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Staff Reviews: nonfiction

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: '12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff'

"12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff" by Six Sisters

★★★★★ This book is a wonderful addition for anyone who is looking for a new Christmas craft or cookbook! Written by very popular bloggers, Six Sisters' Stuff, you will find all sorts of ideas on how to cook, enjoy, and share your holiday spirit. Not only is the book incredibly informative but also has wonderful pictures and easy to follow directions. It makes...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook, holiday

Cover: 'Before amen : the power of a simple prayer'

"Before amen : the power of a simple prayer" by Max Lucado

★★★★★ Prayer can be a daunting task for many of us. We may feel unskilled, unworthy, or unsure of how to even begin. This little book offers insight, comfort, and instruction when it comes to learning how to pray effectively. Max Lucado breaks through all of the complication and doubt about how to pray, where to pray, who can pray, and what to pray for. He makes...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, spirituality

Cover: 'Backyard Style'

"Backyard Style" by Matthew Mead

★★★★ Although looking through this outdoor style guide as you see snow right outside your window may not be the best feeling, this is packed full of beautiful illustrations and ideas for when the snow is gone! Included are entertaining tips and a few recipes and decorating ideas as well for each theme and style. I found myself longing for, not only a backyard of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, gardening, outdoors, nature

Cover: 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life'

"Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life" by Sophia Loren

★★★★ Sophia Loren's memoir details her incredible life; full of beauty, love, success, but also tragedy and pain. The daughter of a single mother, Loren grew up in poverty during World War II in Italy and never had much contact with her father. She received her start in beauty pageants, and soon transitioned to film after she was noticed by her future husband,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities, memoir

Cover: 'Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President'

"Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" by Candice Millard

★★★★★ It's not often that I request a book in CD format that is nonfiction. But I'm very glad that I listened to this outstanding account of the life and death of President James Garfield. It is available in both traditional book format and on CD but I will strongly urge the reader to give this book a listen in the CD format. It is read by Paul Michael who does...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'By the Book'

"By the Book" by Pamela Paul

★★★ Have you ever wondered what your favorite author's favorite book is? Or what book they just couldn't get through and even finish? Or even what their reading and writing habits are? This book features short interviews by sixty-five of the world's top writers, from J.K. Rowling to Michael Connelly to Khaled Hosseini. I found it to be full of interesting and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Killing Patton'

"Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly

★★★★★ It is ironic and entirely appropriate that I am reviewing this fine book on Veterans Day. The book is a thorough telling of General George S. Patton who led the 3rd Army to victory over Hitler’s forces during WWII. Hitler with his agenda to rule Europe, and perhaps beyond, had devised his last and final attempt to gain back the momentum to win the war for...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Cooking Light: Mad Delicious'

"Cooking Light: Mad Delicious" by Keith Schroeder

★★★ If you are looking for new, tasty, and healthy recipes, this is a good cookbook for you. This book does an excellent job of illustrating ways to prep and cook your food that are extremely effective. The author has cooking down to a science showing just how your food is cooking according to how you prepare it. It is neat to see and read! I found myself...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Thug Kitchen'

"Thug Kitchen" by Matt Holloway, Michelle Davis

★★★★ Although I was really thrown off at first by the plethora of swear words in this cookbook, try not to let them dissuade you from this clean-eating, plant-based cookbook. I have Post-It Notes in the double digits for recipes I want to try, and the message this cookbook wants its readers to know is one I 100% believe in: Eat like you mean it. Animal products...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

"Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food" by Jamie Oliver

★★★★ This cookbook is brimming with gorgeous photos of comfort food and nostalgia that made me think I was right back at home, curled up in my flat in London. Even though for me and my food allergy riddled body, I can't eat most of the entrees shown in this book anymore, the experience of looking through it was worth it. For those of us who love our cookbooks...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook, celebrities

Cover: 'Pasta Night'

"Pasta Night" by Kate McMillan

★★★★ This is a wonderful collection of simple pasta dishes sure to please. It's beautifully laid out and has a recipe for everyone, including recipes for sauces, pasta (vegetarian, meat, and seafood versions), as well as salads and sides. There are no intimidating ingredient lists, just recipes that are sure to pique any appetite!  

