Darlene Foster is reading “In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills”

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations. She has recently published Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind in her Amanda Travels series. The book she is now reading is already on my TBR list!

In The Shadow of 10,000 Hills
by Jennifer Haupt

I found out about this book via NetGalley. It is published by my publisher and will be released April 1. It takes place in Rwanda and you know how I enjoy reading about other places. The story is told through the eyes of 5 different people, only one of who is from Rwanda. I am enjoying it, even though a few parts are disturbing. The story takes place after the genocide but there are flashbacks and of course the after-effects of such a terrible time. The well-developed characters grow on you. I am hoping for a satisfying ending as everyone comes to grips with their own story.

Darlene Foster
For more about Darlene and her books see her website.


Cheryl Schenk has read “By Gaslight”

Cheryl Schenk is the first reader-friend to answer my request to provide information on a current reading favourite for this blog! I’ve recently begun reading an eBook copy I borrowed from the library as a result of Cheryl telling me about it on Facebook. Thanks, Cheryl, for your contribution.

By Gaslight
by Stephen Price

I heard Steven Price speak at our local library during the annual Starfest event. I was not familiar with his writing, and until that night, had not heard about this book. I was taken not only by the author, but enjoyed the stories he told, and the story of how this particular book began.

The fictional story is set in 19th Century London, England, with several back-stories of the Pinkerton’s lives set earlier in America. William Pinkerton has set himself the task for pursuing a man his father had relentlessly, but unsuccessfully, pursued for many years.

It took me a long time to read this book, not only because of its lengthy 731 pages, but because I started it at a very busy time in my own life. However, the main story and all of the sub-stories, captured me from the very first moment, and I never doubted that I would read to the very end.

I found Mr. Price to be a vivid writer, so much so, that I could almost hear and smell the sounds and scents of Old England, much of which was extremely unpleasant. His main characters came to life quickly, as does the story and intrigue. The streets, the alley ways, the fog, and of course the gaslight all take on a character of their own.

I will most certainly watch for more by this author.

Susan Toy was reading “Setting Free the Kites”

I say “was” instead of “is” in the title of this post, because I read this book in less than 2 days and didn’t want to stop long enough to write about it on this blog … it was that good!!

I first heard about the book from Will Schwalbe, who you may remember as the inspiration for beginning this blog in the first place … Will had posted on Facebook a few weeks ago a link to Alex George’s novel when it was released in paperback, saying he “loved” it – and that was enough recommendation for me! I was able to borrow the eBook from the library and began reading on Tuesday morning this week, finishing it up last night. And … WOW!!! was all I could say at the time.

Setting Free the Kites
by Alex George

To say I LOVED this novel is an understatement! It definitely fulfilled all the requirements for me: Great writing/ characters/ story line/ a few plot twists I did not anticipate. I could go on listing more of this book’s qualities, but I think it’s important for other readers to discover this book for themselves. Suffice it to say it’s going on my list of “favourite books of all time”! Right up there with All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, published in 2014, another book I LOVED for all the same reasons.

What stands out, more than anything for me with both these books is the high quality of the writing. If it were only the writing I judged, I would have been a happy reader. But there were so many other elements that were equally outstanding – Oh, just read Setting Free the Kites and you’ll understand what I mean!! I cried at the end, and I’m not ashamed to tell you that! I wept, mainly because the book had ended, and I wanted to go right back to the beginning and start reading all over again. But I experienced so many other emotions while reading (joy, surprise, sadness, grief, happiness, and out-and-out hilarity that had me laughing a full and complete belly laugh so loud I felt it necessary to apologize to my neighbour for the noise – then recommend that she read this book, as well!) that by the end I felt as though I had lived a complete life alongside the main character, his family and friends.

Absolutely and positively HIGHLY recommended!!!

