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.

"The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)" by Tana French

'The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)' by Tana French

★★★★★ Tana French is my favorite mystery author, so I highly recommend the fifth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series! St. Kilda's, a boarding school for girls outside of Dublin, has a bulletin board called "The Secret Place" where the girls can express their deepest secrets anonymously. It is usually a place for gossip and rumors, but one day a photo shows up of a murdered boy with the caption, "I know who killed him." Detectives are called i ...

Reviewed by Laura W. Read more reviews of "The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World" by A.J. Jacobs

'The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World' by A.J. Jacobs

★★★★★ Jacob's fears that his expensive college education is receding into a haze; a long, slow dive toward spending his days watching Wheel of Fortune and drooling into a bucket. To stave this off, he undertakes reading the entire "Encyclopaedia Britannica" from A-Ak to zywiec, 33,000 pages. He finds that this challenge recharges his brain which overflows with facts and factoids not always relevant, but always interjected in everyday conversatio ...

Reviewed by Karen J. Read more reviews of "The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica

'The Good Girl' by Mary Kubica

★★★★★ If you were a fan of the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl", this is the perfect book for you! Colin Thatcher is paid to abduct Mia Dennett, the free spirited daughter of a prominent Chicago judge, and hand her over to his employers. However, once Mia is in his custody, he has a change of heart and decides to hide Mia in a secluded Minnesota cabin, running from both his employers and the police. The story is told from multiple ...

Reviewed by Laura W. Read more reviews of "The Good Girl" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)" by Robert Galbraith

'The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)' by Robert Galbraith

★★★★ I usually don't read many crime or mystery novels but I thought I would try this one since it was written by J.K Rowling. To my surprise, it was an excellent read about a beautiful, mega-celebrity named Lulu Landry, also known as Cuckoo. After Lulu falls off her balcony to her death, the police quickly rule it a suicide. However, months later, the private detective Cormoran Strike is approached by Lulu's brother who wants the case to be re ...

Reviewed by LeeAnn K. Read more reviews of "The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Orfeo" by Richard Powers

'Orfeo' by Richard Powers

★★ Composer Peter Els has become a fugitive from Homeland Security. A philosophical, retired composer, Peter has been conducting chemistry experiments in his garage to find the true essence of music in the elements of earth. Chemistry was his second love, his first being a dreamy music student by the name of Clara, who urged Peter to pursue his talent for composing as something he owed the world. A retired professor of music, his run from the ...

Reviewed by Karen J. Read more reviews of "Orfeo" at Goodreads.com. »

"Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships" by Jana Duggar

'Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships' by Jana Duggar

★★★ While readers may not want to take romantic advice from girls who have never been in a romantic relationship, this book provides some insights into the lives of the notorious Duggar clan, famous for their large family of 19 children. Each chapter is divided into various relationships, such as relationships with parents, siblings, guys, culture, and of course, their conservative Christian faith. They are famously frugal, and devoted to thei ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships" at Goodreads.com. »

"National Geographic Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies: 1,025 Easy Ways to Live Longer, Feel Better, and Enrich Your Life" by National Geographic Society

'National Geographic Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies: 1,025 Easy Ways to Live Longer, Feel Better, and Enrich Your Life' by National Geographic Society

★★★★ This book is a plethora of information! This guide includes remedies for all the common ailments, including skin, digestive, muscle, and breathing problems. Each ailment is broken down into more specific problems and multiple home remedies are given as well as information on when further medical attention is needed. Also included in this easy to follow and welcoming guide is information on the many uses of different herbs. Following that, ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "National Geographic Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies: 1,025 Easy Ways to Live Longer, Feel Better, and Enrich Your Life" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman

'A Man Called Ove' by Fredrik Backman

★★★★★ Ove is not an easy man to love. At age 59, he has lost his job because he is "outdated." He is cranky, opinionated, and gruff. On the other hand, Ove is someone that you can't help but like. He uses his thick emotional wall to hide great personal loss. When new neighbors with little respect for Ove's personal boundaries move in, his whole world begins to turn upside down. It is hard to say more without spoiling the experience of this wonde ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "A Man Called Ove" at Goodreads.com. »

"Tailing a Tabby (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #2)" by Laurie Cass

