Shelf Life Magazine – December 2017 ***200th Issue***

December2017coverIsn’t it interesting how many facets of our lives are geared to number? Birthdays, anniversaries, ages in general, and much more revolve around numbers. Reaching a milestone is always cause for celebration, so this is why the issue you are holding in your hands is most significant. It is issue number 200, one that we are most proud of. 199 issues filled with book reviews have preceded this, and each was just as important as this one. Yet reaching 200 seems doubly satisfying. Another milestone looms early next year when Shelf Life celebrates the 20th anniversary of being published. Before we get too deep into sentimental wandering we should focus on this issue. It is the 12th annual Books as Holiday Gifts Special Issue. Within the pages is a wide assortment of books that one might and should consider giving as holiday gifts. Anyone can give a gift certificate, but letting someone unwrap a book is an extra special treat. There is true magic within the pages of every book.

Int is issue are some shorter reviews than usual, mainly because we wanted to offer you as many titles as possible. No bookmarks will be given because all books are recommended and worthy of ending up on your gift list. In the holiday spirit, everyone at Shelf Life wishes you happy moments and memories of this special and sacred time of year. May the gift of love, family, and friends be within your homes and hearts now and always.

Paul Sutter

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Fiction Section

Here and Gone
by Haylen Beck
(Crown – $35.00 – 290 pages)
“There are only a handful of books so intense you want to finish them off in one day.”

The Good Daughter
by Karin Slaughter
(William Morrow – $23.99 – 515 pages)
“…drama on every page, making the book a classic in every sense of the word”

Right Behind You
by Lisa Gardner
(Dutton – $36.00 – 392 pages)
“Lisa Gardner has a unique way of manipulating stories, taking readers to a deeper level where what we perceive and what happened conflict.”

No Easy Target
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $38.99 – 340 pages)
“…the characters and plot make for intense reading.”

The Lost Woman
by Sara Blaedel
(Grand Central Publishing – $34.00 – 296 pages)
“..while not the best of the series, still has enough positives going for it.”

Turbo Twenty-Three
by Janet Evanovich
(Bantam – $37.00 – 288 pages)
“…standard Stephanie Plum, with mystery and playing for laughs.”

by Annie Proulx
(Scribner – $24.99 – 720 pages)
“Don’t let size matter, because once you open the book you will be happy you gave the book a chance.”

Snap Judgment
by Marcia Clark
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 452 pages)
“There are two plots moving the book along at a brisk pace.”

Never Never
by James Patterson and Candice Fox
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 363 pages)
“There is so much intrigue in NEVER NEVER, a powerful start to a new series…”

by Melissa Scrivner Love
(Crown – $35.00 – 325 pages)
“Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets and so should the reader in terms of owning the book.”

by Catherine Coulter
(Gallery – $36.99 – 482 pages)
“Catherine Coulter continues to pen thrillers second to none.”

The Book of Polly
by Kathy Hempinstall
(Pamela Dorman/Viking – $35.00 – 322 pages)
“…remarkable story told in terms of humour, sadness, regret but, most of all, hope.”

The Lucky Ones
by Mark Edwards
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 372 pages)
“…a book that has a little bit of everything and will satisfy those readers who are picky about what they will read and enjoy.”

Winter Solstice
by Elin Hilderbrand
(Little Brown – $34.00 – 304 pages)
“…filled with the usual surprises that we find in Elin Hilderbrand’s stellar tales.”

by Kelley Armstrong
(Random House Canada – $32.00 – 472 pages)
“…those who have followed this series since book one will attest to the fact it has gotten creepier and more mysterious with each book.”

A Dog’s Way Home
by W. Bruce Cameron
(Forge – $34.99 – 322 pages)
“It is a novel that truly tears at your heartstrings, especially if you are an animal lover.”

The Fallen
by Ace Atkins
(Putnam – $36.00 – 358 pages)
“THE FALLEN stands very tall.”

The Seagull
by Ann Cleeves
(Pan Macmillan – $32.99 – 400 pages)
“…THE SEAGULL (is) required reading for die-hard Cleeve fans and those new to the author.”

Non-Fiction Section

Is This Live?
by Christopher Ward
(Random House – $32.00 – 328 pages)
“…a loving look back at a cultural phenomenon that changes music…”

Through Darkness to Light: Photographs from the Underground Railroad
by Jeanine Michna-Bales
(Princeton Architectural Press – $57.00 – 192 pages)
“Every picture does indeed tell a story, one that is most vital and important.”

A Fighting Life
by Lou Duva with Tim Smith
(Sports Publications – $34.99 – 226 pages)
“Fans of the sport will enjoy the nostalgic tone of the book, along with those who knew Duva knew personally.”

The American Revolution: A Visual History
by the Smithsonian Institute
(DK Books – $46.00 – 360 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…the publishers have certainly gone all-out to ensure a visually stunning volume.”

Murder in the City New York 1910-1920
by Wilfried Kaute
(Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press – $49.00 – 242 pages)
“Even if staring at the faces of death intimidates you, the photos will mesmerize you, drawing you to the images…”

Food Can Fix It
by Dr. Mehmet Oz
(Scribner – $39.99 – 352 pages)
“…is packed with healthy ideas and no one could argue about it being filled with more than enough ways to jumpstart a healthier you.”

London: 150 Cultural Moments
by Vanessa Brown & Jason Dickson
(Biblioasis – $22.95 – 210 pages)
“Authors Vanessa Brown and Jason Dickson have certainly done their homework with meticulous research and fact-finding.”

