Shelf Life Magazine – January 2020

Jan2020coverHappy New Year and welcome to a brand new decade. Where did the last decade go, would be the question posed by many! Shelf Life has been publishing in four decades, beginning in the Spring of 1998 and now part of the 2020’s. April will celebrate our 22nd anniversary, and time truly marches on. But our mission continues to keep bringing readers the best in books, inspiring you to seek these books out and add them to your own must-read lists.

With the colder temperatures out there, settle in and enjoy now only this issue but also the year to come!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best January Fiction ***

We Were Killers Once
by Becky Masterman
(Penguin Canada – $24.95 – 320 pages)
“It is a true page turner that will be impossible to forget.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Curious Toys
by Elizabeth Hand
(Mulholland-Little Brown – $34.00 – 375 pages)
“The book has all the elements of a classic mystery, working so well on many levels.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Last
by Hannah Jameson
Atria – $36.00 – 342 pages
“Yes, the book is dark, and at times many seem to be facing a lost cause, but it becomes survival of the fittest, with people forging onward, possibly to something better.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of January Fiction ***

The Stranger Diaries
by Elly Griffiths
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $22.99 -336 pages)
“…the author gives us even more to cheer about with a standalone book that may be one and done.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Night Before
by Wendy Walker
(St. Martin’s Press – $34.00 – 320 pages)
“…your typical psychological thriller that will keep you on the proverbial edge of your seat until the last few pages.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

By the Pricking of Her Thumb
by Adam Roberts
(Gollancz – $34.99 – 262 pages)
“It makes for a most fascinating murder mystery that sometimes is over the top. It does meander into the bizarre zone but Roberts’ eloquent prose gets the book back on track more than once.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Bag of Tricks Affair
by Bill Pronzini
(Tor – $33.99 – 256 pages)
Reviewed by: Tori Levang
“It is an easy, entertaining read that is thoroughly absorbing and fast-paced.”
Rating:  3 1/2 bookmarks

The Dutch House
by Ann Patchett
(Harper  – $24.99 – 338 pages)
“The book is an epic saga that spans five decades.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Holy Ghost
by John Sandford
(Putnam – $39.00 – 373 pages)
“The usual Sandford style is there, with intrigue and some humour, right to the final pages.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Crooked Street
by Brian Freeman
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 354 pages)
“…will please all readers, taking them on an exhaustive journey for law, order, and justice.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Mrs. Everything
by Jennifer Weiner
(Atria – $24.99 – 466 pages)
“…may be one of Jennifer Weiner’s most creative and intense books.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

The Shadow Between Us
by Carol Mason
(Lake Union Publishing – $21.99 – 247 pages)
Reviewed by: Tori Levang

“…a novel about second chances, overcoming your past, and finding and maintaining hope through major life upheaval. ”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

In His Father’s Footsteps
by Danielle Steel
(Delacorte Press- $38.99 – 323 pages)
“…Steel manages to bring a more human approach to the story, showing what happens when relationships sour, and people are taken for granted.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

League of Dragons
by Naomi Novik
(Del Rey- $37.00 – 380 pages)

Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…manages to combine several genres together into one unforgettable story.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Break In Case of Emergency
by Dick Francis
(Harper Collins – $22.99 – 350 pages)
“…should be on the reading list of high schools. It is a book that resonates with a lot of teens today.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Twice in a Blue Moon
by Christian Lauren
(Gallery – $22.00 – 356 pages)
“…a warm and gentle story that is as much about love and trust, as never confiding anything no matter what.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Sophia Princess Among Beasts
by James Patterson with Emily Raymond
(Little Brown – $34.00 – 352 pages)
“Not his strongest effort and a bit confusing at times, it still will offer the talents of Patterson to a much different audience than he is used to.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best January Non-Fiction ***

The Forest City Killer
by Vanessa Brown
(ECW Press – $24.95 – 350 pages)
“It is obvious Vanessa Brown pored over countless articles, books, and talked to a variety of individuals, to make the book as authoritative as possible.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

TV Noir: Dark Drama on the Small Screen
by Allen Glover
(Abrams – $50.00 – 260 pages)
“…this journey into the golden age of television is certainly a must-read for classic TV lovers and those who enjoyed dark and delightful drama.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Janis: Her Life and Music
by Holly George-Warren
(Simon & Schuster – $38.99 – 380 pages)
“If we thought we already knew a lot about Janis, there were still many layers to be uncovered.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of January Non-Fiction ****

