Monday, October 04, 2021

It's Monday 10/4! What Are You Reading?

We did it! We finally got away for two nights, to the beach for our 32nd anniversary. It's been ages since we could go further than 30 minutes from home because we were caring for my father-in-law, so this little getaway was a real treat! We did get two phone calls from his assisted living place Friday but no serious emergencies.

When we arrived Thursday, we enjoyed a short walk on Lewes beach, which is on Delaware Bay, so it's a quieter beach. We had lovely weather all weekend.

We enjoyed an outstanding anniversary dinner at Harbour, a new restaurant right on the canal in Lewes with gorgeous water views at sunset, and some of the best food we've ever eaten!

Friday, we went to Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, which is only 15 minutes from the crowded beach towns but a world away! It was so peaceful and quiet looking out over the marshes and listening to the birds. Delaware has many wildlife refuges; I don't know why we've never been to one before!

Saturday, we drove one town further south to Rehoboth Beach, which used to be our go-to for our beach trips. It was insanely crowded there! We often go there this weekend for our anniversary and have never seen crowds like this--it's supposed to be the off-season! We had to park 4 blocks from the main street, but we enjoyed a short walk on the beach. Rehoboth is on the Atlantic Ocean side, and Hurricane Sam was out there, way off-shore, so the waves were incredibly powerful and violent! I've never seen the surf so rough. No one was able to go in the water, but it was fun to walk alongside it, and we saw a long line of dolphins just off-shore, heading south.

Before we escaped the crowds, we stopped at Browseabout Books (of course!). They ordered copies of my own book to carry in the store, and we had to buy a couple of books! You know, just to support the bookstore, of course.

The only downside to our lovely getaway is that I am still stuck in a relapse of my chronic illness. I got some IVs before we left, and they did help a little but only temporarily. I was pretty limited all weekend and am super achy again today. My immune system is stuck in the "on" position, basically. I'm trying a new immune treatment this week, so fingers crossed. This is getting pretty old!

And today is my husband's birthday! Both of our sons were home yesterday for an early birthday dinner (takeout BBQ and gluten-free brownie sundaes), so it was wonderful to have us all together.

Oh, and I did finally get my R.I.P. Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge video posted last week! I had a lot of fun doing this one, talking enthusiastically about all the books I want to read this fall.

Here's what we've all been reading this week:

I finished the perfect book for the R.I.P. Challenge, The Sense of Reckoning by Matty Dalrymple, book 2 in her Ann Kinnear Suspense series. I am crazy about this series that combines mystery, thriller action, and ... ghosts! 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. It was outstanding, and I loved every page!

Next, I picked up one of the Big Books in my R.I.P. stack because I thought it would make good vacation reading: Broken Harbor by Tana French, the fourth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series (though they don't have to be read in order; each is a stand-alone). In this novel, the head detective who is the focus of the story is Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, who last appeared in Faithful Place. This time, Kennedy's been assigned a big case--and a rough one: an entire family attacked in their home. Husband Pat and their two young children were murdered, and wife Jenny barely escaped the same fate and is in the hospital. It's a grisly scene, especially for the young rookie, Richie, who's been assigned as his new partner. The case is complicated, with several weird, unexplained details. I'm just past the halfway point, and Kennedy and Richie think they have the case all wrapped up, so you know there are some big twists coming up! I'm loving it, as I do every Tana French novel. It is so gripping and suspenseful that I have been staying up much too late at night reading it.

On audio, I am still listening to another pick for the R.I.P. Challenge, 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. And there is  a mysterious stranger who could be involved. As the novel moves forward, the reader gradually gets to know each member of the family better, with parallel narratives following the months leading up to Joy's disappearance and the investigation afterward. I'm enjoying it very much and have no idea how it's going to end up!

This weekend, my husband, Ken, finished 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. Now we are both ready to read book 2, All Clear (which is on our shelves).

