Shelf Life Magazine – February 2017

Editor’s Notes for Issue #190

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As February is the month noted for love and Valentine’s Day, it continues very nicely that we have created an issue with books that you will love. The amazing thing about books is that there is something for pretty well every literary taste. That is what makes books so vital, never knowing who they will appeal to. I am sure that some enjoy mysteries while others crave romance or chick-lit. In non-fiction there are so many different areas as well, from autobiographies to music, sports to recipes, and everything in between.

You will find more than 35 books featured within these twenty pages, certainly something that will appeal to even the pickiest of readers. Enjoy.

Paul Sutter
Editor/Publisher
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Fiction Section

Best February Fiction on the Shelf

The Wonder
by Emma Donoghue
(Harper Collins – $32.99 – 294 pages)
“…will fill the reader with wonder…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Second Girl
by David Swinson
(Mullholland/Little Brown – $31.50 -354 pages)
“…a picture-perfect detective story.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Defenders of Shannara: The Darkling Child
by Terry Brooks
(Del Rey – $14.00 – 304 pages)
“The Terry Brooks writing machine is one more in great form with another tale from the beloved SHANNARA series.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of February Fiction on the Shelf

No One Knows
by J.T. Ellison
(Gallery – $35.00 US – 343 pages)
“The book is a classic variation on the whodunit, with more questions than answers…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Games
by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan
(Little Brown – $34.00 – 380 pages)
“The tension is taut and suspenseful as is always found in a Private novel.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Charcoal Joe
by Walter Mosley
(Doubleday – $35.95 – 306 pages)
“…Walter Mosley has that unique method of bringing it all together, keeping the reader craving more.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Reckless Creed
by Alex Kava
(Putnam – $36.00 – 328 pages)
“…a thriller you simply can’t put down.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Truly, Madly, Guilty
by Liane Moriarty
(Flatiron – $34.99 – 418 pages)
“It is unlikely readers have attended a barbecue this unpredictable.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Someone Always Knows
by Marcia Muller
(Grand Central Publishing – $31.50 – 194 pages)
“This is the perfect book for readers who like their mysteries slow and steady.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Bryant & May and the Burning Man
by Christopher Fowler
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
(Bantam – $34.00 – 400 pages)
“…the author Fowler basically throws everything into the mix to create books that do not go by any set of rules.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Smooth Operator
by Stuart Woods & Parnell Hall
(Putnam – $37.50 – 340 pages)
“…could be the start of the next best thing in mystery fiction.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Decompression
by Julie Zeh
(Random House – $30.00 – 252 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“At times the book is sheer brilliance but occasionally heads toward the zone of the trivial.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

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Non-Fiction Section
Best February Non-Fiction on the Shelf

Megan Kelly Settle for More
(Harper – $36.99 – 340 pages)
“…we applaud her for sticking first to her values in life.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Undisclosed Files of the Police Cases from the Archives of the NYPD 1831 to Present
by Bernard J. Whalen, Philip Messing & Robert Mladinich
(Black Dog & Leventhal- $52.00 – 320 pages)
“Crime does not pay, but it does when publishing a book of this nature.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

I Will Find You
by Joanna Connors
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $35.50 – 256 pages)
“…will also show you how people deal with a personal crime and heal at their own pace.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of February Non-Fiction on the Shelf

