Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Girls Trip

The Flossy Posse is being reunited. It has been five years since these four best friends have all been together. And what could be better than a free trip to the Essence Festival in New Orleans? Ryan (Regina Hall) has a speaking engagement at the festival with her husband. She invites Sasha (Queen Latifah), Dina (Tiffany Haddish), and Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) to reconnect. Almost immediately the women find out the Ryan’s husband is cheating. They rally together to help Ryan out but find out she knows and is sticking it out for their reputations. But the women help her realize that there is more to life and happiness than work and reputation.

This was a funny, if sometimes over the top, movie. A lot of great cameos and Tiffany Haddish is hilarious. Also starring, Kate Walsh and Lorenz Tate. Rated R


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Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Joan is at the zoo with her four-year-old son, Lincoln, like she is on many afternoons with him. Lincoln likes to play in the dinosaur dig area with his action figures while making up his “stories.” In the distance, she hears a few loud bangs, but doesn’t think any thing of it. It’s almost closing time, and she has to get Lincoln to start walking towards the exit so they don’t get locked in.

As they make their way towards the exit, something is off.  And then she is it: bloody bodies on the ground, and in the distance, gun fire rings out. She sees at least one man making the shots. Instinct kicks in and immediately she scoops up Lincoln and runs back into the depths of the zoo to find a place to hide. But how do you keep a toddler from making any noise, even if their lives are a stake?

The rest of the novel takes place over the course of a few hours as Joan’s maternal instinct is put to the test at a place where the predators are young, disturbed gun men and Joan, her son, and any remaining zoo visitors are the prey.

Overall, this was an intense read that kept you engaged throughout, and an ending that leaves you with more questions than answers.

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Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

In this collection of 17 short stories, Tom Hanks takes us to the moon and back, time traveling, and bowling. We’ll experience life in America as a new immigrant, the first blush of new romance, and the ups and downs of a young actress who’s new to New York City. All of the stories are connected by one common thing – a typewriter, and many of the characters share a yearning for earlier, simpler times.

Don’t let the bad reviews of this book stop you from picking this one up! Mr. Hanks may need a little more time to hone his writer skills, but he’s definitely a keen observer, and he does have an eye for a good story. Reading these stories reminded me a lot of some of Mr. Hank’s movies – a good story that makes you think – but not too hard, and you usually walk away feeling pretty good. Even if you’re not a fan of Hanks’ movies, I think you’ll enjoy these stories as much as I did.

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The Second Sister by Claire Kendal

Ella Brooke is still not over her sister Miranda’s disappearance. The ten year anniversary is coming up and Ella has promised her nephew that she will look into his mom’s disappearance. The police have just returned a box of Miranda’s things and Ella is determined to find a new clue. While moving Miranda’s dollhouse to her house, Ella discovers a note. It is the first solid clue to help Ella out. She is also determined to see serial killer Jason Thorne. A newspaper article is claiming that Thorne might have seen Miranda before her disappearance.

Ella is also reconnecting with her first love, Ted and a new man, Adam, who happens to be a doctor at the institute Thorne is living. As Ella continues to investigate, the pieces start to come together. And when she meets with Thorne, she finally gets the clue that will solve this mystery. But in getting the answers she so desperately seeks, will Ella meet the same fate as Miranda?

This was a very suspenseful thriller. I was trying to figure out the ending the entire time I was reading and just couldn’t. And rest assured we do find out what happened to Miranda. I am definitely going back to read Claire Kendal’s first book, The Book of You.

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Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) has a problem. She becomes attached to a person on social media and starts stalking them, trying to be their friend. The last one end with Ingrid in a mental institution. Now Ingrid is out ready to change her life. Once back home she starts her lonely life. But soon she is sucked back into her old ways and becomes obsessed with Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen). Ingrid ends up going to California and soon finds Taylor. She becomes friends with her but her obsessive ways come out and Taylor is done with her. Will this finally be the wake up call Ingrid needs? Or is she doomed to this behavior forever?

I really ended up liking this movie. It was crazy to see how one person can get so fixated on another person and the lengths they will go to be friends with their obsession. Also starring, O’Shea Jackson, Jr and Wyatt Russell. Rated R

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Stalking and preying on women comes to the London Underground in Mackintosh’s sophomore novel. Zoe Walker and her adult children who still live at home all take the tube to work as any normal Londoner. Zoe reads a report in the news about a women that was assaulted on the tube and vaguely remembers seeing the victim’s photograph in the back of the London Gazette in the advert section.

Strangely, Zoe sees another news report about a woman who was murdered who she has also seen in another advert in the paper. The adverts only point to a website called that requires a password to gain entry. What is most terrifying is when Zoe sees what she swears is her own picture in the paper. Her partner convinces her that although the picture bears a likeness, there is no way it is her. Still, she questions if she is the next victim.

Zoe reports this to the police who don’t take her complaint seriously. However, deputy Kelly, who had been demoted to the underground task force after beating up a rape suspect, inserts herself into the case. This is not only her chance at professional redemption but also an opportunity to bring justice for victimized women, an issue close to her heart after her twin sister was raped on a college campus years ago.

My only complaint is about the twist at the very end that appears in the Epilogue. It seems too contrived as if it was added mostly for the shock value. Even so, that final twist doesn’t detract from another solid novel of psychological suspense.

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Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

When Billie and Jonathan first met, it was love at first sight. Years later, Billie, a typical super mom with an edgy past, and Jonathan, a tech writer, have been busy building their life and raising their daughter Olive. Their life isn’t perfect, but it’s still pretty good, considering they’ve been married for about 17 years. With Olive now in high school, and Jonathan working so many hours, Billie throws herself into outdoor sports – marathon running, long distance hiking, and climbing. While on a hike, Billie disappears, and no trace is found of her. Now, one year later, Jonathan and Olive are still trying to pick up the pieces. Olive begins having trouble at school, and begins having “visions” that her mother is still alive and wants them to find her. Jonathan believes that the trauma caused by losing her mother is making Olive sick, until he discovers that Billie had been keeping some pretty big secrets from him. He begins to doubt that Billie has died, and begins following the trail of secrets she left behind.

If you like suspense that will keep you guessing, be sure to put this one on your list. It pulls you in right from the start, and if you’re like me, you won’t want to put it down until you’re through.