Shelf Life – December 2014

Editor’s Notes from Issue #164

Christmas again? I know it sounds clichéd but didn’t we just celebrate it not too long ago? dec2014coverWell, here it is back and with the holiday season comes the question of what to buy family and friends. And that is why we have our annual Books as Holiday Gifts Buying Guide. This is our 9th Edition and once again you will find a stellar group of both Fiction and Non-Fiction to pique your buying interest.

Books are the perfect gifts when you are in a quandary about purchasing items. They will be loved by all without a doubt. Have a look through our pages and we hope you will find something for everyone on your gift list. NO BOOKMARKS will be given in this issue as all books are highly recommended.

We at Shelf Life wish all of you a most special holiday season filled with love, joy and peace. May it manifest itself in your lives every day of the year.

Write us as always at with any questions and comments you might have.

Paul Sutter

*** Fiction Section ***

No Safe House
by Linwood Barclay
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 456 pages)
“…filled with wall to wall tension and thrills galore.”

Terminal City
by Linda Fairstein
(Dutton – $32.95 – 384 pages)
“…the pages (will be) breezing through your fingers as you frantically read deeper into the book.”

Live to See Tomorrow
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 354 pages)
“…the third book in the Ling series, as stellar as the first two that preceded it.”

The Fever
by Meg Abbott
(Little Brown – $29.00 – 303 pages)
“(Abbott) has a way of creating characters that are complex, many we either love or totally hate.”

One Kick
by Chelsea Cain
(Simon & Schuster – $29.99 – 320 pages)
“The book is radically different and we could easily grow to love the main character, Kit (Kick) Lanigan and the mysterious John Bishop.”

The City
by Dean Koontz
(Bantam – $32.00 – 400 pages
“…Koontz has gone out on a limb or should we say found another tree altogether than what we have come to expect from him.”

The Web: The Graphic Novel
by Jonathan Kellerman – Art by Michael Gaydos – Adapted by Ande Parks
(Ballantine – $27.00 – 166 pages)
“We are truly caught in a most thrilling web of mystery with this book…”The Silkworm

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
(Mulholland – $31.00 – 456 pages)
“Those who crave a great mystery will appreciate this one and the way J.K. Rowling has told this tale.”

Fast Track
by Julie Garwood
(Dutton – $31.00 – 322 pages)
“…another example of the quality writing that Julie Garwood puts into every book she writes”

I Love You More
by Jennifer Murphy
(Doubleday – $27.95 – 296 pages)
“You can mark I LOVE YOU MORE down as one of those nifty little thrillers that come along every so many books.”

Black Lies, Red Blood
by Kjell Eriksson – Translated from the Swedish by Paul Norlen
(Minotaur – $29.99 – 310 pages)
“Things get quite complex…”

Top Secret Twenty-One
by Janet Evanovich
(Bantam – $32.00 – 342 pages)
“…another must-read book from a must-read author.”

by Ingrid Thoft
(Putnam – $31.00 – 454 pages)
“…certainly identifies Ingrid Thoft as a writer with a long career ahead of her .”

by Christopher Golden
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 308 pages
“This is a book you will long remember…”

Mean Streak
by Sandra Brown
(Grand Central Publishing – $29.00 – 410 pages)
“You will be so caught up in MEAN STREAK you just might shut out the world around you.”

*** Non-Fiction Section ***

Badlands: A Geography of Metaphors
by Ken Dalgarno
(Red Deer Press – $45.00 – 194 pages)
“Bad is definitely good in this book.”

A Concise History of Canadian Painting – Third Edition
by Dennis Reid
(Oxford University Press – $59.95 – 506 pages)
“…this is a book any art lover should have in their library.”

The Iron Road: An Illustrated History of the Railroad
by Christian Wolmar
(DK Books – $31.00 – 400 pages)
“…a comprehensive look at how small steps became much bigger ones as time progressed.”

Shoetopia Contemporary Footwear
by Sue Huey & Kathryn Kenny
(Laurence King – $49.95 – 224 pages)
“looks at the creation of forty footwear designers, with well-known and lesser known names featured.”

