Book reviews

Author Lynn Plourde gets a kiss from her dog Maggie, who died three years ago. Maggie was the inspiration for the character of Maxi in her new middle-grade novel, "Maxi's Secrets."

A boy, a big dog, a lot of life lessons in Maine writer’s new novel for kids

By Sarah Walker Caron on Aug. 24, 2016, at 3:29 p.m.
Starting middle school isn’t easy. Neither is moving to a new town. But getting a sweet puppy? That’s fun, and it’s part of a new book aimed at readers in fifth grade and up that’s a touching tale perfect for reading together.

8 books to make you laugh in these dire times

By Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS) on Aug. 10, 2016, at 1:18 p.m.
This has been a dire summer. The news is crushingly bad. We need to laugh.
"Outfoxed," by David Rosenfelt

Coastal Maine writer shines in ‘Outfoxed’

By John Holyoke on Aug. 10, 2016, at 1:06 p.m.
David Rosenfelt and his wife moved to midcoast Maine a few years back. Many Mainers, I suspect, will join me in embracing another polished in-state writer — even if he’s officially “from away.”

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, by Sally Allen

on Aug. 08, 2016, at 9:47 a.m.
Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, by Sally Allen  *Disclaimer: I received a free, digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*  If you’re like me, you’re a sucker for books about books. Any volume that will serve to point me in the direction of …
"American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst" by Jeffrey Toobin; Doubleday (384 pages, $28.95). (Doubleday)

In ‘American Heiress,’ Patty Hearst case evokes the dark side of ’70s

By Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (TNS) on Aug. 04, 2016, at 10:33 a.m.
In “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst,” veteran crime writer and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin brings the saga back into focus.

Cold Blood, Hot Sea by Charlene D’Avanzo

on Aug. 02, 2016, at 7:37 a.m.
Charlene D’Avanzo has come up with a clever and entertaining way to teach us something about climate change: a novel featuring an intriguing who-done-it, plenty of tension, and a compelling story that kept me glued to the book for two evenings. Cold Blood, Hot Sea, published by Torrey House Press, …

The serendipity of Stephen King (how I finally found ‘The Shining’)

on July 27, 2016, at 8:38 p.m.
Three years ago, I got it in my head that I needed to buy a copy of ‘The Shining’ by Stephen King. So began a quest through dozens of bookshops all over Maine….

Review: “The Doll-Master” by Joyce Carol Oates

By Pamela Miller, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS) on July 27, 2016, at 12:02 p.m.
THE DOLL-MASTER AND OTHER TALES OF TERROR, by Joyce Carol Oates; Mysterious Press (336 pages, $24) When not writing fat, complicated novels that are some of the finest of our time, the ever-prolific Joyce Carol Oates churns out mysteries, often in the form of short stories or novellas. Sometimes those …

Fish Won’t Let Me Sleep by James Babb

on July 27, 2016, at 11:51 a.m.
Jim Babb had we worried in the first few chapters of his book, Fish Won’t Let Me Sleep, as he wrote about his obsession with Atlantic salmon, “the fish of 10,000 casts.” I know, I know. Atlantic salmon are so hard to catch that the common description is “the fish …
"You'll Grow Out Of It" by Jessi Klein

Panty lines, prom-posals: ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ writer Jessi Klein on invented problems

By Nicole Brodeur, The Seattle Times (TNS) on July 27, 2016, at 11:43 a.m.
It’s that authenticity and a steady stream of truly laugh-out-loud lines that make Jessi Klein’s new book of essays, “You’ll Grow Out Of It,” so much fun.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt

on July 20, 2016, at 8:17 p.m.
‘Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family’ is a great book to read right now, at a time when our country is under a constant barrage of negativity, prejudice, and intolerance.

Retiring To, Not From – all about farming in Maine

on July 19, 2016, at 10:14 a.m.
A subtitle on John Twomey’s interesting and informative book, Retiring To, Not From, reports that it includes, “Intimate details of life on a remote farm in Maine.” And that is certainly true. The level of detail about farming will be of interest to anyone who grows vegetables and fruit, but …

We should be so lucky as to celebrate our birthday on a Maine island!

on July 12, 2016, at 7 a.m.
The mail plane from the mainland hasn’t arrived for days, due to bad weather, and young Riley is getting very anxious, awaiting a birthday package from his grandmother. “If we lived on the mainland then I’d get to have a normal birthday,” he tells his Mom, “with a bunch of …

3 more bookstores to visit in Maine this summer

on July 10, 2016, at 8:22 p.m.
Summer in Maine is perfect for hitting the road and discovering new shops, ice cream stands, drive-in theaters, restaurants… and, of course, bookstores. Because what is summer without good reads?

Lou Zambello’s new fly fishing guide is astonishing

on July 10, 2016, at 7 a.m.
Lou Zambello’s new fly fishing guide is astonishing, covering 650 rivers and streams and 500 lakes and ponds throughout New England. As Lou notes in the introduction: “What is included are the best and most popular (not always the same thing) fisheries… (and) lesser known waters that we have fished.” …

Everything you want to know about vernal pools and estuaries – in wonderful childrens’ books

on July 06, 2016, at 7 a.m.
The Secret Pool and The Secret Bay by Kimberly Ridley are cleverly written and beautifully illustrated books, with poetic stories that appeal to younger kids, factual sidebars for older kids, and additional information that is both interesting and informative. The Secret Pool, which won many awards, was published by Tilbury …

A whirlwind bookish adventure in Bath, city of readers

on July 03, 2016, at 10:52 p.m.
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, my love asked me the four words I’d been longing to hear most. “Bookish adventure this weekend?”

Widow-Maker will keep you up at night!

on July 03, 2016, at 2:57 p.m.
Paul Doiron is an awesome story teller, and no more so than in his new novel, Widow-Maker. And all of his novels have a bit more interest for those of us who love the outdoors, because his main character, Mike Bowditch, is a Maine game warden. Somehow Paul, former editor …

Weathering Shame by Kevin Mannix and Linda Rota

on June 29, 2016, at 3:17 p.m.
Kevin Mannix was a very popular, out-going and personable weather man for more than 25 years on Channel 6 in Portland. So it was a very big surprise when he stepped up to tell his story of shame and depression. He first told the story in a TV 6 series …
"The Miracle on Monhegan Island" by Elizabeth Kelly

Review: ‘The Miracle on Monhegan Island’ by Elizabeth Kelly

By Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on June 29, 2016, at 12:23 p.m.
Elizabeth Kelly’s third novel, “The Miracle on Monhegan Island,” is neither light nor chick lit. It’s serious and thought-provoking, shot through with dark humor and dark observations on religion and faith.