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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: 'Where I Lost Her'

"Where I Lost Her" by T. Greenwood

★★★★★ I absolutely loved this gripping new novel! Not only was it about a woman's difficult but ultimately uplifting journey of healing after an adoption gone horribly wrong, it was a captivating mystery about a missing little girl seen wandering in the woods. As Jess is on her way back from getting more wine to drown her emotions at her best friend's cabin in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week'

"Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

★★★★★ This is one of my new favorite vegan recipe resources! I was very pleasantly surprised by this packed cookbook, full of (mostly photographed) delicious looking recipes. Everything from dumpling stew to coconut French toast and marbled banana bread. I'm itching to make the creamy potato-leek soup and pad thai, not to mention a tantalizing chocolate cake with...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Be Frank With Me'

"Be Frank With Me" by Julia Claiborne Johnson

★★★★★ Mid-twenty-something Alice Whitley’s job at a Manhattan publishing house dispatches her to Bel Air to provide assistance to reclusive author M.M. (Mimi) Banning. Having fallen victim to a Ponzi scheme, Banning has no choice but to write a second novel decades after her wildly acclaimed and successful first. Alice’s primary task is to care for Frank, the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Troublemaker'

"Troublemaker" by Leah Remini

★★★★★ Have you heard about Scientology but have no clue what it is about? This book gives us an inside view of the workings of this religion from the viewpoint of former Scientologist, Leah Remini. Leah Remini is a actress who is best known for her role in the television comedy "King of Queens". From a very young age she was brought up in Scientology when her...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities, television, spirituality

Cover: 'Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital'

"Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital" by Eric Manheimer

★★★★ What do a South American Immigrant, a cancer patient, and prisoners that live in New York all have in common? They all were somehow treated or impacted by the Bellevue Hospital. The author Eric Manheimer, writes about 12 different patients that he has treated and gotten to know during this time at the hospital, along with history about the medical field,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Rook'

"The Rook" by Daniel O'Malley

★★★★★ To say that Myfanwy Thomas is in a bit of a fix is a huge understatement. She woke up in a park with no memory of her identity, surrounded by dead people wearing latex gloves. The letter she finds in her pocket tells her that she is the new inhabitant of Myfanwy’s body and that she has a choice to make—run as far as possible from London and start a new life...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Ready Player One'

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline

★★★★★ Anyone interested in dystopian fiction, gaming or 1980's pop culture (or all of the above) will definitely want to check out this inventive novel by author Ernest Cline. Set in the year 2044, the world is generally a dismal place, with the gap between the rich and the poor larger than ever. To escape their dismal reality, the majority of the population...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'No One Knows'

"No One Knows" by J. T. Ellison

★★★★★ In this fast-paced new thriller, Aubrey Hamilton is still intensely grieving over the mysterious disappearance of her husband five years later. Not only was she accused (but thankfully acquitted) of his murder, she now receives a letter from the state declaring Josh officially dead, even though no body has ever been found. It seems that her ex mother-in-law...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Fates and Furies'

"Fates and Furies" by Lauren Groff

★★★★★ "Fates and Furies" is the story of the marriage of outgoing charmer Lancelot (Lotto) Satterwhite and the reserved, supportive Mathilde. Infused with Greek mythology, the story is told first from Lotto’s point-of-view before switching to Mathilde’s. As compelling as each perspective is, it’s the gaps between the two and the secrets kept that provide...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Two of Us'

"The Two of Us" by Andy Jones

★★★★★ This is a love story, but not exactly a traditional one. Fisher and Ivy both work in the film industry where they meet and begin their romance. When our story opens, they have had a wild and all-consuming nineteen day fling, and both of them know without a doubt, that they have finally found "the one". What they don't know is that their new relationship and...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Calling Me Home'

"Calling Me Home" by Julie Kibler

★★★★★ Based on a family secret revealed to her, Kibler turns her grandmother’s story of forbidden love into an impossible-to-put-down, page-turner of a novel. This is the story of a journey taken by eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister and Dorrie Curtis, a single mom struggling to find her way. Dorrie has taken care of Isabelle’s hair for years, first in the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After'

"The Little Shop of Happy Ever After" by Jenny Colgan

★★★★★ This lovely, new book by Jenny Colgan had me enchanted from the first page (just as all her others have). Readers meet the timid, but immediately lovable Nina, who's a librarian that suddenly loses her job in Birmingham, England due to a library closure. When her life suddenly shifts beneath her feet, Nina is forced to step outside her comfort zone and make...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Widow'

