Shelf Life Magazine – April 2018 – 20th Anniversary Issue

2018AprilShelfcover.jpgWelcome one and all to our 20th Anniversary issue. Time does go by quickly when you are having fun, as they say. Creating and publishing Shelf Life has been more than fun, it has been an honor to bring faithful readers the best in books. A lot has happened in the past twenty years and life can be more than defined in two decades. Medical issues, loss of a parent and other events have happened, but through it all, life truly goes on. As does Shelf Life.

There are so many people to thank over the years such as Shelf Life’s amazing reviewers, readers who keep encouraging us, but most of all the publishers, who continue to supply Shelf Life with totally incredible titles. I could not have done this with them. I thank them for such faith in Shelf Life and what we are trying to do, stimulate reading interests and showcasing noteworthy titles.

Readership has increased and there is a Facebook page that we urge you to look at, and life it you are so inclined. Recently a Swedish author whose book we reviewed a few months back, contacted us about our review. The Internet truly brings those thousands of miles away much closer to use all.

Once again, thanks so much to everyone who is part of this literary labor of love. We will continue presenting books that hopefully will broaden your joy in reading.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best April Fiction ***

Parting Shot
by Linwood Barclay
(Doubleday Canada – $32.00 – 448 pages)
“…the plot can change in a heartbeat, taking the reader in unpredictable directions.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

A Simple Favour
by Darcey Bell
(Harper – $25.99 – 304 pages)
“…Darcy Bell has amazing potential with a page-turning classic.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Trick
by Emanuel Bergmann
(Atria – $35.00 – 377 pages)
“…Bergmann in his debut novel has created something wonderful.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of April Fiction ***

The Black Book
by James Patterson & David Ellis
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 430 pages)
“…one of his most complex must-read books in years.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Shimmering Road
by Hester Young
(Putnam – $35.00 – 406 pages)
“…another tale blending mystery with the unexplained.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Year One
by Nora Roberts
( St. Martin’s Press – $36.00 – 420 pages)
“It has the potential to blossom into something most unique.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Thirst
by Jo Nesbo
(Random House Canada – $34.00 – 464 pages)
“…with THE THIRST, book eleven of the HARRY HOLE series, the popularity of the character is greater than ever.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Lying Game
by Ruth Ware
(Simon & Schuster – $24.99 – 375 pages)
“As the truth emerges, we feel chills running along our spine.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Sleeping in the Ground
by Peter Robinson
(McClelland & Stewart – $29.95 – 374 pages)
“Nothing is black and white in this story, causing you potentially sleepless nights until you finish the novel.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Heather, The Totality
by Matthew Weiner
(Little Brown – $32.50 – 138 pages)
“A book this short has twists coming at a faster pace.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Chalk Pit
by Elly Griffiths
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $38.95 – 360 pages)
“The actions in this book will play out nicely in future books to come.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Fast & Loose
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $37.50 – 357 pages)
“…a typical Stone Barrington tale, with lots of danger and even more romance.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Insidious Intent
by Val McDermid
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $37.50 – 424 pages)
“…a character-driven book that is heavy on psychology and motive.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

If Not For You
by Debbie Macomber
(Ballantine – $36.00 – 370 pages)
“…vintage Macomber, a book where we cheer for the characters every step of the way…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Ezekiel Boone
(Random House Canada – $24.95 – 330 pages)
“Perhaps what makes the book all the more chilling are the shorter chapters that encompass the world with point of view narrations from each country.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Only the Rain
by Randall Silvis
(Thomas & Mercer – $27.95 – 180 pages)
“…a most compelling story, short in length but long in heart and soul.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Nothing Stays Buried
by P.J. Tracy
(Putnam – $36.00 – 310 pages)
“The action gets tense as we get inside the warped mind of the killer, who thinks he is invincible.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Bill Pronzini
(Forge – $34.99 – 254 pages)
“Both plots are imaginative and beg the reader to solve the case along with Nameless and Jake.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Lost in Arcadia
by Sean Gandert
(47North – $22.95 – 404 pages)
“…begs to be read by those who want everything bigger and better.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Bridge Troll Murders
by Sheldon Russell
(Roadrunner Press – $35.95 – 274 pages)
“…a joy to read from first page to last.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best April Non-Fiction ***

by Rose McGowan
(Harper One – $29.99 – 250 pages)
“This book is truly brave, a rallying cry for change in the work place and everywhere else.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Sculpture in Canada: A History
by Maria Tippett
(Douglas & McIntyre – $39.95 – 372 pages)
“Those who enjoy visual art not on canvas, will find this a great reference book.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age The 1940’s Part Two
by Didier Ghez
(Chronicle – $64.00 – 250 pages)
“…introduces another stellar stable of talents, taking animation to yet another level.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of April Non-Fiction ****

The Authorized Roy Orbison
by Roy Jr, Wesley and Alex Orbison with Jeff Slate
(Center Street – $39.00 – 254 pages)
“…it sets the record straight about one of music’s true endearing legends.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Good Grief
by Theresa Caputo with Kristina Grish
(Atria – $34.99 – 210 pages)
“…Caputa is certainly caring, wanting to bridge the gap between life and death in the most soothing ways possible.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790’s and the Birth of American Nationalism
by Carol Berkin
(Basic Books  – $39.00 – 336 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…another interesting look at the people and events that helped shape the country and led it toward the nation the United States is today.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Smithsonian Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide 3rd Edition Updated and Revised
Edited by David Burnie & Don E. Wilson
(DK Books – $65.00 – 634 pages)
“…the second the name SMITHSONIAN is added to any book title, you can be assured of an above-quality product.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince
by Mayte Garcia
(Machette – $35.00 – 296 pages)
“It brings life and its tragedies into deeper perspective.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore Approved Vegan Recipes
by Candice Hutchings
(Robert Rose – $32.95 – 288 pages)
“Vegan lovers will be in their glory, which is not to say non-vegans may not be curious to try some recipes.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

1967 The Year of Fire and Ice
by Victor Brooks
(Skyhorse – $38.99 – 212 pages)
“Victor Brooks has done an exceptional job, creating a book that reviews and analyzes the high spots and low spots from five decades ago.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Two’s Company
by Suzanne Somers
Harmony – $31.00 – 286 pages)
“Readers will find inspiration in their story”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Hank & Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart
by Scott Eyman
(Simon & Schuster – $39.00 – 370 pages)
“It is essential reading for lovers of great films and great actors.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Super Clean Super Foods
by Fiona Hunter & Caroline Bretherton
(DK Books – $27.99 – 224 pages)
“…filled with health ideas and you can follow their rules or experiment on your own.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Tales from the Boston Bruins Locker Room
by Kerry Keene
(Sports Publishing – $30.99 – 156 pages)
“…we find lots of interesting, never been told tales of many Boston Bruins players.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Lou Reed: A Life
by Anthony DeCurtis
(Little Brown – $42.00 – 508 pages)
“…captures the essence of the singer’s life throughout the pages of his biography.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

What Is It All But Luminous Notes From An Underground Man
by Art Garfunkel
(Knopf – $36.95 – 242 pages)
“The book is in many ways more a personal observation of life and times than memoir…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Canada’s Culinary Heritage 100 Recipes 100 Celebrities 1867-2017
(Klorifil- $39.95 – 230 pages)
“The 100 recipes in the book offer a cross-section of tasty dishes that are simple and easy to make.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks


Children’s Books in Brief

The following is a list of some children’s picture books that have crossed our desks. Because of limited space, only titles and authors are listed. We urge you to check them out if you are looking for interesting books for younger children.

