Shelf Life Magazine – December 2016

2016-12-15-december-2016-coverEditor’s Notes for Issue #188

Another Holiday season is upon us and from the reviewers at Shelf Life, we personally wish everyone of you the most joyous and memorable season possible, Christmas creeps up on us annually and even when we are not ready for it, there is is, a special time for family and friends to gather together for that magical day.

Christmas gift giving is often a chore, but with gift cards a popular choice, many will opt for that. But we hope we can provide other options with this our 11th Annual Books as Holiday Gifts Special issue. It has become a popular reference guide for readers and we hope that once again we will provide ideas for gift giving. There are over forty-five books noted here, so even for the pickiest of friends and family there might be a book in their future.

As with past special issues, there are no bookmarks given because every book here is more than highly recommended. So relax, sit back, have some Eggnog and discover the best in books. Let us know in the New Year if you agree with our selections.

Paul Suter

Fiction Section

Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly
(Ballantine – $35.00 – 486 pages)
“Her ability to create a piece of historical fiction is uncanny and an even more powerful ability is to make the reader care for every single character in the novel.”

The Other Window
by Susan Crawford
(William Morrow – $33.50 -333 pages)
“The book seems almost to be taken from today’s headlines.”

Hide Away
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $38.99 – 322 pages)
“Fans of the series will find this book just as thrilling as any other book preceding this one…a book that beckons to be found on your reading list.”

1st Affair
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
(Little Brown – $34.00 – 353 pages)
“Each time out the duo offers tense moments and terrific plots.”

by J.A. Jance
(Touchstone – $34.99 – 324 pages)
“J.A. Jance always offers light and lively reading, as we solve the cases along Ali, her husband and now Cami.”

Brotherhood in Death
by J.D. Robb
(Berkley – $36.00 – 388 pages)
“This book is not for the faint of heart…”

The Last Mile
by David Baldacci
(Grand Central Publishing – $35.00 – 420 pages)
“Almost every page has some new revelation…”

Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch
(Crown- $33.00 – 342 pages)
“Once you open the book, you may not be able to close it.”

The Girl from Summer Hill
by Jude Deveraux
(Ballantine – $36.00 – 372 pages)
“It is the supporting cast of characters, as well, that add to the playful scenes, making THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL one hill of a great book.”

An Evil Mind
by Chris Carter
(Emily Bestier/Atria – $32.95 – 360 pages)
“…this might be the most intense and gripping novel of the half-dozen (Carter) has written.”

The Exiled
by Christopher Charles
(Mulholland- $31.50 – 312 pages)
“Hopefully we see more of Wes and others because the potential for a compelling series is definitely here…”
Rating: 2 1/2 bookmarks

Midnight Sun
by Jo Nesbo
(Random House – $27.95 – 214 pages)
“Whether Jo Nesbo writes a longer book or a shorter one, you are still going to get the same intensity, regardless of the length.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Pursuit
by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
(Bantam – $37.00 – 364 pages)
“Whatever Janet Evanovich puts her mind and writing talents to, you can be sure it will be an entertaining product.”


Non-Fiction Section

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
by Amy Schumer
(Gallery – $36.99 – 332 pages)
“She tells it like it is, which is precisely the way we needed to hear it.”

David Downton Portraits of the World’s Most Stylish Women
Foreward by Christian Lacroix With Photographs by Tim Petersen and Jacobus Snyman
(Laurence King- $115.00 – 192 pages)
“David Downton is one of the premier fashion illustrators, this book more than reinforcing just how talented he truly is.”

The Eternal Party
by Kristina Hagman with Elizabeth Kaye
(Thomas Dunne – $37.99 – 256 pages)
“Larry was a complex man, and in this biography, written by daughter Kristina, she paints a most interesting portrait of the man.”

The New York Times Complete Civil War 1861-1865
Edited by Harold Holzer and Craig L. Symonds
(Black Dog & Leventhal- $49.95 – 510 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…perhaps its greatest usage may come in analyzing how the Union (and indeed 1860s-era) press covered the war.”

When Someone You Know Has Dementia
by June Andrews
(Greystone – $22.95 – 322 pages)
“…covers most of the bases regarding the issues, with common sense and down-to-earth advice and suggestions.”

Rush Hour Meals
by Rose Reisman
(WhiteCap – $29.95- 182 pages)
“…115 recipes that will make cooking more than fun again. There are dishes for every food taste from vegetarian to gluten-free and dairy-free as well.”

I, Bificus
by Bif Naked
(Harper Collins – $32.95 – 272 pages)
“There is more than heart and soul to the book. It is a classic memoir where we view this Canadian singer in a much different light.”

Accepted (How the First Gay Superstar Changed the WWE)
by Pat Patterson with Bertrand Herbert
(ECW Press – $27.95 – 258 pages)
“It is about life, acceptance, tolerance and understanding. There should be more books this open and honest.”

