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Staff Reviews: fiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


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: 'Little Wise Wolf'

"Little Wise Wolf" by Gijs van der Hammen, Hanneke Siemensma, Laura Watkinson

★★★★★ This is a beautiful story with a gentle lesson about friendship and learning. One day, Little Wise Wolf, who is deeply ensconced in his books and research, receives a summons from the king. He sets off on a long journey to the other side of the mountains, perhaps not as prepared as he should be. The hard day’s journey makes him lose confidence in his...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Those Darn Squirrels Fly South'

"Those Darn Squirrels Fly South" by Adam Rubin

★★★★★ Those Darn Squirrels Fly South is the third book in the children’s series of Those Darn Squirrels. In this delightful children’s book we once again find Mr. Fookwire feeling grumpy and lonely as his beloved birds fly south for the winter. He would normally have the neighborhood squirrels to keep him company but they have decided to follow the...

Audience: children | Genre: children's picture book, fiction

Cover: 'Allergic'

"Allergic" by Megan Wagner Lloyd, Michelle Mee Nutter

★★★★ Allergic is a sweet, funny story about friendship and pets. Maggie has always wanted a pet and her parents have agreed that she can have a puppy, even with their fourth child on the way. But imagine Maggie’s disappointment when she finds out that she is severely allergic to anything with fur or feathers! She bravely tries out a fish, reptiles, and...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

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: 'Dairy Queen'

"Dairy Queen" by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

★★★★★ This book was so true to life about a teen girl growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. The author writes with detail about the daily and seasonal work that always needs to be done on the farm. Throw in some unexpected happenings like illness or surgery and the daily routine changes for everyone.  DJ finds herself in charge of many chores while her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'One Was Lost'

"One Was Lost" by Natalie D. Richards

★★★★★ In this intense young adult thriller, a small group of students are hiking on a senior field trip. When a flash flood cuts off three students from the other four, the students quickly realize this is no ordinary field trip. When they wake up dazed with their supplies missing and chilling words written on their wrists, they realize they're not alone in the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Tale of Witchcraft'

"A Tale of Witchcraft" by Chris Colfer

★★★★★ The magical community has been accepted in the kingdoms. The faeries have been helping around the kingdoms and the people celebrate when they arrive! Now, a secret clan has resurfaced after centuries of silence called the Righteous Brotherhood. The Righteous Brotherhood has vowed to exterminate all magical life and Brystal is their first target. Meanwhile,...

Audience: tweens | Genre: fiction

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 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: 'The Ickabog'

"The Ickabog" by J.K. Rowling

★★★★ Fairy tales are often great because of the fantastical places they transport the reader to. Everyday people live among kings and queens, horse-drawn carriages and castles, and otherworldly creatures that make up a world unlike our own. "The Ickabog" is no exception, and also features a plot and life lessons that are very much relevant to our own lives....

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

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: '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: 'Clap When You Land'

"Clap When You Land" by Elizabeth Acevedo

★★★★★ This novel, written in verse, follows Camino Rios in the Dominican Republic and Yahaira Rios in New York City. Both are unaware that the other exists, but as Yahaira's father leaves on his usual summer flight to the Dominican Republic, Camino will soon find out her father's plane will never land. Yahaira and Camino's worlds collide when they soon find out...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Lantern Men'

"The Lantern Men" by Elly Griffiths

★★★★★ So much has changed for forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway in the twelfth book in this fantastic series. When convicted murderer Ivor March makes a deal with police, he swears he'll tell them where two bodies are from prior cold cases, but only if Ruth is the one to dig them up. Lured back into helping the police, Ruth ends up tangled in a web of secrets...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Haunting of Ashburn House'

"The Haunting of Ashburn House" by Darcy Coates

★★★★ Adrienne, desperate and desolate with few possessions and very little money left, thankfully accepts an inherited house from a relative she's never known. As she slowly wanders around the house she can now call home, Adrienne starts to notice a few things that give her a sense of unease. Why are there no mirrors in the house and strange messages scratched...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Willoughbys'

"The Willoughbys" by Lois Lowry

★★★★★ The four children in the Willoughby family are indeed to be pitied. Their parents "frequently forgot that they had children and became quite irritable when they were reminded of it." This left Tim, Barnaby A, Barnaby B (they're twins), and Jane feeling they'd be better off as orphans, of the old-fashioned kind. So they hatch a "perfectly despicable plot" to...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'How to Walk Away'

"How to Walk Away" by Katherine Center

★★★★★ This is the second audiobook that I have listened to by Katherine Center. This book has it all! I found some parts to be very funny and others to be sad, but the book takes overcoming tragedy and turns something negative into a positive.  Margaret Jacobsen is so excited for Valentine's Day, as she is so sure that this will be the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Girls of Brackenhill'

"Girls of Brackenhill" by Kate Moretti

★★★★ 17 years have passed since Hannah has stepped foot in her family's estate, which is actually her family's castle. Ever since her sister disappeared during a summer spent with her aunt and uncle, Hannah hasn't looked back. Her fiancé doesn't even know she has a family estate steeped in ghosts and tragedy, until she's called to return after her aunt dies...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Unsuitable'

"The Unsuitable" by Molly Pohlig

★★★★★ Victorian, Gothic, Dark Humor. Iseult Wince is getting too old. Soon, she’ll be a spinster, which everyone knows is the worst fate of all. Iseult is a bit odd, and her father dislikes her. His goal is to find her a suitable husband (i.e. any man who will take her). Iseult believes her mother died while giving birth to her, resulting in a scar on her neck...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'To Catch A Witch'

"To Catch A Witch" by Heather Blake

★★★★ Darcy Merriweather is a wishcrafter, a witch who can grant other peoples’ wishes. She lives in a cozy Enchanted Village outside of Salem. Darcy runs a concierge company and has been hired to organize a competition called the Wicked Mad Dash by her friend Abby Stillwell. On the morning of the competition, a blizzard hits the Enchanted Village. While Darcy...

Audience: adults | Genre: mystery, fiction

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