Shelf Life Blog

If you like Minion by L.A. Banks

Minion by L.A. Banks

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

Minion: A Vampire Huntress Legend by L.A. Banks: "Damali Richards has taken on vampires before, but whatever is behind the brutal murders that have captured the attention of police is beyond anything she has encountered before." (Book description)

If you like Minion by L.A. Banks, you may enjoy these titles. Some are by African American authors, some have African American characters, and all feature some type of paranormal angle.

Blood Colony by Tananarive Due
There's a new drug on the street: Glow. Said to heal almost any illness, its main ingredient is blood--the blood of immortals. A small but powerful underground railroad of immortals is distributing the blood, slowly wiping out the AIDS epidemic. But the Glow peddlers are being murdered by a violent, hundred-year-old sect with ties to the Vatican.
And the only immortal born with the Living Blood is being hunted to fulfill an ancient blood prophecy that could lead to countless deaths.-catalog summary
 

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
The rich and the privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways -- farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets.
With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.-catalog summary
 

Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, by M.T. Anderson

Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

Greetings, brave adventurers! So you are looking for uncharted territory to claim and conquer, eh? You've already climbed the highest peaks and had lunch in the craters of the moon. So, where do you go next to do your exploring? Look no further than this hidden gem. This is a land of mystery and danger, a land of wonder and fright, a land with Tyrannosaurs, tentacled creatures, and scariest of all....toll booths. Behold, Delaware!

Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware is part of M.T. Anderson's Pals in Peril series, a highly absurdist take on children's detective and adventure series of decades past, the most obvious being Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, and Tom Swift. The title character of this particular book is the star of his own fictional series that has fallen into obscurity. Just looking at Jasper Dash, you can see that he's from another time. Aviator goggles perched atop a perfectly parted swath of blonde hair. And that's when he opens his mouth and 19th-century slang falls out: "Hello, chums...What-ho and tippy tippy dingle and all."

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones

When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die.  In George R.R. Martin’s rich fantasy, King Robert of the House of Baratheon wins the game by defeating the Old Dynasty, the House of Tagaryen, but as his best friend, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell’s family motto states, Winter is Coming, and things are changing.  Robert was a better soldier than king so the House of Lannister threatens his power, and a civil war breaks out. Jaime Lannister fights with his brawn, and his brother, the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, with his wit.

Martin’s characters are not black and white; he goes back to Sir Thomas Malory, where even Lancelot, the role model for chivalry, has deep, fatal flaws. Stark is an honest man, yet he does not know whom to trust and endangers himself and his family.  If you love fantasy combined with the Arthurian legend of knights and chivalry and an added twist of Machiavellian political intrigue, this book is for you. The magical elements of the godswoods, the dragon eggs, and the evil beings lurking the wilds of the north add an air of mystery and the supernatural to the novel.

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Patient Zero cover

Recently when I went to the beach I took Patient Zero with me to read.  While I sat in stopped traffic, motorcyclists weaved in and out, roaring past us laughing.  My first thought was, “That is SO illegal! I hate you!” But my next thought was, “They are going to get to the beach long before we do, and they are having more fun doing it this way.”  If Jonathan Maberry's Patient Zero were a vehicle it would be one of those motorcycles roaring past the stopped cars.  The action is fast and furious from the beginning to the very last page of the book.

Chapter One introduces Joe Ledge--a modern day Rambo. 

When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there’s either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world.

And there’s nothing wrong with my skills.

Framed by Gordon Korman

Framed by Gordon Korman

You met Griffin Bing and his friends in Swindle and followed their escapades in Zoobreak.  Now Gordon Korman has brought the gang back in his latest installment--Framed.  Griffin always seems to find trouble even when he is not looking for it.  In this latest adventure, Cedarville Middle School has become the recipient of of a Super Bowl ring.  It is put on display in the school's trophy cabinet.  Suddenly, it goes missing. Griffin is held responsible for the heist. His friends decide to prove his innocence and set out to find the real thief.

