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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: 'Southern Vegan'

"Southern Vegan" by Lauren Hartmann

★★★★★ Just looking at the cover of this plant-based cookbook is enough to get your taste buds excited, and I wasn't disappointed once I opened it! Between tantalizing brunch items like the giant toffee cinnamon roll and the super fluffy buttermilk sheet pan pancakes to main meals like cheesy biscuit vegetable pot pies, one-pot vidalia onion pasta, and smothered...

Cover: 'Giannis'

"Giannis" by Mirin Fader

★★★★★ If you are a basketball, Milwaukee Bucks, or Giannis Antetokounmpo fan, this book is a must read.   An incredible story of hard work, sacrifice, family, and humbleness, this biography showcases Giannis's rise to the top from starting at an incredible low. You read about how Giannis and his brother shared shoes while growing up (...

Cover: 'Crashing Through'

"Crashing Through" by Robert Kurson

★★★★★ “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”---Soren Kierkegaard.  This quote embodies this suspenseful and highly insightful look in to the inspiring life of Mike May. At three years of age, May’s sight is instantly taken from him in an explosive accident. From the beginning, he doesn’t let that stop him from...

Cover: 'Vegan At Times'

"Vegan At Times" by Jessica Seinfeld

★★★★★ Looking for healthy recipes for you and the planet? Classics like flaky biscuits for breakfast, sloppy joes for lunch, bolognese for dinner, and chocolate pudding for dessert? This new cookbook is packed with all your favorite classics, along with recipes I already know will be new favorites for me, like the potato and caramelized onion tart and the peanut...

Cover: 'Little Kid, Big City!'

"Little Kid, Big City!" by Beth Beckman

★★★★★ If you could travel through London for a day, where would you go? Would you visit the London Zoo? Or peruse the toys at Hamleys? Don't forget to grab a bite to eat at Borough Market! In this fun and interactive new children's book, kids get to learn all about one of my favorite cities in a unique way. Kids can decide where they want to visit next...

Cover: 'Yearbook'

"Yearbook" by Seth Rogen

★★★★★ You probably know actor Seth Rogen from comedy films like Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and Neighbors. What you probably didn’t know is what an unconventional adolescence he had prior to making it big in Hollywood. It’s these stories (and others he tells about his life post-success) that make Yearbook such a...

Cover: 'The Killing Kind'

"The Killing Kind" by Jane Casey

★★★★★ Ingrid Lewis is no stranger to dangerous people. A barrister in London, she's defended all sorts of clients. One she will never forget? John Webster. Acquitted of a stalking charge after Ingrid defended him in court, he rapidly grew obsessed with her and destroyed everything in her life. Webster suddenly shows up just as Ingrid finally felt like she was...

Cover: 'The Dead and the Dark'

"The Dead and the Dark" by Courtney Gould

★★★★★ One chapter in and I was immediately hooked on this story about a family who move to a small town called Snakebite for their latest ghost hunting investigation. But when Logan and her dads show up, it immediately becomes clear that not everything is as it seems. Something is wrong with this town, and it's not just their extreme distrust and disrespect of...

Cover: 'Provecho'

"Provecho" by Edgar Castrejon

★★★★★ The cover filled with beautiful pictures of delicious food first pulled me to check out this new cookbook, and when I realized it was a vegan cookbook as well, it was even better!  Packed with recipes that I can't wait to try, this is not only a celebration of vegan food but also of the Mexican culture and community. Every single recipe had a...

Cover: 'House of Hollow'

"House of Hollow" by Krystal Sutherland

★★★★★ How would you live your life if you and your two sisters mysteriously vanished when you were young, only to return a month later with no memory of what happened and nothing but identical scars on your throats? Soon after returning, all their eyes turn black and their hair turns stark white, but the mystery of what happened is never found. Iris chooses...

Cover: 'The Caiman'

"The Caiman" by María Eugenia Manrique, Ramón París, Amy Brill

★★★★★ People usually tell touching stories about dogs and cats or even birds—but an alligator?A caiman is a species of Central and South American reptile similar to an alligator. In Venezuela, José Faoro adopts an abandoned baby caiman, whose mother was probably taken by poachers. The little alligator grows up following Faoro around his jewelry and watch repair...

Cover: 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz'

"The Tattooist of Auschwitz" by Heather Morris

★★★★★ Do you like based on true story fiction? Do you like World War II  books? Then this is a perfect combination for you!  Follow the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, as he survives his time in Auschwitz. We learn of what he went through on his way to the concentration camp, his time there and what his life was like afterwards. ...

