Sunday Lowdown #105


Although things can feel draggy, like “pandemic life” is “forever life,” I rooted for my mom, Biscuit, as she signed up for the vaccine, available to her because she works in a correctional facility. They never had a shelter-in-place order! Prisons don’t close, right? And then she got it! I teared up when Biscuit sent me a picture of her little paper indicating the date and type of vaccine. Go, Biscuit! I know that only a small percentage of Americans are vaccinated, but already those vaccines are bringing down the overall numbers in infection and hospital rates. If you feel sour grapes about the oldest folks getting vaccinated first, keep in mind they’re also more likely to be in the hospital, which contributes to strain on the healthcare system. If you need to go to the hospital for a non-covid reason, it’s good for you if there are available staff to assist. Also, empathy.

Without truly planning to, I’ve shuffled around some of my reading and filled February with books by black women. I’m never great at planning my reading around celebrations, like Black History Month, because I would have to read in January to make the reviews line up with February. However, if you’re interested, you can check out the following titles and expect to see the reviews in the near future:

  • Moses, Man of the Mountain by Zora Neale Hurston
  • I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
  • The Street by Ann Petry
  • This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith
  • Deacon King Kong by James McBride
  • The Dead are Arising by Les Payne and Tamara Payne (Although I don’t write reviews of books by men at Grab the Lapels, I do add some of my thoughts on my Goodreads account).


Is it possible that the publisher pushed Susan Rieger to add a romance component to her epistolary novel, The Divorce Papers? And that pink cover fails to capture the seriousness around professionalism and workplace discrimination inside the pages! But, I did enjoy Rieger’s legal novel, which makes use of the author’s background in law.

I was so happy to welcome Dr. Leslie Moïse, whose Meet the Writer feature got lots of attention on social media. The more I learn about Pearlsong Press, the more I love it. They not only refuse to publish books with fat shaming, but I’m finding many of the characters (and authors!) are LGBTQ+, disabled, older community members, and survivors of trauma. Currently, the owner of the Pearlsong is moving over to WordPress (hooray!) for a more modern-looking website. You can find mystery, romance, memoir, poetry, general fiction, fantasy/paranormal — just about any genre you can think of. Please support them! Hyped novels have enough attention, and if you’re trying to read more diversely, you can’t go wrong with Pearlsong.


Jennifer Cruise’s rom-com Bet Me is touted as a fat-positive novel. I know I was invested in this love story that avoids icky romance pitfalls, and I was surprised by how many characters I easily kept straight. Check out my review on Tuesday.

Every Friday night I watch a horror movie. One website said Cam on Netflix was a must-see, and while I wouldn’t call it horror, I did enjoy this creepy look into the sex worker industry. Turns out, the scriptwriter is Isa Mazzei, who was herself a cam girl and wrote a memoir about it. Riveting — I listened to the audiobook read by the author. Review Thursday.


Thanks to Laila @ Big Reading Life for her recommendation!


  1. Go Biscuit! I’m due for vaccination in April (because I’m old). Australia has been a bit slower securing supplies.

    I get that you write your reviews well in advance, because you’re able to talk about them in your weekly summaries. I tend to publish almost as soon as I’ve finished writing, though I do try to hold one back for weeks when I’m working.


    • I keep a calendar: Tuesday and Thursday some kind of post (typically a review) and Sunday is the Lowdown. Because I read a book on my own, listen to an audiobook while I’m driving, and do book club with Biscuit, I’m typically enough ahead to be comfortable. I find having a schedule keeps me from posting too much for readers to keep up with and then having a gap with nothing.


    • I know I cried when I voted in the last election, so I’m sure it will be similar. Of course, now everyone is sharing their shot 2 side effects and scaring me a little, but it’s just my brain being animalistic, to be honest. Like, “I don’t want hot flashes! Even if they represent a vaccine that will prevent my death!” Come on, brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I was as organised as you, I’m constantly scrambling to finish a book to review to fill a gap in my blog. You can tell a bad week, when I fill with lots of book tags and admin type posts 🙂

    Mr Books checked our vaccine schedule and we’re in the phase 2a group…which I guess is a good thing…we’re not in any of the high risk 1a/1b groups, but should still be in line for it in a timely fashion.


