Shelf Life – December 2013

*** Fiction Section  ***dec13ficcover

Editor’s Notes from Issue #153 – Fiction

When we say we hope you flip over this special annual Holiday issue, we are noting this literally and figuratively. We really want you to flip over to the back cover as well, where you will find the best in Holiday Non-Fiction. We wanted to do something different this issue to separate Fiction and Non-Fiction. Magazines have been doing this on occasion with special issues, so Shelf Life has tried it as well. We look forward to your comments and whether you would like to see it repeated in the future for other special issues.

Our annual Books As Holiday Gifts Buying Guide has been one of the most popular issues of the year, as readers are thinking books as gifts for this season. With this, out 8th Edition, we hope to inspire your Christmas lists for giving friends and family the best in books. No bookmarks are given for this issue, as every book is a classic and deserves your attention.

So sit back, drink some Eggnog if you wish, have some plum pudding or whatever is your favourite, but most of all have the happiest holiday season ever.

Paul Sutter
Editor/Publisher


The Gifted
by Gail Bowen
McClelland & Stewart – $29.99 – 262 pages
“…truly a gift to her readers who enjoy irresistible plots.”

Holy Orders
by Benjamin Black
Henry Holt – $30.00 – 290 pages
“The storytelling in this book makes us anticipate future novels all the more.”

Night Film
by Marisha Pessl
Bond Street Books -$34.00 – 600 pages
“The book is dark and will either hook you or alienate you because of its complexities.”

Choke Point
by Ridley Pearson
Putnam – $28.50 – 400 pages
“…Ridley Pearson as his best, with a story literally torn from real headlines.”

Identical
by Scott Turow
Grand Central Publishing – $31.00 – 416 pages
“…one of the more complex books of his career.”

Bad Little Falls
by Pau Doiron
Minotaur – $28.99 – 310 pages
“The story is stunningly complex, a definite winner of the highest degree.”

Until the End of Time
by Danielle Steel
Delacorte Press – $30.00 323 pages
“two stories here for the price of one…offers stories of deep love past and present.”

Hunting Eve
by Iris Johansen
St. Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 385 pages
Reviewed by Joan Sutter
“…anyone wanting a terrific trilogy, look no further than this series of thrilling books.”

The Homecoming
by Carsten Stroud
Knopf – $29.99 – 414 pages
“out creeps the first book by a wide margin, making us most anxious to see where Stroud will take this entertaining series next.”

Mistress
by James Patterson & David Ellis
Little Brown – $31.00 – 410 pages
“Right from page one, we are drawn into the book…”

Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King
Scribner – $34.95 – 530 pages
“…shock-a-minute…the sequel to THE SHINING…”

The Movement of Stars
by Amy Brill
Riverhead Books – $29.50
“…an impressive love story set in 1845…”

Deeply Odd
by Dean Koontz
Bantam – $30.00 – 335 pages
“…a pleasant surprise, certainly the best book of the series…”

Nemesis
by Bill Pronzini
Forge – $29.99 – 320 pages
“The intrigue mounts by the page…”

Little Green
by Walter Mosley
Doubleday – $30.00 – 292 pages
“The book boasts the usual characters Mosley is famous for…”

The 9th Girl
by Tami Hoag
Dutton – $28.50 – 406 pages
“…once more showcases Tami Hoag’s mystery writing talents to the highest levels.”

Fly Away
by Kristin Hannah
St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 400 pages
“…soars away with a wonderful story…”

Dickens at Christmas
by Charles Dickens
Vintage Classics – $28.95 – 586 pages
“…the stories with great morals can warm our hearts on the coldest of nights or the most humid of days.”


Holiday Stocking Stuffer Books

Because of space limitations with this special issue, the following books will only be noted briefly with very short reviews of each. They would make excellent stocking stuffers for the book lover, an assortment of fiction sure to provide hours of pleasurable reading.

Midnight’s Captive
by Donna Grant
St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 372 pages
“A must-read!”

Operation Napoleon
by Arnaldur Indridason
St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 392 pages
“One riddle after another highlights this fast-paced thriller.”

Black Skies
by Arnaldur Indridason
Vintage – $17.95 – 452 pages
“Multiple mysteries highlight this tale!”

A Mountain of Friends
by Kerstin Schoene
Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages
“A sweet treat for children.”

