MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation CWBF logoJoin us for the Central Wisconsin Book Festival, Sept. 17–26!

Staff Reviews: Adult fiction

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: 'Four Friends'

"Four Friends" by Robyn Carr

★★★★ In Robyn Carr's newest stand alone novel we meet four friends, each deeply struggling with a shocking new revelation in their lives. Gerri, a mother of three who works for Child Protective Services, finds her perfect marriage shattered by a secret. Meanwhile, Andy is throwing her second husband's clothes all over the front lawn after the final straw in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, chick lit

Cover: 'Frog Music'

"Frog Music" by Emma Donoghue

★★★★★ San Francisco, summer of 1876: record-breaking heat and a smallpox epidemic have the inhabitants of the city on edge. Blanche Beunon, a French dove, is happy with her life as a burlesque dancer until she bumps into a mysterious stranger, Jenny Bonnet, who turns her world upside down in just a few short weeks. When Jenny, Blanche's only friend, is shot dead...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Missing You'

"Missing You" by Harlan Coben

★★★★★ What would you do if you saw an online dating profile for the fiancé who broke your heart 18 years ago? For Kat Donovan, an NYPD detective, seeing his face sends her reeling. When she reaches out to him, it only leads to even more questions. What Kat stumbles upon is a twisted conspiracy. While she's racing against the clock to save lives, clues to her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Police'

"Police" by Jo Nesbø

★★★★★ It takes a strong will to put this book down before the end. Nesbo does it again, keeping us in suspense until the very end. "Police" is a real thriller with the suspense rising to almost unbearable levels. Oslo's police officers are being brutally murdered at scenes of unsolved murders they investigated. An unidentified severely wounded man in a coma,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, romance

Cover: 'The Collector'

"The Collector" by Nora Roberts

★★★★ In Nora Roberts' latest tale of romantic suspense, Lila Emerson, a professional house sitter, witnesses a murder from the window of the luxury apartment she is staying at. She is drawn into a deadly game of intrigue, world travel, and priceless art. Ashton Archer is determined to find out why his brother died, and recruits Lila to help him solve the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Other Typist'

"The Other Typist" by Suzanne Rindell

★★★ An intriguing tale of Rose Baker, a good girl working in a N.Y. police station in the 1920s. An orphan who was raised by nuns, Rose is very traditionally-minded despite working in a nontraditional occupation. With the increase in prohibition enforcement, the precinct is forced to hire another typist to keep up with the paperwork. Rose's obsession with the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Painted Girls'

"The Painted Girls" by Cathy Marie Buchanan

★★★★ Set in 1878 Paris, this book tells the story of the van Goethem sisters as they struggle to survive extreme poverty following the death of their father and the descent of their mother into severe alcoholism. Antoinette loses her place on the opera stage and must find a way to help her family survive. Marie, with encouragement from Antoinette, takes her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Night Circus'

"The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern

★★★★★ A true exhibit of fine writing, craftsmanship, and imagination!  This enchanting book takes to you a circus world you could only imagine and wish that you can experience yourself.  Imagine a black and white circus that has an air of magic surrounding it's every detail and those people who make it all come to life.  Follow the tale of Celia...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Watching You'

"Watching You" by Michael Robotham

★★★★★ Norwegian author Michael Robotham keeps the pace set high and the reader guessing until the very end. You may think you have figured it out sooner, but there's a twist that makes this author one to put on your "favorites" list. Marnie Logan's life seems to be taking one turn for the worst after another, but someone wants to help her. That someone causes...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Wind is Not a River'

"The Wind is Not a River" by Brian Payton

★★★★★ This historical fiction captures events during World War II that were held in great secrecy from the American public: a Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. A reporter, John Easley, is shot down while traveling with American troops flying over the bleak and inhospitable island chain. He is unable to communicate with the outside...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Pieces We Keep'

"The Pieces We Keep" by Kristina McMorris

★★★★★ In this gripping new novel, we meet Audra, a widow still struggling after the loss of her husband. In an effort to start fresh, she takes her son, Jack, on a job interview, where he has an intense panic attack. Soon, Jack starts having violent night terrors, in which he mumbles names Audra has never heard of. Soon he shows a new obsession with World War II...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Red Rising'

"Red Rising" by Pierce Brown

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand Reds (the lowest caste of society) who live beneath the surface of Mars, mining for an element that will terraform Mars and make it habitable to the people of Earth. After tragedy strikes, Darrow learns that everything he has ever been told is a lie. Mars has been habitable for hundreds of years and...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, science fiction

