Marathon County Public Library

learning • community • ideas • information

Staff Reviews / Book Reviews

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and teens! These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.

"Dear Daughter" by Elizabeth Little

'Dear Daughter' by Elizabeth Little

★★★★★ Teenage Janie Jenkins is a LA celebutante - famous for nothing but her looks, her money, and her connections. Her life is perfect...until she is arrested for her mother's murder and sentenced to prison. Ten year later, Janie is released due to a technicality, but the entire world, including Janie herself, still thinks she is guilty. In this action packed thriller full of twists and turns, Janie tries to unravel the mystery of her mother's ...

Reviewed by Laura W. Read more reviews of "Dear Daughter" at Goodreads.com. »

"Night Diver" by Elizabeth Lowell

'Night Diver' by Elizabeth Lowell

★★★★★ The last thing that Kate wants is to leave her safety zone and reenter the world of the family treasure diving business, the same world that stole her parents from her when she was just 17. Unfortunately, her family is in trouble and desperately needs her help. Suspected of stealing the treasure they are commissioned to recover for the British government, Kate's family is facing the possible shut down of the dive they've been working their ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Night Diver" at Goodreads.com. »

"Echo" by Pam Muñoz Ryan

'Echo' by Pam Muñoz Ryan

★★★★★ This book is a masterpiece in its own genre—4 interconnected stories, each one masterfully told, and at alternating turns tearing at our heart and infusing us with hope. 40 years before the “war to end all wars” Otto purchases a book, stumbles into a forbidden forest and finds himself in the middle of a fairytale. He is entrusted with breaking the witch’s spell and securing the future of others to be free, to be loved and to belong ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Echo" at Goodreads.com. »

"Blue on Blue" by Dianne White

'Blue on Blue' by Dianne White

★★★★★ This beautifully illustrated picture book portrays an ordinary stormy, rainy day in the country that looks wonderfully extraordinary. The scratchboard illustrations with added watercolor paint by 2009 Caldecott Medal winner, Beth Krommes, are the real stars here. With repetitive, spare, dreamy words and illustrations we see a day unfolding--wash being hung on the line, fields being plowed, pigs rolling in the mud, loud thunder, drips dripp ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Blue on Blue" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul" by Anthony DeStefano

'A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul' by Anthony DeStefano

★★★★★ This book is a call to be honest about your life and your search for happiness. It doesn't just focus on material wealth or shallow happiness but looks deeper into the spiritual level and the important role that a healthy spiritual life has on overall happiness. It guides us to love ourselves, treat our happiness and well-being from a holistic perspective, and to make a fresh start today in putting God first. I found this book refreshing, ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "A Travel Guide to Life: Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul" at Goodreads.com. »

"So, Anyway..." by John Cleese

'So, Anyway...' by John Cleese

★★★★★ Whether you know him as a Python or as The Pink Panther's Charles Dreyfus, chances are that at some point in your life, John Cleese has made you laugh. Easily one of my favorite comedic actors, John Cleese's memoir is a book that was worth the wait. From his quiet beginnings as the only child of older parents in a sleepy English town, to his adventures in school, and work as a teacher, we get a great view of the man who would become a star ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "So, Anyway..." at Goodreads.com. »

"That Part Was True" by Deborah McKinlay

'That Part Was True' by Deborah McKinlay

★★★★★ Eve Petworth and Jackson Cooper are strangers. They have never met and live in different countries. However, when Eve writes a letter to Jackson to compliment one of his books, a sudden friendship is developed between them over their mutual love of cooking and good food. Their correspondence continues as Jackson searches for direction in his art and meaning in his life, and Eve struggles with the loss of her mother and her daughter's impen ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "That Part Was True" at Goodreads.com. »

"Hug Machine" by Scott Campbell

'Hug Machine' by Scott   Campbell

★★★★★ "Whoa! Here I come! I am the Hug Machine!" starts this wonderful book about a little boy who hugs everything. He hugs people, animals, and even a fire hydrant and mailbox! He hugs hard things, soft things, square things and long things. But, can he hug a spiky porcupine or a humongous whale? The Hug Machine will do anything to give a hug. With simple and warm watercolor illustrations, this book shows how a simple act of kindness can change ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "Hug Machine" at Goodreads.com. »

"Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress" by Christine Baldacchino

'Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress' by Christine  Baldacchino

★★★★★ Morris Micklewhite loves painting, dreaming of great adventures and wearing the tangerine dress in the dress-up center at school. He loves the way it crinkles and swishes when he walks and the color reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair. But the other boys and some of the girls tell him "boys don't wear dresses" and exclude him from their activities and lunch table. After he creates a wonderful painting and adventure the ot ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress" at Goodreads.com. »

"Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)" by Rachel Hawkins

'Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)' by Rachel Hawkins

★★★★ If you enjoy YA books with a strong female protagonist, give Rebel Belle a chance. Seventeen-year-old Harper is an overachieving, popular teenager at a private school in Alabama, until she witnesses a deadly fight at a school dance. Suddenly, Harper is given magical powers, including superhero strength from a dying Paladin, and a quest to protect an Oracle, who just happens to be a childhood rival. Comparisons to Buffy from Buffy the Vampi ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Strange Library" by Haruki Murakami

'The Strange Library' by Haruki Murakami

★★★★ In this fantasy from Japanese author Haruki Murakami, several people are imprisoned in a terrifying library, and must work together to escape. The illustrations and unique design of the book add to the reader's enjoyment, and help readers visualize the library and the characters imprisoned within its walls. It's a quick read, but Murakami still manages to tell a beautiful, albeit strange, story. ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "The Strange Library" at Goodreads.com. »

"Hero Complex (Keaton School, #2)" by Margaux Froley

'Hero Complex (Keaton School, #2)' by Margaux Froley

★★★★★ Devon is back at school following the holiday break, but she hasn’t been able to extricate herself from the repercussions of her first case. That task might be easier if she hadn’t been knocked out cold in the sole security blind spot on a yacht on New Year’s Eve. Devon is convinced it was no accident, but the lack of evidence to support her claim brings an end to the police investigation and leads the new school psychiatrist to beli ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Hero Complex (Keaton School, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Mobile Library: A Novel" by David Whitehouse

'Mobile Library: A Novel' by David Whitehouse

★★★★★ This was a randomly chosen novel that quickly turned into one I couldn't put down! Bobby Nusku spends his time carefully cataloging everything in his house while waiting for his mother's return. He wants her to know every detail of the changes made since she left. He collects hair from the carpet, pieces of her clothing, and even tries to recreate the scent of her by combining her products in an amateur chemist attempt to get it just right ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Mobile Library: A Novel" at Goodreads.com. »

"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain

'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain

★★★★★ At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.Passionately ...

Read more reviews of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" at Goodreads.com. »

"Escape Theory (Keaton School, #1)" by Margaux Froley

'Escape Theory (Keaton School, #1)' by Margaux Froley

★★★★★ Devon Mackintosh, a scholarship student at an elite boarding school on the California coast, never really felt like she fit in. Now a junior with her sights on Stanford’s psychology program, she starts her duties as a peer counselor. These duties are far more challenging than she anticipated when one of the most popular guys at school, Jason Hutchinson (“Hutch”), dies of an apparent suicide. As she counsels Hutch’s friends and reca ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Escape Theory (Keaton School, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott

'The Dressmaker' by Kate Alcott

★★★★★ Tess longs to escape a life of servitude. She knows that her talent should make her more than just a maid, but her beautiful dressmaking skills go unappreciated and unrewarded by her current employer. On impulse, she grabs her few belongings and runs for the docks where she has heard there are jobs available on a fancy new ship that is about to set sail. Sadly, all the jobs are taken but she is determined to make this voyage happen. Her pe ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Dressmaker" at Goodreads.com. »

"Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography" by Meryle Secrest

'Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography' by Meryle Secrest

★★★★ This well-written biography provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The fiery Italian was a rival of Coco Chanel, good friend of Salvador Dali, and a mentor to Hubert De Givenchy. Schiaparelli created the famous lobster print dress that Wallis Simpson wore after she married the Duke of Windsor, and designed wrap dresses long before Diane von Furstenberg. Although I enjoyed looking at th ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Elsa Schiaparelli: A Biography" at Goodreads.com. »

