Shelf Life Magazine – February 2016

Editor’s Notes for Issue #17820160125FebruaryShelf

Thank you for picking up our special February issue of BOOKS YOU WILL LOVE FOREVER. This is our fifth annual edition and next to our December issue, gets the most responses. It is always a pleasure to showcase books that you will never grow tired of and return to many times, but that is not to say that books in other issues should not garner the same response. In this issue, you will find a little bit of everything from fantastic fiction to books about comics, shoes, autobiographies, sports and so much more. So sit back, enjoy the issue and the books that we are about to recommend. No bookmarks are given as they are all titles that are first-rate. And please let us know as always how you enjoyed the choices.

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

Paul Sutter

Fiction Section

The Glittering World
by Robert Levy
(Gallery – $32.00 – 338 pages)
“…Levy has done a terrific job of balancing the best of all worlds for a glitteringly great book.”

If I Could Turn Back Time+5
by Beth Henderson
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.50 – 322 pages)
“…might be the ideal book to read if you have not seen the Kathleen Turner movie, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED.”

by Emma Kavanagh
(Century – $24.99 – 344 pages)
“It is the uniqueness of the story that gives it that edge.”

100 Years of the Best American Short Stories
Editor: Lorrie Moore – Co-Editor: Heidi Pitlor
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $40.00 – 722 pages)
“…short fiction at its best offering a little something for everyone regardless of their own literary tastes.”

Make Me
by Lee Child
(Delacorte Press – $36.00 – 404 pages)
“…as with any Jack Reacher book, the reader is hooked right from the first sentence.”

The Guilty
by David Baldacci
(Grand Central – $34.00 – 420 pages)
“David Baldacci can do no wrong in the writing world.”

The Smoke at Dawn
by Jeff Shaara
(Ballantine – $34.00 – 496 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“Leave it to the extraordinary writing of Jeff Shaara to deliver a spellbinding book….”

I, Ripper
by Stephen Hunter
(Simon & Schuster – $36.50 – 310 pages)
“…not for the faint of heart as the book is graphic…”

The Life I Left Behind
by Colette McBeth
(Minotaur – $25.95 US – 344 pages)
“…has used all the right elements to make the book succeed.”

Black Scorpion
by Jon Land & Gabrizio Boccardi
(Forge – $29.99 – 444 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“The pace is frantic, making for a book that is definitely a page turner…”

Ghost Fleet
by P.W. Singer & August Cole
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $36.00 – 404 pages)
“…spins the enthralling tale of a future war to come…”

Fates and Furies
by Lauren Groff
(Riverhead – $33.00 – 392 pages)
“…definitely most imaginative, quite deserving of all the positive comments found in top national magazines. ”

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon
(Doubleday Canada – $32.00 – 322 pages)
“She makes her books frightening enough that you are never certain where the story is heading or what the outcome might be.”

The Sundown Speech
by Loren D. Estleman
(Forge – $28.99 – 240 pages)
“Estleman keeps the pace lively and light too, with Walker and his wisecracks.”


Non-Fiction Section

Ugliness: A Cultural History
by Gretchen E. Henderson
(University of Chicago Press – $33.95 – 240 pages)
“…takes the cult of ugly a step further, discussing perspectives on what is ugly and why.”

Keep Moving and Other Tips About Aging
by Dick Van Dyke with Todd Gold
(Weinstein – $32.50 – 256 pages)
“…his take on getting older. He does not try and tell us it is not challenging an that there aren’t any negatives.”

The Game (Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball’s Power Brokers)
by Jon Pessah
(Little Brown – $33.00 – 648 pages)
“…certainly the only game in town when it comes to looking beyond the diamond and into the locker rooms and back rooms of baseball.”

Canada Images of the Land
by J.A. Kraulis
(Firefly – $49.94 – 224 pages)
“…a testimony to the beauty of a country through the lens of one of the best in the business.”

Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys
by Viv Albertine
(Thomas Dunne – $32.95 – 422 pages)
“Her memoir is honest and eye-opening.”

The Bronze Age of DC Comics 1970-1984
by Paul Levitz
(Taschen – $79.95 – 400 pages)
“It is a most thrilling nostalgic ride.”

Bob Dylan – The Story Behind Every Track All the Songs
by Philippe Margotin & Jean-Michel Guesdon
(Black Dog & Leventhal – $60.00 – 704 pages)
“…certainly one of the best tributes possible to one of the best songwriters of a generation.”

Inferno Alexander McQueen
by Kent Baker
(Laurence King – $54.00 – 130 pages)
“The book focuses on every aspect of that legendary show – behind the scenes and onstage.”

by Drew Barrymore
(Dutton – $34.95 – 276 pages)
“…no weakness to the book at all, simply warm and moving stories about her life and those near her heart.”

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me (A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past)
by Jennifer Teege & Nikola Sellmair
(The Experiment – $33.95 – 225 pages)
“…compelling reading, reinforcing the notion how truth is often stranger than fiction.”

Shoe: Contemporary Footwear by Inspiring Designers
by Olivier Dupon
(Thames & Hudson – $97.00 – 256 pages)
“With SHOE, you will not find easily recognizable names.”

Batman Arkham Universe The Ultimate Visual Guide
by Matthew K. Manning
(DK Books – $33.00 – 202 pages)
“The book is for diehard gamers and the book is as thorough as they come…”

Vegan Bible
by Marie Laforet
(Grub Street – $49.59 – 324 pages)
“…pick up the Bible and heed the word of the vegan. You will be rewarded for your choices mind, body and soul.”

1001 TV Shows You Must Watch Before You Die
General Editor Paul Condon
(Universe – $36.95 – 958 pages)
“One would have a hard time trying to figure out just which series were omitted because there is truly so much to savor.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs Ultimate Book of Facts, Stats and Stories
by Andrew Podnieks
(Fenn/McClelland & Stewart – $45.00 – 340 pages)
“The book tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the Leafs from the first games to more modern ones.”

Cooking with Seeds
by Charlyne Mattox
(DaCapo Lifelong – $28.99 – 216 pages)
“…looks precisely at all the various seeds that can be used along with 100 recipes that make the most of the seeds noted.”

Amazing Fantastic Incredible and Marvelous Memoir
by Stan Lee and Peter David and Colleen Doran
(Touchstone – $36.99 – no page count)
“…told in graphic art form and it has as powerful an impact as a regular book.”

*** 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.

Fool’s Assassin
by Robin Hob
(Del Rey – $34.00 – 668 pages)
“Get locked into your seatbelts because this is definitely long but most enjoyable ride.”

by Marissa Campbell
(Thomas Dunne – $18.50 – 338 pages)
“Her life will change and so will her responsibility as soon it is more about survival and what Airik can offer her.”

Gerbil Uncurled
by Alison Hughes – Illustrations by Suzanne Del Rizzo
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…a very cute little tale about a gerbil that does not conform to gerbil standards.”

Trouble When You Walked In
by Kieran Kramer
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 372 pages)
“…love may conquer all as the rivalry seems to be turning into a passion play and all is fair in love and war.”

The Dashing Daring Prince
by Marilou T. Reeder – Illustrated by Karl West
(Sky Pony Press – $23.95 – 32 pages)
“A most charming little children’s book, that is a variation on the Cinderella tale.”

Trial of Intentions
by Peter O’Rullian
(Tor – $32.50 – 668 pages)
“…O’Rullian creates a fantastic landscape when fantasy, magic and intrigue all co-exist.”

Shelf Life – January 2016

January2016ShelfLifecoverEditor’s Notes for Issue #177

Welcome to 2016. We first hope your holidays went well and that the New Year will bring more positives than negatives. It is never easy to forecast what is in store for any of us, as life is filled with unexpected happenings. It is almost live a mystery novel where you are at a loss as to what the next chapter sill offer. But let us all hope that your chapters run smoothly each and every day this year.

Speaking of chapters, you will find the usual blend of books here for all reading tastes. Our shelves have been filling up and you will be seeing not only in this issue but in issues to come, some pretty amazing books featured within our pages. So sit back and enjoy what our January issue has to offer.

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

Paul Sutter

Fiction Section
Best of the January Fiction Shelf

Crash and Burn
by Lisa Gardner
(Dutton – $32.95 – 388 pages)
“Every time, she brings something new to the plate, like a baseball slugger, always hitting it out of the park quality-wise.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Someone is Watching
by Joy Fielding
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 375 pages)
“…another classic mystery, with so much happening and a deep sense of paranoia on most pages.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Hand That Feeds You
by A.J. Rich
(Scribner – $32.00 – 274 pages)
“The book does not conform to the usual formula for mystery.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of Fiction on the Shelf

Burnt River
by Karin Salvalaggio
(Minotaur – $29.99 – 324 pages)
“…not very far behind the debut in terms of plot and tension.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Laird Hunt
(Little Brown and Company – $29.00 – 262 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…often reads like homespun autobiography of the woman caught up in events that could not be comprehended in 2015.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Girl Waits With Gun
by Amy Stewart
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $33.95 – 408 pages)
“She has laid the groundwork for a most engaging series…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Manhattan Mayhem
by Mary Higgins Clark
(Quirk – $26.95 – 322 pages)
“The only problem is the story is too short…you often wish there was much more to the tales.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Sue Grafton
(Putnam – $34.95 – 404 pages)
“Not the best book in the series but still good enough to make Grafton fans happy…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Beat Goes On
by Ian Rankin
(Orion – $28.99 – 452 pages)
“…we get to see everything Rebus.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Mark of the Beast
by Adolphus A. Anekwe
(Forge – $29.99 – 302 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…works as a mystery thriller and a bit on the occult side…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Proof Positive
by Archer Mayor
(Minotaur – $29.99 – 294 pages)
“…always proof positive that you will find the best mystery writing from one of the best authors out there.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Same Sky
by Amanda Eyre Ward
(Ballantine – $29.95 – 276 pages)
“…the sort of book that stays with you a long time.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Wayfaring Strange
by James Lee Burke
(Simon & Schuster – $34.00 – 448 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…a true page-turner that is near impossible to put down once it is started.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Reykjavik Nights
by Arnaldur Indridason
(Harvill Secker – $28.99 – 294 pages)
“…it moves at just the right speed for the casual reader.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Robert B. Parker’ Blind Spot
by Reed Farrel Coleman
(Putnam – $31.00 – 342 pages)
“For some reason, the plot, dialogue, and characters are not as crisp and enticing as with Brandman.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Winter Stroll
by Elin Hildebrand
(Little Brown – $30.00 – 272 pages)
“…Hildebrand writes her tales with lots of imagination, and creates endearing characters we are never tired of revisiting.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Eighth Grave After Dark
by Darynda Jones
(St. Martin’s Press – $29.99 – 294 pages)
“…blends the supernatural with some amusing one-lines from Charley.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Non-Fiction Section
Best of the January Non-Fiction Shelf

