Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott


I have to thank Goodreads for this book. This was one of their side advertisement books and a giveaway. I read the little blurb about the book and entered the giveaway. I didn't win it, but I liked the book summary so much I knew I wanted to read this book at some point. Sure it took a few years before I finally got around to reading it, but I'm glad I did. I was looking around at the library and saw this in the audio section so I picked it up with a few other books I have had on my to-read list for awhile. 

I want to mention this before I get in any further into my review. This is a book that I was glad I read the reviews first. On Good reads it seemed like there were a lot of mixed reviews. The book overall has just under 4 stars and a lot of the reviews seemed to be 2 star reviews. When I look at the reviews I sadly admit that I focus on the negative ones. I want to know why people hated the book so much so I know od have a feel for what I might encounter that I might not like.  Those reviews also help me judge if it is really worth my time to invest in the book. I think because of the reviews I had read I came into this book with a more relaxed perspective and lower expectations. 

I really liked this book even though it was cheesy at times, and the ending was predictable. This book is your classic spy novel so it was easy to connect the dots well before I actually had the first clues. There were quite a few of those reviews with the lower ratings that said their biggest complaint was how predictable it was. Knowing this I was able to not try to figure things out (for the most part) and just let the story take me on the adventure. It does get a little cheesy from time to time. Our hero Sam Capra has a few one liners and they just weren't that great. These little inserts were funny at times, but being a fan of Bruce Campbell and the Evil Dead movies it is hard to have really good, funny one liners for me.

I liked this book but if I had taken this with high expectations of this being a super spy novel I might have been let down. If you decided to read this take it as it is. An adventure story with a passionate father wanting some answers. I will give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars. For the benefit of Goodreads rating I will round up to 4 stars. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Nightwing Vol 4: Second City, by Kyle Higgins


I am fully caught up on Nightwing now and still in the dark for what I wanted to know. So quick explanation, I have heard of a big event in the Nightwing story well before I read it. I have a cousin who is a huge comic book nerd like myself but he keeps up on all the stories. He spoiled it for me and I'm ok with it, we always have something to talk about a family gatherings and I don't feel so out of the loop. Anyway, I have been waiting to read how all of this stuff happens and since I have already read Vol 5 I figured it had to be in this book. I was wrong, the one thing I hate about DC's stories is that they happen in a ton of different series and books and you don't always know which ones. I did a search and found that this big event happens in Forever Evil Vol 1 in case anyone is wanting to find out what I am cryptically talking about here. Guess I will be checking my library for that book and the review should be up here shortly. 

Now for the book itself. For anyone who has read the Batman books or watched the Cartoon series from the 90's you know the name Tony Zucco. Zucco is the man who murdered Dick's parents all those years ago when he was a child. He was thought to be dead for years until an email sent to his daughter proves he is still alive and living in Chicago. Dick makes a move with practically no money and a bug of closed and one suit to find Zucco and bring him to justice. He could have plenty of money if he would just ask Bruce, but events in Batman's wold have driven a wedge between the members of the Bat Family. 

This is a great story because it touches on Dick's history and it hits very close to his heart. He wants nothing more than to see Zucco back in prison for his crimes but he also needs to do what he can to save this new city from a villain who is terrorizing them. There is a lot to this story that keeps it interesting throughout with not a lot of dialog to move the story forward. The reason that there wasn't a lot of dialogue needed was because the art work in this book was really good. I have been really impressed with Brett Booth's work on the Nightiwng books. He does an excellent job of setting aa scene and drawing those action sequences. They are so detailed and clean that if you were to sit and taking in the whole page there would be a lot to notice. I have read some comics where the artist only focuses on the character and the background seems to be flat and unimportant, I have also read books that rely on shadows and appendages to block character faces just so they don't have to draw them. Not Brett Booth, every aspect of each panel is important and they look like comics renderings of actual photos. He has done some of the art work For Teen Titans as well and I was impressed with his work on those books that I have read too. 