Cover: 'The Night Walk'

"The Night Walk" by Marie Dorleans, Polly Lawson

★★★★★ A delightful picture book translated from French, The Night Walk is about a family that rises early to go on a long walk. They walk away from their town past fields, through the woods, by a lake, and up some rocky hills. Finally, we see what they walked all that way for: the sunrise.On the journey, descriptive words awaken all the senses—a shrieking train,...

Cover: 'Katie the Catsitter'

"Katie the Catsitter" by Colleen A.F. Venable

★★★★★ As a cat-loving owner of three awesome cats myself, I first picked up this graphic novel because of the cat theme that clearly shines through on the cover. Readers meet Katie, who's desperate to get out of New York City and join her best friends at summer camp. The only problem is, she has no money to pay for it, so she works hard to find as many jobs as...

Cover: 'The Sun Down Motel'

"The Sun Down Motel" by Simone St. James

★★★★★ 35 years ago, Carly's aunt disappeared in the mysterious town of Fell. Knowing nothing about her, because her mother refused to talk about her, Carly finds herself heading to Fell shortly after her mother's death to finally try and put the pieces together surrounding her aunt's disappearance. When she sees a "help wanted" sign in the window of the Sun Down...

Cover: 'Roaming America: Exploring the National Parks'

"Roaming America: Exploring the National Parks" by Renee Hahnel, Matthew Hahnel

★★★★★ The cover alone enticed me to check out this travel resource, which promises readers information on all 59 National Parks in the United States. This has some of the most beautiful travel photography I think I’ve ever seen, and just enough info on each location to spark your wanderlust! It includes suggested itineraries, recommendations and planning tips,...

Cover: 'The Nickel Boys'

"The Nickel Boys" by Colson Whitehead

★★★★★ “Throw us in jail, and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you … But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom.”   Determined to live out the ideals of Martin Luther King in the early 1960’s Jim Crow-era south,...

Cover: 'Hostage'

"Hostage" by Clare Mackintosh

★★★★★ In this thrilling new release by one of my all time favorite authors, flight attendant Mina is forced to make an impossible decision during her job as a flight attendant on the highly-anticipated 20-hour flight from London to Sydney. Swarming with reporters and 300 other passengers, Mina isn't even supposed to be on the flight. Switching shifts with a...

Cover: 'Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen'

"Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen" by Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney, Mary McCartney

★★★★★ This new cookbook packs a punch with delicious recipes along with knowledge on the ethical, environmental, and health reasons behind why a plant-based diet is vitally important now more than ever. It was also a love letter and dedication from the family to the memory of Linda McCartney, which really struck me throughout the cookbook. I appreciated that this...

Cover: 'They All Saw A Cat'

"They All Saw A Cat" by Brendan Wenzel

★★★★★ With all that is going on in the world today, it is important to remember that perspectives about what is going on can be different. This book is a great example of this. They All Saw A Cat shows the different perspective or view that each animal/character within the book has when looking at the same thing. Even the cat sees itself in a different way at the...

Cover: 'Unforgettable Journeys: Slow Down and See the World'

"Unforgettable Journeys: Slow Down and See the World" by DK Eyewitness

★★★★★ In this beautifully-illustrated travel book, readers are guided through unforgettable journeys that are sure to inspire wanderlust! Trips are organized by mode of travel: on foot, by road, by bike, by water, and by rail, and then further by continent. As someone who loves (and misses travel, especially abroad), I found myself marking many trips I'd love to...

Cover: 'Just Last Night'

"Just Last Night" by Mhairi McFarlane

★★★★★ Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have that rare magic kind of friendship that started when they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, they are navigating new sets of problems, a dead end job, family you won’t speak of, being in love with one of your best friends. Eve has loved Ed since forever and no one knows. One night changes everything, Ed’s longtime...

Cover: 'Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey'

"Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey" by Erin Entrada Kelly

★★★★★ Dadhead. Buster Keaton. Betty Bigmouth. Peppina. These words will have more meaning once you have read Marisol Rainey’s story. Marisol is a girl who likes to name things like trees and refrigerators. She has a best friend named Jada and an older brother named Oz. Jada, Oz, and practically everyone else are super good at climbing trees—like the one in the...

Cover: 'Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math'

"Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math" by Jeannine Atkins

★★★★★ Jeannine Atkins has another excellent book to follow Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. The women she focuses on this time include Katherine Johnson and Vera Rubin. Each poem is a small moment in the girls’ lives. I especially love the last lines of so many of the poems. They feel hopeful and end on an upward note. “She charts what’s known in...

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