Shelf Life Magazine – January 2019

jan19coverWelcome to 2019 and Happy New Year to all! Hard to believe another year has passed into the ether as they say, but hopefully this year will be memorable for everyone out there.  A new year also brings a new selection of books, where one again, we fulfill our praise to offer reviews of the best in books. As always, hopefully we inspire you to head to your bookstore and purchase many of the titles. There is little question they are worthy of your attention and hard-earned money. Keep those emails coming with your suggestions and comments about our choices. In the immortal words of the late comedic legend Jackie Gleason, “and away we go!”

Enjoy this issue!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best January Fiction ***

The Policeman’s Daughter
by Trudy Nan Boyce
(Putnam – $37.00 – 338 pages)
“This is one detective truly worth her Salt!”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by Rosie Walsh
(Mantle – $24.99 – 344 pages)
“…vastly different from the majority of books on store shelves.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Bad Daughter
by Joy Fielding
(Doubleday Canada – $32.00 – 356 pages)
“…very good, a great mystery both entertaining, and one that becomes a total page turner.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of January Fiction ***

Dark Sacred Night
by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown – $38.00 – 448 pages)
“It is books like DARK SACRED NIGHT that reinforces precisely why we enjoy any book written by Michael Connelly.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Other Lady Vanishes
by Amanda Quick
(Berkley – $36.00 – 342 pages)
“Amanda Quick can take any genre and do wonders with it.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shattered Mirror
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $36.00 – 339 pages)
“…a tense and powerful reading experience…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

White Rose Black Forest
by Eoin Dempsey
(Lake Union – $19.75 – 258 pages)
Reviewed by Tori Levang
“Intense and emotional, and based on true historical events, the book straddles the line between the genres of historical fiction and thriller.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Give Me Your Hand
by Megan Abbott
(Little Brown – $22.99 – 342 pages)
“…will definitely linger in your mind as the story is intense…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

All We Ever Wanted
by Emily Giffin
(Doubleday Canada – $32.00 – 334 pages)
“…the typical superior chick-lit that Emily Giffin is noted for.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Vince Flynn Red War
by Kyle Mills
(Emily Bestler/Atria – $22.00 – 370 pages)
“…continues the quality work of the series…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Under My Skin
by Lisa Unger
(Park Row Books – $22.99 – 365 pages)
“…will definitely get under your skin, but in a positive way…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Darkness Absolute
by Kelley Armstrong
(Random House Canada – $29.95 – 454 pages)
“Armstrong writes the characters with dark elements that add to the chilling nature of the book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

A Darkness of the Heart
by Gail Bowen
(McClelland & Stewart – $32.00 – 272 pages)
“…shows another side of Bowen’s writing prowess, adding new dynamics to her life and times…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Crooked Staircase
by Dean Koontz
(Bantam – $37.00 – 434 pages)
“…will take the reader further into the world of suspense and intrigue…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Twisted Prey
by John Sandford
(Putnam – $39.00 – 388 pages)
“…Sandford again proves why his books become better each time…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Cat Flap
by Alan S. Cowell
(St. Martin’s Press – $32.50 – 230 pages)
“For those who enjoy books with animals as a main theme, they will definitely enjoy CAT FLAP.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek
by Anthony O’Neill
(Skyhorse – $29.99 -216 pages)
“…it advances the story to areas (Louis) Stevenson may have envisioned if he had penned another book.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(Tor – $36.50 – 660 pages)
“…book twenty-nine in the series that shows no signs of letting up, nor of Kenyon deciding to draw it to a close.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Big Woods
by May Cobb
(Midnight Ink – $21.95 –  300 pages)
“Keep an eye out for future books from this author. She is just getting started.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best January Non-Fiction ***

My Squirrel Days
by Ellie Kemper
(Scribner – $32.99  – 240 pages)
“…so much to savour in this entertaining autobiography.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Full Disclosure
by Stormy Daniels with Kevin Carr O’Leary
(St. Martin’s Press – $36.50 – 270 pages)
“You will be pleasantly surprised at Stormy’s savvy and honesty.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Canoes: A Natural History in North America
by Mark Neuzil & Norman Sims
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $40.00 – 372 pages)
“…the authors provide a scholarly and historical approach to one of the oldest modes of transportation.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of January Non-Fiction ****

Little Shoes: The Sensational Depression-Era Murders That Became My Family’s Secret
by Pamela Everett
(Skyhorse – $37.99 – 232 pages)
“…takes bold steps in reassessing a classic crime.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Season in the Sun: The Rise of Mickey Mantle
by Randy Roberts & Johnny Smith
(Basic Books – $36.50 – 304 pages)
“…should be required reading for children who one day envision themselves as sports stars.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Unshackling America: How the War of 1812 Truly Ended the American Revolution
by Willard Sterne Randall
(St. Martin’s Press – $41.99 – 452 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…Randall’s brilliant tome does substantially more than simply tackle the subject of the War of 1812.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary New Edition
by James Lucerno, David West Reynolds, Ryder Windham, Jason Fry & Pablo Hidalgo
(DK Books – $35.00 – 352 pages)
“With over 350 pages of the best in Star Wars, the book will entertain, illuminate, and mesmerize every fan of the movies.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Happy Down Below
by Dr. Oliver Gralla
(Greystone – $22.95 – 224 pages)
“It makes HAPPY DOWN BELOW a book to be shared by men and women in terms of sexuality, creating a more fulfilling life and intimate moments.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Kate How To Dress Like a Style Icon
by Caroline Jones
(Carlton Book – $40.00 – 210 pages)
“…you might feel like a queen after learning fashion tricks of the trade.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Silver Age Doom Patrol Volume One
(DC Comics – $39.99 – 380 pages)
“You will feel no doom and gloom reading this book, rather a nostalgic happiness in being reunited with the issues that brought the Doom Patrol to the comic buying public.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Tina Turner: My Love Story
by Tina Turner with Deborah Davis & Dominik Wichmann
(Atria – $34.99 – 262 pages)
“This is quite the autobiography, told from the hear with much heart and soul.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Adele: The Other Side – The Stories Behind Her Songs
by Caroline Sullivan
(Carlton Books – $33.95 – 160 pages)
“Fans of the singer will enjoy the photos and words that relate to her songs and her amazing career.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Science of Cooking (Every Question Answered To Perfect Your Cooking)
by Dr. Stuart Farrimond
(DK Books – $39.00 – 256 pages)
“The book notes how you can take your cooking skills to the next level, transforming the way you cook.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