Far and Wide Bring That Horizon to Me
by Neil Peart
(ECW Press – $29.95 – 282 pages)
“…filled with great wisdom and emotion, from a man who was truly on  a mission.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Jesus and Mary Chain Barbed Wire Kisses
by Zoe Howe
(St. Martin’s Press – $31.50 – 306 pages)
“…the book would be most appreciated by those familiar with the band and enjoyed their musical influences.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained
by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J. Kripal
(Tarcher Penguin – $36.00 – 365 pages)
“The book presents the facts as the authors see them, asking us to be open-minded about there being more things to heaven and earth than we realize.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Their Last Full Measure: The Final Days of the Civil War
by Joseph Wheelan
(DaCapo – $22.99 – 407 pages)
by John M. Milner
“The great drawing point of this book is that much of what is covered within its pages has either been overlooked or glossed over in many previous histories of the war.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Changing Normal
by Marilu Henner and Michael Brown
(Gallery – $35.00 – 242 pages)
“…follows the progression of their lives and how love and faith in a lifestyle change saved the day.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Sleepwalker: The Mysterious Makings and Recovery of a Sonambulist
by Kathleen Frazier
(Skyhorse – $32.99 – 228 pages)
“This is one book that will awaken your senses in a most poignant manner.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Easy. Whole. Vegan.
by Melissa King
(The Experiment – $29.95 – 212 pages)
“…not only offers a book filled with vegan recipes, but also advice on how to stock your pantry…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Star Wars: Year By Year: A Visual History (Updated and Expanded Edition)
(DK Books – $62.00 – 366 pages)
“…definitely a keeper of a book for anyone who has seen one, two or every movie.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Wisdom of Groundhog Day
by Paul Hannam
(Yellow Kite – $22.99 – 276 pages)
“Paul Hannam has penned a most intelligent work.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon
by Peter Ames Carlin
(Henry Holt- $39.99 – 416 pages)
“Peter Ames Carlin has thoroughly dissected the life of Paul Simon.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Foods That Fight Cancer (Preventing Cancer Through Diet)
by Richard Beliveau & Denis Gingras
(Firefly – $29.95 – 4278 pages)
“Every single page in the book has something of interest health-wise and will be a publication you refer to often
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

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*** Recommended Books Worth A Look***

In the past year, Shelf Life has received dozens of books for review. In fact, this past year, our shelves were filled with more titles than ever before. 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. The reviews are shorter than the typical reviews found in the previous parts of the issue but suffice to say it to say they are all highly recommended. Therefore, no bookmarks will be noted at review’s end. We are positive you will agree with our choices.

Morning Star
by Pierce Brown
(Del Rey – $22.00 – 526 pages)
“The RED RISING trilogy comes to a frantic and powerful conclusion, almost making readers wish there was still more to come.”

Rushing Waters
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte Press – $37.00 – 322 pages)
“There are six people who are about to face the hurricane’s wrath, and their lives will be changed in ways they never imagined.”

Paris is Always a Good Idea
by Nicolas Barreau
(Griffin – $18.50 – 300 pages)
“The book is written in such a way that there are no villains in the story…”

House 23
by Eli Yance
(Skyhorse – #25.99 – 200 pages)
“…it definitely packs a lot of punch and excitement into these pages.”

The Shark (The Forgotten Files)
by Mary Burton
(Montlake Romance – $18.95 – 350 pages)
“There is definitely great chemistry between the pair.”

Peacock & Vine
by A.S Bryant
(Chatto & Windus – $29.95 – 186 pages)
“…you will find most captivating and inspiring.”

Power Your Happy
by Lisa Sugar
(Dutton – $34.00 – 232 pages)
“…she also empowers people…to believe in themselves and not be afraid to take risks and chances.”

The Death of Small Creatures
by Trisha Cull
(Nightwood – $22.95 – 237 pages)
“…this is one of the most painfully honest books you will read.”

The Trainable Cat
by John Bradshaw & Sarah Ellis
(Basic Books – $36.50 – 316 pages)
“…the authors show can be trained even though many are said to have a mind all their own.”

Davina’s 5 Weeks To Sugar Free
by Davina McCall
(Orion – $29.99 – 224 pages)
“…you will not believe food can be this good and free of sugar…”

Down Here
by Valerie Sherrard – Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $18.95 – 32 pages)
“…all about perspective, how people view things differently.”

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.

  • In Bed With the Billionaire  by Jackie Ashenden (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 388 pages)
  • The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam – $32.00 – 353 pages)
  • Closing Down Heaven by Lesley Choyce (Red Deer Press – $13.95 – 176 pages)
  • Hot Alphas by Lora Leigh, Laurelin McGree, Shiloh Walker and Kate Douglas (Griffin – $17.50 – 363 pages)
  • In the Swish by Dawn Gree (Red Deer Press- $12.95 – 368 pages)
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Shelf Life Magazine – January 2017

