Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

Ella is on her way to a conference for florists in London. She is taking the train and is bored. She notices two teen girls, Anna and Sarah, and eavesdrops on them. They are soon joined by two older boys, who have just been released from prison. Ella keeps her eye on them and wonders if she should try to contact their parents, since she overheard their names and where they are from. Ella decides she is being a prude and does nothing. The next day on the news, Anna is reported as missing.

A year later, Anna is still missing and there are no leads. Ella had come forward at the time and the two guys were never found. Ella lives with the guilt that she could have done something.  Now she is receiving anonymous notes in the mail telling her she is being watched. Ella thinks it is Anna’s mother sending the notes. She hires a private investigator to find out what is happening. Also, around this time a new documentary about the disappearance is aired. This brings some new clues to light. Will Anna’s disappearance finally be solved?

This was a good psychological thriller. It kept me guessing until it was revealed what really happened to Anna. I eagerly am waiting for the next book by Teresa Driscoll that comes out in March, The Friend.

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Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

In this debut novel from actress Krysten Ritter, Chicago environmental lawyer Abby Williams is brought back to her home town of Barrens, a rural community in southern Indiana, to investigate complaints of water pollution. Residents have been getting sick for years, which may be due to the practices of a plastics/polymer company called Optimal, who could be dumping their waste into the reservoir.

Abby and her team are having trouble getting anyone to talk since Optimal pretty much owns Barrens, having built the new community center and employing a large quantity of the residents. Even though she has tried to forget her past, Abby is brought back to her high school years when she runs into some of her classmates, including the best friend of Casey Mitchell. Casey and Abby used to be close until high school when Casey and a group of three other girls became popular and bullied Abby.

Back then, Casey would get sick with unexplained fainting and vomiting, but it turned out the whole thing was a hoax. Casey admitted to faking it for attention, and then split shortly after graduation. No one has heard from her since. Abby’s assignment becomes derailed when she makes it her mission to find Casey. Perhaps she wasn’t really faking it after all. And is Optimal paying people to keep quiet?

For a debut novel by an actress, I was pretty impressed with BonfireMultiple plot strings keep readers hooked and make for a fast and entertaining read.


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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Sometimes you are enjoying the characters and story in a book so much you don’t want it to end. This was the case with Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng for me. I also listened to the audiobook version which was excellent.

The story is set in 1996/97 Cleveland and tells the story of two families. Mia, a single mom and her 15-year-old daughter Pearl,  and the wealthy Sanderson family, Lenore and Peter and their four children. Their lives intertwine in an interesting way, with some surprises along the way.

Mia is an artist who just moved to the area and rented a house from Lenore Sanderson. Mia’s daughter, Pearl, meets the Sanderson children at school. Trip, the popular athlete, Lexi, part of the “in” crowd, Moody, the shy, studious one that she becomes good friends with, and Izzy, the black sheep of the family.

The book begins with a fire and then flashes back to what happened before and how certain actions led up to the fire. The friendships and relationships throughout the book and the actions chosen by some of the characters make for a gripping story. I can see why it has gathered a lot of buzz this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Liane Moriarty or Kristin Hannah.

 

 


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The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

Bianca St. Ives has spent her whole life running heists with her dad. But this last one has not gone as planned. The money is missing from the vault and Bianca is the only one left of her team besides her getaway driver, Doc. She has to get out before midnight. She manages to escape with the help of a stranger named Mickey. As they race to the meet up point they find a road block. The next thing they know the truck with Bianca’s father and other associates is blown up.

Five months later, Bianca is getting on with her life. She is working at her security firm, Guardian Consulting, in Savannah, Georgia. She isn’t 100% convinced her dad is really dead but she hasn’t heard from him. She has hired Doc to work at the company and to monitor her dad’s secret email that clients can contact him on for jobs. When a job comes up Bianca decides to take even though it could be a trap. While on this job, Bianca runs into Mickey again, who’s name is Colin Rogan and works for the government. It soon becomes clear that this is a trap. Now the good guys and the bad guys are after her because they think she knows where her dad is. But he’s dead, isn’t he?

This was a different route for Karen Robards. It was more a spy thriller than romantic suspense, which Robards is known for. I liked it. It is the first in a new series. The next one due out in 2018 is called The Moscow Deception.


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The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Running away from her past, Amber has the perfect plan to get the life she deserves.  She stages a run in with Daphne Parrish at Daphne’s gym where she “accidentally” drops a magazine about Cystic Fibrosis.  The disease is an issue close to Daphne’s heart since she lost her sister of CF.  Amber constructs a false story suggesting she lost her own sister to CF as well.

Although they make an unlikely pair since Daphne comes from the rich society of Bishop’s Harbor along the Long Island Sound and Amber claims she comes from a small Nebraska town, the two become fast friends. They are so close that Amber becomes almost like the sister Daphne lost. When Amber loses her real estate job, Daphne is there to help by getting her a job at her husband’s prestigious Manhattan company.

As Jackson Parrish’s new assistant, Amber starts dressing differently, wearing more revealing and stylish clothes and not the mousy attire she used to sport. Amber believes that she can seduce the handsome and powerful Jackson and convince him to leave Daphne. Amber will finally get the luxurious lifestyle that is owed to her, and Daphne, who doesn’t appreciate what she has, will be left with nothing. However, things rarely go according to plan.

This was a page turner I couldn’t put down.  The characters’ actions are dark and shocking, but you’ll want to keep reading to see what she’ll do next and how it will all end.


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Artemis by Andy Weir

Less science focused than “The Martian”, Andy Weir’s follow-up explores life on the moon from the perspective of a native – an independent young woman who’s grown up in Artemis, the moon’s only city. Jazz Bashara is a porter, and to supplement her income, she does a little smuggling on the side. She takes on a job that gets her involved in corporate espionage, murder, and a power struggle over a new technology worth trillions.  Now, Jazz needs to find a way to protect not only herself, but the whole lunar community.

Even if you’re not a huge science fiction fan, there’s lots to really like about this book. Along with all the technical stuff, Weir manages to create characters that are easy to connect with. Add some humor, an engaging plot, and lots of adventure, and you’ve got a story that lots of fun from start to finish. It’s a fun read, but if you prefer audio, it’s read by Rosario Dawson, who in my mind would be the perfect person to play Jazz in the movie.


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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.