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Marathon County Public Library

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Staff Picks

Check out these five-star reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books and DVDs for adults, children and teens! Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'A Tale of Witchcraft'

"A Tale of Witchcraft" by Chris Colfer

★★★★★ The magical community has been accepted in the kingdoms. The faeries have been helping around the kingdoms and the people celebrate when they arrive! Now, a secret clan has resurfaced after centuries of silence called the Righteous Brotherhood. The Righteous Brotherhood has vowed to exterminate all magical life and Brystal is their first target. Meanwhile,...

Cover: 'Remote Control'

"Remote Control" by Nnedi Okorafor

★★★★★ They call her Sankofa, but that is not her name. Whispers travel ahead of her calling her the adopted daughter of Death, fearful cries that she will kill you with one touch, destroy a town with one glance. A fox follows at her heels, her only companion. Sankofa walks from city to city, searching all of Ghana for the object that was stolen from her....

Cover: 'Tea Time Around the World'

"Tea Time Around the World" by Denyse Waissbluth

★★★★★ Take a trip around the world with tea! This traditional, yet diverse beverage can be warm or cold, sweet or tart. Did you know that tea can also contain yak butter or tapioca bubbles? Tea can also steep in a samovar and be prepared as an entertaining show!  Learn about tea in various cultures with the poetic rhythm of a...

Cover: 'The Switch'

"The Switch" by Beth O'Leary

★★★★★ When Leena has a panic attack during a pivotal work presentation, she's given a mandatory two-month sabbatical by her boss. Panicking at the thought of her career in shambles and at the thought of two months without the distraction of work, Leena calls her grandmother to arrange a visit in the Yorkshire countryside. Her grandmother, Eileen, has a different...

Cover: 'The Perfect Guests'

"The Perfect Guests" by Emma Rous

★★★★★ Only 14 years old, Beth is dumped on the doorstep of a large mansion by her aunt, to be taken in by a family with a young daughter the same age. Beth is amazed at the kind family and grand estate she's welcomed to, but when they ask her to play a game before a visitor arrives, her world spins out of control.  Years later, Sadie is an actress...

Cover: 'Red Sister'

"Red Sister" by Mark Lawrence

★★★★★ In Abeth there were once four tribes, each with different traits and abilities. Gerant are large, and strong; Hunska are dark-haired, dark-eyed, and fast; Marjal are known for their ability to perform lesser magics; and Quantal are able to work great magics and walk "The Path," a line of energy connected to The Ancestor and the heart of power itself. Over...

Cover: 'On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson'

"On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson" by Jennifer Berne, Becca Stadtlander

★★★★★ Beautifully illustrated with just the right amount of text to a page, this picture book biography is great to share with young poets. It tells how Emily lived a secluded life enjoying her family, close friends, and the natural world. In books and in her mind she experienced much that she described in her poems. Though she published few in her lifetime, her...

Cover: 'Hunted'

"Hunted" by Darcy Coates

★★★★★ When Eileen goes missing from a hiking trip, her family is thrown into turmoil. When her camera washes downriver and is turned into the police, something disturbing and unexplainable is captured on film. When her brother and his best friends see copies of the film and police stop the search for Eileen, the group of friends are spurred into action to try and...

Cover: 'Outside, Inside'

"Outside, Inside" by LeUyen Pham

★★★★★ The cover of this picture book immediately caught my eye when I saw a beautiful illustration of a girl and a black cat peering out of a window. The hearts hanging in the window and the title alluded to it being set in the current pandemic, and I'm so glad I picked up this picture book from our new releases section.  This is a really wonderful...

Cover: 'South of the Buttonwood Tree'

"South of the Buttonwood Tree" by Heather Webber

★★★★★ This is a story about two women who want something different of their lives, something more. They break the rules and expectations others have of them to find their true self. Years of lies and secrets have formed the women’s beliefs of their families and of themselves. They discover that those secrets have kept them from learning who they truly are and...

Cover: 'The Flatshare'

"The Flatshare" by Beth O'Leary

★★★★★ What would you do if you had no other living option besides sharing a one bedroom flat with a complete stranger? A stranger though, that you won't actually see despite living together?  Tiffy jumps (albeit hesitantly) at the chance of an affordable flat, especially since her flatmate is not supposed to be there at the same time, per their agreement...

