Shelf Life – April 2015

Editor’s Notes for Issue #168


Greetings to all readers and welcome to our 17th Anniversary issue. Every year it seems to take a shorter time span to get from one anniversary issue to the next, but each year has 365 day (unless a leap year), and each day has 24 hours. A lot can happen in the space of a year as many who read these introductions to each issue have found out. I am sure we all could write our own book of life, each one most unique and would certainly be compelling reading. And speaking of books in this issue, we hope you will agree that there is a good cross-section of titles to appeal to even the most discerning readers.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a few things in this anniversary issue. I would like to thank first of all the reviewers who continue to offer their opinions of a vast variety of books. Thanks, too, to the readers, many from issue 1 and newer ones who have joined us along the way. But the biggest thanks go to the publishers who issue after issue, provide us with the most amazing of titles. We could not have done it without you. It is a pleasure to review and encourage readers to purchase these books, because they deserve a place in everyone’s libraries.

Here’s to the next 365 days. We hope you will stay with us on the journey.

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

Paul Sutter

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

Shopaholic To the Stars
by Sophie Kinsella
(Dial Press – $32.00 – 480 pages)
“The story is over the top at times, but stays true to the series
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Hope To Die
by James Patterson
(Little Brown – $32.00 – 374 pages)
“…one of the most anticipated sequels in the book industry for some time.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Dear Daughter
by Elizabeth Little
(Viking – $31.00 – 366 pages)
“…may be this year’s version of GONE GIRL.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Cinderella Murder
by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke
(Simon & Schuster – $32.50 – 303 pages)
“…brings their own blend of writing skills to the table…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Silent Partner
by Diane Chamberlain
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.50 – 346 pages)
“Whatever label you apply to the book, don’t forget to add ‘terrific tale’.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The City Under the Skin
by Geoff Nicholson
(Farrar, Strauss & Giroux- $30.00 – 256 pages
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…a most involved tale, where something is happening on a constant basis.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Days of Rage
by Brad Taylor
(Dutton – $31.00 – 440 pages)
“…definitely a book you will enjoy fully. It ranks right up there with some of the best from thriller masters Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Suicide Exhibition
by Justin Richards
(Del Rey – $28.99 – 399 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…the reader will have come to realize that they are embarking on the first leg of an exciting journey into the world of science fiction.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Doing It At the Dixie Dew
by Ruth Moose
(Minotaur – $28.99 – 246 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…246 pages of colourful characters and great mystery.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

True Love
by Jude Deveraux
(Ballantine – $27.00 – 454 pages)
“The book is a love story plus a historical tale thrown in for good measure, along with a ghost of two here and there to really round out the plot.”
Rating:  3 1/2 bookmarks

The Perfect Witness
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $32.50 – 342 pages)
“…is not the author’s strongest work. It is competent for the most part but there are parts to the book that seem to alienate the reader.”
Rating: 2 1/2 bookmarks

Dog Will Have His Day
by Fred Vargas – Translated from the French by Sian Reynolds
(Harvill Seeker – $22.00 – 246 pages)
“There are some quirky moments, making the book fascinating.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Lost Island
by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
(Grand Central Publishing – $30.00 – 360 pages)
“The book had so much going for it…”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Peripheral
by William Gibson
(Putnam – $33.00 – 484 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…a classic novel of science-fiction with futuristic plots that are diverse.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Final Storm
by Jeff Shaara
(Ballantine – $33.00 – 446 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…Shaara has crafted an epic novel, telling the tale of the battles, especially that of Okinawa, that finally ended the Second World War in the Pacific.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Full Fathom Five
by Max Gladstone
(Tor – $29.99 – 582 pages)
“…definitely the best of the series so far, and it definitely bodes well for what is still to come down the road.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

All Day And A Night
by Alafair Burke
(Harper – $33.50 – 353 pages)
“There are many surprising elements to the book, which is what makes the book so gripping.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Perfect Life
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte – $32.00 – 306 pages)
“…although much of it can be figured out in the first 100 pages, you still feel compelled to keep on reading to discover how it ends.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

That Night
by Chevy Stevens
(St. Martin’s Press – $19.99 – 370 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…filled with many intriguing moments…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Dark Legacy of Shannara Witch Wraith
by Terry Brooks
(Del Rey – $33.00 – 420 pages)
“Though tangled and complex, Brook’s fans will be satisfied…as they ponder just where the series will be headed next”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

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

On My Own Two Feet
by Amy Purdy with Michelle Burford
(William Morrow – $31.99 – 248 pages)
“…totally inspirational, showcasing a triumph of the spirit and the soul.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

XL Love – How The Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America’s Love Life
by Sarah Varney
(Rodale – $29.99 – 246 pages)
“…quite different in that it states facts about obesity and love, without recommending ways to change the behaviours.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Even This Get To Experience
by Norman Lear
(Penguin Press – $37.95 – 450 pages)
“There are few books one can read with a sense of awe and reverence for the author.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Photography: The Definitive Visual History
by Tom Ang
(DK Books – $52.00 – 480 pages)
“…an exceptional volume has been created, that any book lover will want to add to their library.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

In Search of Lost Frogs
by Robin Moore
(Firefly – $35.00 – 256 pages)
“…a nature book of amazing depth, with captivating prose and pictures.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The Death of WCW 10th Anniversary Edition
by R.D. Reynolds & Bryan Alvarez
(ECW Press – $24.95 – 424 pages)
“…details the wrestle wars and the manner in which the promotion basically pile-drove itself right into the ground.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

So Anyway
by John Cleese
(Crown Archetype – $32.95 – 392 pages)
“…filled with tales of his silliness and his absurd characterizations that came to define Cleese so well.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Down To The Last Pitch
by Tim Wendel
(DaCapo- $29.00 – 262 pages)
“…analyzes (the 1991 World Series) game by game, noting the highlights of each game.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Disney: The Art of Planes & Planes Fire And Rescue
by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
(Chronicle – $46.00 – 176 pages)
“Anyone thinking about getting into a career in animation will also find this book as the perfect reference tool.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet
by JJ Virgin
(Grand Central Life & Style – $29.99 – 340 pages)
“…you will find common ground for what will make you healthier and add longevity to your life.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationships with Cats and Dogs
by David Grimm
(Public Affairs – $30.00 – 336 pages)
Reviewed by: Donna Naylor
“The book is packed with information on why dogs and cats as well, are such an important part of our lives and world.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

I Don’t Know What You Know Me From
by Judy Greer
(Doubleday – $28.95 – 235 pages)
“…created an interesting book about a not-so-famous person.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin
by David Ritz
(Little Brown – $28.99 – 528 pages)
“…does point out her legacy remains her music, regardless of her flaws, and she continues to inspire singers of all ages.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Watch Me: A Memoir
by Anjelica Huston
(Scribner – $34.00 – 390 pages)
“…an honest memoir from a talented actress…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Clean In 14 Detox
by Melissa Costello
(Health Communications Inc. – $23.95 – 262 pages)
“The last 125 pages or so of the book are recipes that you can create morning, noon and night.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Hollywood In the 1930’s
by Robert Nippoldt & Daniel Kothenschultz
(Taschen – $49.99US – 166 pages)
“…filled with the personalities that defined the movie world.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

*** 10 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.

Angel In Armani
by Melanie Scott
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 344 pages)
“…this is a book for those who believe in true love…”

Death of Riley
by Rhys Brown
(Minotaur – $17.50 – 277 pages)
“If you missed this the first go-round or are not familiar with the series at all, here is the perfect chance to get on the bandwagon…”

Mister Got to Go, Where Are You
by Lois Simmie – Illustrations by Cynthia Nugent
(Red Deer Press – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“Children who love cats will adore this book…”

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent
by Susan Elia MacNeal
(Bantam – $18.00 – 307 pages)
“Great reading from a truly great author.”

The Man With the Compound Eyes
by Wu Ming-Yi
(Vintage – $18.00 – 307 pages)
“This is a book that must be read. A gem!”

