Monday, September 27, 2021

It's Monday 9/27! What Are You Reading?

How can it be the end of September already?? The month just flew by.

We enjoyed the rest of our older son's (and his girlfriend's) visit last week. They left Tuesday night, after we managed to get the whole family together, including 96-year-old Grandad, for a big pot roast dinner. I was so busy that I completely forgot to take the family photos I'd planned while we were all at the table, but I did ask my son to snap this selfie before they got on the road! I don't look quite so short from this angle!

Me and my boys

The rest of the week went really downhill from there. My chronic immune disorder flared up badly for mysterious reasons (I really hate when I can't figure out the cause and effect) and stayed that way all week. I have been slightly better yesterday and today, but still achy. I've tried everything in my bag of tricks, and I think (maybe?) that adjusting my Lyme treatments helped a bit, but who knows? We're also struggling with some issues with my father-in-law's care that have been upsetting and stressful.

Anyway, I felt like I was missing all this gorgeous fall weather we've been having, so my husband encouraged me to lie outside in my reclining chair this weekend. He was right, of course! It was lovely to enjoy being outside for a bit. And we have something BIG to look forward to this week--our 32nd anniversary is Thursday, and we are going away for two days to the beach, about two hours away. We weren't able to do this before, but with my FIL in Assisted Living, we can finally take a quick trip on our own (assuming we get everything straightened out there this week). We so need a break and are looking forward to it!

Reading in the sunshine!

I have a couple of longer videos waiting to be edited and uploaded, so I just added one quick video to my YouTube channel last week, my usual brief Friday Reads update, where you can hear me gush about my current books!

Here's what we have all been reading this past week:

I finished reading The Lying Game by Ruth Ware for the fall R.I.P. Challenge, as she's a favorite author of ours whose novels are always dark and creepy. This is one that my husband has read already that I hadn't gotten to yet. The set-up is pretty simple: four women were best friends at a boarding school, and now, as adults 17 years later, one of them calls the others back to their school's town (where she still lives) for a crisis. From the start, the reader knows that something happened all those years ago that abruptly ended their time at school together but not the details. The three women immediately drop everything in their adult lives to return to their friend, and tension grows as they all return to town and attend a very unpleasant school reunion. It was gripping and fast-paced and super-twisty, which is just what I love about my R.I.P. books in the fall.

Now, I am almost finished with another novel for the R.I.P. Challenge, this one combing mystery and thriller action with  ... ghosts! I absolutely love the Ann Kinnear Suspense series by Matty Dalrymple, and it is perfect for the season. I am engrossed in book 2, The Sense of Reckoning. The main character in this series, Ann, can sense spirits. In the first book, The Sense of Death, Ann helped to solve a murder by obtaining information from the victim. Now, her skills are evolving, and she herself may even be haunted! In this book, she also gets involved with a decades-old case centered in Bar Harbor, Maine. Besides the mysteries and spooky ghostliness, another thing I love about these novels are the locations. The author lives locally to me, just over the DE/PA border, so I love her mentions of local landmarks. Ann has a cabin in the Adirondacks (possibly haunted now), which is another place we love. And this novel takes place mostly on Mount Desert Island in Maine, home to Acadia National Park, and one of our favorite places in the world! I love how the author incorporates local details into her suspenseful mysteries. I may finish this one today--once I pick it up, it is so hard to set it down!

On audio, I am also listening to books for the R.I.P. Challenge! I finished A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. This is a YA fantasy mystery, and I don't normally read much fantasy. As I explained in a recent Friday Reads video, I'm not a huge fan of fantasy set in a completely made-up world, though I sometimes enjoy a real-world setting with some fantastical/magical elements. This novel worked very well for me! There are two parallel storylines, set in two worlds. In the real world, in modern Cambridge, England, a group of young teens are homeschooled together and are friends. One of them is Madeleine, who lives with her mother. They used to live a life of luxury, traveling all over the world, but then Madeleine's father left. Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Cello, a young teen boy named Elliot is determined to find his own father, who went missing, along with the Physics teacher, the same night Elliot found his uncle dead. Most people believe his dad killed his uncle and ran away with the teacher or that something called Purples got them, but Elliot won't give up searching for him. A sort of crack appears between the two worlds, and Madeleine and Elliot begin communicating. Intriguing, right? I really enjoyed this novel that comes to a satisfying conclusion but also sets up the rest of the series.

