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.

"Monsters Love Colors" by Mike Austin

'Monsters Love Colors' by Mike Austin

★★★★★ Such a fun book to read with your kids if they are interested in learning about colors! The monsters in this book love colors and love to mix colors. Not only that but they love to scribble, mix, dance, and wiggle. Kids will have such a fun time learning about primary colors and how they mix to make other colors. My three-year-old wanted to read this book over and over because it was so vibrant and fun. This book will get your little monst ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Monsters Love Colors" at Goodreads.com. »

"Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni" by Marilyn Sadler

'Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni' by Marilyn Sadler

★★★★★ Tony Baroni loves macaroni so much that he eats it for every meal! His Nonna, or Grandma, tries to persuade Tony to eat a variety of other pastas in order to have him eat something else until he finally decides to eat something different entirely. This is such a light hearted book with some very beautiful illustrations! My three-year-old loved this book, and also loves macaroni! It was fun to interact with my daughter while reading this bo ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni" at Goodreads.com. »

"Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2)" by Rob Thomas

'Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2)' by Rob Thomas

★★★★ Veronica Mars has settled into her new life back in Neptune as a P.I. at Mars Investigations. The Neptune Grand hires Veronica to investigate the allegations of a young woman who claims that she was assaulted at the swanky hotel by an employee before being smuggled out of the hotel, abandoned on the side of the road, and left for dead. The case is complicated by Veronica’s former connection to the victim, who is reluctant to trust her. O ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith

'Grasshopper Jungle' by Andrew  Smith

★★★★★ Printz winners tend to be edgy and controversial. "Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith is no different. Set in a small Iowa town, "Grasshopper Jungle," at its simplest is the end of the world as we know it wrapped around a coming of age story, but that description just doesn't do it justice. Austin and his friend Robby break into the local second hand shop, only to discover a wealth of unusual items in the owner's office. At the same time ...

Reviewed by Julie K. Read more reviews of "Grasshopper Jungle" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Question of Miracles" by Elana K. Arnold

'The Question of Miracles' by Elana K. Arnold

★★★★ Still mourning the recent accidental death of Sarah, her best friend, Iris and her family move from sunny California to nearly always rainy Corvallis, Oregon for a “fresh start.” She hates the rain, hates her new school, hates her new house, but mostly hates life without her best friend. During lunch a loud burrito-chewing, doglike boy from one of her classes named Boris tries to befriend her. Iris discovers that he is somewhat of a m ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Question of Miracles" at Goodreads.com. »

"Black Dove, White Raven" by Elizabeth Wein

'Black Dove, White Raven' by Elizabeth Wein

★★★★★ This is the story of Emilia and Teo, who are raised as siblings from infancy by their mothers, who were stunt pilots in the 1930s in the U.S. The name of the mothers’ act was Black Dove, White Raven, which refers to Delia (mother of Teo) and Rhoda (mother of Emilia), respectively. The lives of Em and Teo are changed in an instant when a bird strike causes the women’s plane to crash, killing Delia instantly. Upon her recovery, Rhoda is ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Black Dove, White Raven" at Goodreads.com. »

"Wolfie the Bunny" by Ame Dyckman

'Wolfie the Bunny' by Ame Dyckman

★★★★★ Wolfie is a baby wolf, not a baby bunny, but Mama and Papa bunny don’t seem to care when they adopt him after finding him in a basket on their doorstep. Their daughter Dot tries to warn them , “he’s going to eat us all up.” Her parents are already smitten but Dot is cautious and maintains her distance. When Wolfie grows bigger and a big bear tries to grab him and eat him, Dot surprisingly discovers he really is her little brother. ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Wolfie the Bunny" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Honest Truth" by Dan Gemeinhart

'The Honest Truth' by Dan Gemeinhart

★★★★★ Sick of being sick, Mark runs away from home with his dog Beau, his camera, and a bag of supplies to fulfill a dream to climb to the top of Mt Rainer while he still can. His cancer’s back, but at least he won’t have to endure yet another treatment. The novel alternates between Mark’s minute-by-minute account of his adventurous journey and the intense reactions of his best friend Jessie, parents and family. Written for tweens, this ra ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Honest Truth" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Secrets of Midwives" by Sally Hepworth