The Racketeer
by John Grisham
Dell – $11.99 – 384 pages
“Another great tale in John Grisham’s legal arsenal.”


*** Non-Fiction Section ***

Editor’s Notes from Issue #153 – Non Fiction dec13NFcover  

Welcome to the NON-FICTION section of our special holiday issue. This past Fall, we have received so man y amazing books that it is a shame we cannot include them all, but space prevents this. You will see them in upcoming issues in 2014, though. What we have included here is a cross-section of titles that you might consider for holiday gift giving. So without further adieu, and not wanting to take up more space, here are some of the best Non-Fiction titles for the holidays.

Paul Sutter
Editor/Publisher


The Silver Age of DC Comics 1956-1970
by Paul Levitz Taschen – $69.95US – 400 pages
“No true comic fan, regardless of which company you favoured, should be without this book”

The Masters of Nature Photography
by Rosamund Kidman Cox
Firefly – $45.00 – 224 pages
“…showcases the works of ten of the most well-known and more respected nature photographers of the world.”

Techniques of Healthy Cooking Fourth Edition
by the Culinary Institute of America
Wiley – $88.00 – 560 pages
“This is a ‘be-all, end-all book’ when it comes to creating healthy recipes for you and your family.”

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
by Robert Kolker
Harper – $27.99 – 400 pages
“If true crime is your cup of tea, then LOST GIRLS is the book for you.”

The End of Night
by Paul Bogard
Little Brown – $29.99 – 304 pages
“…a fascinating personal journey…”

Stonehenge: A New Understanding
by Mike Parker Pearson and the Stonehenge Riverside Project
The Experiment – $33.95 – 410 pages
“…adds great insight to the phenomenon of Stonehenge and anyone interested in ancient sites will find this book enlightening.”

The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen
by Stephen R. Brown Douglas
McIntyre – $24.95 – 356 pages
“Roald Amundsen was more like a modern-day version of Christopher Columbus and dozens of other explorers rolled into one.”

Standard Catalog of World Paper Money Modern Issues 1961-present 19th Edition
by George S. Cuhaj
Krause – $73.50 – 1160 pages
“…looks at the currency of every country and we find out just how distinctive many countries are with their money.”

Toronto Star Cookbook
by Jennifer Bain
Appetite – $29.95 – 240 pages
“The great part of the book is that it celebrates all cultures with many of the recipes having been passed down from one generation to another.”

Oh, What A Feeling: A Vital History of Canadian Music The Next Generation
by Martin Melhuish Fox Music Books – $34.95 – 364 pages
“There are few books as comprehensive and vital to a country’s musical heritage as the one Martin Melhuish has created.”

Marvel Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle
Forward by Stan Lee
DK Books – $50.00 – 384 pages with slipbox case
“The book traces every single year in the Marvel universe.”

Timeless Interiors
by Kathryn M. Ireland
Gibbs Smith – $45.00 – 226 pages
“…offers Ireland’s take on a dozen homes, giving them her wisdom and updates…”

Nilsson: The Life of a Singer Songwriter
by Alyn Shipton
Oxford University Press – $32.95 – 346 pages
“…paints a most interesting picture of the man who suffered through the good times and bad times.”

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself (Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids)
by Jen Kirkman Simon & Schuster – $26.00 – 212 pages
“…she discusses her philosophy of being childless.”

Hockey Night in Canada: A Legacy in Three Periods
by Michael McKinley Penguin – $29.00 – 330 pages
“…a magnificent tribute to the show and all the personalities who were part of the game.”

The Sports Book 3rd Edition
DK Books – $35.00 – 454 pages
“….not what you might expect…covers over 200 sports, including key Olympic sports.”

Harrison R. Crandall – Creating a Vision of Grand Teton National Park
by Kenneth Barrick
Gibbs-Smith – $90.00 – 240 pages
“…reproduces some of Crandall’s finest works and there are many to put the reader in awe.”

Seductive Interiors
by Sera Hersham-Loftus
Cico – $44.95 – 196 pages
“… (shows) class, elegance and seductive appeal in all her works.”

July 1914: Countdown to War
by Sean McMeekin
Basic – $34.50 – 464 pages
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…a complex tale of desire for retribution and allegiance to political allies and the classic tale of pride coming before a fall.”

