Marathon County Public Library

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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.

"Mood Indigo: A Novel" by Boris Vian

'Mood Indigo: A Novel' by Boris Vian

★★★★ Originally published in 1947, this book was translated into English and released with the opening of the new film version. I had never read this classic but I was intrigued. Touted as a love story gone tragic, it is indeed that and so much more. Vian's world invites you in with its soft edges, beautiful scenery, and mood inspired ambiance. We can't help but fall in love with the world of youth, freedom, and the crazy mixture of jazz and sc ...

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

"Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms" by Katherine Rundell

'Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms' by Katherine Rundell

★★★★★ Will (Wihelmina) loves her wonderful, wild life on the hot, dusty African farm where she is free to roam, climb trees and play with her best friend Simon and numerous animals all day long. Unfortunately her idyllic life comes to an abrupt halt after her father dies from malaria and her father’s friend and new guardian Captain Browne marries a heartless woman. Given no choice by his new wife he is forced to sell the farm and send Will to ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms" at Goodreads.com. »

"The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin

'The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin

★★★★★ Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire rejoice! This large and beautifully illustrated tome will answer many questions about key figures and events in the history of Westeros. Ancient history, Valyria, Aegon's conquest, the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty, and information about the key Westerosi houses are included. The book also covers Essos, including the Free Cities, Yi-Ti, and Asshai-by-the-Shadow. This is definitely a must-read for all fans ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones" at Goodreads.com. »

"Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love" by Terry Hope Romero

'Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love' by Terry Hope Romero

★★★★ This is one creative cookbook chock full of innovative ideas for all kinds of salads, dressings, and toppings. Recipes included building very unique pasta and lettuce salads, packed full with a variety of ingredients. All are vegan, but are sure to please those who don't normally eat that way. There are sweet and savory recipes, like 'Overnight Oats with Mexican Chocolate Creme', as well as salads for every season, including an 'Asparagus ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don't Have to Be Vegan to Love" at Goodreads.com. »

"Lots of Dots" by Craig Frazier

'Lots of Dots' by Craig Frazier

★★★★ Author and illustrator Craig Frazier creates dots of all colors and dimensions that young readers can discover around them. There are brightly-colored floating balloon dots, big drum stick dots, oranges (dots) falling from a tree, traffic light dots, ice cream dots, pea dots, heavy dumbbell dots, light bubble dots and more. This fun “I Spy” read-alike with its simple, bright, colorful illustrations is a fun read-aloud emphasizing color ...

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

"Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food" by Jessica Merchant

'Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food' by Jessica Merchant

★★★★ This cookbook is truly a celebration of food, with beautiful recipes that are a great mix between delicious healthy recipes and more scrumptious treats. Half of the recipes were actually already vegan (which is great for me!), just because the author favors equal parts healthy with equal parts 'treats', which I appreciated. I also enjoyed the author's personal antidotes she included for each recipe; I thought she had a unique and entertain ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food" at Goodreads.com. »

"Mermaids in Paradise" by Lydia Millet

'Mermaids in Paradise' by Lydia Millet

★★★★ "Mermaids in Paradise" is a comedic book about a honeymoon gone awry. The newlywed couple, Deb and Chip, expect nothing but sand, sun, and relaxation during their trip to the Caribbean, but when they meet a marine biologist named Nancy they stumble upon a discovery no one saw coming. While snorkeling in the coral reef they sight actual mermaids! To prove it's true, they capture the mermaids on camera and plan on preserving the mermaids ins ...

Reviewed by LeeAnn K. Read more reviews of "Mermaids in Paradise" at Goodreads.com. »

"DIY Braids: From Crowns to Fishtails, Easy, Step-By-Step Hair Braiding Instructions" by Sasha Coefield

'DIY Braids: From Crowns to Fishtails, Easy, Step-By-Step Hair Braiding Instructions' by Sasha Coefield

★★★★★ Braided hairstyles have become very popular in recent years but they can be intimidating to recreate yourself. "DIY Braids" uses photographs and step-by-step instructions to help you create beautiful braided hairstyles that can be very simple or complex. I appreciated that the models used in the book had different hair types. One had straight hair and the other had curly hair. There is also a style that is reminiscent of the braid worn by ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "DIY Braids: From Crowns to Fishtails, Easy, Step-By-Step Hair Braiding Instructions" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story" by R.J. Palacio

