Shelf Life – February 2015 – “The Books You Will Love Forever Issue”

Editor’s Notes from Issue #166

ShelfFeb2015coverWelcome once again to the BOOKS YOU WILL LOVE FOREVER special issue. Next to our Christmas Books as Holiday Gifts Special Edition, this has become the second most favourite issue for readers. Those picking this up for the first time, we welcome you. The issue was created because February, with Valentine’s Day, is the month for love. So why not a tribute issue to books we will love forever?

These, of course, are books you will have trouble parting with, even lending to others, for fear you may not get them back. There is something for everyone in this issue, and we hope you will love reading them as much as we enjoyed reviewing them. No bookmarks were awarded as all books are recommended.

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

Paul Sutter

*** Fiction Section ***

Leaving Time
by Jodi Picoult
(Random House – $30.00 – 406 pages)
“Wow! Will this book hit you with the impact of a body punch!”

Power Play
by Catherine Coulter
(Putnam – $31.00 – 404 pages)
“…truly a powerful book that has so much going for it…”

Robert Ludlum: The Janson Option
by Paul Garrison
(Grand Central Publishing – $31.00 – 360 pages)
“… (Garrison) has done an excellent job in continuing the tension and intrigue found in book one.”

by Lee Child
(Delacorte – $32.00 – 354 pages)
“…fewer escaping-by-the-seat-of-the pants moments. But the tone is still intense…”

Beyond the Pale Motel
by Francesca Lia Block
(St. Martin’s Press – $28.99 – 218 pages)
“…good things do come in small packages.”

Abattoir Blues
by Peter Robinson
(McClelland & Stewart – $29.95 – 370 pages
“The book continues the tradition of irresistible reading…”

Bones Never Lie
by Kathy Reichs
(Simon & Schuster – $32.00 – 358 pages)
“…a classic…the book (is) truly great fiction.”

A Treacherous Paradise
by Henning Mankell
(Knopf Canada – $29.95 – 365 pages)
“…he shows his talents in a book that takes us into Hanna Renstrom’s world and life.”

Shots Fired
by C.J. Box
(Putnam – $31.00 – 270 pages)
“…the stories are so diverse, each one a gem.”

Strong Darkness
by Jon Land
(Forge – $31.00 – 366 pages)
“…has no flaws, just first page to last page action, and tension that builds right up to the thrilling finale.”

Ice Shear
by M. P. Cooley
(William Morrow – $31.99 – 304 pages)
“Cooley has all the tools in place for a most dynamic series and ICE SHEAR has certainly led the way.”

The Chase
by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
(Bantam – $32.00 – 304 pages)
“…has the perfect pace and you cannot help but enjoy every page of the novel.”

Virtue Falls
by Christina Dodd
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 436 pages)
“…has an unpredictable ending that will have you hoping for more novels to come.”

The Wolf
by Lorenzo Carcaterra
(Ballantine – $29.95 – 302 pages)
“…this book is decidedly different from many others out there.”

Tales From the Crypt: The EC Archives Volume 5 Issues 41-46
(Dark Horse – $54.99 – 220 pages)
“This volume is too good not to add to your collection.”

*** Non-Fiction Section ***

Sci-Fi Chronicles
by Guy Haley
(Firefly – $29.95 – 578 pages)
“Any love of science fiction could spend hours in this book…”

Choose Your Own Autobiography
by Neil Patrick Harris
(Crown Archetype – $31.00 – 292 pages)
“It is an entertaining book that looks at his life through our eyes.”

Manhattan Classic: New York’s Finest Pre-War Apartment
by Geoffrey Lynch
(Princeton Architectural Press – $55.95 – 214 pages)
“…a trip down memory lane to some of the most beautiful and stately apartments designed pre-Second World War.”

Hope: Entertainer of the Century
by Richard Zoglin
(Simon & Schuster – $36.00 – 566 pages)
“It is little wonder HOPE: ENTERTAINER OF THE CENTURY is such a long book.”

Warman’s Costume Jewelry Identification and Price Guide
by Pamela Y. Wiggins
(Krause – $29.99 – 256 pages)
“…shows the best of vintage jewelry that was worn by many generations of women.”

Civil War in 3D: The Life and Death of the Soldier
by Michael Stephenson
(Black Dog & Leventhal – $44.95 – 176-page book plus 50 stereoscope cards)
“…(will) definitely add a new perspective to the War and everything associated with it.”

Mr. Hockey: Gordie Howe: My Story
by Gordie Howe
(Viking – $32.00 – 242 pages)
“…most important to read more about life and hockey through his eyes.”

You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman
by Mike Thomas
(St. Martin’s Press – $32.50 – 328 pages)
“…celebrates the life of a most talented comedian, whose life came to a tragic end.”

Batman: A Visual History
by Matthew K. Manning
(DK Books – $52.00 – 350 pages)
“…a tribute to seventy-five years of Batman in comics, and what a ride it has been.”

Pure Joy: The Dogs We Love
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte – $25.00 – 160 pages)
“…there is no real romance, only love for man’s best friend.”

