Shelf Life Magazine – June 2016

Editor’s Notes for Issue #1822016 05 25 Shelf Life June cover.jpg

One of the pleasures of having been publishing and editing Shelf Life for the past eighteen years is the fact we have reviewed thousands of books that are from all genres. Unlike many book review pages in newspapers and magazines, we strive to include a lot of diverse books and over the years think we have presented some impressive but sometimes obscure titles. While we also feature mainstream fiction and non-fiction, we will continue to endeavour to showcase books that are often not on the radar of other book reviewers. You have told us this often that you enjoy books that are not on Top Ten lists, but still deserve attention. We will continue to publish reviews of that nature. Write us as well if there are particular titles you would like to see in our pages. As long as the publishers continue sending us such titles, you will see them with these pages now and in the near future.

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

Paul Sutter

Fiction Section
Best Books on the June Fiction Shelf

Ashley Bell
by Dean Koontz
(Bantam – $36.00 – 560 pages)
“…may be too much of a departure from the usual, but if you give the book a chance, you will find just what makes it stand out from the crowd”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Pretty Girls
by Karin Slaughter
(William Morrow – $34.99 – 398 pages)
“Now comes a novel that makes pretty well everything she has written before, pale by comparison.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The First Order
by Jeff Abbott
(Grand Central Publishing – $31.50 – 390 pages)
“The SAM CAPRA series by Jeff Abbott has become more than a pleasant surprise in the world of thrillers.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of June Fiction on the Shelf

by Kit Reed
(Tor – $29.99 – 240 pages)
“WHERE has great potential, yet there are times during the book where the reader is unsure what is happening and why/”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

And West Is West
by Ron Childress
(Algonguin Books of Chapel Hill – $33.95 – 308 pages)
“…a most riveting story…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Long Upon the Land
by Margaret Maron
(Grand Central Publishing – $30.00 – 288 pages)
“This is book twenty in the popular Judge Deborah Knott series and from all accounts, this is the final one in the series.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Karen Robards
(Gallery – $35.00 – 377 pages)
“The title is most appropriate as there is a distinct darkness to the tale.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Precious Gifts
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte Press – $35.00 – 318 pages)
“…typifies this with a story that, like many other of her books, is predictable but still entertaining.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Neighing With Fire
by Kathryn O’Sullivan
(Minotaur – $29.99 – 262 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“There is certainly nothing ‘neigh’gative about this most impressive work of fiction.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Valley of the Shadow
by Ralph Peters
(Forge – $31.50 – 509 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“I think we can safely say that Ralph Peters with his body of work has taken a place alongside Jeff Shaara as one of the best writers of the ‘history as fiction’ genre.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Angel Court Affair
by Anne Perry
(Ballantine – $32.00 – 273 pages)
“It never ceases to amaze how effortlessly Perry writes these stories as if she was reincarnated from that era.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Hesitation Cut
by Giles Blunt
(Random House Canada – $22.00 – 310 pages)
“Blunt takes a left turn with a dark psychological thriller that is definitely unlike anything the author has written before.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

Cross Justice
by James Patterson
(Little Brown – $35.00 – 448 pages)
“It may not be the strongest book of the series, but still good enough to keep James Patterson fans most content…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Golden Hour
by Todd Moss
(Putnam – $31.00 – 319 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“…he begins his fiction career with a most interesting story.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks


Non-Fiction Section
Best Books of the June Non-Fiction Shelf

The Marvel Avengers Encyclopedia
Written by Matt Forbeck, Matthew K. Manning & Dan Wallace with Alan Cowsill & Glenn Dakin
(Dk Books – $46.00 – 352 pages)
“…a complete view of these heroes, featuring more than 250 characters both from the side of good and evil.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Icons of Women’s Style
by Josh Sims
(Laurence King – $40.95 – 210 pages)
“The book is a trip through fashion history, with complete stories as to how and why so many items found their niche in closets around the world.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Photography by Thomas Marent – Text by Ronald Orenstein
(Firefly – $45.00 – 288 pages)
“…offers some of the most visually stunning images of butterflies.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of Non-Fiction on the Shelf

Vancouver Blue
by Wayne Cope
(Harbour Publishing – $22.95 – 222 pages)
“…tells of the highlights and the lowlights of time spent on the force”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Boys in the Trees: A Memoir
by Carly Simon
(Flatiron Books – $35.50 – 375 pages)
“…most eloquent and riveting, as we discover how much behind such a successful singer was a very dark cloud…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Battle of Alberta
by Mark Spector
(McClelland & Stewart – $32.95 – 280 pages)
“The book brings back the excitement for those who witnesses hockey rivalry at its finest.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

