MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation ATTENTION: (1) MCPL locations are open by appointment; (2) curbside pickup is available: [Details.]

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: 'A Lowcountry Wedding'

"A Lowcountry Wedding" by Mary Alice Monroe

★★★★ This book is another installment in the Lowcountry Summer series by Mary Alice Monroe. Much like the others in the series, we continue following the journey of three half-sisters who are not only learning to love themselves, but are also delving into love and marriage in this book. We get to read about, what I imagine to be, the beautiful and magical South...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Vegan Bowl Attack!: More than 100 One-Dish Meals Packed with Plant-Based Power'

"Vegan Bowl Attack!: More than 100 One-Dish Meals Packed with Plant-Based Power" by Jackie Sobon

★★★★ Looking for nourishing, vegan meals that smoothly fit into one dish? This is a fun new cookbook with tantalizing photographs of vegan meals. Favorites like shepard's pie and cinnamon rolls are not only given a vegan do-over, but the author's creativeness can be seen in each of the recipes. I found this a great new resource for vegans and clean eaters alike...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Home is Burning'

"Home is Burning" by Dan Marshall

★★★★★ Dan Marshall had it made at 25. After being brought up in a privileged (some may say spoiled) home, he had a great job in Los Angeles, a devoted long-term girlfriend and no bigger problem than deciding where to vacation next. Then, while lounging in Palm Springs, that life instantly vanishes when Marshall gets a call from his parents telling him that his...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, health

Cover: 'The Song Poet'

"The Song Poet" by Kao Kalia Yang

★★★★★ This is the true story of a courageous family who put family and love first. In some ways it is the continuing story of the author, Kao Kalia Yang’s family told in her first book, “The Late Homecomer”, only the focus of this book is her father, Bee Yang, who was orphaned as a young child, something that affected him his whole life. Bee Yang is a Song Poet,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Fireman'

"The Fireman" by Joe Hill

★★★★★ Dad should be “Kingly” proud of his boy, for in the “The Fireman,” Joe has mastered the saga his dad is so famous for. There have been many apocalyptic books about viruses and plagues, but leave it to Joe, author of the "Horns", and "NOS482" to take it one step further, by having a plague called Dragonscale that shows up as tattoo-like marks on your body...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Grunt'

"Grunt" by Mary Roach

★★★★ In this book, science author Mary Roach investigates the challenges the military tries to address in order to protect combat troops and provide the tools they need. She brings her trademark sense of humor, curiosity, and empathy to a wide range of topics that you never thought to be interested in. Frankly, some of them you may not rather think about, as...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'One True Loves'

"One True Loves" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

★★★★★ Emma Blair never wanted to take over her parents' bookshop on the East Coast. Emma dreams of traveling, writing, and exploring the world with her high school sweetheart, Jesse. That is exactly what the pair do, until tragedy strikes on their first anniversary. Jesse's work helicopter crashes in the Pacific Ocean. With all of the crew dead and no sign of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Eating Well Made Easy'

"Eating Well Made Easy" by Lorraine Pascale

★★★★ This beautifully illustrated new cookbook is a great resource for healthy eaters looking for unique recipes. Inside you'll find everything from brunch recipes to desserts to meals for every occasion. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm the author has for eating well, and that every recipe had an accompanying (very enticing) photo along with it. A great new...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Little Black Lies'

"Little Black Lies" by Sharon Bolton

★★★★★ In the Falkland Islands terror grips a small community when children start to go missing. Though no one can believe there is a murderer among them, everyone becomes involved when the third child disappears. Among them is Catrin, a woman who lost all of her children in a horrible accident three years ago, who now seeks revenge on the woman who used to be her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Kitchens of the Great Midwest'

"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal

★★★★★ Eva Thorvald is only a few months old when she loses both of her parents, Lars and Cynthia, to vastly different circumstances. From there, the book follows Eva's life from infancy through her mid-twenties, skipping anywhere from a few months to several years between chapters. Instead of having Eva tell us her own story, her life is framed through the eyes...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'I Let You Go'

"I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh

★★★★★ In this unforgettable and deeply moving novel, Jenna Gray's life is catapulted into chaos one rainy night in November. To try to survive her nightmare, she escapes to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast. But her past never stays truly hidden, and she is plagued by what happened and the choices she made, even though she tries to heal from her mistakes. When...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Summer Before the War'

"The Summer Before the War" by Helen Simonson

★★★★★ Beatrice Nash arrives in East Sussex late in the summer of 1914 as the newly hired Latin teacher for the school at Rye and the first woman appointed to the post. Lady Agatha advocated for the hiring of Beatrice, and she is prepared to do all in her power to ensure that Beatrice is a success. This may be a bit of a challenge since Beatrice does not fit the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Fool Me Once'