'The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story' by R.J. Palacio

★★★★★ This is a fantastic addition to the book Wonder, the incredible story about Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a unique face. In Wonder, readers had a glimpse into the viewpoints of several characters in Auggie's world, except for the bully himself: Julian. Now readers finally get a chance to experience Julian's point of view, and learn why he hated Auggie so much. Ultimately, this is a story of second chances and lessons learned, and is as ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story" at Goodreads.com. »

"Girls Like Us" by Gail Giles

'Girls Like Us' by Gail Giles

★★★★★ "Girls Like Us" introduces us to Quincy and Biddy, two special education students (or as they refer to themselves, “Speddies”) as they graduate from high school and start life in the real world. Their high school advisor pairs them as roommates in a small apartment above the garage of their new employer and landlady. Quincy and Biddy could not engage with the world more differently, but those differences prove to be an asset as Biddy d ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Girls Like Us" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Boundless" by Kenneth Oppel

'The Boundless' by Kenneth Oppel

★★★★★ After three long years, teen-aged William Everett is dropped off at the train tracks in a town without a name to meet up with his father who is helping build the Canadian Pacific Railway. The train they will be boarding is called "The Boundless" because of its size and magnificence. After accidently witnessing a murder and finding a train car key that unlocks great treasures, William finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime running a ...

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

"How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits" by Anne Berest

'How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits' by Anne Berest

★★★★★ Written by four true Parisiennes, this book gives advice on how to live like a Parisian woman. It includes tips on style, beauty, books, bad habits, food, friends, family, and relationships. There is even a short collection of French recipes at the end. The women write their advice in short sentences and paragraphs, which makes this book quick, and fun, and easy to digest. The photographs in the book are minimalist and beautiful. This is a ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits" at Goodreads.com. »

"Christmas at Tiffany's" by Karen Swan

'Christmas at Tiffany's' by Karen Swan

★★★★★ Once in a while a novel comes along that completely takes you by surprise, taking you on a momentous journey along with the characters that leaves you sitting in stunned, happy silence after you read the last words. This brilliant, heartwarming novel was one I almost missed, because I admittedly shun novels that even mention Christmas in the title. I needn't have worried though, as this wasn't a Christmas themed novel and I'm so glad I gav ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Christmas at Tiffany's" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Swedish Christmas Table: Traditional Holiday Meals, Side Dishes, Candies, and Drinks" by Jens Linder

'The Swedish Christmas Table: Traditional Holiday Meals, Side Dishes, Candies, and Drinks' by Jens Linder

★★★★★ Looking for a unique and quirky Christmas cookbook? Look no further because The Swedish Christmas Table is what you seek. Covering all things Scandinavian, this book is chock-full of recipes from drinks to desserts to candy to feasts! There are so many recipes in this book that it would take a lifetime to make it all! The graphics and pictures are wonderfully vibrant and nostalgic. The only trouble with this type of cookbook is where to be ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Swedish Christmas Table: Traditional Holiday Meals, Side Dishes, Candies, and Drinks" at Goodreads.com. »

"My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories" by Stephanie Perkins

'My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories' by Stephanie Perkins

★★★★★ This compilation of twelve holiday stories written by well-known young adult authors will not disappoint this holiday season! Authors such Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black and David Levithan will make you love the winter season even more. Each of the stories is very different and carries its authors' distinct voice, therefore making each story a true delight. Stories ranged from Hanukkah to New Year's Eve, and from New York City to Christmas, C ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories" at Goodreads.com. »

"Scandinavian Christmas" by Trine Hahnemann

'Scandinavian Christmas' by Trine Hahnemann

★★★★ Since marrying into a Norwegian family, I have looked for traditional foods to prepare around the holiday season. "Scandinavian Christmas" does a great job of giving basic recipes for the Christmas season while also providing ideas for Advent, Christmas parties, and the popular Smorgasbord. This cookbook is well thought out and presented in easy-to-follow sections. The pictures are beautiful and give you a sense of being in Scandinavia for ...