100 Nature Hot Spots in British Columbia (The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places)
by Lyndsay Fraser and Christina Smuth
(Firefly – $29.95 – 244 pages)
“…this book is your guide to the best British Columbia has to offer.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Going the Distance – The Life and Works of W.P. Kinsella
by William Steele
(Douglas & McIntyre – $34.95 – 293 pages)
“…an honest assessment and retelling of the life of a literary legend.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Beyond Forgetting – Celebrating 100 Years of Al Purdy
Edited by Howard White & Emma Skagen
(Harbour Publishing – $22.95 – 173 pages)
“If Al Purdy were alive today, he would certainly appreciate the comments and the observations of his life and times.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks


Shelf Life Magazine – December 2018

december2018coverWelcome to the 13th Annual Books as Holiday Gifts special issue. We’re not superstitious around here, because the books included in the issue are far from unlucky. In fact, reading them will be your lucky day, because all of them are perfect for your own library or for giving to others as holiday gifts. Books make the perfect present, as they are always welcome whether at Christmas, for birthdays, or any other occasion. In fact, you don’t need an excuse to give someone a book. Or you can treat yourself. They are welcome any time of year. In that regard, we offer a cross-section of books for many interests, and hope our choices will end up as your choices as well. As in the case with previous Books as Holiday Gifts special issues, no bookmarks are given as all books are highly recommended.

All of us at Shelf Life wish you, your families and friends, all the best of the holiday season. May the spirit of the season embrace you and remain in your heart year round.

Enjoy this issue!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***

The President is Missing
by Bill Clinton & James Patterson
(Little Brown/Knopf – $39.00 – 515 pages)
“…(keeps) the reader breezing from one chapter to the next.”

Island of the Mad
by Laurie R. King
(Bantam – $37.00 – 302 pages)
“…has something for everyone, a solid mystery with added touches of vital history.”

The Switch
by Joseph Finder
(Dutton – $37.00 – 390 pages)
“…a finely-tuned and well-crafted tale that will keep your pulse well into the book.”

The Last Night Out
by Catherine O’Connell
(Severn House – $37.95 – 298 pages)
“O’Connell tells the story in mesmerizing style.”

Sometimes I Lie
by Alice Feeney
(Flatiron Books – $34.99 – 262 pages)
“…a dazzling work that contains one puzzle after another, one that begs to be solved as quickly as possible.”

A Stranger In the House
by Shari Lapena
(Doubleday Canada – $24.95 – 305 pages)
“There are even more nifty twists, so don’t be a stranger to this book when looking for a great mystery to read.”

Perfect Remains
by Helen Fields
(Avon – $21.99 – 408 pages)
“If you can get over your squeamishness, you will be rewarded with a very creative tale.”

The Return
by Joseph Helmreich
(St. Martin’s Press – $36.99 – 248 pages)
“THE RETURN’S complex, multi-dimensional characters are relatable to the readers, and the fast pace of the novel keeps readers constantly on the edge of their seats.”

Robert B. Parker’s Revelation
by Robert Knott
(Putnam – $36.00 – 326 pages)
“…a true revelation of a book, superbly illustrating the Wild West days, and the lawlessness that became a trademark of the times.”

The Hot War: Armistice
by Harry Turtledove
(Del Rey – $38.99 – 430 pages)
by John M. Milner
“…takes us along for a thrilling ride to discover just how this war might end, who might survive, and what comes next.”

Red Alert
by James Patterson & Marshal Karp
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 352 pages)
“Of the five books from the series, this may be the best.”

Too Close to Breathe
by Olivia Kiernan
(Dutton – $35.00 – 292 pages)
“…will take your breath away, with superior writing and great pacing.”

by Jenna Jameson & Jamie K. Schmidt
(Skyhorse – $22.99 – 266 pages)
“SPICE is not just a fluff novel, but rather works on many fronts…The honest writing is the perfect spice in this book.”

The Greek Escape
by Karen Swan
(Macmillan – $24.99 – 420 pages)
“…the book is a true escape into a world where love and happiness may be fleeting, but are worth the risk.”

Kings of Broken Things
by Theodore Wheeler
(Little A – $21.95 – 330 pages)
“..tense and written with raw realism…”

By Invitation Only
by Dorothea Benton Frank
(William Morrow – $21.99 – 390 pages)
“I makes for a memorable tale of love, family and hope.”

Artic Gambit
by Larry Bond
(Forge – $36.50 – 333 pages)
“As realistic as it gets, the book is definitely one that will rivet you to the pages.”


*** Non-Fiction Section ***

In Pieces
by Sally Field
(Grand Central Publishing – $38.00 – 406 pages)
“…candid and honest portrayal of her life and times, one that definitely is a must read for all her fans.”

The Beatles: The Band That Changed the World
by Terry Burrows
(Carlton – $49.95 – 186 pages)
“…let this book be one that you hastily add to your library.”

War Against Crime! Volume 1 The EC Archives
(Dark Horse – $65.99 – 210 pages)
“With exceptional artwork and stories, these stories beg to be read once again.”

Live Long and… What I Learned Along the Way
by William Shatner with David Fisher
(Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press – $34.99 – 214 pages)
“Shatner offers serious advice about romance, wealth, and staying debt-free.”

Whiskey in a Teacup (What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love and Baking Bisquits)
by Reese Witherspoon
(Touchstone – $45.00 – 306 pages)
“the book is filled with plenty of recipes that offer definitive Southern comfort.”

Vegan Recipes from Spain
by Gonzalo Baro
(Grub Street – $32.95 – 196 pages)
“…this book will provide a delightful and tasty difference.”

The Story of Food: An Illustrated History of Everything We Eat
by Giles Coren
(DK Books – $45.00 – 360 pages)
“…you will have a deeper appreciation for the sort of foods we take for granted.”

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing
by Richard Reed
(Canongate – $41.95 – 346 pages)
“The strength of the book is in the uniqueness of answers.”

Waterfalls of Ontario Third Edition
by Mark Harris – Photographs by George Fischer
(Firefly – $29.95 – 262 pages)
“… the spectacular photos from George Fisher makes this a go-to nature book.”