I really liked this book but since I read this right after Vol 3: Death of the Family, I just didn't love this one as much as I did the other. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, I am kind of sorry that I have caught up on the Nightwing series because I already miss having these ahead of me to read. I love this character and next to Batman, Nightwing has always been my second favorite hero. Depending on the stories Superman, Green Lantern, and the Flash would fight for that third spot but Batman and Nightwing have always been the first 2. I also love how for the most part the Batman books haven't had huge changes in the mythos since New 52 began and I really like that, Some of the series have had some drastic changes and I didn't like those changes. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters by Erik Brunham


I love the Netgalley emails that have all the new Graphic Novels available. Most of the time they are Read Now titles. I don't always like the titles in those emails, but when I saw the Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters in one book I couldn't download this fast enough. 

So there is a lot going on in this book for such a short story. We begin way way back in time with a few immortals fighting it out. There is some magic and Chi-you is sucked into a dimensional limbo. Flash forward to the present deep in the sewers. The Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles are working on e teleportation device like in Star Trek. A fly distracts the scientist helping them and boom, they are transported across dimensions to the New York of the Ghostbusters. This event frees Chi-you and allows him to gain his powers. 

What follows is some cool action, awesome Ghostbusting and some cheesy one liners. I really enjoyed it. Both sets of characters have this goofy overall personality so they played very well in this book. The art work could have been a little better but some of the Ghostbusters looked pretty close to the original actors. This was a fun read and one that goes by very quickly. There isn't much dialogue for a comic because this relies heavily on the action. This was a lot of fun and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. This is definitely a pairing I'd like to see again.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nightwing Vol 3: Death of the Famliy by Kyle Higgins


Death of the Family is one of my favorite Batman stories I have ever read. I couldn't wait to get to this book in my attempt to catch up on Nightwing. I loved seeing this side of the story and it was amazing. In some of the other books like the Teen Titans Death of the Family there really isn't much with the Joker. The big tie in is the scene in the cave that is in all of these books. In Nightwing he goes up against the clown prince of crime himself with some deeply personal costs.

Just as Dick Greyson gets the carnival up and Haley's Circus settled in Gotham the Joker returns. Killing one of Dick's friends who dresses as a clown is only the beginning. I don't want to give away any part of this story because it was amazingly written. The art work was also really good. The Joker is so detailed in this book. His face is stretched so tight you can see the muscles where the skin doesn't meet. In case you didn't know, earlier in the Joker's story his face was cut off. He now wears it as a mask.

This is my favorite graphic novel so far this year. I only have one more volume till I'm caught up with the Nightwing series since I have already read Vol 5. I really would love to go on and on about this book but the story is to good to risk spoiling anything for a potential reader and I hate spoilers. As this is one of my favorites it is easy to say this is 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to get to the next volume because there was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of this. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mr Mercedes By Stephen King

Mr Mercedes

I am embarrassed to say this but I started to read this back when it was released in June of last year. King is one of the few authors I have to buy in Hardback for my collection and these days I just don't have time to read hardbacks or Kindle books. If it's not audio it is going to take me awhile to get through it. Well I finally finished this book and I loved it!!!

King is known for his horror novels but he has written some amazing general fiction like Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, or Rose Madder. I hadn't read a mystery novel by him yet and I was curious if he could pull it off. I was impressed and when I heard this is part 1 of a trilogy I became really excited. 

So here is a little overview for those that might not have heard about this book. Mr Mercedes is a man who one day decided he is going to drive a stolen car through a crowd of people waiting in line for a job fair. He gets away with the atrocity and remains quite for some time. Detective Bill Hodges was one of the detectives on the case and this was one of those that still haunts him. He has retired and found that life just isn't worth living anymore in retirement. He sits at night watching horrible TV with his gun in his lap. Mr Mercedes has decided he wants a bit of fun, he is going to contact Bill Hodges and try to push him over the edge to suicide. Little does he know this is just what Bill needed to bring life back to him. 

King is a master of writing amazing characters. I connected with these characters because they felt like real people. I cheered when they triumphed and teared up when some died. I couldn't wait to get back to this book when I had time to read because it was like visiting with friends. I know this sounds crazy, but for the bulk of people reading this blog, I know you are book loves like I am and find it easy to be come attached to fictional characters. 

