Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday Snapshot & Weekend Cooking: Annapolis Restaurants

Today, I am combining Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads, with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads, to share with you some of the amazing food we ate two weeks ago in Annapolis on our weekend getaway. You can see my non-food photos from Annapolis here - it's a beautiful waterfront town.

We enjoyed everything about the town but especially the FOOD. Annapolis (and we stuck to the small Old Town area) is filled with reasonably-priced restaurants offering creative and delicious dishes, in a wide range of styles, with a focus on fresh and local ingredients. We ate WAY too much, and felt constantly full! So, here are some food highlights from Annapolis:

Chick and Ruths Delly on Main Street

Chick & Ruths famous Crab Cake
We started our food odyssey with lunch when we arrived on Saturday. We headed to a well-known local diner-style place that's been in business since 1965: Chick and Ruths Delly. This popular place was crammed with people - and with delicious food! You can look through the huge menu or peruse the signs on the wall for over 130 different sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and salads, named after local politicians and celebrities. They are also known for their thick milkshakes and malts, homemade pies and breads, and crab cakes.

I opted for a crab cake - I only needed one, since they are each a half-pound of almost entirely lump crab meat! My husband said, "That looks like the best crab cake I've ever seen. Is it?" I'd have to say it was. He went with a classic Reuben (my second choice!) and a chocolate malt, which were both also delicious.

Dry 85 Burgers (but blurry!)
For dinner that night, we walked down Main Street, reading all the menus in the doorways - sushi, Italian, tacos, Irish pubs (those were mobbed since it was St. Patrick's Day), and more. We settled on Dry 85, a bourbon bar (the bar area of which was also packed with people due to the holiday). It's designed to feel like a Prohibition-era speakeasy, with rough-hewn, industrial, garage-type decor, and they offer extensive bourbon and beer lists, as well as gourmet food. We lucked out and got a table in the back, a bit apart from the green-clad crowds. We both ordered burgers, which were some of the best we've ever had! Mine had blue cheese, caramelized onions, and fig preserves on it. My husband got their famous truffle fries on the side, which were excellent. I can't drink alcohol due to my medical conditions, but my husband made use of their extensive beer list, and I had a 3-ounce sample size of one of their local beers! Wow, did that taste good.

Iron Rooster - Annapolis

Iron Rooster's Crab Hash
The next restaurant we tried ended up being our favorite, and we went there for 3 meals over the next 24 hours! Iron Rooster is a small place by the waterfront that specializes in breakfast (served all day) but also offers lunch and dinner. Besides this Annapolis spot, they have 3 other locations in the Baltimore area (a fact we plan to make use of). We fell in love with this place. Their breakfast menu is mind-boggling, with page after page of creative dishes. On Sunday, I had Crab Hash, a fabulous combination of lump crabmeat, asparagus, home fries, bacon, and roasted red peppers, topped off with two poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise sauce, and a sprinkle of Old Bay - are you drooling yet? The second breakfast I ordered on Monday was their Rancher's Benny (they offer 5 different and creative versions of eggs benedict), with a fried green tomato, roasted corn salsa, and roasted poblano sauce. Party in my mouth!
Fried Black-Eyed Peas (what's left!)

My husband tried their Chicken & Waffles the first day, and Latkes and Eggs the second day (he was trying to go light!). And I saved the best for last - each day, they make 3-4 types of homemade pop-tarts (called Roos-Tarts). Monday, we tried the chocolate banana, and it was amazing. No wonder we took an hour-long walk after breakfast and still felt horribly full! We also ate dinner there Sunday night, which was good but not as special as their breakfasts - the one stand-out at dinnertime were the deep-fried black-eyed peas as an appetizer, which we gobbled up (hence the almost empty photo!) - why has no one ever thought of this before?
Iron Rooster Chocolate Banana Roos-Tart - mmmm!