Grin and Bear It
by Jenni Pulos with Laura Morton
(St, Martin’s Press – $28.99 – 232 pages)
“Pulos definitely has something memorable going for her, and her book which is part memoir, part inspirational tome, certainly works for many reasons.”

40’s All American Ads
by Jim Heimann
(Taschen – $49.99 US – 704 pages)
“…makes one wish they had all been born decades earlier to see these advertisements the first time around.”

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe
by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos and Jorge Pineda
(Ten Speed Press – $26.99 – 170 pages)
“You don’t need a specific holiday to make any of the recipes here.”

Cosby: His Life and Times
by Mark Whitaker
(Simon & Schuster – $33.99 – 534 pages)
“Mark Whitaker’s book looks at all facets of his life.”

Andrea Martin’s Lady Parts
by Andrea Martin
(Harper Avenue – $29.99 – 352 pages)
“…she tells us about her brilliant comedic life, along with the trials and tribulations that have been part of her life.”

Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff
by Eric Bradley
(Krause – $29.99 – 176 pages)
“It certainly is packed with nostalgic items only a man could love.”

Toronto: Portrait of a City
by Allan Levine
(Douglas & McIntyre -$36.95 – 452 pages)
“…one of the most comprehensive books about Toronto ever written.”

Walt Before Skeezix
by Frank King
(Drawn & Quarterly – $44.95 – no page count)
“Anyone who enjoys a comic strip with heart and soul will find this book to be filled with a subtle sophistication and humour.”

English Eccentric
by Ros Byam Shaw
(Ryland, Peters & Small – $57.00 – 190 pages)
“…she profiles fourteen English interiors and the way the owners have transformed them into something visually stunning and memorable.”

We Go Far Back in Time: The Letters of Earle Birney and Al Purdy 1947-1987
Edited by Nicholas Bradley
(Harbour – $39.95 – 480 pages)
“…involves the correspondence of two of Canada’s best-known poets, Earle Birney and Al Purdy.”

The Lost Art of Dress
by Linda Przybyszewski
(Basic Books – $32.00 – 348 pages)
“…looks at the world of women’s clothing, almost from the start of the 19th century.”

Marvel Comics 75 Years of Cover Art
by Alan Cowsill
(DK Books – $52.00 – 320 pages)
“…the comic release of the year…”

Far and Near on Days Like These
by Neil Peart
(ECW Press – $32.95 – 400 pages)
“…the book is reason to celebrate the triumph of the spirit and one man’s date with adventurous destiny.”

Eerie Volume Seventeen Collecting Eerie 81-85
(Dark Horse Archives – $54.00 – 300 pages)
“…they are still enjoyed as much today as when released decades back.”

Herbs for Long-Lasting Health
by Rosemary Gladstar
(Storey Basics – $24.95 – 124 pages)
“Packed into the 124 pages is enough information about herbs and the ones that will make you the healthiest for a long time to come.”

The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army and the Emergence of George Washington
by Paul Lockhart
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
(Harper Collins – $31.99 – 414 pages)
“…a riveting account of the battle that would be worthy of praise alone…”

*** 6 Books in 100 Words or Less ***

Shelf Life introduces a new section, where we present recommended titles, that because of space cannot offer full reviews for. In 100 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.

Winter Street
by Elin Hilderbrand
(Little Brown – $28.00 – 256 pages)
“Feel good novels about for Christmas, and Elin Hiderbrand gives the read all that and more with her first holiday-themed novel.”

Mr. Miracle
by Debbie Macomber
(Ballantine – $21.00 – 260 pages)
“…never underestimate the power of angels.”

Christmas Brides
by Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex & Valerie Bowman
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 404 pages)
“…four different authors with four unique holiday stories.”

Taking Flight
by Sheena Wilkinson
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $12.95 – 310 pages)
“…soars on every single page.”