The History of Modern Fashion
by Daniel James Cole & Nancy Deihl
(Lauren King- $115.00 – 480 pages)
“…you will have a newfound appreciation for the manner in which clothing evolved.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Simply Nigella
by Nigella Lawson
(Appetite – $45.00 – 492 pages)
“The book has traditional recipes and Nigella refers to cooking as therapeutic.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Golden Age of American Football Photos
by Neil Leifer
(Taschen- $69.99 – 280 pages)
“…represents the glory years of football in the sixties and seventies.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of Non-Fiction on the Shelf

The Sociology Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)
(DK Books – $27.00 – 354 pages)
“…the perfect volume for the Sociology phobic and for those with a thirst for knowledge about society in general.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Elvis Has Left the Building
by Dylan Jones
(Overlook – $32.95 – 310 pages)
“The author rehashed much of the career of Elvis more so than the creation of punk.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Billy Martin Baseball’s Flawed Genius
by Bill Pennington
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $39.00 – 530 pages)
“…offers the reader even more reasons to respect one of the most charismatic baseball managers of all time.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Eat Your Greens
by Davis Kennedy
(New Society Publishers – $29.95 – 278 pages)
“…the ideal book to read if you are concerned not only about what you eat, but also getting the most out of your garden.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown 1781-1783
by William M. Fowler, Jr.
(Walker – $31.50 – 342 pages)
reviewed by John M. Milner
“Fowler brilliantly chronicles what could easily be described as the two of the most dangerous years in American history.
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Crime Seen
by Kate Lines
(Random House Canada – $29.95 – 250 pages)
“…it takes the reader past the headlines, into the circumstances of the crime.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Best In The World At What I Have No Idea
by Chris Jericho with Peter Thomas Fornatale
(Gotham – $33.00 – 412 pages)
“You know you have a lot to tell about your life when you give your story in three volumes.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Horror Of It All
by Adam Rockoff
(Scribner – $32.00 – 252 pages)
“…will appeal to those who simply cannot get enough slicing and dicing and death.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Phantom Boys
by Richard Pike
(Grub Street – $39.95 – 184 pages)
“…stories that take us right into the cockpit”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Better Man Project
by Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health
(Rodale – $31.50 – 340 pages)
“The book boasts 2,476 health tips, meaning there has to be something for every single out there.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music
by John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough
(Little Brown and Company – $36.00 – 390 pages)
“…most know him for CCR and a host of million sellers that defined a generation of music lovers.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Adventures into the Unknown Volume 4, Issues 13-16
(Dark Horse Archives – $54.99 – 226 pages)
“You simply cannot go wrong with the latest compilation of comics.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Movie Star Chronicles: A Visual History of 320 of the World’s Greatest Movie Stars
by Ian Haydn Smith
(Firefly – $29.95 – 578 pages)
“The stars of the silver screen light up every page and then some.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

New York Rangers Greatest Moments and Players
by Stan Fischler
(Sports Publishing – $42.99 – 250 pages)
“…perfect for the fans of the original six teams as the book honours the greats of the game”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Great Lost Albums
by Mark Billingham, David Quantick, Stav Sherez & Martyn Waites
(Sphere – $24.99 – 272 pages)
“….one of the most absurd concept books in some time, parodying some of the greatest music…”
Rating: 3 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.

Keepers of the Vault Fire and Glass
by Marty Chan
(Clockwise Press – $10.95 – 125 pages)
“…first class reading for a number of reasons…”

The Gardener
by Andrew Kurkov
(Vintage – $18.99 – 313 pages)
“…a writer who cannot be pigeon-holed.”

Force of Attraction
by D.D. Ayres
(St. Martin’s Press – $8.99 – 340 pages)
“Romance definitely does not go to the dogs here.”

Lola and I
Written and Translated by Chiara Valentina Serge – Illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“This is an absolutely charming book told from the point of view of a dog and its owner, Lola.”

Heat of the Moment
by Lori Handeland
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 360 pages)
“…there is nothing crafty here, just good old-fashioned romance and magic.”

Beyond the Pool of Stars
by Howard Andrew Jones
(Tor – $17.50 – 360 pages)
“…based on the popular Pathfinder roleplaying games. The novels have the same intensity and action.”

Home for Christmas
by Lily Everett
(St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 312 pages)
“…consider Christmas and good fiction timeless, to be read any time of the year.”