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Staff Reviews: For Adults

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring books DVDs for adults! (For reviews of books for all ages, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) 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: 'Malibu Rising'

"Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

★★★★ It’s August 1983, and Nina Riva is just hours away from hosting the biggest party of the year at her beach house in Malibu. Known around the world as an “it girl” surfer/swimsuit model, Nina seemingly has the perfect life. She’s beautiful, she’s rich, and she’s married to a handsome tennis star. But the truth is, Nina wishes her life was different. Her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Home Baked'

"Home Baked" by Alia Volz

★★★★ In the years following the Summer of Love in 1967, San Francisco saw a steady influx of hippies, outcasts and other free sprits flock to its streets, eager to call the city home. One of those transplants was Milwaukee native Meridy Volz, who left behind her studies at UW-Madison in the name of pursuing spiritual enlightenment and adventure. Not long after...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography & memoir

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Bounty'

"The Bounty" by Janet Evanovich

★★★★ The hunt for gold starts at the Vatican when FBI agent Kate O’Hare and her charge, international thief Nick Fox, try to stop the theft of a Vatican artifact.  As they chase the thief through the Vatican, they are shocked to find that the thief is none other than Nick’s father, Quentin Fox.  Quentin is on the hunt to find the legendary Nazi gold...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing'

"What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Bruce D. Perry, Oprah Winfrey

★★★★★ This informative resource hooked me from the very beginning, as Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Perry started to speak on their own experiences with trauma, along with the effects traumatic experiences have on the human brain. I learned just how much trauma can affect the actual biology of the brain, and how vital loving caregivers are to the actual development of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder'

"Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder" by Joanne Fluke

★★★ Hannah is thrown into another murder investigation when her sister, Andrea is considered a suspect in the murder of Mayor Bascomb.  Before he had died, the mayor had threatened the job of Andrea’s husband, Sherriff Bill Todd. Unfortunately, Andrea was seen arguing and slapping the mayor, and now is the number one suspect. Now Hannah has stepped in to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Is This Anything?'

"Is This Anything?" by Jerry Seinfeld

★★★★★ If you're a child of the 80's and 90's like I am, you might enjoy catching up with Jerry Seinfeld by reading Is This Anything? The first chapter begins with him explaining his passion for comedy and how even though he had other hobbies and interests growing up, they meant nothing to him after his first stand-up experience. Lots of "bits" for which...

Audience: adults | Genre: biography, celebrity, comedy, nonfiction

Cover: 'Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man'

"Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man" by Emmanuel Acho

★★★★★ An absolute must-read for anyone committed to their anti-racist journey, Emmanuel Acho takes readers through so many important topics in this book. From whether Black or African American is the appropriate term, to white privilege, to systematic racism and reverse racism, to how to be an ally, and so many more crucial topics, I found this to be an extremely...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Hot for Food All Day: Easy Recipes to Level Up Your Vegan Meals'

"Hot for Food All Day: Easy Recipes to Level Up Your Vegan Meals" by Lauren Toyota

★★★★ The tantalizing vegan ragu bolognese on the cover attracted my attention to this new cookbook packed with delicious vegan recipes for all your favorites (and soon to be new favorites)! I'm excited to make a black forest loaf cake, corn chowder, and enchiladas in the near future, as well as a couple delicious looking international recipes like cacio e pepe...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

Cover: 'Alone Together: A Tale of Friendship and Hope'

"Alone Together: A Tale of Friendship and Hope" by Julia Seal

★★★★ In this timely picture book, two young children face the initial challenges and loneliness of quarantine that people all over the world have experienced this past year. Once the children realize they can still communicate, just in a fun new way, they don't feel so alone. I found this heartwarming and hopeful picture book to be a great resource and...

Audience: adults, children | Genre: picture book

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....

Audience: adults | Genre: science fiction, fiction

Cover: 'Dear Edward'

"Dear Edward" by Ann Napolitano

★★★★ Readers find out early on in this book (about 20 pages in) that the plane that 12 year-old Eddie Adler is riding on will crash. He is the only survivor. The crash receives a huge amount of publicity and thousands of people respond through social media. Edward (as Eddie is known after the crash) goes to live with his aunt and uncle, who try to shield him...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe'

"Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe" by Heather Webber

★★★★ Anna Kate has come to Wicklow, Alabama to bury her Grandma Zee and to settle the estate. Her grandma Zee’s last wish was for Anna Kate to run her beloved Blackbird Café for 60 days before selling it. Anna Kate is hoping for a quick return to her normal life, but will the quirky town keep her from leaving? Will Anna Kate finally know why her mother refused...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: classic fiction

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Twelve Slays of Christmas'

"Twelve Slays of Christmas" by Jacqueline Frost

★★★★ When Holly White’s fiancé cancels their wedding, she heads home to Mistletoe, Maine. Holly is looking to heal her broken heart at her parent’s Christmas tree farm at Christmastime. Her plan for healing gets sidetracked when a local resident, Margaret Fenwick, is found murdered on the tree farm. When the murder weapon is identified as a wooden stake used to...

Audience: adults | Genre: mystery

Cover: 'Plant Over Processed: 75 Simple & Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Nourishing Your Body and Eating From the Earth'

"Plant Over Processed: 75 Simple & Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Nourishing Your Body and Eating From the Earth" by Andrea Hannemann

★★★★ Are you looking for a cookbook packed with beautifully photographed and healthy recipes? If so, this is a must-read. This new cookbook is packed not only with fully-photographed healthy recipes, but it also delves into the author's journey to a plant-based lifestyle as well as general information on a plant-based lifestyle and the benefits of it. Included...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Plant-Powered Protein'

"Plant-Powered Protein" by Nava Atlas

★★★★ In this fully illustrated new cookbook, the author combined over 100 recipes that work with the ever growing (and delicious!) meat alternatives that are available today for consumers. Including soups, baked dished, pastas, sandwiches, and breakfast recipes, this cookbook is packed full of tantalizing recipes that work with not only meat alternatives, but...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook, nonfiction

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'How to Be Fine'

"How to Be Fine" by Jolenta Greenberg, Kristen Meinzer

★★★★ Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer, co-hosts of the podcast "By the Book," decided to live by self-help books for two weeks each, to determine what personally worked for them and what didn't. This book is the result of that experiment, and as the authors say, readers can try some of the tips along with the authors, or just read along for pure...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Vegan Dessert Cookbook'

"Vegan Dessert Cookbook" by Ally Lazare

★★★★ I loved this new dessert cookbook by Ally Lazare, packed full of tantalizing vegan recipes for cookies, cakes, no bake desserts, and more. All of the recipes have food pantry staples instead of hard-to-find ingredients, and none of the recipes look too difficult or labor intensive. Recipes are marked if they fit certain dietary requirements, which I...

Audience: adults | Genre: cookbook

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