Monday, October 07, 2019

It's Monday 10/7! What Are You Reading?

I'm back! I was sorry to miss What Are You Reading Monday last week, but I had a good was our 30th wedding anniversary! 30 years?! Hard to believe but true. To celebrate, my husband and I spent a lovely couple of days down at the beach in beautiful Lewes, Delaware, where we enjoyed the historic town, beach, and LOTS of really amazing food!

September 30, 1989
September 30, 2019 - Happy 30th to us!
It was a wonderful break, though re-entry was tough! The last few weeks have been even more hectic than usual, with necessary daily visits to my father-in-law after he had some minor outpatient surgery two weeks ago. I take him to get his stitches out this week, so hopefully, things will slow down a bit. At the same time, I have been trying to get through all of the edits in my book that my editor sent back to me, a much bigger job than I anticipated, especially with so little quiet time at home to work. On the plus side, we realized this past Saturday was the ONLY day in October when we could get all five of us together (!), so we spent a very relaxing day together. We made our annual trip to a local pumpkin farm for hot cider and fresh donuts (yum!), hung out at home together, and enjoyed a nice dinner and celebration for my husband's 65th birthday in the evening. It was a rare treat to all be together for an entire day.

All together for my husband's birthday this weekend
And, of course, we've been doing a lot of reading, especially dark stuff for the RIP XIV Challenge! Here's what we've all been reading the past two weeks:

I finished reading The Outsider by Stephen King and enjoyed every minute! You would think I had enough of these hefty books with my Big Book Summer Challenge, but I had heard great things about this novel from everyone, including my husband. I hadn't read a King novel in a while, so I was due. The basic premise is that a beloved town coach and father of two is arrested for a horrific crime against a young boy, and the police have loads of forensic evidence proving this man did it. But his alibi seems ironclad. Did he do it or not? As with all King novels, this one is completely compelling and kept me reading too late into the night, ending with a big showdown between good and evil. Very satisfying.

I also finished a graphic novel, Old Souls by Brian McDonald (author) and Les McClaine (illustrator). This one is definitely for adults, with a dark but enthralling concept. A man who is a husband and father works at the mall and meets an old homeless man in the food court. Without really understanding why, he buys the man lunch every day, until one day, the old man tells him that he was the younger's man's grandmother in a past life in China. He says they were separated when the Japanese attacked and then he (she) was killed, and he has spent this life trying to find his long-lost grandson. The younger man does sometimes have dreams of being a small Chinese boy lost in a crowd. This book was so good and so completely fascinating that I never wanted it to end! I read Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta when I was a teenager and have been captivated by the idea of reincarnation ever since. In fact, this graphic novel made me want to re-read Audrey Rose - yes, I still have the paperback on my shelf from almost 40 years ago!

Next, I read a YA post-apocalyptic thriller, The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. This is book 2 of the trilogy that begins with The 5th Wave, which my husband, son, and I all loved (we still need to watch he movie adaptation). It took me a little while to get into the second book, as it felt a little too action-packed for me at first, but I ended up enjoying it. I definitely want to read book 3. Interestingly, my son liked book 2 even more than the first book (he liked the emphasis on action and less romance - ha ha). If you enjoyed other YA post-apocalyptic thrillers like the Divergent trilogy, you should definitely give this one a try. We are looking forward to reading book 3, The Last Star.

And last night, I just finished reading Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which I was saving for fall! I loved Christie's novels when I was in high school but hadn't read any of them for many decades. In this unique story, ten people are invited to a private island off the coast of England. None of them know each other or why they are there, but one by one, they are each killed. Yup, every single character in this novel dies! The real question is...who killed them? They seem to be completely alone on the island, stranded with no way to leave. It's a mystery that even stumps Scotland Yard and is only solved in a unique epilogue. I loved reading this novel that is so incredibly clever. Despite all the murder and death, it's a lot of fun!
On audio, I just finished listening to Miracle Creek by Angie Kim, an audio book I had been looking forward to after hearing so many rave reviews earlier this year. It's about a Korean-American family that runs a business offering hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, mostly to children with autism or cerebral palsy but for adults and for other health conditions, too. In the very first chapter, their "submarine" aka oxygen chamber blows up, killing and injuring the patients inside. Chapter 2 jumps right into the court case, a year later, though there are flashbacks to each of the characters before the explosion. It's a mystery and an excellent courtroom drama (Kim was a trial lawyer herself), but it is also an in-depth look at a population that is normally ignored - sick children and their care-taking parents. Since I fall into that category myself, I found it extra fascinating, but it's an excellent whodunit that will keep you guessing, even if you know nothing about the subject matter.

