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Staff Reviews: fiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


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: 'We Were Liars'

"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

★★★★★ WE WERE LIARS is the perfect summer read for teens and adults! Cadence Sinclair lives a life unfamiliar to most of us, full of money, privilege, and summers spent on a private island with her family. Something terrible happens the summer that she is fifteen between Cadence, her two cousins, and family friend Gat, whom are collectively know as "The Liars,"...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Dangerous Creatures'

"Dangerous Creatures" by Kami Garcia

★★ This book is a disappointing attempt at a spin-off series from the writers of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, the popular teen series about the supernatural world of Casters (witches) in South Carolina. Link and Ridley, now an on-again, off-again couple with magical abilities, escape their fictitious southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina, and head to New York City....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, paranormal, supernatural

Cover: 'Winter Town'

"Winter Town" by Stephen Edmond

★★★★ Every winter break, Evan's best friend Lucy returns to visit her father.  This year is no exception...however, Lucy has changed.  Evan struggles to reunite and reconnect with his closest friend, while Lucy struggles to reconcile her behavior while living with her mom in Georgia with who she is around Evan and his family.  Nothing earth...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic, character-driven

Cover: 'The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing'

"The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing" by Sheila Turnage

★★★★ The Desperado Detectives are back! This time, Mo and Dale set out to uncover a ghostly mystery: the murder of Nellie Blake and her haunting of the Tupelo Inn. When Miss Lana accidently purchases the inn at an auction, Mo wants her to turn it into a successful business. But who would want to visit the haunted inn with Nellie creating havoc? This is a great...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Lion and the Bird'

"The Lion and the Bird" by Marianne Dubuc

★★★★ Lion kindly helps a bird who is cold and wounded and provides a warm place for the winter. They have a lovely time together, but when spring comes and bird's flock returns, he has to join them. This heart-touching universal tale about friendship, love and the ties that bind us is wonderfully told, and simply, but beautifully, illustrated. Preschoolers,...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'City of Heavenly Fire'

"City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare

★★★★ A satisfying end to an interesting young adult series, Cassandra Clare does not disappoint fans of The Mortal Instruments with this final installment. The book is over 700 pages, but it’s full of Shadowhunters, lycanthropes, faeries, warlocks, and vampires battling Clary’s evil brother Sebastian and his legion of dark Shadowhunters in Hell. Much of the plot...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Three Times Lucky'

"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage

★★★★★ Mo LoBeau got lucky when she was a baby; she survived a hurricane her mother left her in and wound up in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Orphaned, Mo made her own family with the Colonel, a quirky man with amnesia who found her after the hurricane, and Miss Lana, an eccentric café hostess. Mo helps out at the café with her best friend Dale, attends the...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, mystery

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: 'Hope Is A Ferris Wheel'

"Hope Is A Ferris Wheel" by Robin Herrera

★★★★ Star Mackie has every reason in the world to give up. She lives with her mother and sister Winter in a pinkish trailer with a plastic flamingo glued to the top. She has never met her father or even received a card from him. She starts an Emily Dickinson Poetry Club to meet friends in her new school. In her weeks of assigned vocabulary sentences (which she...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

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: '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: 'Guy In Real Life'

"Guy In Real Life" by Steve Brezenoff

★★★★ So you read "Eleanor and Park" and you're looking for something similar. Look no farther, as I have your next read right here! Steven Brezenoff's "Guy in Real Life," is an excellent companion to "Eleanor and Park." Lesh is into heavy metal and black dusters. After a Labor Day metal show, he drunkenly smashed into Svetlana...no worries, he's walking and...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic

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: 'Nightingale's Nest'

"Nightingale's Nest" by Nikki Loftin

★★★★★ The music he heard was like nothing he had ever heard before; it was like magic. Twelve-year-old John Fischer is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business when he meets a foster child, Gayle, the bird-like girl with the beautiful voice of a nightingale. When they become friends he discovers that her singing helps heal his body...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

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: 'This One Summer'

"This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki

★★★★★ Every summer Rose and her parents visit Awago Beach.  There are the timeless jokes (Rose's father jokes about Rose being born at the turkey farm) and the old summer only friends, in Rose's case, Windy.  This summer is different.  Rose's mom and dad aren't getting along and Rose thinks she knows why:  Rose's mom wants to have another baby...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel, realistic, award-winning, printz award winner

Cover: 'The Real Boy'

"The Real Boy" by Anne Ursu

★★★★★ The massive walls around the protected island city of Asteri writhe with enchantment.  The wizards’ powerful magic protects the city from illness and harm.  A devastating worldwide plague many years ago killed numerous people from the island. “The boy”, Oscar, works as a lowly “Hand” for Caleb, the most powerful magician in the city. His job is to...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Police'

"Police" by Jo Nesbø

★★★★★ It takes a strong will to put this book down before the end. Nesbo does it again, keeping us in suspense until the very end. "Police" is a real thriller with the suspense rising to almost unbearable levels. Oslo's police officers are being brutally murdered at scenes of unsolved murders they investigated. An unidentified severely wounded man in a coma,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, romance

Cover: 'The Collector'

"The Collector" by Nora Roberts

★★★★ In Nora Roberts' latest tale of romantic suspense, Lila Emerson, a professional house sitter, witnesses a murder from the window of the luxury apartment she is staying at. She is drawn into a deadly game of intrigue, world travel, and priceless art. Ashton Archer is determined to find out why his brother died, and recruits Lila to help him solve the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

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