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; follow us for the latest updates.

"The Little Shop of Happy Ever After" by Jenny Colgan

'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After' by Jenny Colgan

Adult Book ★★★★★ This lovely, new book by Jenny Colgan had me enchanted from the first page (just as all her others have). Readers meet the timid, but immediately lovable Nina, who's a librarian that suddenly loses her job in Birmingham, England due to a library closure. When her life suddenly shifts beneath her feet, Nina is forced to step outside her comfort zone and make the hidden dream of owning her own little bookstore a reality. When a van in Scotla ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Little Shop of Happy Ever After" at »

"Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen (No One Else Can Have You, #2)" by Kathleen Hale

'Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen (No One Else Can Have You, #2)' by Kathleen  Hale

Teen Book ★★★★ Kippy Bushman is still recovering from the physical and psychological damage caused by her investigation into her best friend Ruth’s death. She and her father have a rocky relationship, her former tormenter Libby is the closest thing she has to a friend, and the sociopath who killed her friend Ruth continues to contact her. At least things are going well for her with her boyfriend—at least until she finds him at his house, barely alive ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen (No One Else Can Have You, #2)" at »

"The Widow" by Fiona Barton

'The Widow' by Fiona Barton

Adult Book ★★★★ What would you do if you found out the innermost secrets your husband has locked away; that he has a whole other life he's been keeping from you? What if you realize your husband could really be a monster? These are the questions Jean is forced to face after a local girl suddenly vanishes and the police end up on her doorstep. The novel shifts between the past year of her life, to what eventually made her a widow. I would suggest reading t ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Widow" at »

"$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" by Kathryn Edin

'$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America' by Kathryn Edin

Adult Book ★★★★★ When conducting research in 2010, Edin, who had been researching poverty for 20 years noticed a fundamental change in many families she interviewed—they were living without any visible cash income. In the summer of 2012, Edin joined forces with Shaefer, a leading expert on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and they started in-depth studies of families living on $2.00 per person per day (or less) in four areas (Chicag ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" at »

"The Rosemary Spell" by Virginia Zimmerman

'The Rosemary Spell' by Virginia Zimmerman

Children's Book ★★★★★ Books and words have always been important to Rosemary and her best friend Adam, so when they discover an extremely old book in a locked cabinet in her father’s old study, they are excited beyond words. Is it perhaps a secret, magical, ancient book? Did it once belong to Shakespeare or perhaps to Constance Brooke, an elderly poet suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who used to live in their house? When they begin to write in the book at ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Rosemary Spell" at »

"Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy" by David Joachim

'Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy' by David Joachim

Adult Book ★★★★ This is a new, beautifully illustrated cookbook that celebrates international cuisine on every page. Gorgeous pictures of completed meals are surrounded by a plethora of brightly added stories and information concerning the ingredients and culture behind each recipe. Even if you don't immediately want to start cooking one of the recipes, it's a great cookbook to just enjoy reading and learning about different regions, their culture, and th ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy" at »

"The Circle" by Dave Eggers

'The Circle' by Dave Eggers

Adult Book ★★★★★ Twenty-four-year old Mae Holland is elated to be starting her new job at the Circle, an internet company of the not-too-distant future that is a combination of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media platforms. At first Mae is taken aback by the virtual networking required within the company and the negative attention she draws by staying the weekend at her parents rather than attending any Circle social events on campus. Before ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "The Circle" at »

"Paper Wishes" by Lois Sepahban

'Paper Wishes' by Lois Sepahban

Children's Book ★★★★ Ten-year-old Manami lives a carefree life combing Bainbridge Island, Washington with her beloved grandfather and dog Yujiin. But it’s 1942, and after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor they are forced by the U.S. government, along with other Japanese Americans, to live in a one room prison camp in the California desert. Worse yet, Yujiin is forced out of Manami’s arms on their journey to the camp. Every day Manami tearfully looks for sig ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Paper Wishes" at »

"Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)" by Marissa Meyer

'Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)' by Marissa Meyer

Teen Book ★★★★ This collection of nine stories takes place in the world of the popular Lunar Chronicles. Most of the stories serve as prequels to the series and provide additional backstories for a number of characters, including Michelle Benoit, a high-school age con-artist Carswell Thorne, and a young Cress. As charming and endearing as these stories are, the biggest draw for fans of the series is likely going to be the final story, which takes place a ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)" at »