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
by Malcolm Gladwell
(Little Brown – $36.99 – 400 pages)
“He uses psychology and insight into proving his points.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Beatles in 100 Objects (Discover What Made The Fab Four Fab)
by Brian Southall
(Carlton – $39.95 – 298 pages)
“There is so much in this book that Beatles fans will be in their glory thanks to the images.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered
by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
(Forge  – $32.50 – 300 pages)
“While the title might sell some copies, the contents inside are even more reason to own the book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Mari K. Swingle
(New Society – $29.99 – 532 pages)
“Many who deal with problems brought on with our obsession with gaming, cell phones, and social media will benefit from this book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Last Stone
by Mark Bowden
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $39.95 – 352 pages
“Stories of unsolved crimes are always difficult to read…When it involves children, it often makes it even harder to accept.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Smithsonian Women Our Story
Foreward by Rebecca Boggs Roberts
(DK Books – $45.00 – 320 pages)
“This is a book for young girls and women to read to show accomplishments and to never back down or feel inferior. This is truly a book for the ages.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Let’s Play Two (The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks)
by Ron Rapoport
(Hachette – $33.99 – 464 pages)
“…a baseball book at its best, honouring the man and the sport, as he became a true legend.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Heart of a Boy (Celebrating the Strength and Spirit of Boyhood)
by Kate T. Parker
(Workman – $28.95 – 250 pages)
“Page after page we find inspiring comments.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shakespeare’s Library – Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature
by Stuart Kells
(Counterpoint – $38.95- 336 pages)
“Those who enjoy Shakespeare will discover newly uncovered facts about the fan…”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Rough Magic Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race
by Lara Prior-Palmer
(catapult – $37.50 -288 pages)
“In the pages of the book, she takes the reader on that journey in which she won bragging rights to something unique.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Hollywood’s Eve – Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.
by Lili Anolik
(Scribner – $35.00 – 278 pages)
“The book becomes a who’s who of the 60’s and 70’s with so many famous people interacting with Babitz.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Kathleen Turner on Acting (Conversations about Film, Television and Theatre) 
by Kathleen Turner & Dustin Morrow
(Skyhorse – $34.99 – 390 pages)
“Anyone who is considering the acting life would be well-advised to read this book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Almost Human: The Story of Julius, the Chimpanzee Caught Between Two Worlds
by Alfred Fidjestol
(Greystone – $32.95 – 236 pages)
“For those looking for a feel-good animal story, you cannot go wrong with ALMOST HUMAN.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** For Younger Readers ***

Talking to the Moon
by Jan L. Coates
(Red Deer Press – $12.95 – 332 pages)
“The book echoes how many pre-teens and teens feel isolated no matter what sort of upbringing they had.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – December 2019

December 2019 Shelf CoverBring on the holidays! I say it again and again; where does the time go and how did Christmas 2019 come so soon? It is here and hopefully it will be the most memorable for everyone one of you. With the holidays comes our annual Books As Holiday Gifts Buying Guide. This is our 14th Annual Issue and it is one of our most popular issues as people decide which books to buy for family and friends. There are books here for all ages, on a variety of subjects that will appeal to the young, old and the young at heart. We offer more than thirty titles for your reading and gift giving pleasures. As with all December issues, no bookmarks are given. Every book noted here is highly recommended.

On behalf of Shelf Life book reviewers, I would like to wish you all a most memorable holiday season. May it be one filled with great love, happiness, and most of all a time for wonderful memories, that bring gladness and joy to your heart not only at this time, but every day of the coming year.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died
by Alyson Rudd
(HQ – $32.99 -384 pages)
“Alyson Rudd’s debut novel hits all the right spots, with many comparing this book to the Gwyneth Paltrow film SLIDING DOORS.”

Someone We Know
by Shari Lapena
(Doubleday Canada – $24.95 – 380 pages)
“…the book is big on deception and enough lies to confuse and amaze the reader.”

The Van Appel Girls Are Gone
by Felicity McLean
(Algonquin – $23.95 – 300 pages)
“…there are so many levels to the story, one that makes the book so compelling and irresistible.”

Deception Cove
by Owen Laukkanen
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $33.00 – 374 pages)
“…one powerful tale, and don’t be deceived into passing this book by. It deserves to be read.”

The Night Window
by Dean Koontz
(Bantam – $37.00 – 420 pages)
“Jane Hawk was one of the best female protagonists Koontz has ever created.”

Death Blow
by Isabella Maldonado
(Midnight Ink – $21.99 – 330 pages)
“DEATH BLOW is book three of the Veranda Cruz series, possibly the most intense tale of the trio.”

Dead At First Sight
by Peter James
(Macmillan – $44.95 – 436 pages)
“Peter James never skimps on detail in in his book. Nor on interesting plots.”

by Rachel Edwards
(Fourth Estate – $24.95 – 343 pages)
“…a blend of domestic suspense and thriller…”

Under Currents
by Nora Roberts
(St. Martin’s Press – $36.99 -436 pages)
“This is another powerful suspense/love story from one of the best writers of today.”

by Jon Clinch
(Atria – $36.00 – 288 pages)
“Jon Clinch does an exceptional job of reworking the traditional tale.”

Someone Knows
by Lisa Scottoline
(Putnam – $36.00 – 388 pages)
“…a book so good you will want to let everyone know that they should read it.”

Hard Ride
by Elmer Kelton
(Forge- $36.50 – 416 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“No matter what tale you embark on, odds are in your favour that you will come across a story that you will wish not to put down ”

Once Upon A River
by  Diane Setterfield
(Bond Street/Doubleday Canada – $34.00 – 420 pages)
“…a true gem of a work of fiction.”

Ask Again, Yes
by Mary Beth Keane
(Scribner – $24.99 – 390 pages)
“…a book that you will enjoy and savor totally.”

The Stranger Inside
by Laura Benedict
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $35.00 – 352 pages)
“…definitely Laura Benedict’s best book.”

The Time for Murder is Meow
by T.C. Lotempio
(Midnight Ink – $21.99 – 303 pages)
“…will more than have you purring by the time you reach the end of the book.”

The Women in the Blue Cloak
by Deon Meyer – Translated by K.L. Seegers
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $29.95 – 160 pages)
“…short but inside the pages of the slim volume is a riveting tale, where you wish there were dozens more pages.”


*** Non-Fiction Section ***

The Nature of Life and Death Every Body Leaves A Trace
by Patricia Wiltshire
(Putnam – $36.00 -290 pages)
“It brings a most unique form of forensics into the public eye.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (The Wild Definitive Sage of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup)
by David Browne
(DaCapo – $39.00 – 464 pages)
“This is a super book for those who could get enough of the original supergroup.”

Inside Out
by Demi Moore
(Harper – $34.99 – 262 pages)
“By the time you finish this most riveting story, you will have a new appreciation and respect for the star.”