In between all our Iron Rooster meals, we tried to go lighter at lunch on Sunday with a stop at Vida Taco Bar on Main Street. We didn't stuff ourselves quite as much there, but it was still mouth-wateringly delicious. They specialize in tequila and tacos, and the very creatively filled tacos are offered ala carte, so you can order four different kinds if you want or even just one taco. We each opted for two different tacos, each with different fillings, and a side of guacamole to split. Everything was wonderful - super-fresh, local ingredients, and wonderfully unique flavor combinations.
Vida Taco Bar

So, we had a very food-filled weekend, and every single bite was delicious! We were quite surprised and impressed by the large number of restaurants in Annapolis and the high quality at each one.

Time for me to go make breakfast now - I wish the Iron Rooster was closer! Hope you are enjoying a great weekend. Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Sign Up Now for Booktopia 2018!

Booktopia Authors in 2017
If you're a regular reader of my blog, then you know how much I love going to Booktopia each year. It is hosted by Northshire Bookstore in beautiful Manchester, VT, and is a totally unique 2-day book event held the first weekend in May.

Booktopia is different from trade shows, like BEA, or standard author events, like bookstore readings, because a group of authors and readers spend an entire weekend together - sharing meals, going to book Q&A's (some of which are more like a book group discussion than a standard author event), and even playing a rousing game of book trivia together! It's a lot of book-related fun with a wonderful group of book lovers and authors.

You can read about and see photos of my own Booktopia experiences in 2017 and 2015.

Booktopia 2018 is being held on May 4-5 this year at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT (a wonderful town worth a visit anyway!). For more information, to see a list of authors, and to sign up, go to the Northshire Bookstore website, click on Events in the menu bar, and scroll down to Booktopia 2018, May 4-5. Not living in VT is no excuse - lots of people travel from all over the country for Booktopia! It's a 7-hour drive for me.

And if you do sign-up, let me know! I would love to meet you there!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Middle-Grade Review: Freakling

Every summer, I download free audio books from SYNC, which offers two different freebies each week. One of last summer's downloads was Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, which is book 1 of The Psi Chronicles. Although I'm not always a fan of this type of fantasy novel that takes places in a made-up world, I did end up enjoying this intriguing and fast-paced story.

Twelve-year old Taemon lives in a world where people do everything using a kind of telekinesis called psi. His Mam cooks dinner by thinking of the onion chopped and the dough kneaded, and his Da drives a byrider or unisphere by thinking about how its parts work together and moving it with his mind. Taemon already seems to have strong psi and a talent for figuring out how things work, but his jealous and competitive brother, Yens, always wants to be better at things. When Taemon loses his psi after a traumatic incident and the town leaders find out, he is sent away to live in the Colony, a place outside the city walls where the powerless live. Taemon is surprised to find that it's not that bad - in fact, everyone there is kind and seems happy. It takes some adjustment to get used to having to use a fork to eat, brush his own teeth, and pick things up manually, but he can see there are some advantages to this kind of living, too. When Taemon mistakenly leaks a secret that could put his new friends in the Colony in danger, he must decide if he should risk everything to sneak back into the city he was exiled from.

Although I sometimes find these kinds of stories with made-up names, places, and magical powers overcrowded with unrecognizable words and concepts, I listened to Freakling on audio and quickly found myself wrapped up in the characters and the story. There is a lot of action and suspense but also plenty of warmth, especially in Taemon's character and some of the people around him, including some of his family and his new friends. Yens is basically just evil, which you pretty much know from the first sentence of the novel! I wasn't thrilled to find out this is the start of a series because I prefer stand-alones, but there was some resolution of some of the challenges at the end, while making it clear that the story would continue.  This interesting and well-written dystopian fantasy kept me rapt from beginning to end, and its 300+ pages went by quickly.

320 pages, Candlewick Press
Brilliance Audio

Disclosure: I received this free from SYNC. My review is my own opinion.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links provide a small commission to me (pennies per purchase), to help offset the time I spend writing for this blog, at no extra cost to you.

You can listen to a sample of the audio book at this link.

Purchase Freakling or its sequels from an indie bookstore:
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Or order Freakling from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.

Monday, March 26, 2018

It's Monday 3/26! What Are You Reading?

I missed What Are You Reading Monday last week because my husband and I took a short (but wonderful!) trip to Annapolis (see my photos here), so I have two weeks' of reading to catch up on here. It's been a hectic two weeks, with two more snowstorms (enough already!), our trip, lots of family stuff, getting the kids off to spring break, and a busy weekend.

