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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 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: 'Maybe In Another Life'

"Maybe In Another Life" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

★★★★ "Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do." Hannah Martin recently ended her relationship with a married man in New York City and moved back to her hometown of L.A. She moves in with her best friend Gabby and her husband Mark. Gabby...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary'

"National Geographic Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary" by Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Stephen Alvarez

★★★★★ This book is absolutely gorgeous! From the highest mountains to the deepest caves, National Geographic brings us images from some amazingly talented photographers. These aren’t just any photos, but images of places and events that many of us will never get the chance to see in our lifetime. Some are secluded or protected places, some are once in a lifetime...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Bridges of Madison County'

"The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller

★★★★★ I read this book many years ago, but after listening to the soundtrack of the recent musical based on the book and the movie, I decided to revisit the story that I had remembered. "The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller, is a love story; a story of a love that was unexpected, short-lived, forbidden, but so powerful that it haunted the two...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'I Am Pilgrim'

"I Am Pilgrim" by Terry Hayes

★★★★★ This book is impossible to describe, but cannot be missed. Pilgrim is a man with many names, no home, and an intense backstory. He used to a work for a government agency even more secret than the CIA, but got out to try to create some semblance of a normal life. However, the president and his top advisers soon call him in to resume his old life and track...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Brontë Plot'

"The Brontë Plot" by Katherine Reay

★★★★★ Lucy enjoys her work at an antique/interior decorator shop. One shopper, James, falls in love with Lucy. But when James' Grandmother, Helen, meets Lucy, she is reminded of someone she used to know. She requests Lucy to travel to London for a literary and antique excursion. They both have to face their own pasts and confront their issues in order to go...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

"The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" by Phil Szostak

★★★★★ At first glance, this book appears to be filled with nothing more than large, colorful concept art images from the planning of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”. As it turns out, it has so much more to offer. Author Phil Szostak worked alongside the “Star Wars” art department as a researcher and image archivist from the early days of “The Force...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, movie tie-ins

Cover: 'River Road'

"River Road" by Carol Goodman

★★★★ Nan Lewis, still devastated by her young daughter's death by a drunk driver, just found out she's not getting tenure at the college where she teaches creative writing. On the way home, emotional from the day's revelations, she hits a deer that she's unable to find after she strikes it. The next day the police are knocking on her door because a student was...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic'

"Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic" by Rebecca Leffler

★★★★ This lovely lifestyle book is packed full of plant-based, gluten-free recipes, all inspired by the French culture, for each season. I loved the passion in this book, from the lifestyle tips to the wonderful recipes, to the yoga routines. Plus, I learned so much more about a plant-based diet reading it. Did you know that (contrary to what the media and some...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places'

"Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places" by National Geographic Society

★★★★★ This book will give you more than enough ideas and inspirations to feed your wanderlust. National Geographic lives up to their reputation by giving you amazing destinations to visit broken down into categories of things to see around the world: nature unbound, hand of man, sea & shore, mountain majesty and town & country. As if that isn't enough,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, travel

Cover: 'Better Homes and Gardens Make-Ahead Meals: 150+ Recipes to Enjoy Every Day of the Week'

"Better Homes and Gardens Make-Ahead Meals: 150+ Recipes to Enjoy Every Day of the Week" by Better Homes and Gardens

★★★ If you're looking for a cookbook with fantastic illustrations of make-ahead recipes, look no further! This is a great resource for anyone who, like me, cooks large portions of meals in batches and needs freezer friendly recipes. This cookbook also contains helpful 'base recipes', such as ground beef or shredded pork recipes that you can freeze and use as...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato'

"The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato" by Kathy Giuffre

★★★★★ I picked up this book on a whim as I have a fondness for all things cave related. What I discovered was a novel that beautifully applies Plato's Allegory of the Cave to the life of a young woman named Josie. As soon as she is able, Josie hops a bus to the first promising town as a way to escape her family and find her own way. She disembarks in Waterville,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Girl with Ghost Eyes'

"The Girl with Ghost Eyes" by M. H. Boroson

★★★★★ San Francisco's Chinatown in the late nineteenth century is a place of contradiction; old world practices mix with American ideas. Immigrants from all over China mix together in their section of the city. Gangsters run Chinatown in an odd sort of order, using vices to raise money for good works. People work hard to survive in their new world, but a...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Welcome to Night Vale'