Stay Alive
by Simon Kernick
(Arrow – $16.99 – 420 pages)
“…certainly an author who knows how to captivate a mystery loving audience.”

Black Jack
by Lora Leigh
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $16.99 – 356 pages)
“…definitely a guilty pleasure…”

Shelf Life – November 2014

Editor’s Notes for Issue #163
No matter how many times you mention it, you can not help but say “November is here? Where did the year go? I know it is sort of depressing how fast time flies and not always when you are having a good time. But we do hope that as time flies you have a very good book in your hand and that is one that makes time’s passing all the more enjoyable.

In this issue, we believe we have done this that, giving you a vast assortment of fiction and non-fiction to enthuse and amuse you as much as possible. So sit back, and let us take you on a grand tour of what are some of the most enjoyable books released in the past few months.

Write us as always at with any questions and comments you might have.

Paul Sutter

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

Fear Nothing
by Lisa Gardner
(Dutton – $32.95 – 404 pages)
“…bringing the psychological thriller to all new levels.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by James Patterson and David Ellis
(Little Brown – $31.00 – 416 pages)
“…has to be declared a more than exceptional book, more like becoming a classic murder thriller.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The One & Only
by Emily Giffin
(Doubleday Canada – $29.95 – 420 pages)
“…a standout from all else written.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Inside Man
by Jeff Abbott
(Grand Central Publishing – $29.00 – 390 pages)
“…another stellar read in this series.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Son
by Jo Nesbo
(Random House Canada – $29.95 – 404 pages)
“…just might herald a brand new character to cheer on down the road.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

Robert B. Parker’s Cheat Shot
by Ace Atkins
(Putnam – $31.00 – 308 pages
“…no doubt Parker would stand up and applaud if he was still with us.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Be Careful What You Wish For
by Jeffrey Archer
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 390 pages)
“…you really have to be a dedicated fan to work your way through the assortment of characters, voices and moments.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

And the Dark Sacred Night
by Julia Glass
(Pantheon – $32.00 – 382 pages)
“The book is ambitious, filled with character we can relate to…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Field of Prey
by John Sandford
(Putnam – $33.00 – 392 pages)
“…keeps this series rolling on all cylinders.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

On The Razor’s Edge
by Michael Flynn
(Tor – $29.99 – 349 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…this book lacks on many fronts in keeping the same sort of intensity and interest that readers crave.”
Rating:  2 1/2 bookmarks

A Circle of Wives
by Alice Laplante
(Harper Collins – $21.99 – 310 pages)
“…keeps reader attention until the last surprising sentences.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Red Rising
by Pierce Brown
(Del Rey – $25.00 – 382 pages)
“…quite complex, setting the stage for future tales.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Power Play
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte – $32.00 – 340 pages)
“The characters are very true to life along with their reactions.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Butcher
by Jennifer Hillier
(Gallery – $29.99 – 342 pages)
“…filled with malice and violence…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

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

Top 125 Unusual Things To See in Ontario – 4th Edition
by Ron Brown
(Brown Mills Press – $24.95 – 270 pages)
“….continues to impress and entertain with his amazing finds…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

A Child’s Introduction to Art
by Heather Alexander – Illustrated by Meredith Hamilton
(Black Dog & Leventhal – $25.95 – 100 pages)
“It is truly a work of art unto itself.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930’s America
by John F. Kasson
(Norton – $32.95 – 308 pages)
“…a complete tribute to Shirley…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Cat Encyclopedia: The Definitive Visual Guide
(DK Books – $42.00 – 320 pages)
“You will have a new appreciation for your feline friends…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
by Lynn Sherr
(Simon & Schuster – $34.00 – 376 pages)
“…a fitting tribute, a triumph of the spirit in so many ways.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

Herbal Antivirals
by Stephen Harrod Buhner
(Storey – $31.95 – 410 pages)
“…your own medicine cabinet in a book…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

James Madison
by Richard Brookhiser
(Basic Books – $31.50 – 287 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…makes the argument and a convincing one, that the fourth President of the United States was one of the most important political figures in the early history of the nation.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Slimming Meals That Heal
by Julie Daniluk R.H.N.
(Random House Canada – $29.95 – 338 pages)
“…continues her tradition of excellence…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

