MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation ATTENTION: (1) all MCPL locations open by appointment only; (2) curbside pickup is available: [Details.]

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: 'Year of No Sugar'

"Year of No Sugar" by Eve O. Schaub

★★★ A more accurate title is Year of Reduced Sugar! The author and her family still indulge in a sweet treat every month, and each family member is granted an exception item, which contains sugar. (The author chose red wine.) Sugar really is in almost everything we consume (even bacon and chicken broth!), and the family's quest to attend community events,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements'

"You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements" by David McCullough Jr.

★★★★ McCullough’s book came after a similarly themed graduation speech of 2012. His thoughts are well received and regarded because he speaks from the position of an educator of nearly 30 years (Interestingly he spent nearly a decade teaching in the Hawaii high school where President Obama admitted to spending his high school years mostly getting high and “by”...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Organic Family Cookbook'

"The Organic Family Cookbook" by Anni Daulter

★★★★★ What a refreshing cookbook and way to think about healthy eating! This cookbook really makes you feel as though you can eat healthy and organic fairly easily.  There are excellent ideas for meals and snacks that are easy and don't require strange sounding, organic ingredients that can sometimes break a budget. The pictures are great and the book also...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Son'

"The Son" by Jo Nesbø

★★★★★ Jo Nesbo, an award-winning author from Norway, has written another gripping thriller. The novel takes place in the seedy underworld of Oslo, but begins in a state-of-the-art prison. Prisoner Sony Loftus has a heroin addiction which has a steady supply, as long as he takes the fall for some gruesome murders in the area, even while he still remains a prisoner...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'I am Malala'

"I am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai

★★★★★ This fascinating and thought provoking memoir takes us into the world of schoolchildren in the Swat Valley of Pakistan; a world not often experienced by outsiders since the takeover of the Taliban. Malala faces adversity, including the brutal attack in which she was shot in the face by the Taliban, with the courage that comes from being passionate about...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'The Silkworm'

"The Silkworm" by Robert Galbraith

★★★★★ Writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, "Harry Potter" authoress J.K. Rowling brings us this second book about private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. As their search for missing author Owen Quine turns into a sadistic murder, perhaps as retaliation against Quine's libelous unpublished book, Strike and Robin also grow...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook'

"The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook" by Tricia Cornell

★★★ Going to the farmer's market and need some ideas for what to make with your purchases? This book may be able to help. A variety of regionally grown produce is featured in this pretty cookbook. Each fruit or vegetable is featured individually and general facts are given on each one in addition to some recipes. I was hoping for more recipes than there were in...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Devil's Dozen'

"The Devil's Dozen" by Katherine Ramsland

★★★★ This non-fiction collection is comprised of cases of serial killers beginning with the nineteenth century through modern times, with a special caveat; all were solved with the most cutting-edge forensics of the day, by detectives that were unrelenting and dogged in their pursuit of the perpetrators of unspeakable crimes. H.H. Holmes (portrayed in "Devil in...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, true crime

Cover: 'A Mouthful of Stars'

"A Mouthful of Stars" by Kim Sunée

★★★★ Are you a lover of travel and exploring food? Then this is the cookbook for you! Kim has been a world traveler all of her life and uses this cookbook to highlight delicious recipes from her adventures across the globe. The pictures of the food are beautiful and her anecdotes included in each chapter add to our wanderlust as a reader. This is definitely a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Time Traveler's Wife'

"The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

★★★★★ This is the extraordinary love story of Clare, an artist, and Henry, a librarian and time traveler. Henry has known Clare since she was a little girl but doesn't know it until he meets her in real time where she knows who he is and is already in love with him. Discover the complexities of time travel through their love affair of the ages. You will not be...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Medici Boy'

"The Medici Boy" by John L'Heureux

★★★★ Set in fifteenth century Florence, this novel is written as a confession and memoir by Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant to the great artist Donatello. Luca writes about living in the infamously sinful city of Florence and about the intimate details of life in Donatello's workshop. A collision of politics, art, and forbidden passions, this is a tale full of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Boleyn Reckoning'

"The Boleyn Reckoning" by Laura Andersen

★★★★★ In the thrilling conclusion of this trilogy about the Boleyn King who never was, Minuette finds herself caught between the king’s increasingly obsessive love and her loyalty to her secret husband Dominic. As the backdrop to this love triangle, Catholic and Protestant factions vie for power, causing families, friendships, and political loyalties to fracture...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane'

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman

★★★★★ A haunting tale of evils both real and supernatural, this story follows our narrator as he remembers the events that changed his world as a 7-year-old child. When a lodger commits suicide in the family car, evil powers are unleashed that quickly threaten his life and those of the people he loves. In order to survive, he must become brave enough to face this...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, horror, fantasy

Cover: 'Douglas Fairbanks and the American Century'

"Douglas Fairbanks and the American Century" by John C. Tibbetts

★★★★ Fans of silent cinema will enjoy this in-depth look at the films of Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckling hero from such silent classics as The Mark of Zorro and Robin Hood. While not for readers looking for a biographical account of Fairbanks’s life and his marriage to Mary Pickford, this volume is perfect for those who are more interested in a cinematic...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'My Accidental Jihad'

"My Accidental Jihad" by Krista Bremer

★★★★★ A captivating and moving memoir about a women's journey through love, interethnic marriage, parenthood, and life. This memoir follows Krista from her surfing days to a journalism career to a chance encounter with a runner that eventually leads to a discovered pregnancy, and soon a cross-cultural marriage. The author shows us her experiences being married to...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'Body Language'

"Body Language" by Aaron Brehove

★★★★ I have read a number of books on the "science" of non-verbal communication i.e. "body language" and this book was one of the better ones I have read. Scientists have indicated that most communication occurs non-verbally via body signals which we give out unconsciously. While our words convey some meaning, some studies indicate that non-verbal communication...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Save The Date'

"Save The Date" by Mary Kay Andrews

★★★★★ Escape into the world of Cara, a newcomer to the Savannah florist scene. We meet Cara at a critical juncture in her life where business is booming yet she has several challenges threatening to bring her down. Although Cara isn't interested in love, she is in the business of helping those who are in love. She keeps running into a guest at most of her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Rosie Project'

"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion

★★★★★ This quick and entertaining read follows geneticist Don Tillman, as he devises a plan to find the perfect wife while bypassing the social awkwardness of actual dating. Just when Don has it all figured out, he meets Rosie. Although Rosie meets none of Don's wife criteria, she quickly becomes his friend as they work together to find her biological father. A...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'I Don't Know What You Know Me From'

"I Don't Know What You Know Me From" by Judy Greer

★★★ You may know Judy Greer from her numerous roles as a co-star in movies such as 13 Going on 30 and The Wedding Planner, and her collection of essays is perfect for readers looking for a light read this summer. Greer has a tendency to ramble as she recounts her life and her career as an actress. Sometimes she is quite funny, especially the essay describing a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Cover: 'The Painter'

"The Painter" by Peter Heller

★★★★★ Peter Heller brings us a beautifully written novel about a famous New Mexico artist names Jim Stegner whose life seems to spiral around in destructive chaos. Jim has a history of violence and loss, but is trying to move forward as he finds a new home that offers him peace and quiet, a place to paint, and great fishing. However, Jim's peaceful existence is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The World According to Bob'

"The World According to Bob" by James Bowen

★★★★★ A continuation of his first book, "A Street Cat Named Bob," Bowen details more adventures with his beloved and extraordinary cat, Bob, and provides further insights into his own life. It is heart-warming once again to witness the transformative power of the human/animal bond and the lessons that can be learned if one's heart is open to them. I freely admit...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Life's That Way'

"Life's That Way" by Jim Beaver

★★★★★ Life's That Way is a beautiful and moving memoir by Jim Beaver, the talented actor who I came to know from the TV series Supernatural. His memoir is a heartbreaking, touching, but also uplifting recounting of his wife's battle with cancer and daughter's battle with autism. Told through the heart-wrenching emails Jim Beaver sent to their family and friends,...

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

Cover: 'The Monkey Wrench Gang'

"The Monkey Wrench Gang" by Edward Abbey

★★★★★ While not a new release, this 1975 classic is well worth a revisit. Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke returns from war to find that his beloved southwestern desert is being threatened by rampant industrial development. Joined by an unlikely group of allies, Hayduke sets out to save the natural landscape that he loves as he rages against men and their machine-...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, nature

Pages