Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

For Margaret Jacobsen, the future looks very bright. She’s just about to start her dream job, she’s very much in love with Chip, and it looks like planning a wedding is in her near future. And then, in one terrifying moment, everything is changed forever. Now, in the hospital, Margaret has to confront the her new reality. But, she also has to deal with Chip, who’s looking for forgiveness and feeling very sorry – for himself. Kit, Margaret’s estranged sister shows up after a long absence, and throws the family dynamic into a loop – again. And then there’s Ian, Margaret’s physical therapist, whose gruffness and refusal to take things easy on Margaret make things even more difficult.

If you liked Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, you’ll love this one! Heartbreaking at times, but with a bit of humor, and a whole lot of heart. If you’re looking for a book club title that’s not too heavy, and will leave you with a smile on your face, this one would be a good choice.



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All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

With college graduation around the corner, Harry Ackerson is called home to Kennewick, Maine after learning of his father’s unexpected death.  Bill’s body was found on a walking path, a path he took every day on his way home from work. At first Alice, Harry’s stepmom, believes that Bill had fell and hit his head, but the police are treating it as a suspicious death.

Harry was already in high school by the time his father married Alice, so he doesn’t really know her, and she is the only family he has left now. He feels a responsibility to take care of Alice and to help out at his father’s, who specialized in rare books, store. Shortly before the funeral and then later at the funeral he sees a suspicious woman that no one seems to know. He wonders what this woman’s connection to his father was and what she wants now.

The story alternates between present day and Alice’s disturbing past, as we learn she isn’t the perfect wife she is initially painted to be. As the investigation continues, Harry also learns how little he actually knew about his father and what lies he had kept.

A strong contender for thriller lovers – although nothing shocking, there are plenty of twists to keep the pages turning. Recommend!

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter lives in Garden Heights, or what she calls “the hood,” but her parents send her to a private school called Williamson where she is one of only a few black kids.  She has to constantly straddle the line of her two worlds, who most definitely don’t understand each other.

Leaving a party with her long-time friend in Garden Heights, they are pulled over by the police. Khalil, the driver, doesn’t understand why he is being pulled over and doesn’t follow the police orders to put his hands up. While checking in on Starr on the passenger’s side and reaching for his hairbrush, the office fires shots that kill Khalil, and Starr is the only witness.

Now Starr has to testify in front of a grand jury, and this is when her two worlds begin to collide. Her Williamson friends don’t understand why she is upset and think that Khalil was a drug dealer who potentially got what he deserved.  At home, the community is furious, and they want justice for Khalil since they think the shooting was most definitely a race realted.

Told from Starr’s perspective, her voice is authentic and realistic and the book hits home on a very timely and hot issue that is plaguing our country today. You will fall in love with Starr and her family and will want nothing more for righteousness to prevail. I cannot recommend this book enough to everyone…it’s a thought-provoking story about the injustice in our country that still face African Americans to this day.

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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

It’s 1988, and Frank’s music shop sits down a dead-end street in a section of town that’s seen much better days. Bursting at the seams and brightly lit, the shop caters to a select clientele – music lovers in search of vinyl records. As CDs begin to take over the market, Frank remains adamant – he absolutely will not stock CDs. While business isn’t as brisk as it could be, the shop does have its regulars. Frank has a gift – the ability to recommend the right music for a person, whatever they’re mood or situation. Along with his neighbors – fellow shop owners on the block, Frank remains optimistic that business will turn around, despite evidence to the contrary. One ordinary day, Ilse visits the shop, and Frank immediately falls for her. But Ilse isn’t doesn’t seem to be as smitten, and her intentions aren’t clear – even to herself.

If you’re in the mood for just a sweet book, this one would be a great choice. I suppose you could call it a romantic comedy of sorts, that delves into the heart of loneliness, while also making a point about the importance of community. And music – don’t forget the music! I found Frank’s enthusiasm contagious, so I  listened to most if not all of the songs mentioned in the book, and not only rediscovered old favorites, but found some new ones as well. A heart warming love story, full of quirky characters, and a community that you won’t soon forget.

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard may look like an ordinary 40 something year-old man, but appearances can be deceiving. Due to a rare condition, Tom doesn’t age as quickly as most people, so he’s actually over 400 years old. For most of those years, Tom has done his best to hide his condition – moving often, and keeping his relationships with others at a distance. But now, Tom just wants to lead a normal life, so he moves to London and becomes a high school history teacher. Things become complicated though, when memories of his earlier life there and the present collide, and his budding romance with the French teacher is jeopardized.

It’s a pretty rare book that covers all the bases – fantasy, history, romance, suspense, philosophy – much less that does it well. But How to Stop Time does that, and then some. Through Tom’s character, Haig examines both the past and the present, while offering up poignant observations and shedding light on some of life’s bigger questions. The book never gets too heavy though, instead offering a healthy dose of adventure, romance, and most of all heart. Adding this one to the favorites pile! Soon to be a movie with Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Can’t Fight the Feeling by Sandy James

When ER Nurse Practitioner Joslynn Wright treats ex-NFL hothead Russ Green for a head injury, she is indignant that he can’t be bothered to fill out the discharge papers before leaving. She has only met Russ a few times, but confronts him at the restaurant he co-owns with their mutual friends.

Lately, he has been taking out his anger by bouncing unruly customers, which explains the bottle to the head that caused the ER visit. But her plans to give him the what-to are derailed when he asks her to dinner instead. She comes up with an exercise plan to help him deal with his anger, as Joslynn has been committed to staying healthy ever since a medical scare as a child. Even though Joslynn isn’t big on relationships, Russ finds a way into her heart. However, with the potential of inheriting the Alzheimer’s gene that has put his parents through hell lately, Russ questions if he can ever have a future with Joslynn.

A pleasant enough read that takes place in a city that is as big on heart as it is on music, James’ (Can’t Let Her Go) contemporary generates ample interest with the character’s medical plights and love for one another.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | 

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Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

Although Kate’s ex-boyfriend, who committed suicide, haunts her nightmares, she is ready to go out on her own and agrees to an apartment swap with Corbin, a cousin who she never met. While Corbin stays at her London flat, Kate will live at his Boston place. Shortly after arriving, Kate learns that Corbin’s neighbor, Audrey, has been murdered in her apartment.

Police have searched Corbin’s apartment and haven’t found much to help in the investigation. Another tenant across the way, Alan, has been watching Audrey’s apartment and witnessed Audrey and Corbin being intimate, but Corbin says he really never knew her. Kate is approached on the street by a man named Jack who claims to be Audrey’s close friend, but something seems off.

As Kate is struggling with her own fears, she is caught up in investigating what happened to Audrey and doesn’t know who she can trust. Meanwhile, the reader learns about Corbin’s disturbing past that involves a “friendship” from his college days. He may not be as innocent as he claims.

This is the second Swanson thriller I’ve read, and it’s my favorite so far. There are enough plot strings to keep you engaged until the end. It is supposed to have a voyeuristic feel similar to Hitchcock’s Rear Windowso fans of Rear Window and A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window will find Her Every Fear to their liking.