"Fool Me Once" by Harlan Coben

★★★★ In his latest thriller, Harlan Coben introduces us to Maya, a pilot recently home from the war. When the unthinkable happens and her husband is murdered by unknown assailants, Maya focuses on caring for her daughter more closely. Maya's life is radically changed again when she sees the impossible: her dead husband playing with their daughter on the newly...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Practically Raw Desserts: Flexible Recipes for All-Natural Sweets and Treats'

"Practically Raw Desserts: Flexible Recipes for All-Natural Sweets and Treats" by Amber Shea Crawley

★★★★ Looking for naturally sweetened, allergy friendly recipes for anyone with a sweet tooth to enjoy? This is the perfect cookbook for you! Packed full with recipes that are dairy, soy, egg, and gluten free (and more), this is a great resource for families or anyone who shares my severe sweet tooth! As the recipes focus on using raw, healthier ingredients,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook: 125 Freezer-Friendly Recipes'

"The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook: 125 Freezer-Friendly Recipes" by Ginny Kay McMeans

★★★★ Are you looking for healthy, delicious recipes that fit a hectic lifestyle? Or do you or family members have food allergies, or are clean eaters wanting new ideas for meals? This is a great new cookbook packed full with tantalizing vegan recipes, all freezer friendly to fit anyone's busy schedule. I appreciated that all of the recipes included were freezer...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Evicted'

"Evicted" by Matthew Desmond

★★★★★ This book is the result of an ethnographic study undertaken by Matthew Desmond, an associate professor of Sociology at Harvard (who earned his PhD at UW-Madison). Desmond researched the impact of eviction on distressed families in Milwaukee, WI. Over the course of 2008-2009, he lived in a substandard trailer park, whose tenants were largely white, and in an...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish'

"Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish" by John Hargrove, Howard Chua-Eoan

★★★★★ Have you watched the movie Blackfish? Do you like orca whales? Have you been to SeaWorld? If your answer to any of these questions is yes then this is a book for you! As a lover of all marine animals, especially whales and dolphins, and having been to SeaWorld a few years back, I decided just based off the description of this book that I should give it a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, animals

Cover: 'Wilde Lake'

"Wilde Lake" by Laura Lippman

★★★★★ Luisa “Lu” Brandt, a middle-aged widow and mother of eight-year-old twins, is the new state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a position her highly-esteemed father once held. Homicide is relatively rare in Howard County, so Lu is eager to prove herself as she tries the case of a homeless man being tried for strangling a woman to death in her apartment...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes'

"Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes" by Dana Shultz

★★★★★ This is a fantastic treasure trove of vegan and mostly gluten-free recipes that are beautifully illustrated. I was thrilled to see Minimalist Baker publish a cookbook, as I've been following their vegan website for a while now. I can personally vouch for the one-bowl funfetti cupcakes, as well as many other recipes, so I'm very excited to start cooking many...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Where I Lost Her'

"Where I Lost Her" by T. Greenwood

★★★★★ I absolutely loved this gripping new novel! Not only was it about a woman's difficult but ultimately uplifting journey of healing after an adoption gone horribly wrong, it was a captivating mystery about a missing little girl seen wandering in the woods. As Jess is on her way back from getting more wine to drown her emotions at her best friend's cabin in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week'

"Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

★★★★★ This is one of my new favorite vegan recipe resources! I was very pleasantly surprised by this packed cookbook, full of (mostly photographed) delicious looking recipes. Everything from dumpling stew to coconut French toast and marbled banana bread. I'm itching to make the creamy potato-leek soup and pad thai, not to mention a tantalizing chocolate cake with...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Be Frank With Me'

"Be Frank With Me" by Julia Claiborne Johnson

★★★★★ Mid-twenty-something Alice Whitley’s job at a Manhattan publishing house dispatches her to Bel Air to provide assistance to reclusive author M.M. (Mimi) Banning. Having fallen victim to a Ponzi scheme, Banning has no choice but to write a second novel decades after her wildly acclaimed and successful first. Alice’s primary task is to care for Frank, the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Troublemaker'

"Troublemaker" by Leah Remini

★★★★★ Have you heard about Scientology but have no clue what it is about? This book gives us an inside view of the workings of this religion from the viewpoint of former Scientologist, Leah Remini. Leah Remini is a actress who is best known for her role in the television comedy "King of Queens". From a very young age she was brought up in Scientology when her...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, celebrities, television, spirituality

Cover: 'Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital'

"Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital" by Eric Manheimer

★★★★ What do a South American Immigrant, a cancer patient, and prisoners that live in New York all have in common? They all were somehow treated or impacted by the Bellevue Hospital. The author Eric Manheimer, writes about 12 different patients that he has treated and gotten to know during this time at the hospital, along with history about the medical field,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Rook'

"The Rook" by Daniel O'Malley

★★★★★ To say that Myfanwy Thomas is in a bit of a fix is a huge understatement. She woke up in a park with no memory of her identity, surrounded by dead people wearing latex gloves. The letter she finds in her pocket tells her that she is the new inhabitant of Myfanwy’s body and that she has a choice to make—run as far as possible from London and start a new life...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Pages