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Shelf Life – November 2013

nov13cover

Editor’s Notes from Issue #152

Here we are down to the last two months of the year. If you still have not fulfilled your New Year’s (remember last January) resolution to read more books, this issue gives you the perfect opportunity to redeem yourself. And those of you who just love to read, you know as always Shelf Life offers you a vast variety of books to assist you with your reading pleasures and choices.

Whether you are a newer reader to our pages, or a long time one, we strive to assist you in your quest to find the best in books. Enjoy, and as always write us with any comments or questions at: Shelf-life1@rogers.com.

Paul Sutter
Editor/Publisher


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

The Fire Witness
byLars Kepler
McClelland & Stewart – $29,99 – 500
“…you will breeze through THE FIRE WITNESS with great zeal”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Her Last Breath
by Linda Castillo
Minotaur – $29.99 – 308 pages
“…will leave you breathless.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Ocean At the End of the World
by Neil Gaiman
William Morrow – $27,99 – 180 pages
“Neil Gaiman has said more in less than 200 pages than authors who write twice as much.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Unseen
by Karen Slaughter
Delacorte Press – $32.00 – 382 pages
“The feuds and fights throughout the book make it truly go over the top at times, but Slaughter’s writing keeps the story from meandering into the mediocre.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Universe vs. Alex Woods
by Gavin Extence
Redhook – $29.00 – 410 pages
“…a brilliant debut novel”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

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

Revenge Wears Prada
by Lauren Weisberger
Simon & Schuster – $29.99 – 382 pages
“If you read THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and were anxiously awaiting the conclusion, savor the first, as the second pales in comparison.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Unintended Consequences
by Stuart Woods
Putnam – $28.50 – 310 pages
“…just not up to the par of most Stuart Woods books.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

The Heist
by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Bantam – $29.95 – 304 pages
“…certainly the start of something memorable.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

Let It Burn
by Steve Hamilton
Minotaur – $29.99 – 304 pages
“…will burn a hole in your hands from the tension and surprises in the book.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Deep Down
by Deborah Coates
Tor – $29.99 – 304 pages
“…a book you cannot resist with its unusual moments and images…”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Killer Ambition
by Marcia Clark
Mulholland – $28.99 – 464 pages
“Less pages could have made this book much more effective…”
Rating: 3 Bookmarks

The Ghost Rider of Ordebec
by Fred Vargas
Harvill Secker – $22.95 – 362 pages
“There is a ghostly atmosphere to the book…”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Terra Incognito
by Ruth Downie
Bloomsbury – $23.95 – 388 pages
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…soon becomes very engrossing…”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

The Curiousity
by Stephen P. Kiernan
Harper Collins – $21.99 – 426 pages
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…more than lives up to its name, with an interesting sort of morality tale.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

Love Saves the Day
by Gwen Cooper
Bantam – $30.00 – 317 pages
Reviewed by Joan Sutter
“…she once more goes for the gold with another cat tale.”
Rating: 3 1/2 Bookmarks

In the Lion’s Mouth
by Michael Flynn
Tor – $29.99 – 303 pages
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…reminds one of walking into the middle of a conversation and being totally lost.”
Rating: 2 Bookmarks

The Black Country
by Alex Grecian
Putnam – $28.50 – 386 pages
“…a complex tale (that) will give the reader chills.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

The Silver Star
by Jeannette Walls
Scribner – $29.99 – 270 pages
“The book is about fitting in, coping, believing in oneself, and maturity.”
Rating: 4 1/2 Bookmarks

The Last Whisper In the Dark
by Tom Piccirilli
Bantam – $30.00 – 316 pages
“…most vocal in its sense of mystery and character-driven action.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks


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

Smithsonian History Year By Year
Written by Peter Chrisp, Joe Fullman & Susan Kennedy
DK Books – $24.95 – 320 pages
“…follows life on this planet as far back as 6.5 million years ago.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Complete Book of Shoes
by Marta Morales
Firefly – $49.95 – 600 pages
“…pays homage to the shoes that women love, with thirty-nine top designers and their most inventive creations.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

