Marathon County Public Library

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Adult Services

Staff Reviews: For Adults

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


'The Passion of Dolssa' by Julie Berry

"The Passion of Dolssa" by Julie Berry

★★★★★ Dolssa de Stigata is a young noblewoman of eighteen who draws the attention of church authorities when they learn that she is telling family members and friends of the bond she shares with her beloved Lord. Sentenced to death along with her mother, she is mysteriously freed before she is to be dragged into the flames and begins a life on the run hiding from...

Audience: Adults, Teens | Genre: Fiction

'The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit' by Michael Finkel

"The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit" by Michael Finkel

★★★★ For 27 years, Christpher Knight lived in complete solitude in the woods of Maine, becoming known by locals as the North Pond Hermit. Knight only encountered a handful of wayward hikers in his quarter century in isolation, tucked away in a large camp that he made into his own makeshift home. Year after year, Knight survived on his own, meticulously...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

'Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars' by Nathalia Holt

"Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars" by Nathalia Holt

★★★★★ This book is an account of women who were human computers (and later computer programmers and engineers) at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in California. Rather than choose one of the occupations most commonly pursued by women of their time (teacher, nurse, or secretary), these women put their math and science skills to work in order to generate equations and...

Audience: Adults, Teens | Genre: Nonfiction

'A Study in Charlotte' by Brittany Cavallaro

"A Study in Charlotte" by Brittany Cavallaro

★★★★★ Jamie, a descendant of John Watson, is still adjusting to life at his new boarding school and recovering from a recent and disastrous encounter with Charlotte Holmes (descendent of Sherlock Holmes) when the pair become prime suspects in the death of a fellow student. It seems someone is intent on framing the duo, but who could it possibly be? They weren’t...

Audience: Adults, Teens | Genre: Fiction Mystery

'Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You' by Tia Mowry, Jessica Porter

"Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You" by Tia Mowry, Jessica Porter

★★★★ If you’re looking for healthy recipes and information on why they’re healthy, this is a cookbook you have to check out! Tia Mowry (from “Sister, Sister” and “Tia Mowry at Home”) shares her health journey, and the foods that led her to recovery. Normally I stay away from celebrity-authored cookbooks, but I couldn’t help but be curious about this one. I’m so...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Cookbook

'Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough: Cookbook' by Ella Leche

"Cut the Sugar, You're Sweet Enough: Cookbook" by Ella Leche

★★★★ Looking to cut out sugar from your diet, or find healthier ways to make your favorite recipes? This cookbook is a great place to start! Filled with beautiful photography of scrumptious looking desserts, main meals, sides, and more, I found myself marking quite a few recipes to try. There wasn't anything in the description about it being a vegan cookbook,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Cookbook

'What's It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There' by Ariel Waldman

"What's It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who've Been There" by Ariel Waldman

★★★★ If you're like me, you've often wondered what it's like for astronauts up in outer space; what it smells like, what it sounds like, and the overall difficulty of adapting to daily life. Now, there's a book that answers a lot of those questions and provides other interesting facts straight from the men and women who have traveled there and back! The...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut

"Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut

★★★★ A young impressionable writer two sets out to interview the children of Felix Hoennikker, a brilliant scientist credited with inventing the atomic bomb. A believer in the Caribbean religion of Bokonon, the writer believes that God, fate and the universe will guide his life, introducing him to the people he is supposed to meet, sending him to the places he...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Satire, Dystopian

'The Widow's House' by Carol Goodman

"The Widow's House" by Carol Goodman

★★★★★ Jess and Claire Martin move away from their bustling Brooklyn life in hopes that their marriage and Jess's writing career are rekindled. Due to their dwindling budget they end up in their old college town, taking on a caretaker's job in a large house owned by one of their old writing professors. Soon, it's not Jess's writing career that's rekindled. Between...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'The Naked Vegan: 140+ tasty raw vegan recipes for health and wellness' by Maz Valcorza

"The Naked Vegan: 140+ tasty raw vegan recipes for health and wellness" by Maz Valcorza

★★★★ Are you looking for original, healthy recipes that fit a vegan lifestyle? This colorful, easy-to-follow book has it all! From breakfast to main meals to delicious desserts, this cookbook is all about recipes that nourish the body and the taste buds. Because the recipes are considered raw some of them do require a dehydrator, but the author includes easy...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Cookbook

'Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania' by Erik Larson

"Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" by Erik Larson

★★★★ If you are looking for a good non-fiction book and like history, this is for you. This book reads and listens like a novel, which made it easier for me to read/listen to. This was a very interesting read because it was about something that was not taught in school. I personally have heard all there is to hear about the Titanic, but we don't ever hear...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty

"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

★★★★★ Mayhem. Madness. Murder. This is not how the annual trivia night fundraiser at Perriwee Public School was supposed to go, culminating in the death of one of the school's parents. But as the story unfolds, we find that appearances can be deceiving in this small, seemingly perfect oceanside community, and that boiling tensions will eventually erupt. ...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction

'Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation' by Damian Duffy

"Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation" by Damian Duffy

★★★★ Dana, an African American woman in 1970s California, finds herself thrust into the past after experiencing a dizzy spell. On her first unwarranted trip, Dana finds a young, red-haired boy drowning and saves his life. She finds out this young boy, Rufus, is a distant relative of hers and the son of a cold-hearted slave owner. Dana returns to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Graphic Novels

'The Last Days of Pompeii' by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

"The Last Days of Pompeii" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

★★★★ You may think you know the eventual outcome: everyone dies, right? There can’t be much suspense in that! But do they? The story’s climax takes place, as the title suggests, just days before Vesuvius erupts. By then, our heroes and villains are caught in a complex web of actions and counteractions ostensibly dealt out by Fate. The Last Days of Pompeii by...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Historical Fiction

'With Love from the Inside' by Angela Pisel

"With Love from the Inside" by Angela Pisel

★★★★ Grace Bradshaw is on death row for the murder of her infant son, William. When William was months old, he was always ill until he finally had a seizure and died. The investigation into William's death found traces of windshield wiper fluid in his bottle. Grace was diagnosed with Munchausen by Proxy and was found guilty for her son's death. Sophie,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction Mystery Thriller

'Her Every Fear' by Peter Swanson

"Her Every Fear" by Peter Swanson

★★★★★ Kate Priddy is no stranger to anxiety and fear. After suffering a traumatic kidnapping in her past, the world around her becomes even more terrifying. When a chance arises to leave her cramped London apartment for a spacious, fancy apartment in Boston, Kate reluctantly makes the journey to a temporary change in surroundings. The day after she arrives,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction Mystery Thriller

'The Twilight Wife' by A.J. Banner

"The Twilight Wife" by A.J. Banner

★★★★ What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and suddenly didn't remember anything from the past few years? What if you didn't know your husband, your friends, yourself? Kyra suffers memory loss from a diving accident, and depends deeply on her husband, even though she suddenly barely knows who he is. When Kyra starts seeing visions, she doesn't know whether...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction Mystery Thriller

'Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes' by Shalane Flanagan, Elyse Kopecky

"Run Fast. Eat Slow.: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes" by Shalane Flanagan, Elyse Kopecky

★★★★ Are you an athlete looking for recipes that will fuel your workouts, help you recover, and work to nourish and support your body? This cookbook is a wonderful collection of healthy recipes and tips from a collaboration between an Olympic athlete and a chef, who both know the importance of taking care of their hard-working bodies. While I personally work to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Cookbook

'I See You' by Claire Macintosh

"I See You" by Claire Macintosh

★★★★★ In another fantastic novel by an author who quickly became one of my favorites, readers meet Zoe Walker, who is quickly pulled into a living nightmare after seeing her picture in a classified ad on her morning commute. Each day brings a new advertisement, and soon it's clear Zoe's every movement may be watched and other women are in danger along with her....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction Mystery Thriller

'The Round House' by Louise Erdrich

"The Round House" by Louise Erdrich

★★★★★ In the summer of 1988, life on a small North Dakota reservation changes dramatically for 13-year-old Joe Coutts and his father, Bazil, after they discover Joe’s mother, Geraldine, injured and incommunicative behind the wheel of her car.  Geraldine has been brutally raped, and in the aftermath Joe is forced to grow up quickly as he tries to manage his...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Dark Matter' by Blake Crouch

"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch

★★★★★ It was family dinner night when Jason left to put in an appearance at a party at the neighborhood bar for his former college roommate Ryan, who had been granted a prestigious academic award for his research in neuroscience. Had Jason decided to forego fatherhood after the surprise pregnancy of his then girlfriend (now wife) Daniela, he may have been the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'The Regulars' by Georgia Clark

"The Regulars" by Georgia Clark

★★★★ Evie, Willow, and Krista are three twenty-somethings living in New York City. All three can be described as "regular" physically: average height and not strikingly beautiful. Krista runs into Penny, a girl from an improv class, who is totally transformed. Penny is taller, skinnier, and more beautiful than Krista remembers. Penny shares her secret with...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'The Hike' by Drew Magary

"The Hike" by Drew Magary

★★★★ Ben is an average thirtysomething family man who embarks on what he believes will be a short hike in rural Pennsylvania. Ben quickly becomes lost when he is pursued by knife-wielding, Rottweiler-faced maniacs and falls deeper into the woods. With no choice but to move forward on the path he's found himself on, Ben soon finds himself farther away...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

'Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America' by Jill Leovy

"Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America" by Jill Leovy

★★★★★ This work of narrative journalism explores the complex issues contributing to the homicide rate in Los Angeles, focusing on the black-on-black homicide rate in South Central LA. The book is informed and inspired by Leovy’s experiences reporting on homicide for The Los Angeles Times, during which time she was an embedded reporter in the Seventy-seventh...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'The Princess Diarist' by Carrie Fisher

"The Princess Diarist" by Carrie Fisher

★★★ Nearly everyone knows Carrie Fisher for her portrayal of Princess Leia Organa in the "Star Wars" film series. Being so strongly associated with this iconic character is something Fisher has struggled with virtually from the beginning of her career until she learned to embrace her alter ego later in life. The double-edged sword of a dilemma is the basis...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Celebrities

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