'The Secrets of Midwives' by Sally Hepworth

★★★★★ Are you a fan of "Call the Midwives" and are looking for something similar? Or are you just interested in novels with strong female characters? This novel centers around three generations of midwives, each with a startling secret that will alter their lives and the lives of their families. When Neva, a third generation midwife learns she's pregnant, she desperately hides the identification of the father, while her grandmother harbors a sho ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Secrets of Midwives" at Goodreads.com. »

"life.love.beauty" by Keegan Allen

'life.love.beauty' by Keegan Allen

★★★★ This is a thoughtful collection of photographs, poems, journal entries, and thoughts from Keegan Allen. Most readers will recognize him from the ABC Family TV show "Pretty Little Liars." Fans will enjoy moments and photos taken on and off the set featuring many of the actors from this show, as well as other productions important to Keegan Allen. He also delves into past memories with photos taken throughout his life so far. An interesting ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "life.love.beauty" at Goodreads.com. »

"Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food" by Joseph Bastianich

'Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food' by Joseph Bastianich

★★★★ Who doesn't love pasta? This cookbook has a plethora of new and traditional ideas. All 100 recipes are under 500 calories for those focused on healthy eating, although with the tempting photos, you'd never think this cookbook was focused on flavorful but healthy recipes! I can't wait to delve into a few of these! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food" at Goodreads.com. »

"My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients" by Geoffrey Zakarian

'My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients' by Geoffrey Zakarian

★★★★ For those of us who cook frequently, we almost always have a stocked pantry. But even if it isn't, pantry items are easy to shop for and keep on hand. This cookbook highlights 50 valued pantry items, from honey to canned chickpeas to some of the most essential spices, and includes beautiful recipes that use them. Everything looks delicious, original, and tempting! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook: Over 150 Easy-To-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, or Shellfish" by Judi Zucker

'The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook: Over 150 Easy-To-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, or Shellfish' by Judi Zucker

★★★★ Allergic or intolerant to milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, soy, or fish, and looking for easy recipes to make? I qualify for 3 of the allergies mentioned in this cookbook, and it was very helpful having a whole cookbook devoted to recipes I can safely have! Although I was disappointed that no photos were included, the amount of recipes and tips included were helpful enough! Tempting snacks, soups, salads, desserts, and main dishes had me bookmarki ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Ultimate Allergy-Free Cookbook: Over 150 Easy-To-Make Recipes That Contain No Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Fish, or Shellfish" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans" by Laurence Yep

'A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans' by Laurence Yep

★★★★ Just two days after the funeral of her pet human, Fluffy (a.k.a. Amelia), a young girl named Winnie bursts into mournful Miss Drakes’s secret door in the basement proclaiming that she has been sent by her great-aunt Amelia so Miss Drake won't be lonely. Almost immediately, Miss Drake, who happens to be a dragon, theorizes that this seemingly obnoxious small human is going to be an extremely difficult pet to train. An adventure together l ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Accidental Empress" by Allison Pataki

'The Accidental Empress' by Allison Pataki

★★★★ At just fifteen years old, Elisabeth "Sisi" of Bavaria travels to Austria to meet Franz Joseph, the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who is to marry her sister. Instead, the emperor falls in love with Sisi and makes her his empress. However, Sisi is ill-prepared for the rigors of court life and for dealing with her domineering mother-in-law Sophie. Sophie accompanies Sisi and Franz on their honeymoon and takes Sisi's children away f ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "The Accidental Empress" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Touch of Stardust" by Kate Alcott

'A Touch of Stardust' by Kate Alcott

★★★★★ Julie Crawford is fresh out of college and in a hurry to escape the pressures of life in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She dreams of becoming a screenwriter and decides to take her chances in Hollywood. She finds a job instead as an errand girl for one of the most notoriously temperamental producers in the city. As the studio begins filming what will become one of the most iconic films of all time, Julie is swept up in the magic of the process and ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "A Touch of Stardust" at Goodreads.com. »

"Pin Action: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Bowling Champion" by Gianmarc Manzione

'Pin Action: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Bowling Champion' by Gianmarc Manzione

★★★★ Gianmarc Manzione recreates the world of 1960s and 1970s action bowling in this story of championship bowler Ernie Schlegel. Using interviews, archival materials, and his own love of bowling, the author makes the reader feel like he or she is at the bowling alley, watching Schlegel bowl in one of his flashy outfits or witnessing a gangster draw his knife if a bet didn't turn out as planned. This is an exciting read, even if you are ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Pin Action: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Bowling Champion" at Goodreads.com. »

