Shelf Life – December 2015

2015 12 02 December coverEditor’s Notes for Issue #176

Can it really be possible? Another Christmas is upon us? No matter how many times it has been said, we will say it again, “where does the time go?” But let us first wish all of you a Merry Christmas, happy holiday, festive season, or whatever phrase you acknowledge. And welcome to our 10th annual Books as Holiday Gifts Special Issue. Each year since its inception, we have looked forward to showcasing some of the best books that you might consider purchasing as holiday gifts for family and friends. Or you just might treat yourself by buying them to personally ready. Whatever the case, we hope you agree with the selections here. No bookmarks are given this issue as every book is worth your time and money. Send us a note (at and let us know if you bought any of these books for friends and how they enjoyed the choices.

Thanks as always for picking us up, and again warm holiday wishes from all our reviewers to everyone in our reading audience.

Paul Sutter

Fiction Section

Her Last Whisper
by Karen Robards
(Ballantine – $31.00 – 336 pages)
“This book stands out as the best of the trio thus far.”

Breaking Creed
by Alex Kava
(Putnam – $31.00 – 310 pages)
“…a good beginning and this bodes well for book two…”

The Well
by Catherine Chanter
(Atria – $34.00 – 390 pages)
“…the book (is) irresistible, difficult to put down.”

by Sandra Brown
(Grand Central Publishing – $29.00 – 410 pages)
“…packed with lots of mystery, suspense, and more than its quote of unpredictable moments.”

The Forgotten Room
by Lincoln Child
(Doubleday – $31.00 – 292 pages)
“…another superior tale in the grand tradition of the novels of yesteryear.”

Your Next Breath
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $32.50 – 338 pages)
“…will literally make you hold your breath in many places.”

The Miracle Girl
by Andrew Roe
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – $31.95 – 324 pages)
“The book parallels belief in this world, where some people cling to any vestige of hope whether credible or not.”

Robert B. Parker’s The Bridge
by Robert Knott
(Putnam – $31.00 – 310 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…Knott will please any reader of this genre.”

Dexter Is Dead
by Jeff Lindsay
(Doubleday – $28.95 – 286 pages)
“Jeff Lindsay has definitely saved one of the most gripping books for the last of the series.”

Luckiest Girl Alive
by Jessica Knoll
(Simon & Schuster – $32.99 – 342 pages)
“…dark…and certainly not predictable.”

In A Dark, Dark Wood
by Ruth Ware
(Harvill Secker – $24.99 – 342 pages)
“…based on this first work, the author definitely has quire a future in mystery fiction.”

Golden Son
by Pierce Brown
(Del Rey – $28.00 – 450 pages)
“Brown’s books sets the stage for what will be a much-anticipated sequel.”

Non-Fiction Section

Lighthouses of the World
by Lisa Purcell
(Skyhorse – $35.99 – 194 pages)
“…so intriguing with photos and stories about many that have been standing for centuries.”

Sound Man
by Glyn Johns
(Blue Rider – $32.95 – 314 pages)
“…a resounding success of a book, taking us into the musical mind of a recording genius.”

World War II In Cartoons
by Mark Bryant
(Grub Street – $24.95 – 160 pages)
“Books like these are most important as they show a side to war often not found in history books.”

Ultimate Star Wars
by Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham
(DK Books – $44.00 – 322 pages)
“…a must-own for anyone who has seen the movie.”

Historical Atlas of Canada Revised Edition
by Derek Hayes
(Douglas & McIntyre – $34.95 – 272 pages)
“This new and revised edition has everything you need as you trace the history of Canada.”

If Someone Says “You Complete Me, Run!” Whoopi’s Big Book of Relationships
by Whoopi Goldberg
(Hachette – $31.50 – 228 pages)
“Whoopi observes all the nuances of relationships and friendships…”

Kevin Red Star Crow Indian Artist
by Daniel Gibson & Kitty Leaken
(Gibbs Smith – $65.00 – 192 pages)
“The pages of this book show dozens of examples of his work, stirring visual images of the life and times of the Crow people.”

