Shelf Life Blog

05/27/2014 - 3:00am
She's Leaving Home by William Shaw

She’s Leaving Home is William Shaw’s debut novel. Set in 1960s London, a young woman’s body is found on a residential street, near the Beatles’ recording studio on Abbey Road. Detective Cahal Breen needs to solve this case to prove he is still up to the task of being a detective, following what appears to have been an act of cowardice. Teaming up with Helen Tozer, a new policewoman, Breen begins to focus on the many young fans who congregate outside the Beatles’ studio.

05/26/2014 - 3:01am
Avengers Academy: Arcade Death Game

Poor Arcade just can’t catch a break. The Marvel Comics villain, known more for his arrogance and his overly-contrived, easily-escapable “traps” has had enough of heroes thwarting his schemes and embarrassing him. In order to regain his prestige in the hierarchy of villains, he must successfully assassinate a superhero, but whom should he choose? He decides on the inexperienced yet powerful young superheroes of the Avengers Academy, a training camp for the next generation of Avengers. Arcade Death Game details his attempt to kill the young recruits of the group with his intricate traps and deadly machines. It is a tightly-paced thriller with appealing heroes and some well-drawn artwork.

05/22/2014 - 12:23pm
29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket

As Lemony Snicket gets further from the series that brought him notoriety, he finds himself exploring terra icognita, or unknown territory. He finds new ways to craft stories, experimenting with what children's books are capable of. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy is a fascinating if challenging example of these efforts. The book follows two children as they investigate the mysteries of a peculiar business. They obsessively list what they have learned from their research, casing the joint like bank robbers.

1. We are very curious about the Swinster Pharmacy. We travelled all the way from the next town to find out what it sells.

05/21/2014 - 3:00am
Handmade Gatherings: Recipes & Crafts for Seasonal Celebrations & Potluck Partie

Beautiful in its design and content, Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings offers splendid ideas for entertaining year-round and to intrigue all ages. She includes not only delicious recipes for earthy yet traditional foods, but she also finds crafty ways to feature the glories of each season.

05/20/2014 - 3:00am
Alena by Rachel Pastan

She had no idea when she accepted the curator position at the Nauk—an innovative Cape Cod gallery dedicated to emerging artists—that a dead woman would thwart her at every turn. 

05/19/2014 - 3:00am
Prisoners in the Palace

They very nearly had to pry Liza out of the expensive London hotel. Surrounded by mementoes of her loving but tragically deceased family, the pretty, young girl had gone from a promising future to ruin. There was no money to even pay the hotel bill, and she had to sweet-talk the harrumphing manager into giving her cash for a hansom cab to follow up her only hope for sustaining herself—a job as a lady’s maid to Princess Victoria. But she could not know that very soon she and the princess would become Prisoners in the Palace.

05/16/2014 - 2:18pm
The Loch by Steve Alten

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

The Loch by Steve Alten: Something hungry is in the loch . . and it's not the gentle Nessie of Scottish lore! Marine biologist Zach Wallace, fresh from a near drowning in the Sargasso Sea during an expedition in search of the elusive giant squid, returns to his Scottish birthplace when his estranged father is accused of murder. Unfortunately for Zach's father, Angus, his entire defense hinges on his claim that something in Loch Ness killed his business partner when he fell into the water after Angus punched him. But the trial soon becomes a media circus when more people go missing and half-eaten body parts are discovered along the shore. Zach must contend with rival scientists, interfering thrill seekers, and even a rogue remnant of the Knights Templar in his search for what is really lurking in Loch Ness.

If you enjoyed this novel, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

Cujo by Stephen King

Left to fend for herself by her workaholic husband, Donna Trenton takes her ailing Pinto to Joe Camber's garage for repairs. Once there, Donna must lock herself and her son, Tad, in her sweltering car, for the Cambers' once-friendly Saint Bernard, Cujo, has now turned into a monstrous and rabid killer. 

 

05/14/2014 - 3:00am
Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

"Stepping in a rhythm to a Kurtis Blow. 
Who needs to think when your feet just go?"

                                                Tom Tom Club - The Genius of Love

Ed Piskor cannot rap or dance. He is no good with turntables or sampling. What Piskor can do is draw, which is why Hip Hop Family Tree is such an important testament to honoring the innovators and pioneers of the culture.

05/13/2014 - 3:00am
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

It happened again. The walls shook very hard and the singing bowls sounded on their own—as a warning or a meditation? Small earthquakes were normal in this part of Japan, but Lucy Jarrett never could get used to them. She had come to live in the village with her love Yoshi a few years ago. They had fallen for each other during a monsoon in another country, two very different people determined to make a private country of their own.

But things are changing now. Lucy can not find a job in her field of hydrology, and Yoshi is preoccupied with his corporate work. He looks at her closely one day and says she seems to be a very lonely person… and she realizes that she is.

05/13/2014 - 7:18pm
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

When I Was the Greatest is Jason Reynolds' first novel, but his voice is already fully-formed. He guides us through the life of Ali, a teenager living in Brooklyn, the non-Cosby part. Ali's mom complains about white gentrification raising the price of rent, but Ali does not fully follow.

I don't really get that. I mean, if I'm in a restaurant, and I order some food, and a white person walks in, all of a sudden I have to pay more for my meal? Makes no sense, but that's what she says.

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