Shelf Life Magazine – September 2017


Editor’s Notes for Issue #197

September, whether we like it or not, creeps into our lives. If you have children heading back to school, it bring positives and negatives without doubt. It makes the end of adults’ summer holidays and the fact, depending on the age of your children as well, likely having to change your morning routines too. But September for all its minuses has big pluses as well in the book world, as the Fall titles are not long from book shelves. At Shelf Life, we anticipate them as well, with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning, waiting to see what will arrive for our reviewing pleasures. You can be sure we will let you know what are the best books this Fall, and in the coming months, showcasing them in our pages.

Thanks as always for picking up our issues. We hope you enjoy the books as much as we do.

Paul Sutter

Fiction Section

Best September Fiction

The Night Bird
by Brian Freeman
(Thomas & Mercer – $23.95 – 352 pages)
“The book revolves around a Carole King song, Nightingale,. That in itself gives the book a rare edge…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Crime Song
by David Swinson
(Mulholland – $34.00 – 355 pages)
“His eye for detail is what makes the book all the more readable.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Twenty-Three
by Linwood Barclay
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 454 pages)
“The plot seems ready to vault into the twilight zone, but Barclay keeps it on an even keel.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of September Fiction

It’s Always the Husband
by Michelle Campbell
(St. Martin’s Press – $37.99 – 328 pages)
“…just when you have it figured out, there are more bombshells to be dropped.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Ring of Fire
by Brad Taylor
(Dutton – $36.00 – 434 pages)
“In true Brad Taylor, the action turns hot, heavy and deadly…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Ill Will
by Don Chaon
(Ballantine – $37.00 – 472 pages)
“…overwhelms the senses from page one.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Party Girls Die In Pearls
by Plum Sykes
(Harper- $22.99 – 340 pages)
“What makes the book work so well is the character of Ursula and her antics.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Cutaway
by Christina Kovac
(37 Ink/Atria – $35.00 – 310 pages)
“Kovac does a superb job of manipulating the reader, keeping them in the dark.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Bridge
by Stuart Prebble
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $34.00 – 282 pages)
“…offers a deeply psychological thriller, as the pieces to the puzzle fit together.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Burning Bright
by Nick Petrie
(Putnam – $35.00 – 420 pages)
“…a story blazing out of control plot and action wise.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Under the Knife
by Kelly Parsons
(St. Martin’s Press – $37.99 – 342 pages)
“It begins with a bang, ending with an explosive finale.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Devil’s Evidence
by Simon Kurt Unsworth
(Doubleday – $35.95 – 390 pages)
“This is not a book with moral overtones about heaven and hell. It is a straight-forward thriller that brims with realism.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn
by Ace Atkins
(Putnam – $36.00 – 306 pages)
“It is another solid effort from Ace Atkins on behalf of Robert B. Parker.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks


Non-Fiction Section
Best September Non-Fiction

American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America
Editor-In-Chief Francois
(DK Books – $50.00 – 752 pages)
“For each species listed and the vast array within the species, even the most intricate of details is listed.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Life and Art of Archie Boyd Teater
by Lester D. Taylor
(Gibbs Smith – $107.00 – 226 pages)
“…one of the most famous and respected Western landscape artists of his generation.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Giant of the Senate
by Al Franken
(Twelve – $33.98 – 416 pages)
“…he looks at political life, as well as his take on the earlier years when he was part of Saturday Night Live.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Rest of September Non-Fiction

Bake with Anna Olson
by Anna Olson
(Appetite by Random House – $35.00 – 304 pages)
“…very heavy on recipes that are a bit on the decadent side, ones that we might love…”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Not Dead Yet: The Memoir
by Phil Collins
(Crown Archetype – $37.00 – 372 pages)
“…he offers his fans a provocative journey into the life and heart of a music legend. ”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

This is Just My Face Try Not To Stare
by Gabourey Sidibe
(Harper Avenue – $32.99 – 246 pages)
“The book is not filled with regret, rather her potential and what is still to come in her life.”

How The Hell Did This Happen? The Election of 2016
by P.J. O’Rourke
(Atlantic Press Monthly – $25.00 US – 240 pages)
“…thoroughly analyzes the race for President, from the debates until the ballots were cast that fateful night.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Plot to Kill the King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Dr. William Pepper
(Skyhorse – $38.99 – 730 pages)
“This is one unusual book to say the least.”
Rating: 2 1/2 bookmarks

Miracle Mindset
by J.J. Virgin
(North Star Way – $33.99 – 228 pages)
“…anyone reading the book will come away with a most positive attitude.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Red Blooded American Male
Photographs by Robert Trachtenberg
(Amphoto – $54.00 – 216  pages)
“The book showcases celebrities as you have never seen them before presenting a side that is rare but fun.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Rise, The Fall and the Rise
by Brix Smith Start
(Faber & Faber – $31.99 – 462 pages)
“It was not all smooth sailing as there were conflicts, and the obligatory drugs.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

I Hate Everyone Except You
by Clinton Kelly
(Gallery – $33.99 – 226 pages)
“The book is amusing, filled with witty comebacks, a book Clinton fans will cherish.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Miracle Moments In Montreal Canadiens History
by Jim Hynes
(Sports Publications – $36.95 – 190 pages)
“It is the perfect publication for Canadiens fans and any hockey fan in general.”
Rating: 4 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.

Necessary Monsters
by Richard A. Kirk
(Arche Press – $25.95 – 28 5pages)
“…filled with a rare magic and every page is powerful with a passionate and provocative writing style.”

The Rome Affair
by Karen Swan
(Pan – $24.99 – 460 pages)
“The book melds the past and present for two women from different eras, to create a symphony of life and secrets.”

The Sound of Rain
by Gregg Olsen
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 337 pages)
“…is as tense a mystery as you would ever hope to read. It grips you totally and won’t let go.”

The Identicals
by Elin Hilderbrand
(Little Brown – $34.95 – 426 pages)
“Elin Hilderbrand has characters down to a science…”

The Possessions
by Sara Flannery Murphy
(Harper Collins – $26.99 – 368 pages)
“It is creepy in places too, sort of like Stephen King.”

A Hiss Before Dying
by Rita Mae & Sneaky Pete Brown
(Bantam – $36.00 – 360 pages)
“…these books entertain totally and offer a very light and amusing read.”

by Pet Petterson
(Harvill Secker – $31.99 – 132 pages)
“When a book is under 135 pages, you had better be sure it goes for quality instead of quantity.”

The Chronos Files Time Trial
by Rysa Walker, Heather Nufer & Agustin Padilla
(Jet City – $21.95 – no page count)
“It is a new series with great art and a storyline that the reader cares abut and what to see more of.”

In the Company of Women
by Grace Bonney
(Artisan – $50.00 – 360 pages)
“The message here is you can be anything you want to be…”

The Naughty Diet
by Melissa Milne
(Da Capo Life Long- $33.99 – 274 pages)
“…uses science and fact to help set readers on the path of the good straight and narrow.”

The Tetris Effect (The Game That Hypnotized The World)
by Dan Ackerman
(Public Books – $33.99 – 266 pages)
“…a fascinating look at a game that changed the way we view our video games.”

Naturally Nourished
by Sarah Britton
(Appetite – $32.95 – 242 pages)
“…a reference book that you can open any time you are seeking out a meal that can be created quickly and easily.”

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.

  • The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 337 pages)
  • One With You by Sylvia Day (Griffin – $18.50 – 474 pages)
  • The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons (Arrow – $16.99 – 388 pages)
  • Saving Stevie by Eve Richardson (Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 228 pages)