Griffin has an eclectic group of friends.  There is Ben Slovak, who suffers from narcolepsy and has a therapeutic ferret, and Savannah Drysdale, an avid animal enthusiast.  Logan is a budding actor, and Pitch is a super athlete.  Together with several other characters, the team assembles a sophisticated crime-busting enterprise as they attempt to identify the actual perp.  However, Griffin is sent to "JFK" - Jail for Kids. He is being framed for the crime. He has a reputation of being a trouble maker throughout his town of Cedarville. Even though the John F. Kennedy Alternative School is not a detention center, he is not supposed to see his friends. However, a pesky little detail like that never stopped Griffin.  There is a monitoring system installed in his home and when he ventures beyond the required boundaries a comic episode occurs.

If you like The Power of Babel by John McWhorter

 The Power of Babel by John McWhorter

This readalike is in response to a patron'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 Power of Babel by John McWhorter: There are approximately 6000 languages on earth today, the descendants of the tongue first spoken by homo sapiens some 150,000 years ago. How did they all develop? What happened to the first language? In this irreverent romp through territory too often claimed by stodgy grammarians, McWhorter ranges across linguistic theory, geography, history, and pop culture to tell the fascinating story of how thousands of very different languages have evolved from a single, original source in a natural process similar to biological evolution. While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, he reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutable and hidebound, but a living, dynamic entity that adapts itself to an ever-changing human environment." (Catalog Summary")

If you like The Power of Babel by John McWhorter, you may also like these selections.

The Beginning of Language: Opposing Viewpoints by Clarice Swisher
Discusses historical, philosophical, and scientific theories about the mysterious origins of human language. (catalog summary)

Empires of the World: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler
Head of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, Ostler draws on his extensive study and research, mostly into now dead languages, to trace the history of the world's major languages. Language is always linked to a particular time and place, he says, but at the same time it is a unbroken link to all people in all times, and has played a larger role in history than any prince or economy. First he considers early languages that became dominant in certain areas or by migration, then more recent ones that have spread throughout the world by colonialism.(catalog summary)

 

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter and illustrations by Red Nose Studio

Here Comes the Garbage Barge!

On a blazing summer's day, there's nothing quite like the aroma of piping hot...garbage. It's gross, slimy, and we each make about four pounds of it per day. The one thing that everyone can agree on is that no one wants to deal with garbage, and that notion is exactly what Here Comes the Garbage Barge!  is all about.

In 1987, over 3,000 tons of Long Island, New York's garbage was loaded onto a barge and pulled by the tugboat Break of Dawn.  The plan was to unload the cargo in North Carolina, where poor farmers had been paid to bury the waste. But when the barge and its captain arrived, they met a police boat which refused to let them dock there under any circumstances. So began a wild goose chase up and down the coast to find a place to store the disgusting floating dump.

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted

Grief is a love story told backwards.

Heidi is no strangers to loss. She almost lost her mother as a child; she lost a baby. Two years ago Heidi lost her husband Henry, and she has been lost ever since. She is a gifted pastry chef who cannot even bake a cake for her sister’s wedding. The world has moved on but she has not. She is literally grief-stricken. She cannot explain to her now anxious germ-phobic son Abbott how in one moment your safe world can change suddenly and irrevocably. In The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, Bridget Asher captures Heidi’s sadness and her path back to love with great empathy, gentle humor and vivid imagery. The novel is sweet without being sappy and great for the armchair traveler to Provence.

Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson

Robopocalypse

My first thought upon reading the description of Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse was "Terminator rip-off."  But I kept thinking, "Robots and the apocalypse, two of my favorite things to read about in fiction."  I'm not making that up.  And really, anything after Terminator 2 in the franchise doesn't, in my mind, count.  I've always wanted a lot more detail about how the robot uprising occurs and how people struggle in the coming war, especially people who are not John Connor.  After reading Robopocalypse, I want to assure you that it is as far removed from Terminator lore as anything "robot apocalypse" could possibly be.  If you're someone who likes to be frightened and enjoys books where the mundane is made decidedly strange, then you might enjoy Robopocalypse.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent, by Veronica Roth, is an example of dystopian young adult fiction at its best! It takes place in a Chicago of the future--in a world that has been rebuilt after society collapsed. In an attempt to avoid the problems of the past, this new Chicago society is divided into five factions - Dauntless (bravery), Amity (friendship), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (truth), and Abnegation (selflessness). Each faction follows a strict code of conduct; each has its own ideals; and each has its own role in governing the new society. At the age of 16, every person throughout the city must go through a simulation designed to show him or her which faction would be most suitable to join.