Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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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.

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Waste of Space by Stuart Gibbs

Time is running out….

Moon Base Alpha has had its share of problems since the Moonies arrived. Problems much bigger than the food. There has already been one murder and a kidnapping/blackmailing. These cases were solved thanks to Dash and a little help from Kira, his friend on the Moon Base, along with Zan, an alien he encountered shortly after the murder. Now another killer has struck on Moon Base Alpha once more. This time the multi-billionaire Lars Sjoburg was poisoned (something no one is shocked by) and it is up to Dash to find the attempted killer. Beside this new case of the poisoning, something has everyone worried.  All Dash wanted to do is enjoy his birthday, but of course things are never that simple on the moon.

It was great to read the newest adventure of Dash and the other Moonies. I had been waiting for this installment in the series since the title was announced on Stuart Gibbs website. It was a fast read that kept my attention. It had many funny moments in it. I felt that the characters grew throughout the series. It had a more realistic vision of space than most of the books or TV shows/movies than I have seen in the past. I’m pretty good at figuring out who the crime was committed by so I was not shocked by that. However, there was so many twists with the crime and how it was committed that I never would have guessed. I was sad to see the series end. However, the reasons for the series to end made sense. I did like how it ended.

If you liked the Moon Base series, I highly recommend reading the FunJungle series, the Spy School Series and the Last Musketeer series.  All of these series are great reads that keep you entertained throughout them. All three of these series are also written by Stuart Gibbs. I finished reading Waste of Space on May 13th, which I thought was funny as it was my birthday. I also got a copy of Waste of Space for my birthday from my friend Marisa.

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Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) is the owner of a logging company in Canada. Business is good, and family life as well, except for one thing. Linden (Stephen Lang), Joe’s dad, has dementia, and after an incident at a local bar, it seems time to take the next step in his care. Thinking that the best place to talk to his dad might be the peace and quiet of the family’s cabin, the two head out. Unbeknownst to them, one of Joe’s employees has gotten himself involved in a drug trafficking operation, and after an accident, has stashed drugs in the cabin. Kassen (Garret Dillahunt), the ruthless boss of the drug operation and his guys show up at the cabin to retrieve the drugs, and when they discover the two Braven men in residence, decide to do things the hard way. Now, Joe and his father will have to fight for their survival.

Beautifully shot in the wilds of Newfoundland, this one sets a heart pounding pace almost immediately, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Rated R.

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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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The Great American Read

THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (ALA) AND PBS announced the list of 50 public libraries selected to receive programming grants for “The Great American Read,” an eight-part television series and multi-platform initiative that celebrates the joy of reading and the books we love. Plainfield Public Library was one of the selected libraries!

Hosted by television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira, “The Great American Read” will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books, encouraging audiences to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles.

The series premiered at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, on PBS stations with a two-hour launch, kicking off a summer of reading and voting and will introduce viewers to the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels selected through a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov. The series will also feature interviews with celebrities, authors, superfans and everyday Americans discussing the way particular books have influenced them and their significance in American popular culture.

After a multi-platform initiative throughout the summer, which will include live public events, social media components and national reading clubs, the series will resume in the fall with several themed episodes, including an exciting finale, culminating in the first-ever national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Novel.”

THE LIBRARY’S programming for “The Great American Read” will kick off at 10:30 AM on May 30, with a visit from the WTTW Lab Guys. Join us for a fun-filled interactive live show that allows children to explore the BIG IDEA: Wonder, Watch and Learn! A Meet and Greet with Curious George follows the event. Caregivers will get an opportunity to learn about The Great American Read. It’s a journey across the country to uncover the nation’s 100 most-loved novels. Register here.

Programs will be offered throughout the summer and fall. More details to come soon.