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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: 'The Longest Ride'

"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks

★★★★★ Two love stories, one that is three quarters of a century in the making and one that is brand new are told side by side in this beautifully written novel. When Ira is trapped in his car following an accident in a remote area, he recounts the stories of his life with his one true love, his wife Ruth. He describes their story as it unfolds decade after decade...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: '12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff'

"12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff" by Six Sisters

★★★★★ This book is a wonderful addition for anyone who is looking for a new Christmas craft or cookbook! Written by very popular bloggers, Six Sisters' Stuff, you will find all sorts of ideas on how to cook, enjoy, and share your holiday spirit. Not only is the book incredibly informative but also has wonderful pictures and easy to follow directions. It makes...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook, holiday

Cover: 'A Midwinter's Tail'

"A Midwinter's Tail" by Sofie Kelly

★★★★★ In this cozy new mystery in one of my favorite series, Kathleen, the head librarian of a small Minnesota town, is gearing up for a fundraising event and the holiday season. What starts out as a great fundraising event turns into two people sent to the emergency room and one dead body. As Kathleen tries to leave the detective work to her detective boyfriend...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, holiday

Cover: 'Before amen : the power of a simple prayer'

"Before amen : the power of a simple prayer" by Max Lucado

★★★★★ Prayer can be a daunting task for many of us. We may feel unskilled, unworthy, or unsure of how to even begin. This little book offers insight, comfort, and instruction when it comes to learning how to pray effectively. Max Lucado breaks through all of the complication and doubt about how to pray, where to pray, who can pray, and what to pray for. He makes...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, spirituality

Cover: 'Backyard Style'

"Backyard Style" by Matthew Mead

★★★★ Although looking through this outdoor style guide as you see snow right outside your window may not be the best feeling, this is packed full of beautiful illustrations and ideas for when the snow is gone! Included are entertaining tips and a few recipes and decorating ideas as well for each theme and style. I found myself longing for, not only a backyard of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gardening, outdoors, nature

Cover: 'Shopaholic to the Stars'

"Shopaholic to the Stars" by

★★★★ The latest book in the Shopaholic series finds Becky and her family in Hollywood. Her husband Luke is there to manage the career of famous young actress, Sage Seymour, while Becky has her heart set on becoming the next big celebrity stylist. In typical Becky fashion, things become complicated and hilarious when Becky joins the team of Sage's rival, hires a...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life'

"Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life" by Sophia Loren

★★★★ Sophia Loren's memoir details her incredible life; full of beauty, love, success, but also tragedy and pain. The daughter of a single mother, Loren grew up in poverty during World War II in Italy and never had much contact with her father. She received her start in beauty pageants, and soon transitioned to film after she was noticed by her future husband,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities, memoir

Cover: 'Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President'

"Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" by Candice Millard

★★★★★ It's not often that I request a book in CD format that is nonfiction. But I'm very glad that I listened to this outstanding account of the life and death of President James Garfield. It is available in both traditional book format and on CD but I will strongly urge the reader to give this book a listen in the CD format. It is read by Paul Michael who does...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'The Wishing Tide'

"The Wishing Tide" by Barbara Davis

★★★★ In this atmospheric novel set along the North Carolina coast, Lane Kramer moves away from her ex-husband and memories of a miscarriage to a quaint inn she decides to run. During the off season and in the middle of a violent storm, a professor stumbles upon Lane's inn asking to stay. What Lane doesn't realize is that Michael has arrived under false pretenses...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'By the Book'

"By the Book" by Pamela Paul

★★★ Have you ever wondered what your favorite author's favorite book is? Or what book they just couldn't get through and even finish? Or even what their reading and writing habits are? This book features short interviews by sixty-five of the world's top writers, from J.K. Rowling to Michael Connelly to Khaled Hosseini. I found it to be full of interesting and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Station Eleven'

"Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel

★★★★★ This book has been on several recommended reading lists for very good reasons. It is excellent! Set in the near future, we enter a post-apocalyptic world that was destroyed by a worldwide pandemic. The main characters are all linked by a famous actor from the past and their stories are followed through the years after disaster hits. The story is written so...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Still Life With Bread Crumbs'

