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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 Romanov Sisters'

"The Romanov Sisters" by Helen Rappaport

★★★★★ This book navigates the daily lives of the four Russian Grand Duchesses: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia until their death in 1918.  Rappaport discusses how unusual Alexandra’s upbringing of her children compared to other Russian royalty and also, how her ill health often affected her children’s lives. Rappaport also delves into the girls varying...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'The Stranger You Know'

"The Stranger You Know" by Jane Casey

★★★★★ The most recent book in the Maeve Kerrigan detective series finds Maeve tracking a serial killer hunting young women throughout London. He leaves no clues behind, but the facts of the case have an eerie similarity to an incident her partner DCI Derwent was involved in during his teens. Maeve can't believe Derwent would be involved, but the more she begins...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Shotgun Lovesongs'

"Shotgun Lovesongs" by Nickolas Butler

★★★★★ This debut novel from Wisconsin-based author Nickolas Butler is worthy of the abundant praise received from critics and readers. Set in the fictional rural town of Little Wing, Wisconsin, five friends undergo major life changes, from marriage to recording a bestselling album. Chapters are written from the perspective of each of the five as their friendship...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, wisconsin

Cover: 'Lunch In Paris'

"Lunch In Paris" by Elizabeth Bard

★★★★ If you are a travel and food enthusiast, then this is a great book for you! Lunch In Paris is a memoir telling the story of how the author, Elizabeth, met her Parisian husband and ended up living in Paris. Not only does Elizabeth give up a life in the United States for love but she needs to learn a new way of life while discovering a new direction for her...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, cookbook

Cover: 'Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend'

"Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend" by Matthew Dicks

★★★★ Did you have an imaginary friend when you were young? Well, probably not like Budo. In this quirky short fiction by author Matthew Dicks, we meet Budo, the imaginary friend of Max, an eight year old boy “on the spectrum” as Budo hears from the adults around them. Budo is unique in that he is almost 5 years old, is self aware, and understands the fact that...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'The Thousand-Mile War'

"The Thousand-Mile War" by Brian Garfield

★★★★★ This is not your typical war and battle narrative. Brian Garfield's dry humor and narrative style will keep you engaged to the very end. This little known theater of war during WWII, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, was described as "the weirdest war ever waged". Submarines, battleships and bombers all played second fiddle to the ferocious weather;...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'World War II in 500 Photographs!'

"World War II in 500 Photographs!" by Time-Life Books

★★★★ This 2014 Time Life Books release is a nicely-done visual guide to the Second World War. Arranged chronologically, it offers up page after page of black and white or color photographs depicting battlefield and home front events as well as personalities such as FDR, Churchill, Hitler, Himmler, Stalin, Eisenhower, Patton, etc. The images are complimented by...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography, history

Cover: 'Fear Nothing'

"Fear Nothing" by Lisa Gardner

★★★★ Two sister's who lived in hell. One went to prison, and one felt no pain. Foster home after foster home, one adopted by a doctor. One was a killer and one a doctor, with very special talents. Now after 30 years, the killing starts all over again. D. D. Warren is trying to manage Melvin and work the case. The case she shouldn't be on. Who will kill the "Rose...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Movie Icons, 365 Day-By-Day'

"Movie Icons, 365 Day-By-Day" by Taschen

★★★★ Movie buffs will enjoy this Silver Screen daily calendar book, presenting, as it does, color photographs of hundreds of movie notables. Among the actors and actresses included are Tyrone Power, Tom Cruise, Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, Joe Pesci, Claire Bloom, Kate Winslet, Jean Reno, Anita Ekberg, Peter Lorre, Nicole Kidman, Lee Marvin, Ralph Fiennes,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities

Cover: 'Keep Quiet'

"Keep Quiet" by Lisa Scottoline

★★★★★ This was Lisa Scottoline's first book that I have ever read and I will read more. It was very good. As a father you would do anything you could to protect your family, but how far is too far? A father works very hard to provide for his family and sometimes starts to lose touch with his children as they grow up. But not Jake. He wants to be the cool dad; he...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Someday, Someday Maybe'

"Someday, Someday Maybe" by Lauren Graham

★★★★ If you love Lauren Graham, the actress, in "Gilmore Girls" or "Parenthood" then you will throughly enjoy Lauren Graham the author in her debut novel.  Her story introduces us to Franny, a struggling actress in New York City of the mid 1990s, and her adventures trying to become a serious actress who can pay her bills with her craft.  Franny is so...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry'

"The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin

★★★★ This book is not only about what the title suggests, the life of A.J. Fikry who is a small town bookstore owner, but also the ways books can change the course of your life.  As a librarian, of course I would enjoy a book about how books are involved in people's lives, but it was very interesting to see how the author chooses books to be impactful...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Night Film'