Here's what we've been reading during that time:
  • I finished reading Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, a Christmas gift from my husband (I suggested it to my book group). Since I just read my first-ever Atwood novel last year (The Handmaid's Tale), I was glad for the chance to read more, and this novel was entirely different. It's a historical novel, based on a real-life woman in the mid-1800's in Ontario who was sentenced to life in prison for murder. The question of whether she is guilty or innocent is central to the story. We had an excellent discussion about the novel - and couldn't agree on Grace's guilt or innocence!
  • Next, I read The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel, a debut novel due for release on May 1. I am reviewing it for Shelf Awareness and also interviewed the author last week (also for SA). The novel was engrossing and unique, and the author had some great background stories to tell about it. It's set in the 80's and early 90's in western Colorado at a Utopian summer camp, and it explores how different members of an activist family try to make a difference in the world, as well as the land use conflicts in the west. I really enjoyed it - I will share both my interview and review when they are published in May. This is also one of the selected books for Booktopia, an annual book event in May in VT that my mom and I enjoy attending, so I am looking forward to meeting the author in person there.
  • Now, I am reading another book for a Shelf Awareness review and author interview and for Booktopia: My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley. It's about a gay man who moves in with his ex-wife in order to help her get her life together and help her daughter apply to colleges. It's wonderful so far - insightful but also laugh-out-loud funny. Apparently, McCauley is a popular author of many novels, though this is the first one I've read, so I'm looking forward to interviewing him tomorrow.
  • I also squeezed in a middle-grade graphic novel, Graveyard Shakes by Laura Terry, which is a fun story that mashes together the real-life challenges of two sisters starting at a new boarding school with the otherworldly events at the cemetery next door. I enjoyed it.
  • I finished listening to The Freakling, book 1 of the Psi Chronicles by Lana Krumwiede, a middle-grade/teen/YA fantasy dystopian novel that I downloaded free from SYNC last summer. The novel is about a society where most people have telekinesis powers and those who don't are sent to a colony, where they have to do horrible things like feed themselves with forks, tie their shoelaces, and pick things up to move them! It's an intriguing concept, and I enjoyed it, even though this sort of fantasy story isn't always my favorite.
  • Now, I am listening to Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy, a YA novel I have wanted to read since its release about a year ago. It was worth waiting for! I am loving this story of a teen girl in coastal Mississippi who is something of an outsider in her town and school. She's over 6 feet tall, is openly gay, and lives in a trailer. It's wonderful so far - endearing, compelling, and real-feeling - and I love Ramona.
  • My husband, Ken, finished NightSun by Dan Vining, a novel I recently reviewed for Shelf Awareness. It's a detective story set in 2025 that combines mystery, suspense, and dystopia.
  • Now, Ken is reading The Late Show by Michael Connelly, one of the books I gave him for Christmas. It's the start of a new series by Connelly (author of the Harry Bosch series) featuring a young female detective named Renee Ballard. He says it's great so far.
  • Our son, Jamie, 23, was reading book 6 in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos. He loves this epic fantasy series. He has probably finished it by now, and I'm sure he took some books on spring break with him, but I have no idea which ones. He has stacks and stacks of new books after spending about $150 in Christmas gift cards entirely on books! Yup, he's our son.
Blog posts from the past two weeks:
Movie Monday: The Big Sick - warm, funny, original romcom

Fiction Review: The Fold by Peter Clines - a time-twisting, suspenseful sci fi story

Fiction Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline - a novel that tells the backstory behind one of Andrew Wyeth's most famous paintings

Graphic Novel Review: The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi - a fairy tale-like story based on an Oscar-nominated animated short film.

Summary of Books Read in February - a great reading month with lots of variety

Saturday Snapshot: Annapolis - highlights from our recent trip - beautiful town!

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date, so head over and check out her blog and join the Monday fun! You can also participate in a kid/teen/YA version hosted by Unleashing Readers.

What are you and your family reading this week?  

You can follow me on Twitter at @SueBookByBook or on Facebook on my blog's page.  

