Shelf Life – August 2015

201508ShelfcoverEditor’s Notes for Issue #172

Life is always filled with unexpected occurrences. That is what we found recently when my mother and former Shelf Life book reviewer Joan Sutter underwent emergency surgery to repair stomach issues precipitated by a hiatal hernia. Although 86 and suffering from dementia, she came through with flyer colours, but is still in a fragile state health-wise. One day at a time as the saying goes.

And continuing on that sort of threat, it is one book at a time when it comes this issue. Once more we have tried to include books that will appeal to a wide variety of readers, and we think we have succeeded. These titles should take you through much of the Summer. We can also report that some of the book companies are sending out their Fall catalogues, and if you thought Summer titles were extraordinary, wait until you see the Fall books that will be available later this year.

As always, we thank you for picking up this issue and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed reviewing the books for you.

Write us as at Thanks as always for picking us up, Enjoy the issue.

Paul Sutter

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

Rizzoli & Isles Die Again
by Tess Gerritsen
(Ballantine – $32.00 – 330 pages)
“They say you can never have too much of a good thing and this is certainly the case with any RIZZOLI & ISLES book.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Ice Twins
by S. K. Tremayne
(Grand Central Publishing – $29.00 – 308 pages)
“Some of the part of the book are downright creepy and, at any moment we expect a horror novel to totally break out.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

by C.J. Box
(Putnam – $31.00 – 369 pages)
“…may be the best of the series and that’s saying a lot…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The Thousand
by Kevin Guilfoile
(Knopf – $27.95 – 337 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“Your friends may not know about the Thousand but you will never forget it.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The First Wife
by Erica Spindler
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 341 pages)
“…filled with great mystery and deep intrigue, with a story that will keep you guessing right until the final chapters…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles
(William Morrow – $34.95 – 804 pages)
“…so many plot directions and characters that you might be tempted to take notes along the way…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Rose Gold
by Walter Mosley
(Doubleday – $30.00 – 308 pages)
“…worth more than its weight in gold…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Bones Beneat
by Mark Billingham
(Sphere – $22.99 – 391 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…brilliant and definitely a book that any lover of mystery should seek out.”
Rating:  4 bookmarks

Sundance: A Novel
by David Fuller
(Riverhead – $32.95 – 338 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“Through the pages of this novel, we watch with intense fascination.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Prodigal Son
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte – $34.00 – 322 pages)
“…another in her vast library of novels that works as a leisurely read for summer for any other time of the year.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Cut and Thrust
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $31.00 – 310 pages)
“…certainly below the level of many other books he has written.”
Rating: 2 1/2 bookmarks

Solitude Creek
by Jeffery Deaver
(Grand Central Publishing – $28.00 – 464 pages)
“…you get the trademark suspense that we have come to appreciate and expect…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

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

Smithsonian History of the World in 1,000 Objects
(DK Books – $42.00 – 484 pages)
“The book begs to be read by everyone regardless of age or interests because there is something to appeal to all.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

A Fine Romance
by Candace Bergen
(Simon & Schuster – $34.00 – 352 pages)
“…candid Candace, talking of all facets of her life, love and sorrow.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

If This Is A Woman
by Sarah Helm
(Little Brown – $26.75 – 748 pages)
“…exceptionally graphic, filled with horrific stories that were common during the War.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones
by Paul Trynka
(Viking – $33.00 – 372 pages)
“…we get another take on the life of Jones and his contribution to the band and music in general.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Tom Jones: The Life
by Sean Smith
(Harper Collins – $24.99 – 310 pages)
“…one of the more comprehensive books profiling the legendary Welsh singer.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

2015 Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001-Date 9th Edition
by George S. Cuhaj & Thomas Michael
(Krause – $49.99 – 1210 pages)
“It is the only coin guide of this nature you will ever need.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Second Chance Dog: A Love Story
by Jon Katz
(Ballantine – $28.99 – 267 pages)
Reviewed by Donna Naylor
“It is a story that will warm your heart as sometimes people get second chances just like animals.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Asa Akira
(Grove Press – $27.50 – 256 pages)
“…perhaps the curiosity factor might tempt you to read what is inside.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Man Who Would Not Be Washington
by Jonathan Horn
(Scribner – $34.00 – 369 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…takes a different approach and it is this approach that separates the book from the rest of the pack.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Travelling to Work 1988-1998
by Michael Palin
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson – $28.99 – 564 pages)
“Palin’s books are not to tickle the funny bone, rather to showcase and chronicle the adventurous side to him.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Grace: A Biography
by Thilo Wydra
(Skyhorse – $31.95 – 378 pages)
“…while some of it seemed more a rehash of her film career and less about her personal life.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Trisha’s Table
by Trisha Yearwood with Beth Yearwood
(Potter – $35.00 – 224 pages)
“…she finds new recipes that are easy to create and delicious to savor.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Kitchen Table Cookbook
by Moira Sanders
(Whitecap – $29.95 – 290 pages)
“…certainly recipes that are tempting enough to create and delicious enough to savor forever.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Eat Right For Your Eyesight
by Jennifer Trainer Thompson & Johanna M. Seddon
(The Experiment – $33.95 – 212 pages)
“…a most diverse assortment of foods to help stem the threat of macular generation.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Best of the Rest ***

