Shelf Life Blog
Prudence Wants a Pet explores the troubles of a pet-yearning girl with dry humor and simple, fun imagery. We already know what Prudence desires, but her parents are in no mood to sacrifice money or peace and quiet in exchange for a kitty or a puppy. So Prudence decides to take matters into her own hands.
Charles Maddox’s client turned out his daughter years ago for having “fallen,” in the way that Victorian women were said to do. She disappeared into one of London’s many workhouses and by the time her father wanted her back, there was no trace of either her or the child she bore for an unknown father. Lynn Shepherd’s The Solitary House leads readers on a tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of old London’s worst and best neighborhoods—places that often lay cheek by jowl to one another, as Charles struggles to find the missing girl.
“She’s perfect now.”
Nicole Castro is the most popular girl in school—a brain, a jock, a great friend—but what everyone is struck by is her beauty. Her perfect, perfect face. Or, they were until somebody attacked her, erasing half of her. Or, did they? In Paul Griffin’s Burning Blue, the mysteries of who did this to Nic and who she really is are slowly revealed to everyone, including herself.
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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca. (catalog summary)
If you enjoyed this title, here are some other novels you may enjoy:
Caught in the Light by Robert Goddard
On assignment in Vienna, photographer Ian Jarrett falls suddenly and desperately in love with a woman he has met purely by chance, Marian Esguard. Back in England, he separates from his wife and goes to meet Marian at an agreed-upon rendezvous, only to hear her tell him on the telephone that she will not be coming after all. She then vanishes from his life as mysteriously as she entered it. Searching frantically for the woman for whom he has sacrificed everything, Jarrett stumbles upon a Dorset churchyard full of gravestones of dead Esguards. He meets Daphne Sanger, a psychotherapist, who is also looking for someone: a former patient who has come to believe she is the reincarnation of Marian Esguard - a woman who lived in Regency times and, it emerges, may have invented photography ten years before Fox Talbot. But why is Marian Esguard unknown to history? And who and where is the woman Ian Jarrett met and fell in love with in Vienna? (catalog summary)
The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman
For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to Upstate New York to work under the captivating spell of the Bosco estate. Cradled in silence, inspired by the rough beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statuary, these chosen few fashion masterworks-and have cemented Bosco's reputation as a premier artists' colony. This season, five talented artists-in-residence find themselves drawn to the history of Bosco, from the extensive network of fountains that were once its centerpiece but have long since run dry to the story of its enigmatic founder, Aurora Latham, and the series of tragic events that occurred more than a century ago. (catalog summary)
Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom is John Rocco's story of his enormous, bushy hairdo as a boy and how he imagined it giving him special abilities! According to our unkempt crusader, "every superhero gets his powers from somewhere," and what better place than the top of your own head?
Can it ever be morally acceptable to sacrifice one life to save many? That is one of the questions you will find yourself considering as you read The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan. In the summer of 1914, Grace elopes with Henry Winter. After a stay in London the young couple is returning on an ocean liner to America to announce their marriage to Henry’s family. A mysterious explosion on board leads to the sinking of the ship. Henry sacrifices his own safety to secure a place on one of the lifeboats for Grace. There are 39 people on the lifeboat, and it becomes very clear early on that the boat is overcapacity.
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.
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.
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.