Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Emily (Amy Schumer) just got dumped by her boyfriend. They had planned on going on vacation to South America and the tickets are non-refundable. Emily tries to get any of her friends to come but no one can or will. Finally as a last resort, Emily asks her mom, Linda (Goldie Hawn). Reluctantly, she agrees. Soon they are enjoying their vacation or at least Emily is. Emily meets a man and he takes them sightseeing. The next thing they know, they have been kidnapped. Now they need to work together to survive and get away.

This movie was better than I thought it would be. My expectations were low but I did laugh a couple of times. Also starring, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack. Rated R


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What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

Rachel Jenner is talking a walk in the woods with her son, Benedict, and their dog, Skittles, when Ben asks to walk ahead to ride the rope swing. Wanting to give him a little freedom and independence, she lets him go ahead. When she arrives at the rope swing, it is still in motion and Ben is nowhere to be seen. Unable to locate him after calling out and searching the area, she phones the police.

DI Clemo is assigned the case and requests Emma Chang to act as family liaison officer. Rachel is at her wits end and really only has her older sister Nicky for support.  Nicky is dealing with her own familial issues and has a secret she has kept from Rachel.

Despite massive search efforts and following up on leads, the more time passes, the less likely they are to find Ben alive. The media is attacking Rachel, suggesting she is at fault for letting her son run ahead. And social media has been crucifying her to the fullest extent as a terrible mother. But, it might take the only person who really knows her son, Rachel, to find him.

This is the second book I’ve read by Macmillan (see review for The Perfect Girland they are both strong contenders in the trending psychological thriller genre. The story unfolds between Rachel’s point of view and through DI Clemo’s, as he is seeing a therapist as a result of the Benedict Finch case. Although I am getting a bit burnt out of this genre, I would happily recommend Macmillan’s books to anyone who can handle a dark, twisty plot and child abduction.

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The Circle

Mae (Emma Watson) is in a boring dead end job. Her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), works for a company in the tech world known as the Circle. Annie gets Mae an interview and the next thing she knows she has an exciting new job. At first she is overwhelmed, but she soon excels. She also agrees to transparency. She begins to live stream her entire life. But when a tragic death occurs, Mae starts to rethink everything she knew about this company.

This movie was just okay for me. I did not read the book so I cannot compare the two but I have heard the book is a whole lot better. I didn’t like the characters and there definitely wasn’t enough of John Boyega. Also starring, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Patton Oswalt. Rated PG-13

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The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

Ronni Sunshine would never have won “Mother of the Year”. The narcissistic actress was far too busy with her career and various affairs to pay attention to her family. Her marriage crumbled and her 3 daughters were left to largely fend for themselves.  Now grown, Meredith, Lizzy, and Nell are estranged from their mother and all dealing with adult crises of their own.  When Ronni is diagnosed with a fatal disease, she reaches out to her daughters and tries to set things right with them, as the girls try to set things right with themselves.

This was not my favorite Jane Green book, but I enjoyed the story, even if some of the characters were immensely unlike-able.

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The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

I just read The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (author of Room). It takes place in Ireland (about 100 years ago). In a small town lives a young girl who hasn’t eaten in 40 days. She claims to be living on manna from Heaven. A committee has been formed to prove/disprove her claim. A nurse and a nun have been assigned to keep constant vigil over the girl to see if someone is sneaking her food. The nurse realizes 5 days into the watch that if people were sneaking her food before, they can’t possibly do so now. So the nurse realizes that she is watching this little girl actually starve.

Religious conviction plays heavily into the storyline. Very interesting read.

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Free Fire

It is Boston 1978 and a gun deal is about to go down. In a warehouse two groups of people meet to make the exchange. Everything is going smoothly and is almost complete when two of the guys get into a fight and a gun is fired. Soon everyone is taking cover and shooting at each other. It soon becomes clear that there is a double cross in play. Who is going to make it out of this warehouse alive?

I didn’t know what to expect going into this movie but I was pleasantly surprised. It had action, some humor, and a twist. If you are in the mood for those things, then I recommend this movie. Starring, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, and Sharlto Copley. Rated R

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

Shortly after his wife goes missing leaving her purse at home, Tom learns that Karen was in a bad car accident where she drove into a pole. Although she wasn’t seriously injured, she has no recollection of the accident or what prompted her to drive into that pole.

A dead body of a man is found in an abandoned restaurant with gloves left at the scene. The police believe those gloves belong to Karen, but she lies in front of the police and Tom. Tom loves Karen and wants to trust her, but he also has secrets of his own she has yet to learn. And likewise, Karen has a history of a former life that she rather stay in the past.

Karen’s best friend and neighbor Bridget is watching all this activity going on from her big window across the street. She seems unusually interested in their lives. And she might know more than she is letting on about what happened to the dead man and why Karen ran into that pole. As the police launch their investigation, Karen swears that someone has been in their house, as things aren’t as she has left them. But, who would terrorize her and why? And has her past come back to haunt her?

I don’t know if I am just getting burnt out of the psychological suspense genre or the last few books I have read haven’t been that good. While this does have a decent twist at the end that readers won’t see coming, Lapena’s book is not nearly as good as her debut, The Couple Next Door.