Women Who Rock: Beyoncé to Bessie, Girl Groups to Riot Grrl
Edited by Evelyn McDonnell
(Black Dog & Leventhal – $45.50 – 404 pages)
“This book truly rocks in more ways than one.”

by David Itzkoff
(Henry Holt – $39.00 – 530 pages)
“…this first truly comprehensive look at the life and times of comedic genius Robin Williams brings into very sharp perspective what motivated and moved him.”

The Word Detective (Searching for the Meaning of It All At the Oxford English Dictionary)
by John Simpson
(Basic Books – $36.50 – 368 pages)
“In a word, this book is a fascinating work, one that definitely can be described in one word-classic.”

Wilding – The Return of Nature to An English Farm
by Isabela Tree
(Picador – 38.99 – 274 pages)
“The book looks at how letting nature police itself so to speak became the rallying cry for their life.”

The Living Forest: A Visual Journey Into the Heart of the Woods
by Joan Maloof – Photography by Robert Llewellyn
(Timber Press  – $60.00 – 260 pages)
“The photography of Robert Llewellyn is stunning, bringing the subject to life with such intensity that we swear we are sitting in the middle of the forest.”

For You To Two (Dr. Ruth’s Rules for Real Relationships)
by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer with Pierre A. Lehu
(Amazon Publishing – $21.99 – 150 pages)
“She gets to the heart of the matter, talking about love in this technological era.”

*** Illustrated Books for Younger Readers ***

If you are looking for books for children of younger ages in your life, the following books would make the perfect gifts for them. On a variety of topics, there is something for all ages from four to ten, though other ages might like them, too.

by S.E. Hume – Illustrations by Jessica Bromley Bartram
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“Charles is a most entertaining story…”
(Ages 4-8)

Hungry for Science – Poems to Crunch On
by Kari Lynn-Winters & Lori Sherrit-Fleming – Pictures by Peggy Collins
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“This is a great way to make children see science in a new light…”
(Ages 4-8)

The Christmas Wind
by Stephanie Simpson McClellen & Brooke Kerrigan
(Red Deer Press – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“…this story will resonate and feel just as important no matter what time of year it is read.”
(Ages 5-10)

The Spirit Trackers
by Jan Bourdeau Waboose – Illustrated by Francois Thisdale
(Fifth House – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…a most colourful book that the myths and legends of Indigenous people.”
(Ages 5-10)

Here Comes Rhinocerous
by Heinz Janisch & Helga Bansch – Translated by Evan Jones
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“Reading this book will provide an important lesson…”

Shelf Life Magazine – November 2018

Shelf Life November coverNo matter what profession a person may be in, criticism makes one wiser and more aware of the likes and dislikes aimed at them. Shelf Life has always welcomed criticism and we enjoy receiving both positive and negative, though in honesty the positives do outnumber the negatives. Comments keep us on our toes and don’t think simply because we recently celebrated our twentieth anniversary, that we are simply resting on our laurels. No sure. The reason I noted this is the October 2018 issue generated above-average comments simply because of the front cover and new Shelf Life logo and we felt it was time for a change.  Most people like the new type style. One person even commented they thought it was a new publication because the logo was different. We hope they were not disappointed it was still us. The bottom line is, please continue conversing with us about the books we feature, what you like to see, and anything else on your mind. We thank you for all feedback.  Now on to the books!

Enjoy this issue!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best November Fiction ***

Exhibit Alexandra
by Natasha Bell
(Crown – $36.00 – 312 pages)
“…like the classic whodunit of mystery novels.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Let Me Lie
by Clare Mackintosh
(Berkley – $35.00 – 386 pages)
“This is a powerful voice in the world of mystery writing, and that is no lie.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

After Anna
by Lisa Scottoline
(St. Martin’s Pres – $36.00 – 390 pages)
“…even the most hard-to-please reader out there would have to admit there is so much to like about the book.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of November Fiction ***

by Daniel Cole
(Ecco – $34.99 – 384 pages)
“Daniel Cole does a superb job of keeping the identity of the killer intact, making the reader guess continually just who might be the murderer.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Accidental Heroes
by Daniel Steel
(Delacorte Press – $38.99 – 255 pages)
“… a different sort of tale, backing off slightly from what is considered a total love story.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Pretty Girls Dancing
by Kylie Brant
(Thomas & Mercer – $35.95 – 356 pages)
“PRETTY GIRLS DANCING has you hanging on every word, as we learn about the killer’s movies and more.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

How It Happened
by Michael Koryta
(Little Brown – $35.00 – 356 pages)
“Michael Koryta writes the sort of mystery that leaves you captivated. It makes HOW IT HAPPENED one of the best books of his stellar writing career.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Closer Than You Know
by Brad Parks
(Dutton – $37.00 – 404 pages)
“…the slower pace gives the reader the opportunity to savor the book all the more.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Dead If You Don’t
by Peter James
(Macmillan – $24.99 – 420 pages)
“This is the sort of sophisticated thriller we have come to expect from Peter James.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet
by Reed Farrel Coleman
(Putnam – $36.00 – 355 pages)
“…Coleman gives the reader a lot to enjoy.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Monster: The Graphic Novel
by Jonathan Kellerman – Art by Michael Gaydos – Adapted by Ande Parks
(Ballantine – $35.00 – 166 pages)
“…Monster seemed to stand out from the crowd. Put in graphic form, it stands out all the more”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Undertaker’s Daughter
by Sara Blaedel
(Grand Central – $34.00 – 326 pages)
“The book and characters may take some time getting used to.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

A Darkness of the Heart
by Gail Bowen
(McClelland & Stewart – $32.00 – 272 pages)
“…shows another side of Bowen’s writing prowess, adding new dynamics to her life and times…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

In Her Bones
by Kate Moretti
(Atria – $22.50 – 310 pages)
“The plot swings wildly like a lock pendulum from one twist to another.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Drop by Drop
by Morgan Llywelyn
(Tor – $33.99 – 320 pages)
“It is a definite beginning that the author is sure to flesh out in the next two books of the series.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Amateurs
by Liz Harmer
(Knopf Canada – $32.95 – 330 pages)
“…a thinking person’s novel, a true treat from start to finish.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Junie Coffey
(Lake Union – $21.95 – 262 pages)
“…bound to catch your interest for a light read, with some very diverse characters…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Baby You’re Gonna Be Mine
by Kevin Wilson
(Ecco – $31.99 – 288 pages)
“… a book for lovers of short stories, but especially ones that are filled with insight and depth.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

On a Beautiful Day
by Lucy Diamond
(Macmillan – $24.99 – 480 pages)
“This creates a story in which we care for each character because of their desire to face life and its hurdles for better or worse.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Blood Highway
by Gina Wohlsdorf
(Algonquin Paperbacks – $21.95 – 310 pages)
“…we find an even more intense tale with a heroine we root for on every page.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best November Non-Fiction ***

Smithsonian World War I The Definitive Visual History
by R.G. Grant
(DK Books – $52.00 – 372 pages)
“…brings the War to life in ways old school textbooks never could.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour
by Jake Macdonald
(Greystone – $34.95 – 164 pages)
“…takes us back to that time when Canadians and those in other countries around the world were able to meet one amazing Canadian.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of November Non-Fiction ****

You’re On An Airplane
by Parker Posey
(Blue Rider Press – $37.00 – 312 pages)
“The stories are told most matter-of-factly, as we listen in rapt attention.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

George Michael Freedom: The Ultimate Tribute 1963-2016
by David Nolan
(Carlton – $40.00 – 144 pages)
“…making George Michael stand very tall with this informative and very moving tribute.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

With Hitler and Mussolini Memoirs of  A Nazi Interpreter
by Eugen Dollman
(Skyhorse – $38.99 – 352 pages)
“The author writes with a flair for detail, and it is this detail that makes the book work so well.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Rogues’ Gallery The Rise (and Occasional Fall) of Art Dealers, The Hidden Players in the History of Art
by Philip Hook
(The Experiment – $37.99 – 297 pages)
Reviewed by Tori Levang
“The reader is introduced to a variety of colorful individuals involved in trade throughout history.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

I’ve Got This Round – More Tales of Debauchery
by Mamrie Hart
(Plume – $32.00 – 294 pages)
“Mamrie Hart puts heart and soul into this work.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Marvel Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide
by Stephen Win Wiacek
(DK Books – $31.99 – 200 pages)
“DK Books continues their exceptional tribute guides to the best characters from Marvel…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Judgment Detox
by Gabrielle Bernstein
(North Star Way – $34.99 – 230 pages)
“Those who are quick to judge will find positives in the book.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Awesome Ancient Grains and Seeds (A Garden to Kitchen Guide)
by Dan Jensen & Michelle Genest
(Douglas McIntyre – $24.95 – 196 pages)
“There is much to learn in the book about grains and seeds, giving us true grains of wisdom.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by David Sedaris
(Little Brown – $34.99 – 272 pages)
“…he looks at life in his sixth decade. It is definitely a time for introspection and facing one’s mortality.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Over and Above
by Captain John E. Gurdon
(Grub Street – $29.95 – 182 pages)
“The writing is polished and the description sometimes poetic in nature.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Book of Highs 252 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness Without Drugs
by Edward Rosenfeld
(Workman – $25.95 – 302 pages)
“The book is a curiosity to say the least, one that depending on your consciousness needs may be beneficial.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Complete Guide to Nutrients
by Dr. Michael Sharon
(Carlton Books – $25.95 – 344 pages)
“…gives the reader a complete guide to the best foods for your body.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – October 2018

shelflifeoct2018.jpgOver the years, SHELF LIFE has used different phrases to try and catch the attention of the reader. “Read them and reap, reviews you can use,” and “books worth a look,” are but a few. The latest “Experience the need to read,” came as a result of discussion with a friend. He askes me after publishing and editing Shelf Life for twenty years, why I continued to do so. My response initially was because it is challenging and I love books. Then I said, “I want people to experience the need to read.” He nodded vigorously and said, “I like that.” He even picked up a pen and paper and wrote those words down. Words like this have been my mantra in a manner of speaking. Having been a constant reader since age 10 and now in my sixties, I continue to find joy within the pages of books no matter what the subject. But there is an even greater reason for people to “experience the need to read.” Research has noted that because dementia and Alzheimer’s have become so prominent, we must find ways to keep the brain stimulated. Reading they said was one of those ways. I endorse this heartily. It may not halt the onset of diseases, but anything to give you the fighting chance is paramount and certainly a positive. In this issue are more than thirty reasons to read, and surely there are topics and books that must pique your interest. Hopefully, we are doing our little part to encourage people never to just sit and do nothing. Reading a book is a memorable experience, one that hopefully this publication will encourage people to do for many years to come.

Enjoy this issue!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best October Fiction ***

Bellevue Square
by Michael Redhill
(Doubleday Canada – $32.00 – 262 pages)
“It is a quirky, delightful book that grows on you the more you read.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Cutting Edge
by Jeffrey Deaver
(Grand Central Publishing – $36.50 – 448 pages)
“Deaver offers the usual thrills and suspense that comes quickly and consistently.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of October Fiction ***

Hold Back the Dark
by Kay Hooper
(Berkley – $36.00 – 292 pages)
“It is not your typical thriller because there is so much happening, mainly of the bizarre and unexplained variety.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Chalk Man
by C.J. Tudor
(Doubleday Canada – $24.95 – 278 pages)
“The mystery deepens by the page…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Jeff Abbott
(Grand Central Publishing – $34.00 – 375 pages)
“…another classic tale that you won’t want to put down.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Jonathan Maberry
(St. Martin’s Press – $34.99 – 338 pages)
“…has elements of horror, along with mystery and suspense.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Shoot First
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $37.00 – 360 pages)
“…a book you should read first, and ask questions later.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Outsider
by Stephen King
(Scribner – $39.99 – 563 pages)
“THE OUTSIDER is classic King, a book most mesmerizing.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties
by Camille Pagan
(Lake Union – $21.95 – 246 pages)
“We happily follow (Maggie), along with the other characters as Maggie learns from life and adversity, not letting it define or defeat her.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Rooster Bar
by John Grisham
(Doubleday – $37.00 – 354 pages)
“…focuses on scams and rip offs, making for an interesting read as you cheer for the underdogs …”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Late Show
by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown – $36.50- 408 pages)
“…has a definite winner with Renee Ballard, and we cannot wait to see what happens next to this feisty and lethal lady cop.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Operation Down
by Brad Taylor
(Dutton – $36.00 – 450 pages)
“…the same intensity of all past books, with the usual life-threatening moments tossed in for good measure.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
by Robert Dugoni
(Lake Union – $21.95 – 430 pages)
“…a book with a message of hope, that something good will eventually come from bad…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Shepherd’s Hut
by Tim Winton
(Picador – $30.99 – 267 pages)
“… a most intense and gritty tale of survival and coming to grips with realities that cannot be changed.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Woman Who Ran
by Sam Baker
(Harper Collins – $21.99 – 406 pages)
“…a book we should definitely not run from, but stay intently reading until we arrive at the moment of truth and beyond.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Evil That Men Do
by Robert Gleason
(Forge – $36.50 – 432 pages)
“It is complex and very well crafted, a book with so many elements playing into the story.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

In the Hush of the Night
by Raymond Benson
(Skyhorse – $37.99 – 316 pages)
“Benson’s writing style (takes) us for an unstoppable ride to the last pages.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Dark Angel
by Elly Griffiths
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $36.00 – 345 pages)
“…has the same elements that have created a strong fan base for the author.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Ruinous Sweep
by Tim Wynne-Jones
(Candlewick Press – $21.00 – 388 pages)
“There is a mystical quality to the passages both in fantasy and reality.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best October Non-Fiction ***

The Official NHL Hockey Treasures – Centennial Edition 1917-2017
by Dan Diamond with Eric Zweig & Craig Ellenport
(Thomas Allen – $34.99 – 100 pages)
“No serious fan of the sport should be without this ultimate tribute to 100 years of incredible hockey history.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Girl, Wash Your Face
by Rachel Hollis
(DK Books – $28.50 -220 pages)
“…will cleanse your body with inspiration and candor.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of October Non-Fiction ****

Paul Simon: The Life
by Robert Hilburn
(Simon & Schuster – $39.99 – 438 pages)
“…everyone a biography should be, filled with heart and soul and what has made Simon one of the greats of the music world.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
by Tricia Barr, Adam Bray, & Cole Horton
(DK Books – $37.00 – 202 pages)
“…another one of those things fans need to add to their collection…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Operation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation
by Terri Favro
(Skyhorse – $38.99 – 231 pages)
Reviewed by: Tori Levang
“This creates a well-rounded view and examination of robots in general, and what it might mean for humans in the future.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Big Break
by Stephen Dando Collins
(St. Martin’s Press – $38.99 – 252 pages)
“…relating the graphic details, showing triumphs of the heart and spirit…”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Man Who Could Be King
by John Ripley Miller
(Little A – $21.95 – 294 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…eventually the knowledge Miller is trying to impart bods down the story he is trying to tell.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Girl, It’s Not You (It’s Definitely Him)
by Megan Edwards and Janet Reynolds
(Self Publishing Agency – $19.95 – 190 pages)
“…offers even more disturbing stories of men who created some of the worst possible dates for the women with them.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Giada’s Italy
by Giada De Laurenitis
(Potter – $47.00 – 290 pages)
“This is certainly a book for lovers of Italian food and the many variations that can be expertly created.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Vault of Horror – The EC Archives Volume 1
(Dark Horse – $65.99 – 220 pages)
“Story after story, we are captivated…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea
by Michael L. Hadley & Anita Hadley
(Douglas & McIntyre – $36.95 – 337 pages)
“…an excellent job of creating a book that is reflective of the expansive waters around us.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Frenchwoman’s Guide to Sex After Sixty
by Marie De Hennezel
(Greystone – $22.95 – 200 pages)
“This is an important book for those entering older years, a starting point for discussions about intimacy and love”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
by Leight Mcadam and Debbie Olsen
(Firely – $29.95 – 224 pages)
“…a book that can serve as a travelogue for anyone wishing to head out to the Prairie provinces.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Honest to Goodness
by Christine Tizzard
(Whitecap – $29.95 – 202 pages)
“…a recipes book filled with tasty classics.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – September 2018

september2018cover.jpgThe world is obsessed with cell phones, that is a given. As someone who does not own a cell phone, I feel a sense of relief that I do not have one that holds me prisoner. People cannot walk or sit with their heads up, as they are too busy looking down at their phones and texting. People almost bump into you walking down the street because their head is buried in the phone. Earlier in the summer when I went for morning walks, I began noticing a young man in his twenties down the block coming towards me, head lowered. I thought “Here comes another cell phone fanatic.” But lo and behold when I was within five feet of him, I saw he was not looking at a cell phone, but he was reading a book while walking. That really was quite the sight. For a month, I noticed him weekday mornings walking and reading. I am sure it was not the same book but at least he had taken the initiative to do the unusual: read a book on his way to wherever he was headed. I thought maybe there is hope for the world and that not everyone is obsessed with cell phone banter. I have not seen him since, as perhaps he is taking a different route. I wish I had stopped him and congratulated him, but he always looked so engrossed in his book. It takes one person to start a revolution, and hopefully others will take up the literary crusade like this gentleman, laying down their cell phones and picking up an actual book. And that is where we come in, hoping to offer inspiration and ideas for your reading choices, no matter where you decide to open the book.

Enjoy this issue!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best September Fiction ***

The Rule of Stephens
by Timothy Taylor
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 228 pages)
“The book is deeply spiritual and philosophical, that begs to be savored, one glorious page at a time.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Fallen
by David Baldacci
(Grand Central – $38.00 – 432 pages)
“As with most David Baldacci books, the story is as complex as the characters.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Pisces
by Melissa Broder
(Hogarth- $34.00 – 272 pages)
“…most entertaining with dark humor, lots of sex and looks at what happens when someone faces uncertainty…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of September Fiction ***

The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner
(Scribner – $24.99 – 336 pages)
“The book makes quite the impact, realistic, gritty, and at times difficult to read….”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Everything We Left Behind
by Kerry Lonsdale
(Lake Union – $22.95 – 338 pages)
“The book basically is brother versus brother.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Column of Fire
by Ken Follett
(Viking – $45.00 – 916 pages)
“…There is a bit of everything in the book, which is not surprising for a book of this length.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Killed in Action
by Michael Sloan
(St. Martin’s Press – $36.50 – 324 pages)
“…some might argue there is way too much happening in one book, but it does not distract the reader from plot to plot…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Joseph Knox
(Crown – $36.00 – 337 pages)
“…a book that is definitely dark, but devilishly good.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Robin Cook
(Putnam – $36.00 – 438 pages)
“True to form, Robin Cook gives the reader another medical masterpiece.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Two Girls Down
by Louisa Luna
(Doubleday – $34.95 – 304 pages)
“Louisa Luna makes the book as tense as possible.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Escape Artist
by Brad Meltzer
(Grand Central – $36.50 – 416 pages)
“…a book that is not an escape but rather a headfirst plunge into suspense writing at its finest.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $37.00- 311 pages)
“Believe it or not, this is book forty-five of the popular STONE BARRINGTON series.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Duchess
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte Press – $38.99 – 338 pages)
“…presents a heroine we cheer for every step of the way.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Trouble With Twelve Grave
by Darynda Jones
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 289 pages)
Reviewed by Tori Levang
“With the trademark sassy, snarky and snappy with from the main characters, you will find little troubling…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Into the Black Nowhere
by Meg Gardiner
(Dutton – $35.00 – 354 pages)
“Meg Gardiner does serial killer stories so well.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Death Messenger
by Mari Hannah
(Pan – $17.99 – 434 pages)
“THE DEATH MESSENGER is serial killer fiction at its finest and most unnerving.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Death Doesn’t Bargain
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(Tor – $36.50 – 334 pages)
“…with the second book in the DEADMAN’S CROSS series, she once more offers a work with a little bit of everything.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Mrs. Saint and the Detectives
by Julie Lawson Timmer
(Lake Union – $21.95 – 324 pages)
“It makes the book a truly feel-good read, one that will have you smiling and understanding completely the moral tones of this charming tale.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Anatomy of a Scandal
by Sarah Vaughan
(Emily Bestler Books/Atria – $24.99 – 392 pages)
“…has many twist that definitely may have readers taking sides…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best September Non-Fiction ***

Historical Atlas of Early Railways
by Derek Hayes
(Douglas & McIntyre – $49.95 – 320 pages)
“The author has a passion for the past, and it speaks volumes in any book he pens.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Smithsonian Drive: The Definitive History of Driving
by Giles Chapman
(DK Books – $52.00 – 360 pages)
“…a classic and classy coffee table book that traces the evolution of the automobile throughout the ages.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of September Non-Fiction ****

Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Civil War
by David Fisher
(Henry Holt – $49.00 – 362 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…when it comes to chronicling the American Civil War, the book does provide a level of detail not found in many books”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Plantiful Table (Easy from the Earth Recipes for the Whole Family)
by Andrea Duclos
(The Experiment – $36.95 – 322 pages)
“There are more than 125 recipes in the book for choosy kids and hungry adults.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

A Higher Loyalty (Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
by James Comey
(Flatiron – $34.99 – 290 pages)
“…the book is about more than (the Hilary Clinton email scandal), it is also about his life during his FBI tenure and before.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Art of Incredibles 2
Edited by Karen Paik
(Chronicle – $35.00 – 170 pages)
“One can only be impressed how these ‘Art’ books are almost as entertaining as the films themselves.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful
by Sarah Wilson
(Dey Street – $27.959- 312 pages)
“…as compelling as its title, a book filled with wisdom and most of all hope.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

DC Comics Variant Covers: The Complete Visual History
by Daniel Wallace
(Insight – $60.00 – 184 pages)
“…DC Comics in this case, stands for Definitely Creative in terms of covers.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Young Leafs: The Making of A New Hockey History
by Gare Joyce
(Simon & Schuster – $32.00 – 228 pages)
“…a book that will bring hope and faith to all BeLeafers.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Vegan Comfort Classics
by Lauren Toyota
(Penguin – $29.95 – 234 pages)
“…another vegan-based title that certainly deserves the attention of vegan lovers and also those who are considering experimenting with vegan dishes.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Unforgettable Ontario 100 Destinations
by Noel Hudson
(Firefly – $29.95 – 256 pages)
“…a book that is filled with as much wonder as the places the author is hoping you will visit.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Dana Cohen and Gina Bria
(Hachette – $36.50- 304 pages)
“With recipes as well and lots of actual case studies, your thirst for good health will definitely be quenched…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Aerial Geology
by Mary Capterton Morton
(Timber Press – $45.00 – 300 pages)
“With text to accompany all the images and more information about them, the author has given readers a true gift showcasing the best of North America.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Pride of the Yankees (Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic)
by Richard Sandomir
(Hachette – $35.00 – 304 pages)
“The author looks at the film from many sides and how it became a sort of barometer for baseball movies still to come decades later.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Caroline Pignat – Illustrated by Francois Thisdale
(Red Deer Press – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“…a poetic and pleasing book showing nature and seasons in a fun light.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – August 2018

2018 08 August Shelf Cover.jpgShelf Life would not have succeeded without many factors. They include faithful (and newer) readers, along with our terrific reviewers. But there is another aspect to the publication which, of course, revolves around the publishers of the books themselves. These 208 issues over the past twenty years would not have been possible without the companies who release an impressive amount of books year in and year out. But there is even more, the fact that publicists who publicize the books go out of their way to make sure their books are in our hands. Shelf Life has worked with so many terrific people who have come and gone along the way. One of those publicists is Karen Blair who worked for Penguin Random House Canada. She has been sending books for the two decades Shelf Life has been in operation. But as of May 2018, Karen has decided to retire. She was a publicist for forty-three years, and truly dedicated to books. It goes without saying she will be missed, along with her love and enthusiasm for the books she oversaw. Shelf Life wishes her a long, happy and healthy retirement, and a massive thank you for sending along one great book after another. We remain in debt to every publicist, past and present.

We hope you enjoy this issue, filled with the usual variety of titles that have crossed our desks and we are only too pleased to recommend.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best August Fiction ***

The Goddesses
by Swan Huntley
(Doubleday – $35.95 – 310 pages)
“The second novel from Swan Huntley is even more impressive than her debut WE COULD BE BEAUTIFUL.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

End Game
by David Baldacci
(Grand Central Publishing – $38.00 – 408 pages)
“Every time David Baldacci pens a book you know you will find a superior read.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of August Fiction ***

The Anthill Murders
by Hans Olav Lahlum – Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson
(Mantle – $32.99 – 470 pages)
“The book is a bit long, and some areas do drag slightly, but that is only a slight criticism.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Kill All Angels
by Robert Brockway
(Tor – $38.99 – 315 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…the characters and the story didn’t have the stamina to maintain the follow-ups.”
Rating: 2 1/2 bookmarks