Our son, 27, just left this morning. He was home for the wedding of one of his college roommates and one of his friends from his freshman dorm, so it was a huge reunion of his closest friends! He and his girlfriend enjoyed it, and we were glad they were here for his dad's birthday celebration, too. He finished A Shattered Empire, book 3 in the Sorcery Ascendance series by Mitchell Hogan. He really enjoyed the trilogy and is excited that the author is considering a follow-up series! Now, he is re-reading The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham, book 1 of The Dagger and the Coin series, to prepare for book 2, The King's Blood, which I just gave him for his birthday! He always re-reads earlier books in a series before reading the latest sequels. It was good to see him this weekend.


Last week's blog post - just one, before we left on our trip:

Fiction Review: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd - about Ana, a remarkable woman in the 1st century (oh, and the fictional wife of Jesus, too, but the story is mostly about her) - high ratings from my book group!

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. I so admire your detailed descriptions of what you have read and are reading, and of not only your own reading but also your family's reading! I always intend to write more in my Monday What Are You Reading posts but invariably end up rushing to finish writing and posting before getting to work!
    We lived for a while in Wilmington, DE, when our kids were small and we visited Lewes Beach a couple of times for day trips, or maybe just once, but the expanse of sand and water was impressive to my husband and me, being more used to the shorter beaches and curving coastline of Cape Cod.
    I'm a Tana French fan, too, but on audio.

    1. Thanks, Laurie! Glad you enjoy my Monday updates :) I sometimes wonder if I ramble on too much!

      We live in the Wilmington area (30 years now!) and love going down to Lewes and Rehoboth.

      Oooh, I bet Tana French is great on audio!

  2. Such good books! And, I hope your husband enjoys his birthday and presents.

    Your vacation sounds absolutely perfect with a mixture of walks, eating, and book shopping. I really need to get away for a bit and am cooking something up that I hope will be satisfying.

    1. Thanks, Helen - he had a great birthday celebration and loved his gifts, especially the four new books!!

      Hope you can plan a nice getaway, too! Now we're trying to plan a couple of days camping before it gets too cold here.

  3. I really hope you have great success with the new immune treatment, Sue. I hurt so much to know how debilitating this can be for you. Bring on the gluten-free desserts! My hubby baked a gluten-free cheese cake for my birthday over the weekend and he did a wonderful job using GF graham crackers for the crust! I'm glad you got some time with your 24-year-old son and how nice to be keeping up with his reading! I'm with him on re-reading earlier books in a series before the latest one. So I must be really committed when I keep up with long series as each book comes out. LOL Thanks for all the shares - you know I always enjoy peeking into your R.I.P. Challenge books. Have a wonderful reading week!

    1. Aw, thank you, Shaye - that is so sweet of you. Wait ... they make GF graham crackers?? Game-changer for my son, who loves s'mores and is severely gluten intolerant! Where do you find them?

    2. Yes!! The brand is Schar and they're called Honeygrams. We bought them last summer at Walmart when we were making s'mores and I really liked them! Also, I meant to clarify that we've been living in the Chadron-area for over 16 years, now. Our move was just one block up the street (after owning the first house for 15 years). You'd think the move would have been easy since it was such a short distance, but no. A family of seven can collect a LOT of stuff over that period of time...

    3. THANK YOU!! I will definitely get some for my son for our next campfire :) We had s'mores last night around our firepit with our friends - keeping up our pandemic socializing habits - it's really nice to have a campfire in the driveway on a cool night!

  4. Oh my the days away sounds wonderful with that beach and restaurant and bookshop. A shame you were still battling your chronic illness but good on you for going anyway. The Liane Moriarty book sounds very good. I should probably try a Tana French book for my sister.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn - we had a great time :) I bet your sister would like Tana French - they are mystery/thriller/detective stories but very well-written and with in-depth characters.

  5. What a lovely visit you all got to take to the beach—I'm so glad you all finally got to have a trip farther away from home! I went and glanced at your last post to catch myself up—I'm sorry about the assisted-living issues, and I hope all that gets sorted out. And I'm so sorry you're having a relapse and had to have an IV—that is seriously frustrating. These books you've been reading look excellent, especially Apples Never Fall. Thanks so much for the great post, as always!

    1. Thanks - we enjoyed the getaway :) I'm getting close to the end of Apples Never Fall - some good twists, as always with Liane Moriarty!

  6. Happy Anniversary! It sounds like you had a lovely anniversary getaway!