  • Tuniit Mysterious Fold of the Arctic by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley – Illustrated by Sean Bigham (Inhabit-$16.95)
  • A Walk on the Shoreline by Rebecca Hainni – Illustrated by Qin Leng (Inhabit – $16.95)
  • Lesson for the Wolf by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Inhabit-$16.95)
  • Nala’s Magical Mitsiaq: A Story of Inuit Adoption by Jennifer Noah – Illustrated by Qin Leng (Inhabit – $10.95)
  • The Fabulous World of Mr. Fred by Lili Chartland – Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard (Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $10.95)

Shelf Life Magazine – March 2018

Dep2018 03 25 March Shelf coverending on when you are reading this issue, your Winter thus far was either decent or brutal. Here in Southwestern Ontario, it was like a pot luck supper with extreme cold, extreme snow, warmer temperatures, a thunderstorm, and freezing rain. It gave an excuse to stay in the house and read books hopefully. Personally, as someone who walks daily, there were times when my walking was curtailed thanks to the weather and a bout of bad health. But Spring beckons on the horizon as do more amazing books from publishers. In this issue, we offer a smorgasbord of subjects that will appeal to even the most finicky reader. Enjoy, and as always let us know what you think of our choices and reviews.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best March Fiction ***

Camino Island
by John Grisham
(Doubleday – $38.00 – 290 pages)
“…a puzzling and provocative book. It takes the author to a whole new level in the fiction world.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Y is For Yesterday
by Sue Grafton
(Marian Wood/Putnam – $39.00 – 483 pages)
“This is a fitting finale and tribute for an author who gave the world so much reading pleasure.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Are You Sleeping
by Kathleen Barber
(Gallery – $35.00 – 326 pages)
“…a great read from beginning to end as we await what Kathleen Barber will follow this masterpiece with.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of March Fiction ***

16th Seduction
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
(Little Brown – $38.00- 400 pages)
“The duo have rarely if every disappointed in their efforts.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Emma In the Night
by Wendy Walker
(St. Martin’s Press – $24.99)
“The book is brilliantly told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Cass, along with Dr. Abby Winter, a forensic psychologist, who had been working on the case…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Bomb Maker
by Thomas Perry
( Mysterious Press – $37.50 – 372 pages)
“It all makes for one true bombshell of a book.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Strong to the Bone
by Jon Land
(Forge – $34.99 – 366 pages)
“John Land may have created the best book in the series…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Woman In the Window
by A.J. Finn
(William Morrow – $24.99 – 430 pages)
“…reminiscent of the classic Hitchcock movie REAR WINDOW, which the author has seemed to brilliantly channel.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Dead Certain
by Adam Mitzner
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 340 pages)
“…Adam Mitzner has truly connected with a bang-on mystery that hits all the high points.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The White Road
by Sarah Lotz
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $34.00 – 290 pages)
“…Lotz has created something totally different, but one that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dangerous Games
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte Press – $37.00 – 308 pages)
“It is the complex characters that make the book work so well.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Fast & Loose
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $37.50 – 357 pages)
“…a typical Stone Barrington tale, with lots of danger and even more romance.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Insidious Intent
by Val McDermid
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $37.50 – 424 pages)
“…a character-driven book that is heavy on psychology and motive.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Frozen Hours
by Jeff Shaara
(Ballantine – $38.99 – 520 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…does a superb job of transporting the reader to Korea at the height of the military conflict there…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Meg Gardiner
(Dutton – $35.00 – 368 pages)
“Get on board and hold on tight…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Wil Mara
(Forge – $41.99- 288 pages)
“…you lose yourself in the powerful telling of the tale.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Little Boy Lost
by J.D. Trafford
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 306 pages)
“…this is an ideal starting point for a character we could grow to appreciate and demand to see much more of.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Good Me Bad Me
by Ali Land
(Flatiron Books- $24.99 – 292 pages)
“…a very good book with great twists and a conclusion that will chill you.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks


*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best March Non-Fiction ***

Marvel Spider-Man: Inside the World of Your Friendly Neighbourhood Hero
by Matthew K. Manning
(DK Books – $31.99 – 216 pages)
“…a must-have for Spider-Man fans, one they will treasure…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

