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Staff Reviews: For Adults

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books DVDs for adults! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.

Cover: 'Sundial'

"Sundial" by Catriona Ward

★★★★★ This book was intense. A gripping psychological horror centered on Rob, her tense marriage and her relationship with her daughter, Callie. Callie is unsettling; she collects bones, whispers to an imaginary friend, and Rob can't help but suspect she was involved when her youngest daughter falls ill. Maybe a girls trip to Sundial the family compound deep in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Dead Romantics'

"The Dead Romantics" by Ashley Poston

★★★★★ Florence Day is a writer with a problem - she ghostwrites romance novels for a well-known author but has stopped believing in love. Oh, and she also sees ghosts. After the passing of her father, Florence returns home after 10 years. The family business is a funeral home, so Florence is no stranger to death, though it's a little tougher when it's her father...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'BOSH! on a Budget'

"BOSH! on a Budget" by Ian Theasby, Henry Firth

★★★★★ This new vegan cookbook is all about delicious food that won't break your budget. It is packed full of tantalizing recipes for breakfast meals, soups, salads, light meals, food to share with others, comfort food and, of course, dessert items. There's a hash brown breakfast pizza and blueberry pancakes that are calling my name, along with mushroom stroganoff...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook

Cover: 'The House Across the Lake'

"The House Across the Lake" by Riley Sager

★★★★★ Casey Fletcher is barely keeping it together. She’s a famous actress whose career and life have been in a downward spiral since her husband tragically drowned the previous summer. In the time since her husband passed away, Casey has turned to drinking heavily and having meaningless hookups, which culminated in a public meltdown that was covered thoroughly...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, suspense, mystery, contemporary fiction

Cover: 'Hello, Molly!'

"Hello, Molly!" by Molly Shannon

★★★★★ Actress Molly Shannon broke onto the national scene in the mid-1990s after joining the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. During her six-year stint on the show, she introduced the world to such iconic characters as the high-kicking, jumpsuit wearing Sally O’Malley; licensed “joyologist” Helen Madden; and the awkward, clumsy, armpit-smelling Mary Katherine...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography and memoir

Cover: 'Yours Cruelly, Elvira'

"Yours Cruelly, Elvira" by Cassandra Peterson

★★★★★ You probably don’t know the name “Cassandra Peterson” yet she’s likely someone you’ve seen numerous times over the last several decades on TV, in movies or in advertisements, especially around Halloween. Peterson is better known as her alter ego Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She first rose to fame in the early 1980s after adopting her stage personae and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, biography and memoir

Cover: 'California Girls'

"California Girls" by Susan Mallery

★★★★★ This book is a total "chick flick" in book form!   This is the story of three sisters, who happen to have life-changing moments around the same time.  And let's not forget their mom, who really wants to become a Grandma in the worse possible way. After all, with three daughters, how could I not have a grandchild already?, she...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'From Below'

"From Below" by Darcy Coates

★★★★★ What happened to the famous Arcadia, its passengers and its crew? How could such a grand ship vanish completely without a single trace?  60 years later, Cove and her diving crew are about to find out. When the wreck is finally discovered, Cove and her crew are excited to hopefully find out the cause of the mysterious shipwreck and its disappearance...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, horror

Cover: 'The Nesting'

"The Nesting" by C.J. Cooke

★★★★★ What would you do if you had no where to go, and the opportunity of a lifetime landed in the seat next to you? Lexi finds herself in just such a position, riding around the train after devastating life events leave her homeless and jobless. When the opportunity to nanny for two young girls in Norway lands in her lap, she knows she has to take it. What...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Neurotribes'

"Neurotribes" by Steve Silberman

★★★★★ This book is an incredibly thorough and surprisingly easy-to-read medical and social history of autism spectrum disorders.  From the early years in horrifying institutions, to 20th century efforts of autistic extinction by both Nazi Germany and America, to modern day misinformation wars versus acceptance movements, this book thoroughly and fairly...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, psychiatry, psychology, diversity, history

Cover: 'How To Go Vegan'

"How To Go Vegan" by veganuary

★★★★★ Whether you’re thinking of going vegan one meal a day or you're a seasoned vegan (or somewhere in between), this has everything you need to know about veganism. Included are sections on how to go vegan in all parts of life including home items, traveling, nutrition, with your kids and more. This book lays out all the reasons a person may have for going...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Honey Roasted'