"Pax" by Sara Pennypacker

'Pax' by Sara Pennypacker

Children's Book ★★★★★ Forced by his father to return his beloved pet fox, Pax, to the wild and move three hundred miles away to live with his grandfather, twelve-year old Peter is devastated. Still grieving his mother’s recent death, losing his father to the war effort (again) and being forced to give up Pax, his friend and soul-mate, is too much. Unconcerned with his own safety and the raging war in his path, Peter leaves on a desperate, seemingly impossible ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Pax" at »

"The Love That Split the World" by Emily Henry

'The Love That Split the World' by Emily Henry

Teen Book ★★★★★ Natalie has just graduated high school and has experienced visits throughout her childhood from a woman she calls "Grandmother" that no one else can see. Her last visit with Grandmother carries a foreboding warning about saving someone in the upcoming summer break. As Natalie tries to piece together what Grandmother's warning might mean, she starts to see other people that others cannot, one of whom is Beau. She and Beau are instantly attr ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Love That Split the World" at »

"A Mad, Wicked Folly" by Sharon Biggs Waller

'A Mad, Wicked Folly' by Sharon Biggs Waller

Teen Book ★★★★★ Seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling longs to be an artist; however, when her love of art leads to expulsion from her French finishing school, her high society London parents bring her home and lay out a plan for her rehabilitation, which includes an arranged marriage to a young man from a proper family. Her alternative: to be banished to a life of near-solitude with her unmarried aunt in Norfolk who has no use for art, literature, or fun o ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "A Mad, Wicked Folly" at »

"The Shadow Year" by Hannah Richell

'The Shadow Year' by Hannah Richell

Adult Book ★★★★★ In this captivating novel, Lila is devastated from a terrible loss. When she is anonymously sent the key to a tucked away cottage in the Lake District, Lila flees London for the quiet of the mysterious cottage. As her bruises, both physical and mental, slowly start to heal, Lila throws herself into renovating the hidden cottage. But the cottage isn't what it appears to be, and Lila is driven to find out who gave it to her and what past the ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Shadow Year" at »

"Salt to the Sea" by Ruta Sepetys

'Salt to the Sea' by Ruta Sepetys

Teen Book ★★★★★ Inspired by the greatest tragedy in maritime history, four characters from four different European homelands board the Wilhelm Gustloff ship in hopes of surviving World War II. The war has torn apart the lives of Joana and Emilia. Joana, a young nurse from Lithuania, is trying to reunite with her mother. Emilia, a Polish girl, is just trying to survive being driven from her homeland after the persecution of the Polish people from both the ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "Salt to the Sea" at »

"Tinder Nightmares" by Unspirational

'Tinder Nightmares' by Unspirational

Adult Book ★★★★ For the unfamiliar, Tinder is a mobile dating app that helps pair up singles with others in their geographical area. Swiping right on a person’s profile means you like them and if they like you back, the app will let you know you’re a match. Sounds simple, right? In “Tinder Nightmares”, it’s less about the simple and more about the absurd. Comprised of real-life interactions that were submitted by users of the app, the book featu ...

Reviewed by Dan R. Read more reviews of "Tinder Nightmares" at »

"Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty

'Rosie Revere, Engineer' by Andrea Beaty

Children's Book ★★★★★ Meet Rosie, the great-great-niece of the heroine Rosie the Riveter, who enjoys building different gadgets and gizmos. Rosie wants to become an engineer when she grows up! She is always trying to make new things, however when people laugh for joy at her inventions she mistakes that for people laughing at her inventions instead. Rosie wants to give up every time someone laughs or her ideas fail on the first try. Luckily she is related to Ros ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Rosie Revere, Engineer" at »

"Gratitude" by Oliver Sacks

'Gratitude' by Oliver Sacks

Adult Book ★★★★★ It is hard to write a review on a book this brief without spoiling the contents. What I can say is that this short collection of essays, written in the two years leading up to Dr. Sacks’ death, is deeply and beautifully human. These essays show us the depth of coming to terms with death and celebrating, with gratitude, the life that you have lived. There is something so peaceful about reading his final reflection on the joy of a life wel ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Gratitude" at »

