Shelf Life Magazine – August 2019

Aug2019Shelfcover.jpgI am often asked how I choose which books I decide to feature each issue. That is a more than valid question. Basically, I try and select books from many genres with regard to fiction and for non-fiction, picking books that have appeal to various reading tastes. Because there is only space for so many books, that results sometimes in leaving some books out of a particular issue with the intention of placing them in the next issue. It usually works that way, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

You will find in this issue, for example, many subjects selected for non-fiction and from the selection as wide a choice of topics as we can create, from celebrity autobiographies to food, crime, history, health, and much more. If you are hoping to read reviews of a particular book, drop us a line. Chances are we may have it. Of course, we don’t have the space for every book out there, and some publishers limit their review copies on occasion as well. But over the past twenty-two years we have been publishing, hopefully you will agree that we have presented the best in books with probably, as a random guess, more than 5,000 books reviewed within our pages. We thank you as always for being part of this process.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best August Fiction ***

The Hiding Place
by C.J. Tudor
(Doubleday Canada – $24.95 – 278 pages)
“Those who were blown away by C.J. Tudor’s debut novel, CHALK MAN, will definitely be even more impressed by his follow-up.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl
by Jean Thompson
(Simon & Schuster – $35.00 – 320 pages)
“These are women we wish we personally knew, empathizing with their choices for better or worse…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of  August Fiction ***

If We Had Known
by Elise Juska
(Grand Central  – $32.50 – 272 pages)
“The book works as social commentary…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Any Dream Will Do
by Debbie Macomber
(Ballantine – $36.00 – 316 pages)
“While some parts of ANY DREAM WILL DO may be predictable, there are still enough interesting moments to make the book stand out from others.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

In the Night Wood 
by Dale Bailey
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $33.00 – 216 pages)
“…a book floating across several genres. It is a mystery, with a touch of horror, some gothic elements, plus a sense of awakening in the darkest of moments.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Heavens
by Sandra Newman
(Grove Press – $38.95 – 260 pages)
“…a truly heavenly piece of literary excellence.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dark Tribute
by Iris Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press – $37.99 – 373 pages)
“…picks up where every other book left off, setting the stage for another pure page turner.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

A Sinister Splendor
by Mike Blakely
(Forge – $38.99 – 433 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…may lack in comparison to other novels in the genre, taken on its own merits, Blakely’s writing is sturdy enough to support the reader’s interest.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Between You And Me
by Allison Winn Scotch
(Lake Union – $20.99 – 352 pages)
Reviewed by: Tori Levang
“This altered timeline and dual perspective style narrative, allows the reader to get into the characters’ heads and sees them grow and develop significantly over time.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Winter Soldier
by Daniel Mason
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 336 pages)
“The book has so much going for it, but the main one is the fat the book is told in such a descriptive manner, it leaves little to the imagination.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

by Jayne Ann Krentz
(Berkley – $36.00 – 310 pages)
“…a book that makes for an unbeatable read in suspense fiction ”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Woman 99
by Greer Macallister
(Harper Collins – $24.99 – 352 pages)
“..a most interesting historical novel, as chilling as it is entertaining.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Blood Oath
by Linda Fairstein
(Dutton – $37.00 – 353 pages)
“Linda Fairstein has done an exceptional job of making Cooper a character we care about and want to read about as much as possible.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Cast
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte Press – $38.99 – 270 pages)
“…THE CAST is still an entertaining book about life, love, family, and loss.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder
by Victoria Hamilton
(Midnight Ink – $21.95 – 352 pages)
“…is the first of a new series, that based on book one, will be a series to watch for with future releases.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Classic Fiction Revisited***

The Madonnas of Echo Park
by Brando Skyhorse
(Free Press – $29.99 – 202 pages)
“Skyhorse makes us examine our own lives, as well as those who must live with their conscience for the deeds they have done.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best August Non-Fiction ***

Howard Stern Comes Again
by Howard Stern
(Simon & Schuster – $45.00 – 552 pages)
“…a treat to read about the new and improved Howard Stern rising from the ashes of his offensive past.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Out of the Shadows: A Memoir
by Timea E. Nagy & Shannon Moroney
(Doubleday Canada – $24.95 – 350 pages)
“…one of those books that will definitely move and impress you by the manner in which the author tells the story of her exploitation by those she trusted.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of August Non-Fiction ****

Seizure the Day
by Brian Orend
(Freehand Books – $22.95 – 410 pages)
“Brian decided to look at this from another angle, which was finding positivity and happiness in the face of serious medical issues.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Broken Glory: The Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy
by Ed Sanders & Rick Veitch
(Arcade – $39.99 – 362 pages)
“The book is different in the fact half the pages have illustrations by Rick Veitch.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Me, Myself, They: Life Beyond the Binary
by Joshua M. Ferguson
(House of Anansi  – $22.95 – 272 pages)
“….Ferguson talks about a non-binary life and how the struggle for acceptance has not always been smooth, but that things are changing for the positive.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Unexpected President: Chester A. Arthur, His Life and Times
by Scott Greenberger
(DaCapo Press  – $36.50 – 292 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“While this book may be a slim volume, it packs a lot of punch and will certainly enlighten history buffs to one of the lesser known periods of history.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Unsolved Murders: True Crime Cases Uncovered
by Amber Hunt & Emily G. Thompson
(DK Books – $25.99  – 178 pages)
“The authors present evidence, and suspects, allowing us to play amateur detective.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton
by Philip Norman
(Little Brown  – $39.00 – 432 pages
“…Norman has included so much information about his life and times, omitting very little if everything.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Zero Sugar Cookbook
by David Zinczenko
(Ballantine – $37.00 – 264 pages)
“You will find enough within the pages of this book to be healthy, happy and totally satisfied.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Stray: Memoir of a Runaway
by Tanya Marquardt
(LittleA – $24.95 – 250 pages)
“…a brutally-honest first person story about a teenage girl who wanted to escape her abusive life and world.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Our Shoes, Our Selves: 40 Women, 40 Stories, 40 Pairs of Shoes
by Bridget Moynahan & Amanda Benchley – Photography by Melanie Dunea
(Abrams – $37.99 -230 pages)
“…we find the stories from forty women from all walks of life, and which pairs of shows meant the most to them.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

Life Will Be The Death of Me…and You Too!
by Chelsea Handler
(Spiegel & Grau – $36.00 – 240 pages)
“This is Chelsea Handler as you have not seen before, making us privileged she has shared her most intimate side with us.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

1,000 Books To Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List
by James Mustich
(Workman – $49.95 – 948 pages)
“…a literary classic, and as the title noes, features “A Life-Changing List.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Algonquin Wild: A Naturalist’s Journey Through the Seasons
by Michael Runtz
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $45.00 – 236 pages)
“It brings into richer perspective just how awe-inspiring the area is…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Top 160 Unusual Things To See In Ontario Sixth Edition
by Ron Brown
(Boston Mills Press – $29.95 – 336 pages)
“You will want to pick many places once you read Ron Brown’s homage to all things great and unusual throughout Ontario.”
Rating:  4 bookmarks

*** Classic Non-Fiction Revisited***

Masters of Fashion
Illustration by David Downton
(Chronicle – $58.00 – 224 pages)
“… a book about the masters of illustrations who bought a rare elegance and sophistication to their craft.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks