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Reviews Written by
Kathleen Valentine "So Many Books, So Little Time" RSS Feed (Gloucester, MA, United States)

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Pierced by the Sun
Pierced by the Sun
Price: $4.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lupita Is Kind of a Mess, June 23, 2016
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Poor Lupita, no matter what she does something always goes wrong. She's had a tough life, there is no doubt about that, but she is also her own worst enemy at times. Which begs the question, can someone who has grown up among so much dysfunction ever really make good choices? As always, I love Laura Esquival's quirky style. In this book each chapter unveils a new revelation about Lupita--Lupita Loves to Iron, Lupita Loves to Dance, etc. and in each chapter we learn more about the unseen forces that are about to converge--probably landing on poor Lupita.

I love Esquival's mysticism, or magical realism, or whatever you want to call it. Her final chapters, when Lupita finds refuge among a settlement of indigenous people is especially moving. This was not as polished a piece of work as <b>Like Water for Chocolate.</b> Sometimes I had the sense that the translation was to blame. But, never the less, Lupita will stay with me for a long, long time.


Come About for Murder: A Mellingham Mystery
Come About for Murder: A Mellingham Mystery
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious bit of murderous fun, June 23, 2016
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Susan Oleksiw's Mellingham mysteries are always a pleasure to read. Set in the affluent, seaside community of Mellingham, they evoke a delicious sense of apparent affluence and an undercurrent of menace that always make me wonder, "now what is this person up to?" as each character appears. Chief Joe Silva is, as ever, relentless, even as he deals with the quirky personalities of the people in his town and also with his new family. Joe is trying to teach his step-son, Philip, to sail but things like people falling off of boats and drowning or shooting themselves keep getting in the way. Set mostly on the Mellingham waterfront, among sailboats and yachts, this story unfolds like a sail picking up a good breeze and taking off. In her story Oleksiw certainly shows herself to be an expert on sailing with a comprehensive knowledge of how sailboats work (something I know nothing about), and she weaves in a delicious old legend about the ghost of a pirate searching for his love. Add a gripping scene with Philip alone in his boat in dense fog and you have one heck of a tale. Well done!


Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables
Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables
by Cheryl Sternman Rule
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.49
104 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a yummy treat!, June 2, 2016
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This book is a yummy treat! The photography is beautiful, the narrative is witty and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and the recipes tempting. What I loved the most about it was that, while there are plenty of complex recipes that would delight a serious cook's heart, there are also a few serving suggestions for each fruit or vegetable, that are very simple. I loved this because there are some fruits that are, in my opinion, too delicious to over-prepare. Suggestions for serving with a splash of cream and an interesting spice make me very happy. I know this is one of those books I'll keep handy for when I need a treat--to read or to eat.


The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge
The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge
by Michael Punke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.52
119 used & new from $5.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely gripping., May 19, 2016
I have not seen the movie so wanted to read this before seeing it and I am very glad that I did. What an exciting story! I can only imagine what Hugh Glass's life was like. The story was well told with flashbacks to his early life that were just as compelling as his later adventures.

It is always hard to know how to review a story that is part fiction and part non-fiction. We'll probably never know how much the character of Glass was like the historical Glass but given his background with Jean Lafitte, his surviving a bear attack (something I know a little about since on a long ago camping trip I had an encounter with 3 black bears--they didn't harm me but they sure made a mess of my camp site), and his subsequent search for justice, he is certainly someone to be regarded with awe. Amazing story!


Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon (Lake Wobegon Novels)
Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon (Lake Wobegon Novels)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars There's just nobody like Garrison Keillor!, May 17, 2016
There's just nobody like Garrison Keillor! This book has everything we love about Lake Wobegon--a feisty old lady with a secret life who wants her ashes to be buried in a bowling ball; a goofy bride who made a fortune in aromatherapy for pets; a disgruntled daughter with a drinking problem; warring siblings and visiting Danish clergy. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty! When the ridiculously lavish wedding is called off, but not all the participants are informed, and it collides with the internment of the old lady in the bowling ball, everything runs amok. The collision of a naked hang glider, an Elvis impersonator, a couple of giant mechanical ducks, and the horrified citizens of Lake Wobegon is as hilarious as only Garrison Keillor can make it. I listened to the Audible version which Keillor narrated in his unmistakable style and embellished with piano interludes.


Finding Jake: A Novel
Finding Jake: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, tiresome narrator, May 17, 2016
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The subject matter is very compelling--a school shooting--and the horror, grief, and fear that the family of te suspected shooter was entirely believable. I thought the story started out very well but I got a little tired of the father's self-absorption about halfway through the book. I could very easily empathize with is doubts about the way he and his wife chose to raise their family but at some point I felt like saying, "okay, we get it--quit whining." That being said, the story was compulsively readable and the ending was both heart-breaking and uplifting.


The Donner Party (Excerpt from Shit Doesn't Just Happen)
The Donner Party (Excerpt from Shit Doesn't Just Happen)
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Bob Mayer is always a good read., May 17, 2016
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Bob Mayer is always a good read. He has a straight forward style that is compulsively readable and he knows his history. In this story he takes on a very unfortunate chapter in American history. SO many mistakes that could have been avoided but then, of course, we don't always see that--especially when survival is at issue. This is a short read but a very worthwhile one and, lucky for me, he didn't dwell on the more gruesome aspects of the tragedy.


New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, rev
New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, rev
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it., May 17, 2016
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As much fun as the original with a lot of very welcome updates. Us old hippies love this kind of stuff.


Ghost Marshal: A Tale of the Weird West (The Ghost Marshal Chronicles Book 1)
Ghost Marshal: A Tale of the Weird West (The Ghost Marshal Chronicles Book 1)
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rip-snorting tale of the Weird Wild West!, May 17, 2016
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This was an interesting twist on the Wild West with a very dishy Wild Bill turning up to help a young lady who is not to be messed with! This is not my usual fare as far as books go but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely read more in the series. Exciting and quite a bit of fun.


The Ghost of the Mary Celeste: A Novel
The Ghost of the Mary Celeste: A Novel
by Valerie Martin
Edition: Hardcover
86 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Valerie Martin never disappoints., January 17, 2016
I started this book last fall and for some reason put it aside. I finished it this morning and have no idea why I didn't finish sooner. One of the things I love about Valerie Martin is her ability to create a sense of ominousness that is hard to pinpoint. Her characters are often people so caught up in their own passions that the world around them seems to shape itself to their obsessions. Of course, the tale of the Mary Celeste is ominous all by itself but she has peopled her tale with unique characters including, but by no means limited to, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

By weaving the Victorian fascination with spiritualism into the mystery of the Mary Celeste's unfathomable desertion, she leaves us with questions we will never have answers to but some sense that perhaps we are better off not knowing.

Others have mentioned that the book ended abruptly but that seemed fitting to me. Sarah, bereft and filled with grief, really had nowhere to go. If the author had tried to force a resolution, it would have felt false. I enjoyed the book, as I have many of Martin's other books and recommend it.


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