"My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

'My Name Is Lucy Barton' by Elizabeth Strout

Adult Book ★★★★★ We all have a story, and this one is Lucy Barton’s. When a mysterious reaction to a recent surgery lands Lucy in the hospital for an extended stay, she is surprised to find her estranged mother sitting at the foot of her bed. Since Lucy married and moved to New York City years ago, she has had little contact with her family and never goes to visit. With the sudden reappearance of her mother at her sick bed, the two start to connect over ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "My Name Is Lucy Barton" at »

"Superfood Snacks: More than 100 nutrient-dense, completely indulgent desserts & snacks" by Julie Morris

'Superfood Snacks: More than 100 nutrient-dense, completely indulgent desserts & snacks' by Julie   Morris

Adult Book ★★★★★ If you are looking for snacks that are both delicious and super-healthy, this is a great book to pick up. I have made the cookie dough protein bites, the mocha energy bites, and the chocolate whip dip. There are also savory dip and kale chip recipes. I appreciated the first chapter, called "The Superfood Treatment," which outlines the items to stock in your pantry and their specific health benefits, as well as tips to reduce the cost of bu ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "Superfood Snacks: More than 100 nutrient-dense, completely indulgent desserts & snacks" at »

"Connect the Stars" by Marisa de los Santos

'Connect the Stars' by Marisa de los Santos

Children's Book ★★★★ You could say that thirteen-year-old Audrey Alcott is obsessed with lying. She can’t help it. She instinctively knows when people are lying and it’s making her life so miserable that her parents send her to a six-week summer wilderness camp that promises attendees a “journey to confidence.” There she meets Aaron Archer, a kid with a brain like a walking computer, who is great with facts but not so good at assembling them. Going out ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Connect the Stars" at »

"Gonzo Girl" by Cheryl Della Pietra

'Gonzo Girl' by Cheryl Della Pietra

Adult Book ★★★★★ At age 23, Cheryl Della Pietra spent five months working as an assistant to famous (or infamous, rather) writer Hunter S. Thompson, who pioneered the genre of gonzo journalism with such works as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Pietra’s time with Thompson is the basis for this fiction novel, which follows recent college grad and aspiring novelist Alley, who takes a job assisting unpredictable and temperamental writer Walker Reade. A ...

Reviewed by Dan R. Read more reviews of "Gonzo Girl" at »

"The Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende

'The Japanese Lover' by Isabel Allende

Adult Book ★★★★★ Alma Belasco's lives at Lark House Retirement Home in San Francisco. As a child, and then as a young woman, she fell in love with the son of her uncle's Japanese gardener. Now in old age, her grandson and her caretaker, who are falling in love themselves, discover their love letters. Her story spans from her fleeing Poland as a child refugee to her lover's incarceration at an internment camp for Japanese nationals during World War II. Set ...

Reviewed by Anna C. Read more reviews of "The Japanese Lover" at »

"Mother Bruce" by Ryan T. Higgins

'Mother Bruce' by Ryan T.  Higgins

Children's Book ★★★★★ Bruce is a grumpy bear who lives alone and has one passion—eggs. He loves making fancy egg recipes that he finds on the Internet, but one day he gets a big surprise. Before he gets his goose eggs cooked, they hatch and call him “Mama.” He tries repeatedly to get rid of the goslings, even by being extra grumpy and roaring, but they won’t leave, not even when all the other geese are flying south. This cute, humorous tale of mistaken ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Mother Bruce" at »

"Silver Bay: A Novel" by Jojo Moyes

'Silver Bay: A Novel' by Jojo Moyes

Adult Book ★★★★★ Romantic, charming, and full of surprising characters, this early work from a popular author is not one to miss. Mike Dormer is climbing the ladder in a prestigious land development firm in London. He has made partner, is engaged to the boss’s daughter, and lives in luxury. His entire life appears to be perfect, that is until a land deal falls through on a high end resort project and he is forced to quickly scout out a new property on th ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Silver Bay: A Novel" at »

"Baking with Mary Berry" by Mary Berry

'Baking with Mary Berry' by Mary Berry

Adult Book ★★★★★ If you have ever watched the popular British cooking show, The Great British Bakeoff, you will know the treasure that this cookbook holds! Mary Berry is a British baking superstar who has made an easy to follow cookbook that will help us all master a sponge cake or a choux pastry. For me, this cookbook has just want I would want to learn and master from Mary Berry. The beginning of the book gives easy step-by-step techniques, with pictures ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Baking with Mary Berry" at »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.