"Night Film" by Marisha Pessl

★★★★★ Scott McGrath, an investigative journalist, lost his career and wife due to one man: Stanislas Cordova. Cordova is a cult-horror film director whose personal life is top secret. When McGrath pried in his life a few years ago and tried to reveal the true Cordova, McGrath was ruined. The story begins on an October night when Cordova's beautiful daughter,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line'

"Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line" by Michael Gibney

★★★★★ Foodies and especially those who have worked in the restaurant industry will enjoy Sous Chef. The second person narrative chronicles 24 hours in the life of a sous chef at an upscale restaurant in New York. There are already plenty of memoirs from celebrity chefs, but the sous chef is usually a footnote in these works, or perhaps the subject of an angry...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, food

Cover: 'Four Friends'

"Four Friends" by Robyn Carr

★★★★ In Robyn Carr's newest stand alone novel we meet four friends, each deeply struggling with a shocking new revelation in their lives. Gerri, a mother of three who works for Child Protective Services, finds her perfect marriage shattered by a secret. Meanwhile, Andy is throwing her second husband's clothes all over the front lawn after the final straw in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, chick lit

Cover: 'Alive!'

"Alive!" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★ Have you ever wondered what it feels like to survive a tornado, flood or shark attack? ALIVE is a compilation of first-person articles previously published in the READER'S DIGEST magazine that describe such events. Twenty-two people share their memorable experiences with airplane crashes, cougar attacks, avalanches, firestorms and so on. It makes for...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Under Magnolia'

"Under Magnolia" by Frances Mayes

★★★★★ A beautiful memoir about growing up in the south from the author of UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. Frances Mayes paints an honest picture of her life and shares lessons that she learned along the way. A great read that's hard to put down!  

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography and memoir

Cover: 'An Illustrated Dictionary of the Third Reich'

"An Illustrated Dictionary of the Third Reich" by Jean-Denis Lepage

★★★★ Jean-Denis Lepage's book is a wide-ranging dictionary to 1,650 major and most important German terms associated with Nazism and the Second World War. The book defines/describes various laws, medals, badges, weapons, equipment, persons, organizations, slogans, songs, events, etc. The German-language term is given first followed by its English equivalent and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Attack of the Factoids'

"Attack of the Factoids" by Bathroom Readers' Institute

★★★★ If you're a trivia buff, you'll enjoy ATTACK OF THE FACTOIDS. Published by the Uncle John Bathroom Readers' crew, it's a marvelous, 400-page helping of trivial facts and assorted information. It includes brief facts on crime & punishment, ancient history, quotations, plants & animals, rich & famous people, etc. You can read it cover to cover or...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Frog Music'

"Frog Music" by Emma Donoghue

★★★★★ San Francisco, summer of 1876: record-breaking heat and a smallpox epidemic have the inhabitants of the city on edge. Blanche Beunon, a French dove, is happy with her life as a burlesque dancer until she bumps into a mysterious stranger, Jenny Bonnet, who turns her world upside down in just a few short weeks. When Jenny, Blanche's only friend, is shot dead...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'John Wayne: The Life and Legend'

"John Wayne: The Life and Legend" by Scott Eyman

★★★★★ John Wayne is the most famous American movie star of all time. In a 50-year career, he created memorable characters as the the Ringo Kid, Ethan Edwards, Sean Thornton, Tom Dunston, Kirby Yorke, George Washington McClintock and Rooster Cogburn.  Author Scott Eyman offers up this 658-page biography of the Duke and it's a winner.  Eyman supplies a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'Missing You'

"Missing You" by Harlan Coben

★★★★★ What would you do if you saw an online dating profile for the fiancé who broke your heart 18 years ago? For Kat Donovan, an NYPD detective, seeing his face sends her reeling. When she reaches out to him, it only leads to even more questions. What Kat stumbles upon is a twisted conspiracy. While she's racing against the clock to save lives, clues to her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Boy, Snow, Bird'

"Boy, Snow, Bird" by Helen Oyeyemi

★★★★ A quick and enchanting read about a girl named Boy. It is hard to say much without spoiling the story, so I'll simply say that I really enjoyed this book!  

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'John Wayne: A Photographic Celebration'

"John Wayne: A Photographic Celebration" by Marc Mompoint

★★★★ John Wayne is, arguably, the most popular movie actor of all time. Marc Mompoint offers up a photo-tribute to 'The Duke' in this appealing 2012 Skyhorse Publishing release. The book features color and b&w candid snaps and production stills from Wayne's life and times. John Wayne fans will undoubtedly enjoy this latest tribute to the iconic movie star...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities, photography

Cover: '100 Places You Will Never Visit: The World's Most Secret Locations'

"100 Places You Will Never Visit: The World's Most Secret Locations" by Daniel Smith

★★★★★ This utterly fascinating travel guide describes and illustrates sites us normal people will NEVER be allowed to visit. If you do try and visit them, you will end up being warned off by gun-toting guards, carted off to jail or killed! The sites include super-secret military and intelligence bases/sites around the world such as Area 51 and Diego Garcia,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, travel

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