Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Katie Brenner works for a glamorous company in London. She is only slightly better than an intern but she doesn’t care. Her dream was always to get out of her little farming town and live in London. Her dream has come true. So what if she has to share a flat with two other people and her room is super tiny? Or that her commute is complicated and long. She is living her dream.

But before she knows it she is fired for something she didn’t do. She is forced to move back to Somerset and help her dad start his glamping business. He thinks she is just on a sabbatical to help him. When the glamping business become a big hit, Katie is surprised since none of her dad’s ideas every work out. While helping her dad, her ex-boss, Demeter,  shows up. Now she has to act happy in front of  Demeter and keep her dad from finding out her secret. As Katie continues her charade she realizes maybe Demeter doesn’t have the perfect life and that maybe Katie doesn’t have it so bad.

I love Sophie Kinsella books! This was a another great one with funny, cringe worthy moments and awkward but lovable characters. Can’t wait for her next one, Surprise Me, out in 2018.



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Dead Again in Tombstone

A reluctant servant of the Devil, Guerrero (Danny Trejo) returns from the dead and heads to his hometown to pay his respects to his father. Once there, he finds the town and his family in danger. Colonel Jackson Boomer (Jake Busey) is determined to get his hands on an ancient relic, and he will stop at nothing to get it. As Boomer and his gang terrorize the town, Guerrero does his best to protect its citizens and stop Boomer from getting the relic. But first, he needs to find it, and he may die trying. Again.

This one might be a little confusing if you didn’t see the first installment of this franchise – Dead in TombstoneThe flashbacks don’t really help much – I think they just added to my confusion. But, hey, it’s a Danny Trejo movie, and it doesn’t have to make sense, because if you like action and B movie style everything, you learn to just sit back and enjoy the ride. If there’s one thing Danny’s taught us throughout the years it’s don’t mess with whatever character he’s playing. In this movie we learn not to mess with Danny’s horse, because he’ll only come back with something bigger. Great cinematography. Rated R. Also featuring: Dean McDermott.

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan

When Lois Clary moves across the country from Michigan to San Francisco, she knew it would be a change, but certain things she didn’t expect. Like paying exorbitant rent on a tiny apartment that she hardly ever uses. Or the soul crushing hours that she’ll put in on her new job. Or the loneliness that she feels, since it’s difficult to make friends when all you do is work. When a menu for a new restaurant is tucked into her door, things begin to change for Lois. She begins by ordering the spicy hot soup, and when it arrives a few minutes later, with a side of the best bread she’s ever had, something begins to shift for her. Soon, Lois becomes the restaurant’s “number one eater”, and is taken by surprise when the owners show up at her door with a ceramic crock of their sourdough starter. The two brothers are being deported, but before they go, they show her how to keep the starter alive, and how to bake bread. There’s something magical about this bread, and the starter itself is truly alive, as Lois soon finds out. There’s something so basic and life affirming about the simple act of baking bread that is so opposite of Lois’ work at General Dexterity where she teaches robotic arms to do simple tasks, and Lois soon finds herself baking for her neighbors and coworkers, and being introduced to one of the city’s underground markets.

By the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, this novel is a treat to read. Contrasting high tech and simplicity, the book takes you on kind of a pop culture magic carpet ride through the Silicon Valley, secret markets, and the underground food world, and you will not be disappointed. I can’t wait to see where Mr. Sloan takes us next!

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Emily (Amy Schumer) just got dumped by her boyfriend. They had planned on going on vacation to South America and the tickets are non-refundable. Emily tries to get any of her friends to come but no one can or will. Finally as a last resort, Emily asks her mom, Linda (Goldie Hawn). Reluctantly, she agrees. Soon they are enjoying their vacation or at least Emily is. Emily meets a man and he takes them sightseeing. The next thing they know, they have been kidnapped. Now they need to work together to survive and get away.

This movie was better than I thought it would be. My expectations were low but I did laugh a couple of times. Also starring, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack. Rated R

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What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

Rachel Jenner is talking a walk in the woods with her son, Benedict, and their dog, Skittles, when Ben asks to walk ahead to ride the rope swing. Wanting to give him a little freedom and independence, she lets him go ahead. When she arrives at the rope swing, it is still in motion and Ben is nowhere to be seen. Unable to locate him after calling out and searching the area, she phones the police.

DI Clemo is assigned the case and requests Emma Chang to act as family liaison officer. Rachel is at her wits end and really only has her older sister Nicky for support.  Nicky is dealing with her own familial issues and has a secret she has kept from Rachel.

Despite massive search efforts and following up on leads, the more time passes, the less likely they are to find Ben alive. The media is attacking Rachel, suggesting she is at fault for letting her son run ahead. And social media has been crucifying her to the fullest extent as a terrible mother. But, it might take the only person who really knows her son, Rachel, to find him.

This is the second book I’ve read by Macmillan (see review for The Perfect Girland they are both strong contenders in the trending psychological thriller genre. The story unfolds between Rachel’s point of view and through DI Clemo’s, as he is seeing a therapist as a result of the Benedict Finch case. Although I am getting a bit burnt out of this genre, I would happily recommend Macmillan’s books to anyone who can handle a dark, twisty plot and child abduction.

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The Circle

Mae (Emma Watson) is in a boring dead end job. Her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), works for a company in the tech world known as the Circle. Annie gets Mae an interview and the next thing she knows she has an exciting new job. At first she is overwhelmed, but she soon excels. She also agrees to transparency. She begins to live stream her entire life. But when a tragic death occurs, Mae starts to rethink everything she knew about this company.

This movie was just okay for me. I did not read the book so I cannot compare the two but I have heard the book is a whole lot better. I didn’t like the characters and there definitely wasn’t enough of John Boyega. Also starring, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Patton Oswalt. Rated PG-13

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The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

Ronni Sunshine would never have won “Mother of the Year”. The narcissistic actress was far too busy with her career and various affairs to pay attention to her family. Her marriage crumbled and her 3 daughters were left to largely fend for themselves.  Now grown, Meredith, Lizzy, and Nell are estranged from their mother and all dealing with adult crises of their own.  When Ronni is diagnosed with a fatal disease, she reaches out to her daughters and tries to set things right with them, as the girls try to set things right with themselves.

This was not my favorite Jane Green book, but I enjoyed the story, even if some of the characters were immensely unlike-able.