Shelf Life – June 2014

Editor’s Notes from Issue #158201406Shelfcover

Depending on when you read this, Spring hopefully is in full swing, as in many parts of the country. Winter more than wore its welcome out and stayed well past its time. But June brings many things, like the first day of Summer and, of course, the longest day of the year. We hope you will use that extra time to open up a good book, which we trust you might have purchased because of a recommendation in a past issue of Shelf Life,

Each issue we do our best to find the best in books for you, taking the guesswork out of which books to add to your collection. We always welcome your comments as to how we are doing, and we trust you will patronize the great publishers who send us these amazing titles for review. Enjoy the issue.

Paul Sutter – Editor/Publisher

*** Fiction Section ***
*** Finest 5 of the Fiction Shelf ***

The Double
by George Pelecanos
(Little Brown – $29.00 – 292 pages)
“…Pelecanos writes Spero in such a way that he is both vulnerable and also shows uncanny revolve at times..”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

In the Blood
by Lisa Unger
(Touchstone – $29,99 – 342 pages)
“…will have your blood pounding from tension and suspense…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Sycamore Row
by John Grisham
(Doubleday – $32.00 – 447 pages)
“…one of Grisham’s best…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Stone Cold
by C.J. Box
(Putnam – $31.00 – 372 pages)
“With so much propelling the book along, you won’t be bored…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by Sandra Brown
(Grand Central Publishing – $29.00 – 410 pages)
“Many layers comprise this book, all of them leading to an explosive ending.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

by Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 354 pages
“…stands as a superior tale”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Bridget Jones – Mad About the Boy
by Helen Fielding
(Knopf Canada – $30.00 – 386 pages)
“…will please some and anger others because of what has happened to Bridget.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Apartment
by Greg Baxter
(Twelve – $27.00 – 193 pages)
“…character-driven, with lots of dialogue and little action.”
Rating: 3  bookmarks

This House Is Haunted
by John Boyne
(Doubleday Canada – $24.95 – 304 pages)
“It does not come at you full-force with a fright on every page. The tension slowly builds and Boyne knows how to create atmosphere…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Arena Man
by Steve Englehart
(Tor – $33.50 – 363 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“Other Max August books have been high-quality as well…thanks to the use of magic in the book, it make the book all that more magical.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Phantoms of Breslau
by Marek Krajewski
(Melville International Crime – $25.95 – 276 pages)
“…a hauntingly good read.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Laurell K. Hamilton
(Berkley – $31.00 – 570 pages)
“…decent fiction but does little to advance this exceptional series.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Litter of the Law
by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
(Bantam – $30.00 – 232 pages)
“…you have to suspend disbelief as you read these books, but just put your brain in neutral and go with the flow.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

She’s Leaving Home
by William Shaw
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $29.00 – 240 pages)
“…their good cop/bad cop approach…may have been the saving grace of the novel.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Dark City: Repairman Jack the Early Years
by F. Paul Wilson
(Tor – $29.99 – 366 pages)
“If this is your first taste of REPAIRMAN JACK, you might not find the character as riveting as if you were a fan of the series from book one”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Black Chalk
by Christopher J. Yates
(Random House – $24.95 – 343 pages
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…a solid thriller that is highly recommended.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Pierre LeMaitre
(MacLehose Press – $24.95 – 368 pages)
“It has many layers like a piece of pastry and this is one piece of pastry you hungrily devour.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Private LA
by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan
(Little Brown – $31.00 – 416 pages)
“…Patterson and Sullivan create the perfect tension that pervades on every page.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Finest 5 on the Non-Fiction Shelf ***

Still Foolin’ ‘Em
by Billy Crystal
(Henry Holt – $29.99 – 274 pages)
“…will have you laughing for the most part but you may feel a moistness around your eyes in others.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

In My Shoes
by Tamara Mellon with William Patrick
(Portfolio/Penguin – $31.50 – 275 pages)
“…essential reading for those who enjoy inspiring success stories from those who deserved all the success they achieved.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Conquest of the Ocean
by Brian Lavery
(DK Books – $30.00 – 400 pages)
“…most comprehensive and will take a prominent position on your book shelf.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Mad’s Greatest Artists – Dave Berg Five Decades of the Lighter Side of…
Forward by Drew Friedman
(Running Press – $34.50 – 272 pages)
“….his works are timeless and ageless (which) means anyone anytime can read his cartoons and appreciate them.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell
by Deborah Solomon
(Farrarm Strauss and Giroux – $32.00 – 494 pages)
“…offers a fitting tribute to one of the greatest American artists of all time”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

Undisputed Truth
by Mike Tyson
(Blue Rider Press – $31.00 – 580 pages)
“Unless you are a fan of Mike Tyson, this book will not appeal to you.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Free Magic Secrets Revealed
by Mark Leiren-Young
(Harbour – $26.95 – 256 pages)
“He bares his soul giving you a different take on subjects you might already know.”
Rating: 3 1/2  bookmarks

What the Dogs Taught Me
by Scott Linden
(Skyhorse – $29.95 – 195 pages)
Reviewed by: Donna Naylor
“It is a complete guide to hunting and training,”
Rating:  3 1/2 bookmarks

Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook
by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt
(Robert Rose – $24.95 – 384 pages)
“The authors have assembled an impressive assortment of 250 recipes that cover the bases for any meal of the day.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Freakin’ Fabulous On A Budget
by Clinton Kelly
(Gallery – $29.99 – 240 pages)
“…gives the reader ideas for cooking, style and entertaining.'”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Nothing to Lose: The Making of KISS 1972-1975
by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
(IT – $28.99 – 560 pages)
“…looks at the three-year period when they were making their mark in the music world.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Reboot Your Brain
by Gary Null PhD
Skyhorse – $31.95 – 450 pages
“….an important book that looks at natural cures to some of the most insidious diseases plaguing people today.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Squared Circle (Life, Death and Professional Wrestling)
by David Shoemaker A.K.A. The Masked Man
(Gotham – $28,50 – 390 pages)
“…profiles many of the greats no longer with us…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Marc Eliot
(Crown Archetype – $30.00 – 352 pages)
“…does a superb job of offering insight into Nicholson’s life.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Cave Women Don’t Get Fat
by Esther Blum
(Gallery – $28.99 – 290 pages)
“…start with a weight loss plan that was millions of years in the making.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Vintage Fashion and Couture from Poiret to McQueen
by Kerry Taylor
(Firefly – $39.95 – 224 pages)
“…a book you will find fashionable.”
Rating:  4 bookmarks

The Joy of Pain
by Richard H. Smith
(Oxford University Press – $34.95 – 238 pages)
“…a disturbing yet fascinating look that speaks volumes about human nature.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Drama High
by Michael Sokolove
(Riverhead – $29.50 – 340 pages)
“Books like this one should be read by every drama department in every high school across North America.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Busy Girl’s Guide to Digital Photography
by Lorna Yabsley
(David & Charles – $25.95 – 144 pages)
“The premise of the book is to help those girls who like taking pictures get that much more proficient at making their shots the best possible.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2014
(Food & Wine Books- $39.95 – 410 pages)
“…an astounding 700 recipes that will definitely impress and delight those who enjoy great meals.”
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 are given but we can assure you the books noted here are all highly recommended.

Drive Her Wild
by Christine Warren
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 298 pages)
“…(has) that sizzling spark and supernatural spice…”

The Dying Minutes
by Martin O’Brien
(Anchor – $18.95 – 474 pages)
“Thrilling mystery to the max.”

Jeremy Stone
by Lesley Choyce
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 184 pages)
“This is a most interesting novel as the entire tale is told in free verse.”

by Jo Nesbo
(Random House Canada – $24.95 – 374 pages)
“This series never fails to please…”

Hidden Agendas
by Lora Leigh
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $16.99 – 342 pages)
“…hotter than fire and filled with romance, danger and between the sheets delight.”

From the Lands of the Night
by Tololwa M. Mollen – Illustrated by Darrell McCalla
(Red Deer Press – $19.99 – 32 pages
“…most heart-warming and filled with many wonderful moments.”

The Calling of the Grave
by Simon Beckett
(Bantam – $18,95 – 474 pages)
“Hunter is part of the past and shocking revelations can only spell danger for the present.”

The Prince’s Bride
by Julianne Maclean
(St. Martin’s – $9.99 – 310 pages)
“This is part of the ROYAL TRILOGY.”

Shelf Life – May 2014

Editor’s Note for Issue #157

Those who have been following these opening statements may have read about the heart issues that I have personally dealt with. On February 26, my open-heart aortic valve replacement finally took place. I was told that the valve was in such bad shape that I had literally not much time left and that something catastrophic could have occurred if the tear in the valve was not found in December. Recovering slowing and still in discomfort from the incision down the length of my chest and the broken breastbone, it is all systems go for life and Shelf Life.

This issue brings a Spring bouquet of bountiful book reviews covering all genres for your reading pleasure. We hope the issue will inspire your reading listings for the coming months and you will check out these highly recommended titles.

As always, thanks so much for picking up this issue.

Paul Sutter – Editor/Publisher

*** Fiction Section ***
*** Finest 5 of the Fiction Shelf ***

The Prince of Risk
by Christopher Reich
(Doubleday – $28.95 – 372 pages)
“…this book is a wise investment, a hedge against boredom in books…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

King and Maxwell
by David Baldacci
(Grand Central Publishing – $31.00 – 420 pages)
“The book is filled with an excess quote of intrigue…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rosarito Beach
by M.A. Lawson
(Blue Rider Press – $28.50 – 336 pages)
“If you are looking for a book that grips you by the lapels from page one, ROSARITO BEACH is for you.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Innocent Sleep
by Karen Perry
(Henry Holt – $30.00 – 324 pages)
“…delivers one shock after another…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by Robert Crais
(Putnam – $29.50 – 312 pages)
“…a book with mystery and warmth, showing that the love between a man and animal knows no limitations or boundaries.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

by Isabel Allende
Harper Collins – $22.95 – 480 pages
“The book rips the lid off mystery in most inventive ways.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Karen Robards
(Gallery – $29.99 – 376 pages)
“…may not be a book you purposely hunt down above all others.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Silent Voices
by Ann Cleeves
(Minotaur – $24.99US – 314 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…Cleeves’ writing style is as strong as ever.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Dexter’s Final Cut
by Jeff Lindsay
(Doubleday – $28.95 – 352 pages)
“…shows Dexter at his most impulsive and sometimes illogical.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Beautiful Day
by Elin Hilderbrand
(Reagan Arthur/Little Brown – $31.00 – 404 pages)
“…occasionally meanders more than it should with too many characters, too much crisis and way too wordy at times.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

by Dean Koontz
(Bantam – $31.00 – 338 pages)
“Some parts of the book may come across as confusing, but Koontz ties it together nicely.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

White Fire
by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
(Grand Central Publishing – $30.00 – 370 pages)
“…has the same suspense and mystery that each book before this one has possessed.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Patricia Cornwell
(Putnam – $31.00 – 495 pages)
“…Scarpetta’s superior detective work makes the book more positive than negative.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

by Martina Cole
(Headline – $22.99 – 552 pages)
“…although we detest Michael, we are still fascinated by his lifestyle and brutal nature.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Andrew Vachss
(Pantheon – $32.00 – 352 pages)
“….offers mild shocks to the reader and whatever Vachss had in mind for the characters is uncertain.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Delivering Death
By Julie Kramer
(Emily Bestler Books – $28.99 – 290 pages
“Julie Kramer has a way about her books, that although with multiple plots, do not get bogged down, tripping over one another for attention.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Thicket
by Joe E. Lansdale
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $29.00 – 340 pages)
“‘The characters make the novel, without question.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Death of a Nightingale
by Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis
(Soho Crime – $26.95 – 333 pages)
“You will marvel at the way the authors connect past and present.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Finest 5 on the Non-Fiction Section ***

