Shelf Life Magazine – May 2017

2017 May Shelf coverEditor’s Notes for Issue #193

One of the reasons why Shelf Life continues to be an important part of my life is the fact that people pick up copies of each issue and often make book choices based on the review we publish. Not every book is top drawer material regrettably, but the fact there are the rare occasions when we do not recommend a book, the majority, likely almost 99 percent of reviews are positive. We always welcome feedback because that is the only way we know we are succeeding in our quest to bring you the best in books.

This past month, Shelf Life received emails from brand new readers who read an issue for the first time. The only regret is that after publishing issues for 19 years, they only came on board now. But as they say, better late than never. Hopefully they will be with us for a long time and later their friends as well to pick us up. Readership is higher than ever before, which is gratifying. And the fact we are always FREE is even more reason to grab a copy at a library, book store or other establishments.

Happy reading with this May issue. As always, we endeavor to bring you the widest assortment of genres and books to stimulate your reading interests.
Paul Sutter

Best May Fiction

The Wrong Side of Goodbye
by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown – $38.00 – 393 pages)
“The HARRY BOSCH series keeps getting better every time out…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Stone Coffin
by Kjell Eriksson
(Minotaur – $36.99 – 296 pages)
“…rock solid fiction by a most talented author.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

City on Edge
by Stefanie Pintoff
(Bantam – $36.00 – 378 pages)
“…another quality book that is sure to please anyone who enjoys a most riveting mystery tale.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of May Fiction

The Bone Collection
by Kathy Reichs
(Simon & Schuster – $29.99 – 345 pages)
“If you have not read any Kathy Reichs books before, this is a great jumping on board opportunity.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Little Deaths
by Emma Flint
(Hachette – $34.00 – 336 pages)
“Emma Flint has truly taken a step back in time…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Midnight Bell
by Jack Higgins
(Putnam – $37.00 – 310 pages)
“…while not the best book in that series, still has so many moments that make it readable and recommended.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On
by Debbie Macomber
(Ballantine – $34.00 – 343 pages)
“It is books like A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON that makes it a real treat to read books with the ‘chick-lit’ label.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Patricia Cornwell
(William Morrow – $35.99 – 400 pages)
“…mixing fact and fiction is what makes CHAOS so chaotically good.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

South of Nowhere
by Minerva Koenig
(Minotaur – $31.50 – 296 pages)
Reviewed by: Ron Heimpel
“…we are rewarded for our patience with a book that is definitely the perfect conclusion to the saga.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Bryant and May Strange Tide
by Christopher Fowler
(Bantam – $36.00 – 440 pages)
“Leave it to the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) to constantly face some of the most puzzling crimes on record.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

All Is Not Forgotten
by Wendy Walker
(St. Martin’s Press – $23.99 – 310 pages)
“The book is quite graphic in spots, but the POV approach, and quite eloquent at times narration, keeps the book focused.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Kill and Be Killed
by Louis Begley
(Nan A. Talese/Doubleday – $33.95 – 272 pages)
“KILL AND BE KILLED begs the question of to read or not to read, but we hope you enjoy this enoyable whodunit.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Die of Shame
by Mark Billingham
(Little Brown – 418 pages)
Reviewed by Ron Heimpel
“Billingham has woven the plot tightly, which is as much about murder as the serious addictions that play into the lives of people.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Apartment
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte – $38.95 – 324 pages)
“There are moment in the book that are quite engrossing and other moments quite mundane.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks


Non-Fiction Section
Best May Non-Fiction

Mike Myers Canada
by Mike Myers
(Doubleday Canada – $39.95 – 296 pages)
“…a gem of a book, that old and young can appreciate, thanks to a performer who thankfully never forgot his classic Canadian roots.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Medicine – The Definitive Illustrated History
by Steve Parker
(DK Books – $50.00 – 320 pages)
“…studies methods and ideas that have benefited the body.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Tracks to the Trenches (Canadian Railway Troops in the Great War 1914-1919)
by David R. P. Guay
(Fifth House – $45.00 – 226 pages)
“Along with memorabilia and dozens of vintage photos, the book showcases a lesser known aspect of the First World War.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of May Non-Fiction

