I initially struggled to get into The Buccaneers. (I hear that moan across continents, Jo!) However, a third of the way through, I was hooked by Edith Wharton’s eloquent prose and well-crafted characters. Regrettably, there was a noticeable shift in language during the novel’s final chapters. Even though the ending was something I had been rooting for, it didn’t feel quite right.
I realize I stand in the minority here, but I would have preferred to read this book as Wharton had left it, allowing me to ponder the endless possibilities of her tragically unfinished tale.

River Mumma is a captivating, magical realist novel by Toronto-based writer Zalika Reid-Benta. It seamlessly weaves Jamaican folklore into a contemporary Toronto setting, taking readers on a mesmerizing journey. The story follows Alicia, a second-generation Caribbean Canadian millennial who is thrust into a time-sensitive quest for a Jamaican water deity

Reid-Benta’s exhilarating, fast-paced narrative keeps readers engrossed, making Jamaican culture and folklore accessible to all. Her fresh and engaging voice breathes new life into age-old tales, offering a unique perspective. If you’re looking for something different, River Mumma is an excellent choice. It is scheduled for public release in August 22, 2023. Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the Advanced Readers Copy.

Kerry Clare is another incredibly talented Toronto based writer. Her soon-to-be-released novel, Asking for a Friend, takes the reader on an emotional journey through the complexities of female friendship. Spanning two decades, the story delves into the highs and lows of Jess and Clara’s enduring bond, from their youthful adventures to the challenges of adulthood. Clare masterfully captures the essence of growing up, growing apart, and finding the way back to those who truly matter. Her writing style is engaging and captivating.

The depth of the story surprised me, touching on important topics such as women’s rights, abortion, pregnancy, loss, heartbreak, the bonds that unite us and the bonds that slip away.

I highly recommend picking up Asking for a Friend when it hits bookshelves on September 25th. It is bound to evoke nostalgia and leave you pondering the bonds that define your own life. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, Doubleday Canada, Net Galley, and Kerry Clare for this gripping and insightful ARC.

Richard Wagamese, an Ojibwe Canadian author left behind an enduring legacy. Indian Horse, written in 2012, delves into the harsh realities of Indigenous peoples, exploring themes of identity, cultural displacement, trauma, and resilience. Through vivid storytelling, Wagamese exposes the painful legacy of assimilation policies and intergenerational trauma, making it a powerful and necessary read for all Canadians.

The masterful ending serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of cultural identity. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to readers of all backgrounds, urging us to reflect on our shared humanity and the need for true compassion and understanding. 5 Stars (I’d give it more if I could).


In preparation for my upcoming Camino from Lisbon to Fatima, I listened to this book on Audible. The author examines the Fatima apparitions and their significance over the past century. You can find my full Goodreads review here.


I also watched Fatima, the 2020 movie, on Netflix. From my understanding, it stays true to the history (in condensed form) and honours believers while including a balanced view. Although reviews of the film have been mixed, I found it worth watching. Now I simply need to continue my hill climbing practice and squeeze my essentials into a single lightweight backpack!

What I’ll Be Reading Next:

I am currently taking a short reading break (to get in as much hiking and last minute Camino prep as possible). Here’s what I’ll be reading next. I greatly look forward to digging into both books. Philly Barker is on the Case will be released this October. This is How We Grow is currently available here.

Sue, Debbie, Jo and I would love for you to share what you have been reading lately. You can do so in the comments or via the handy link below. We hope to see you here!


Published by Retirement Reflections

Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
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