You Should Be Dancing: My Life With the Bee Gees
by Dennis Bryon
(ECW Press – $21.95 – 246 pages)
“The book is more about his life in general.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Perilous Flight
by Stephen Budiansky
(Knopf – $40.00 – 422 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…his focus may be narrow, the appeal of PERILOUS FLIGHT should be to a broad audience.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones and Transformed Rock & Roll
by Fred Goodman
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $32.95 – 302 pages)
“Though many are familiar with the name, many do not realize how pivotal he was to music of the sixties and beyond.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Pregnancy Encyclopedia – Canadian Edition
Consultant Editor Beth Cruickshank – Editor-in-Chief Dr. Chandrima Biswas
(DK Books – $46.00 – 352 pages)
“…a must-read book for mothers-to-be, those considering pregnancy and, of course, others who have had multiple births.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks


*** Recommended Books Worth A Look***

In the past SHELF LIFE has received dozens of books for review. In fact, this past Winter, our shelves were filled with more titles than ever before. It would be great if we could offer full reviews for all books but space does not permit. that to happen. That is why we are again offering an extended section about books worthy of your attention and purchase. The reviews are shorter than the typical reviews found in most issues but suffice to say they are highly recommended, therefore no bookmarks will be noted at review’s end.

The Dirt on Ninth Grave
by Darynda Jones
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.50 – 326 pages)
“…it makes for typical mayhem that is a trademark of the series.”

Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins
by Reed Farrell Coleman
(Putnam – $35.00 – 343 pages)
“Another definite winner in the Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone series…”

What the Waves
by Tamara Valentine
(William Morrow – $18.50 – 336 pages)
“…a poignant and thought-provoking story.”

Orchids and Stone
by Lisa Preston
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 310 pages)
“…an intelligent work that will impress you with its riveting plot.”

How to Start a Fire
by Lisa Lutz
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $33.95 – 340 pages)
“…will appeal to a most diverse audience.”

Born of Betrayal
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(St. Martin’s Press – $32.50 – 501 pages)
“The book continues the series nicely, getting it back on course for future tales.”

by Kelley Armstrong
(Random House Canada – $29.95 -458 pages)
“…chilling fiction at its best…”

Pretending to Dance
by Diane Chamberlain
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.50 – 339 pages)
“…a morality tale of what not to do…”

The Murder of Mary Russell
by Laurie R. King
(Bantam – $37.00 – 366 pages)
“This reworking of the Sherlock Holmes story although set well in the past, still has a more modern feel to it somehow.”

Down Among the Dead Men
by Peter Lovesey
(Sphere – $36.99 – 377 pages)
“…will keep the reader guessing as to who is guilty…”

Scared Wheatless
by Mary Jo Eustace
(Whitecap – $29.95 – 200 pages)
“…it is most serious providing recipes for those who crave gluten-free recipes.”

Steal the Show
by Michael Port
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $33.95 – 237 pages)
“…he uses the power of positive speaking so to speak, giving people the courage to stand out from a crowd…”

Frank & Ava In Love and War
by John Brady
(Thomas Dunne – $31.50 – 292 pages)
“…definitely a book for those who love classic tales of the rich and famous and their flirtatious lives.”

Shift Work
by Tie Domi with Jim Lang
(Simon & Schuster – $32.00 – 227 pages)
“…an entertaining read for hockey fans and those who followed the tumultuous career of Domi.”

Billy Bishop VC Lone Wolf Hunter
by Peter Kilduff
(Grub Street – $39.95 – 194 pages)
“…looks at the kills claimed by Bishop and those credited to him, with an eye to what is fact and what is fiction.”

Movie Freak
by Owen Gleiberman
(Hachette – $34.00 – 338 pages)
“…he is not afraid to tell it like it is.”

Passionate Vegetarian
by Crescent Dragonwagon
(Workman – $33.95 – 1110 pages)
“It happens to be one of the most complete books on vegetarian eating that you will ever find.”

Woman on Fire
by Amy Jo Goddard
(Avery – $33.95 – 302 pages)
“…this will keep the spark and fire alive for many years to come.”

The Little Vanilla Book
by Lux Alani
(Beyond Words/Atria – $20.99 – 117 pages)
“This book is short and sweet and will definitely surprise and impress you.”

A Boy Asked the Wind
by Barbara Nickel – Illustrated by Gillian Newland
(Red Deer Press – $19.95 – 40 pages)
“…the book is filled with where the wind  comes from  and what it can do all around the world.”

Loud Lulu
by Katy S. Duffield  – Pictures by Mike Boldt
(Two Lions- $25.99 – 32 pages)
“A truly fun story for children.”

Top Paperback Picks

In the final section of this issue, Shelf Life is going to list some of the best paperbacks we have received over the past few months. Because of space, we are only going to list title and publisher in an effort to alert you to as many titles as possible. They are all highly recommended reading.

  • Tall, Dark Billionaire Texan by Mandy Baxter (St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 406 pages) – Romance
  • Pathfinder Tales: Bloodhound by F. Wesley Schneider (Tor – $17.50 – 470 pages) – Fantasy/Horror
  • The Wild One by Gemma Burgess (Griffin – $18.50 – 292 pages) – Romance



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