Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Logan Lucky

When Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is fired from his job, he convinces his sister Mellie (Riley Keough) and brother Clyde (Adam Driver) to help him rob the motor speedway during a NASCAR race. Although he’s convinced that the race track will be easy pickings, they’re going to need some help. The catch: besides the Logan family curse to contend with, the best safe cracker around (Daniel Craig) is currently doing time, and the two locals that he’s recommended may or may not be up for the job.

A great ensemble cast, fast paced action, and well placed humor make this movie a lot of fun to watch. Also featuring: Katie Holmes, Seth McFarlane, Jim O’Heir, Dwight Yoakum, and Hilary Swank. Rated PG-13

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Richard is a very successful New York hedge fund manager. His intensity mixed with a lot of charm makes him irresistible, and he seems like the perfect catch. He’s also got a penchant for a certain type of woman, and is ready to walk down the aisle with the next Mrs. Thompson. Vanessa is his ex-wife. She seems to be having a really hard time adjusting to her new circumstances, now that she’s living with her aunt and working at Saks on the sales floor. She is stalking Richard’s fiancée and is determined to stop the wedding at all costs.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I will tell you that I read this book in one sitting – I literally could not put it down. Yes, it does follow the “Gone Girl/Girl on the Train” formula, BUT, even if you’re getting a bit weary of that, I think you’ll find that The Wife Between Us delivers on intensity as well as thrills.


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Wakefield

As a Manhattan lawyer, Howard (Bryan Cranston) lives a very nice life in the suburbs with his wife and two daughters. Despite it all, Howard is feeling suffocated by his life, and one night during his commute home, when one thing after another goes wrong, Howard’s had enough. It’s very late by the time he gets home, and not wanting to answer any questions, Howard decides to hide out in the attic above the garage. What was supposed to be a short term solution becomes Howard’s life, as he extends his stay. From his attic perch, he watches his family, and re-examines his life and marriage.

Based on a short story by E.L Doctorow (read it here), this movie is a perfect vehicle to showcase Cranston’s talent. Watching Howard’s transformation and wondering what could possibly happen next, I found myself totally immersed in the story. Rated R. Also featuring: Jennifer Garner and Beverly D’Angelo. Definitely put this on your watch list!


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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

A girlfriend and her boyfriend, Jack, are in the car on the way for her to meet Jack’s parents for the first time. The couple lives in the city, but Jack’s parents live in a rural area that takes a while to get to on country roads. For most of the trip, the girl is reflecting on her relationship with Jack and is contemplating “ending things” with him.

There is a secret the reader knows that the girl has kept from Jack. She has been receiving eerie phone calls in which the individual leaves creepy voicemail message that ask the same question each time. She doesn’t understand the context or what it all means and has yet to tell anyone.

The story alternates between the Jack and the girlfriend and then a group of people talking about someone’s suicide, but who died and how it’s related isn’t relieved until the very end.

This is a short, yet super dark and disturbing read, albeit one with a good twist. Only recommended to certain readers who can deal with this strange tale.

 


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Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Olivia is coming home for Christmas. The only reason is because she has to be quarantined for seven days after providing medical assistance to Haag victims. Joining her in quarantine are her mother, Emma, her father, Andrew, and her sister, Phoebe. They are going to the family estate, which has limited cell service and is in the middle of nowhere. To add to the stress of quarantine, Andrew has found out that he has a son from a previous relationship that he knew nothing about and Emma has just been diagnosed  with cancer.

Olivia also has a secret. She is in a secret relationship with one of the other doctors. And when you are there treating patients, there is a no touch policy, which they repeatedly violated. And now he has the Haag. This Christmas is already stressful without all of the secrets. But when the biggest secret actually shows up at the house, no one will ever be the same.

I enjoyed this book. There was one thing I didn’t like in the end but I guess it was good for the story. You don’t really like the characters but you don’t hate them and they redeem themselves as the story goes on.


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The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

Child psychologist and agoraphobe Anna Fox has been home bound for the last ten months. The only contact she has with the outside world are regular in-home appointments with her psychiatrist and physical therapist and the occasional visit from her tenant, David, who rents the basement apartment of her brownstone. Anna’s passions include overindulging in wine and prescription medications, old noir and thriller film and watching the outside activities of her Gramercy Park neighborhood.

Most interesting to Anna are the Russells, the new neighbors across the park, who are a husband and wife couple with a teenage son who moved here from Boston. When her house is egged by a bunch of kids on Halloween, Anna attempts to take her first steps outside but can’t make it and is rescued by Jane Russell. The women form a friendship when Anna invites Jane inside, and they spend the evening drinking wine and playing chess. When Anna sees Jane being attacked through the window, she suspects the woman could have been murdered. But the real Jane Russell is not the woman who she saw in the window. So who is she? Or is her dependence on pills and liquor having her fabricating events?

I don’t think Finn’s debut totally lives up to the hype, but keep in mind I’m a prolific reader of this genre and it takes a lot to impress me. However, readers who are fans of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and The Girl on the Train (and novels with unreliable narrators) will find The Woman in the Window to their liking.


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Little Nothing by Marisa Silver

Born to a peasant couple near the beginning of the last century, Pavla’s birth is much anticipated. But her arrival is a shock to her parents and causes a stir in the small village – she is a dwarf. While she is beautiful, she never grows much larger than a small child. She becomes an object of persecution in the community, and her parents become desperate for a solution. After an extreme treatment by a so called doctor, and a stint with a traveling freak show, Pavla undergoes an amazing transformation, one that will make her a hunted woman.

Beautifully written, this story is like a fairy tale. Silver examines time, memory, and identity through each of Pavla’s transformations, and in the process creates a beautifully crafted tale. Definitely worth reading if you’re in the mood for something a bit different.