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Book Remarks

Everybody’s Fool

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BOOK REMARKS  Diane Bostick Guest Reviewer Everybody’s Fool By Richard Russo Knopf Publishers, May 2016 Available at the Collier County Library Available as Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Nook and Audio book I have just had the pleasure, and a pleasure it was, of reading Richard Russo’s newest book, “Everybody’s Fool.” Some might say it has no plot but it actually does, though I will admit it is rather a subtle one, and you might not really be aware of it until the end when you realize that all the individual stories running through the book have come to a conclusion of some sort, ... Read More »

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

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BOOK REMARKS  Joanne Tailele,  Guest Reviewer Author Kelli Estes opened my eyes, as well as protagonist Inara Erickson’s, to a piece of American history I knew nothing about. In the backdrop of the Orcas Island, on Puget Sound, state of Washington, Inara is drawn back to the island when she inherits a grand old estate that was once her childhood playground. She has no intention of staying long, just long enough to get the property on the market and leave the island that haunts her with guilt from when her mother died on a windy road on the island. The estate ... Read More »

Washington’s Immortals

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BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine, “The Crisis,” December 23, 1776. Don’t let the genre dissuade you from this title. Yes, we know the outcome, but that does not take away from the fact that the author has written this account of America’s beginning in a gripping style similar to that of the most popular thrillers. O’Donnell ... Read More »

Since She Went Away

Since She Went Away
By David Bell
New American Library –
June 21, 2016 - 432 pages
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
4.0/5.0 stars

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com Bell is an accomplished storyteller who is equally adept at both character development and plot advancement. I first read his “Someone I Used To Know” last year and was riveted by the nuances of his characters’ personalities. The same is true of “Since She Went Away.” I was invested in these characters by the end of chapter one and put the book down only once. This is basically the story of RN Jenna Barton, a single mom, and her teenaged son Jared, detailing how their quiet lives in tiny Hawks Mill, Kentucky were up heaved by ... Read More »

Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com Charlie Mike:  A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home By Joe Klein Simon & Schuster, October 2015 – 320 pages Genre: Biography Collier County Public Library: Yes “Charlie Mike” is not the name of any person, but military shorthand for “continue the mission.” This is the story of some veterans from America’s 21st century wars and their reorientation to civilian life. Navy veteran Eric Greitens was the initial driving force behind the organization that grew to be named “The Mission Continues.” His life had been filled with a desire to achieve excellence in ... Read More »

Lilac Girls

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BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com “Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity.” – George Eliot This is the story of a little known chapter in the European theater of the Second World War, the “Ravensbruck Rabbits.” The story is told in first person via three main characters: Caroline Ferriday, wealthy American socialite; Kasia, young Polish woman; and Herta, a young German woman just starting her medical career. The chapters alternate among the three women. Caroline is a hardworking philanthropist, carrying on a long family tradition of working for social justice and taking charitable ... Read More »

Miller’s Valley

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BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com “There is nothing I value more than the closeness of friends and family, a smile as I pass someone on the street.”  Willie Stargell I enjoyed this book. Mary Margaret Miller narrates her story which is centered around the state’s decision to permanently flood the farmland of Miller’s Valley. During the time since the government built a dam and redirected the river, the valley was flooding every few years anyway. Every flood would drive a few more families away, those who were not willing or not able to rebuild and wait for the next flood. Mary ... Read More »

The Assassin’s Honor

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BOOKREMARKS  Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com The Assassin’s Honor By Robert Macomber Pineapple Press, September 2015,  351 pages Genre: Historical Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes “We of the sea come to know each other quickly; our loves, like our hates, are born of sudden danger.” – Lew Wallace, author of “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” and U.S. Civil War general. “The Assassin’s Honor” is the 12th installment of the Honor Series with Peter Wake as the protagonist. The story is set in the last decade of the 19th century and much of the action takes place at sea. Peter Wake ... Read More »

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com “No two persons ever read the same book.” – Edmund Wilson The good news is that “Eligible” is not one of the “Gone Girl” or “The Girl On The Train” wannabes that are pervasive these days. The other news is that while it is a satisfying read, it is not even a shadow of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the classic satire on the social mores of early 18th century England. P&P purists, be forewarned that you will find no subtlety and very little romance in “Eligible.” Sittenfeld’s satire is fairly in-your-face and quite humorous. Austen’s ... Read More »

Forty Martyrs

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   Forty Martyrs  By Philip F. Deaver Burrow Press, March 29, 2016 – 231 pages Genre: Short story collection Collier County Library: No Deaver is a new-to-me author and a pleasant discovery. He is on the English faculty at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His previous publications have received acclaim and awards. This collection of nine stories centers around the small town of Tuscola in east central Illinois. Most of the protagonists are linked in some way to the college as well as to the local Catholic parish, Forty Martyrs. But believe me, these are ... Read More »

