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Then Came Life: Living With Courage, Spirit and Gratitude After Breast Cancer

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Geralyn Lucas, Gotham Books, October 2014, 210 pages. Genre: Memoir   “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard   If the author’s name sounds familiar, it is because this is a sequel to her tremendously popular “Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy,” published 10 years ago. At the time of her mastectomy, she was 27 years old, enthusiastic, open and determined to enjoy every nanosecond of life. Now, 18 years later, she is in her mid-40s, graying, sagging, moving up in pants size, with a ... Read More »

All The Light We Cannot See

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Anthony Doerr Scribner 2014, 545 pages Genre: Historical Fiction   “A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, what human nature is and what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag   I resisted reading “All The Light We Cannot See” when it was published in May, thinking the world did not really need another novel about the second World War. Well, I was wrong. It is quite a vocabulary challenge to find the adjectives to describe this marvelous book ... Read More »

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Nadia Hashimi William Morrow, May 2014, 464 pages   “You know what they say about the human spirit? It is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.” - Khala Shaima, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel. In her debut novel, Nadia Hashimi has gifted the world with a wonderfully written, mesmerizing look into a fascinating family drama set in Afghanistan. The main protagonists are Rahima, a young 21st century Afghani girl and her great-great-grandmother Shekiba who lived in the early 20th century. The story shifts between the ... Read More »

The Studio Kill

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Charles Fleming Asahina & Wallace, 2014, 262 pages Genre: Mystery (Novel Noir)   “One difference between film noir and more straightforward crime pictures is that noir is more open to human flaws and likes to embed them in twisty plot lines.” – Roger Ebert   Set in 1947 Los Angeles just after the murder of Bugsy Siegel, “The Studio Kill” tells the story of John McClellan, chief detective for Continental Studios. His responsibilities include looking after and cleaning up after the studio’s movie stars, both major and minor, as well as attending to ... Read More »

Island Theater Company Upcoming Season

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Coastal Breeze News Staff The Island Theater Company has announced the line-up for its 2014 – 2015 season. Kicking the season off with a crash will be “Stonewall’s Bust” by John Morogiello and sponsored by Centennial Bank; it will run Oct. 25-Nov. 8. This southern comic gem is about nervous New Yorker Paul Striker who bites off more than he can chew when, while visiting his wife’s hometown deep in Dixie, he breaks a priceless Confederate heirloom and lies about it. Paul’s attempt to save his own skin with a dubious story involving moans, chains and a supposed poltergeist sets ... Read More »

Traveling Left of Center

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com I was looking for a good love story to break up the string of thrillers I have been reading. Instead, I found “Traveling Left of Center.” As the title indicates, these 18 short stories have protagonists who are slightly off kilter psychologically. We all know they are “out there.” It is estimated that one in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness. Nancy Christie has given them a voice. Though not as dreary as Edgar Allen Poe by any means, Christie’s protagonists are in various stages of psychic distress. The first story, named ... Read More »

The Target

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By David Baldacci. 432 pages. Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, April 2014. Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Political Thriller   “The reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – Jojen Reed, Game of Thrones   This is great summertime read — light, refreshing and engaging. Slip into the world of clandestine assassination and a female North Korean operative whose martial arts skills make Jason Bourne look like a slow-motion grandpa. Yie Chung-Cha spent most of her youth in a concentration camp, Yodok, imprisoned there with her entire family. There, she learned ... Read More »

Supreme Justice

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BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Max Allan Collins Thomas & Mercer, 2014 336 pages “I always turn to the sports page first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”Earl Warren, 14th Chief Justice, SCOTUS   Someone is assassinating the justices of the Supreme Court in this nifty little thriller set in the future, circa 2030. “Summertime and the readin’ is easy” to paraphrase that famous Gershwin tune. “Supreme Justice” was quite a delightful surprise. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Joe Reeder, CEO of ABC Security, is a former Secret Service ... Read More »

Summer House With Swimming Pool

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Herman Koch Hogarth/Random House 2014 (USA) 387 pages   “Patients can’t tell the difference between time and attention.”Dr. Marc Schlosser He is back, folks, and he is even more dark and twisted than in “The Dinner.” Actually, those two couples appear positively lighthearted compared to Dr. Marc Schlosser, a general practitioner in the Netherlands whose patient base is composed of actors, writers, artists, celebrities from the creative sector. Dr. Schlosser also serves as the narrator of this story. The title comes from the fact that Marc’s most famous patient, actor Ralph Meier, has ... Read More »

Field of Prey

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By John Sandford, G.P. Putnam 2014, 392 pages, Genre: Mystery “There’s nothing to match curling up with a good book when there’s a repair job to be done around the house.” – Joe Ryan   The 24th book in John Sandford’s Prey series proves the author is only getting better at his craft. I was engrossed in this story from page one. Although Field of Prey is a mystery, the reader knows from the beginning who the killers are. The mystery involves how the police track them down. The story opens with the kidnapping of ... Read More »

