Book Reviews

Widow-Maker will keep you up at night!

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 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 of Down East magazine, has mastered the art of dialogue. And it is an art form. Great dialogue makes his stories race by, and his plots keep you up at night. Well, most of the time. I was nearing the end of Widow-Maker while Linda and I were at our camp in the north woods, when she said, “You know, it’s 10 pm.”

Yikes! I usually go to be at 8:30. But I only had 40 pages to go in the novel, and boy, it was a tough decision to set the book down and go to bed. But I did, and what a great way to finish the book, with my morning coffee, looking out the camp window at Sourdnahunk Lake and a beautiful sunny day.

Weathering Shame by Kevin Mannix and Linda Rota

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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 which won wide acclaim, along with much praise to Kevin for sharing his story.

Kevin and his wife Linda Rota, both of whom suffered from shame, tell their astonishing stories in a book, Weathering Shame. U.S. Senator Angus King expressed my view when he wrote, on the back cover, “I commend both Linda and Kevin for their willingness to share their very intimate stories. With their combined skills and experiences they make a powerful team in the effort to help others overcome the painful experiences that accompany mental illness and substance abuse within the family. I am grateful that they decided to strengthen the Maine Community by sharing their journey with us.”

Me too Angus. Me too.

Kittery Ghost by Barbara Winslow

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Barbara Winslow’s new book, Kittery Ghost, blends history with a fascinating tale involving a young boy, his blended family, the ghost of a Civil War officer, hidden treasures – well, you get the idea. This is a wonderful tale, and I particularly appreciated the way Barbara utilized the very real story of Brigadier General Mark Wentworth, a colonel of the 27th Maine and the 32nd Maine during the Civil War, to fashion this novel that will entertain your kids – and you too!

Barbara, who lives in Norridgewock, has written three children’s books after 36 years of teaching school in South Dakota, Alaska, and Maine. She reports that her three children listened patiently to her stories as they were growing up, and she wrote these books to pass on those stories to her grandchildren.

I can only thank her for sharing this story with me and my grandchildren. It’s a keeper!

The Adventures of Anna and Andy Hummingbird by Linda P. Young

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Yes, I love hummingbirds. Linda and I are now up to about a couple dozen species, most of them seen in Texas and Arizona. We have only a single species in Maine, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

So it won’t be a surprise when I tell you I also loved Linda P. Young’s children’s book, The Adventures of Anna and Andy Hummingbird – Anna and Andy meet the grandchildren. This is actually the third book in a series, so now I’ve got to get the first two books.

How could you not love a book titled, Buzzed: Beer, Booze, & Coffee Brews?

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 How could you not love a book titled, Buzzed: Beer, Booze, & Coffee Brews? When Genevieve Morgan at Islandport Press in Yarmouth suggested to Erik Ofgang that he write a book about Maine beers, this first-time author knew he was blessed.

He’s also blessed with a wonderful wife, who allowed him to postpone their marriage so the two of them could spend 18 months traveling New England in search of the best coffee, spirits, and beer. Nothing like enjoying your honeymoon before your marriage!

As he began that epic journey (and don’t we all wish we could do that), Erick says, “I began to question the wisdom of limiting the scope of the book to breweries: Why not expand it to include the brewing world’s natural relatives?” Islandport liked the idea and helped turned this into a book that will be of interest to a much bigger audience.

The Sweet Life by Susan Poulin

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Ida LeClair’s new book (Oops, I mean Susan Poulin’s new book), The Sweet Life, published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, is a humerous, insightful, and entertaining guide to love, marriage, and more.

It’s easy to get Susan and Ida mixed up. Susan is the real person. Ida is on her-stage character. And Ida is a character. The book features Ida’s (Susan’s) advice.

If you liked Susan’s earlier book, Finding Your Inner Moose, you will really love this one, filled with hilarious stories that demonstrate her very practical advice, much of it aimed at husbands (go figure).

Great shooting instructions and hunting stories in Brad Varney’s new book

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Brad Varney’s new book, Maine-ly Wing Shooting, is not only an exceptional how-to instructional guide, but also an entertaining read of stories. Brad is the best shooting instructor in the state. I can say that because he significantly improved my bird shooting success in a single lesson a few years ago.

I’ve enjoyed five pheasant hunting adventures in North Dakota with some of my Maine hunting buddies. The first time I went with them, it took me 23 shots to kill my three pheasants. Jim Robbins felt sorry for me and offered me one of his side-by-side shotguns, and the next day, I got my three pheasants with four shots. But my shooting continued to be erratic, so I did two things when I got home.

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