Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Annihilation

Lena’s husband has been gone for a year. He is in the military on a top secret mission and Lena doesn’t know if he is dead or alive. And then he shows up. But something isn’t quite right about him. And then he starts seizing and blood is coming out of his mouth. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance is overtaken by government vehicles. Next thing she knows, she is waking up in a strange facility and her husband is on life support.

Lena finds out that about three years ago something fell out of the sky and created a shimmer. Countless people have gone in but her husband has been the only one to come back. Lena asks to be on the next team since she is a biologist and has military training. A team of five women cross through the shimmer. What happens next is unexplainable.

This movie held my interest and startled me a couple of times. If you have read the book, you will see all of the changes. The premise is the same but a lot of it is different. Starring, Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac. Rated R

 

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Something In the Water by Catherine Steadman

Newlyweds Erin and Mark are on an extravagant honeymoon in Bora Bora. On their way to a diving excursion, they come across papers floating in the water and something knocking against their boat. The item is a duffel bag filled with diamonds, cash, a burner phone and USB drive. Near the location where they found the bag, Marc dives under to find a crashed plane of what he tells Erin are really bad people.

Mark had just lost his job in banking and this is why they had to cut their honeymoon short. Erin’s salary as a documentary film maker isn’t enough to pay their mortgage or finance the family they hope to start. With Mark’s banking knowledge, they believe they can sell the diamonds and deposit the money in a Swiss bank account without raising any suspicionsl, which means their financial troubles will be over.

But taking money that doesn’t belong to you comes at a price. Erin believe someone is watching her. Is it the owners of the money wanting it back? And as Erin goes back to working on interviewing three inmates for her documentary, the actions of one of her subjects may have the police digging into her personal life. And the more complicated their lives become in hiding the money, the more the lies begin to grow…can they even trust each other?

This page-turner isn’t necessarily a stand out in the crowded psychological thriller genre, but I certainty enjoyed it. Even though I hated the decisions of the characters, the different plot threads kept my interest throughout. Recommended.


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Roomies by Christina Lauren

Holland Bakker has been looking for excuses to visit the subway stop near her apartment as often as possible, just to listen to the musician who regularly plays there. There’s just something about his guitar playing, and well, he’s not hard on the eyes either. But Holland’s never spoken to him – she’s way too afraid that her crush on him would be too obvious. But an encounter with a would-be robber brings them together in an unexpected way. And when the chief violinist of the hottest show on Broadway suddenly quits, Holland brings her uncle – the musical director for the show – to hear him play. Calvin is immediately asked to audition, and when he’s offered the part, he admits that he’s in the country illegally, and will not be able to accept. When Brain, Holland’s snarky and irritable boss says that maybe Holland should just marry the guy, no one expects that she actually would. Now that Calvin and Holland are married, and the show is a bigger hit than ever, will they make the move from awkward roommates to loving married couple?

I’m not typically a huge fan of the romance genre, so I was really surprised at how much I liked this book! It was fun and sexy, without being too over the top, and the characters were easily relatable.  Definitely recommended if you need something light and breezy for summer.


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The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea

Nicole and Megan have been missing for two weeks. Megan turns up but Nicole does not. A year passes and Megan has written a book about what happened but the majority was done by her doctor. Livia is Nicole’s sister. She is wracked with guilt because the night Nicole went missing she called and Livia didn’t answer.

Livia is now doing her fellowship at the medical examiner’s office. A body comes across her table and she learns he is connected to Nicole. At first it looks like a suicide but Livia determines that he was murdered. Livia is starting to put together what might have happened to her sister. She comes across a club that is fascinated by people being kidnapped. Livia finds that Nicole might have been apart of it. She turns to Megan to help. Between the two of them they put together what happened that night. But are they too late to save the next victim?

I really liked this book but I figured out who the kidnapper was. The book goes back to before the kidnapping and then a year after Megan is found. It isn’t like other thrillers were you can’t stand the characters. You like Livia and Megan. Even Nicole, at least a little bit. I look forward to reading his other two books, Summit Lake and Don’t Believe It.


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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant works in the accounting department at a graphic design firm in Glasgow, Scotland.  She is socially awkward, says what’s on her mind and really doesn’t have a filter. She sticks to a routine right down to what she wears and what she eats for dinner every night and doesn’t really have any social interactions, not even with the people at work, who snicker behind her back since they find her behavior to sometimes be odd.

Upon leaving work one evening, Raymond, who works in IT at Eleanor’s place of employment, tries to initiate conversation. Eleanor of course feels very ill at ease with even this minor social interaction, and while she is struggling with the conversation, they witness an elderly man collapse in the middle of the street.  Raymond rushes to help and urges Eleanor to stay by his side while he calls for assistance.

Later on, Ray convinces Eleanor to visit the elderly man in the hospital, and this chance event is the beginning of Eleanor finding friendship and facing her harrowing past that has shaped who she has become.

At turns heartbreaking and funny, Eleanor is a character you’ll be rooting for as she eventually finds peace with her life, and most readers will find this uplifting, yet sympathetic tale to their liking. If you enjoyed The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, then this is the book for you!


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Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Mike and his girlfriend Verity used to play a game they called the “crave.” They would go out to a bar or club and wait for another man to hit on Verity. Before things got too far, Verity would tug on her eagle pendant, and Mike would shove the guy out of the way and save her.

Now Verity is engaged to someone else and has invited him to their wedding. Mike never believed that their relationship was really over, despite his one discretion when he was living in New York. In fact, he is convinced that this is all part of an elaborate game of the crave like they used to play. So, he is going along with the game knowing full well that Verity still loves him deeply, and eventually they’ll be together again.

The story is told from Mike’s perspective while he is awaiting trial. The reader does not know yet what has happened, but the story is unraveled as Mike reflects on past events leading up to present day.

Contemporary psychological thrillers have typically been told from a woman’s perspective but in this case, we get a man’s point of view, and he can definitely be considered an unreliable narrator. The reader never knows what the truth is and what is Mike’s delusions on his relationship with Verity. The book keeps you on edge as you wait to find out what happens, but in the end there isn’t really the big reward you would have expected for getting up to the end.


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Red Sparrow

Based on the Red Sparrow book trilogy, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika, a renowned ballet dancer whose career is shattered when a fellow dancer breaks her leg. Having been replaced in her company, they will no longer pay for her ailing mother’s healthcare or apartment.

Dominika is enlisted by her uncle to work as a Russian spy to seduce men and get information. With no other source of income, Dominika has no choice but to participate. She learns in her training that she is expected to do whatever it takes to accomplish the job, even if it means getting raped or killed.

Dominika learns of Nate Nash working for the American government and hiding an important asset who he has not been able to locate. Nash could be an opportunity for Dominkia to get out alive, even if it means betraying her country.

Smart, dark and sexy, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Red Sparrow, especially since spy-type stories don’t typically appeal to me. Lawrence is always spectacular no matter what she she does, and fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie starring Daniel Craig will find something to like here. Rated R