Try Not To Breathe

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   Try Not To Breathe By Holly Seddon Ballantine Books, February 2016 – 369 pages Genre: Mystery/Thriller   Anyone who enjoyed “The Girl On The Train” might like this book very much. I didn’t care for the Hawkins book, but I found this one intriguing. The protagonist, Alex Dale, is a self-destructive barely functional alcoholic with an enlarged liver whose life revolves around her wine consumption and urinary incontinence. When we meet her in 2010, she has drunk her way through college, marriage to police officer Matt, a miscarriage, and a steady job as a ... Read More »

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air
By Paul Kalanithi
Random House 2016 – 258 pages
Genre: Memoir
Collier County Public Library: Yes

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com “When there’s no place for a scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.” – Paul Kalanithi At age 36, in the last year of his neurosurgery residency, Paul Kalanithi discovered he had stage IV lung cancer. For the next 22 months, he and his wife Lucy, an internal medicine physician, awoke each day focused on living, not “living until…” “When Breath Becomes Air” was written largely because Dr. Kalanithi had the soul of a poet and turning to words to express any experience in life was as instinctive to him as breathing itself. His intent was ... Read More »

The Last Anniversary

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Liane Moriarty Harper Collins 2006, 388 pages Genre: Domestic Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you might as well make it dance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw Warning: Do not read this book in the vicinity of sleeping babies or people with a nervous disposition. Your frequent spontaneous peals of laughter may startle them. “The Last Anniversary” is not a new book, but it is presently on the New York Times Bestsellers List. It was originally published in Australia in 2005. Apparently interest in it ... Read More »

My Name Is Lucy Barton

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Elizabeth Strout Random House, January 2016, 193 pages Genre: Domestic fiction This book is not for everyone, but if you liked “Olive Kitteridge,” by this same author (which won her a Pulitzer), or “Someone,” by Alice McDermott, chances are that you will enjoy this book immensely. It is a masterpiece, a book that you know you will re-read and notice nuances that you missed on your first visit with these people. I read it in one sitting, too engrossed to put the book down. Plus, it is less than 200 pages. Lucy Barton is a ... Read More »

Goldeneye Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Matthew Parker Penguin Books 2015, 387 pages Genre: Biography Collier County Public Library: Yes   “My contribution to the art of thriller-writing has been to attempt the total stimulation of the reader all the way through, even to his taste buds.” ~ Ian Fleming   The James Bond movie franchise is 53 years old yet it is the third highest grossing movie franchise in the world, right behind those whippersnappers “Harry Potter” and “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, wrote 14 Bond books plus a collection of short stories and “Chitty Chitty Bang ... Read More »

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea..” In this nifty new book, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger tell the exciting story of how the U.S. Marines earned bragging rights to include the shores of Tripoli in their hymn. Even before the Constitution was ratified and the United States of America came to official existence, the Barbary pirates were menacing our vessels. In summer 1785, the American minister to France, Thomas Jefferson, received a letter from Richard O’Brien, captain of the Dauphin, ... Read More »

“The Crossing”

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Michael Connelly Little, Brown and Company, November 2015 400 pages Genre: Suspense/Mystery Collier County Public Library: Yes   In his 20th Harry Bosch novel, Michael Connelly reunites Harry with his half-brother Mickey Haller, the defense attorney from “Lincoln Lawyer.” Connelly first matched them up in “The Brass Verdict” (2008). But make no mistake, this is Harry Bosch’s story. Maddie, Harry’s daughter, is now 18 years old, within days of high school graduation and already has plans to attend Chapman College, the same school that Mickey’s daughter will be attending. The girls will room together. If ... Read More »

“The Tears of Dark Water”

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Corban Addison Thomas Nelson 2015, 439 pages Genre: Domestic Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi   In “The Tears of Dark Water,” his third novel, Corban Addison proves himself to be one of the prominent authors of his generation. He has a beautiful writing style that is both intelligent and gripping, moving the story along at an almost-perfect pace while deepening the layers of the characters’ personalities with each page. It is November 2011, and Daniel Parker and his 18-year-old son ... Read More »

“Did You Ever Have A Family?”

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Bill Clegg Simon & Schuster 2015, 253 pages Genre: Family Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day.” ~ Thornton Wilder   Lolly Reid and Will Landis are getting married in the garden of her mother June’s spacious home in small town Connecticut. Her home has never been so full. Her ex-husband Adam is staying over, Lolly and Will of course, and June’s much younger boyfriend Luke Morey. Things had wound down, everyone retired to their rooms for the evening except ... Read More »

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Lee Child Random House, September 2015, 402 pages. Genre: Suspense Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Admit nothing, even on your death bed. You might suddenly get better.” ~ Jack Reacher Jack is back in this 20th installment of this billion-dollar Lee Child enterprise. Be forewarned that Jack journeys to a very dark place in this adventure. If you are looking for chuckles or warm fuzzies, this is not the story for you. If you have previously read a Reacher novel or two you know that Jack started out as a kind of modern-day Lone ... Read More »