(All the way through reading, I had this nagging feeling that, in some ways, this book reminded me of the writing of John Irving, specifically The World According to Garp, which I had always enjoyed. I must go back and reread that novel to see if I’m right. But then I remembered that one of Irving’s early novels was titled Setting Free the Bears … perhaps that’s where the subliminal comparison came from.)


Susan Toy is reading “Fire and Fury”

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolff

It’s a good thing I read The Book of Joy before this book … I keep casting my thoughts back, longingly, to that lovely book. This one I’m talking about today is such a contrast to that, but it’s an important book to read, nonetheless.

Dennis is reading it at the same time, but is almost finished. I’m lagging back, wanting to read it all, but finding it difficult, only because THERE’S SO MUCH IN HERE THAT WILL TOTALLY BOGGLE ANY SANE THINKING PERSON’S MIND!!! (And remember, I was prepared for reading this one by reading Fantasyland first. Still … I shudder.)

As I explained to friends … If we’d been told this book was fiction, it would have been hilarious, one of the funniest novels ever! Unfortunately, as it’s non-fiction, it’s absolutely, gobsmackingly frightening! It could never be fiction anyway, because you just can’t possibly make up shit like this!!! (And, coincidentally, after I wrote that last line, I read that Sean Spicer’s personal mantra had become, “You can’t make this shit up!”)

In a way, it’s kind of like seeing a massive train wreck happen right in front of you, one with large numbers of casualties and destruction … you can’t do anything yourself to stop it happening or to help survivors, but you can’t take your eyes away from the horror of it – all you can do is keep watching in shock, repugnance, and disbelief.

So, I persist … But it is an excellent synopsis of this past year – the only problem being that the year has been much, much worse in many ways than we ever realized. I’m only at February, 2017. Dennis keeps saying, “Every new chapter is more astonishing than the previous one!”

It’s definitely an important book, and not to be dismissed – especially by those who think that all it covers is gossip and “fake news” about Trump … when they haven’t bothered to read the book themselves. (The worst type of book censors, in my mind!!!)

Just one quote from the book:

This became a staff goal–to create situations in which he was comfortable, to construct something of a bubble, to wall him off from a mean-spirited world. Indeed, they carefully sought to replicate this formula: Trump in the Oval Office or in a larger West Wing ceremonial room presiding in front of a receptive audience, with a photo opportunity. Trump was often his own stage manager at these events, directing people in and out of the picture.

And now – I’m just about to begin reading the chapter titled, “Russia”.

But what frightens me most is that the last page of the book will read: TO BE CONTINUED …

(By the way, Michael Wolff’s writing is excellent!)

Susan Toy is reading “The Book of Joy”

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams

I can guarantee that reading this book will definitely make you feel joyful!

While it was first published in 2016, I only just learned of the book when it popped up on the library’s page of recommended titles. I thought it looked interesting and decided to borrow it. The book is a series of conversations between two very inspiring and wise men- and both Nobel Prize recipients – the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Douglas Abrams brought the two together on the occasion of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday, and all three discussed the topic of “Joy” – what it is, how to acquire joy, and why the world needs more of it.

This is not a religious book, nor is it even spiritual in intent, but it is philosophical in providing and discussing the idea as to how we can all live a more joyful life. And how to spread that joy to others intentionally.

What I loved about this book, and the conversation between these men, was that it was so very joyful to read, making me smile throughout. I wrote down many passages in my “commonplace book” and will definitely go back to reread those quotes. Difficult to narrow it down to just a very few … but I think these will give you an idea of what the book is about:

Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for others’ well-being is the source of happiness. ~ Dalai Lama

… we must include in formal education of our youth some teaching of compassion and basic ethics, not on the basis of religious belief but on the basis of scientific findings and our common sense and our universal experience. ~ Dalai Lama

It is when without thinking about it you help someone who is less well off, when you are kind to someone else and do these things that raise others up, you end up being joyful. ~ Desmond Tutu

We must teach people, especially our youth, the source of happiness and satisfaction. We must teach them that the ultimate source of happiness is within themselves. Not Machine. Not technology. Not money. Not power.
… our book is part of this important process to help spread the message that love, kindness, and affection are the source of joy and happiness.
~ Dalai Lama

To get a better sense of exactly why I was so impressed with this book, have a look at the dedicated website and the brief video there. The joy these two men exude is palpable and the video, but even more so the book, will have you grinning from ear to ear!

