Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker

At the tender age of eight years old, Edward Rochester is sent away from his home at Thornfield Hall to begin his education. Since he is the second son, it will be up to Edward to make the most of his education, and whatever opportunities come his way. As a young man, fortune finds Edward in Jamaica, where he has taken over his father’s sugar plantation, and where he meets the beautiful young heiress who will soon become his wife. It soon becomes apparent that in marrying his lovely wife, Edward has taken on much more than he bargained for. Now, back at Thornfield Hall many years later, Edward meets his ward’s governess – a Miss Jane Eyre. For the first time, Edward begins to dream of a new life – one that he wants to share with Jane. But how?

Based on characters from Charlotte Bronte’s beloved Jane Eyre, this novel tells the story from Rochester’s perspective. Since Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books, I was skeptical, but this book stays true to the writing style and atmosphere of the original. Definitely a good read. If you’d like Bertha Rochester’s perspective, try Wide Sargasso Sea¬†by Jean Rhys.

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Going in Style

Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman), and Al (Alan Arkin) are three retired pals who’ve been friends for years. Having worked at the same company, they’ve just found out that their pensions have been dissolved. While at the bank, discussing his looming foreclosure, Joe finds himself caught in the middle of a bank robbery, and the spark of an idea is born. Why not rob a bank? Not just any bank though – the very bank that stole their pensions! The other guys think Joe is a bit crazy, but they begin their prep work, and soon the day has come. They’re going to rob a bank, but do they have what it takes?

This is a remake of the 1979 movie of the same name, starring George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Of course there was a lot of humor, but this movie also has a lot of heart. These three actors working together have great chemistry and are a treat to watch. Rated PG-13. Also featuring: Matt Dillon, Ann Margret, and Christopher Lloyd.


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We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley

Catherine West is forty-two and rich. From her father’s estate Catherine receives a huge monthly allowance, so money is never an issue. But she very much wants to be in love and get married. She meets William at an art show and can’t believe that he actually knows her family from when he was a kid. He had lived in Switzerland for years and is now back in New York. They start seeing each other and Catherine couldn’t be happier. He soon moves in with her and life is perfect. Except for Catherine’s family. Her dad died years ago, her mom has dementia and her sister is too needy.

When they become engaged, Catherine wants her mom to meet him. But every time Catherine mentions William, her mom doesn’t want to talk about him and when she does it is negative. Catherine tries to find out why her mom doesn’t like William, but she just won’t tell. And then Catherine finds out that the money from the estate has run out and she is about to lose it all. William assures her they will be fine but Catherine is still upset. And then she starts noticing things about William that are making her second guess this whole relationship. If only she can get her mom to tell her why she dislikes William. Is he her future or should she let him go?

This was just okay for me. I figured out the twist about halfway through so it was not a shocking ending for me. And I was not a big fan of the characters. I will try her next book, The Goddesses. Hope the characters are more likable and I don’t guess the ending.

 

 


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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

As the castle comes under attack, Arthur’s parents spirit him away to relative safety by putting him in a boat and casting it adrift. The toddler is found by some “ladies” of the town and is brought up inside of a brothel and the mean streets of the village. Unaware of his parentage, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) learns all the tricks of the trade – shoplifting, pocket picking, fighting, and how to deal with Vikings. He earns the loyalty of his crew and the ladies who raised him, and is fiercely loyal and protective of them. As his crew’s activities attract the attention of the King’s guards, Arthur is gathered up, along with other young men of the same age, and brought to the castle for a test – who can draw the sword from the stone? After so many years spent trying to find young Arthur, King Vortigern (Jude Law) is desperate to dispose of him before he can pose a real challenge to the throne but this may prove to be more of a challenge than he’d bargained for.

Guy Ritchie’s vision of the Arthurian legend is definitely darker and grittier than what we’ve seen in the past, and some of his efforts to bring a modern spin to the tales fall decidedly flat. The casting is great though – Jude Law is phenomenal¬†as King Vertigern, and Charlie Hunnam does a great job as the unwilling king-to-be Arthur. With the great effects and lots of action, it will be interesting to see which direction the sequel takes us. Rated PG-13.