The Star Trek Book
Contributors: Paul Ruditis, Sandforf Galden-White & Simon Hugo
(DK Books – $31.00 – 336 pages)
“ can read all about Star Trek, getting more than your fill of everything associated with it..”

Leafs ’65: The Lost Toronto Maple Leafs
Photographs by Stephen Brunt – Photos by Lewis Parker
(McClelland & Stewart – $35.00 – no page count)
“…a major time capsule that has been opened. Hockey fans old and new should add this book to their library.”

Grow for Flavor
by James Wong
(Firefly – $29.95 – 224 pages)
“You cannot go wrong with this book in an effort to create a bigger, bolder and better garden. GROW FOR FLAVOR shows the way.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks


*** Recommended Books Worth A Look***

Because this is our special Christmas issue, we wanted to turn your attention to as many great books as possible. It would be ideal 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 for yourself, or perhaps for friends and family this Holiday season. The reviews are shorter than the typical reviews found in the previous section of the issue but suffer it to say they are all highly recommended. Therefore, no book marks will be noted at review’s end. We are positive you will agree with our choices.

Fatal Pursuit
by Martin Walker
(Knopf – $34.95 – 300 pages)
“The book is fast-paced and so enjoyable, that once you open the pages you will be lost in the manner in which Martin Walker not only narrates the story but makes Bruno a more than likable character.”

The Devil’s Work
by Mark Edwards
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 368 pages)
“Be prepared for a devil of a good time…It is a nifty little mystery that gets more complex the deeper one ventures into the book.”

Red Right Hand
by Chris Holm
(Mulholland – $34.00 – 352 pages)
“…even more dynamic and intense than the first…”

The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories
by P.D. James
(Knopf Canada – #27.95 – 154 pages)
“Barely 150 pages in a book might not seem like a lot, but in the hands of P.D. James it is like an epic volume.”

Winter Storms
by Elin Hilderbrand
(Little Brown – $34.00 – 256 pages)
“…readers will definitely feel surges of emotion as the final scenes play out.”

Night Talk
by Greg Noory
(Forge – $36.99 – 333 pages)
“Those who enjoy COAST TO COAST AM will certainly find lots to love in this off-the-wall novel.”

by Gina Wohlsdorf
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – $38.95 – 230 pages)
“Next time you go to a hotel, you might remember this book for the unsettling manner in which Gina Wohlsdorf tells a most terrifying tale.”

The Kept Woman
by Karin Slaughter
(William Morrow – $34.99 – 416 pages)
“The story is played out in classic Karin Slaughter style”

Mrs. Houdini
by Victoria Kelly
(Atria – $35.00 – 306 pages)
“Debut novels do not get any more offbeat and interesting than MRS. HOUDINI.”

Bean by Bean: A Cookbook
by Crescent Dragonwagon
(Workman – $26.95 – 370 pages)
“This bountiful bean book has one delicious bean recipe after another.”

In the Footsteps of Jacob Ulrikab
by France Rivet
(Polar Horizons – $29.95 – 344 pages)
“…truth is more heartbreaking than fiction…”

Believe Ask Act
by Maryann DiMarco
(Rodale – $29.99 -212 pages)
“…she tells the reader what they can do to effect change in their lives and bring a more positive vibe to the universe.”

Life Begins at 60
by Dr. Frieda Birnbaum
(Skyhorse – $35.99 – 195 pages)
“It is empowering to women of any age and by reading about this incredible success story, it may motivate many in their own lives and worlds.”

Cook Healthy & Quick
(DK Books – $34.00 – 400 pages)
“…a recommended book, about creating meals and getting them to the table in about thirty minutes.”

Eat Sweat Play (How Sport Can Change Our Lives)
by Anna Kessel
(Macmillan – $25.99 -266 pages)
“…another book where empowerment is key, and lets women know any sport they want to play, play it and play it proudly.”

Top Paperback Picks

Space is limited in this issue, but we wanted to draw to your attention some recent paperback and trade paperback books. There will only be a very short mention of the book as we wanted to list as many as possible for your reading pleasures and possibly as stocking stuffer gifts for friends.

  • Harbour Street by Ann Cleeve (Minotaur – $19.99 – 391 pages)
  • Pathfinder Tales Bloodhound by F. Wesley Schneider (Tor – $17.50 – 375 pages)
  • The Witness by Simon Kernick (Arrow – $16.99 – 375 pages)
  • One Hot Summer by Melissa Cutler (St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 372 pages)
  • His Wicked Wish by Olivia Drake (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 327 pages)
  • After You Die by Eva Dolan (Vintage – $16.99 – 380 pages)
  • Christmas In Eternity by Emily March (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 318 pages)
  • The Wild Ones by Gemma Burgess (Griffin – $18.50 – 292 pages)
  • The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum (Vintage – $16.99 – 243 pages)
  • Heart Like Mine by Maggie McGinnis (St. Martin’s Press – $9.99 – 356 pages)