A glimpse of the harbor in Annapolis

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Saturday Snapshot: Annapolis

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads.

When I posted my last Saturday Snapshot 2 weeks ago, A Tale of Two March Storms, I never imagined we would get two MORE March snowstorms, for a total of 4 Nor'easters in 3 weeks...but we did! I'm not going to post more snow photos, though, because I am so sick of winter, and it is now officially spring (though we did get a foot of snow on the First Day of Spring).

My husband and I took a mini vacation last weekend. I kept the destination a surprise until we were almost there, and we enjoyed a wonderful three days in...Annapolis, MD! It's a lovely waterfront town we'd never been to before, and we loved it. LOTS of walking, beautiful water views, brick Old Town area, and lots and lots of amazing food! I will save the food for a separate Weekend Cooking post, but here are some highlights from the non-food parts of the trip:

Heading south over the Susquehanna River - where are we going?

We stayed at a lovely inn right in Old Town - great Main Street!

Blue skies & sunshine on Sunday - lovely views of the harbor.

We visited the Maritime Museum in an old oyster packing plant.

Getting ready for boating season! (bet they weren't happy with the snow this week)

Selfie in front of the Maritime Museum on a gorgeous day!

View from our hotel room - over the town and to the Bay!

LOTS of sailboats going in and out of the harbor!

The Maryland State House was our national capitol for one year.

The Naval Academy is right there - the town filled with cadets in uniform Sunday night!

The Maryland State House at dusk, through the narrow bricked streets
Hope you are enjoying a great weekend! The sun is shining here, so hopefully our snow will melt soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Books Read in February

I skipped my movie and TV reviews this week after a mini vacation so that I could catch up on book reviews and post my February summary before the very end of the month - I'm making progress!

February was a short month but an excellent reading month. Here's what I finished last month:
  • Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (D.C.) - adult novel - reviewed for Shelf Awareness (I will post the review here when it is published)
  • The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Australia) - YA novel on audio
  • The Fold by Peter Clines (CA) - adult sci fi novel

  • Maurice by E.M. Forster (UK) - classic novel
  • The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi - middle-grade graphic novel

Eight books in all is a very good month for me, especially for a short month! I read one nonfiction book and seven novels, in a wide variety of genres, and an excellent variety: 1 YA, 2 middle-grade, 2 graphic novels, 5 adult books, 1 classic, and 2 books on audio. I enjoyed all of them very much. It's hard to compare them and choose a favorite when they are all so different! I guess A Piece of the World is the winner (if I must choose just one), but I would recommend them all.

Progress in 2018 Reading Challenges:
This is my favorite part of my monthly summary - updating my Reading Challenges! I added 3 books from my own shelves for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge. For the Monthly Motif Reading Challenge, February was A One-Word Title, so Maurice by E.M. Forster fit well. That also counts in the same category (one-word title) for the Back to the Classics Challenge. For my new 2018 Badass Books Challenge, I added A Book That Will Make You Smarter (Killers of the Flower Moon), and A Book Based on a True Story (A Piece of the World)I added Australia and another UK for my Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge. For my 2018 Literary Escapes Challenge, I added four new states - DC, OK, PA, and ME.
Finally, Bookish Bingo hosted by Chapter Break - not really a challenge per se, but a fun game that I play each month. I filled in 17 squares in February:

Spaces filled in:
Speak No Evil - free book, detective/police, forbidden love
The Lines We Cross - audio book
The Fold - new to you author, shelf love, travel in time/space
A Piece of the World - actual famous person
Killers of the Flower Moon - nonfiction
Swing It, Sunny! - made you laugh, less than 400 pages
Maurice - library book, one-word title
The Dam Keeper - read a physical book, in a series, start a series
Free Space
What was your favorite book read in February?   

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Graphic Novel: The Dam Keeper

The Dam Keeper is an unusual graphic novel, in part because of its unique genesis. We are used to seeing book-to-movie adaptations, but this story was originally an animated short film created by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi. Last year, the two teamed up to adapt their 2015 Oscar nominated short into a series of books. I recently read the first book in the series and found the original dark fairy tale compelling.