This was a great book and I really did love it. Had I actually had the time I would have flown through this book in no time. The suspense was there throughout the whole book. I couldn't wait to see what happens next chapter to chapter and section to section. I honestly could go on and on about the great parts of this book but I will spare you the lecture and get to my rating.

This is my first favorite book of 2015. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and with the second book coming out this Spring I can't wait to see what King has in store for Hodges next. If you like mysteries then I would recommend this book. We get to see both sides of the spectrum in this book. A few chapters are with Hodges and then a few are with Mr Mercedes. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker

Mister B. Gone

I am always looking for a good Horror novel so i check out my library's online section from time to time to see if there is anything new. I came across this book and though it would be worth a read. As cheesy and gory as they are I love all of the Hellraiser Movies and I enjoyed Barker's Hellbound Heart which is the book those movies are based off.
I grabbed the audio book and was really excited to see it is read by Doug Bradley. Pinhead himself from the Hellraiser movies. I really liked his voice reading this and I am going to look to see if he reads any other audio books. 

Well, here is where the excitement ended. I began reading the book knowing very little about the story so I didn't really have any preconceived ideas going into this. The first few chapters are nothing but the Demon who lives in the pages of the book begging, coaxing, and ordering the reader to stop reading right now and burn this book. It got old really fast. When the reader refuses to stop reading we get little bits of Mister B.'s history. 

This book is basically a narrative of how this demon was raised through the 9 circles of Hell to our world. How he was a calm curious demon and slowly changed to an angry hateful demon. In between all of these little stories of Mister B's history he yet again orders the reader to stop reading to the point of even threatening to kill the reader if he finishes. As I have written this review it is safe to say that was a veiled threat. When we finally get to the point of how the demon came to be living in these pages I thought it was just a goofy explanation.

I am giving this book 2 out of 5 stars. It wasn't scary or heart pounding at all. It wasn't even as gory and over the top like Hellraiser. I was expecting at least a little creepy facotr considering it is labled as a horror novel and there was none of that. The only thing that keeps this from being a 1 star review for me is the fact that I really enjoyed Doug Bradley's reading of the book. Since I have only read two books by Clive Barker I will safely say this is my least favorite of his books that I have read. This hasn't put me off his work and I will look forward to the next book of his I decide to read.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Black Book of Secrets by F E Higgins


I saw this book on Goodreads and it sounded pretty good. It sat in my to-read list for awhile until I saw it available in audio at my library. I gave it a try and liked it. I didn't know what to think at first because it started off pretty bleak. Our Main character Ludlow Fitch is with his parents and they are selling his teeth. Yes, you read it correctly, Ludlow's Parents took him to a man who is going to rip out his teeth and buy them from his parents. As a parent I couldn't believe anyone would do something like this to their children. Well, Ludlow escapes and runs away only to meet Joe Zabbidou. Zabbidou is a Secret Pawn Broker.  

What's a Secret Pawn Broker? Well his shop is pretty well known by everyone in the town and the kids love to visit his shop to see his pet frog so what makes him Secret? Zabbidou buys the secrets of all the towns people to protect till the end of time and allow these people to feel relief from the burdens they carry. I really thought this was an interesting idea. Just like the questions about what is a Secret Pawn Broker, there are plenty of interesting questions that are raised throughout the book. There is some slower sections but I really couldn't stop thinking about what was going to happen in this quite little town. 

I really enjoyed this book. It seems like this is part of a series where each book revolves around different characters. I am kind of bummed that there isn't another book following Luldlow and his collection of secrets. Still, reading some of the titles, I am curious to give these other books a read. 

I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good story. It is an easy read and I'm glad I took a chance and read this. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter


Long ago I entered a giveaway for Karin Slaughter's book Fallen. It was really late in the Will Trent series. There were some things spoiled but it made me very interested in filling in the gaps. I have slowly made my way through the Grant County series and this is the last book in it. What a book this was.