"Honey Roasted" by Cleo Coyle

★★★★ Bees swarm inside the Village Blend coffeehouse during an employee meeting. Clare calls 911 and to everyone’s surprise, the NYPD has a Bee Unit. Clare realizes she knows who the bees belong to. She and ex-husband, Matt, decide to visit the bee owner only to find the hives have been overturned and the owner unconscious on the balcony below. The police rule...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Iron Widow'

"Iron Widow" by Xiran Jay Zhao

★★★★★ Action-packed and brimming with righteous fury, the plot of this novel will take the reader through a unique blend of Chinese mythology, modern anime themes and superhero-like action sequences. The narrator Zetian is a young, spirited powerhouse bent on destroying the unfair patriarchal systems that caused the death of her sister at the start...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, science fiction, mythology, chinese mythology, fantasy, futuristic

Cover: 'The Song of Achilles'

"The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller

★★★★★ This is a beautifully-written romantic interpretation of the tragedy of Achilles and Patroclus, this time told from Patroclus' perspective. It tells of his childhood, how he met Achilles, and their time growing up together. The classic story sees new life in the form of modern prose adorned with heaps of beautiful imagery that pays homage to Homeric...

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: fiction, romance, historical fiction, tragedy, lgbt

Cover: 'Wanderess'

"Wanderess" by Elise Fitzsimmons, Nikki Vargas

★★★★ While not an in-depth travel guide, this is a fantastic starting point for travelers who identify as female and/or are traveling alone and want extra tips on staying safe. This brightly formatted book includes concise tips, packing lists, resources, travel quotes, and more. Included is everything from how to pack light to managing anxiety while traveling to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Proven Winners Garden Book'

"The Proven Winners Garden Book" by Thomas Christopher, Ruth Rogers Clausen

★★★★★ This nonfiction book was a perfect fit to spark ideas for the gardening season, and I loved the format as well. There are introductory sections for beginner gardeners who need help picking a spot and deciding on what plants to use, as well as sections on soil preparation, pruning, and maintenance like pest and weed control. My favorite sections were the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gardening

Cover: 'Unbelievably Vegan'

"Unbelievably Vegan" by Charity Morgan

★★★★ Private chef to athletes and from the excellent documentary "The Game Changers", Charity Morgan packs a punch with this new vegan cookbook. I have so many recipes I want to try from this, from garlic ramen noodles to the spicy crab dip to the no-bake peanut butter cheesecake. I also really appreciated the opening chapter on sauces and dressings to add to my...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Every Vow You Break'

"Every Vow You Break" by Peter Swanson

★★★★ Abigail Baskin never thought she'd fall in love with a millionaire until she met Bruce Lamb.  He's a good guy, stable, level-headed and kind, but right before the wedding, Abigail has a drunken one-night stand on her bachelorette weekend. She puts the incident - and the handsome man who wouldn't give her his real name - out of her mind. ...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Southern Vegan'

"Southern Vegan" by Lauren Hartmann

★★★★★ Just looking at the cover of this plant-based cookbook is enough to get your taste buds excited, and I wasn't disappointed once I opened it! Between tantalizing brunch items like the giant toffee cinnamon roll and the super fluffy buttermilk sheet pan pancakes to main meals like cheesy biscuit vegetable pot pies, one-pot vidalia onion pasta, and smothered...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook

Cover: 'Later'

"Later" by Stephen King

★★★★ The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine—as he discovers when an NYPD...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, suspense

Cover: 'Brat'

"Brat" by Andrew McCarthy

★★★★ Andrew McCarthy, known for teen movies such as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire and Weekend at Bernies, was a crush most young girls secretly had in the '80s. Including myself. I say secretly, because Andrew McCarthy wasn't your typical heartthrob. He often wasn't the lead role in his movies during that time period, but in supporting...

Audience: adults | Genre: biography, memoir

Cover: 'Giannis'

"Giannis" by Mirin Fader

★★★★★ If you are a basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, or Giannis Antetokounmpo fan, this book is a must read.   An incredible story of hard work, sacrifice, family, and humbleness, this biography showcases Giannis's rise to the top from starting at an incredible low. You read about how Giannis and his brother shared shoes while growing up (...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, celebrities

Cover: 'Crashing Through'

"Crashing Through" by Robert Kurson

★★★★★ “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”---Soren Kierkegaard.  This quote embodies this suspenseful and highly insightful look in to the inspiring life of Mike May. At three years of age, May’s sight is instantly taken from him in an explosive accident. From the beginning, he doesn’t let that stop him from...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction