Shelf Life – October 2013


Editor’s Notes from Issue #151

The issue provides you with a go-to list of great books to put you in the mood for such nights, and we hope you find one or hopefully many more books to give you enjoyable evenings.

So sit back, relax, and leave the driving to us, as we steer you in the direction of the best in books.

Paul Sutter

*** Fiction Section ***
*** Finest Five On the Fiction Shelf ***

Instructions for a Heatwave
by Maggie O’Farrell
Harper Collins – $29.99 – 290 pages
“…offers perfect characters and plot.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Shining Girls
by Lauren Beukes
Mulholland – $28.99 – 368 pages
“…takes the genre to a new level with a hook part mystery, part fantasy and some science-fiction thrown in, too”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

by Curtis Sittenfeld
Random House – $30.00 – 400 pages
“…a masterful tale of two sisters with different ideologies, but with a similar heart and soul.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Red Sparrow
by Jason Matthews
Scribner – $29.99 – 434 pages
“…has all the elements of classic spy fiction…”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Winter Witch
by Paula Brackston
St. Martin’s Press – $28.99 – 342 pages
“…will appeal to those who like historical settings, and a book with supernatural overtones, but an even stronger love story that shows how good can conquer evil eventually.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

*** Rest of the Fiction on the Shelf ***

Three Graves Full
by Jamie Mason
Gallery – $28.99 – 310 pages
“…quite quirky and very different…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

12th Of Never
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Little Brown – $29.99 – 418 pages
“All plot threads work well together, one never overwhelming the other…”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

The Eliot Girls
by Krista Bridge
Douglas & McIntyre – $22.95 – 335 pages
“…a book that is a basis for discussion, and a source of encouragement for those who are bullied and shunned for one reason or another.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

by Alex Kava
Doubleday – $27.95 – 323 pages
“…you will be swept along on the rampaging thrill ride…”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

Northern Heat (Best Canadian Erotic Romance Stories)
Edited by Opal Carew
Quarry Press – $19.95 – 266 pages
“…it is nice to see Canadian authors create stories that raise the temperature to dangerous levels.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

Whiskey Beach
by Nora Roberts
Putnam – $29.50 – 484 pages
“…it still manages to pack enough interesting moments and characters to make one overlook the length and focus on the story.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

A Time for Change
by Aimee & David Thurlo
Forge – $28.99 – 352 pages
“…not as intense as past Clah tales, the book still has its moments that readers will find engrossing.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

Like This For Ever
by S.J. Bolton
Bantam Press – $23.95 – 392 pages
“…classic Bolton, another great tale with Lacey Flint’s ups and downs in life making for compelling reading.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

The Golden Egg
by Donna Leon
Atlantic Monthly Press – $29.95 – 276 pages
“…a great police procedural with heart and soul.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Pirate Alley
by Stephen Coonts
St. Martin’s Press – $31.00 – 226 pages
“…right up the alley for readers who want suspenseful tales and won’t settle for anything less.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

by Dan Brown
Doubleday – $30.00 – 466 pages
“…may not be a blockbuster like its predecessor, but…a book that will offer Brown fans a thriller of lesser proportions that the previous book.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

The Daylight War
by Peter V. Brett
Del Rey – $34.00 – 639 pages
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“Brett has given the book great intrigue along with a religious undercurrent.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Finest Five on the Non-Fiction Shelf ***

Light, Water and Sky: The Paintings of Ivan Aivazovsky
Laurence King – $118.00 – 336 pages
“This is a must-own book for art connoisseurs and even the casual art lover.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Mind Over Medicine
by Lissa Rankin M.D.
Hay House – $24.95 – 262 pages
“The book truly boasts the power of positive thinking…”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Southern League
by Larry Colton
Grand Central Publishing – $29.99 – 336 pages
“This is a difficult book to read, not because of the author’s style, but rather because of the horrible events mentioned throughout.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

by Kevin Cook
Viking – $28.50 – 242 pages
“Flip was a complex person in many ways, and Kevin cook paints a most interesting picture of him in this extremely entertaining biography.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

North America: A World in One Continent
By Huw Cordey
Running Press – $32.00 – 288 pages
“…will leave an indelible image on your mind as you view a vast montage that pays homage to this continent.
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

*** Rest of the Non-Fiction on the Shelf ***

By Larry McMurtry
Simon & Schuster – $40.00 – 180 pages
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…goes far beyond a simple biography.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Too Much Trouble: A Very Oral History of Danko Jones
By Stuart Berman
ECW Press – $24.95 – 272 pages
“…informative and definitely would appeal to die-hard fans.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Genius of Dogs (How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think)
By Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods
Dutton – $29.50 – 367 pages
Reviewed by Donna Naylor
“…a revolution in scientific understanding of dogs, helping us better understand these loyal and faithful animals…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Toys & Prices 19th Edition
By Mark Bellamo
Krause – $23.99 – 806 pages
“…better than ever, with new toys listed and up-to-date values…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
by Robin Robertson
Harvard Common Press – $19.95 – 324 pages
“You can create anything here, whether it be breads, desserts, soups, and many other dishes that people will be clamoring for more of.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Favourite Design Challenges With Candice Olson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $23.99 – 224 pages
“…shows readers how to cope with two dozen such challenges around the home.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Stan Lee’s How To Draw Superheroes
by Stan Lee
Watson-Guptill – $28.99 – 224 pages
“By book’s end, you will be dazzled by the detail and it will inspire you to new heights of greatness.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Photo Inspiration Secrets Behind Stunning Images
Wiley – $47.99 – 222 pages
“…will inspire you in more ways than one.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Skirt Steak
by Charlotte Druckman
Chronicle – $28.95 – 329 pages
“…while Druckman is to be commended for her profile of the (restaurant) industry, too often the book seems half-baked.”
Rating: 2 1/2 Bookmarks

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be
by Mick Wall
Orion – $24.99 – 438 pages
“Wall’s book tells of their hit songs, inner conflicts…and other drama that eventually threatened to tear (AC/DC) apart.'”
Rating: 4 bookmark

Canadian Wineries
Text by Tony Aspler – Photography by Jean-Francois Bergeron
Firefly – $29.95 – 272 pages
“…a most informative book, detailing more than sixty of the top wineries in the country.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Home By Novogratz
by Robert & Courtney Novogratz with Elizabeth Novogratz
Artisan – $45.00 – 320 pages
“…you will be amazed by the transformations…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Power of Food
by Adam Hart Whitecap – $24.95 – 200 pages
“This is a book guaranteed to give you body, mind and soul a fighting chance!”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Goldmine Record Album Price Guide 7th Edition
by Dave Thompson
Krause – $29.50 – 688 pages
“…truly a goldmine…”
Rating:4 1/2 bookmarks

Buzz About Bees
by Kari Lynn-Winters
Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 – 48 pages
“There are some little-known facts that are most fascinating and worth learning.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

9 Books In 75 Words Or Less

Shelf Life introduces a new section, where we present recommended titles that because of space cannot offer full reviews for. In 75 words or less, we give a short review of the book and why you should be reading it. No bookmarks will be given but we can assure you, the books should be added to your reading list and as soon as possible.

Black Skies
by Arnaldur Indridason
Harvill Secker – $22.00
“…darker than usual…written in the suspenseful manner Indridason is famous for.”

Wicked Nights with a Proper Lady
by Tiffany Clare
St. Martin’s Press – $9.99
“…continues with more passion than you can shake a stick at.”

The Bone Man
by Wolf Haas
Melville House – $14.95 – 176 pages
“…another superior mystery.”

Avati Discovery Arctic Ecology
By Mia Pelletier – Illustrated by Sara Otterstatter
Inhabit Media – $14.95 – 48 pages
“A most informative book for children that lets them take a journey to the Arctic from their own home.”

What Women Want
by Fanny Blake
Thomas Dunne – $18.50 – 425 pages
“..will friendship win out over indecision as friendships are truly put to the test?”

Mission Flats
by William Landay
Bantam – $18.00 – 383 pages
“…reprinted to savor again…”

Millions for a Song
by Andre Vanasse
Red Deer Press – $18.00 – 383 pages
“A great book with a message.”

by Carsten Stroud
Vintage Crime – $16.95 – 450 pages
“…a fascinating thriller with offbeat people and a creepy atmosphere…”

Midnight’s Warrior
by Donna Grant
St. Martin’s – $9.99 – 322 pages
“…with supernatural happenings and steamy romances that consume the reader totally.”


Shelf Life – September 2013

Editor’s Notes from Issue #150


Well, here we are with another milestone to boast about: Issue #150. Already this year, we celebrated our 15th anniversary issue, and now comes another achievement. No matter how I personally look at it, creating Shelf Life in 1998 and continuing the publication to feature books of all genres, has been a most satisfying accomplishment.

