Weekly Update – 3 October 2021 AND September* Reading Summary

I love October! It is my favorite month, and not just because it is my son’s birthday (that’s just icing on the cake). It’s peak fall and I am here for it. The weather has been mostly good here–we did have a few rainy days, but mostly it has been sunny and not too cold.

This wasn’t an eventful week for us. The kids are still settling into school and doing well. Next week, my daughter starts work on her first school play. She was excited to take drama this semester, so I was surprised when she said that she wanted to do tech for this play (she’ll be doing sound). She said that she didn’t want to perform wearing a mask, which I can understand. This doe mean she’s not doing the Battle of the Books this year, which is disappointing as I ALREADY BOUGHT HER ALL THE BOOKS! I’m still going to have her read them, though!

I am hopeful that Chris will finally be able to be vaccinated soon. He turns 11 next week, but I’m crossing my fingers that the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 5-11 year olds sooner rather than later. I’ve already scheduled my booster for later this month, so that gives me a bit of comfort for my own health.

Some of you may know that this is the Feast of St. Francis and today is the blessing of the animals. Our church is back online (and, even if it were in person, we still couldn’t take Alice as she would growl and hiss and probably try draw blood if we tried), so we blessed her by proxy. I did get this adorable picture of Alice and Lillie–I think Alice was trying to bless Lillie! I feel like I need to share these photos as Alice has a (well-earned, honestly) reputation of being slightly evil.

Another one of the joys of fall is that Pat gets creative with apples. He’s been making some pretty darn excellent applesauce and, as I type, he’s trying to make hard spiced apple cider (in the bathtub–as all good homemade booze is made…). I think it will be quite a while before the cider is ready, but I’m excited to try it.

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

I haven’t been able to devote as much time to reading as I would like this week, mostly because Pat keeps wanting to run errands when I normally set time aside to read. Oh well! I was still able to finish a few books, which I will tell you about in my November wrap up.

Right now, I have 3 main books:

This first is Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger. This is the fifth book in his Cork O’Connor series and I’ve been told it gets quite dark. I’m a little over 20% in and, um, yeah…it’s a bit dark. But I’m enjoying it. I find this series incredibly readable and I find that I have to to pace myself with them or else I’d zoom through the next 10-11 books without reading anything else.

I haven’t yet started A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, but it will be my next print read. This one has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I’ve heard some great things about it. One of my book clubs is reading it for their next book, so it finally got moved off the shelf. I have heard it is pretty emotional, but I’m okay with that and I have high expectations for this one.

Finally, I’m listening to No One Goes Alone by Erik Larson. This is his first work of fiction and I believe that it is only available in audio. It’s NOT an Audible original, so you don’t need to buy into the evil empire to get it (I got mine from Libro.fm. That’s my referral link if you are interested in giving Libro a try) and you might be able to get it from your library. This is a horror novel set in the spiritualism movement, so it is perfect for this time of year.

September* Wrap-Up

You may have noticed that I put a little asterisk in the title of the post on September…which is because I’m listing the books from September, plus a few from the tail end of August.

First off, the stats. In September (and just September for this bit), I read 10 books, including 1 re-read (which will not be included in the list below). Of these 10 books:

  • 6 were backlist and 4 were front list
  • 5 were mysteries, 2 were historical fiction, 1 was light fiction, 1 was a thriller, and 1 was fantasy
  • My average rating for this month was 4.14 stars

Finally, onto the list of books with 3 things I want you to know about each of them:

Memories of Low Tide by Chantal Thomas (translated by Natasha Lehrer)
Date Finished – 8/21/2021, Goodreads Review
4.25 stars

  1. This book has a pretty low Goodreads rating, but I strongly disagree with it. I think this is a deeply personal memoir and it either speaks to you or it doesn’t.
  2. As someone who very rarely swims in the ocean (I live in the Pacific Northwest where one does not swim in the ocean without an insulated wet suit), I really wanted to swim in the ocean.
  3. This has strong mother/daughter themes, which worked for me…but others may find the frustrating.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Date finished – 8/28/2021, Goodreads Review
4 stars

  1. I read this book when it was still “realistic dystopian fiction” and not yet “realistic fiction,” so my reading of it now might be different (thanks SCOTUS and Texas…)
  2. THIS IS AN OREGON BOOK! I know where these places are! I love that! Because I was so delighted to see places I know (including my hometown) in a book, I overlooked some narrative things that may have bugged me otherwise.
  3. This book has a pretty unique format that may not be for everyone.

How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #9) by Louise Penny
Date finished – 8/29/2021
4.5 stars

  1. This is the book in this series that will cut you right open (emotionally, of course!)
  2. I almost felt like Penny meant for this to be the end of the series. I’m glad it isn’t, but this is definitely the end of a phase of the series.
  3. Not a spoiler (it’s right in the synopsis), but you might want to read up on the Dionne Quintuplets before tackling this one.

