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Customer Comments

sharrona has commented on (102) products.

The Paris Directive by Gerald Jay
The Paris Directive

sharrona, October 18, 2014

This book was enjoyable on several levels: the writing was excellent, the staging and scenery were vivid, and the storytelling was engaging. In any "first in a series" novel, it's hard to strike a balance between the plot and characters, challenging to keep the reader's interest while building characters who will return in future books. Here, I was left wanting more about Mazarelle, and of course I'll hunt down the next book in the series. (Mission accomplished, Gerald Jay!)

My only gripe is that Mazarelle is too much like Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache, even to the point of having an obnoxious junior sidekick. Penny's series has been one of my favorites for years, and reading this book was difficult as I struggled with the almost-Gamache character.
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The Paris Directive by Gerald Jay
The Paris Directive

sharrona, October 18, 2014

This book was enjoyable on several levels: the writing was excellent, the staging and scenery were vivid, and the storytelling was engaging. In any "first in a series" novel, it's hard to strike a balance between the plot and characters, challenging to keep the reader's interest while building characters who will return in future books. Here, I was left wanting more about Mazarelle, and of course I'll hunt down the next book in the series. (Mission accomplished, Gerald Jay!)

My only gripe is that Mazarelle is too much like Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache, even to the point of having an obnoxious junior sidekick. Penny's series has been one of my favorites for years, and reading this book was difficult as I struggled with the almost-Gamache character.
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Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Egg and Spoon

sharrona, September 26, 2014

Delightful blending of three Russian folktales. Although it's set near the end of the tsars' reign, the author humorously inserts many tidbits of modern culture. "The usual suspects" all show up -- tsars, Rasputin, Baba Yaga, the Firebird, the Ice Dragon, matroyshka dolls, Russian winter, and so on. This story has the power to lift you away from today's reality, make you laugh, and perhaps even make you cry.

Definitely Maguire's best since Wicked. I enjoyed it enough to read it again, but preferably in print the next time, so I can turn back a few pages (or chapters) to find some elusive reference or description, and to remind myself "Who is the narrator, this guy who's in prison?"
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Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel by Lisa Gardner
Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

sharrona, March 14, 2014

4th in the D. D. Warren series, something of a letdown, could've been a much shorter, tighter, and more tense story. I read this series out-of-order, as the books became available, and this is my last until more are published. Reading it, I noticed something else about the writing: Gardner didn't make the major characters very distinct. Although each chapter was titled with the name of a character, and unfolded mostly in first-person perspective, they all seemed quite similar. I had to keep asking myself "Now which one is Victoria? Which one is Danielle? Who's Karen?" The book I liked best in the series was an audio version of CATCH ME, and the narrator(s) did a great job of giving the characters distinct voices. I don't recall ever saying this before, but an abridged audio version of LIVE TO TELL might be an improvement!
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The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti
The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese

sharrona, August 30, 2013

Thoroughly enjoyable book -- a non-fiction account of stories, storytellers, storytelling, and listening. Oh yes, and a very special cheese. Beautifully written, with the most entertaining (though sometimes tangential) footnotes I've encountered for a long time. Ambrosio, the legendary, heroic, larger-than-life cheesemaker, dominates most of the book. He is such a compelling character that I did not want to read the latter sections the author gleaned from those who might contradict Ambrosio's stories and thus diminish him. But by the end of the book, I turned the last page almost expecting to see another chapter, or even a footnote, containing that single remaining hoped-for event.
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