Cover: 'Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice'

"Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice" by Mahogany L. Browne, Theodore Taylor III, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood

★★★★★ This is an absolutely beautiful collection of thought-provoking poems by an amazing collection of talented poets that tackles topics from discrimination to immigration to intersectionality to privilege ("What's in my Toolbox" and "A Me-Shaped Box" are both must reads on the topic of privilege and stereotypes). It is a beautifully illustrated reflection on...

Cover: 'Clap When You Land'

"Clap When You Land" by Elizabeth Acevedo

★★★★★ This novel, written in verse, follows Camino Rios in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira Rios in New York City. Both are unaware that the other exists, but as Yahaira's father leaves on his usual summer flight to the Dominican Republic, Camino will soon find out her father's plane will never land. Yahaira and Camino's worlds collide when they soon find out...

Cover: 'Those Darn Squirrels!'

"Those Darn Squirrels!" by Adam Rubin

★★★★★ This is a very cute and relatable children’s book that tells the story of a grumpy and sometimes lonely old man. Mr. Fookwire has interactions with the neighborhood squirrels as they attempt to stock up their winter food supply from his birdfeeders.  The only thing Mr. Fookwire likes is painting pictures of the birds that visit his yard, but those darn...

Cover: 'The Lantern Men'

"The Lantern Men" by Elly Griffiths

★★★★★ So much has changed for forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway in the twelfth book in this fantastic series. When convicted murderer Ivor March makes a deal with police, he swears he'll tell them where two bodies are from prior cold cases, but only if Ruth is the one to dig them up. Lured back into helping the police, Ruth ends up tangled in a web of secrets...

Cover: 'The Willoughbys'

"The Willoughbys" by Lois Lowry

★★★★★ The four children in the Willoughby family are indeed to be pitied. Their parents "frequently forgot that they had children and became quite irritable when they were reminded of it." This left Tim, Barnaby A, Barnaby B (they're twins), and Jane feeling they'd be better off as orphans, of the old-fashioned kind. So they hatch a "perfectly despicable plot" to...

Cover: 'How to Walk Away'

"How to Walk Away" by Katherine Center

★★★★★ This is the second audiobook that I have listened to by Katherine Center. This book has it all! I found some parts to be very funny and others to be sad, but the book takes overcoming tragedy and turns something negative into a positive.  Margaret Jacobsen is so excited for Valentine's Day, as she is so sure that this will be the...

Cover: 'The Unsuitable'

"The Unsuitable" by Molly Pohlig

★★★★★ Victorian, Gothic, Dark Humor. Iseult Wince is getting too old. Soon, she’ll be a spinster, which everyone knows is the worst fate of all. Iseult is a bit odd, and her father dislikes her. His goal is to find her a suitable husband (i.e. any man who will take her). Iseult believes her mother died while giving birth to her, resulting in a scar on her neck...

Cover: 'The Count of Monte Cristo'

"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas

★★★★★ I recently took on a rather mundane home improvement project of tearing off wallpaper and painting my dining room. Not a fan of these projects, my saving grace is listening to an engaging audiobook, one that sweeps me away to other lands and people. I found this escape in The Count of Monte Cristo, written by French novelist Alexandre Dumas. The story...

Cover: 'The Wicked Sister'

"The Wicked Sister" by Karen Dionne

★★★★★ For over a decade, Rachel has been locked in a mental institution, convinced she was responsible for the death of her parents. But when she finds out new details in the investigation that make her question everything she thought she knew, she returns to the one place she never thought she would: her family's breathtaking but haunting log cabin in the middle...

Cover: 'Playing Nice'

"Playing Nice" by J.P. Delaney

★★★★★ What would you do if you were told the son you've been raising lovingly for two years was not actually yours?  A parent's worst nightmare happens to Pete Riley, when a stranger shows up on his doorstep claiming to be his son's biological father. Miles Lambert claims his son was switched with Pete's, and has DNA results to prove it. What begins as an...

Cover: 'The Rules of Magic'

"The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman

★★★★★ The Rules of Magic is a prequel to the 1995 best-seller Practical Magic, a book I fell in love with years ago. That novel told the story of Sally and Gillian Owens, who were raised by their mystical aunts, Franny and Jet, after the death of their parents. But in The Rules of Magic, we rewind several decades, chronicling Franny and Jet’s lives into adulthood...

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