The Atlas of Military History
by Amanda Lomazoff & Aaron Ralby
Thunder Bay Press – $44.95 – 320 pages
“… a most thorough guide to battles virtually since the dawn of time.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Long Shot
By Mike Piazza with Lonnie Wheeler
Simon & Schuster – $29.99 – 374 pages
“… a most enjoyable read for lovers of the game.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

Anything Goes
By Ethan Mordden
Oxford University Press – $34.95 – 346 pages
“…traces the history of the musical, which dates as far back as the 1700’s.”
Rating: 5 Bookmarks

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

Time & Tide: Photographs of Praia Piquinia
By Christian Chaize
Chronicle – $39.99 – no page count
“Using a regular camera, he has chronicled the area, showing how the beach has changed…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Mod: A Very British Style
By Richard Weight
Bodley Head – $39.95 – 478 pages
“…the definitive fashion book show how that style changed the way people dressed, then and now.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Betty Crocker’s Heart Healthy Cookbook
By Roger S. Blumenthal & Juli Hermanson
Wiley – $23.99 – 254 pages
“…(offers) readers 140 recipes good for the heart and body.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies
by Jeanine Basinger
Knopf – $35.00 – 400 pages
“…the book offers who’s who of movie history with more than one hundred movies featured, discussed and dissected for their take on marriage.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Wardrobe Wakeup
by Lois Joy Johnson
Running Press – $26.50 – 290 pages
“…shows what is appropriate wear for women of any age, even those well over sixty.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations
by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner
Simon & Schuster – $29.99 – 294 pages
“…we get to see the mind and motivations of a once famous actress.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2014 47th Edition
by Noah Fleisher
Krause – $31.50 – 800 pages
“…never fails to give collectors a cross-section of the best items on the market.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Hardcore Truth
by Bob Holly with Ross Williams
ECW Press – $19.95 – 292 pages
“Holly acts like a kid who wasn’t allowed to play with the grownups. Readable but laughable at times.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Honey Connoisseur
by C. Marina Marchese & Kim Flottum
Black Dog & Leventhal – $32.95 – 208 pages
“…talks of the process that has millions of bees working together to create the sticky sweet substance called honey.”
Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Ali: The Official Portrait of the Greatest of All Time
by Nancy J. Hajeski
Thunder Bay Press – $44.95 – 320 pages
“…offers words to go with the classic photos that are part of Ali’s life.'”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Thrifty Style (Clever Ways to Revamp Your Wardrobe)
by Janine Chisholm
Cico – $26.95 – 130 pages with 3 pull-out patters
“You don’t need to spend a fortune on clothes, when you can do alterations to what you have, giving your clothing that fancy designer look.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

What Doctors Eat
by Tasneem Bhatia MD and the Editors of Prevention
Rodale – $31.00 – 362 pages
“…over fifty more doctors tell the food that they eat.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Uggie: My Story
As Barked to Wendy Holden
Gallery – $17.00 – 229 pages
Reviewed by Donna Naylor
“It shows a wonderful little dog with a very big heart.”
Rating: 4 “bark”marks

Off Track Planet’s Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy and Broke
By Freddie Pikovsky & Anna Starostinetskaya
Running Press – $19.99 – 224 pages
‘They call this ‘not your mother’s travel guide’ and with good reason.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Rick Hansen: A Life in Motion
by Don Quinlan
Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $22.95 – 72 pages
“…will appeal to both young and old…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


8 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.

In the Darkness
by Karin Fossum
Vintage – $17.95 – 394 pages
“Superior mystery fiction…”

In Deep With the Octopus
by Norman Dixon
Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 – 40 pages
“An informative book for children about the world of the octopus.”

Hungry Like a Wolf
By Christine Warren
St. Martin’s – $9.99 – 310 pages
“…written as only Christine Warren can.”

Dark Horizons
By Jenny T. Colgan
BBC Books – $15.99 – 312 pages
“It has all the thrills of the series with a Viking attack imminent.”

Ultimatum
by Simon Kernick
Arrow – $18.95 – 440 pages
“This book has a thrill a page and then some.”

License to Love
by Gina Robinson
St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 341 pages
“…fun and sexy.”

Saving Lives and Changing Hearts
by Rob Laidlaw
Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 – 62 pages
“This is an excellent learning book for children who love animals.”

Misterioso
By Arne Dahl
Vintage Crime – $18.95 – 340 pages
“Here is a book one in the popular Intercrime series.”

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.