Facing Mariano Rivera
Edited by David Fischer
(Sports Publishing -$29.95 – 276 pages)
“…the book gives an even deeper respect for the closer of the millennium.”

I Must Say (My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend)
by Martin Short with David Kamp
(Harper – $33.50 – 322 pages)
“…it will definitely make you smile many times over.”

World War I In Cartoons
by Mark Bryant
(Grub Street – $24.99 – 160 pages)
“This is a book for war historians, interested in seeing the ways of war thanks to most talented cartoonists.”

Morrics and Lyman In the Company of Matisse
by Lucie Dorais, Richard Foisy, Francois-Marc Gagnon, Marc Gauthier, Michele Grandbois & John O’Brian
(Firefly – $49.95 – 260 pages)
“Throughout the pages of all the book are stunning examples of the greatest works of all three painters.”

The Art of Disney Big Hero 6
by Jessica Julius
(Chronicle – $46.00 – 164 pages)
“…the perfect companion to the film and movie lovers in general.”

It’s Our Game: Celebrating 100 Years of Hockey Canada
by Michael McKinley
(Viking – $39.95 – 410 pages)
“…the perfect book for the fan of amateur and professional hockey.”

The Heart Of The Plate
by Mollie Katzen
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $45.00 – 460 pages)
“…filled with more 100 recipes, and photos taken by Katzen herself.”

James Bond Encyclopedia Updated Edition
by John Cork & Collin Stutz
(DK Books – $42.00 – 350 pages)
“…we get to savour every single character that graced the screen in a Bond film…”

*** 9 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.

Night Owl
by M. Pierce
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $16.99 – 263 pages)
“…definitely will make any reader come back for the next two (books) in the series…”

The Gospel Truth
by Caroline Pignat
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 327 pages)
“The book is told in free verse from many perspectives and will totally captivate you.”

A Dark and Twisted Tide
by Sharon Bolton
(Corgi – $15.99 – 525 pages)
“This is the latest in the popular Lucy Flint series and perhaps one of the best yet.”

Lord Savage
by Mia Gabriel
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $17.50 – 316 pages)
“…Gabriel certainly manages to get the most out of her characters and plot.”

Fisherman Through and Through
by Colleen Sydor – Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
(Red Deer Press – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…a very charming children’s book featuring three men and the sea.”

The Trader’s War
by Charles Stross
(Tor – $19.50 – 608 pages)
“…impossible to put down.”

The Deepest Secret
by Carla Buckley
(Bantam – $18.00 – 464 pages)
“This author has been compared to Jodi Picoult…”

by Lora Leigh
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $16.99 – 492 pages)
“Just the perfect cure for cold winter nights.”

by Amy Bright
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 215 pages)
“The theme of teenage isolation and discontentment comes to mind…”

Shelf Life – January 2015


Jan2015coverEditor’s Notes from Issue #165

Welcome to 2015. Hopefully, depending when you read this, your year has started off well. Each time a new year arrives, we often take a deep breath and ponder just what is to come. Last year was most difficult what with my heart surgery in February, and my mother Joan’s declining health due to Alzheimer’s. But each day is a true challenge for us all and we never know where the path of life will lead us.

There is one certainty, and that is in every issue of SHELF LIFE, you will discover a wide array of books to consider when you make your reading lists for January and every month beyond that. Hopefully we will steer you in the direction of many new and exciting titles because that is what Shelf Life is all about – bringing you the best in books.

Let us know if we are succeeding in that quest. and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

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

Paul Sutter

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

Bird Box
by Josh Malerman
(Ecco – $25.99 – 272 pages)
“…the fact that it occasionally underwhelms you is what makes it so riveting and effective.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by Stephen King
(Scribner – $36.00 – 407 pages)
“…takes us back to the glory days of horror writing…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Tempting Fate
by Jane Green
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 344 pages)
“…too tempting a book to pass up.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
(Little Brown – $31.00 – 432 pages)
“… (Patterson) continues to create classic mysteries either alone or with his various writing partners.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Winter People
by Jennifer McMahon
(Doubleday Canada – $29.95 – 320 pages)
“…reminiscent of the great tales from yesteryear.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The Sandman
by Lars Kepler
(McClelland & Stewart – $24.95 – 490 pages
“…there are no dreams, only nightmares thanks to a sadistic killer…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Fifth Season
by Mons Kallentoft – Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith
(Hodder & Stoughton – $22.99 – 522 pages)
“…proves why Mons Kallentoft is one of Sweden’s best crime writers on the scene today.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Seven Wonders
by Ben Mezrich
(Ratpac/Running Press – $29.00 – 314 pages)
“The book is filled with lots of intrigue and conspiracy…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Competition
by Marcia Clark
(Mulholland – $29.00 – 404 pages)
“…truly out distances the competition in terms of a book filled with intensity and thrills.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Standup Guy
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $31.00 – 312 pages)
“There is definitely a lot of mileage left for Stuart Woods and his STONE BARRINGTON series.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Hour of the Innocents
by Robert Paston
(Forge – $29.99 – 317 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“You can feel the sense of loss and almost regret emanating from the pages of the book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Before You Die
by Samantha Hayes
(Century – $22.00 – 392 pages)
“Lorraine Fisher is a brilliant creation, someone we never tire of seeing…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shotgun Lovesongs
by Nickolas Butler
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 308 pages)
“…the work is reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Third Rail
by Rory Flynn
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $28.95 – 212 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…the noir feel to the book makes the story all the more enticing and gripping.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Philip Kerr
(Putnam – $31.00 – 414 pages)
“…regrettably does not stand a prayer of becoming a book that ranks right up there with Kerr’s best.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Corpse Bride
by Stephen Booth
(Sphere – $32.99 – 392 pages)
“…the telling of the tale more than compensates for any negatives.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

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

Water Color Paintings by Contemporary Artists
Preface by Sujean Rim
(Chronicle – $32.95 – 176 pages)
“…the book will inspire you.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The History of Music in Fifty Instruments
by Philip Wilkinson
(Firefly – $29.95 – 222 pages)
“…we not only learn about the instruments but those famous for playing them, along with history of them.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Not That Kind of Girl
by Lena Dunham
(Doubleday Canada – $32.00 – 266 pages)
“You will learn from her story…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island
by Claire Prentice
(New Harvest – $33.00 – 388 pages)
“This is truly a difficult book to read, through no fault of the author.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide
American History of Natural History
(DK Books – $52.00 – 512 pages)
“…one-of-a-kind, certainly ‘definitive’ as the title implies.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

1861: The Civil War Awakening
by Adam Goodheart
(Knopf – $33.00 – 482 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…his writing style is an engaging one, where he presents the historical figures almost as characters…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Animal Madness (How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Better Understand Ourselves)
by Laurel Braitman
(Simon & Schuster – $34.00 – 370 pages)
Reviewed by Donna Naylor
“…you may never look at animals in the same manner again.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dangerous Rhythm
by Richard Barrios
(Oxford University Press – $34.95 US – 278 pages)
“…studies the movie musical and how it has evolved from its earliest days almost a century ago.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Ghosts of Europe
by Anna Porter
(Douglas & McIntyre – $34.95 – 310 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…even twenty years later, the dark clouds haven’t completely lifted from the skies over Central Europe.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Yes Please
by Amy Poehler
(Harper Avenue – $32.99 – 332 pages)
“…she looks back at the things that were most meaningful in her life.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Lusty Vegan
by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg
(Vegan Heritage Press -$25.95 – 224 pages)
“…refers to a vegan perhaps finding a partner who does not have the same philosophy for food.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Joe and Marilyn – Legends in Love
by C. David Heyman
(Emily Bestier Books – $32.50 – 438 pages)
“… at times the book reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood, with so many famous names figuring into the mix and their lives.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars
by Neil Young
(Blue Rider Press – $37.00 – 387 pages)
“…it is about the cars he has owned and his love of cars in general.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Kovel’s Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2015
by Terry and Kim Kovel
(Black Dog and Leventhal – $35.95 – 672 pages)
“…every year they get better at what they do.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The End of Pain
by Jacquelin Lagace with Jean-Yves Dionne
(Greystone – $22.95 – 288 pages)
“…looks at pain caused by all sort of conditions from rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn’s Syndrome and many more recognized health issues.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Phantom of Fifth Avenue
by Meryl Gordon
(Grand Central Publishing – $31.00 – 384 pages)
“…a sad tale that someone with so much…and never got to enjoy life…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Broccoli, Love and Dark Chocolate
by Liz Pearson
(Whitecap – $29.95 – 304 pages)
“The book will mean different things to different people…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Does Santa Exist?
by Eric Kaplan
(Dutton – $23.00 – 276 pages)
“…a book you should read each Christmas like a great Christmas tradition…”
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 are given but we can assure you the books noted here are all highly recommended.

Gentlemen Prefer Curves
by Sugar Jamison
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 376 pages)
“…another winner within questions…”

Darkness, Darkness
by John Harvey
(Arrow – $15.95 – 422 pages)
“Fans will really have a tough time letting (character Charles Resnick) go….”

The Bloodline Feud
by Charles Stross
(Tor – $19.50 – 563 pages)
“It may not appeal to everyone as it involves fantasy and alternate worlds, but once you sit back, open the book and begin reading you will be totally enthralled.”

The Norm Chronicles
by Michael Blastland & Donald Spiegelhalter
(Basic Books – $19.99 – 358 pages)
“It is certainly not risky to want to read this most fascinating account.”

Into the Wasteland
by Lesley Choyce
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 174 pages)
“…looks at mental illness and coping with it.”

A Scandal To Remember
by Elizabeth Essex
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 374 pages)
“You just know sparks are going to fly…”

American Monsters
by Linda S. Godfrey
(Tarcher-Penguin- $18.95 – 366 pages)
“…traces the history of many famous sightings…”

Glow-in-the Dark Creatures
by Natalie Hyde
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.99 – 32 pages)
“…a great educational volume for children who want to learn more about animals that create their own light.”

All I Have In This World
by Michael Parker
(Algonquin Paperback – $18.95 – 322 pages)
“…an interesting tale of two people who are going through the motions in life before a chance meeting brought them together.”