My husband, Ken, finished reading Receptor by Alan Glynn, the sequel to the novel, The Dark Fields, which was the inspiration for the movie Limitless. Oddly, neither of us read the original novel, but we did both watch the movie and the TV show (my review at the link) adapted from it, so we know the general premise and plot and wanted to read this sequel. From what I've read of the description, it is actually more of a prequel, telling about the origins of MDT-48, the "smart drug" at the heart of Limitless. Ken really enjoyed it, said it was well-written, and now wants to go back and read the original novel that inspired the movie and TV show. This one is in my stack now!

Now, Ken is reading Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley. We've both gotten into Mosley's novels after enjoying The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, a novel about aging with a touch of sci fi that was our All-County Reads pick back in 2015. Since then, my husband has read some of Mosley's mysteries starring Easy Rawlins, and one of his sci fi novels, Inside a Silver Box. This one is a stand-alone mystery that won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2019, about an NYPD investigator who was framed for assault, spent time in prison, and now has a chance to solve his own case. He's enjoying it so far. I need to get busy and catch up on some of these novels from this excellent writer!

Our 25-year-old son, Jamie, finished reading The First Betrayal by Patricia Bray, book 1 of The Chronicles of Josan. This is just the kind of epic fantasy he loves, and he enjoyed this novel very much, the first he'd read from this author. He's definitely interested in reading more of the series.

For now, though, Jamie has gone back to a favorite author, Joe Abercrombie, and is reading Half a King, book 1 of the Shattered Seas trilogy. It was named a Best Book of the Year by both TIME and The Washington Post, with rave blurbs by George R.R. Martin and James Dashner on its cover! It's another epic fantasy, and he's enjoying it so far. Previously, he read Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, which he loved. I picked out book 1, The Blade Itself, for him at Northshire Bookstore during Booktopia one year, and he immediately plowed through the whole trilogy. Clearly, he enjoys Abercrombie's writing.

Whew, that's it! So many good books being read at our house.

And here are blog posts from the past two weeks:
Movie Monday: Smart People - clever, funny, dysfunctional family drama

TV Tuesday: Fall 2019 TV Preview - Wow, so many great shows, both new and old, this fall!

Middle-Grade Graphic Novel Review: This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews - warm story of friendship, with a dose of magic and just a hint of mild spookiness

Fiction Review: Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman - light, funny novel about friendship and aging

Fiction Review: The Outsider by Stephen King - classic King with great suspense & a compelling story

Middle-Grade Review: The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth - haunting dystoopian/sci fi adventure

Saturday Snapshot: Catskills, NY - Part 2 - photos from our recent vacation in the beautiful Catskills

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.

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

What are you and your family reading this week?


  1. Such a great assortment of books. I haven't read Stephen King for years. I should give this one a try. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. Same here with was time! And I really enjoyed this one.

  2. I'll leave you to your dark reading!! The photos are gorgeous and how wonderful to have celebrated 30 years of marriage. The family photo says it all. Writing a book must be huge, all the best with the edits.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn - it's been an exhausting & frustrating week so far - it IS huge.

      Listening to an audio now that might be TOO dark for me! But even cozy mysteries and romantic suspense count for the RIP Challenge :)

  3. Congratulations on your anniversary! I love your wedding picture. Isn't it amazing how young we once were? I'm thinking I will have a go at Dollbones again. It's a middle grade novel that I've tried twice, but never managed to finish because I end up terrified. I don't do scary well.

    1. Thanks, Cheriee! Yes, it IS amazing how young we were - and how skinny! lol

      I loved Dollbones! Yes, super-creepy but lots of fun.

  4. Happy Anniversary! 30 years is impressive. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Outsider and Miracle Creek.

  5. Congrats on your anniversary! Old Souls looks amazing, I added it to my TBR. And The Outsider has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year, I need to start reading it soon.

    1. Wendi - Hope you enjoy both of them! My review of Old Souls coming this week :)

  6. Congrats on your anniversary :)

  7. Happy Anniversary!! Since you were married on my birthdate, I should be able to remember that, right?! lol And thank you for the reminder that I need to bump The 5th Wave up on my list. I love hearing about series that your family loves -- will be fun to see an on-screen adaptation afterward, too! Hope you're having a wonderful reading week, Sue!

    1. Oh, then Happy Belated Birthday, Shaye!

      Yes, we all loved The 5th Wave. I need to get book 3 from the library now, so we can finish the series.

  8. Lots of good books, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. I'm about to start my first Abercrombie, so I hope I like him as much as your son does

    1. Thanks! oooh...hope you like the Abercrombie. My son says he's a great writer - he really loved the First Law trilogy.