The Five: The Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Women
by Hallie Rubenhold
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $39.99 – 352 pages)
“Hallie Rubenhold finally gives them a voice and some long-overdue dignity.”

This One Looks Like a Boy – My Gender Journey to Life As A Man
by Lorimer Shehner
(Greystone  – $32.95 – 292 pages)
“Lorimer looks at life from different directions, and anyone going through similar gender issues will find solace in his words.”

Backroads of Ontario 5th Edition Expanded and Updated
by Ron Brown
(Firefly – $29.95 – 256 pages)
“BACKROADS OF ONTARIO takes us back to basics, savouring unique locations, and offering countless reasons to visit them.”

Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy
by Desirina Boskovich
(Abrams Image – $37.95 – 280 pages)
“This book is a sci-fi/fantasy lover’s dream come true, with so many little known nuggets that will give readers even more to love about the genres.”

50 Years of Fluevog (Unique Soles for Unique Souls)
by John Fluevog
(Life Tree Media – $65.00 – 170 pages
“That shows dedication and great sole, and a truly amazing life.”

The Time Has Come (Why Men Must Join The Gender Equality Revolution)
by Michael Kaufman
(Anansi – $22.95 – 262 pages)
“This is an important book as well for fathers and sons to read and discuss what is expected of them in life. The time has come to read this book and learn the lessons noted inside.”

The First Americans: The Story of the Indigenous North Americans
by Jay Wertz
(Andrew Deutsch- $39.95 – 160 pages)
“It is a first-class reference guide and precise historical tribute to Native peoples.”

Smithsonian Fashion: The Definitive Visual Guide New Edition
(DK Books – $65.00 – 480 pages)
“…one readily sees the long and fascinating journey the fashion world has taken.”

Kitchen Party Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion 
by Mary Berg
(Appetite – $32.00 – 260 pages)
“This is a classic recipe book that takes the stress out of food and entertaining.”

by Laura Clery
(Gallery – $34.00 – 248 pages)
“IDIOT may seem an appropriate title for some, but survivor is now her mantra, as life will not always be a bottomless pit.”

Be With: Letters To A Caregiver
by Mike Barnes
(Biblioasis – $17.95 – 150 pages)
“…reading Mike Barnes’ poignant recounting in dealing with the disease involving his mother Mary will leave one misty-eyes at times.”

British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas
by Derek Hayes
(Douglas & McIntyre – $44.95 – 368 pages)
“It is like holding a part of the world in your fingertips. Turning every page revealing another part of the masterpiece.”

*** Books for Children ***

Summer North Coming
by Dorothy Bentley – Illustrated by Jessica Bartram
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95- 32 pages)
“With some fun facts about sharks,  they will teach children about them and other creatures that dwell beneath the waters.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – November 2019

While novdecshelfcoverwe may not offer the same enthusiasm as people opening Christmas gifts on December 25, every issue of Shelf Life strives to offer people the reason to take home a copy with them from wherever they find the issues. And the fact that readers are picking us up in higher numbers than ever, issues are often gone within a week or two of their arrival, says something about the public’s need to read and to discover books worthy of their time.

Each issue out, that is precisely the goal of Shelf Life, and while we could not possibly have space or time to feature every book of interest, one thing we guarantee is variety within our pages. We attempt to review timely titles, along with books that are not always gaining the attention they deserve. That has always been our goal and we will never waver from it.

As I have said before, please keep those emails coming about what you enjoy about the issues and areas we can improve. After 21 issues and 223 issues we are never too old for comments and criticism. Enjoy the issue!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best November Fiction ***

The Chain
by Adrian McKinty
(Mulholland/Little Brown – $36.50 – 368 pages)
“There is little question how good a book THE CHAIN is.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Invited
by Jennifer McMahon
(Doubleday Canada – $34.00 – 353 pages)
“THE INVITED hearkens back to classic ghost stories of the past.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of  November Fiction ***

Last Summer
by Kerry Lonsdale
(Lake Union – $21.95 – 285 pages)
“LAST SUMMER might be considered a beach read, but don’t let the fact Fall has arrived deter you from picking the book up.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Infinite Blacktop
by Sara Gran
(Atria – $35.00 – 292 pages)
“The book swings like a pendulum from past to present, as the plot becomes much clearer.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Shallows
by Matt Goldman
(Forge – $36.50 – 320 pages)
“…the author evokes memories of classic fiction from the forties and fifties.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Liar Liar 
by James Patterson and Candace Fox
(Little Brown- $36.50 – 375 pages)
“…(leads) to a shocking finale that makes us anticipate the next book all the more.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

