MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation ATTENTION: Please review our updated checkout policies.

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 Goodreads.com; 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: 'The Lost Apothecary'

"The Lost Apothecary" by Sarah Penner

★★★★ Three women connected through time. All have one thing in common. In February of 1791, apothecary Nella meets her newest patron, 12 year-old Eliza Fanning. Nella was once a respected apothecary and healer. Now she dispenses poison to help women who desperately need to be free of the men in their lives. Eliza is intrigued with Nella and helps at the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'In a Holidaze'

"In a Holidaze" by Christina Lauren

★★★★ Christmas meets “Groundhog Day” in this cute and festive holiday romance! Maelyn Jones’ Christmas holiday did not turn out how she wanted. Much to her surprise, she gets a redo on the holiday! Her career is going nowhere, her favorite place in the world is being sold and a romantic blunder during the holiday sends Maelyn into a mental meltdown. On her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, adult fiction, romance

Cover: 'Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community'

"Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community" by Edgar Castrejon

★★★★★ The cover filled with beautiful pictures of delicious food first pulled me to check out this new cookbook, and when I realized it was a vegan cookbook as well, it was even better! Packed with recipes that I can't wait to try, this is not only a celebration of vegan food but also of the Mexican culture and community. Every single recipe had a...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Dead Even'

"Dead Even" by Annelise Ryan

★★★★ Maddie Winston, medico-legal investigator, and her homicide-detective husband, Steve Hurley have been assigned to investigate the death of a wealthy local resident. The body of Montgomery “Monty” Dixon, local realtor, is found dead in his home with a pool cue in his chest. Maddie and Steve have a list of suspects to dig through including Monty’s wife,...

Audience: adults | Genre: mystery, fiction

Cover: 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz'

"The Tattooist of Auschwitz" by Heather Morris

★★★★★ Do you like based on true story fiction? Do you like World War II  books? Then this is a perfect combination for you! Follow the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, as he survives his time in Auschwitz. We learn of what he went through on his way to the concentration camp, his time there and what his life was like afterwards. Throughout...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, adult fiction

Cover: 'Malibu Rising'

"Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

★★★★ It’s August 1983, and Nina Riva is just hours away from hosting the biggest party of the year at her beach house in Malibu. Known around the world as an “it girl” surfer/swimsuit model, Nina seemingly has the perfect life. She’s beautiful, she’s rich, and she’s married to a handsome tennis star. But the truth is, Nina wishes her life was different. Her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Sun Down Motel'

"The Sun Down Motel" by Simone St. James

★★★★★ 35 years ago, Carly's aunt disappeared in the mysterious town of Fell. Knowing nothing about her, because her mother refused to talk about her, Carly finds herself heading to Fell shortly after her mother's death to finally try and put the pieces together surrounding her aunt's disappearance. When she sees a "help wanted" sign in the window of the Sun Down...

Audience: adults | Genre: adult fiction, fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Roaming America: Exploring the National Parks'

"Roaming America: Exploring the National Parks" by Renee Hahnel, Matthew Hahnel

★★★★★ The cover alone enticed me to check out this travel resource, which promises readers information on all 59 National Parks in the United States. This has some of the most beautiful travel photography I think I’ve ever seen, and just enough info on each location to spark your wanderlust! It includes suggested itineraries, recommendations and planning tips,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Home Baked'

"Home Baked" by Alia Volz

★★★★ In the years following the Summer of Love in 1967, San Francisco saw a steady influx of hippies, outcasts and other free sprits flock to its streets, eager to call the city home. One of those transplants was Milwaukee native Meridy Volz, who left behind her studies at UW-Madison in the name of pursuing spiritual enlightenment and adventure. Not long after...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography & memoir

Cover: 'The Hummingbirds' Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings'

"The Hummingbirds' Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings" by Sy Montgomery

★★★★ I immediately snagged this book because of my own love of hummingbirds. I remember growing up and watching them next my grandmother, our faces both looking at them with awe and wonder.  They were my grandmother’s favorite bird, and she passed that love down to me before her passing. When I read how the book describe them as “…air wrapped with...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Nickel Boys'

"The Nickel Boys" by Colson Whitehead

★★★★★ “Throw us in jail, and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you … But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom.”  Determined to live out the ideals of Martin Luther King in the early 1960’s Jim Crow-era south, young...