"Welcome to Night Vale" by Joseph Fink

★★★★ Nineteen-year-old Jackie Fierro, owner of the pawn shop in Night Vale, has remained nineteen-years-old for more years than she can remember and has grown accustomed to her unvarying routine. Then a man wearing a tan jacket and carrying a briefcase comes into her shop and gives her a piece of paper with the words, “KING CITY” on it. In that instant, her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Japanese Lover'

"The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende

★★★★★ Irina Bazili, a 23-year-old immigrant from Moldova, has been drifting from job to job and town to town since she was just 15. When she applies at Lark House, a progressive residence facility for seniors, she doesn't expect to stay for long. As she gains a reputation for her hard work and dedication to the residents, she also peaks the interest of one of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Dog Crazy'

"Dog Crazy" by Meg Donohue

★★★★ Meet Maggie Brennan, a pet bereavement therapist. She picked up her life and moved to San Francisco with her dog, Toby, to start her own practice. Just a few weeks after moving we find that Toby has died and it has been close to a month since she has left the confines of her yard. Through a referral for a patient, Anya Ravenhurst, she finally leaves the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Four Seasons of Pasta'

"The Four Seasons of Pasta" by Nancy Jenkins

★★★★ This cookbook is a perfect fit for anyone who has a passion for pasta. It includes a gorgeous selection of recipes and memories, and is packed full of helpful information about techniques and ingredients. This is a must read for anyone with a love of Italian food! As someone with food allergies who still found a few recipes I had to make copies of, there is...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'John Hughes: A Life in Film'

"John Hughes: A Life in Film" by Kirk Honeycutt

★★★★ John Hughes is the creative force behind numerous memorable films throughout the 1980s and early '90s, including "The Breakfast Club", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Home Alone", "Sixteen Candles," and "Pretty in Pink". In this book, author Honeycutt gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at each of the films Hughes wrote (and sometimes directed), and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Soup & Comfort: A Cookbook of Homemade Recipes to Warm the Soul'

"Soup & Comfort: A Cookbook of Homemade Recipes to Warm the Soul" by Pamela Ellgen

★★★★ Looking for a cozy, homemade soup recipe now that winter is here? Have family members that have allergies, or have them yourself? This cookbook has over a hundred recipes of enticing soups. There is something for every soup lover! None of the recipes look too intimidating or time consuming, and I especially liked that this cookbook listed if each recipe was...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home'

"Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home" by Duff Goldman

★★★★ This almost fully illustrated cookbook is packed full of delicious items to try, from breads to cookies to pies. While I was flipping through in envy, since I can't eat regular baked goods, I was very happily surprised to find a vegan and gluten-free chapter hidden in here. With fourteen safe and enticing recipes for me, I was pleasantly surprised by this...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk'

"Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk" by Lara Ferroni

★★★★ Craving Thin Mints, Hot Pockets, or even Twinkies, but don't want all the preservatives, food dyes, and other mysterious ingredients? This cookbook is packed full of recipes for homemade versions of your favorite snacks you ate as a kid. They are healthier, homemade versions of all those snacks you remember craving. What I appreciated the most about this...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork'

"Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★★ This is the best resource I've found so far for anyone looking for natural and healthy ways to fight and prevent numerous health issues. As someone with four health issues that very much affect my everyday life, I'm always looking for books that touch on the nutrition factor of foods to fight disease or help with ailments, or, sometimes even more important...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Jesus Cow'

"The Jesus Cow" by Michael Perry

★★★★★ When Harley Jackson sees the unmistakable image of Jesus Christ on a newborn calf’s flank on Christmas Eve, he recognizes it for what it is: trouble. As a single fellow accustomed to a quiet life in his small, rural Wisconsin community, Harley wants nothing to do with the attention the calf will draw. He’s reluctant to capitalize on the calf despite his...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, holiday

Cover: 'Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures'

"Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures" by Meredith Hale

★★★★ Looking for chemical-free, safe ways to remedy common illnesses and problems? This is a great, illustrated resource packed full of information for anyone looking for safe (and cheaper) home remedies to common problems like headaches, toothaches, nausea, burns, and allergies. This also includes helpful tips on most topics, like how to prevent certain...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, health

Cover: 'Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories'

"Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories" by Jennifer Morales

★★★★★ An intriguing look at the interconnectedness of people, this book winds together stories about individuals who are all affected in some way by one boy's tragic fate. It explores the multifaceted issues that make us human and the ways that we relate to those around us. Issues of race, age, and sexual identity are all explored in this brief collection. The...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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