Marathon County Public Library

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Staff Reviews

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring book and DVD reviews for adults, children and teens! Staff book reviews are also published on Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


'Alive!' by Reader's Digest Association

"Alive!" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★ Have you ever wondered what it feels like to survive a tornado, flood or shark attack? ALIVE is a compilation of first-person articles previously published in the READER'S DIGEST magazine that describe such events. Twenty-two people share their memorable experiences with airplane crashes, cougar attacks, avalanches, firestorms and so on. It makes for...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Snow Lane'  by  Josie Angelini

"Snow Lane" by Josie Angelini

★★★★ Annie Bianchi is a fifth-grader with dyslexia. This disability makes life difficult for her in many ways. She struggles to read and dress herself. She is teased when she smiles and laughs for no apparent reason. Annie has a habit of counting things and arranging numbers into organized groups. It is a coping mechanism for when she doesn’t know how to handle...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'Oh My Goth'  by  Gena Showalter

"Oh My Goth" by Gena Showalter

★★★★ Ever since Jade Leighton's mother died in a car crash, she's been working hard on shutting down and blocking people out, convinced that making connections with people would only cause her more pain.  Feeling like an outside, Jade dresses as a goth, with plenty of black, and has made "friends" with other outsider goth students at her school....

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Slice Of Life

'Becoming'  by  Michelle Obama

"Becoming" by Michelle Obama

★★★★★ Would you like to learn how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago rose above her circumstances to attend Princeton, become a successful lawyer, and eventually the First Lady of the United States?  Michelle Obama did a great job writing her first book about her upbringing, who made her who she is today, and how she stays true to herself through...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography And Memoir

'The Road Ahead'  by  Jane Seymour

"The Road Ahead" by Jane Seymour

★★★★★ Do you need inspiration to be a better version of yourself? What if you could find it in a book?  In Jane Seymour’s book, The Road Ahead, real-life stories are shared, with  inspirational messages at the beginning of each section.  The stories give you hope and encouragement during difficult situations that we all have in our everyday lives....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Inspiration, Self-Help

'Pandemic'  by  Connie Goldsmith

"Pandemic" by Connie Goldsmith

★★★★★ I love a good book about pandemics. For whatever reason, they fascinate me. Learning the reasons behind the Black Death or Ebola can be an adventure story and "Pandemic" covers everything you need to know.  This book was very readable, with great pictures of viruses, bacteria and  insects, as well as interesting side notes that help clarify...

Audience: Children, Teens | Genre: Teens, Epidemics, Health

'The Price Guide to the Occult'  by  Leslye Walton

"The Price Guide to the Occult" by Leslye Walton

★★★★★ Rona Blackburn's daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters have lived on Anathema Island for many years. Rona's powerful witchcraft has been passed down to each daughter, yet each one only inherits one of Rona's mysterious powers. Nor Blackburn wants to live a quiet unremarkable life, so when she's gifted with the ability to hear the plants,...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Teen, Urban Fantasy, Witchcraft

'The Vegan 8: 100 Simple, Delicious Recipes Made with 8 Ingredients or Less'  by  Brandi Doming

"The Vegan 8: 100 Simple, Delicious Recipes Made with 8 Ingredients or Less" by Brandi Doming

★★★★★ Looking for quick and easy recipes that are not only delicious but healthy? This book is a must read! Brandi Doming, creator of the Vegan 8 blog, brings a cookbook to readers that is packed with fully-photographed recipes and all of them require only 8 ingredients or less (spices included!). I can personally say that the Hungarian Red Lentil Soup is...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Cookbook

'One-Dish Vegan'  by  Robin G. Robertson

"One-Dish Vegan" by Robin G. Robertson

★★★★★ This new vegan cookbook has a plethora of scrumptious-sounding recipes for anyone looking for healthy, satisfying meals. I literally want to make about 90% of the recipes in this book, and don't know which one I want to make first! Some of the recipes have a longer ingredient list, but there's a lot of flavorful spices included, so don't be daunted by that...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Cookbook

'The Ravenous'  by  Amy Lukavics

"The Ravenous" by Amy Lukavics

★★★★★ To outsiders, the Cane girls are a lovely group of five sisters.  Transferring from base to base, following their itinerant father, who is often gone, the girls stick together no matter what.  So what if their home life is chaotic and dysfunctional.  As long as everything looks ok, it will be.  Juliet is the oldest, a pianist who gave up...

Audience: Adults, Teens | Genre: Realistic, Family Drama, Horror

'Wish Upon a Sleepover'  by  Suzanne Selfors

"Wish Upon a Sleepover" by Suzanne Selfors

★★★★★ Leliani has only one friend, Autumn, and the popular group of Haileys at school look like they would be fun friends, so she decides to plan a sleepover and invite them. However, with her confused grandmother helping with the party, the kids on the “Do Not Invite” list get invited instead of kids on the  “Do Invite” list. So now she’s stuck with the...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'We Sold Our Souls'  by  Grady Hendrix

"We Sold Our Souls" by Grady Hendrix

★★★★★ Kris bought her first electric guitar with her savings, never imaging that she would eventually become the guitarist for a semi-famous heavy metal band.  But on the eve of their big break, the lead singer, Terry, did something more horrible than selling out, and while he went on to achieve fame and glory, the rest of the band disappeared into...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Adult, Horror, Heavy Metal