Editor’s Notes for Issue #188

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Over the past 18 years of creating Shelf Life, there have been many openings that have come quite easily. This is one that is the most difficult to have to write. Over the years and throughout the 188 previous issues I have often thought whether I would have to write this one. I hoped it never would happen. I say with great sadness that my mother Joan Sutter passed away on November 19, 2016. Joan was instrumental in fostering my love of books from an early age and if not for her I might never have become obsessed with books, and therefore get to a stage where they would be an integral part of my life. Joan came on board early when I was editing and publishing Shelf Life. I was doing all the reviews myself and since she loved books, she said she would be happy to do reviews as well. She was tireless in her reading and offered first-rate reviews. Her main interests were mystery, biographies, medical and World War Two titles. For over 12 years she contributed her reviews until 2013 when early signs of dementia were present. I showed her every issue after that and read her many reviews of the authors she loved. In the nursing home for 21 months she still had a zest for life even though dementia had robbed her of speech and mobility. I could fill this entire issue with stories of her life and her greatness but suffice it to say the world lost and an amazing person who lived 87 plus incredible years. All future issues of Shelf Life will be in honor to her legacy and memory.

Paul Sutter
Editor/Publisher

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Fiction Section

Best January Fiction on the Shelf

Sting
by Sandra Brown
(Grand Central Publishing – $31.50 – 406 pages)
“…one of those gifted writers who can create consistently good novels that make it to the Top Ten Lists every time out.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

By Gaslight
by Steven Price
(McClelland & Stewart – $36.00 -732 pages)
“…a most ambitious book to say the least.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Tuesday Nights in 1980
by Molly Prentisss
(Scout Press – $32.00 – 321 pages)
“…the perfect book to cure boredom.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of January Fiction on the Shelf

The Peculiar Miracle of Antoinette Martin
by Stephanie Knipper
(Algonquin Press of Chapel Hill – $25.95 US – 328 pages)
“…really gets to the heart and soul of family conflicts, making for a most fascinating and readable tale.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Robert B. Parker’s Blackjack
by Robert Knott
(Putnam – $35.00 – 324 pages)
“They have come so close each time out to what Parker envisioned the series to be.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Panacea
by F. Paul Wilson
(Tor- $36.99 – 383 pages)
“..a medical thriller and mystery rolled into one.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Scam
by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
(Bantam – $34.00 – 290 pages)
“These books are both fun and action-packed, the right combination for readers who like a little bit of everything in a novel.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Here’s To Us
by Elin Hilderbrand
(Little Brown – $34.00 – 410 pages)
“…an amusing story with characters we love and loathe.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Damaged
by Lisa Scottoline
(St. Martin’s Press – $38.99 – 405 pages)
“…where warmth and human interest make for the perfect combination.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Hunger of the Wolf
by Stephen Marche
(Harper Collins – $29.99 – 253 pages)
“…definitely makes a statement with a book that is fantasy, fairy tale and murder mystery, among other things…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Blue
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte – $37.95 – 312 pages)
“…one of her best books in quite some time now.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Private Investigations
by Quintin Jardine
(Headline – $22.99 – 442 pages)
“Whether the book is slower-paced is not a detraction. It is still worth your time.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Alpine Yeoman
by Mary Daheim
(Ballantine – $31.00 – 336 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“Reading her books are a guilty pleasure. They are also a massive joy.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

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

I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir
by Brian Wilson with Ben Greeman
(Random House Canada – $34.00 – 312 pages)
“I AM BRIAN WILSON looks at the world of one of the mainstays of the classic band, the Beach Boys.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen
(Simon & Schuster – $39.99 – 515 pages)
“The book was well worth the wait, filled with any part of his life that mattered.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Canada: An Illustrated History Revised and Expanded
by Derek Hayes
(Douglas & McIntyre – $36.95 – 296 pages)
“…offers something for history buffs of all ages.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of January Non-Fiction on the Shelf

