Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 403-409

I made it! I’m on the other side on my 2nd vaccine and I’m less that 2 weeks from full immunity! Even better, Pat was able to get his first shot this week, so we’ll be both have full immunity in about a month (well, 5 weeks). Now, I’m just waiting for them to approve the Pfizer vaccine for the 12 and ups so that Lillie can be vaccinated and, hopefully, Chris won’t be long after that. On the flip side, though, the numbers in the county and the state are still rising. I’m hoping that trend turns around soon!

In other big news, I booked my first trip in 2 years! It’s also my first solo trip in over a decade! I’m going to fly down to Arizona to see my dad for a long weekend in June. Pat will have full immunity by then, but the kids won’t and I don’t feel comfortable having them fly while the numbers are still high if they are not vaccinated. So, Pat is going to stay home with them while I visit Dad and roast in the sun. Depending on whether or not she can get vaccinated soon, I may make another visit later in the summer with Lillie. Yeah, I know, Arizona in the summer is not ideal, but the choices are limited when you have to work around school schedules.

Really no other news this week. I was down and out on Friday after my shot–nothing too horrible. The worst side effect was that I was dizzy, so I spent as much time off my feet as possible. I’m feeling much better today and I guess I have no excuse to not work out tomorrow!

Before I get to the books, I have a little explanation/apology/something like that to share. I’ve been having problems with WordPress–and not just with the block editor. Basically, I couldn’t always comment on other blogs or get to my the comments on this blog. I worked to get to the bottom of it this week and found out that I had an old (probably 10 years or so) account under a different email and the existence of the two. I was able to delete that older account so now I should only be having trouble with this stupid block editor!

Now, onto the books!

As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn and Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

Last week, I finished reading:

What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins
(4.75 stars, Goodreads Review)

This book first came on my radar a few months ago when I was browsing Edewleiss. It was the setting that sold me–I’ve spent a fair amount of time up on the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington and I’m a sucker for books set in many places dear for me.

Tompkins hits a home run with the setting. If you have never been to this area, just open this book. If you are familiar with the area, opening this book will be like opening your front door.

That being said, the setting is just one small part of this novel. This is an incredibly character driven novel and the people found here are fascinating, flawed, and fully human. For every single character, I ran the spectrum of hatred to love.

The story seems relatively quiet and, for a character driven novel, I don’t need fast paced. But that quiet feeling is deceptive. Everyone has their secrets and Tompkins masterfully lets the reader in on these. This was a book that I would put down and then, only minutes later, find reasons to pick up again.

A warning…this book made me cry. I won’t tell you why, but I will tell you that there is a very good chance that you, too, will cry. But it will be worth it.

The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #3) by Louise Penny
(4 stars, No Goodreads Review)

Once I hit the 3rd book in a series, I know I’m all in. I’ve also heard from people who took longer to warm up to the series that this is where it starts to get good. I’ve enjoyed the first two books as well, but this one was definitely a step up.

Unlike the previous books, this one focused more on Gamache and less on the citizens of Three Pines. This was actually necessary for the larger story arc of the series. That being said, I quite liked this particular mystery. I found it strangely relatable and, in the end, I didn’t correctly guess the culprit! Like the previous books, this has a crime, but also a lot of heart.

It’s no secret that I love this series, and I know that I’m not alone. From everything I’ve heard, this series remains strong and I can’t wait to read more about Gamache and the town of Three Pines.

This week, I started reading:

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is one of my favorite authors and I got this book shortly after it was released last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to it when I still felt like “summer reading” (folks, it’s right there in the title!), so it went into the TBR bookshelf. However, it is spring and, even if the weather currently doesn’t seem like it, warmer days are ahead. Also, Weiner has a new book coming out in a couple of weeks and I wanted to read this one first.

This book was also the inspiration for my Saturday Spirits this week. Each Saturday, Pat and I enjoy a cocktail and I share what we’re having on Instagram (because, if you don’t put it on Social Media, does it actually happen?) If you are so inclined, you can see what we’re drinking by followng me on IG.

Oh Danny Boy (Molly Murphy #5) by Rhys Bowen

I really enjoy this mystery series. The heroine is likable, the mysteries are entertaining, and they are quick reads. I’ve only read about 10% of this so far, but it also looks like this one is (finally) moving the longer series plot along. I was getting a little frustrated in the last book because I thought that was stuck.

I’m also glad that this is a quick read because, as usual, all of my digital holds came in at once. This is the bane of my library-user existence. I even try to stagger holds by using the suspend option and they STILL all come at once!

I’m still reading:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
Caste: The Origin of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug
Monument by Natasha Trethewey

8 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 403-409

  1. So interesting to see how people have gotten on with the 2nd vaccine. We will be a long way off getting ours so I find it interesting to see how you all get on. Hope when the Arizona trip comes along you will really enjoy visiting your Dad. I haven’t read the Louise Penny books but have heard the first two, once you are with them you are really in.


  2. I’m glad you are fully vaccinated and soon able to go on your trip! We all have things we are looking forward to…a trip is not in the cards for me because of where I live, a place that tries to control everything about our lives, even if we don’t need it. LOL.

    I haven’t read past The Cruelest Month, although I had planned to keep going!

    I loved Big Summer and have the next book, That Summer, as an ARC that I will be starting soon.

    Enjoy your week and overcoming those dastardly Block Editor challenges! Thanks for visiting my blog.


  3. So glad to hear that you are fully vaccinated. My brother and I are too. Cases are also increasing where I live so I’m still staying close to home. Your trip sounds wonderful! I read the first in the Louise Penny series and wasn’t impressed. I should give the second book a try since so many do like the series. Come see my week here. Happy reading!


  4. How exciting to book a trip to see your father! We’re going to drive home for a week in June and see all our friends and my family (my husband’s family is scattered across the country). I’m excited but it will be weird to be around people we know again since we’ve been traveling with my husband’s job and largely on our own throughout the entire pandemic.

    It looks like the Kitsap Peninsula is near the Olympic Peninsula. What a beautiful part of the world!

    I just had to track down a WordPress plugin bug/conflict too. I tried so many things, I don’t even know what finally fixed it. So frustrating.

    Enjoy your week!


  5. Great about the vaccines! It’s such a relief, isn’t? Your books look great. I love Jennifer Weiner but I haven’t read one of hers in awhile. Big Summer looks really good. Hope you have a great week!


  6. I’m a dinosaur on Blogger and yours is the second post I’ve read today complaining about Block Editor. Guess tried and true isn’t all bad.

    My husband and I are two weeks out from shot 2 so we are done. My daughter gets #2 on Friday, so the family should be good to go soon. Our state dropped the mask mandate as of today but Ijust went to the public area of our office building and “everyone” was still wearing them.


  7. Convaxulations! I’m hoping to have the family vaccinated by June. But we’re still wearing masks because some people can’t get vaccinated for reasons.

    Your book list looks interesting! I keep meaning to read more of the Rhys Bowen books, as I liked the ones I have tried.


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About Melinda