Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

Duke McKenna is North County’s biggest criminal – meth, guns, murder, you name it, he’s involved. His daughter Harley has been working for Duke since she was 16, but her training to be his successor has been a lifelong process, and now Harley has a reputation as deadly as her father’s. A turf war with rival family the Springfields is brewing. The Springfields were responsible for the death of Harley’s mother, and now they’ve targeted Harley.There’s only one way to end the cycle of violence and protect the ones that she loves – take out both operations.

If you liked Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy, you’ll love this book! Harley is loyal to a fault, resourceful, and hard as nails, and you’ll find yourself rooting for her time and again as she makes the most difficult decision in her young life – freedom or family?


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The Florida Project

Just outside the wonder and excitement of the Magic Kingdom, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mom Halley (Bria Vinaite) live in a motel that not only caters to the tourists, but also a growing number of the area’s poor. While it’s not the motel’s policy to allow long term residency, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the motel’s manager has found a way to work around it, knowing that most of this population will have nowhere else to go. Over the course of the summer, we follow Monee and her friends as they play, pull pranks, and generally run wild at the motel.

Offering insight into a portion of society that often goes unnoticed, the acting in this award winning film is top notch. It’s really the kids though, who stand out, especially Brooklynn. It’s amazing how, even in the grim circumstances many families find themselves in, one thing is for certain – kids will be kids. Rated R.

Watch the trailer here!


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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Amber is in a coma. She can hear her sister Claire and her husband Peter visit her in the hospital but can’t communicate with them. They appear to be bickering about something, and Amber learns she was in car accident, although she doesn’t believe she was driving.

The story unravels through a diary from their childhood, to the week leading up to her accident, to present day. As a child Amber always hated her mother.  And after her grandmother died, the only person she formed a bond with was her school friend, Taylor.  The reader learns, however, that her actions as a child make her into the psychotic individual she is today.

Meanwhile, Peter is a suspect in the accident, especially when they find marks on Amber’s neck. Amber knows her husband is innocent but cannot communicate to vouch for him. And then there is a doctor who visits her in the night who is making her even sicker.

Sometimes I Lie is a strong addition to the ever-growing psychological suspense genre. There is enough twists to keep the reader guessing, even at the very end. You will be left wondering what really happened.

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Promise by Minrose Gwin


Shortly after 9 pm on April 5, 1936, an F5 tornado tears through Tupelo, Mississippi, creating a large swath of destruction in its path. Over 200 people lost their lives in the storm, not including the uncounted deaths of black citizens who comprised about 1/3 of the town’s population.

After being flung into Gum Pond by the funnel cloud, Dovey, a laundress, begins to search through the wreckage for her family – husband Virgil, daughter Dreama, and grandson Promise. When she reaches the McNabb home, in the rubble she finds Mrs. McNabb who is severly injured, and her teenage daughter Jo. When Jo finds a baby crying in the bushes, she is sure that it’s her baby brother Tommy, and vows to keep him safe.

Drawing on historical records from the time, Gwin has created a fascinating and insightful story that allows us insight into the events and social climate of the 1936 storm. Dovey and Jo are two characters you will not soon forget.


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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In the future, life is pretty bleak. Take high school student Wade, our protagonist, for instance, who lives in a trailer stacked upon lots of trailers with fifteen other people outside Oklahoma City. He attends school virtually in the Oasis using his avatar Percival.

The Oasis is a virtual world created by James Halliday, a video game inventor who has passed away and his life’s fortune is up for grabs. In his will, he left a video message saying that he has hidden an Easter egg in the Oasis and whoever finds it will be heir to billions of dollars.

Gunters, or egg hunters, need to find three keys first before they can attempt to locate the egg. Wade is the first to locate the first key and now that his name is plastered on the scoreboard, people are after him, including the Sixers, a group of gunters working for the IOI, a greedy telecommunications conglomerate who would destroy the Oasis if it gets into their hands.  Eventually, Wade joins forces with fellow gunters Aretemis, H, and Shoto to take down the Sixers and save the planet.

Smart, clever and richly detailed on video game trivia and 1980’s pop culture, Ready Player One is sure to appeal to nerds and non-nerds alike. I hear the movie is drastically different than the book and not in a good way. So definitely opt for the book first.

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The Shape of Water

In 1962 Baltimore, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) works as a janitor for a military lab where they are keeping a unique sea creature captive. Elisa is mute and learns that she can communicate with the creature, sneaking into his chamber to share her lunch and teach him about music. A strong bond and love develops between the two.

Meanwhile, the lab’s head of security, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), has been torturing the creature and the plan is to kill him in order for the military to dissect and study the creature.  Elisa finds an unlikely ally in Bob, a scientist working undercover for the Russians. Elisa, Bob, her coworker Zelda (Octavia Spenser) and neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) hatch a dangerous plan to free the creature from captivity and release him back to the water.

This movie is heart-felt and the tone is reminiscent of the 1980s classic: E.T. the extra-terrestrialThe screenplay and Del Toro’s directing style is definitely worthy of the Best Picture win The Shape of Water received at the Academy Awards. Highly recommended.

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The Sandman by Lars Kepler

When 23 year-old Mikael is found wandering in the countryside outside of Stockholm, it comes as a shock to many. Mikael and his sister Felicia have been missing for 13 years, and were thought to be the victims of serial killer Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence inside a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive, and that they were being held by The Sandman, but he’s unable to give them any details about their captor, or the location.

13 years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna sacrificed everything to try to catch Jurek, always certain that he had an accomplice. Now, it becomes imperative to get Jurek to talk as time runs out for Felicia. Joona brings in the only officer he trusts to be able to infiltrate the hospital, and be able to stand up to Jurek’s mind games – Saga Bauer. Saga will have to go deep undercover in the psychiatric facility where Jurek is being held, and she’ll have to get to him before he gets to her.

To label this book as a “thriller” is an understatement. It is a never ending roller coaster ride of non-stop twisty action that never lets up, even at its conclusion. Even if you’re not a fan Swedish crime fiction, definitely put this one on your TBR list!