Audience: adults | Genre: historical fiction, fiction, adult fiction

Cover: 'Hostage'

"Hostage" by Clare Mackintosh

★★★★★ In this thrilling new release by one of my all time favorite authors, flight attendant Mina is forced to make an impossible decision during her job as a flight attendant on the highly-anticipated 20-hour flight from London to Sydney. Swarming with reporters and 300 other passengers, Mina isn't even supposed to be on the flight. Switching shifts with a...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul'

"Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul" by Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney, Mary McCartney

★★★★★ This new cookbook packs a punch with delicious recipes along with knowledge on the ethical, environmental, and health reasons behind why a plant-based diet is vitally important now more than ever. It was also a love letter and dedication from the family to the memory of Linda McCartney, which really struck me throughout the cookbook. I appreciated that this...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'London Curiosities: The Capital's Odd & Obscure, Weird and Wonderful Places'

"London Curiosities: The Capital's Odd & Obscure, Weird and Wonderful Places" by John Wade

★★★★ This new travel book takes readers through the unique quirks that London holds. From tiny houses to weird buildings to lighthouses and tunnels, readers find out all sorts of oddities that pop up around one of my favorite cities in the world. From a nose popping out of the Admiralty Arch to why there are fake houses in West London's Bayswater, this is packed...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Unforgettable Journeys: Slow Down and See the World'

"Unforgettable Journeys: Slow Down and See the World" by DK Eyewitness

★★★★★ In this beautifully-illustrated travel book, readers are guided through unforgettable journeys that are sure to inspire wanderlust! Trips are organized by mode of travel: on foot, by road, by bike, by water, and by rail, and then further by continent. As someone who loves (and misses travel, especially abroad), I found myself marking many trips I'd love to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Just Last Night'

"Just Last Night" by Mhairi McFarlane

★★★★★ Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have that rare magic kind of friendship that started when they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, they are navigating new sets of problems, a dead end job, family you won’t speak of, being in love with one of your best friends. Eve has loved Ed since forever and no one knows. One night changes everything, Ed’s longtime...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Bounty'

"The Bounty" by Janet Evanovich

★★★★ The hunt for gold starts at the Vatican when FBI agent Kate O’Hare and her charge, international thief Nick Fox, try to stop the theft of a Vatican artifact.  As they chase the thief through the Vatican, they are shocked to find that the thief is none other than Nick’s father, Quentin Fox.  Quentin is on the hunt to find the legendary Nazi gold...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing'

"What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Bruce D. Perry, Oprah Winfrey

★★★★★ This informative resource hooked me from the very beginning, as Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Perry started to speak on their own experiences with trauma, along with the effects traumatic experiences have on the human brain. I learned just how much trauma can affect the actual biology of the brain, and how vital loving caregivers are to the actual development of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder'

"Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder" by Joanne Fluke

★★★ Hannah is thrown into another murder investigation when her sister, Andrea is considered a suspect in the murder of Mayor Bascomb.  Before he had died, the mayor had threatened the job of Andrea’s husband, Sherriff Bill Todd. Unfortunately, Andrea was seen arguing and slapping the mayor, and now is the number one suspect. Now Hannah has stepped in to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Is This Anything?'

"Is This Anything?" by Jerry Seinfeld

★★★★★ If you're a child of the 80's and 90's like I am, you might enjoy catching up with Jerry Seinfeld by reading Is This Anything? The first chapter begins with him explaining his passion for comedy and how even though he had other hobbies and interests growing up, they meant nothing to him after his first stand-up experience. Lots of "bits" for which...

Audience: adults | Genre: biography, celebrity, comedy, nonfiction

Cover: 'Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man'

"Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man" by Emmanuel Acho

★★★★★ An absolute must-read for anyone committed to their anti-racist journey, Emmanuel Acho takes readers through so many important topics in this book. From whether Black or African American is the appropriate term, to white privilege, to systematic racism and reverse racism, to how to be an ally, and so many more crucial topics, I found this to be an extremely...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Hot for Food All Day: Easy Recipes to Level Up Your Vegan Meals'

"Hot for Food All Day: Easy Recipes to Level Up Your Vegan Meals" by Lauren Toyota

★★★★ The tantalizing vegan ragu bolognese on the cover attracted my attention to this new cookbook packed with delicious vegan recipes for all your favorites (and soon to be new favorites)! I'm excited to make a black forest loaf cake, corn chowder, and enchiladas in the near future, as well as a couple delicious looking international recipes like cacio e pepe...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Alone Together: A Tale of Friendship and Hope'

"Alone Together: A Tale of Friendship and Hope" by Julia Seal

★★★★ In this timely picture book, two young children face the initial challenges and loneliness of quarantine that people all over the world have experienced this past year. Once the children realize they can still communicate, just in a fun new way, they don't feel so alone. I found this heartwarming and hopeful picture book to be a great resource and...

Audience: adults, children | Genre: picture book

Cover: 'Remote Control'

"Remote Control" by Nnedi Okorafor

★★★★★ They call her Sankofa, but that is not her name. Whispers travel ahead of her calling her the adopted daughter of Death, fearful cries that she will kill you with one touch, destroy a town with one glance. A fox follows at her heels, her only companion. Sankofa walks from city to city, searching all of Ghana for the object that was stolen from her....

Audience: adults | Genre: science fiction, fiction

Cover: 'Dear Edward'

"Dear Edward" by Ann Napolitano

★★★★ Readers find out early on in this book (about 20 pages in) that the plane that 12 year-old Eddie Adler is riding on will crash. He is the only survivor. The crash receives a huge amount of publicity and thousands of people respond through social media. Edward (as Eddie is known after the crash) goes to live with his aunt and uncle, who try to shield him...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Pages