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

"The Good Luck of Right Now" by Matthew Quick

'The Good Luck of Right Now' by Matthew Quick

★★★★★ Bartholomew Neil's world has centered on his mother for 38 years. When she dies suddenly, Bartholomew is left alone to try to figure out what to do with his life. When he finds a form letter from Richard Gere in his mother's dresser, he begins to write very detailed and intimate letters to the actor about his life. We follow along as Bartholomew struggles to make sense of the world and his place in it. He has no friends or family to fall b ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Good Luck of Right Now" 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 is a collection of short snippets from the daily interactions at a public library. From entertaining to disturbing to heartwarming, anyone who has worked in a public library will surely find this book entertaining and most likely, oddly familiar. Conversations are catalogued by theme, such as curiosities and wonders, reference work, and even human anatomy. I found myself either laughing out loud, smiling, or nodding my head because I' ...

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

"The Thickety: A Path Begins" by J.A. White

'The Thickety: A Path Begins' by J.A. White

★★★★★ Witchcraft and magic are denounced as evil, feared and banned on this island colony that is surrounded by a strange forbidden forest with feared creatures known as the Dark Wood or Thickety. At only 5 years old Kara along with her newborn brother Taff witness the hanging death of their mother who was proclaimed a witch and their lives radically change. Since her deeply affected father is unable to function, Kara is forced to raise her sic ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Thickety: A Path Begins" at Goodreads.com. »

"Circle of Stones" by Catherine Fisher

'Circle of Stones' by Catherine Fisher

★★★ Sulis, a teenage girl being handed off to another set of new foster parents, arrives in Bath, England, ready to leave the past behind her. Within minutes, she is already nervously looking over her shoulders at every opportunity. Linked with her story is that of Zac, the assistant to the man who aims to invent the world's first circular street, King's Circus, in which Sulis lives in the future. Also interlaced with these two stories is the ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Circle of Stones" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Midwinter's Tail (Magical Cats, #6)" by Sofie Kelly

'A Midwinter's Tail (Magical Cats, #6)' by Sofie Kelly

★★★★★ In this cozy new mystery in one of my favorite series, Kathleen, the head librarian of a small Minnesota town, is gearing up for a fundraising event and the holiday season. What starts out as a great fundraising event turns into two people sent to the emergency room and one dead body. As Kathleen tries to leave the detective work to her detective boyfriend, she inevitably finds herself standing in front of the murderer and the first to sol ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "A Midwinter's Tail (Magical Cats, #6)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer" by Max Lucado

'Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer' by Max Lucado

★★★★★ Prayer can be a daunting task for many of us. We may feel unskilled, unworthy, or unsure of how to even begin. This little book offers insight, comfort, and instruction when it comes to learning how to pray effectively. Max Lucado breaks through all of the complication and doubt about how to pray, where to pray, who can pray, and what to pray for. He makes it easy and accessible for anyone who is willing to try to have a conversation throu ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)" by Django Wexler

'The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)' by Django Wexler

★★★★★ After overhearing an insect-like black fairy in the kitchen arguing with her father, Alice is informed that her father is dead and she is ordered to go and live with Geryon, an unknown uncle who has a massive library which she is forbidden not only to enter but also to not read any books inside it. Ashes, a talking cat who admits to being only half a cat sneaks her inside, but the minute she begins to read she is thrown inside the book. Ge ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Matthew Mead's Backyard Style: Hundreds of Fresh Ideas for Outdoor Spaces" by Matthew Mead

'Matthew Mead's Backyard Style: Hundreds of Fresh Ideas for Outdoor Spaces' by Matthew Mead

★★★★ Although looking through this outdoor style guide as you see snow right outside your window may not be the best feeling, this is packed full of beautiful illustrations and ideas for when the snow is gone! Included are entertaining tips and a few recipes and decorating ideas as well for each theme and style. I found myself longing for, not only a backyard of my own, but spring to come quickly! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Matthew Mead's Backyard Style: Hundreds of Fresh Ideas for Outdoor Spaces" at Goodreads.com. »

"Hook's Revenge (Hook's Revenge, #1)" by Heidi Schulz

'Hook's Revenge (Hook's Revenge, #1)' by Heidi Schulz

★★★★★ Jocelyn has piracy and adventure in her blood so why did her grandfather send her to an all-too-pink finishing school for girls? Because she is the daughter of the infamous pirate Captain James Hook, that’s why. After receiving a posthumous letter from her father requesting her to avenge his death and destroy the infamous crocodile that took his life, Jocelyn secures a ship, assembles a crew and sets sail for Neverland. Living up to her ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Hook's Revenge (Hook's Revenge, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

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