The Art of Disney Moana
by Jessica Julius & Maggie Malone
(Chronicle- $54.95 – 160 pages)
“Adding this book to your collection is a wise decision and investment”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins
by Kathy Griffin
(Flatiron – $37.99 – 298 pages)
“You will enjoy this run-in with Griffin as well, learning a lot about the lady through her wild and wicked comments.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Golden Oldies Stories Of Hockey’s Heroes
by Brian McFarlane
(ECW Press – $19.95 – 244 pages)
“…his tribute to some off the greats of the games, players from the heyday of the sport.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The I Quit Sugar Cookbook
by Sarah Wilson
(Potter – $35.50 – 376 pages)
“Give the book a try. You might be pleasantly surprised by how banning sugar from your life is not the end of the world.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

It’s Not Okay
by Andi Dorfman
(Gallery – $34.00 – 310 pages)
“…certainly an okay book, a basic tale that those who have felt the same sort of pain and heartache can identify with.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Who: The Story of the Band That Defined A Generation
by Chris Welch
(Carlton Books – $39.95 – 100 pages)
“…a must-read for original fans of the Who, or those who came on board years later.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Obesity Code
by Jason Fung, MD
(Greystone – $22.95 – 315 pages)
“Reading the book might change a lot of preconceived notions about obesity.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

What the F
by Benjamin K. Bergen
(Basic Books – $36.50 – 288 pages)
“WHAT THE F looks at the origins of some vulgar words, but more importantly is an expose of what our language reveals about us as people.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Hungry Heart (Adventures in Life, Love and Writing)
by Jennifer Weiner
(Atria – $34.99 – 404 pages)
“What makes the book so appealing is her honesty, leaving no subject taboo.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks


*** Recommended Books Worth A Look ***

In the past year, SHELF LIFE has received dozens of books for review. In fact, this past Winter and Spring, 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. This is why we are again offering an extended section of books worthy of your attention and purchase. The reviews are shorter than the typical reviews found in the previous part of the issue, but suffice it to say they are highly recommended. Therefore, no bookmarks will be noted at review’s end. We are positive you will agree with our choices.

The Dark and Other Love Stories
by Deborah Willis
(Hamish Hamilton – $29.95 -254 pages)
“… (an) amazing collection of thirteen stories by Canadian author Deborah Willis …”

City of Friends
by Joanne Trolope
(Mantle – $24.99 – 304 pages)
“Trollope writes about the human condition very well.”

The Lioness
by Loren D. Estleman
(Forge – $36.99 – 240 pages)
“… represents, believe it or not, book number twenty-six in the popular AMOS WALKER series.”

Sex, Lies and Serious Money
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $37.00 – 362 pages)
“…about all that and more.”

A Funeral For My Fat
by Sharee Samuels
(Skyhorse – $34.99 – 240 pages)
“…will certainly serve as inspiration for anyone who has wanted to change their health and eating habits.”

Color and Vision: The Evolution of Eyes & Perception
by Steve Parker
(Firefly – $24.95 – 130 pages)
“…a remarkable book that talks about a remarkable subject.”

Goth (The Design, Art and Fashion of A Dark Subculture)
by Chris Roberts, Hywell Livingston & Emma Baxter Wright
(Carlton – $29.95 – 224 pages)
“This book is a must-read for the historical and literary aspects.”

Meat Man (An Insider’s History of Toronto’s Greatest Restaurant)
by Ronald Chapchuk
(Mosaic Press- $27.95 – 154 pages)
“…definitely puts the man in good stead to write his story.”

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 hopefully ones you will want to add to your must-read list.

  • Stealing Taffy by Susan Donovan (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 326 pages)
  • The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry (Griffin – $18.50 – 276 pages)
  • Do You Know Praying Mantises (Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $9.95 – 68 pages)
  • Dirty Little Lies by Lora Leigh (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 364 pages)