‘The Odd Couple’: Family Style

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Forget everything you know about the classic 1965 Neil Simon Broadway play — and 1968 film and 1970s television show — “The Odd Couple,” and prepare to be dazzled by the Island Theater Company’s all-student performance of the play this weekend at the Rose History Auditorium on Marco Island. Show dates and times are Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14, at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, June 15 at 2:30 PM. Doors open a half-hour prior to performances. Originally scheduled for April, this kick-off-your-summer-right production is directed by Gina Sisbarro, sponsored by Jump Hair & ... Read More »

Shotgun Lovesongs

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Nickolas Butler St. Martin’s, 2014, 307 pages “All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.”– Thomas Wolfe   The small town of Little Wing, Wisconsin is the setting for this debut novel by 30-something Nickolas Butler who actually grew up in Eau Claire, WI. The story revolves around a group of five friends, now middle-aged, who grew up together in Little Wing; most of them ... Read More »

A Chef to Savor

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net If you’ve had your fill of super-heroes, super-villains, zombies, Godzilla’s and other zillas plus assorted other freaks, treat yourself to “Chef.” It’s a delightful take on the food world, family bonding and multiculturalism with a great soundtrack and a bit of a travelogue to boot. After a disastrous experience with “Cowboys and Aliens” and a few other non-memorable movies, Jon Favreau wrote, directed and stars in this charming and very funny piece of entertainment. Carl Casper (Favreau) is a first-rate chef in a successful Los Angeles restaurant. The problem is that he’s still turning ... Read More »

Chestnut Street

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Maeve Binchy Knopf 2014, 368 pages Genre: Fiction/Short Story Collection Almost two years ago I wrote a Book Remarks about Maeve Binchy’s final novel, A Week In Winter, published shortly after her death in July 2012. All Maeve fans believed that was the end of the anticipation of new offerings from this wonderful storyteller. Rejoice! We were wrong. The woman who did not believe in an afterlife has endowed her readers with such. These stories were written by Maeve over three plus decades, beginning when she was a columnist for The Irish Times. Using ... Read More »

Music to Little Ears

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com For many on Marco Island, the last name Charde is synonymous with top-notch accounting and financial services. The late John J. Charde Jr. owned and operated Charde and St. George LLC for 20 years on Marco Island before his daughter, Lorraine, and her husband, Roger St. George, took the reins in 2010. Now, another of John J. Charge Jr.’s children is putting the family name on the map, and this time it is through music. Robert M. Charde released a children’s CD dubbed “For Little Ears of Tender Years” in late 2013, and last month, ... Read More »

You Should Have Known

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Jean Hanff Korelitz, 439 pages Grand Central Publishing  2014 Genre:  Domestic/Psychological Fiction “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Grace Reinhart, an almost-40-year-old Manhattan couples therapist, has written a book on the brink of being published. Entitled You Should Have Known, it is based on her 15-year experience with couples in crisis. Her premise is that women negate their initial impressions and intuition about the men in their lives and tell themselves their judgment was wrong, “Now ... Read More »

Island Theater Co. Presents ‘Always A Bridesmaid’

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Wedding bells are in the air at Island Theater Co., as the troupe prepares for its April-May production of “Always A Bridesmaid.” Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten and directed by Pattie Ziesig and John Moulton, it is a story of love, friendship, life and marriage framed by the lifelong friendship of four women. When they make a vow to honor their friendship and be in each other’s weddings — no matter what — none of them imagined the “what” that they were ‘“no mattering” to. More than 30 years later, these ... Read More »

Missing You

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BOOKREMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Harlan Coben Penguin Group 2014, 417 Pages Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense “We know that everything in our lives is complex and gray. Yet we somehow expect our relationships to never be anything but simple and pure.” - Stacy in Missing You by Harlan Coben I became a Harlan Coben fan last year after reading Six Years which I was inspired to read after seeing that Hugh Jackman had been cast as the male lead for the movie version. Now, Mr. Coben is back with another superb, stay-in-your-seat-and-keep-turning-those-pages, good-heavens-what-will-happen-next whodunit. This time, the movie rights to Missing You ... Read More »

The Accident

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Chris Pavone Crown Publishing, 2014 402 pages Genre: Thriller “Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted.”         – William Hazlitt If you love thrillers, grab this book. Once you do, hang on, because it’s a heck of a ride. I have not yet read Mr. Pavone’s Expats, published in 2012, but I will be reading it in the near future. This man has clearly mastered the thriller genre. Where to start? Too many books lately have been weak in character but ... Read More »

A Circle of Wives

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Alice LaPlante Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014 325 pages Genre: Psychological Thriller “Alas, the love of women! It is known to be a lovely and a fearful thing.” Don Juan, Lord Byron John Taylor, M.D., a prominent plastic surgeon, is found dead in a hotel room in his hometown of Palo Alto, California. Not only does he have a stellar professional reputation, the 62-year-old man is beloved by his community for his pro-bono work for children with facial deformities, by his wife of 35 years, Deborah, and their three adult children. First thought to be the ... Read More »