"The Widow" by Fiona Barton

★★★★ What would you do if you found out the innermost secrets your husband has locked away; that he has a whole other life he's been keeping from you? What if you realize your husband could really be a monster? These are the questions Jean is forced to face after a local girl suddenly vanishes and the police end up on her doorstep. The novel shifts between the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: '$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America'

"$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer

★★★★★ When conducting research in 2010, Edin, who had been researching poverty for 20 years noticed a fundamental change in many families she interviewed—they were living without any visible cash income. In the summer of 2012, Edin joined forces with Shaefer, a leading expert on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and they started in-depth...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy'

"Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy" by David Joachim

★★★★ This is a new, beautifully illustrated cookbook that celebrates international cuisine on every page. Gorgeous pictures of completed meals are surrounded by a plethora of brightly added stories and information concerning the ingredients and culture behind each recipe. Even if you don't immediately want to start cooking one of the recipes, it's a great...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Circle'

"The Circle" by Dave Eggers

★★★★★ Twenty-four-year old Mae Holland is elated to be starting her new job at the Circle, an internet company of the not-too-distant future that is a combination of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media platforms. At first Mae is taken aback by the virtual networking required within the company and the negative attention she draws by staying the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Shadow Year'

"The Shadow Year" by Hannah Richell

★★★★★ In this captivating novel, Lila is devastated from a terrible loss. When she is anonymously sent the key to a tucked away cottage in the Lake District, Lila flees London for the quiet of the mysterious cottage. As her bruises, both physical and mental, slowly start to heal, Lila throws herself into renovating the hidden cottage. But the cottage isn't what...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Tinder Nightmares'

"Tinder Nightmares" by Unspirational

★★★★ For the unfamiliar, Tinder is a mobile dating app that helps pair up singles with others in their geographical area. Swiping right on a person’s profile means you like them and if they like you back, the app will let you know you’re a match. Sounds simple, right? In “Tinder Nightmares”, it’s less about the simple and more about the absurd. Comprised of real...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Gratitude'

"Gratitude" by Oliver Sacks

★★★★★ It is hard to write a review on a book this brief without spoiling the contents. What I can say is that this short collection of essays, written in the two years leading up to Dr. Sacks’ death, is deeply and beautifully human. These essays show us the depth of coming to terms with death and celebrating, with gratitude, the life that you have lived. There is...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, memoir

Cover: 'My Name is Lucy Barton'

"My Name is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

★★★★★ We all have a story, and this one is Lucy Barton’s. When a mysterious reaction to a recent surgery lands Lucy in the hospital for an extended stay, she is surprised to find her estranged mother sitting at the foot of her bed. Since Lucy married and moved to New York City years ago, she has had little contact with her family and never goes to visit. With the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Superfood Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing, & Nutrient-Dense Recipes'

"Superfood Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing, & Nutrient-Dense Recipes" by Julie Morris

★★★★★ If you are looking for snacks that are both delicious and super-healthy, this is a great book to pick up. I have made the cookie dough protein bites, the mocha energy bites, and the chocolate whip dip. There are also savory dip and kale chip recipes. I appreciated the first chapter, called "The Superfood Treatment," which outlines the items to stock in your...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Gonzo Girl'

"Gonzo Girl" by Cheryl Della Pietra

★★★★★ At age 23, Cheryl Della Pietra spent five months working as an assistant to famous (or infamous, rather) writer Hunter S. Thompson, who pioneered the genre of gonzo journalism with such works as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Pietra’s time with Thompson is the basis for this fiction novel, which follows recent college grad and aspiring novelist Alley,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Japanese Lover'

"The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende

★★★★★ Alma Belasco's lives at Lark House Retirement Home in San Francisco. As a child, and then as a young woman, she fell in love with the son of her uncle's Japanese gardener. Now in old age, her grandson and her caretaker, who are falling in love themselves, discover their love letters. Her story spans from her fleeing Poland as a child refugee to her lover's...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Silver Bay'

"Silver Bay" by Jojo Moyes

★★★★★ Romantic, charming, and full of surprising characters, this early work from a popular author is not one to miss. Mike Dormer is climbing the ladder in a prestigious land development firm in London. He has made partner, is engaged to the boss’s daughter, and lives in luxury. His entire life appears to be perfect, that is until a land deal falls through on a...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Baking with Mary Berry'

"Baking with Mary Berry" by Mary Berry

★★★★★ If you have ever watched the popular British cooking show, The Great British Bakeoff, you will know the treasure that this cookbook holds! Mary Berry is a British baking superstar who has made an easy to follow cookbook that will help us all master a sponge cake or a choux pastry. For me, this cookbook has just want I would want to learn and master from...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook