Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Roomies by Christina Lauren

Holland Bakker has been looking for excuses to visit the subway stop near her apartment as often as possible, just to listen to the musician who regularly plays there. There’s just something about his guitar playing, and well, he’s not hard on the eyes either. But Holland’s never spoken to him – she’s way too afraid that her crush on him would be too obvious. But an encounter with a would-be robber brings them together in an unexpected way. And when the chief violinist of the hottest show on Broadway suddenly quits, Holland brings her uncle – the musical director for the show – to hear him play. Calvin is immediately asked to audition, and when he’s offered the part, he admits that he’s in the country illegally, and will not be able to accept. When Brain, Holland’s snarky and irritable boss says that maybe Holland should just marry the guy, no one expects that she actually would. Now that Calvin and Holland are married, and the show is a bigger hit than ever, will they make the move from awkward roommates to loving married couple?

I’m not typically a huge fan of the romance genre, so I was really surprised at how much I liked this book! It was fun and sexy, without being too over the top, and the characters were easily relatable.  Definitely recommended if you need something light and breezy for summer.

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The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea

Nicole and Megan have been missing for two weeks. Megan turns up but Nicole does not. A year passes and Megan has written a book about what happened but the majority was done by her doctor. Livia is Nicole’s sister. She is wracked with guilt because the night Nicole went missing she called and Livia didn’t answer.

Livia is now doing her fellowship at the medical examiner’s office. A body comes across her table and she learns he is connected to Nicole. At first it looks like a suicide but Livia determines that he was murdered. Livia is starting to put together what might have happened to her sister. She comes across a club that is fascinated by people being kidnapped. Livia finds that Nicole might have been apart of it. She turns to Megan to help. Between the two of them they put together what happened that night. But are they too late to save the next victim?

I really liked this book but I figured out who the kidnapper was. The book goes back to before the kidnapping and then a year after Megan is found. It isn’t like other thrillers were you can’t stand the characters. You like Livia and Megan. Even Nicole, at least a little bit. I look forward to reading his other two books, Summit Lake and Don’t Believe It.


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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant works in the accounting department at a graphic design firm in Glasgow, Scotland.  She is socially awkward, says what’s on her mind and really doesn’t have a filter. She sticks to a routine right down to what she wears and what she eats for dinner every night and doesn’t really have any social interactions, not even with the people at work, who snicker behind her back since they find her behavior to sometimes be odd.

Upon leaving work one evening, Raymond, who works in IT at Eleanor’s place of employment, tries to initiate conversation. Eleanor of course feels very ill at ease with even this minor social interaction, and while she is struggling with the conversation, they witness an elderly man collapse in the middle of the street.  Raymond rushes to help and urges Eleanor to stay by his side while he calls for assistance.

Later on, Ray convinces Eleanor to visit the elderly man in the hospital, and this chance event is the beginning of Eleanor finding friendship and facing her harrowing past that has shaped who she has become.

At turns heartbreaking and funny, Eleanor is a character you’ll be rooting for as she eventually finds peace with her life, and most readers will find this uplifting, yet sympathetic tale to their liking. If you enjoyed The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, then this is the book for you!


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Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

Mike and his girlfriend Verity used to play a game they called the “crave.” They would go out to a bar or club and wait for another man to hit on Verity. Before things got too far, Verity would tug on her eagle pendant, and Mike would shove the guy out of the way and save her.

Now Verity is engaged to someone else and has invited him to their wedding. Mike never believed that their relationship was really over, despite his one discretion when he was living in New York. In fact, he is convinced that this is all part of an elaborate game of the crave like they used to play. So, he is going along with the game knowing full well that Verity still loves him deeply, and eventually they’ll be together again.

The story is told from Mike’s perspective while he is awaiting trial. The reader does not know yet what has happened, but the story is unraveled as Mike reflects on past events leading up to present day.

Contemporary psychological thrillers have typically been told from a woman’s perspective but in this case, we get a man’s point of view, and he can definitely be considered an unreliable narrator. The reader never knows what the truth is and what is Mike’s delusions on his relationship with Verity. The book keeps you on edge as you wait to find out what happens, but in the end there isn’t really the big reward you would have expected for getting up to the end.


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Catch a Killer by Kris Rafferty

After losing Jack Benton, her lover and partner, FBI Special Agent Hannah Cambridge is now in Boston heading up a task force to put a stop to a string of serial killings plaguing the city. And in fact, Hannah has been targeted as the next victim.

Benton died in a car explosion and Hannah never had the chance to tell him she was pregnant. No one on the force knows about their child, and Hannah is in for the shock of her life to discover that Benton never really died but actually went deep undercover. He is back now to takeover the task force and keep Hannah safe.

Her career is all she has ever had, and Hannah refuses to step away from the case, even for her own safety. Hannah and Jack have to set their differences aside and work towards repairing their broken relationship if they are ever going to stop this killer in his tracks.

Verdict: Although most readers will have guessed the identity of the killer before the novel’s end, Rafferty’s (Caught By You) second series offering keeps the reader engaged with an entertaining plot and affecting romance with mildly sexy love scenes.


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Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

On the verge of World War II, journalist Martha Gellhorn travels to Spain to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War. It is her reports of the effects of the war on the ordinary people of the country who are caught up in it that make the most impact, and cement her reputation as a journalist. While in Madrid, Martha begins an affair with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway, who’s in the midst of writing For Whom the Bell Tolls, is poised to become a legend. As both of their careers continue to climb, Martha finds herself with a difficult decision to make. As much as she loves Ernest, how much of herself and her own career is she willing to sacrifice?

McLain does a wonderful job of setting the scenes – you could feel the cold and wet of a small Madrid hotel room in winter, and the sun warmed heat of a Cuban villa. As Martha and Ernest become competitive about their careers, we feel the tension, as McLain shows us both sides of the story.  If you like historical fiction, are an armchair traveller, or are looking for your next book club selection, Love and Ruin is an excellent choice. After you finish the book, you might also enjoy watching Hemingway & Gellhorn, starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. Read our review here.

 

 

 


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The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

Flight attendant Cassie Bowden is on a flight to Dubai when she meets hedge fund manager, Alex, a passenger who she flirts with. The two make plans to meet up later at a hotel.  In the hotel room, Alex receives a visit from a woman who she assumes is his work colleague, and the three finish off a bottle of vodka. When Cassie wakes up in the morning in bed with Alex, he is covered in blood because his throat was slit during the night.

Cassie is a heavy drinker who sometimes blacks out when she drinks. She questions whether she killed Alex, so instead of calling the authorities, she wipes off any trace of her fingerprints from the room and rejoins the airline crew for the next flight.

The story alternates between Elena, the woman who was in Alex’s room, and her work with the Russians and Cassie, who is trying to save herself from conviction when the hotel’s security cameras spot her leaving his room.

Cassie is a very unlikable character who goes from one bad decision to another. Perhaps Bohjalian was trying to cash in on the “unreliable narrator” trend that is hot in fiction right now. The story kept you interested, but this was not one of the author’s best.