America Bewitched
By Owen Davies
(Oxford University Press – $39.95 – 290 pages)
“….truly a bewitching book, almost impossible to put down.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Religions Book
(DK Books – $27.00 – 352 pages)
“Even if you do not consider yourself overly religious…THE RELGIONS BOOK is still worth reading.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Building the Orange Wave
by Brad Lavigne
(Douglas & McIntyre – $34.95 – 286 pages)
“…looks at the life of Jack Layton and the meteoric rise to fame of a great man.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release
by Philippe Margotin & Jean-Michael Guesdon
(Black Dog & Leventhal – $60.00 – 672 pages)
“….a must-have for not only the Beatles fan but every music fan.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Long Frontier
Images and Narrative by Gerry Spence
(Gibbs Smith – $69.95 – 266 pages)
“…a fascinating find for the lover of art and photography.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

I’m Too Young For This
by Suzanne Somers
(Krause – $33.99 – 696 pages)
“…required reading for women…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Antique Trader Antiques and Collectibles 2014 Price Guide
by Eric Bradley
(Krause – $25.50 – 816 pages)
“…still vital and still the best-selling guide out there.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures
by Rachel Ashwell – Photography by Amy Neusinger
(Cico – $43.95 – 192 pages)
“The book is all about Round Top, Texas…”
Rating:  4 bookmarks

Spelling It Like It Is
by Tori Spelling with Hilary Liftin
(Gallery -$29.99 – 304 pages)
“…tales that will have you smiling.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Super Foods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet – Second Edition
by Tonia Reinhard
(Firefly – $24.95 – 256 pages)
“Each super food listed in the book is backed up with ‘healthy evidence.'”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Discovery of Middle Earth – Mapping The Lost World of the Celt
By Graham Robb
(Norton – $31.00 – 400 pages)
“We see the Celts in a way which history never viewed them before, giving due to their advancements in map making and technology.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Bal’s Spice Kitchen
by Bal Arneson
Whitecap – $29.95 – 184 pages
“….a change of pace book that will do more than spice up you kitchen but spice up your life as well.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Becoming Mr. October
by Reggie Jackson with Kevin Baker
(Doubleday – $29,95 – 292 pages)
“…will allow readers to have even more respect for this major baseball talent.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life
by Tim Conway with Jane Scovell
(Howard – $29.99 – 247 pages)
“…a pleasure to read. He is honest, open and still someone respected by young and old alike.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Guns of the Wild West
by Bruce Wexler
(Skyhorse – $23.95 – 176 pages)
“…as much a history lesson as studying guns…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Fooling Houdiini
by Alex Stone
(Anchor Canada – $21.00 – 302 pages)
“…a lot of heart and soul and a lot of magic…”
Rating:  3 1/2 bookmarks

Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals
By Rory Freedman
(Running Press – $19.99 – 201 pages)
Reviewed by: Donna Naylor
“…will open your eyes to the way we look at animals”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Keon and Me
by Dave Bidini
(Viking – $30.00 – 296 pages)
“…this one stands above the rest in that it focuses on a true star…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Meatless All Day
by Dina Cheney
(Taunton Press – $22.95 – 202 pages)
“…the perfect recipe book for those considering going vegetarian.”
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 are given but we can assure you the books noted here are all highly recommended.

by Cassie Alexander
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 293 pages)
“There is lots of action to keep Edie Spence fans most content.”

The Diabetes Counter
by Karen J. Nolan & Jo-Ann Heslin
“…you will find the calorie, sugar and fat amounts for more than 12,000 foods.”

Good Bait
By John Harvey
(Arrow – $17.95 – 404 pages)
“Another great crime thriller…”

Pay It Forward Kids
by Nancy Runstedler
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 – 64 pages)
“…an inspiring book that all children (and even adults) should read.”

House of the Hunted
by Mark Mills
(Random House – $17.00 – 296 pages)
“Mark Mills always creates books with appeal and tension.”

Dangerous Games
by Lora Leigh
(St. Martin’s-Griffin – $16.99 – 344 pages
“…may be her best.”

A Dance With Dragons
by George R. Martin
(Bantam – $21.00 – 1034 pages)
“If you want to settle in for a long and satisfying read, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will hit the spot.”

Obsessed by Him
by Red Garnier
(St. Martin’s-Griffin – $18.50 – 492 pages)
“One wicked and wild book.”