The Tudor Vandetta
by C.W. Gortner
(Griffin – $19.50 – 292 pages)
“…a great historical tale featuring mystery, deceit and, of course, romance.”

A Woodpecker’s Tale
by Sean Cassidy
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“This is another of those sweet children’s books with a message.”

Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad
Edited by George R. Martin
(Tor – $18.50 – 525 pages)
“There is something for everyone in this diverse collection by some of fiction’s greatest shining stars both past and present.”

Bad Romeo
by Leisa Rayven
(Griffin – $17.50 – 288 pages)
“…the beginning of a new series, one that will certainly get more reader attention and interest as the author gets a little deeper into the storylines.”

by Deon Meyer
(Random House Canada – $24.95 – 288 pages)
“…as tense as they come…”


Shelf Life – March 2015

Editor’s Notes for Issue #167

march2015cover1Spring is in the air, at least in some parts of North America. Or, let’s just say it is getting closer. This means many publishing companies are releasing their Spring catalogues and based on whats we are seeing, this represents another amazing time for book lovers. There are so many incredible books coming out that we hope to showcase in upcoming issues. There is always something of interest in the book world. which is why we hope you keep looking out for Shelf Life. We remain dedicated to always bringing you the best in books. Thanks as always for picking us up.

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

Paul Sutter

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

Windigo Island
by William Kent Krueger
(Atria – $29.99 – 340 pages)
“These books are filled with myth, legend, and great writing in general.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Festive In Death
by J.D. Robb
(Putnam – $32.95 – 390 pages)
“As usual, there is the intense mystery that Dallas must figure out.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

No Known Grave
by Maureen Jennings
(McClelland & Stewart – $24.95 – 340 pages)
“…(Jennings) writes precisely, readers (are) able to visual the words as they almost leap off the page.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Burning Room
by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown – $31.00 – 394 pages)
“…burns up with every page of the book with hot-as-fire intrigue.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel
(Harper Avenue – $21.99 – 340 pages)
“…this is a book that will truly mesmerize you by the manner in which the author creates the tale.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The Murder Bag
by Tony Parsons
(Century – $19.99 – 372 pages
“We are on the ground floor of an exciting new detective series.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Broken Monsters
by Lauren Beukes
(Mulholland – $29.00 – 448 pages)
“This is both a murder mystery and a work to make you reflect on life.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

What I Want To Tell You Goes Something Like This
by Matt Rader
(Nightwood Editions – $21.95 – 255 pages)
“…(we) hope he will create another book of short stories as impressive as this one.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Cavendon Hall
by Barbara Taylor
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.99 – 406 pages)
“…sparse on action but is filled with betrayal and horrible acts which reverberate throughout the book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Collector
by Nora Roberts
(Putnam – $32.95 – 484 pages)
“…another entertaining read, taking us on a breathtaking journey with thrills galore.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Private Vegas
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
(Little Brown – $31.00 – 400 pages)
“Some might argue the resolution of some of the events in the book is to pat, almost a let-down.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Back Channel
by Stephen L. Carter
(Knopf – $33.00 – 455 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…makes a thriller out of the history that might have happened.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Wild Justice
by Kelley Armstrong
(Vintage Canada – $21.00 – 362 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…wild to the max.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Remedy for Love
by Bill Roorbach
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – $29.95 – 311 pages)
“…a book that will overwhelm you and stay with you for a long time.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

No Man’s Nightingale
by Ruth Rendell
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 280 pages)
“Wexford and Burden play off each other very well, making for an interesting team.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Ben Bova
(Tor – $29.99 – 364 pages)
“While not his best book, it is not his worst, so you really must take the book as blending medical fiction and fantasy.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Midnight Witch
by Paula Brackston
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 340 pages)
“…the weaknesses in the book torpedo any interest in her life.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