From issue 1 onward, it has always been about the reader, showcasing the best in books and offering variety no matter where your literary likes lie. Whether you enjoy fiction, biographies, sports, fashion, cooking or a host of other areas, we have tried to give you a cross-section of books more varied than other book review publications. And based on your feedback, we think we have succeeded.

As always, we thank the publishers for supplying us with hundreds of quality books over the years. Of course, we thank the readers for picking up the issues each month, and of course, I personally thank all the reviews who have shown their review talents.

So here is to the next 150 (we hope) issues, and our non-wavering commitment to give you a vast array of choices for your reading pleasures. Let us know how we can improve future issues. Email us at: Thanks as always to everyone.

Paul Sutter

*** Fiction Section ***
*** Finest Five on the Fiction Shelf ***

The Rising
by Kelley Armstrong
Doubleday – $19.99 – 408 pages
“…the characters have great heart, soul, humanity and conscience.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Hit
by David Baldacci
Grand Central Publishing – $29.95 – 400 pages
“No matter what sort of character he creates, we cannot get enough of them.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Golem and the Jinni
by Helene Wecker
Harper – $19,99 – 486 pages
“…a pure joy to read every single page.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Amity & Sorrow
by Peggy Riley
Little Brown – $28.99 – 329 pages
“It is more than a novel, as it looks into religious beliefs and cult-like conditions.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

A Blink on the Screen
by Terry Pratchett
Doubleday – $32.00 – 320 pages
“If you are a Pratchett fan, this book is a must-own…”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

*** Rest of the Fiction on the Shelf ***

Deadly Stakes
by J.A. Jance
Touchstone – $29.99 – 290 pages
“…definitely a book worth reading.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Taking Eve
by Iris Johansen
St, Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 340 pages
“For those who enjoy Iris Johansen, they are in for a treat.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Cain At Gettysburg
by Ralph Peters
Forge – $29.99 – 432 pages
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“It is these characters, real and imagined, that really propel the novel.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

Silken Prey
by John Sandford
Putnam – $29.50 – 406 pages
“…proves again why readers never want this series to end.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

by Jonathan Kellerman
Ballantine – $30.00 – 380 pages
“…filled with many mysteries…”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

by Charlie Huston
Mulholland – $28.99 – 400 pages
“This is a brilliant new series to watch for…”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

Leaving Everyone Most Loved
by Jacqueline Winspear
Harper Collins – $26.99 – 352 pages
Reviewed by Donna Naylor
“…a book the reader will truly love.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Seal Team 666
by Weston Ochse
Thomas Dunne – $28.99 – 310 pages
“The idea is so offbeat that it works, putting you in awe of the way the author pulled this off.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Dead Level
by Sarah Graves
Bantam – $31.00 – 245 pages
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…a book you will totally enjoy.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

by Julianna Baggott
Grand Central Publishing – $28.99 – 466 pages
“…because she set the bar so high with first tale, subsequent works may pale in comparison to the original.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

The Comfort of Lies
by Randy Susan Myers
Atria – $28.99 – 326 pages
“The book looks at how people deal with unexpected disruptions and how their doubts and insecurities cause problems.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

The Smart One
by Jennifer Close
Bond Street Books – $29.95 – 342 pages
“…smart fiction and has enough dramatic moments to give a strong recommendation to read the story.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Don’t Go
by Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 376 pages
“…part mystery, part human interest story about lives torn apart through lies and mistrust.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

The Comfort of Lies
by Randy Susan Myers
Atria – $28.99 – 326 pages
“The book looks at how people deal with unexpected disruptions and how their doubts and insecurities cause problems.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Finest Five on the Non-Fiction Shelf ***

Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel
by Daniel Wallace
DK Books – $26.99 – 200 pages
“…the history of Superman, presenting the characters who came to define the comic.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

America’s Classic Ballparks
by James Buckley Jr.
Thunder Bay Press – $38.95 – 176 pages
“…packed with baseball history from a bygone era, with the best moments and players from the parks mentioned.
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Shirley Jones: A Memoir
With Wendy Leigh
Gallery – $29.99 – 292 pages
“Shirley Jones fans will enjoy this tell-all, a tribute to her endearing appeal and honest nature.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Beatles On The Road 1964-1966
By Harry Benson
Taschen – $69.99 – 282 pages
“The photos take you back to a kinder, gentler time before social media.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

By Mike Brzezinski with Diane Smith
Weinstein – $29.00 – 240 pages
“The book looks at her weight issues and obsession with not only eating many foods compulsively but trying to remain as thin as possible.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

*** Rest of the Non-Fiction on the Shelf ***

A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland
By Charles Lachman
Skyhorse – $29.95 – 481 pages
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“This is a great work about a chapter of American history long forgotten.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