Susan Toy is reading “Fantasyland”

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
by Kurt Andersen

I’ve actually finished reading this book already, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and it was so good that I want to tell everyone I know that they should read it as well!

I first heard about the book through Kevin Brennan’s post on his WHAT THE HELL blog – where the book received a 5-star review. I immediately put the eBook on hold at the library and had to wait a couple of months, but the wait was well worth it!

If you’re interested in finding out HOW and WHY the U.S. got from there (500 years ago) to here (today’s political and social situation) then you need to read this book. It truly is an eye-opener.

For the past while, I have been keeping a “Commonplace Book” and compiling quotes from books I’m reading – quotes that seem to me to be significant, poignant, illuminating, interesting, or just an example of the author’s good writing. If the number of quotes I copied from this book is any indication, it’s a mighty important book indeed! Difficult for me to just choose one, but I hope this quote will give you a sense of what this book is about and why I believe it’s important that more readers read it:

In so much of the rest of our lives … many distinctions between fake and real have been erased. A lot of American reality is now virtual. We’re often unaware whether we’re inside or outside Fantasyland.

Nzarah Trimmingham … What are you reading?

I’d like you all to welcome our very first guest to this new blog! Nzarah Trimmingham is the granddaughter of an author who happens to own a home on Bequia! Felicity Harley’s writing has been promoted numerous times on my other blogs (see here for her bio). This year, she visited Bequia over Christmas with the entire family, including granddaughter, Nzarah, who already happens to be an avid reader … no surprise there!

When I met Nzarah over sunset drinks at her grandparents’ house, I asked her the big question – What are you reading? She immediately launched into a very detailed explanation about a book, and I just knew that she had to be my first guest on this new blog.

So we decided (Nzarah’s grandmother and I) to organize a date for an interview at my house – an editorial meeting, if you will. And what do editors need for a high-powered meeting? Why, caffeine, of course! That was tea, for Felicity, coffee for me, and a rather large hot chocolate served in a latte cup and made with steamed milk from the espresso machine for Nzarah. Then we got down to business!

WayR: How old are you?
NT: I am three-and-a-half-years old.

WayR: And where do you live?
NT: In New York City, Harlem.

WayR: Do you go to school?
NT: I’m still on vacation, but I will be going back to San Jose Day Nursery in ten days.

WayR: What do you like most about going to school?
NT: They read books and play and I hang out with my friends.

WayR: What do you like about being on Bequia?

WayR: What are you reading and why do you like it?
NT: I’m reading Ada Twist, Scientist. Ada Twist makes thinkie things. Her parents worry about her because she asks so many questions.

Here’s Nzarah reading “Ada Twist, Scientist” in Dennis’s hammock.

WayR: What is your favourite book?
NT: TIKKI TIKKI TEMBO!!!!!! (And Nzarah immediately began to excitedly recite the book by heart …)

The other books Nzarah was reading that she brought to show me were But No Elephants by Jerry Smath and Popcorn by Frank Asch.

After Nzarah and Felicity left to go to the beach, I looked up Nzarah’s book online and discovered I was able to borrow it from the library as an eBook – so I did! As I was reading, I could understand Nzarah’s excitement with this book and why she wanted to tell me about it. I also found two other books by the same author that I borrowed and read. Now, thanks to Nzaarah, I’ve discovered a new author and books that I will be recommending to other readers, too!

Links to all books:
By Andrea Beaty – Ada Twist, Scientist
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
But No Elephants

Please do comment below about this post or any of the books mentioned in it, but save your own current reads for future posts. If you wish to tell us what you are reading, go to the Contact Page. Thanks!