With Fire and Sword
by James L. Nelson
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 364 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…everyone will come away knowing much more about the battle…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Better Homes and Gardens: The Ultimate Quick and Healthy Book
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $25.99 – 480 pages)
“The book is impressive with its variety and selection.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Glitter Plan
by Pamela Skaist-Levy & Gela Nash-Taylor With Booth Moore
(Gotham -$32.00 – 240 pages)
“The book should be a must-read for anyone who had an idea and wondered if they could turn it into a lucrative business.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

100 Ideas That Changed Street Style
by Josh Sims
(Laurence King – $34.95 – 222 pages)
“…combines fashion with fads, and how music, film and other factors affect what we see out in public.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Victorian Steampunk Tarot
by Liz Dean
(Cico – $24.95 – 78 card deck with 64 page booklet)
“…for the person who wants to deviate from the traditional.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Bill Madden
(DaCapo – $29.00 – 304 pages)
“…we see how many barriers were broken down and how the racial landscape eventually shifted…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

From the Ground Up
by Jeanne Nolan
(Spiegel & Grau – $30.00 – 284 pages)
“…shows just how one single person can make such a vast difference in this world.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
by Peter Graham
(Skyhorse – $29.95 – 340 pages)
“…the book really brings out the viciousness of the act and how two teenage girls became infamous for their deeds.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Stuff of Life
by Hilary Robertson
(Ryland, Peters and Small – $45.00 – 208 pages)
“…shows prime examples of using things we have acquired to accentuate things in our living spaces.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Natural Remedies
by Mim Beim N.D.
(Basic Health – $25.50 – 342 pages)
“It is a positive step in the right direction to see more books that advocate natural remedies.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll
by Lisa Robinson
(Riverhead – $32.95 – 360 pages)
“Those who grew up with bands of the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and beyond will enjoy this nostalgic and revealing look at the stars and their music.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Picker’s Bible: How to Pick Antiques Like the Pros
by Joe Willard
(Krause – $18.99 – 206 pages)
“Reading this book will definitely open your eyes…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Wildflowers of Nova Scotia
by Todd Boland
(Boulder Publications – $34.95 – 414 pages)
“Anyone who has ever looked at wildflowers with great passion for their beauty will certainly be in more than their glory…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dynamic Posing Guide
by Craig Stidham & Jeanne Harris
(Wiley – $41.99 – 200 pages)
“The authors…have created a book that will assist when taking photos of family and friends.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

30 Years of Wrestlemania
Foreword by Shawn Michaels
(DK Books – $26.00 – 224 pages)
“You can relive every highlight and lowlight of each Wrestlemania with hundreds of photos and analysis of the matches.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** 7 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.

Abducted By A Prince
by Olivia Drake
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 344 pages)
“This continues the SISTERHOOD CINDERELLA series…”

Do You Know Leeches?
by Alain M. Bergeron, Michael Quintin & Sampar
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $9.95 – 64 pages)
“…this book sort of presents them in a more positive light than many would have envisioned.”

I Can See In the Dark
by Karin Fossum
(Vintage – $16.99 – 250 pages)
“Karin Fossum is one of the top Norwegian authors in the world.”

Breathe Into Me
by Sara Fawkes
(St. Martin’s Press – $16.99 – 292 pages)
“…you pretty well know it is going to be wall-to-wall romance and sexual intrigue.”

The Four Seasons of Patrick
by Susan Hughes
(Red Deer Press – $9.95 – 80 pages)
“This is another classic tale for younger readers.”

Stone Cold Lover
by Christine Warren
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 320 pages)
“…the queen of the paranormal novel, mixing the supernatural with some super sexy moments.”

Whatever Life You Wear
by Cecilia Kennedy
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 310 pages)
“One can never tire of fiction geared towards younger readers and all kids and adults, even, who read this will come away with a profound message.”