Dark in Death
by J.D. Robb
(St. Martin’s Press – $35.99 – 373 pages)
“…pays homage to classic films and is like life imitating art.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Hardcore Twenty-Four
by Janet Evanovich
(Putnam – $37.00 – 288 pages)
“There is little not to love about this madcap mystery as only Janet can write.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Bone Music
by Christopher Rice
(Thomas & Mercer – $32.95 – 456 pages)
“The story and character have great potential.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Deep Freeze
by John Sandford
(Putnam – $39.00 – 392 pages)
“Thanks to many twists and turns, DEEP FREEZE is truly a book you can warm up to.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Wild Inside
by Jamey Bradbury
(William Morrow – $31.99 – 290 pages)
Reviewed by: Tori Levang
“…the novel is, from its beginning, deeply mysterious and utterly enthralling.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Home Sweet Home
by April Smith
(Knopf – $35.95 – 356 pages)
“…takes its sweet time dispensing answers, but we are still entertained by the narration and story itself.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Heartbreak Hotel
by Jonathan Kellerman
(Ballantine – $38.99 – 353 pages)
“…another tale from the master of psychological mystery.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Pretty Little Killers
by Rita Herron
(Montlake Romance – $22.95 – 325 pages)
“…definitely a keeper in every sense of the word. It blends just the perfect amount of suspense, mystery and plot twists.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Down the River Unto the Sea
by Walter Mosley
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $35.00 – 336 pages)
“…one of the great modern day mystery writers out there has just upped his game to a new level.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Cold Day In Hell
by Lissa Marie Redmond
(Midnight Ink – $22.95 – 374 pages)
“The wow factor increases by the page, with one plot twist morphing into another.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Whistle in the Dark
by Emma Healey
(Knopf Canada – $24.95 – 330 pages)
“…a deeply psychological tale that is like a Christmas present. Bits of the book are unwrapped at a methodical pace…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Keep Her Safe
by K.A. Tucker
(Atria – $22.00 – 436 pages)
“…a book that reels the reader in right from the beginning and holds us there from every point onward.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Flash Points
by David Hagberg
(Forge – $33.99 – 318 pages)
“Heavy on political drama, this one takes us right into the office of the Presidency and mirrors a little bit of what is being experienced in Washington today.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

True Fiction
by Lee Goldberg
(Thomas & Mercer – $32.95 – 242 pages)
“…another must-read novel, book one of a new series featuring Ian Ludlow.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales
by P.D. James
(Knopf Canada – $27.95 – 172 pages)
“Each tale has its own unique twist, written in the way that only P.D. James can tell the tale.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best August Non-Fiction ***

I Will Find You: Solving Killer Cases from My Life Fighting Crime
by Lt. Joe Kenda
(Center Street – $35.00 – 274 pages)
“…an excellent look at police work from a detective who lived it, experiencing moments he can never forget.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Cinderella Campaign
by Mark Zuehlke
(Douglas & McIntyre – $37.95 – 472 pages)
“The book is definitely one that will move and impress the reader, showing the utter brutality of war along with seemingly insurmountable odds at times.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of August Non-Fiction ****

Culinary Treasures From Around the World – Authentic Recipes from Diplomats Posted in Canada
(Klorofil – $39.95- 216 pages)
“It is an interesting publication…It brings the idea of multiculturalism to greater levels…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Elvis: The Legend – The Authorized Book From the Graceland Archives
by Gillian G. Gaar
(Carlton – $49.95 – 196 pages)
“The book, which was authorized by his estate, has just the right amount of information and pictures.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Blessed Life
by Kim Fields with Todd Gold
(Faith Works – $26.50 – 240 pages)
“Her book is honest and open, revealing past and present with optimism and hope.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Cook, Nourish, Glow
by Amelia Freer
(Appetite – $35.00 – 338 pages)
“With so many healthy choices, the book will encourage people to change the way they think about creating their own meals at home.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived – The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes
by Adam Rutherford
(The Experiment – $38.95 – 401 pages)
Reviewed by Tori Levang
“He considers the human genome historically and anthropologically, telling the riveting story of humanity’s development.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirtates
by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager
(Sentinel – $35.95 – 238 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“Authors Kilmeade and Yeager have done a magnificent job shedding light on an unknown chapter of American history.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Cosmic Outlaws
(DK Books – $30.99 – 200 pages)
“…every facet of them is presented.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Single State of Mind
by Andi Dorfman
(Gallery – $34.00 – 282 pages)
“…a book that shows no matter who you are, looks and popularity wise, love does not come easy.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Trained to Kill: The Inside Story of the CIA Plots Against Castro, Kennedy and Che
by Antonio Veciana with Carlos Harrison
(Skyhorse – $36.99 – 212 pages)
“…an interesting take on life and conspiracy.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Golden Age: Batman Volume Four
(DC Comics – $39.99 – 384 pages)
“Any lover of comics from their purest form should add this to their collection, not only for the nostalgia factor but also for the creativity and enjoyment that it brought to millions.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Boston Bruins Greatest Moments and Players
by Stan Fischler
(Sports Publications – $8.99 – 3456 pages)
“Reading the stories of the great…makes the book truly come alive.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Top 60 Canoe Routes of Ontario
by Kevin Callan
(Firefly – $29.95 – 384 pages)
“The book is as complete as they come…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Love, Africa
by Jeffrey Gettleman
(Harper – $34.99 – 352 pages)
“This is a classic love story where the author finds courage amidst everything that happened in life…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – July 2018

2018 07 15 July Shelf cover.jpgIf you grew up in the 1970s, you should be familiar with the Alice Cooper song “School’s Out.” Now that July is upon us, school is definitely out for children, meaning travel time with them if they are young enough to be at home. Whether you have children or not, though, Summer signifies more leisure time, which is often where reading comes into the picture. Whether you enjoy fiction or non-fiction, the July issue is filled with great books that we recommend for your reading pleasures. Maybe you would like to step outside your reading comfort zone and pick up a book you might not usually consider. Why not? Be daring. You might be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy this issue and most of all enjoy Summer because we all know it goes way too quickly.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best July Fiction ***

by Laura Lippman
(William Morrow – $33.50 – 292 pages)
“The suspense gets more sizzling by the second.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Last Thing She Ever Did
by Greg Olsen
(Thomas & Mercer – $21.95 – 375 pages)
“…a story that grabs you from page one.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