February’s Son
by Alan Parks
(Canongate – $32.95 – 355 pages)
“The book is the perfect sequel to the BLOODY JANUARY classic debut.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Last Girl Lied
by L.E. Flynn
(Imprint – $23.50 – 347 pages)
“The book is filled with puzzles and questions without answers, where the more you read, the more determined you are to continue reading to find out what is happening and why.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Woman in the Lake
by Nicola Cornick
(Graydon House – $23.95 – 308 pages)
Reviewed by Tori Levang
“Darkly dramatic, thrilling, and full of mystery, the reader quickly becomes enthralled…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Wild Card
by Stuart Woods
(Putnam – $37.00 – 311 pages)
“There is intrigue, minor suspense, but in the long-run, it is much of the same as we have come to expect from Woods.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Your Truth or Mine?
by Trisha Sakhlecha
(Macmillan- $33.99 -436 pages)
“…a most intriguing thriller that brings to the literary world the talents of newcomer author Trisha Sakhlecha. ”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Current
by Tim Johnston
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – $38.95 – 408 pages)
“The book has everything going for it, especially a story quite riveting, with characters that leap right off the page into your lap.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Reckoning
by John Grisham
(Doubleday – $37.00 – 430 pages)
“…ranks right up there with Grisham’s best.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Her Father’s Secret
by Sara Blaedel
(Grand Central – $34.00 – 320 pages)
“There are many plot twists in effect here, making book two, most compelling.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Waiting Hours
by Shandi Mitchell
(Viking – $24.95 – 386 pages)
“It is sure to resonate among those who demand superior fiction.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Last Romantics
by Tara Conklin
(Harper Avenue – $22.99 – 352 pages)
“…shows how the human condition is challenged by tsunamis of a different kind in our lives that challenge us…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dual Citizens
by Alix Ohlin
(Anansi – $22.95 – 275 pages)
“…a story of love and hope and committing oneself to those we love in our lives.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best November Non-Fiction ***

Haben the Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law
by Haben Girma
(Twelve – $35.50 – 27 pages)
“…you might have a different perspective and believe anything is possible.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

DC Comics: A Year by Year Chronicle New Edition
by Alan Cowsill, Alex Irvine, Matthew K. Manning, Michael McAvennie, Melanie Scott & Daniel Wallace
(DK Books – $65.00 – 365 pages)
“No one could find fault anywhere with such an exceptional comics chronicle.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of November Non-Fiction ****

Unforgettable Canada – 125 Destinations Fourth Edition
by George Fischer & Noel Hudson
(Boston Mills Press – $29.95 – 352 pages)
“The book is as unforgettable as the title.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

NHL The Official Illustrated History
by Arthur Pincus With David Rossner, Len Hochberg, Chris Malcolm & Craig Ellenport
(Thomas Allen – $34.99 – 292 pages)
“It will serve as a reference guide for generations to come.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West
by John Boessenecker
(Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press  – $38.99 – 348 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…showcases the history of the company through the lives and careers of some of it most famous and heroic employees.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Death of Hitler: The Final Word
by Jean-Christophe Brisard & Lana Parshina
(DaCapo – $38.00 – 330 pages)
“It makes the book read at times more like a classic work of fiction, adding even more intrigue to the story.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Three Woman
by Lisa Taddeo
(Avid Reader Press – $36.00 – 306 pages)
“…an inspiring tale of one man’s dreams, visions and courage, and anyone who reads this work will find their own lives more than changing for the better.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

True Roots
by Kristin Cavallari
(Rodale – $29.99 – 252 pages
“The diverse nature of the trio makes for fascinating reading.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Detective Comics 80 Years of Batman The Deluxe Edition
by Paul Levitz
(DC Comics – $39.99 – 420 pages)
“Fans of Batman will find this edition most thorough and entertaining.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Killer Across The Table: Unlocking the Secrets of Serial Killers and Predators With the FBI’s Original Mindhunter
by John Douglas With Mark Olshaker
(Dey Street – $23.99 – 342 pages)
“…the perfect book for those who enjoy true crime. This one in particular goes a step beyond to probe deeper than most books”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Nature-Based Therapy A Practitioner’s Guide to Working Outdoors With Children, Youth, and Families
by Kevin Harper, Kathryn Rose, & David Segal
(New Society Publishers – $24.99 – 288 pages)
“The information is priceless and timeless, hopefully providing the perfect antidote for certain mental issues.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Sherlock Holmes Museum: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(Prion – $55.00- 1095 pages)
“With four classic novels and fifty-six short stories, you can savour this book over days, weeks, or months.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Shazam The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal
by Chip Kidd & Geoff Spear
(Abrams Comic Arts – $31.99 – no page count)
“Those who know the Captain Marvel of today owe it to themselves to discover precisely how the original came about.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

A Dark Night in Aurora: Inside James Holmes and the Colorado Mass Shootings
by William H. Reid
(Skyhorse – $34.99 – 272 pages)
“Reid tells in detail what happened that fateful night when twelve people died and dozens were wounded.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Complete Eye Health & Nutrition Guide
by Laurie Capogna
(Robert Rose – $27.95 – 240 pages)
“…wants to give everyone a fighting change in terms of vision.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Luftwaffe Eagle (A WWII German Airman’s Story)
by Erich Sommer
(Grub Street – $35.00 – 222 pages)
“The book’s tone offers a different perspective on War and the rise of the Nazi regime.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Definitive Guide to Horror Movies
by James Marriott & Kim Newman
(Carlton – $39.95 – 368 pages)
“No matter what your tastes in horror are, you will find it here, form the psychological horrors to graphic slasher-style cinema.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Books for Younger Readers ***

Save Your Friends
by Hyewon Kyung
(Greenwillow – $21.00 – 32 pages)
“With some fun facts about sharks,  they will teach children about them and other creatures that dwell beneath the waters.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Cold Little Voice
by Alison Hughes – Illustrated by Jan Dolby
(Clockwise Press – $19.95- 32 pages)
“There is a joy to read and will reinforce positivity in their lives, even in the times of the greatest refusal to believe in themselves.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – October 2019

septoct19coverEveryone has defining moments in their lives, ones that stand out from many others. I guess I had that moment late this past summer when I took my annual train trip to Toronto. It was not only to spend a leisurely day visiting old book stores and the likes. I also went with the purpose of watching a live to air taping of The Social, a popular daytime program. It is Canada’s equivalent of The View, but much more entertaining. Jess Allen, one of the ladies on the panel, arranged to get me a ticket. I had sent her issues of Shelf Life a couple of years ago, and always wanted to see a live show. I happened to get a seat in the front row and was less than thirty feet from the table where the ladies on the pane sit and debate issues of the day. People even told me they saw me on television a few times when the camera panned to the audience. After the show, the ladies come and shake hands and thank the audience for coming out. Jess came my way and shook my hand. I introduced myself and she said she was glad I could come. She also asked if she could give me a hug. First of all, no one has ever asked me that, and secondly I have never hugged anyone famous. It was a day I shall never forget and as noted a defining moment. Thank you Jess and ladies of The Social for such wonderful memories.

We hope this issue offers defining books you will embrace and read. There are more than thirty such titles, all recommended for your Fall book choices. Please let us know which books you liked the most, and what titles you hope to see reviewed in the future. It is always a pleasure drawing such books to your attention.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best October Fiction ***

She Lies in Wait
by Gytha Lodge
(Random House – $36.00 – 358 pages)
“The story is methodical, giving readers an opportunity to finger the guilty.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Woman in the Dark
by Vanessa Savage
(Grand Central – $35.50 – 348 pages)
“The psychological darkness of the book, is what makes THE WOMAN IN THE DARK such a spectacular debut novel.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of  October Fiction ***

Lady in the Lake
by Laura Lippman
(William Morrow – $33.50 – 352 pages)
“(Lippman’s) latest, LADY IN THE LAKE, is destined for the same greatness as her past efforts.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Me For You
by Lolly Winston
(Gallery – $35.00 – 315 pages)
“…a warm and tender love story of coping with tragedy, overcoming life’s hurdles, and coming out stronger than ever.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Keep This To Yourself
by Tom Ryan
(Albert Whitman & Co. – $23.99 – 310 pages)
“It will not only appeal to the teen crowd, but written so well that an older audience who enjoy a good old-fashioned mystery, will find it appealing as well.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Never Tell
by Lisa Gardner
(Dutton- $36.00 – 404 pages)
“…another great plot where nothing is where it seems.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Long Road to Mercy
by David Baldacci
(Grand Central – $38.00 – 404 pages)
“The author plans out his characters most methodically, realizing what characters will work and why.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Tuscan Child
by Rhys Bowen
(Lake Union – $36.95 – 336 pages)
Reviewed by Tori Levang
“…a thoroughly compelling read for lovers of romance and mystery.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

I Know A Secret
by Tess Gerritsen
(Ballantine – $37.00 – 321 pages)
“This is book twelve of the series, and there is little question it may be the most complex.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Courting Mr. Lincoln
by Louis Bayard
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill  – $39.95 – 379 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…chronicles the courtship between the future president and his future bridge, from both the woman’s point-of-view, as well as that of Lincoln’s close friend.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Is There Still Sex In the City?
by Candace Bushnell
(Anansi – $24.95 – 272 pages)
“Those longing for life after Sex in the City might find the next best thing with this book. ”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Past Tense
by Lee Child
(Delacorte Press – $38.99 – 383 pages)
“PAST TENSE is another Jack Reacher classic, that will definitely keep Lee Child fans happy  until another book hits the store shelves.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Vanishing Box
by Elly Griffiths
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – $36.00 – 358 pages)
“…Elly Griffiths (is) proving great writing is no illusion but something very real.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Unto Us A Son Is Given
by Donna Leon
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $38.95 – 262 pages)
“While none of the books are packed with thrill a minute moments, it is the slow and precise pace of Donna Leon that has given the series its charm and longevity.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

First Tracks
by Catherine O’Connell
(Severn House – $38.99 – 250 pages)
“It is a book that gets more intense by the page.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Classic Fiction Revisited***

Inside Man
by Jeff Abbott
(Grand Central – $29.00 – 390 pages)
“…another example of suspense done well, and those who have not read a Sam Capra book previously, should quickly jump on the bandwagon.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best October Non-Fiction ***

Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition
Introduction by Stan Lee
(DK Books – $52.00 – 450 pages)
“Any true lovers of Marvel must own this book, a first-class reference edition for the Marvel maniacs in all of us.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
by Peter Doggett
(Atria – $37.00 – 360 pages)
“…an excellent read for those who either followed the band or the performers individually.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of October Non-Fiction ****

Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy
by Stephen Moore & Arthur B. Laffer
(All Points Books – $37.99 – 290 pages)
“…outlines the polices that were set in place once Trump became President, along with his attempt to make good on all his campaign promises.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

Modern Wedding (Creating a Celebration That Looks & Feels Like You)
by Kelsey McKinnon
(Artisan – $60.00- 386 pages)
“…looks at every fact of the wedding, covering all bases in a most engaging manner.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Adventures in Memory
by Hilde & Ylva Ostby
(Greystone  – $29.95 – 302 pages)
“The book is a brave step in understanding memory. Just don’t forget to read it.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

So Here’s the Thing…Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut
by Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler
(Twelve  – $35.00 – 230 pages)
“Time spent in the White House helped hone her skills in taking both light and complex issues, putting them under the magnifying glass.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Misfit: Autistic, Gay, Immigrant, Changemaker – A Memoir
by Andrea Souvaliotis
(Doubleday Canada – $22.95 – 276 pages)
“…an inspiring tale of one man’s dreams, visions and courage, and anyone who reads this work will find their own lives more than changing for the better.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

True Roots
by Kristin Cavallari
(Rodale – $29.99 – 252 pages
“She creates recipes that are free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar, offering foods that are good for not only the person creating, but the entire family”
Rating: 3 1/2  bookmarks

The 6 Keys: Unlock Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health, and Beauty
by Jillian Michaels with Myatt Murphy
(Little Brown Spark – $36.50 – 300 pages)
“…will steer you in the right direction to give you more vitality.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Guide to the Real World
by Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodal
(Harvard Business Review – $39.99 – 256 pages)
“We are not lying when we state that if you want to read just one business-oriented book this year, NINE LIES ABOUT WORK, should be that book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing – Ninth Edition
by Harry Mullan, Bob Mee and Matt Bozeat
(Carlton – $59.95 – 260 pages)
“…we get to relive the glory days of pugilism.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

The Secret Life of the Brain: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Mind
by Alfred David
(Firefly – $24.95 – 192 pages)
“If you are looking for a challenging read, the book is for you.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Two Fisted Tales – The EC Archives Volume 4
by Jack Davis and Colin Dawkins
(Dark Horse – $65.99 – 214 pages)
“Dark Horse has to be commended for their tribute to the classics from the EC Comics lines.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War II
by James Holland
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $41.95 – 390 pages)
“James Holland offers a most readable book that focuses on what was known as Big Week.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

*** Classic Non-Fiction Revisited ***

She Always Knew How: Mae West A Personal Biography
by Charlotte Chandler
(Simon & Schuster – $34.00 – 317 pages)
Reviewed by Joan Sutter
“…a classic tribute to a one-of-a-kind woman, thanks to her sex appeal, one liners and style..”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Books for Children ***

The Imperfect Garden 
by Melissa Assaly & April Dela Noche Milne
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“This is a highly-recommended picture book to show children the value of growing their own fruits and vegetables .”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Moon Watched It All
by Shelly A. Leedahl – Illustrated by Aino Anto
(Red Deer Press – $19.95- 32 pages)
“This is a charming sort of fable, involving an older woman who is alone in the world, and a boy with no name.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Shelf Life Magazine – September 2019

Sept2019coverSeptember means many things, including back to school if you have children. It also means back to a normal life as well, including less trips and closing down the cottage if you own one. This signifies more time for reading for many, and with this issue, comes over thirty reasons to read books. With something for every reading taste, we hope you will find a book or books to your liking.

Shelf Life recently lost a long-time reader who was a book lover from way back. Conrad Odegaard ask me to bring him half a dozen copies of each issue sho he could take them to his friends  he had breakfast with every Saturday morning. He gave them to the friends, so they could decide which books to purchase for the coming month. This was a ritual for years and with his passing, this world has lost a great person who accomplished so much during his seventy-five years. I dedicate this issue in his memory. He will be missed.

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best September Fiction ***

by David Baldacci
(Grand Central – $38.00 – 422 pages)
“(Baldacci) has that knack for taking a story and crafting it into something exceptional.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

After She’s Gone
by Camille Grebe – Translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel
(Ballantine – $36.00 – 380 pages)
“…the story becomes very complex, giving it a personal and more urgent touch”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of  September Fiction ***

The Stone Circle
by Elly Griffiths
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  – $39.00 – 368 pages)
“…Elly Griffiths proves yet again why her books are so popular and irresistible.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Never Look Back
by Alison Gaylin
(William Morrow – $21.00 – 343 pages)
“…a tense thriller that shows the effects of murder on a family and the consequences of those who were part of the crime.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dead If You Don’t
by Peter James
(Macmillan – $25.99 – 420 pages)

Reviewed by John M. Milner
“If there is one overwhelming theme in DEAD IF YOU DON’T, it’s that nothing is what it seems.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Strong as Steel
by Jon Land
(Forge – $36.50 – 332 pages)
“STRONG AS STEEL keeps the Caitlin mystique as strong as ever, thanks to one action sequence after another.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Wolf and the Watchman
by Niklas Natt Och Dag
(Atria – $23.00 – 373 pages)
“The author has created a very readable historical novel, filled with a bit of everything but mainly great characters and story.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

All the Wrong Places
by Joy Fielding
(Doubleday Canada – $25.00 – 360 pages)
“When it comes to quality mystery and suspense, one can never go wrong with a Joy Fielding book.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Murder Book
by Lissa Marie Redmond
(Midnight Ink – $21.99 – 303 pages)
“This police procedural has the right amount of intrigue and suspense.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Target Alex Cross
by James Patterson
(Little Brown – $38.00 – 432 pages)
“The book goes beyond traditional Alex Cross fare, making it possibly the most complex and heart-stopping of the series.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Wolf Pack
by C.J. Box
(Putnam – $36.00 – 373 pages)
“Box gives readers one thrill after another with nothing in black and white. ”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Night of Miracles
by Elizabeth Berg
(Random House – $35.00 – 268 pages)
“It is a miracle of a book, written in a style that will have readers riveted to the pages…”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Every Breath
by Nicholas Sparks
(Grand Central – $36.50 – 306 pages)
“The book may not be as romantically riveting as past novels, but is still recommended for all who enjoy a great love story written from the male perspective.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Of Blood and Bone
by Nora Roberts
(St. Martin’s Press – $35.99 – 454 pages)
“Roberts narrates the tale with such passion, that you visualize every sentence you read.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by Adam Southward
(Thomas & Mercer – $23.95 – 330  pages)
“The book turns ghoulish and downright creepy at times…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Classic Fiction Revisited***

Touch & Go
by Lisa Gardner
(Dutton – $28.50 – 420 pages)
“…this was the first book that kept me reading after one o’clock in the morning.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best September Non-Fiction ***

Smithsonian Spaceflight: The Complete Story from Sputnik to Curiousity
by Giles Sparrow
(DK Books – $52.00 – 320 pages)
“The book is rich with photos and a thorough overview of space travel.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Treasures of Led Zeppelin
by Chris Welch
(Carlton – $59.95 – 66 pages with slipcover)
“…a must-own by any fan of Led Zeppelin.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of September Non-Fiction ****

