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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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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Dead Again in Tombstone

A reluctant servant of the Devil, Guerrero (Danny Trejo) returns from the dead and heads to his hometown to pay his respects to his father. Once there, he finds the town and his family in danger. Colonel Jackson Boomer (Jake Busey) is determined to get his hands on an ancient relic, and he will stop at nothing to get it. As Boomer and his gang terrorize the town, Guerrero does his best to protect its citizens and stop Boomer from getting the relic. But first, he needs to find it, and he may die trying. Again.

This one might be a little confusing if you didn’t see the first installment of this franchise – Dead in TombstoneThe flashbacks don’t really help much – I think they just added to my confusion. But, hey, it’s a Danny Trejo movie, and it doesn’t have to make sense, because if you like action and B movie style everything, you learn to just sit back and enjoy the ride. If there’s one thing Danny’s taught us throughout the years it’s don’t mess with whatever character he’s playing. In this movie we learn not to mess with Danny’s horse, because he’ll only come back with something bigger. Great cinematography. Rated R. Also featuring: Dean McDermott.

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan

When Lois Clary moves across the country from Michigan to San Francisco, she knew it would be a change, but certain things she didn’t expect. Like paying exorbitant rent on a tiny apartment that she hardly ever uses. Or the soul crushing hours that she’ll put in on her new job. Or the loneliness that she feels, since it’s difficult to make friends when all you do is work. When a menu for a new restaurant is tucked into her door, things begin to change for Lois. She begins by ordering the spicy hot soup, and when it arrives a few minutes later, with a side of the best bread she’s ever had, something begins to shift for her. Soon, Lois becomes the restaurant’s “number one eater”, and is taken by surprise when the owners show up at her door with a ceramic crock of their sourdough starter. The two brothers are being deported, but before they go, they show her how to keep the starter alive, and how to bake bread. There’s something magical about this bread, and the starter itself is truly alive, as Lois soon finds out. There’s something so basic and life affirming about the simple act of baking bread that is so opposite of Lois’ work at General Dexterity where she teaches robotic arms to do simple tasks, and Lois soon finds herself baking for her neighbors and coworkers, and being introduced to one of the city’s underground markets.

By the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, this novel is a treat to read. Contrasting high tech and simplicity, the book takes you on kind of a pop culture magic carpet ride through the Silicon Valley, secret markets, and the underground food world, and you will not be disappointed. I can’t wait to see where Mr. Sloan takes us next!

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Final Girls by Riley Sager

For Quincy and her college friends, a weekend away in a Poconos cabin is the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. Out of the six though, Quincy is the only one to survive the horrific events that unfold. Now, ten years later, Quincy is known as one of three “Final Girls” – young women who are the lone survivors of mass killings. Quincy insists that she’s doing just fine – she’s in a solid relationship, a great apartment, and her baking blog is really taking off. She’s moving ahead with her life, not letting herself fall into the role of perpetual victim. But when Lisa, the original Final Girl is found dead, and Sam Boyd, the other Girl shows up on Quincy’s doorstep, the foundation that she has so carefully laid for herself begins to crumble.

As far as thrillers go, this one is pretty intense. Unreliable characters and pulse pounding action ensure that this is one book that you won’t want to put down until the end.