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

Peter, Paul and Mary: Fifty Years in Music and Life
by Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Tavers
(Imagine/Peter Yarrow – $38.95 – 144 pages)
“The book is packed with vintage photos of the trio’s early concerts…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Is That All There Is? The Strange Life of Peggy Lee
by James Gavin
(Atria – $38.00 – 602 pages)
“This is another one of those books you will shake your head and ponder about the life of the performer profiles.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Up, Up, and Away
by Jonah Keri
(Random House Canada – $32.00 – 408 pages)
“…offers a tribute to the franchise that lasted almost thirty-five years.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Smithsonian World War I: The Definitive Visual History
by R.G. Grant – Editorial Consultant: Richard Overy
(DK Books – $42.00 – 356 pages)
“…an invaluable reference guide to a world-changing event.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

On the Road With Janis Joplin
by John Byrne Cooke
(Berkley – $32.95 – 412 pages)
“Cooke writes with great respect for the singer, certainly not focusing on the negatives.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook
by Catherine Jones and Elaine Trujillo
(The Experiment – $29.95 – 412 pages)
“In this most-important book, we get the skinny (pardon the pun) on calories…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life
by Sophia Loren
(Atria – $34.00 – 336 pages)
“…she bares her soul, talking about life before being a star and when she was one of the most sought-after actresses in the word.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

We Are Your Leafs: The Toronto Maple Leaf Book of Greats
by Mike Ulmer
(Fenn/McClelland – $40.00 – 250 pages)
“…a true winner. It is the ultimate look at the team and any Leafs fan old or new should own the book.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Dream Weaver
by Gary Wright
(Tarcher Penguin – $32.95 – 247 pages)
“In his book, (he) has woven quite the life story filled with words of inspiration and faith as well.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Flex Appeal
by Pat Crocker & Nettie Cronish
(Whitecap – $29.95 – 216 pages)
“…will appeal to food lovers who love it with meat or meatless.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Book Smart
by Anne E. Cunningham & Jamie Zibulsky
(Oxford University Press -$27.95 – 472 pages)
“…looks at reasons to inspire children to read.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Art of the Boxtrolls
by Philip Brotherton
(Chronicle – $46.00 – 160 pages)
“…for any movie fan who saw the film, or fans of animation in general.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Catch the Fire
by Peggy Taylor & Charlie Murphy
(New Society Publisher – $29.59 – 308 pages)
“…the perfect resource book for creating positive influences and activities for today’s and future generations.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Pearls of the Southern Skies
by Dieter Willasch & Auke Slotegraaf
(Firefly- $39.95 – 176 pages)
“Even if you are not an astronomy fan, it would be hard to resist this book…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back
by Ben Blatt & Eric Brewster
(Grove Press – $29.95 – 342 pages)
“The book is truly a triumph of the spirit, where two baseball fans made their dreams come true.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Beekman 1802 Vegetable Heirloom Cookbook
by Brent Ridge & Josh Kilmer-Purcell with Sandy Gluck
(Rodale – $37.50 – 280 pages)
“No matter what season you turn to, you will find satisfying foods that will inspire you to grow some of your own vegetables.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters
by August Ragone
(Chronicles – $35.95 – 208 pages)
“It is a definitive collector’s item for fans of Eiji and the movies he was a part of.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** 7 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.

His to Command
by Opal Carew
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $16.99 – 276 pages)
“Dark desires and taking risks are evident…”

Mrs. Wakeman vs. the AntiChrist
by Robert Damon Schneck
(Tarcher-Penguin – $18.95 – 3270 pages)
“This book definitely has some out there tales…”

The Time Roads
by Beth Bernobich
(Tor – $18.50 – 302 pages)
“…billed as a steampunk mystery thriller…”

by Douglas Davey
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 252 pages)
“This book is a basis point for discussions with teens and the conflicts within their lives.”

by Emma Kavanagh
(Arrow – $15.99 – 328 pages)
“…a brilliant debut novel that you may not soon forget.”

The Devil In Denim
by Melanie Scott
(St. Martin’s – $9.99)
“This is the start of a new series and based on book one, look for even steamier tales.”

A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds
by Mia Pelletier – Illustrated by Danny Christopher
(Inhabit – $16.95 – 32 pages)
“Children who love birds will enjoy this book totally.”