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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: '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

Cover: 'Lie Still'

"Lie Still" by Julia Heaberlin

★★★★★ Julia Heaberlin is one of my new favorite voices in the mystery genre. I've loved all of her books so far, and "Lie Still" is no exception! Emily Page and her husband have moved from New York City to small town Texas in order for her husband to accept a job of police chief. Emily, pregnant with the couple's first child, hopes her haunted past and the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism'

"The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism" by Naoki Higashida, K. A. Yoshida

★★★★★ There are books written by adults with autism and from the perspective of family members, educators, and others who work with children with autism, but this book is unique because it is written by a thirteen-year-old boy with autism. Higashida retains the perspective of a child but has the introspection of an early teen. It’s a rare look into the thoughts...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, differing abilities

Cover: 'Wildflower'

"Wildflower" by Drew Barrymore

★★★★★ I loved this book! Reading it is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of cocoa and listening to their stories. Drew writes with such emotion and honesty that you feel like she is in the room with you. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me realize what a beautiful soul she is. This book is written as a collection of stories from...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities

Cover: 'Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption'

"Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson

★★★★★ As a twenty-three-year-old Harvard law student, Stevenson had his first encounter with an inmate on death row. That meaningful encounter led him to commit his law career to representing the legally underrepresented: death row inmates, children sentenced to life without parole, and others marginalized by the system. He founded and currently serves as the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Kitchens of the Midwest'

"Kitchens of the Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal

★★★★★ Eva Thorvald is only a few months old when she loses both of her parents, Lars and Cynthia, to vastly different circumstances. From there, the book follows Eva's life from infancy through her mid-twenties, skipping anywhere from a few months to several years between chapters. Instead of having Eva tell us her own story, her life is framed through the eyes...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Black Earth:  The Holocaust as History and Warning'

"Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" by Timothy Snyder

★★★★★ Timothy Snyder's book "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" attempts to place Hitler and Nazi Germany within a political and cultural context. Starting with Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and tracing how Hitler's opinions expressed there found fruition in the Nazi state, Snyder explains how Hitler's negative views of Jews became one of the main thrusts...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'One Plus One'

"One Plus One" by Jojo Moyes

★★★★★ I'm not much for a fluffy romance, but who can resist a story about a single mom, her quirky kids, their enormous dog, and an unsuspecting stranger trapped together in a tiny car on an impromptu road trip? This story is about Jess, an eternal optimist who will do anything to give her kids the life that they deserve. Unfortunately, fate has a way of knocking...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide'

"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn

★★★★★ This book was amazing! It brought the issue of oppression to the forefront and made doing something to combat it attainable. Women make up half of the global population and yet they still face daily oppression and adversity. While many across the globe are standing up, there is still much work to be done. From big activism like fighting for education...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gender issues

Cover: 'The Great British Bake Off: Christmas'

"The Great British Bake Off: Christmas" by Lizzie Kamenetzky

★★★★ Who doesn't love a Christmas cookbook? This particular Christmas cookbook comes with recipes from participants of a British reality TV cooking program. The food is somewhat different that what we are used to seeing here in the United States, however it is not too different that you would not enjoy all of the recipes. The Shepherd's Pie looks great, as well...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook, holiday

Cover: 'The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2016: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings'

"The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2016: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings" by America's Test Kitchen

★★★★★ Straight from the America's Test Kitchen comes their newest collection of recipes from the last year. They are known for their precise recipes, having tested each recipe a variety of ways in order to get the best possible outcome for each dish. This book does a superb job explaining why you make each dish a certain way and includes illustrations for more...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'A Window Opens'

"A Window Opens" by Elisabeth Egan

★★★★ Alice Pearse is relatively content—she’s happily married mother of three kids who are school-age but not yet teens, and she has a fulfilling part-time job as the books editor for a glossy women’s magazine. All of that changes when her husband’s career path takes an unexpected turn, and she has to find full-time employment. She’s elated when she lands a job...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'In Bitter Chill'

"In Bitter Chill" by Sarah Ward

★★★ Two girls disappear in a small English countryside town in 1978. One of them walks out of the woods alive, while the other is never found. Over thirty years later, the mother of the still missing girl commits suicide. Days later, another body is found. For present day detectives and Rachel, the girl who survived the day she still has no memory of, the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Chocolate-Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You'

"Chocolate-Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You" by Katie Higgins

★★★★★ This is a must read for anyone with a sweet tooth! Plus, the author of the popular blog, "," created these recipes with a healthy goal in mind. As a woman who wanted treats that satisfied her sweet tooth without using artificial sweeteners and unhealthy ingredients, the recipes in this cookbook use natural sweeteners and real...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Happy Cooking'

"Happy Cooking" by Giada De Laurentiis

★★★★ This is my favorite cookbook so far from chef Giada De Laurentiis! There's something here for everyone, even a few vegan recipes, which made me super happy to see! Giada included vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free recipes for all of us allergy sufferers, as well as recipes to be enjoyed by those without allergy concerns. Included in this cookbook are main...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Zig Zag Girl'

"The Zig Zag Girl" by Elly Griffiths

★★★★ When the body of a girl, cut into three, is found in Brighton by Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens, his first thought is the popular magic trick called the Zig Zag Girl. His next thought is of an old friend he served with in the war, Max Mephisto, who was the inventor of the famous trick. When the two combine forces to solve the murder, the clues seem to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Modern Romance'

"Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg

★★★★★ For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aziz Ansari, he is an actor (perhaps best known from Parks & Recreation) and a stand-up comedian, but this isn’t a typical book by a comic. The book was inspired in part by a segment of his stand-up routine and is filled with humor throughout, but it’s actually a carefully researched book that examines the state...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Lake House'

"The Lake House" by Kate Morton

★★★★★ This astounding and captivating new novel from Kate Morton is utterly amazing. When detective Sadie Sparrows is forced to take a leave from work and stay with her grandfather in Cornwall, she stumbles upon an abandoned lake house standing beautiful and stagnant in time. When she finds out that the family left everything in place behind locked doors after...

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

Cover: 'Main Street Vegan'

"Main Street Vegan" by Victoria Moran, Adair Moran

★★★★ Have you been thinking of going vegan? Or, are you already vegan (or mostly vegan) and would like more information on the reasons why this lifestyle is helpful to you and the environment? I found this book to be packed full of helpful information! As someone who eats vegan at least 90% of the time, I enjoyed gaining more specific information than what I...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, health, cookbook

Cover: 'Pretty Girls'

"Pretty Girls" by Karin Slaughter

★★★★ Twenty years ago, free-spirited and beautiful Julia Carroll disappeared. Her body was never found, and her family has not been able to put her to rest. Unable to come to terms with their grief, Julia's family is ripped apart. Her father dies searching for an answer, while her sisters, Claire and Lydia, refuse to speak to each other. In the present, the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel'

"Career of Evil: A Cormoran Strike Novel" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ When a severed leg is sent to Cormoran Strike’s assistant Robin Ellacott, the private detective immediately knows of three individuals from his past that could be targeting them and has murdered a young woman in the process. As the two coworkers search for the killer, they delve into each other’s personal lives and become closer than ever before. While the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'After You'

"After You" by Jojo Moyes

★★★★★ In this fantastic, heartfelt sequel to "Me Before You", readers meet Louisa in the aftermath of a pivotal and heartbreaking experience. Months before, her life had taken such a drastic turn, and Louisa is left adrift struggling to find herself and live a meaningful life that honors who she lost. I couldn't stop reading this novel! For those that read "Me...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction