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Badlands

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By C.J. Box Minotaur (MacMillan) July 2015, 288 pages. Genre: Suspense   This is a terrific read. If you are already familiar with C.J. Box, you will not be surprised at that. The man is a w-r-i-t-e-r and an enthralling storyteller. Every word he puts on the page moves the plot along and deepens the character development so vividly that the reader can feel the very presence of these people. This book is made for one-sitting reads. Badlands features his newer character, Cassie Dewell, for the second time. She is in North Carolina at the ... Read More »

The English Spy

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Daniel Silva Harper Collins 2015, 484 pages Genre: Suspense   “No more tears now; I will think upon revenge.” – Mary, Queen of Scots   The above quotation from the epigraph page of The English Spy states exactly what this book is – the story of a manhunt. The fourth in a series about Israeli spy and assassin Gabriel Allon who sometimes dabbles in art restoration as a sideline, this book is bound to please any lover of thrillers and spy stories. You do not need to have read any of the previous Allon novels ... Read More »

Circling the Sun

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Paula McLain Ballantine Books (Random House) 2015, 384 pages Genre: Historical fiction   “For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, so dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.” – D.H. Lawrence Although Circling the Sun begins with the transatlantic solo flight of female pilot Beryl Markham, the title does not refer to her flying exploits. Instead, “the sun” is Denys Finch Hatton, the lover that Beryl shared with her good female friend Karen Blixen, names familiar to those who know Out of Africa. Shortly into the flight, a lightning bolt over ... Read More »

The Wright Brothers

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By David McCullough Simon & Schuster 2015, 303 pages Genre: Biography Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Gentlemen, I’m going to fly.” – Wilbur Wright to onlookers at Le Mans, France, 1908 All American kids learn about the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk in very early grade school. We think we know them and their importance to aviation. Turns out we know nothing. David McCullough brings Wilbur and Orville to life in his inimitable style, fleshing out the rather stern looking men in the old black-and-white photographs. This biography gripped me within the ... Read More »

REEL REVIEWS

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By Jake Erickson San Andreas This movie is by far one of the best disaster movies to come out in years with a creative plot, great actors and awesome animation techniques. The complexity of the events are complimented with an undeniable sense of suspense despite the security felt with some of the main characters. The biggest reason this movie really caught this authors’ interest is that we never precisely know when the next earthquake or traumatic event is going to happen. Life is unpredictable, and so was this movie. So many scenes in this movie are a must see! When ... Read More »

The Truth According To Us

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Annie Barrows The Dial Press (Random House) 2015 491 pages Genre: Historical Fiction “Summertime and the livin’ is easy!” – Porgy and Bess Before you open this book, it would be wise to have a pitcher of lemonade or other favorite iced beverage at hand. Barrows’ description of the West Virginia sizzling summer weather will have you sweltering. Might help to have Miles Davis playing in the background as well. The time is Summer 1938 (three years after Porgy and Bess debuted). Miss Layla Beck has been shunned by her father, Delaware member of ... Read More »

Memory Man

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By David Baldacci, Genre: Suspense Grand Central Publishing, April 2015, 406 pages   A horrific scene is encountered by the reader at the very beginning of this latest novel from the prolific Mr. Baldacci. It is the memory of the murder of Amos Decker’s family in their own home – his wife Cassie, almost 10-year-old daughter Molly, and Cassie’s brother Johnny Sacks (is Baldacci a “Sopranos” fan?). Amos remembers coming home from work and finding the grisly scene that destroyed his life. He cannot not remember because he can forget nothing. For a few brief moments, ... Read More »

The Marco Players are Serving Up “A Summer Double Dip”

(Left to Right) Sylvia (Tracy Lane); Greg (Greg Madera, Director); Kate (Casey Cobb). SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted The Marco Players is serving up “A Summer Double Dip” with two romantic comedies, Sylvia and Shooting Star. Sylvia, by A.R. Gurney, is a romantic comedy about marriage. A suburban couple, Greg (Greg Madera) and Kate (Casey Cobb) have left the suburbs behind and moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising. Greg brings home a stray dog bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. Greg finds comfort in his relationship with Sylvia (Tracy Lane) as an escape from his job and middle age. Kate sees Sylvia as a rival. After a series of hilarious complications, Sylvia ... Read More »

Leading Ladies

The cast of “Leading Ladies,” which opens on June 12. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Submitted The Box Office is open and tickets are currently on sale for the Island Theater Company’s upcoming summer production of “Leading Ladies” sponsored by Jump Hair and Nails and the Island Diet Center. The ITC Teen Troupe are back and delighted to bring you the hilarious comedy “Leading Ladies” by playwright Ken Ludwig. “Leading Ladies” will run from June 12 through June 20. Ken Ludwig has had six shows on Broadway, and seven in London’s West End, and his plays and musicals have been performed in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. His first play on Broadway, ... Read More »

Macbeth Presented Skillfully by MIA Students for MI Shakespeare Festival

Kaitlynn McRae (center) with  the cast of “MacBeth.” PHOTO BY DON MANLEY

By Don Manley The greed, treachery, betrayal, deceit and drama encapsulated in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” were skillfully and passionately brought to life by students from the Marco Island Academy. The presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most renowned works graced the stage for five performances recently at the Marco Players’ theater. The play was put on by the Marco Island Shakespeare Festival, marking the third year in which the organization has collaborated with MIA on a production one of the Bard’s masterpieces. Battle-worn Macbeth, the doomed King Duncan, the conniving Lady Macbeth and prescience of the Wyrd Sisters all sprang from the ... Read More »