"Still Life With Bread Crumbs" by Anna Quindlen

★★★★★ Rebecca Winter, a once world-famous photographer, finds herself at a crossroads. She is stuck in a rut. With the stress of caring for aging parents, helping her adult son financially, and maintaining the New York lifestyle to which she is accustomed, Rebecca is broke. Her art is no longer selling and she is not sure if it ever will again. On top of her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Burned'

"Burned" by Thomas Enger

★★★★ Author Thomas Enger bases this first murder-mystery novel in the series in Oslo, Norway. Fans of Scandinavian authors and their style will be very pleased with this offering by Enger. E-Reporter, Henning Juul, starts back to work after a long absence. He is scarred both physically and emotionally, but a slow, easy start back into his job is not in the cards...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Killing Patton'

"Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly

★★★★★ It is ironic and entirely appropriate that I am reviewing this fine book on Veterans Day. The book is a thorough telling of General George S. Patton who led the 3rd Army to victory over Hitler’s forces during WWII. Hitler with his agenda to rule Europe, and perhaps beyond, had devised his last and final attempt to gain back the momentum to win the war for...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'The Wonder of All Things'

"The Wonder of All Things" by Jason Mott

★★★★★ An ordinary day turns tragic as the local air show ends in a fiery crash. 13-year-old Ava and her best friend Wash are trapped underneath the rubble of the observation tower. When Ava discovers that Wash is mortally wounded she does the impossible and heals him. In the age of technology, the whole thing is caught on video and quickly goes viral sending the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Book of Night Women'

"The Book of Night Women" by Marlon James

★★★★★ This captivating novel pulls us deep into the world of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. We begin when she is just a child born of a too young mother who didn't survive her birth, and the white slave driver. Lilith has been afforded a certain amount of protection as a child but quickly learns what...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Chop Chop'

"Chop Chop" by Simon Wroe

★★★★ Fans of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" will enjoy this fictionalized account of restaurant life in London. The protagonist stumbles into a restaurant job after he is unable to find work with his English literature degree. He is given menial kitchen tasks and christened "Monocle" by his crude coworkers. His boss is a sadistic tyrant who enjoys...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Cooking Light: Mad Delicious'

"Cooking Light: Mad Delicious" by Keith Schroeder

★★★ If you are looking for new, tasty, and healthy recipes, this is a good cookbook for you. This book does an excellent job of illustrating ways to prep and cook your food that are extremely effective. The author has cooking down to a science showing just how your food is cooking according to how you prepare it. It is neat to see and read! I found myself...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Vintage'

"Vintage" by Susan Gloss

★★★★★ The main character is a small-town girl named Violet Turner with a flair for fashion. She opens a vintage used clothing store in Madison, WI. If you are familiar with that area, you will enjoy the different descriptions about the city. She develops friendships with two women who help her in her shop and also have problems with love. Old clothes are captured...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Thug Kitchen'

"Thug Kitchen" by Matt Holloway, Michelle Davis

★★★★ Although I was really thrown off at first by the plethora of swear words in this cookbook, try not to let them dissuade you from this clean-eating, plant-based cookbook. I have Post-It Notes in the double digits for recipes I want to try, and the message this cookbook wants its readers to know is one I 100% believe in: Eat like you mean it. Animal products...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

"Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food" by Jamie Oliver

★★★★ This cookbook is brimming with gorgeous photos of comfort food and nostalgia that made me think I was right back at home, curled up in my flat in London. Even though for me and my food allergy riddled body, I can't eat most of the entrees shown in this book anymore, the experience of looking through it was worth it. For those of us who love our cookbooks...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook, celebrities

Cover: 'The Invention of Wings'

"The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd

★★★★★ Sarah Grimke is just a child when she is given the ten-year-old slave girl Hetty 'Handful' Grimke as a present on her eleventh birthday. Sarah knows in this moment that she cannot be a part of the slave owning lifestyle of her southern aristocratic family. Sarah tries to free Hetty and is quickly put in her place by her powerful mother. Hetty’s equally...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

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