The Wisdom of Wonder Woman
by Signe Bergstrom
(Chronicle – $21.50 – 114 pages)
“It is obvious Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, and is little wonder that this character has shown a resurgence not only in the comic world but also was a blockbuster Hollywood movie.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Where You Going With That Gun In Your Hand (The True Crime  Blotter of Rock ‘n’ Roll)
by Keith Elliott Greenberg
(Backbeat – $31.95 – 294 pages)
“…the author studies the tumultuous careers of those in the music word and whose death were murder, accident or suicide.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry
by Alexander Dawkins
(Greystone  – $24.95 – 180 pages)
“…an important book in that it looks at the art, the artists, and traditions for some of the most intricate jewelry ever designed.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Eat Feel Fresh (A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook)
by Sahara Rose Ketabi
(Alpha  – $32.00 – 252 pages)
“…he book will open new avenues in life and health, creating better balance, healing and more.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia
by Christina Thompson
(Harper Collins – $36.99  – 320 pages)

Reviewed by Tori Levang
“The result is a fully-fleshed, truly multi-dimensional and ultimately stunning portrayal of these mysterious islands.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography
by Chris Salewicz
(DaCapo – $39.00 – 520 pages
“The research is impeccable and the telling of Page’s story in entertaining…”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Majesty: The Illustrated History of Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal House of Windsor
by Rod Green
(Andre Deutsch- $50.00 – 224 pages)
“…a must-read book for those who are royal watchers and those who love the pageantry of royalty.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being
by Amy Fung
(Book*Hug – $20.00 – 184 pages)
“…draws the reader into Fung’s take on life, where yo could easily get lost within the pages, easily reading this book in less than a day.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy
by Paige Williams
(Hatchette – $36.50 – 374 pages)
“Dinosaurs may be long extinct but great journalism like this is certainly not.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

Fame: The Hijacking of Reality
by Justine Bateman
(Akashic Books – $40.50 – 208 pages)
“FAME looks at the price many have paid for fame.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

For Single Mothers Working As Train Conductors
by Laura Esther Wolfson
(University of Iowa Press – $25.99 – 182 pages)
“The manner in which she relates all the events make this book a true joy to read.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Talking to Myself
by Daniela Rivera Zacarias
(Skyhorse – $22.95 – 220 pages)
“…there is little question that you will appreciate the wisdom and insight of Daniela Rivera Zacarias.”
Rating: 3 bookmarks

*** Classic Non-Fiction Revisited ***

The Opposite of Loneliness – Essays and Stories
by Marina Keegan
(Scribner – $27.00 – 210 pages)
“Each essay seems more profound than the other, and by the time you finish the book, you will feel sadness, but also gratitude…”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Books for Children ***

I Didn’t Stand Up
by Lucy Falcone- Illustrated Jacqueline Hudon
(Clockwise Press – $19.95 – 32 pages)
“The book is magical, one that shows tolerance and treating everyone as an equal.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

The Magical Forest
by Theodore Beres – Illustrated by Kristy De Guzman
(Magical Forest Press – $7.99 – 36 pages)
“This is a new series for very young children, all centering around some very friendly bears.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

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

Shelf Life Magazine – July 2019

ShelfLifeJuly2019I don’t now what many readers’ happiest memories of summer would be, but when I was out of public school for the two-month vacation, besides going for short holidays with my mother and grandparents, reading was a key activity. My choice of reading material was the Hardy Boys books, of which I read every single title released up until 1968. Another favourite item to read was comic books, of which I had more than a plentiful supply I bought all summer long. Today, of course, my tastes have changed to reading as many varied books as possible, so I can offer Shelf Life readers choices of recommended titles. No matter where your areas of interest lie, I  hope summer does not mean straying from books, because summer is the perfect time to sit back, relax, and no matter where you are, open up a book. With this issue, we hope we have made your task that much easier, with over thirty titles to inform, amuse, and excite. Have a safe and happy summer!

Paul Sutter

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*** Fiction Section ***
*** Best July Fiction ***

Say You’re Sorry
by Karen Rose
(Berkley – $35.00 – 614 pages)
“(600 pages) does not take away from the fact it is a most engrossing tale.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

Paper Ghosts
by Julia Heaberlin
(Ballantine – $35.00 – 350 pages)
“…as dark a psychological thriller as you would ever wish to read.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

*** Rest of  July Fiction ***

The Malta Exchange
by Steve Berry
(St. Martin’s Press – $37.99 – 416 pages)
“In typical Steve Berry style, there are secret rings, palindromes that are secret codes, typical dark and sinister enigmas associated with the church, and much more.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Skin Game
by J.D. Allen
(Midnight Ink – $21.99 – 306 pages)
“Those who enjoyed the first book in the Sin City series, will like SKIN GAME just as much.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

by James Patterson & James O. Born
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 416 pages)
“AMBUSH is top-notch fiction from Patterson and Born, keeping this series as engaging as it was way back in book one.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Connections in Death
by J.D. Robb
(St. Martin’s Press – $37.99 – 372 pages)
“In books forty-eight, Robb creates another classic murder mystery.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Ballad of Black Bart
by Loren D. Estleman
(Forge – $32.50 – 237 pages)
Reviewed by: John M. Milner
“…like a novel inside a history book.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Burglar
by Thomas Perry
(Mysterious Press – $38.95 – 288 pages)
“…continues the level of excellence, offering suspense in every sentence.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The Dreamers
by Karen Thompson Walker
(Bond Street/Doubleday Canada – $32.95 – 305 pages)
“…well worth the wait, with a book bordering on science fiction, and fantasy, plus great heart, soul, and haunting moments.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

