 00:12

Agreed! Intrigue and escape into other worlds!

Jeannie 21.09.2015 21:17

Really, Marti! Worth relinquishing books for interesting views like that!
Good to read about men, too, and conjure up our own variations of wonderful.

Jeannie 26.07.2015 16:59

Marti, this commentary is beautiful, poignant and an affirmation of living one's own life. Moreover, it is beautifully written!! Right to the heart.

Marti 26.07.2015 19:00

Thank you Jeannie.

Jeannie 23.07.2015 00:57

I have my little LL Bean bag to hold my current constant companion of a book.
Still in love with print in the tangible, bound book version. Happy reading!

Kathy-CT 27.06.2015 03:49

"Blueprints" is my next read, this weekend. I actually snagged a book from my library within two weeks of its release! Always enjoy reading Delinsky's books.

husam 18.06.2015 09:26

this really cool site

Marjay 18.06.2015 13:05

Thank you!

Kirke 15.06.2015 15:42

Thanks for the updated list. I am a lover of mysteries and series, my current favorite is Louise Penny. Her setting is Montreal and its idyllic surroundings.

marjay 18.06.2015 01:51

Thanks Kirke for another author

Aqua-girl 07.03.2015 18:05

you have been busy

marjay 07.03.2015 20:54

I have been busy...but always more to read... I guess I need to accept that I will never catch up!

jeannie 02.03.2015 01:35

Thanks for the chuckles, very clever. Made my evening. Work does get in the way of reading and other pastimes.

Nancy 11.11.2014 13:44

Martha -- you are riding the grace wave!


jeannie 20.10.2014 01:07

Pretty dicey talk. Wonder if your detractor ever read a romance novel. She might enjoy it.

Nancy 20.10.2014 00:26

The best part of this, "Bite Me!" Love you Martha -- love your blog and love that you read everything!

sue 19.10.2014 16:19

I love romances with a twist....time travel,alpha shape shifters,graphic....give me all that

Jeannie 14.10.2014 02:05

I agree. Time, in demand. The escape into other worlds through readings becomes a necessary getaway! Hope it works that way with your students, too.

Kathy 08.06.2014 03:27

Thanks for all the great recommendations! I love your blog and it was so wonderful to see you at the NH Historical Museum!

jeannie 03.06.2014 05:35

The Fault in Our Stars is coming out as a movie, I believe. Looks sweet and maybe sad. Think it is great that your students are consultants, too.

Jeannie 24.03.2014 03:15

Loved The Hunger Games series. The HandMaiden's Tale made me mad as did Lois Lowry's The Giver, but raised all the ethical questions associated with "control."

Dawn 15.03.2014 17:45

Your blog is spot on today...we get what we allow ourselves to have. I hope today you will allow yourself joy, even if it is just for a few moments.

Jon St. Cyr 27.02.2014 20:12

You probably know this, but Angelina Jolie is bringing Unbroken to the big screen this Christmas. I haven't read the book, but I can't wait to see the movie.

Kathy 04.01.2014 04:04

Happy New Year! This year I will NOT save $$$. We are going to do our part to stimulate the economy instead: laptops, smartphones, HDTV, vacations, new car!!

Marti 06.12.2013 04:08

Jeannie, I don't know when new becomes classic, but several books I read a 'while' ago now show up as classic. Marti

Jeannie 06.12.2013 02:49

I loved the classics long ago when I read them, and more current literature is more accessible and enjoyable. When does current become classic?

Anne 19.11.2013 03:51

While I have read several James Patterson books over the years, my favorite ones were his older books. I find his short, simple style lacking substance.

Marti 07.11.2013 20:47

I think we I click on the Share this page button it does put up a message on facebook, but I have not found a way to let people know any other way at this point

Uncle John 07.11.2013 19:56

Great!! Is there anyway loyal followers can be notified on each new Posting? Keep it up.

Kathy 06.10.2013 02:22

I absolutely love your blog! (and you know I have no patience sitting in front of a computer screen) You're making soup and I'm running the A/C - go figure!

Jeannie 26.09.2013 23:22

After reading before bed, I know sleep will elude me when my mind dwells on the problems, dilemmas, angst of Nona or Charlotte or Worth, the current characters.

Jo-Anne 26.08.2013 12:49

Great Blog Page:)

Jeannie 22.08.2013 21:05

Don't see how anyone could live without reading. Without a book I feel lost, but I can only handle one book at a time. Good luck with your backlog!!!

Jonathan St. Cyr 22.08.2013 17:43

Wonderful site. I am currently re-reading the first two books of Ken Follett's Century Trilogy. I cannot get enough of the history and character development.

aunt sue 21.08.2013 03:14

Good writing here

Julie 20.08.2013 18:27

Love It!

Cathi 19.08.2013 11:44

Awesome blog! informative .... Not usually a blog reader. Books that take place in New England and near the sea are my favorite. Nice job, picturesque,charming

Latest comments

03.10 | 01:22

Wonderful emotional connections merging character with r...

29.08 | 00:35

I love this series! Thank you for your hard work.

19.07 | 22:14

Thank you so much, Elise! Much appreciated.

14.07 | 14:58

Thank you, so much, Elise!