Shelf Life receives dozens of books each month. regrettably not all books received have the space for full reviews. In BEST OF THE REST, we look at a variety of titles where only much shorter reviews were given. This is so we can fit in several titles for your consideration. All the books in this section are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Because of this no bookmarks are given but are worth of adding to your reading lists and collections.

Lord of the Runes
by Dave Gross
(Tor – $17.50 – 380 pages)
“…a barrage of fantastical moments, characters and just good old storytelling.”

Daughter of Gods and Shadows
by Jayde Brooks
(Griffin – $19.50 – 346 pages)
“…the cover of the book gives a historical vibe to the book but the book is more modern day.”

Voices from the Wild
by David Bouchard – Paintings by Ron Parker
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $24.95 – 72 pages)
“…filled with not only paintings of many animals but also poems as if the animals are talking about how they perceive the world around them.”

Rough Justice
by Sarah Castle
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 374 pages)
“Bad boys on motorcycles always have a special place in the world of fiction.”

Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey
by Johanna Skibsbauh & Sarah Blacker – Illustrations by Julie Morstad
(Puffin – $19.99 – 32 pages)
“This is a great read…for parents of young children.”

The Unremembered
by Peter Orullian
(Tor – $20.50 – 480 pages)
“…filled with just about everything, where good and evil prepare for an epic confrontation in a wasteland.”

When Kacey Left
by Dawn Green
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 228 pages)
“…this is essential reading for teens who may one day face similar problems with friends or even themselves.”

Shelf Life – July 2015

Editor’s Notes for Issue #171

201507Julycover Summer is thankfully here and what better pleasure is there than to sit back, have a sip of your favorite beverage, and hopefully have your favorite book with you as well. But one is not always sure what the best reads would be. That is where we hope Shelf Life will assist you in your quest for the best in books. In this issue, we have selected a good cross-section of titles that will appeal to various reading tastes. Whether it is romance, mystery, supernatural, history, music and many more genres, the issue abound with recommendations for what you should be perusing this Summer season. So sit back, relax, soak up some sun (don’t’ forget the sunscreen) and enjoy the issue.

Write us as at Thanks as always for picking us up, Enjoy the issue.

Paul Sutter

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

Hunter Killer
by Chris Ryan
(Coronet – $22.99 – 424 pages)
“…a thrilling read that does not disappoint in the least.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Beautiful You
by Chuck Palahniuk
(Doubleday Canada – $29.95 – 222 pages)
“…definitely a book that will have you thinking and talking…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Stolen Ones
by Owen Laukkanen
(Putnam – $31.00 – 358 pages)
“…all accolades bestowed upon the book are most worthy.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Doll Maker
by Richard Montanari
(Mulholland – $29.00 – 486 pages)
“…irresistibly infectious book that once you open, you may have trouble putting down.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Cold Betrayal
by J.A. Nance
(Touchstone – $32.00 – 338 pages)
“…does not betray the reader in any manner as they certainly get more than their money’s worth…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

Wings of Creation
by Brenda Cooper
(Tor – $35.99 – 382 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…can boast a rich tapestry of images and settings…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Defenders of Shannara: The High Druid’s Blade
by Terry Brooks
(Del Rey – $34.00 – 307 pages)
“…seems more geared toward a younger audience, those who might like the Twilight series.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Independently Wealthy
by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
(Thomas Dunne – $31.50 – 323 pages)
“…we certainly demand that Rosenthal gives us much more of Savannah and her friends in future novels.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart
by Christopher Fowler
(Bantam – $31.00 – 383 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…he definitely has a knack for creating fascinating characters and situations in his various books.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

NYPD Red 3
by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
(Little Brown – $31.00 – 359 pages)
“Told in the typical thrilling pace of a Patterson novel…”
Rating:  4 bookmarks