Three Little Lies
by Laura Marshall
(Grand Central – $34.00 – 320 pages)
“…it draws the reader so far into the book, you feel like you are part of the story.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Hunt Them Down
by Simon Gervais
(Thomas & Mercer – $22.95 – 333 pages)
“…a thriller to the max.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

My Sister the Serial Killer
by Oyinkan Braithwaite
(Doubleday Canada  – $29.95 – 228 pages)
“It is a book that grows on you the longer you read.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

High Voltage
by Karen Marie Moning
(Delacorte Press – $37.00 – 480 pages)
“Karen Marie Moning can certainly craft a book, holding the interest of the reader no matter how wild, weird, and out there the story becomes.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

The DNA of You and Me
by Andrea Rothman
(William Morrow – $33.50 – 256 pages)
“Write this name down. Andrea Rothman. I say that because you will be hearing a lot from her down the road if her debut novel The DNA OF YOU AND ME is any indication of her amazing literary talents.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Museum of Modern Love
by Heather Rose
(Algonquin Paperback – $23.95 – 288 pages)
“…meant to be savored one page at a time, and by book’s end you will certainly be moved by the manner in which Arky’s story becomes at times, everyone’s story.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Miss Bingley Requests
by Judy McCrosky
(Crooked Lane – $35.95 – 328 pages)
“…a reimagining of (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE) and is told through the eyes and soul of Caroline Bingley
Rating: 3bookmarks

*** Classic Fiction Revisited***

Beginning with this issue, Shelf Life is going to present one older work of fiction and non-fiction in every issue. It is meant to draw your attention to a past work in case you missed it the first time. We hope you will enjoy this new feature.

Turning Angel
by Greg Iles
(Scribner – $25.00 – 600 pages)
“…another strong effort from Iles, who continues to offer some of the best suspense fiction in the writing world.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Non-Fiction Section ***
*** Best July  Non-Fiction ***

Artists: Their Lives and Works
by Ross King
(DK Books – $52.00 – 360 pages)
“…a comprehensive look at the world of art, along with those visionaries who changed the art world, one paint stroke at a time.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

My Dad Yogi, A Memoir of Family and Baseball
by Dale Berra
(Hachette – $34.00 – 256 pages)
“.Any fan of baseball will enjoy this loving look at the baseball legend from someone who knew him inside and out.”
Rating: 5 bookmarks

**** Rest of July Non-Fiction ****

The Complete Beatles Song (The Stories Behind Every Track Written by the Fab Four)
by Steve Turner
(Carlton – $50.00 – 352 pages)
“The lyrics are included as well, along with the inspiration for the songs.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry that Shaped Rock’n’Roll
by Ian S. Port
(Scribner – $37.00 – 340 pages)
“Thanks to these two men who wanted to make their mark in music in different ways, the electric guitar became synonymous with sounds that soothed and rocked a generation.”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

A History of France
by John Julius Norwich
(Atlantic Monthly Press – $44.95 – 400 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“The author has certainly worked tirelessly to produce a full and complete history of the European country”
Rating: 4 1/2 bookmarks

The Diabetes Code
by Dr. Jason Fung
(Greystone – $24.95  – 252 pages)
“…he takes a common sense approach as he looks at diabetes from many perspectives.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump
by Andrew G. McCabe
(St. Martin’s Press  – $38.99 – 272 pages
“…one of the best books written about life with Trump and those who pulled the strings around him.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Vegan Meal Prep
by Robin Asbell
(Robert Rose – $24.95 – 192 pages)
“The book represents a five-week plan where you can duplicate 125 recipes.”
Rating: 3 1/2 bookmarks

Disney’s The Art of Ralph Breaks the Internet
by Jessica Julius
(Chronicle – $57.00 – 170 pages)
“…shows all the steps that went into the production of the film.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Churchill The Young Warrior – How He Helped Win The First World War
by John Harte
(Skyhorse – $19.99 -375 pages)
Reviewed by John M. Milner
“…discusses his life and times, with perhaps the most intense and well-rounded spotlight to be shone upon his experiences during the Boer War, and the period leading up to the First World War.”
Rating: 4  bookmarks

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Hope, Love and Overcoming
by Kerri Rawson
(Thomas Nelson – $22.99 – 322 pages)
“Kerri Rawson is to be commended for offering her story,  as to how the man she looked up to as she grew up, was the BTK Killer.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Let the Good Times Roll: The Autobiography of Kenny Jones
(Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press – $38.99 – 358 pages)
“…in his candid tale, we learn much more about the man and his music.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and The Drug Company That Addicted America
by Beth Macy
(Little Brown – $36.50 – 384 pages)
“…look at the root causes of the present opioid epidemic, with Beth Macy pointing fingers and taking names.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

Life and Death in the Sunshine State
by Cutter Wood
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill – $38.95 – 228 pages)
“It is like a work of speculative fiction taken to extremes, though there are still a multitude of questions left unanswered.”
Rating:3 bookmarks

A Life In Movies – Stories from 50 Years in Hollywood
by Irwin Winkler
(Abrams Press – $33.00 – 304 pages)
“…Winkler discusses the movies that meant the most to him, and the ones that were the most challenging bringing to the silver screen.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

*** Classic Non-Fiction Revisited***

The Highway of Heroes
by Kathy Stinson
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $21.95 – 32 pages)
“The book though somber is also one of hope, in honor of that soldier.”
Rating: 4 bookmarks

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