'Sadie'  by  Courtney Summers

"Sadie" by Courtney Summers

★★★★★ Sadie is alone in the world.  Her sister was murdered and her mother has abandoned them.  With nothing to lose, Sadie sets out to find the person she believes is responsible for her sister's death.  Told from two perspectives, Sadie's own and from the perspective of a podcast producer/narrator, this novel is an intricate puzzle.  The...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Teen, Realistic, Fiction

'The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History'  by  Megan Mullally,  Nick Offerman

"The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History" by Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman

★★★★ Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, stars of Will and Grace and Parks and Recreation respectively, open up about their successful Hollywood relationship.  This is an opportunity to learn about Megan and Nick's upbringings, morals, what brought them together, as well as what keeps them together.  They share advice on life and love...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'The Third Mushroom'  by  Jennifer L. Holm

"The Third Mushroom" by Jennifer L. Holm

★★★★★ Ellie and her grandfather have become better friends since last year when her grandfather turned himself young again through a science experiment and attended Ellie’s middle school. In this sequel to The Fourteenth Goldfish, crusty teenage scientist (with two PhDs) Melvin Sagarsky returns. Having her grandfather around has encouraged in Ellie a love for...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'Louisiana's Way Home'  by  Kate DiCamillo

"Louisiana's Way Home" by Kate DiCamillo

★★★★★ Louisana Elefante used to think that she knew who she was. She was told that she was the daughter of circus performers who died doing a trapeze act and she now lives with her grandmother. But when her grandmother awakens her in the middle of the night and tells her to get in the car, without her cat or dog or even saying goodbye to her friends in order to...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Contemporary Fiction

'All the Things That Could Go Wrong'  by  Stewart Foster

"All the Things That Could Go Wrong" by Stewart Foster

★★★★★ Seventh-grade student Alex worries about everything, including worrying about worrying, but mostly about everyone dying and all the germs on people and surfaces everywhere. He always wears gloves and washes his hands compulsively, so much so that his skin is cracked, raw, and painful. Because of his OCD he is picked on at school and bullied repeatedly,...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

'Something in the Water'  by  Catherine Steadman

"Something in the Water" by Catherine Steadman

★★★★★ Erin, a filmmaker, and Mark, an investment banker, seem like the perfect couple with the perfect life. Newly married, they embark on a lavish honeymoon in Bora Bora. It's a perfect honeymoon until they find something ominous in the water while scuba diving. They have to decide whether to tell the truth about their discovery or keep it hidden. Their final...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Open Your Eyes'  by  Paula Daly

"Open Your Eyes" by Paula Daly

★★★★★ Jane leads a relatively normal life, taking care of two children and teaching a creative writing class (while she not-so-patiently waits for the day she is an officially published author). Her husband, Leon, is already an accomplished novelist and the main breadwinner of the family. When he's brutally attacked in their own driveway while Jane is only steps...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Saving Winslow'  by  Sharon Creech

"Saving Winslow" by Sharon Creech

★★★★★ When his father brings home a sickly, half-dead baby donkey in the middle of winter, Louie, who has not had luck keeping things alive like goldfish, worms and bugs, is determined to do whatever it takes to save it.  Suffering the loss of his brother, Gus, who recently joined the army, having a baby donkey to love helps soothe Louie's lonely heart and...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'City of Islands'  by  Kali Wallace

"City of Islands" by Kali Wallace

★★★★ Orphaned as a child, twelve-year-old Mara works as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides by diving into the murky sea for ancient artifacts supposedly containing residual magic from the magical Founders who built their beautiful city thousands of years ago. While diving with her friend Izzy, Mara begins hearing songs reminiscent of the songs her...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'The Overstory'  by  Richard Powers

"The Overstory" by Richard Powers

★★★★★ "First there was nothing. Then there was everything." So begins National Book Award-winner Richard Powers' new novel about nine interlocking characters who, in their own ways - and in ways that overlap - find themselves face to face with the natural world. Or, face to leaf, face to crown, face to root... Each character is introduced in the first...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Are You Scared, Darth Vader?'  by  Adam Rex

"Are You Scared, Darth Vader?" by Adam Rex

★★★★★ Is Darth Vader scared of anything?  This fun children's book asks just this question!  Darth Vader is asked about many Halloween-related characters, such as; vampires, ghosts, witches, wolfmen, and children.  Kids will love this Halloween-themed Darth Vader story as he interacts with all of these creatures for the first time. The...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

'Fitness Junkie'  by  Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza

"Fitness Junkie" by Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza

★★★★★ Fitness Junkie is the story of Janey Sweet and her search for a leaner body after a lifelong friend and boss told her that she could lose her job if she didn't shed 30 pounds. Janey throws herself into the ultimatum with gusto by trying all of the fad diets, strange cult-like workouts, and self-searching.  Ever hear of eating clay as a...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Contemporary Fiction

'Lethal White'  by  Robert Galbraith

"Lethal White" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ Robert Galbraith’s fourth Strike novel finds private detective Cormoran Strike and his partner, Robin Ellacott, hired by a high-ranking British official who is being blackmailed. The minister asks Strike to gather dirt that he could use against his blackmailers, which prompts Robin to go undercover in the House of Commons to do recon. When he dies of an...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery

'I Am Still Alive'  by  Kate Alice Marshall

"I Am Still Alive" by Kate Alice Marshall

★★★★★ Jess Cooper is still alive, for now. Suffering from injuries from an accident that claimed the life of her mother, Jess is shuffled off to her only surviving relative, her father, who she hardly remembers, and who, she discovers, is living much further off-the-grid than she ever could have imagined. She hates it in the middle of nowhere and desperately...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

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