"Wildalone (Wildalone Sagas, #1)" by Krassi Zourkova

'Wildalone (Wildalone Sagas, #1)' by Krassi Zourkova

★★★★★ Thea Slavin does not understand her parents' resistance to her desire to attend Princeton. Sure it is a long way from home in Bulgaria, but her heart tells her it is where she needs to be to make her dreams a reality. Her determination quickly leads her on a journey that will dig up some dark family secrets that include an eerie amount of Bulgarian legend and Greek mythology. As Thea struggles with adapting to American life, she also finds ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Wildalone (Wildalone Sagas, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship" by Ashley Rodriguez

'Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship' by Ashley Rodriguez

★★★★ Full of beautiful photographs and tasty recipes, this cookbook is great for couples looking to add some romance to their relationship through food. The author and her husband have weekly date nights at home, cooking three or four course meals after they put their kids to bed. Some of the recipes might seem rather ambitious (making homemade buns for sandwiches) for a weeknight, especially if you tend to procrastinate, but the philosophy of ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship" at Goodreads.com. »

"V is for Villain" by Peter Moore

'V is for Villain' by Peter Moore

★★★★★ Brad Baron has a lot to live up to: a father who was a superhero, a brother currently on one of the most popular superhero teams and a genius mother. Enrolled at an elite school for children of superheros, Brad is a disappointment. With the exception of his genius level intelligence, he has nothing else super to recommend him: no super strength, no super speed, no flying, nothing. After being seriously injured during gym class by another s ...

Reviewed by Julie K. Read more reviews of "V is for Villain" at Goodreads.com. »

"Hush Hush (Tess Monaghan, #12)" by Laura Lippman

'Hush Hush (Tess Monaghan, #12)' by Laura Lippman

★★★★★ Rejoice, Laura Lippman fans! Tess is back! Tess, now the mother of a three-year-old, has a retired “murder police” as her new partner and a complicated childcare schedule, but she’s still Tess. She’s not one to pull metaphorical punches (at least not without deliberate effort), her curiosity is difficult to suppress, and her food choices are occasionally questionable. She would rather not deal with her current client, but loyalty t ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Hush Hush (Tess Monaghan, #12)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More" by Katrina Bahl

'The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More' by Katrina Bahl

★★★★★ I have loved Biscoff Spread ever since I first saw it next to the peanut butter at the grocery store. I am also an avid baker and confectioner. Now, I have found a book to fuel my addiction to this spread and the cookies from which it originated. The author originally developed the recipes to provide her son, who is allergic to peanut butter, with delicious sweet treats. What a lucky kid he is! All of the recipes are easy to follow and few ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "The Biscoff Cookie & Spread Cookbook: Irresistible Cupcakes, Cookies, Confections, and More" at Goodreads.com. »

"Who Done It?" by Jon Scieszka

'Who Done It?' by Jon Scieszka

★★★★★ Herman Q, Mildew, an editor renowned for his lack of social skills (which is putting it very nicely!), a penchant for crushing dreams, poor hygiene, and love of stinky cheese is dead, and the police have requested alibis from the many writers and illustrators of young adult and children’s fiction that have reasons to wish him dead. These alibis range from a few paragraphs to several pages and reflect the creativity and ingenuity of their ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Who Done It?" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy" by Rachel Joyce

'The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy' by Rachel Joyce

★★★★★ Queenie Hennessy is dying. As she moves to hospice to live out the rest of her days, she decides to write a farewell letter to the man she has loved in silence for 20 years. What she doesn't expect is that her letter will spark something in him that will send him on a walking pilgrimage across England. When she discovers that he is walking to her and has asked her to wait for him, Queenie is filled with both hope and fear. She does not kno ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy" at Goodreads.com. »

"I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks" by Gina Sheridan

'I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks' by Gina Sheridan

★★★★★ This collection of short and absolutely hilarious anecdotes that will appeal to both library workers and library users. The stories range from cute encounters with children and confusion over ebooks and computers to a few entries that moved this reviewer to tears. There is even an entire chapter dedicated to one eccentric library patron. As a library staff member, I definitely felt the author to be a kindred spirit, and because I had exper ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks" at Goodreads.com. »

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