A Century of NHL Memories
by Phil Pritchard with Jim Hynes
(Griffintown Media – $49.95 – 160 pages)
“Any fan of either today’s hockey or the golden games of yesteryear will certainly be in their glory.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of March Non-Fiction ****

You Can’t Spell America Without Me: A So-Called Parody
by Alec Baldwin & Kurt Anderson
(Penguin Press – $39.00 – 250 pages)
“The book does create a most entertaining read…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

We’re Going to Need More Wine
by Gabrielle Union
(Dey Street – $33.50 – 272 pages)
“We are grateful this talented entertainer bared her heart and soul…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

by Anna Faris with Rachel Bertsche
(Dutton – $37.00 – 306 pages)
“It talks of love and loss of love, and dealing as best as possible.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs
by Robert O’Harrow, Jr.
(Simon & Schuster – $37.00 – 304 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…a great opportunity to learn that not all heroes are made on the battlefield, and pays tribute to the previously unsung hero.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Vegan Food For the Rest of Us: Recipes Even You Will Love
by Ann Hodgman
(Hougton Mifflin Harcourt – $31.00 – 256 pages)
“…she presents delicious recipes that the whole family will embrace.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks
by Stephen Davis
(St. Martin’s Press – $36.50 – 332 pages)
“She has lived enough for two lifetimes, giving author Davis more than enough information for this interesting biography of the singer.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Once They Were Giants: The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing
by Jerry Izenberg
(Skyhorse – $38.99 – 222 pages)
“Fans of classic boxing will enjoy this journey through boxing’s golden years, paying homage to the greats and not-so-greats representing the sport.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

This is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake
by Garbage with Jason Cohen
Akaschic Books – $57.95 – 208 pages)
“…captures the essence of the band in his and their words.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Mad City
by Michael Arntfield
(Little A. – $21.95 – 346 pages)
“.”Those who enjoy true crime books about serial killers will find a lot to like in MAD CITY.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Jimmy Buffett A Good Life All the Way
by Ryan White
(Touchstone – $35.99 – 358 pages)
“…has captured the essence of the man through his songs and those who know him best.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Winged Chariots
by Peter Lush
(Grub Street – $39.95 – 190 pages)
“…has made the subject quite appealing through the written word.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown
by Gerry Hirshey
(Sarah Crichton/Farrar Straus & Giroux – $38.00 – 500 pages)
“Brown was a pioneer in so many ways, and this biography extends the story from the previous one….”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Justice League: The Ultimate Guide
by Landry Q. Walker
(DK Books – $31.99 – 200 pages)
“Fans of the long-running series will enjoy a refresher course on the beginnings, the changes and most of all their dedication to justice served swiftly and effectively.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Marlene Dietrich The Life
by Maria Riva
(Pegasus – $47.00 – 790 pages)
“Riva writes most passionately about her mother and how she became such a respected star.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

In the Garden of My Dreams: The Art of Nathalie Lete
(Artisan – $50.00 – no page count)
“Every single page is a delight as she combines a magical world with the real world.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Secrets of the Human Body
by Chris Van Tulleken, Xand Tulleken & Andrew Cohen
(Firefly – $29.95 – 260 pages)
“…looks at the body in ways rarely seen before.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

March Paperback Picks

Space is limited in this issue, but we wanted to mention some paperbacks that have crossed our desk that are highly recommended. There is only space to mention title, author and page counts. Check them out as son as possible.

    • Hero In the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99)
    • Good Earl Gone Bad by Amanda Collins ((St. Martin’s Press – $9.99)
    • Yipee’s Gold Mountain by Raquel Rivera (Red Deer Press – $14.95)
    • Firestorm by Donna Grant (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99)
    • Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esselmont (Tor – $17.99US)
    • Fox Magic by Beverly Brenna (Red Deer Press – $11.95)
    • Red-Hot Texas Nights by Kimberly Raye (St. Martin’s Press – $9.99)
    • StormChaser by Cherry Adair (St. Martin’s Press – $10.99)