    • Every state in the U.S. is doing it differently. My mom got her vaccine as a front-line worker because she’s employed in a correctional facility. They have groups there, in Michigan, like what you’ve described. In Indiana, we’re doing front-line workers plus everyone 80+, then 70+, and now we’re at 65+. Apparently, the way Indiana is doing it is really effective because the people most likely to end up in the hospital/die are getting vaccinated, but I will say there’s no plan to vaccinate teachers.

      I decided in the last couple of years that I would post on a regular schedule, whether I had an abundance of posts or not. Tue/Thur + Sunday Lowdown. That’s kept me from going off track. Once in a while I choose to read something shorter so I stick to my posting schedule, and other times I’m a month ahead because I’ve been eagerly reading books that are easier to get through + the audiobooks from my commute. When I post too often, readers tend to skip some of the posts, and if I don’t post regularly, I start get panicked.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ooooh, I’m glad someone else has read this one! Another interesting aspect of the cover is that the lawyer definitely was not swamped in paperwork like the cover suggests. Though, authors rarely have a say in covers. If anything, this divorce was pretty straightforward compared to some that I’ve heard about.


  3. Great about your mom getting her shot! My MIL just got her first one today. Tennessee’s vaccine efforts haven’t been that great so far, but I think they’re finally starting to ramp up. My Dad is scheduled for tomorrow!! So glad. They’re just opening up to 70+ here.


    • Biscuit is in Michigan, where they have specific groups of folks, but because she works in a correctional facility, she was in an early group. In Indiana, where I am, we have first responders and then 80+ then 70+ and now we’re on 65+ (the lower you go, the larger the group is). It actually works quite well. For conservative as Indiana is, the current governor is a really practical person.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so excited to hear about your Mom getting the vaccine, every time I hear of someone getting it (one of my friends who is a paramedic here just got her first dose) it gives me a little more hope-the light is at the end of the tunnel!

    I watched the trailer for that cam girl movie on netflix and it looked uber creepy!


  5. Loads of my students have had the vaccine now before going out on placement, which makes me happy. I’m not entitled to it yet because I’m not in contact with patients – I’ll probably be able to get it over the summer. Seeing the vaccination numbers tick up is a little moment of joy every day! 🙂


    • I’m so glad you wrote this. I needed this just now. Every other month I convince myself that I’m a scared idiot who is being too cautious with COVID. I have two relatives who are highly-trained nurses. One got COVID and then headed to a theme park as soon as he was better. Now, he’s planning a huge wedding. The other went to a Trump rally. The one who went to the rally does not have COVID but her whole family does, and they say they got it from their kid, who is in school. I’ve read, though, that there is little evidence of kids getting COVID at school, that they are getting it at home and then going to school. I’ve read that the majority of spread is happening when families visit each other. I haven’t seen my family in almost a whole year — not once. But then because nurses are behaving in the ways I described above, I feel like I’m being dumb. Then again, 40 nurses in my city went to a wedding last summer with no masks and all had to quarantine…..perhaps I’ve decided ALL medical people are wonderfully smart and I’m wrong in that sense.


  6. Happy to hear your mom got her first dose of the vaccine! I’ve had a few family members getting theirs as well and every time it’s such a relief!

    Looking forward to your Black History Month posts, even if they don’t all fit within the month. I do not mind taking recommendations and reading Black history at any time of the year, though I can sympathize with struggling to align holiday and celebration review posts up in a timely manner- I also struggle to pick up books I want to recommend for such things far enough in advance. Oops. In any case, I’m particularly looking forward to your thoughts on Deacon King Kong, which has been on my radar. I’ll keep an eye out on GR, and hope you enjoy the rest of your February reading! 🙂


  7. I’ve been following the news from early on in the pandemic about the risk for incarcerated individuals and the people who staff these institutions. Does your mom work in a for-profit prison or in a state-funded one? Somewhere (likely on an NPR interview) I think I heard that the risk was even higher in the former?To follow up from Anne’s comment above, double-thickness masks have been available in Toronto from the beginning and some have room to insert a disposable filter, too, adding a third layer. Just as in the U.S., protocols and patterns vary from province to province and Anne and I live a few provinces apart. Here I am, assuming you find all this interesting. LOL


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