The Lost City of the Monkeys
by Douglas Preston
(Grand Central – $36.50 – 328 pages)
“…an interesting journey with a little bit of everything.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Hank: The Short Life and and Long Country Road of Hank Williams
by Mark Ribowsky
(Liverlight – $39.95 – 472 pages)
“As Ribowsky recounts the last weeks and days of Hank’s life, you feel great empathy towards this music legend.”

Fifty Ships That Changed The Course of History A Nautical History of the World
by Ian Graham
(Firefly – $29.95 – 226 pages)
“…certainly a game-changer in the world of nautical publications.”

But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan
by Kristy Turner
(The Experiment – $34.95 – 322 pages)
“The book boasts 125 recipes that will win anyone over.”

Captain Fantastic: Elton John’s Stellar Trip Through the ’70s
by Tom Doyle
(Ballantine – $40.00 – 303 pages)
“Fans of Elton will enjoy the candid nature of the book.”

Father Bauer and the Great Experiment (The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey)
by Greg Oliver
(ECW Press – $32.95 – 288 pages)
“The book is a solid tribute to Bauer who died in 1988.”

Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home
by Mikael Lindnord
(Greystone – $29.95 – 288 pages)
“Mikael Lindnord lovingly writes of the stray dog who came into his life during the grueling 400-kilometre race through Ecuador.”

Secrets of Skinny Cooking
by Victory Dwek & Shani Taub
(Shaar/Mesorah – $52.95 – 292 pages)
“There are more than 135 recipes, along with advice from the authors on how to remain motivated in your quest for healthier eating…”

Bollywood The Films! The Songs! The Stars!
Foreword by Amitabh Bachchan
(DK Books – $52.00 – 360 pages)
“…studies every facet of this cinema powerhouse. It is a classic coffee table book work…”

The Honest Body Project
by Natalie McCain
(Skyhorse – $34.95 – 220 pages)
“With quotes from the women, many posing with their children, we feel their strength and the empowerment they feel…”


Young Adult/Children’s Books

The Dream
by R.L. McLay
(Fifth House – $22.95 – 330 pages)
“…if book one is any indication, there is much potential going forward.”

by Linwood Barclay
(Puffin Canada – $18.99 – 232 pages)
“…the chase is truly on to see where Linwood Barclay takes this entertaining tale.”

by R.L. McLay
(Fifth House – $22.95 – 330 pages)
“…if book one is any indication, there is much potential going forward.”

by Linwood Barclay
(Puffin Canada – $18.99 – 232 pages)
“…the chase is truly on to see where Linwood Barclay takes this entertaining tale.”

*** 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.

Tower Down
by David Hagberg
(Forge – $36.99 – 321 pages)
“…with high stakes and high tension that takes the reader on an unbelievable journey and more!”

The Dark Net
by Benjamin Percy
(Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt – $37.00 – 257 pages)
“What makes the book work so well is the ragtag group of kids each with their own way of dealing with this evil.”

The Futures
by Anna Pitoniak
(Lee Boudreaux – $31.50 – 320 pages)
“…represents a great future for this impressive author.”

Dead Letters
by Caite Dolan-Leach
(Random House – $36.00 – 336 pages)
“The book will stay with you for a long time after closing the pages.”

Dark Saturday
by Nicci French
(William Morrow – $19.99 – 400 pages)
“The authors do a masterful job of creating more questions than answers…”

The Jekyll Revelation
by Robert Masello
(47North – $21.95 – 488 pages)
“The book works well linking past and present and by giving us the story of the Ripper and Stevenson, increases the tension and unpredictability of the tale.”

Ten Dead Comedians
by Fred Van Lente
(Quirk – $29.99 – 288 pages)
“…still manages to offer some nifty twists and unexpected surprises.”

Two Nights
by Kathy Reichs
(Simon & Schuster – $34.99 – 326 pages)
“No one can go wrong with a Kathy Reichs books.”

Gone Astray
by Michelle Davies
(Pan MacMillan – $19.99 – 470 pages)
“…definitely a book that has captured attention of critics and fans alike, and with very good reason.”

When The English Fall
by David Williams
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – $37.95 – 256 pages)
“…a book you will totally fall in love with.”

Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
(Ballantine – $35.00 – 343 pages)
“…takes the reader on a most interesting journal from the heart.”

by Sara Paretsky
(William Morrow – $34.99 – 435 pages)
“…she takes the character (V.I. Warshawski) to a new level with another intensely satisfying plot.”

by Caroline Baugh
(Forge – $38.99 – 333 pages)
“The action really gets into high gear and never lets up…”

The Secrets of Married Women
by Carol Mason
(Lake Union – $21.95 – 248 pages)
“It shows the drama and trauma of life and how everyone reacts differently to adversity.”

Theft by Finding Diaries 1977-2002
by David Sedaris
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 528 pages)
“Sedaris makes even the duller moments of the diary compelling.”

Spinning History Politics and Propaganda in World War II
by Nathaniel Lande
(Skyhorse – $38.99 – 278 pages)
“The author looks at every facet of the hype, and hope that this intimidation was working.”

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
by Scaachi Koul
(Doubleday Canada – $25.00 – 245 pages)
“…an honest work, with true heart and soul…”

Good Veg
by Alice Hart
(The Experiment – $36.95 – 322 pages)
“…this book definitely shows her passion for great vegetarian cooking.”

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.

  • Take To the Limit by Dawn Ryder (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 308 pages)
  • Jon’s Tricky Journey by Patricia McCarthy – Illustrated by Hwei Lim (Inhabit- $19.95 – 70 pages)
  • The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99 – 405 pages)