Now, I am listening to another R.I.P. Challenge novel on audio, Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, a new release. I have only read one other novel from this very popular author, Truly Madly Guilty, for Big Book Summer 2020, and I enjoyed it. In this new book, a mother named Joy in her 60's disappears, and her four adult children are trying to figure out what happened. They're not sure whether she just left on her own for a break or whether something more sinister happened to her. The police immediately suspect Joy's husband, Stan, because they can tell he's lying about something. Amd there is possibly a mysterious stranger involved. I'm still at the beginning of the novel, but the author is doing a great job of gradually introducing the members of the family along with the mystery at the heart of it. I'm fully engaged and looking forward to finding out what happens next!

My husband, Ken, is still reading one of my own top picks from 2021 Big Book Summer, Blackout by Connie Willis, a favorite author for both of us. This novel is part of her outstanding Oxford Time Travel series, where Oxford grad students in the History department in the near future (2060) travel back in time to observe historical events first-hand as part of their studies. In this case, multiple students are all studying WWII in England. So, one woman is in rural England, helping with the evacuation of children from London, while another is posing as a shop girl at the start of the Blitz in London, to observe how ordinary people reacted. One of their fellow students is posing as an American reporter and has traveled to Dover at the time of the Dunkirk evacuation to observe how ordinary people became heroes by volunteering themselves and their boats to bring soldiers back to England to safety. This time, though, with so many people traveling back to similar times/places, things begin to go wrong with the time travel technology, and they may not be able to get home. As with her other novels in this series (our favorite so far was Doomsday Book), she combines historical fiction with time travel for a very suspenseful, compelling story. He's loving it so far, as I knew he would!

Our son, 27, returned home Tuesday, so I'm not entirely sure what he's reading now, but I'm guessing he is working on the same book still. He's been working his way through the Sorcery Ascendance series by Mitchell Hogan. He first re-read books 1 and 2,  A Crucible of Souls and Blood of Innocents, which he last read seven years ago in his early college years. He loved the series back then and is enjoying it again now. Those re-reads were to prepare for reading the third and final book of the trilogy, A Shattered Empire, which his girlfriend gave him for his birthday and which he was reading when he was here last week. He loves to tear through these big fantasy novels--it's always Big Book Summer for him!


Blog posts last week:

TV Tuesday: Dickinson - a creative, fun show about the life of young Emily Dickinson

2021 Big Book Summer Wrap-Up, including my own Big Book Summer and a summary of the full challenge, including the winner of the giveaway!

#RIPXVI Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge - my official kick-off for the annual fall challenge, a bit late, but check out the stacks of awesome books I want to read.

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. A corner of White does sound good. I am not a huge fantasy reader either. Here is my link if you would like to drop in:

    1. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it! Just the right mix of real-world and fantasy for me - and well-written, too!

  2. Sometimes just getting outside for a bit eliminates so much of my stress or anxiety. I've loved our recent weather (although today it's over 90!). Oh and Happy Anniversary!! We've not gone on an overnight trip since the birth of our first baby (in our 9th year of marriage) who is now 18. But one day I really hope we'll do something special like this, all on our own, once our youngest is a little older. I hope you have a great reading week, Sue!

    1. Wow, you've NEVER been away for an overnight alone since your kids were born? That's pretty amazing, Shaye! Our kids loved staying with their grandparents (or having them come here) for a weekend :) Hope you can manage it soon! We are very much overdue.

  3. I saw your mention of A Corner of White in another post and was interested - I ordered it from my library and it's coming up soon in my TBR! I hope I enjoy it as much as I expect to!

    1. Oh, good! If a non-fantasy-reader like me enjoyed it, it must be pretty good! I'm even considering reading more of the series (which I don't often do).


  4. I am so pleased for you that you are getting away to celebrate your anniversary and hope the issues with your FIL's care get straightened out in time. You need a break and I hope this trip does it.

    The Ruth Ware book sounds really good (no surprise)

  5. Oh dang for their being difficulties at the care place. Like you need the stress! Hope the beach trip goes ahead and its restful with lots of good reading. I am looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts on Apples Never Fall.

    1. Well, we did get two phone calls from the assisted living place while we were away, but we still enjoyed our mini getaway! Much-needed and lovely.

  6. I just got back from Texas and I feel I skipped a season -- I left in summer, and it's still summer in Texas, but here in Washington it's been cold and rainy.

    Lots of spooky reading for you this month! I'm diving in to a lot of nonfiction now, but some of it is just as unsettling (books on the dangers of missing sleep, on COVID-19, etc.)

    1. Oooh, that does sound like scary reading!