Pig is the dam keeper, like his father before him. Still just a kid in school, Pig carries a huge responsibility: to keep the dam in working order to hold back the black fog that threatens to engulf their small, peaceful town. His mother died, and his father - the previous dam keeper - walked off into the fog and was never seen again. Pig leads a lonely existence, except for his best friend, Fox. She is popular and lives a normal life with a loving family, but she doesn't tease Pig for his unusual circumstances, like the other kids do. After Pig's calculations show that the fog is returning with an alarming frequency, the two friends - along with the local bully, Hippo - are washed from the dam and outside of the town in the biggest wave of dark fog yet. Now, they need to find their way back...AND figure out how to save the town.

Sample pages from The Dam Keeper

Although the animal characters are cute and are clearly kids themselves, I intentionally left off an age-range here, because I think The Dam Keeper is great for all ages (its product details recommend 7 - 11 years). In fact, the many dark and sinister scenes of the fog might be a bit frightening for the youngest kids. Many of the pages that don't show the dark fog, though, are colorful and cheery, providing a sharp contrast to the danger that threatens the town. The characters are endearing, and Pig's struggles - other than the fog - are things that all kids can relate to. My only complaint (which is really a compliment) is that this engaging book was over too soon, leaving me wondering what would happen to Pig, Fox, and Hippo next on their journey. I guess I have to wait for book 2 (due out July 10, 2018) to find out!

155 pages, First Second

You can watch the Oscar-nominated animated short The Dam Keeper for $1.99 on Amazon. My husband and I just watched it, and it was very good - though the plot was quite different than the book, which is setting up a longer adventure story.

Or you can purchase the book from an indie bookstore:
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fiction Review: A Piece of the World

I read and enjoyed Christina Baker Kline's novel Orphan Train a few years ago for a book group, so I was excited to hear that book had been chosen as our All-County Reads book for 2018, and that Kline would be coming to town in April for an author talk (these are fun events, and I try to go every year). I had heard that her new novel, A Piece of the World, was based on a painting, and although I know next to nothing about art, the artist, Andrew Wyeth, is from our area, which added some local interest for me. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this historical novel that tells the fictionalized story behind the subject of the painting Christina's World.

The novel opens in 1939, with Christina working on a quilt in her old family farmhouse in coastal Maine when she first meets the painter Andrew Wyeth, who is dating her young friend, Betsy, and wants to paint a picture of her house. Christina and her brother, Alvero, live in the big farmhouse on their own now, both in their 40's. In the next chapter, the timeline jumps back to 1896, when Christina was a small girl living in the same house with Al, their parents, and her beloved grandmother. There was something wrong with Christina's legs (possibly polio?) and she was in constant pain, but she was frightened of being sent away from home and so refused medical help when her parents suggested it. She adapted to life with a pronounced limp and chronic pain and learned to get by. Meanwhile, additional brothers were born, her grandmother eventually died, and Christina grew up in the house.

The story moves back and forth from the present (in the 1940's) to the past, gradually building the story of Christina's life as a child, teenager, and later, an adult. There is love, tragedy, pain, and the simple pleasures and hard work of rural life. In the present, Christina gradually gets to know Andrew as her house becomes his favorite place to paint when he's in the area each summer (he lives the rest of the year here near us, in Chadd's Ford, PA). Kline provides details in both time periods that paint a vivid picture of life at that time, through two world wars and countless other events, both big and small, that affect Christina's life. Against the historical backdrop, we follow the highs and lows - and mainly the small everyday struggles and joys - of Christina's life, which is not easy, even when things are going well. Eventually, the story leads to Wyeth making the famous painting of the house with Christina in the foreground (see below). The audio book was captivating (you can listen to a sample below), feeling as though Christina herself is telling you her story. Building on both historical facts and creative fiction, Kline has created a moving, distinct story of one strong woman whose life was forever captured in a painting.
Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth
352 pages, William Morrow Paperbacks

A brief summary of the fascinating historical background of Andrew's meeting of Betsy and Christina and the paintings he made of them.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links provide a small commission to me (pennies per purchase), to help offset the time I spend writing for this blog, at no extra cost to you.