The Dragonet Prophesy (Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #1) by Tui T. Sutherland
Date finished – 8/30/2021

  1. I had one square left–Read a Graphic Novel–square left on my Summer Reading Bingo card and my kids had this one sitting around.
  2. My kids really love this series. In fact, most kids I know love this series.
  3. Dragons are not my thing and this just isn’t for me. No biggie–to each their own.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Date finished – 9/3/2021
3.5 Stars

  1. This is set within the Sikh Community, which is something that is new to me and I enjoyed learning about it.
  2. There is a lot going on in this book and most of it is done well, but there is JUST SO MUCH. One or two fewer threads probably would have helped this book.
  3. Even with all the plot threads, this was still a pretty light read.

All Mortal Flesh (Rev Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne #5) by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Date finished – 9/4/2021
3.75 stars

  1. This is a solid mystery with some good twists, which was a relief after the 4th book in the series (which I didn’t like).
  2. Unfortunately, this was the first book where I didn’t like Rev. Clare. I’m hoping that her character rights itself in the next book.
  3. One of the best things about this book is that it keeps the Clare and Russ’s relationship moving in some direction–possibly forward? possibly not?

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Date finished – 9/7/2021, Goodreads review
4.25 stars

  1. This is both a completely unexpected book by Chris Bohjalian, but also a very Chris Bohjalian-ish book.
  2. This really felt like it was based on a true story (it isn’t, but that’s how vivid the characters are)
  3. While I liked the ending, I was not satisfied with how the book ended up…if that makes any sense.

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica (audiobook)
Date finished – 9/8/2021
3.75 stars

  1. This was my first Mary Kubica book AND the first thriller I’ve listened to (that I hadn’t previously read)
  2. There are a lot of red herrings in this book.
  3. I didn’t figure out the end ahead of time, but I was frustrated that the red herrings were all just sort of dropped.

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #0.2) by Alice Hoffman
Date finished – 9/16/2021
4.25 stars

  1. I’m reading the Practical Magic series chronologically, so I had only read Magic Lessons before this.
  2. This is very clearly a prequel novel and you will want to pick up Practical Magic soon after finishing this one (as I did).
  3. I enjoyed this, but Magic Lessons is still my favorite.

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #10) by Louise Penny
Date finished – 9/16/2021
4.25 stars

  1. This is definitely a different book from the previous 9 (see How the Light Gets In)
  2. In some ways, this is probably the best crafted mystery so far of the series. Lots of smart twists and a good use of so many characters. But….don’t think too hard about the method of murder. It’s creative but requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief.
  3. The sense of place in this book is simply amazing!

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
Date finished – 9/22/2021, Goodreads review
4.75 stars

  1. My knowledge of the Vietnam War is sadly lacking, but this book brought so much to life.
  2. You won’t always feel good about being an American while reading this one.
  3. I read this for a book club and I think the discussion will be amazing!

A Distant Grave (Maggie D’Arcy #2) by Sarah Stewart Taylor
Date finished – 9/25/2021
4.25 stars

  1. Once again, Sarah Stewart Taylor makes me want to run away to Ireland
  2. This book is split between Ireland and Long Island, NY in a way that shouldn’t work, but does.
  3. The third book really needs to be completely in Ireland. While the two locations worked here, I think this was a unicorn and it won’t work if she tries it again.

Lightning Strike (Cork O’Connor #0 or #17, depending on who you ask) by William Kent Krueger
Date finished – 9/26/2021
4.5 stars

  1. Even though this is the 17th book in the series (according to some), it’s a prequel so you can read it at any time. However, if you haven’t read any of the other Cork O’Connor books, get Iron Lake when you get this one because you’ll want to read that as soon as you finish this one.
  2. That being said, this feels more like William Kent Krueger’s stand alone fiction that part of the Cork O’Connor series.
  3. If you are looking for a good Father-Son novel, you would be hard-pressed to find one better than this. It also kind of reminds me of Stand By Me.

6 thoughts on “Weekly Update – 3 October 2021 AND September* Reading Summary

  1. That is so cool about the blessing of the animals! My girls did theater for a while and it’s so fun. I hope your daughter has a great experience. And yes to October- I love this time of year!

    Mercy Falls sounds great. The Kubica book looks good too.


  2. I am glad your family is almost completely vaccinated!

    I enjoyed Local Woman Missing and have a copy of Hour of the Witch, which I started and set aside. I was not in the right mood. I know I will return to it.

    I hope you have a great week…and stay safe. Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES


  3. Nice looking books from September. I like October’s weather too – when it isn’t grey and rainy. Come see my week here. Happy reading!


  4. Sounds like you had a good September. Living in Florida (only for 2 years), it’s always summer here. I do miss the fall weather, though.

    Hope you have a great week!


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About Melinda