Son of No One
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(St. Martin’s Press – $32.50 – 352 pages)
“…Sherrilyn Kenyon once again manages to keep the series fresh and fearlessly inventive.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Obsession in Death
by J.D. Robb
(Putnam – $32.95 – 404 pages)
“How anyone could create such a long-running series that is still so entertaining is a tribute to the genius of Robb.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Prince Lestat
by Anne Rice
(Knopf – $34.00 – 458 pages)
“…overblown with cast of dozens of characters from past books, explaining how life has changed over the centuries. There is little cohesion to the book.”
Rating: 2 1/2 bookmarks

The Murder of Harriet Krohn
by Karin Fossum
(Harvill Secker – $22.00 – 298 pages)
“…a new way of telling a crime story, from the viewpoint of mainly the killer…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Wink of an Eye
by Lynn Chandler Willis
(Minotaur – $28.99 – 292 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…certainly the start of a great new series, one that readers will enjoy following in future novels to come.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Girl Next Door
by Ruth Rendell
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 282 pages)
“…a classic storytelling lesson from one of the greats of mystery.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

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

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart
by Rob Dunn
(Little Brown – $30.00 – 368 pages)
“…will touch your heart in terms of knowledge and hope for the future in medical advancements.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Smithsonian Train The Definitive Visual History
(DK Books – $42.00 – 320 pages)
“Smithsonian books go that extra mile in more ways than one.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Sun Power
by Neville Williams
(Forge – $31.99 – 384 pages)
“…outlining all the advances in solar energy.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Marvel: The Avengers Vault
by Peter A. David
(Thunder Bay Press – $46.95 – 176 pages)
“…looks at the main heroes who were part of the original lineup…packed with facts and information…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History
by Jim Piazza and Gail Kinn
(Black Dog and Leventhal- $32.95 – 386 pages)
“…truly complete in every sense of the word.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

The Ultimate Guide to Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985
by Mark Bellomo
(Krause – $31.00 – 272 pages)
“…one of the top toy experts out there has assembled the essential guide to all things Star Wars.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Time of Your Life
by Margaret Trudeau
(Harper Avenue – $32.99 – 262 pages)
“…more informational that personal in many ways.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Commander Will Cushing
by Jamie Malanowski
(Norton – $31.00 – 304 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“.. his story is a great adventure that will keep your interest.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography
by Fred Schruers
(Crown Archetype – $35.00 – 386 pages)
“…the book honors all his incredible musical accomplishments.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Tales from the Blue Jays Dugout
by Jim Prime
(Sports Publishing – $25.95 – 228 pages)
“…looks at many of these players, mentioning their quirks along with their commitment to putting the best product on the playing field.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Woman I Wanted to Be
by Diane Von Furstenberg
(Simon and Schuster – $32.00 – 242 pages)
“…s most inspiring work from one of the giants in the fashion industry.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

I Said Yes to Everything
by Lee Grant
(Blue Rider Press – $33.00 – 466 pages)
“…it is a book about growing up in the entertainment world, along with some of her co-stars.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Gatherings: Bringining People Together With Food
by Jan Scott & Julie Van Rosendaal
(Whitecap – $34.95 – 318 pages)
“…the authors are giving readers lots of incentives for time spent together with food as the focus.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

To This Day
by Shane Koyczan
(Annick Press – $19.95 – 70 pages)
“This book is his entire poem with illustrations from thirty artists from around the world.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks\

*** Best of the Rest ***

Shelf Life receives dozens of books each month. regrettably not all books received have the space for full reviews. In BEST OF THE REST, we look at a variety of titles where only much shorter reviews were given. This is so we can fit in several titles for your consideration. All the books in this section are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Because of this no bookmarks are given but are worth of adding to your reading lists and collections.

The Unexpected Duchess
by Valerie Bowman
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 356 pages)
“…a new bodice-ripping series.”

Mine To Take
by Jackie Ashenden
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 372 pages)
“…another brand new series that is sure to become very popular if future books can keep up the same pace.”

Do You Know Tigers
by Alain M. Bergeron, Michel Quintin & Illustrations by Sampar
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $9.95 – 72 pages)
“…you will find an assortment of tigers and lots of information about each type.”

Held Against You
by Season Vining
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $17.50 – 278 pages)
“This is the sort of book that all younger people should be required to read.”

Nut and Bolt
by Nicole De Cock – Translated by Margriet Ruurs
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…a charming children’s book that shows what true friendship can be about.”

by Kylie Scott
(St. Martin’s Griffin – $16.99 – 292 pages)
“This has turned into a very popular series.”