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Last Post'

"Last Post" by Max Arthur

★★★★ Being unfamiliar with much about the WWI, the last great war, I was eager to hear of stories from the mouths of those few soldiers still left to tell the tale. This 2005 book is a narrative account of those few British soldiers still alive and able to relay their firsthand accounts and stories of an era that will perish when they do. Approximately 20 men,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Dish Do-Over'

"Dish Do-Over" by Joanne Lusted

★★★★★ Do you wish that you could still eat some of your favorite meals but with less fat? This cookbook has all of that plus helpful hints on substitutes for your household recipes as well. The recipes are organized in an easy way and explained in clear step-by-step instructions to make it as simple as possible. The pictures of the final result look just as...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Dancing with Myself'

"Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol

★★★★ Billy Idol's memoir is a candid recollection of his life as a bad boy rocker in the 80s and 90s. Unlike some other rock star memoirs, Billy Idol doesn't make excuses for his behavior. He admits fault for the hurt he caused to his longtime girlfriend Perri and his family because of his drug use and infidelity. Idol also discusses his musical influences, and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography, biography and memoir

Cover: 'The Skinnytaste Cookbook'

"The Skinnytaste Cookbook" by Gina Homolka

★★★★★ The tagline says it all "light on calories, big on flavor." This debut cookbook from popular food blogger Gina Homolka contains tons of recipes for creating delicious, low-calorie, and nutrient rich dishes. Ms. Homolka's recipes rely on whole foods as well as tips and tricks for reducing the calorie content of foods. This reviewer loved the shrimp and grits...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Vegan Desserts'

"Vegan Desserts" by Hannah Kaminsky

★★★★★ This is an excellent source of delicious vegan desserts, for vegans and non-vegans alike! Recipes are separated into the four seasons and every one is beautifully illustrated, which makes preparing many recipes quite easy! Just like Kaminsky's other excellent vegan dessert resource, "Vegan a la Mode" (which everyone should check out as well), this...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: '500 Optical Illusions'

"500 Optical Illusions" by Keith Kay

★★★★★ This is a really fun book! I have loved optical illusions since I was a kid and this book is full of some of the best. You'll have fun trying to figure them out while you train your eyes and brain to process the images in different ways. Also, the author provides the answers to the puzzles in the back so you don't get too frustrated. Go ahead and take some...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Little One-Yard Wonders'

"Little One-Yard Wonders" by Patricia Hoskins

★★★★ This is an excellent addition to the other books in the One-Yard Wonders series. There are 101 sewing project ideas that you can make with just one yard of fabric! Find all of that scrap fabric you have at home at put it to good use making all sorts of useful things for babies to toddlers. One of my favorite projects is the car organizer! Any beginning...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'The Old Farmer's Almanac Comfort Food'

"The Old Farmer's Almanac Comfort Food" by Ken Haedrich

★★★★ As winter approaches, I can't think of a better cookbook to delve in to. This cookbook is filled with all your favorite comfort food recipes, including soups and stews perfect for the colder weather, as well as appetizers, breads, pizzas, casseroles, and desserts. None of them are too daunting, just classic comfort food recipes that everyone is sure to love...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Carsick'

"Carsick" by John Waters

★★★ John Waters, eccentric director of the original Hairspray and Cry Baby, hitchhikes from Baltimore to his apartment in San Francisco, and lives to write a book about his journey! About two-thirds of the book are novellas. The first one details all of the horrible things that Waters thought would happen to him. The second novella describes a best-case...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'Make Ahead Paleo'

"Make Ahead Paleo" by Tammy Credicott

★★★★★ Interested in the new, popular Paleo diet? Try this cookbook out to help you learn more about it! Not only does this book give you good advice about how to approach trying a Paleo diet with tips of swapping ingredients but also useful kitchen tools to use, and how-to ideas on food storage. Not only that, but the recipes in this cookbook look really...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, cookbook

Cover: 'Flea Market Fabulous'

"Flea Market Fabulous" by Lara Spencer

★★★★ Anyone who loves a good flea market, looking at projects on Pinterest, or up-cycling different things will enjoy this book by Good Morning America's Lara Spencer. Lara walks you through updating different rooms in your house by using different vintage finds in miraculous ways. Along the way, she gives you tips and tricks to help you think about updating a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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