"Big Bad Detective Agency - Library Edition" by Bruce Hale

'Big Bad Detective Agency - Library Edition' by Bruce Hale

★★★★ Things were going well in Fairylandia for a reformed Wolfgang, a.k.a. the “Big Bad Wolf”, until the Three Little Pigs’ houses were vandalized and he is accused. Arrested and released, he reluctantly teams up with Ferkel, the fourth little pig, and as the new “Big Bad Detective Agency” they set off to find the perpetrator. Things get really funny when they question Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Jack (but not his bean ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Big Bad Detective Agency - Library Edition" at Goodreads.com. »

"I Was Here" by Gayle Forman

'I Was Here' by Gayle Forman

★★★★★ Cody has a best friend who decides to commit suicide, seemingly out of nowhere. She goes on a journey of discovery to learn what drove her friend to such a decision while also meeting many others who are also affected by the same loss. What Cody learns about deciding to exist in her new world is the beautiful revelation of this wonderful book. The author of this book has a master's hand at depicting emotions and reality unlike anyone else ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "I Was Here" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)" by Doreen Cronin

'The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)' by Doreen Cronin

★★★★ The Chicken Squad is a group of four hilarious chicks who are out to solve crime. When a blue jay, the weird blue chicken, flies in saying his house has been kidnapped, the Chicken Squad embarks on a journey to figure out who took the birdhouse and why. Filled with funny characters and an entertaining plot, this book is a great beginning chapter book for early readers. The illustrations by Kevin Cornell add to the story and Doreen Cronin b ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" by Lisa Small

'Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe' by Lisa Small

★★★★★ Shoe lovers, this is the book for you! Based on the information gathered for an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, this beautiful book is a photographic and short essay history of the high heel. From its fascinating origins to its present day art form, the high heel has been a status symbol for men and women, functional footwear, and a highly controversial fashion accessory. The deep meaning behind something as simple as a shoe can be astound ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe" at Goodreads.com. »

"Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics" by Chloe Coscarelli

'Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics' by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ This is another fantastic vegan cookbook! Countless pasta, soup, and pizza recipes, as well as delicious desserts had me hooked. You no longer have to give up on the idea of alfredo sauce, gelato, biscotti, or any other of your Italian favorites. Coming from an Italian who can't have any more soy, dairy, or egg, (but who's favorite food is authentic gelato) this cookbook was a dream come true! Included are multiple (and uncomplicated!) rec ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics" at Goodreads.com. »

"Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish" by Betty Rosbottom

'Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish' by Betty Rosbottom

★★★★★ If you love one-dish meals, this cookbook is for you. The photography in this book is beautiful and elevates the humble casserole from everyday dining to haute cuisine. I found all of the recipes easy to follow, and the first chapter contains useful tips and tricks for creating the perfect casserole. I have already made several of the recipes, and my favorite is Leila's Venetian Chicken with Porcini Mushrooms and Fontina. All the recipes c ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish" at Goodreads.com. »

"Absolutely Almost" by Lisa Graff

'Absolutely Almost' by Lisa Graff

★★★★ Ten-year-old Albie’s life is a tangled one and the short, episodic chapters in this tween book mimic this. He is adjusting to a new public school and a new nanny, Calista (whom he’s certain he does not need). Private prep school did not work out and his dad is not happy about it. Albie’s life is full of “almosts”—he almost passes his spelling tests, he’s almost good at tetherball, almost cool at school, and almost makes his ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Absolutely Almost" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston

'The Hot Zone' by Richard   Preston

★★★★★ Stephen King considers this one of the most horrifying books he has ever read! Probably because it is nonfiction and relates the tale of death and destruction by the deadliest animals on earth. Those animals are also some of the smallest animals, the fatal virus Ebola and some of its close relatives. The author traces back the devastating and bloody trail of the first known occurrence of the Marburg and Ebola virus. Catching either of thes ...

Reviewed by Karen J. Read more reviews of "The Hot Zone" at Goodreads.com. »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.