In the Pleasure Groove (Love, Death & Duran Duran)
By John Taylor with Tim Sykes
Dutton – $29.50 – 392 pages
“…interesting reading as rock star books go…”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

By John Ingledew
Laurence King – $48.00 – 272 pages
“…the perfect book for you regardless of your expertise or photo-taking experience.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers Of All Time
ECW Press – $19.99 – 464 pages
“…a list of what he considers the 50 greatest wrestlers of all time.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Art of Iron Man 3
by Marie Javins &Stuart Moore
Marvel Worldwide – $55.99 – 282 pages
“…looks at the making of the film and how certain ideas made it to the silver screen.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Who Was Dracula? (Bram Stoker’s Trail of Blood)
by Jim Steinmeyer
Tarcher/Penguin – $28.50 – 322 pages
“…about the inspiration of the legend of Dracula.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Cat Whisperer
by Mieshelle Nagelschneider
Bantam – $29.95 – 310 pages
Reviewed by Joan Sutter
“…informative and, at times, amusing…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Becoming A Fashion Designer
by Lisa J. Springsteel
Wiley – $47.95 – 302 pages
“…if designing clothing is something that has intrigued you, reading this is a step in the right direction.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Art of Disney Pixar Monsters University
by Karen Paik
Chronicle – $48.00 – 168 pages
“Those associated with this film talk about the creation process and the complexity of getting everything just perfect.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Artisan Bread
by Jan Hedh
Skyhorse – $29.95 – 240 pages
“…brings the best breads in the world to our tables…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Victory Season (The End of World War II and the Rebirth of Baseball’s Golden Age)
by Robert Weintraub
Little Brown – $29.99 – 464 pages
“…filled with interesting stories of lesser-known players…”
Rating:4 bookmarks

Flat Belly Diet!
by Liz Vaccariello with Cynthia Sass.
Rodale – $18.99 – 350 pages
“…will certainly assist you in the battle of the belly.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Rest in Pieces
by Bess Lovejoy
Simon & Schuster – $26.00 – 328 pages
“…not for the faint of heart, but the morbidly curious of mind.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Light & Shade Conversations With Jimmy Page
With Brad Tolinski
McClelland & Stewart – $29.99 – 300 pages
“…reveals the motivating factors behind his musical life.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Star Wars and History
by Nancy R. Reagin and Janice Liedl
Wiley – $32.95 – 392 pages
“…you get an interesting take on the film and how the characters relate to the history of the world.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Who’s on Worst
by Filip Bondy
Doubleday $28.95 – 260 pages
“…looks at many stars who brought shame to the game.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbooks
by Judith Finlayson
Robert Rose – $24.95 – 224 pages
“…looks at recipes that can be made from a variety of whole wheat products.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** 10 Books in 75 Words Or Less ***

Shelf Life introduces a new section, where we present recommended titles that because of space cannot offer full reviews for. In 75 words or less, we give a short review of the book and why you should be reading it. No bookmarks will be given but we can assure you, the books should be added to your reading list and as soon as possible.

by Andrew Vachss
Vintage/Black Lizard – $16.95 – 230 pages
“…non-stop tension and terror…”

Hockey Girl
by Natalie Hyde
Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $9.95 – 152 pages
“A great book for younger readers, about accepting challenges and never stepping down.”

Bloody Relations
By Don Gutteridge
Touchstone – $19.99 – 245 pages
“These mysteries get better every time out.”

Dusk With A Dangerous Duke
By Alexandra Hawkins
St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 310 pages
“Sexy and sensual…”

Dumb Luck
by Lesley Choycel
Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 235 pages
“Can Brandon turn his life around or will winning big time turn into the ultimate losing proposition?”

The Devil’s Looking Glass
by Mark Chadbourn
Bantam – $17.95 – 450 pages
“…historical fiction at its finest.”

Battleground Pacific
by Sterling Mace & Nick Allen
St. Martin’s Griffin – $18.50 – 332 pages
“Those who enjoy first-person war stories will find BATTLEGROUND PACIFIC a classic read.”

The Throne
By Beth Goodbie
Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 282 pages
“Another great book about high school life and fitting in, in the face of adversity.”

Hot Pursuit
by Lorie O’Clare
St. Martin’s – $9.99 – 358 pages
“Definitely a book filled with intrigue and erotic turns.”

Conspiracy of Brothers
by Nick Lowe
Vintage Canada – $22.00 – 442 pages
“Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction crime book.”