Book Remarks

The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

By Joanne Smith Harmony Books, 2014, 204 pages Genre: Christmas/Family Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Christmas is doing a little extra for someone.” – Charles M. Schulz, “Peanuts” creator In the first week of October 1999, Rick Smith died in the night. He had been diagnosed the prior month with a heart valve defect that needed surgical repair but ... Read More »

We Are Not Ourselves

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Matthew Thomas Simon & Schuster 2014. 620 pages Genre: Domestic Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes “We are not ourselves when nature, being oppressed, commands the mind to suffer with the body.” – King Lear   Eileen Tumulty is 9 years old when we first meet her in 1950, failing miserably at the ... Read More »

Leaving Time

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Jodi Picoult 417 pages, Ballantine/Random House 2014. Genre: Mystery/Suspense Collier County Public Library: Yes Rating: 4.25/5.0   I have read two previous books by Jodi Picoult but never considered myself a fan. After reading “Leaving Time,” I am a Picoult fan. This a must-read for anyone who enjoys suspense stories with a clever ... Read More »

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In The End

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Atul Gawande Henry Holt (sold by MacMillan), 2014 300 pages. Genre: Medical Nonfiction “If end-of-life discussions were an experimental drug, the FDA would approve it.” — “Being Mortal.” The author is a general surgeon practicing in the Boston area, who has written previous books about medical practice (“Better,” “Complications,” “The Checklist Manifesto”). His name ... Read More »

The Children Act

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Ian McEwan Nan A. Talese/Doubleday 2014 240 pages. Genre: Legal fiction In 1989, the United Kingdom’s parliament passed The Children Act to ensure that when families and legal guardians fail the young the legal authorities are mandated to step in and protect them. As the title indicates, this book is about that law and ... Read More »

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

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 ... Read More »

All The Light We Cannot See

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 ... Read More »

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel

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 ... Read More »

The Studio Kill

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 ... Read More »

Traveling Left of Center

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 ... Read More »

The Target

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 ... Read More »

Supreme Justice

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. ... Read More »

Summer House With Swimming Pool

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 ... Read More »

Field of Prey

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 ... Read More »

Shotgun Lovesongs

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 ... Read More »

Chestnut Street

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. ... Read More »

You Should Have Known

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 ... Read More »

Missing You

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 ... Read More »

The Accident

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 ... Read More »

A Circle of Wives

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 ... Read More »