Also featuring: Aidan Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, David Beckham, and Astrid Berges-Frisbey.


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Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

After the brutal murder of their father in a home invasion, the Locke family moves across the country to his family home in Lovecraft, Maine. As the family settles in, odd things begin happening in Key House. Nina is wrapped up in her grief after her husband’s death, and doesn’t take much notice of the strange happenings around her. Teens Tyler and Kinsey just aren’t paying much attention to their little brother as Bode discovers the magical keys to the house and what they can do. As they soon find out though, there’s a demon who wants the keys, and he’ll stop at nothing to get them.

If you’re looking for the perfect October read, this 6 volume series, plus the 2 prequel volumes, is just the ticket. It’s got the perfect blend of magic, horror, and adventure. Plus Joe has built some really great characters – maybe he took some lessons from mom & dad (Tabitha & Stephen King)? The artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez sets just the perfect tone, and I really hope that Mr. Hill & Mr. Rodriguez will collaborate on other projects. This series is in development for TV by Hulu, and will feature Danny Glover and Nate Corddry.

 


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47 Meters Down

Mandy Moore plays Lisa, who is on a tropical vacation with sister Kate, in Mexico. Lisa is down on herself after her recent breakup with Stuart, who she believes got bored with their relationship. Kate and Lisa meet two young men who invite them to go shark cage diving. Although Lisa has never been diving and has never been a risk taker, the men tell her the guy who runs the boat will take them out anyway.

Although highly reluctant and scared, Lisa lets her sister talk her into it, especially when Kate tells her that someone who takes pictures in a shark cage isn’t “boring” like Stuart said. The men go down first and get see sharks circling the cage and then are brought up. Next it’s Kate and Lisa’s turn. They too get to see sharks circling the cage, but after a bit, Lisa has had enough and asks to be brought up. When they go to bring them up, the wench breaks sending them straight down to the bottom of the ocean, trapped in the cage, at 47 meters down.

They only have enough oxygen to last about twenty minutes and cannot communicate with the boat at that depth. To make matters worse, the way the cage landed blocked the entrance to get in and out of the cage.

This movie was extremely intense and offered a few jumps along the way. My one takeaway from this movie was that I sure as heck am never going to go diving, let alone shark cage diving, ever. Rated PG-13


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Final Girls by Riley Sager

Quincy Carpenter lives in NYC and works as a food blogger. She believes she has moved on from her past and is content in her relationship with live-in boyfriend, Jeff. You see, Quincy is what the media has dubbed a “final girl,” or a person who is the sole survivor of a mass killing. Pine Cottage was a rental Quincy and her college friends stayed at in Pennsylvania one weekend for a birthday celebration but it turned into a bloody massacre when everyone was slaughtered, except Quincy. Quincy had been saved that night by a cop named Coop, who was searching the woods for a missing person and shot the assailant. Coop has been looking out for Quincy ever since.

Quincy’s life is about to be turned upside down when she learns that Lisa Milner, another final girl who survived a killing at a sorority in Muncie, Indiana, has committed suicide. And then the only other living final girl, Samantha Boyd, who went off the grid after the Nightlight Inn murders, wants to talk with Quincy. Sam doesn’t believe that Quincy has really moved past what has happened to her and wants her to unleash her pent up anger.

The reader, nor Quincy, know much about Sam or her motive for contacting Quincy. And to be honest, the reader can’t really even trust Quincy, who claims to have no recollection of what happened at Pine Cottage. This of course is one of the hallmarks of psychological thrillers; that is, a narrator who you can’t quite trust.

It kept my interest throughout, although I am a bit jaded because I’ve read so many of these psychological thrillers. Authors now seem to be so intent on including a shocking twist that sometimes is stretches believably a bit, and I feel that has what has been done here. However, overall, readers who can handle creepy and dark plots will like this one.