The Price Of Valor: The Life of Audie Murphy, America’s Most Decorated Hero of World War II

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By David A. Smith Regnery History 2015, 256 pages Genre: Biography “After the war, they took Army dogs and rehabilitated them for civilian life. But they turned soldiers into civilians immediately and let ‘em sink or swim.” – Attributed to Audie L. Murphy According to Army records, during the 20 months he served in the European combat theater, Audie L. Murphy was responsible for the elimination of at least 240 enemy soldiers, thus saving an untold number of American lives. He was wounded seriously enough to be hospitalized three times. In return, he received 33 decorations ... Read More »

The Stranger

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Harlan Coben, Genre: Mystery Dutton 2015 – 386 pages   Adam Price was at the American Legion Hall for the draft of his son’s lacrosse league, at the bar with a Bud in his hand when his world was fractured. The Stranger approached him, telling him that his wife faked her pregnancy and miscarriage two years previously just to get him to stay in their marriage. As proof, he referred Price to verify Visa card charges to “Novelty Funsy.” It might be a good idea to run DNA tests on his two sons to see ... Read More »

Blood On Snow

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By Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Jo Nesbo, Translated from Norwegian by Neil Smith Alfred A. Knopf 2015, 224 pages Genre: Mystery Collier County Public Library: Yes “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.” – Victor Hugo   Since his earliest memory, Olav Johansen loved making up stories. With the soul of a poet, he seemed born to become a writer. Instead he became a hit man or fixer. When we meet him in late 1976 he has just carried out a “hit” for Daniel Hoffmann, an Oslo crime boss for whom ... Read More »

Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story

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By Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Ed Lucas and Christopher Lucas Jeter Publishing (Simon & Schuster) 320 pages. Genre: Biography Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.” – Yogi Berra   Well, sports fans, baseball is back! The first few weeks are always glorious because there are no deep disappointments yet and hopes are high. Boston won the World Series in 2013, so why shouldn’t Cubs fans think “Maybe next year” is THIS year? Did Back To The Future 2 writers get it right with “Cubs sweep Miami five games to ... Read More »

The Nightingale

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Kristin Hannah St. Martin’s Press 2015, 440 pages Genre: Historical Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.” — Winston Churchill   Set against the backdrop of the Second World War in France, The Nightingale is a riveting story of love and family drama. Like All The Light We Cannot See, this book is told from the perspective of civilians, specifically the extremely heroic ordinary Frenchwomen. By the end of 1940, France was basically a land of women and children. ... Read More »

The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Submitted The Merry Wives of Windsor is a farcical comedy written by William Shakespeare. Directed by John McKerrow, Producing Artistic Director, Shakespeare in Paradise was named “Best New Theater Company in SW Florida”. Sir John Falstaff (Jim Corsica) conspires to seduce Mrs. Page (Mary Anne McAvoy McKerrow) and Mrs. Ford (Victoria Diebler), the wives of two prominent Windsor citizens. The insanely jealous Mr. Ford (Mark Vanagas) hires Falstaff to reveal her suspected infidelity. With lightning-quick timing and ridiculous disguises and comical antics, the audience is sure to find pleasure in the humiliation of Falstaff and the way the wives dupe ... Read More »

Johnny T: Voices of Legends

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Submitted For one night only you can hear the country’s greatest one-man tribute show as the Marco Island Historical Society presents “The Voices of Legends” on March 29th at 7 PM in the Rose History Auditorium. “A show like no other, a can’t miss performance” – said the New York Times, Johnny Tarangelo will feature classic songs in tribute to artists such as Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Vinton, Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Elvis, Dion, Little Anthony, the Drifters, the Platters and more. A former member of the famous Doo Wop group, the Mystics that had a hit ... Read More »

Inside The O’Briens

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Book Remarks By Maggie Gust   “The diseases which destroy a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him.” – George Santayana Boston PD officer Joe O’Brien is frantic. If he does not find his service weapon RIGHT NOW, he will be late for roll call and he is already in hot water with his sergeant. He looks everywhere, retracing his steps and finally into the kitchen where his wife Rosie is serving breakfast to their four children. The Glock is on the kitchen counter. Each of them denies seeing or touching his weapon even though he ... Read More »

A Spool of Blue Thread

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Anne Tyler Knopf, February 2015, 368 pages Genre: Domestic fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world, but a world lives in you.” – Frederick Buechner   On Bouton Road in Baltimore, Maryland, there is a house situated on a gentle slope, surrounded by tulip poplars, accessed by a flagstone walkway. The neighbors call it the “porch ... Read More »

When Books Went To War

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Molly Guptill Manning Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014, 267 pages Collier County Public Library: Yes Genre: Historical Nonfiction “Books cannot be killed by fire.…..No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt This book is a nice little treat for history buffs and booklovers. It gives a heartwarming and personal perspective on our fighting men as well as some insight into life on the home front during the war years. After the US began ... Read More »