'Tailing a Tabby (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #2)' by Laurie Cass

★★★★★ In the second installment of the Bookmobile Cat series, we again meet librarian Minnie Hamilton and her loveable cat Eddie. On one of their bookmobile runs across the Michigan countryside, they are flagged down by a woman whose husband is having a stroke. When the man is accused of murder days later, Minnie can't help but delve into investigation mode with Eddie by her side. Another cute and cozy mystery that makes me want the next book in ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Tailing a Tabby (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Under the Wide and Starry Sky" by Nancy Horan

'Under the Wide and Starry Sky' by Nancy Horan

★★★★★ This novel recounts the epic and unconventional love story of Scottish literary master, Robert Louis Stevenson and American divorcee, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. Fanny heads to Europe with her children to escape an unfaithful and miserable marriage and to develop her skills as an artist. In 1875 she meets Lois in the south of France. She thinks he is too young but he falls quickly in love with her. He has a huge heart, is quickly angered ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Under the Wide and Starry Sky" at Goodreads.com. »

"Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage" by Elizabeth Gilbert

'Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage' by Elizabeth Gilbert

★★★ Committed, a follow-up novel to the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love, is a continuation of Elizabeth's and Felipe's love story. On a routine trip back to the States, Felipe is whisked off by government officials who leave the couple with a choice: get married, or never again have Felipe in the United States of America. And so Elizabeth Gilbert must confront what Felipe and her never wanted to experience again: marriage. While I think some reade ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Museum of Extraordinary Things" by Alice Hoffman

'The Museum of Extraordinary Things' by Alice Hoffman

★★★★★ Set in New York in the early 1900s, this fascinating novel explores the world inside a museum of oddities. Professor Sardie fills his museum with human miracles and wonders at the beginning of each season in hopes of attracting the crowds that flood the city from spring to fall. Competition is fierce among summer attractions and his desperation for a star attraction grows every year. His daughter Coralie is too young to enter the museum at ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" at Goodreads.com. »

"365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts" by R.J. Palacio

'365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts' by R.J. Palacio

★★★★★ Precepts are words to live by, as Mr. Browne taught his fifth grade students in Wonder. In this compilation of 365 inspirational precepts, we get a glimpse into Mr. Browne's world of teaching. Each day of the year has a precept that is either a famous quote from a philosopher, a saying on a fortune cookie, lyrics from a song, among others. After each month, Mr. Browne compiles a short chapter that gives us further insight into our favorite ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts" at Goodreads.com. »

"Dragon on Trial (Menagerie, #2)" by Tui T. Sutherland

'Dragon on Trial (Menagerie, #2)' by Tui T. Sutherland

★★★ After rescuing a griffin in the first book, ”The Menagerie”, Logan is officially accepted as a member of the secret menagerie that cares for mythical creatures. This time the crisis involves the disappearance and presumed murder of Pelly, the goose who lays the golden eggs. Snatch, a dragon in the menagerie, is blamed, but Logan and his friend Zoe are sure that he's being framed, and that the goose, crucial to the Menagerie’s income, ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Dragon on Trial (Menagerie, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime" by Danielle Walker

'Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime' by Danielle Walker

★★★★ For those who are gluten and dairy free, and are interested in the paleo diet, this is a beautiful cookbook full of easy and fully illustrated recipes to try. Included is the author's own health journey, as well as tips, grocery lists, label and nutrition information, and even meal plans. This is a great resource for clean eating that accommodates food allergies or nutrition choices that make avoiding gluten and dairy a priority. ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime" at Goodreads.com. »

"Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook" by Martha Stewart

'Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook' by Martha Stewart

★★★★ Martha Stewart gives you all of the skills you need to be a successful at home cook. Have you ever wondered which knife to use for certain purposes? How about how to make a rue? Martha has that all covered in this book (which has been so helpful that it has been made into a PBS TV Series)! Don't be intimidated by the weight of this book because it does an excellent job of guiding you on how to cook, from the basics to more advanced techniq ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook" at Goodreads.com. »

"Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger

'Her Fearful Symmetry' by Audrey Niffenegger

★★★★★ "Her Fearful Symmetry" is a great read for those interested in the supernatural. Two American twin sisters inherit their aunt's apartment in London after she passes away, but is she really gone? When the twins move to London to live in the apartment that is also right next to a famous cemetery, they begin to experience supernatural events and start to believe their aunt is still with them in spirit. The twin's relationship becomes estrange ...

Reviewed by LeeAnn K. Read more reviews of "Her Fearful Symmetry" at Goodreads.com. »

"Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #1)" by Laurie Cass

'Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #1)' by Laurie Cass

★★★★★ Based in the beautiful town of Chilson, Michigan, Minnie Hamilton is the assistant director of the local library who just made possible the start of bookmobile service. In this first novel of a cozy new series, Minnie is adopted by a stray tabby cat who sneaks into the bookmobile with her, and from there the adventure begins. On the very first bookmobile run, Eddie, the instantly loveable stray cat that residents of Chilson deem the 'bookm ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That's Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You" by Laurie David

'The Family Cooks: 100  Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That's Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You' by Laurie David

★★★★ This cookbook is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for healthy recipes to try, whether for kids, a significant other, or just for yourself. An introduction includes compelling information for anyone interested in the hidden and un-healthy additions to the food much of America is eating. What follows is a beautifully made cookbook with tasty recipes, kid-friendly tips, and healthy ideas that you can trust are good for you. ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That's Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You" at Goodreads.com. »

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey

'Bossypants' by Tina Fey

★★★ Are you a fan of "Saturday Night Live" or "30 Rock"? Then this is the book for you. Learn about the life of Tina Fey, SNL writer and star. She documents her life from geeky child who attends a summer theater program to successful star, writer, and actress. This book is not only funny but is also surprisingly insightful on what it means to be a successful woman today. She is unabashedly honest and optimistic about her struggles in life whic ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Bossypants" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel" by Katy Simpson Smith

'The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel' by Katy Simpson Smith

★★★★★ Set in coastal North Carolina during the American Revolution, this novel follows Tabitha, a little girl who loves her father's stories from his days as a pirate, and her mother Helen, who died giving birth to Tabitha years before. Using eloquent, meticulous, and at times biblical prose, the author explores loss, the love between parent and child, and what it means to expand our horizons. While heartbreaking, this novel captures the senses ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel" at Goodreads.com. »

"Forget Me" by K.A. Harrington

'Forget Me' by K.A. Harrington

★★★★★ Morgan's boyfriend, Flynn, died in a hit-and-run accident three months ago. To finally get some closure, Morgan's best friend Toni suggests she upload one last photo of him online. When Morgan posts the photo, the face-recognition software asks if she wants to tag a boy in the town over named Evan Murphy. Morgan is in shock: Evan and Flynn are dead ringers. Is her boyfriend still alive? Morgan embarks on a twisted path to figure out the tr ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "Forget Me" at Goodreads.com. »

"Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion--with a Little Something Extra Inside" by Amanda Rettke

'Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion--with a Little Something Extra Inside' by Amanda Rettke

★★★★ Do you have an upcoming celebration that you'd like to bring an extra special cake to? This book is perfect for bakers who would like an extra challenge, or those with a special occasion coming up. Filled with possibilities, ideas, and recipes, this book is a fun resource for those looking to make an exceptional dessert! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion--with a Little Something Extra Inside" at Goodreads.com. »

"Landline" by Rainbow Rowell

'Landline' by Rainbow Rowell

★★★★ Georgie has a big decision to make before Christmas--work on her dream TV script for a one-time pitch, or go with her husband, Neal, and their daughters to Omaha. Georgie decides to work on the TV script and stay in LA, much to Neal's dismay. Neal is so furious he won't even pick up his phone to talk to her. Georgie soon discovers a landline phone in her old bedroom that lets her talk to Neal before they were married. She finds herself in ...

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

"Visions (Cainsville, #2)" by Kelley Armstrong

'Visions (Cainsville, #2)' by Kelley Armstrong

★★★★★ In the second installment of the Cainsville series, we again meet Olivia, a woman who found out that she was the daughter of two of the most notorious serial killers known at the time. "Visions" opens with Olivia finding the body of a woman dressed to look like her in her car, only to go missing minutes later. The mystery only escalates from there, as Olivia struggles with new powers, past and new loves, as well as her relationship with he ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Visions (Cainsville, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.