Cover: 'The Waters of Star Lake'

"The Waters of Star Lake" by Sara Lindsay Rath

★★★★ Taking place in the great Northwoods of Wisconsin, this story focuses on 60-something widow Talie Waters, looking to escape her bustling Madison life for the quiet solitude of her family's rustic, lake-side cabin. Over the course of the summer, she is faced with many challenges to her quest of peace. First there is the danger of the area wolf packs roaming...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Snowman's Children'

"The Snowman's Children" by Glen Hirshberg

★★★ This book is adult fiction, described as psychologically intense, and that is an apt description of how the story unfolds.  In Detroit, in the 1970's, Mattie, Spencer and Theresa were in the "gifted" program at their school.  At that same point in time, a serial killer known as "The Snowman" was picking and choosing young victims with impunity....

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Fear Nothing'

"Fear Nothing" by Lisa Gardner

★★★★★ After Detective D.D. Warren returns to a vicious crime scene where she is confronted by the soon to be called Rose Killer, she awakes with only the memory of a lullaby ringing in her ears. Her extensive injuries send her to a pain specialist who, coincidentally enough, has a genetic condition that prevents her from feeling pain of any kind. But that's not...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Gods of Gotham'

"The Gods of Gotham" by Lyndsay Faye

★★★★★ Who is killing Irish children so gruesomely? Timothy Wilde, an inhabitant of New York City and one-time bartender, suddenly finds himself a police officer. This is not a situation he is happy about and yet it will be up to him to find the answer to this ghastly question. The book takes a historical look at New York when the first police force was begun and...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Dark Places'

"Dark Places" by Gillian Flynn

★★★★★ Libby Day's mother and two older sisters were notoriously murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas in 1985. Her brother, Ben, was convicted of the murders due to swirling rumors about him and a lack of evidence to convict anyone else. Since the day of the murders, Libby has been living off donations from sympathizers, book deals, and interviews...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Catch Me'

"Catch Me" by Lisa Gardner

★★★★★ The sixth Detective D.D. Warren novel by Lisa Gardner, CATCH ME, opens to find a woman named Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant who believes, after the murder of her two best friends, that she will be next to die in exactly four days. Counting down the hours until her death, Charlene finds Detective Warren at the crime scene of a murdered pedophile and pleads...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Kind of Cruel'

"Kind of Cruel" by Sophie Hannah

★★★★ In Hannah's latest book featuring detectives Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse, frazled mom Amber Hewerdine visits a hypnotherapist to cure her chronic insomnia, but doubts anything will really happen. Under hypnosis, Amber hears herself say the phrase, "Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel," but she has no idea what it means. Little does she know, a chain of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Sharp Objects'

"Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn

★★★★★ When Camille's boss assigns her to cover the story of an unsettling murder in her hometown, she is hesitant about her homecoming. Camille will have to face her overbearing, hypochondriac mother and her half-sister, Amma, who Camille knows little about. Even more unsettling, when Camille arrives to her Missouri hometown, another murder occurs under the same...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Sisterland'

"Sisterland" by Curtis Sittenfeld

★★★★★ Whatever direction life carries us, we cannot escape our family of origin no matter how hard we might try.  Kate and Violet are identical twin sisters with psychic abilities, living very different lives. Kate, married with two children, tries to ignore her “senses” and live a somewhat normal life, while her single sister, Vi flaunts hers, even...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Starry Night'

"Starry Night" by Debbie Macomber

★★ When I first read the back of this book it sounded great. Karrie is a reporter for a news paper. Finn is an author he lives in Alaska, know one really knows anything about him and he likes it that way. Karrie is unhappy with her job and makes a deal with her boss to be the only reporter to get an interview with Finn Dalton. If she can land the interview,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance, chick lit, holiday

Cover: 'Rescue'

"Rescue" by Anita Shreve

★★★★★ Anita Shreve, a well known author who wrote "A Pilots Wife," has done it again with her book "Rescue." Did you ever dream your life out completely, right down to land you where going to buy in your own town? Did your dreams ever spiral out of control and you had to be the strong one? Webster, a young paramedic, had his life all figured out and was saving...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Just what kind of mother are you?'

"Just what kind of mother are you?" by

★★★★ In Paula Daly's debut novel, we are introduced to Kate, an overwhelmed and overworked mother of three, who in the chaos of daily life not only forgets that her daughter's best friend was supposed to sleepover, but wakes up the next day to find that she is missing. After a young girl had recently been kidnapped and seen walking back into town with telltale...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Pages