Girls Bullying
by Dr. Sam
(Crown House Publishing – $24.95 – 264 pages)
“This book should be required reading in every school where bullying happens.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Is Wrestling Fixed? (I Didn’t Know It Was Broken?)
by Bill Apter
(ECW Press – $19.95 – 282 pages)
“…it is a feel-good story from the glory days of wrestling.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Library of Congress Illustrated Timeline of the Civil War
by Margaret E. Wagner
(Little Brown – $39.00 – 254 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“In this beautifully illustrated and richly researched book, every key event…is highlighted here.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Monsters in the Movies
by John Landis
(DK Books – $30.95 – 322 pages)
“…terrorizing but terrific experience.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Art + Fashion Collaborations and Connections Between Icons
by E.P. Cutler & Julian Tomasello
(Chronicle – $115.00 – 224 pages)
“…the book skillfully and dramatically combines art and fashion, the two embracing and complementing the other.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk
by Doug Wilson
(Thomas Dunne – $31.50 – 358 pages)
“…has zeroed in on Fisk’s passion for the game and the integral part of being being on both winning and losing teams.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Complete 10-Day Detox Diet Plan & Cookbook
by Karen Barnes
(Robert Rose – $24.95 – 352 pages)
“…so get on board with an important book that will change your life, liver and your health.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Woman On the Edge of Time
by Jeremy Gavron
(The Experiment – $34.95 – 258 pages)
“One is sure that it was difficult penning it as information came to light.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Witches of America
by Alex Mar
(Sarah Crichton – $29.99 – 278 pages)
“Readers will realize by the end of the book that what they perceived about witches may not even come close to reality.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Presto!
by Penn Jillette
(Simon & Schuster – $35.00 – 346 pages)
“The book is about his diet and how he lost over 100 pounds.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks
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*** Recommended Books Worth A Look***

In the past year, Shelf Life has received dozens of books for review. In fact, this past year, our shelves were filled with more titles than ever before. 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. The reviews are shorter than the typical reviews found in the previous parts of the issue but suffice to say it to say they are all highly recommended. Therefore, no bookmarks will be noted at review’s end. We are positive you will agree with our choices.

Christmas Under the Stars
by Karen Shaw
(Pan – $14.99 – 490 pages)
“Certainly a book that will tug at your heartstrings.”

The Christmas Town
by Donna Vanliere
(St. Martin’s Press – $23.99 – 228 pages)
“Another book that will have you cheering…”

Tall Tail
by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
(Bantam – $36.00 – 322 pages)
“…it makes for a book that you can curl up with and feel totally purrfect about at the conclusion.”

Cold
by John Sweeney
(Thomas & Mercer – #22.95 – 386 pages)
“…a most realistic and riveting thriller.”

K.A.R.M.A.
by Grant McKenzie
(Polis – $23.50 – 295 pages)
“…definitely one gritty book. It is a story that you will not forget after closing it.”

Wedding Bell Blues
by Ruth Moose
(Minotaur – $36.99 – 326 pages)
“This is definitely a book for those who love wild and weird moments in their mysteries.”

Lying In Wait
by Liz Nugent
(Penguin Ireland – $27.99 – 307 pages)
“…definitely a book that will capture your attention and keep it from first to last page.”

Dr. Knox
by Peter Spiegelman
(Knopf – $35.95 – 353 pages)
“This makes the book totally entertaining and unpredictable as well, the perfect recipe for an above-average thriller.”

The Nurses
by Alexandra Robbins
(Workman – $22.95 – 365 pages)
“…we get a behind the scenes look at hospitals, and these women in white deal with life and death on a daily basis.”

Scrappy Little Nobody
by Anna Kendrick
(Touchstone – $34.99 – 280 pages)
“…a most entertaining read.”

Light Years
by Caroline Woodward
(Harbour – $29.95 – 222 pages)
“Woodward’s observations and sense of humour make for a most interesting read.”

Firehouse Chef Recipes from Canada’s Firefighters
by Patrice Mathieu
(Whitecap – $34.95 -196 pages)
“…not only offers some of his favourite recipes but also includes other recipes from other chefs across Canada.”

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.

  • The Cartel 6: The Demise by Ashley Jaquavis (Griffin – $22.99 – 308 pages)
  • The Science of Star Wars by Mark Brake & Jon Chase (Racehorse – $22.99)
  • On the Naughty List by Lori Foster, Carly Phillips, Beth Ciotta & Sugar Jamison (St. Martin’s – $9.99 – 344 pages)
  • Yellow Dog by Miriam Korner (Red Deer Press – $12.95 US – 296 pages)
  • Hard As A Rock by Christine Warren (St. Martin’s – $9.99 – 330 pages)
  • Rehab Run by Barbra Leslie (Titan – $19.95 – 364 pages)