There is something about Karin Slaughter's writing that says a lot about her skill and technique. She is the only writer who can write something that tugs at my heart, makes me sick, or pisses me off and I still enjoy the book. I'm not going to get into details or get all political but there are a few things in this book that I don't agree with. The way this scene played out really pissed me off, but I could't stop reading this book. I know, this is cryptic and makes very little sens but I felt I needed to try to explain how great a writer she really is.

This book has everything, corrupt police, family issues, and meth dealing redneck Nazis. Yep, you read this right. The story revolves around troubled detective Lena Adams. The book opens with her being arrested for a murder she didn't commit. Chief Jeffery Toliver and his wife Sarah Linton try to go to her aid and figure out what exactly is going on.

This book was full of suspense from the very beginning all the way to the hear breaking end. Not only is this very well written but Karin Slaughter is one of those writers who can write characters that feel real and unforgettable. Sara Linton is one of my favorite characters, she is the kind pediatrician and at the same time a cunning Medical Examiner for the county coroners office. I have enjoyed her in the Will Trent series and in this one. It has been a long time since I have read a Grant County series book but I'm so glad I finished up this series. Now I can turn my attention to catching up on the Will Trent books I have missed and I can't wait for her new book when ever that comes out.

So what am I going to rate this? I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I loved this book but the few things that just irked me kept this from being a perfect 5 out of 5. I really love Karin Slaughter's books and I can't wait to move on to the next one. The beginning of Will Trent's series is up next unless she comes out with a new book before I get  to it. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily, Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


This is not usually the kind of series I would read but YA has kind of grown on me. My wife is a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater's and we saw her at a book signing a year or two ago. For me, meeting an author can really make or break a book. If the author is flat and lifeless I might not continue to read their books or not even try their work. Maggie was a lot of fun to meet in person and I became interested in reading her work.

I have enjoyed the Raven Cycle series but this book wasn't my favorite. I have very mixed feelings on this book which has caused me to struggle a bit about a review. I guess I will start with what I didn't really care for in this book. I felt like I was missing something through most of this book. I wasn't at all but I guess it seemed like there was a lot going on when there wasn't. Also, these little events would happen without any build, reason, or explanation which was  frustrating. I ended up with more questions than answers which might have been intentional for the next book but I was just irritated. I also couldn't stand the character Adam. It was all a poor me bitch fest.

What I did enjoy about this book was getting to know Blue better. There is a lot to her story that still needs to be told. She is a very interesting character and this book gives just a little more to why she is the way way she is. Cryptic yes but I don't want to ruin anything in the book. This was an entertaining book and I did enjoy it even with my little frustrations.

Out of the three books this is my least favorite. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars because I'm kind of in the middle on this book. I am looking forward to the next book because I really want to see what comes next.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Sequel by R. L. Stine


R. L. Stine was one of the only authors I would read as a kid. I wasn't big into reading and hated being told I had to read something for school. However, I really enjoyed the series Goosebumps, and the Box Car Children. R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series was a lot of fun to read and just scary enough to be entertaining but not to scary to keep me up at night with nightmares. I loved those books.

I was asked by the publisher to give this a read and review it through Net Gallley. I have to admit I was really excited to not only be asked to read and review this but that it was a throwback to my childhood. This book is written for adults I guess it reads very well and being a Bibliomystery it's short. 

I'm going to be honest and when I started reading this I was kind of disappointed. This book is about an author who hit it big with his first novel and is now being pressured into writing a sequel he doesn't want to write. While contemplating his next book he is accosted by a man who  claims that he wrote the book and our author stole it from him. The beginning of the story felt like I was reading Stephen King's Secret Garden Secret Window. I felt that Stine could have done a better job of writing a story that wasn't just a new twist on an old story. 

Then things changed and I really liked this story. I don't want to give anything away because this is definitely a story any fan of a good short story should read. The twist at the end was great and made up for the slow start at the beginning. I really enjoyed this short story and I am interested in checking out some of the other books from R. L. Stine for adults. I mean his fiction novels and not the YA stuff. I'm going to give this 4 out of 5 stars, really I would say this is more like 4.5 and I am very grateful to have been asked to review this story.