Paris in 3D in the Belle Epoque
by Bruno Fuligni
(Black Dog & Leventhal – $46.95 – 130 pages plus 3-D photos and stereoscope)
“…always fascinating to view such things from more than a century ago to see technology and architecture in its most primitive stages.”

Astronomy Photographer of the Year
from Royal Observatory Greenwich
(Firefly – $39.95 – 286 pages)
“These are some of the most spectacular photographs you will ever see of the night sky.”

by Ellen DeGeneres
(Grand Central Life & Style – $42.00 – 304 pages)
“…offers excellent ideas for your own home, that will make you just as proud as Ellen to show off the results.”

The Angel in My Pocket (A Story of Love, Loss and Life After Death)
by Sukey Forbes
(Viking – $32.95 – 246 pages)
“The book is packed with powerful emotion that you feel on every page.”

When The Balls Drop
by Brad Garrett
(Gallery – $32.99 – 276 pages)
“…if you are seeking a book that is laugh out loud funny, honest and also filled with plenty of emotion, then the book deserves to be in your autobiography-starved fingers.”

They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age The 1930’s
by Didier Ghez
(Chronicle – $54.95 – 210 pages)
“The book has dozen of sketches…showing the evolution of the characters we have come to love…”

The Oz Family Kitchen
by Lisa Oz – Foreword by Mehmet Oz
(Harmony – $35.99 – 288 pages)
“…an extension of the healthy attitude the book proclaims.”

Crazy Sexy Juice
by Kris Carr
(Hay House – $33.95 – 330 pages)
“…people of all ages and (focuses) on the healthiest ingredients possible.”


Best of the Rest for Holiday Gift Giving

This issue we have expanded the Best of the Rest section, to give you even more gift-giving ideas. Some of these books noted could serve as stocking stuffers. Unfortunately, because of space limitations, full reviews are not given but these books are all recommended, and hopefully will find a place on your gift list for friends, or family, or even yourself.

Smoke on the Water
by Lori Handeland
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 340 pages)
“Now a battle rages and only Willow can fight it.”

A Matter of Life and Death
by Andrey Kurkov
(Vintage – $16.99 – 111 pages)
“…this dark comedy is decidedly different from past efforts.”

Live Wire
by Lora Leigh
(Griffin – $16.99 – 374 pages)
“…always filled with mystery and passion.”

Painted SKies
by Carolyn Mallory – Illustrated by Amei Zhao
(Inhabit Media – $16.95 – 32 pages)
“…a wonderful book for children about two young girls and Northern Lights.”

Do You Know About The Rhinoceros?
by Alain M. Bergeron, Michael Quintin and Sampar – Illustrations by Sampar
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $9.95 – 66 pages)
“Everything you ever wanted to know (about Rhinoceroses) is contained within the pages of the book”

Texas Thunder
by Kimberly Raye
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 280 pages)
“There’s more than thunder in them thar hills.”

Ava the Monster Slayer: A Warrior Who Wears Glasses
by Lisa Maggiore – Illustrated by Ross Felten
(Sky Pony Press – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“You cannot help but fall in love with little Ava…”

Anything He Wants & Castaway
by Sara Fawkes
(Griffin – $17.50 – 660 pages)
“…a double dose of decadent delight…”

Hungry for Math – Poems to Munch On
by Kari-Lynn Winters, Lori Sherritt-Fleming & Peggy Collins
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…makes math fun because it centres around certain things that children might enjoy.”

In Like Flynn
by Rhys Bowen
(Minotaur – $18.50 – 330 pages)
“Another winning work by Rhys Bowen.”

The Milkman in the Night
by Andrew Kurkov
(Vintage – $18.99 – 474 pages)
“…you have the recipe for another classic.”