Listen to a sample of the audio book A Piece of the World (of the scene when Christina meets Andrew Wyeth for the first time)

Purchase from an indie bookstore:
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Or order A Piece of the World from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fiction Review: The Fold

Last May, while attending Booktopia at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT, I chose a book from their sci fi section based on a shelf talker with a rave review from one of the booksellers: The Fold by Peter Clines. I gave it to my husband for Father's Day, and he enjoyed it. I finally found time to read this mind-bending novel last month and found it fast-paced and intriguing, with an original plot.

Mike is living a quiet life as a high school English teacher in a small town in Maine, but his friend Reggie knows he could be doing much, much more. Mike is super-intelligent and has eidetic (sometimes called photographic) memory, and Reggie has a project that needs his unique talents. Reggie works for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and has a team of scientists that have made an astounding discovery, something that will allow teleportation for the first time in history. But the scientists are far too secretive about what they've developed, and now there are hints that maybe something has gone wrong. Mike is intrigued enough to agree to spend his summer vacation at the top-secret research facility in California, but the more he gets to know the team and learns about their invention, the more concerned he becomes. This project could actually destroy them all - and maybe even the entire world. It comes down to Mike's unique talents to unravel the mystery of what is actually going on.

This fascinating story grabbed my attention almost immediately. It reminded me in some ways of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, one of my favorite reads from last year, with its suspenseful sci fi plot and thought-provoking "science" about bending time (and more). The Fold, however, is unique, with its own jaw-dropping twists and an action-packed narrative. In fact, that might be my only criticism of this novel - toward the end, it becomes very focused on action, with several violent battles. For many sci fi fans, that's a plus (my son loves battles in his fiction!), but I prefer more thoughtfulness (of which there is plenty) and less hostility. That's a minor quibble, though, as overall, the novel kept my attention rapt and my brain marveling over the possibilities, which is what I like most about a good sci fi story.

375 pages, Broadway Books

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links provide a small commission to me (pennies per purchase), to help offset the time I spend writing for this blog, at no extra cost to you.

Purchase from Northshire Bookstore, like I did:

Or order The Fold from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Movie Monday: The Big Sick

I'm a bit behind in my movie reviews, but it's turned out to be timely, with the Oscars just last week. Back on New Year's Eve, my husband and I watched The Big Sick, an original, warm, and funny romcom that is based on a true story.

As the movie opens, Kumail, played by Kumail Nanjiani, is doing his stand-up comedy routine and hanging out with his other comic friends. After the show, a pretty blond grad student named Emily, played by Zoe Kazan, talks to Kumail at the bar and tells him how much she enjoyed his set. The two start dating, and for a while, it's a typical romcom story, with two attractive main characters who are gradually falling in love. But Kumail is originally from Pakistan, and his parents - though very nice - are very traditional and expect him to marry a Pakistani girl. In fact, he has to sit through yet another set-up every Sunday, as his mother invites one eligible Pakistani girl after another to meet him at their weekly family dinner.

Eventually, Emily gets angry that Kumail won't introduce her to his family, and the two break up. Soon after, though, with both still upset over the break-up, Emily gets very sick and is admitted to the hospital, while doctors try to figure out what is wrong with her as she rapidly deteriorates. Suddenly, Kumail finds himself at Emily's bedside, facing down her parents, played by Holly Hunter and Ray Ramano, for the first time, who know that he's the guy who broke their daughter's heart - awkward!

The Big Sick won 16 different awards - many for "Best Movie" or similar - but was passed over for an Oscar last week, much to fans' disappointment. It was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, a recognition of which it was worthy. The backstory adds to its attraction, as Kumail and the real Emily (V. Gordon) wrote the screenplay based on their own real-life love story. As you can imagine, with a stand-up comic writing the script, it's a very funny movie, but it is also very warm and moving, too. Kumail and Zoe are both very good in their roles, as are the supporting cast and especially Kumail's family. As always, Hunter and Romano are fabulous. We both enjoyed it very much.

An Amazon original movie, The Big Sick is available free streaming on Amazon Prime or on DVD.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links provide a small commission to me (pennies per purchase), to help offset the time I spend writing for this blog, at no extra cost to you.