City of Endless Night
by Douglass Preston & Lincoln Child
(Grand Central – $36.50 – 368 pages)
“Preston and Child have done a superb job of keeping Pendergrast as one of the most unique characters in the world of mystery.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of July Fiction ***

The Whispering Room
by Dean Koontz
(Bantam – $37.00 – 515 pages)
“Those who read the first book of the Jane Hawk series will heave a sigh of relief now that the seeming conclusion is at hand.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Life or Death
by Michael Robotham
(Sphere – $22.99 – 464 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“Once you start reading, you will be hard-pressed to put this thriller down, until the very last page.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Then She Was Gone
by Lisa Jewell
(Atria – $35.00 – 354 pages)
“…intense from the first pages, sweeping the reader along in the chilling drama.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Right Time
by Danielle Steel
(Delacarte Press – $38.99 – 328 pages)
“Score another winner for the queen of romance.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah
(St. Martin’s Press – $34.99 – 448 pages)
“…a memorable story of family life and crisis.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Wanted
by Robert Crais
(Putnam – $37.00 – 322 pages)
“Robert Crais always does what he is best at, creating entertaining novels.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Mad Hatters and March Hares
Edited by Ellen Datlow
(Tor – $20.99 – 332 pages)
Reviewed by: Tori Levang
“If you were a fan of Alice in Wonderland, then you will certainly enjoy this retelling of the tale through the eyes of a host of noted writers.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Kelley Armstrong
(Random House – $29.95 – 421 pages)
“The strength of the books is in the characters, and the slow but steady pacing of the story.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Midnight Line
by Lee Child
(Delacarte – $38.99 – 374 pages)
“It is a welcome return to the present though this tale does not have the traditional heart-thumping style we are accustomed to.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The People vs. Alex Cross
by James Patterson
(Little Brown – $38.00 – 432 pages)
“…(Patterson’s) typical masterful style and short chapters, that make us breeze through the book without wanting to put it down.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Some King of Hero
by Suzanne Brockmann
(Ballantine – $36.00 – 342 pages)
“Although the plot is basic, it still engages the reader, who cares about all the characters.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Temptation of Forgiveness
by Donna Leon
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $26.00US – 320 pages)
“…the pace Brunetti works at may be methodical, but he always gets the job done in the end.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Chris Roberson
(Night Shade – $21.95 – 292 pages)
“Quirky, and definitely unusual, the latest picks up where the first tale left off.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Margaret Truman’s Allied In Danger
by Donald Bain
(Forge – $33.99 – 383 pages)
“…a danger-filled masterpiece, a tribute to the authors whose names appear together on the cover.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Acts of Vanishing
by Frederik T. Olsson
(Little Brown – $35.00 – 464 pages)
“Swedish screenwriter Frederik T. Olsson has really created a barnburner of a novel…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Sleepover: An Oral History of the Apocalypse
by H.G. Bells
(Talos – $21.95 – 373 pages)
“…makes us think of things we take for granted. Once deprived of them, we and the world around us change, but not for the better.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best July Non-Fiction ***

The Silver Age Batman & Superman World’s Finest Volume 2
(D.C. Comics – $33.99 – 394 pages)
“For those who grew up with these comics, they are a welcome trip back down memory lane, giving readers a golden taste of silver age magic.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Phantom Unmasked: America’s First Superhero
by Kevin Patrick
(University of Iowa Press – $25.00US – 248 pages)
“…a look at an underrated hero, from earliest times to more modern day.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of July Non-Fiction ****

Treasures of Bob Dylan Updated Edition
by Brian Southall
(Carlton – $50.00 – 68 pages)
“This book is a keep-sake honoring one of the best”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

I Am Nobody: Confronting the Sexually Abusive Coach Who Stole My Life
by Greg Gilhooly
(Greystone – $22.95 – 276 pages)
“This book is open, emotional, and may give readers an uneasy feeling as well it should.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

At My Table
by Nigella Lawson
(Appetite – $45.00 – 294 pages)
“…find out how rewarding home cooking Nigella-style can be.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Every Day I’m Hustling
by Vivica A. Fox with Kevin Carr
(St. Martin’s Press – $34.99 – 274 pages)
“…offers a most inspiring account of her life…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Growing Up With the Hits (Reliving the Best Time of Your Life 1955-1989)
by Nevin Gran
(Manor House – $24.95 – 288 pages)
“For a true trip down memory lane, GROWING UP WITH THE HITS is a music and entertainment lover’s dream come true.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Confucius and the World He Created
by Michael Schuman
(Basic Books – $32.00 – 270 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…Schuman introduces the modern world to not only Confucius the man, but his endearing legacy as well.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment: The Definitive Guide
by Kevin Sullivan, Steve Pantaleo & Keith Elliot Greenberg
(DK Books – $56.00 – 416 pages)
“…the best book yet, one that packs heck of a body slam.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The 48 Year Old Vegan
by Sandra and Susan Sellani
(Skyhorse – $36.99 – 288 pages)
“…a great starting point for the vegan curious. It may send your food preferences to a whole new level.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Pretty Intense (The 90 Day Mind, Body and Food Plan That Will Absolutely Change Your Life)
by Danica Patrick
(Avery – $40.00 – 304 pages)
“The book offers a 90-day body makeover and a change of life.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

110 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario (The Best Parks, Conservation Area and Wild Places)
by Chris Earley and Tracy C. Read
(Firefly- $29.95 – 250 pages)
“…will definitely help with any vacation planning, offering parks, conservation places and other areas that will provide a most memorable day drip to or a longer stay if possible.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Classic Style (Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It Out)
by Kate Schelter
(Grand Central Life & Style – $32.50 – 256 pages)
“You don’t need to spend a fortune to get the look that turns heads.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

I’m Right And You’re An Idiot
by James Hoggan with Grania Litwin
(New Society Publishers – $19.95 – 250 pages)
“…deep and quite psychological in many places, a welcome change of pace from similar books…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

**** Books for Younger Readers ****

The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain
by Carolyn Huizinga Mills & Brooke Kerrigan
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…a most entertaining book for children who often feel neglected..”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Lucky Me
by Lora Rozler – Illustrations by Jan Dolby
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“The author has compiled things to be thankful for from children around the world.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Song on the Wind
by Caroline Everson – Illustrated by Anne Marie Bourgeois
(Fifth House – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“This is a rather sweet and soothing picture book that will lull children to sleep…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


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