Batman: Arkham Asylum, Grant Morrison

arkhamspolier alertTitle: Batman: Arkham Asylum A serious house on serious Earth

Author: Grant Morrison, illustrator: Dave McKean

Pages: 216 pages (I found the 15th anniversary edition with bonus features)

Genre:  graphic novel, suspense.

Part of a series?  While part of the Batman Universe, this is a stand alone novel.

Published: January 11th, 2005

The inmates have taken over Arkham Asylum and the workers are held hostage.  After a number of odd demands they make just one more.  They want Batman.  Inside with them.  No one is thrilled, least of all Batman because he fears he may actually belong there; but when a young girl is threatened he does what he must.

Upon entering, he is surrounded by the chaos.  Several of the doctors including Dr. Cavendish refuse to “give the asylum up” to them.  Joker takes lead and starts the games, first with word association and then Hide and Seek (Batman hides, you get the picture).  One of the things that haunt Batman though, is seeing one of his nemesis.  Two Face, Harvey Dent, is undergoing psychological therapy.  They took away his coin and began giving him more and more options.  Now he can’t even decide to go to the bathroom.  He is fragile, a threat to no one, heart breaking.  If this is how they care for their patients, did Batman break them by leading them here?

As the story progresses you get flashbacks from Cavendish’s life, how he came to be here.  It all culminates to a standoff between Cavendish and Batman with a hostage in between.  Everyone must learn to live with the consequences of this night.  In the end, Batman gives Dent back his identity.

I am torn on this one.  I didn’t like the art work of this one as much.  The story line, while riveting, was not my favorite.  You do see a much more human Batman, though, and I liked that.  All in all it was an enjoyable book, and if I hadn’t read the Hush stories first, it might have gained more favor.  As it is this one gets three stars.  Three Stars

On the adult content scale, this one plays with pretty heavy ideas.  Madness, guilt, pain, violence of coarse.  I have to give it a five.  Parental Guidance.

The book is out- go get it.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

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Batman: Heart of Hush, Paul Dini

heart of hushspolier alertTitle: Batman: Heart of Hush

Author: Paul Dini, Illustrators: Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

Pages: 140

Genre: graphic novel, suspense

Part of a series? Tied to Batman: Hush, Jeph Loeb.  You really must read this book first.

Published: April 7th, 2009.

To start, have you read Hush yet?  If not, stop here and read it.  It’s the only way, really, because this feels like it picks up that story and moves along with it.  Hush, Batman’s one time friend Tommy Elliot, is back and ready to really make Batman pay.  Knowing our caped crusader as he does, Hush is in a unique position to wreck him like no one else.  In one scene, you see Cat woman saving a mob member from execution by his peers.  Batman joins the fight and they save the mobster, but his boss nearly escapes; stopped when shot by Hush.  This is how he reveals himself to Batman, letting him know that he is after him, and only he gets to end Batman.  Grabbing onto several past villains, he teams up with them.  Scarecrow kidnaps a child and hides him in a cave knowing how claustrophobic the child is.  The boy’s other fear?  Bats. When batman goes to save him he loses control of his fear and triggers a serum that Scarecrow attached to him, making him strong enough to lash out at his fears. Each person that Batman holds dear is at risk.  The ones that will wreck him though, those are just for Hush.  He grabs the one woman that Batman ever loved, and steals her heart.  It’s a race against the clock to retrieve the still living heart and piece his lover back together.  But that’s not Hush’s only trick.  Plastic surgery makes him the man his mother always wanted him to be.  Now he just has to convince one more person and he can lead the life he wants as Batman fights.  Can Batman save the girl and reclaim his life?  Can he survive not only his past foes but the one he loved like a brother once?

In this action packed graphic novel, you see more of Thomas Elliot and how he became Hush. What drove him to it.  I loved the story line and the art work.  I especially liked seeing Batman and Catwoman together as well as other cameo appearances from his friends.  I was riveted, having felt like Hush ended with me wanting too much, this gave me the closure I needed.  It was wild and mad… it was awesome.  Five Stars

 

I feel like this one isn’t too bad on the adult content scale.  I mean, there is obviously going to be fairly graphic violence, but it is tasteful and I would hand this one to anyone.  General.svg

The book is out now, if you have ever been interested in Batman at all this is a must.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

The Pocket Wife, Susan Crawford

Pocket Wifespolier alert

Title: The Pocket Wife

Author: Susan Crawford

Pages: 303 (hard back novel)

Genre: psychological suspense

Part of a series?  No.

Published:  March 17th, 2015

 

                I was at my favorite bookstore a while back and ran across this book.  I had never heard of it before, but the cover drew me and the premise was really intriguing.  The Pocket Wife follows Dana Catrell, the wife of busy lawyer who is horrified to find that she is one of the last to see her friend Celia alive.  Dana, having dealt with mental illness for much of her life, cannot always tell what is real and imagined; plus there was a great deal of alcohol involved so a large part of that afternoon is missing from her memory.  She hates herself for not knowing, for not being sure what she can believe even in her own memory. 

                As she tries to tie the pieces together to get a coherent picture of the day’s events she learns hard truths about Celia, and about her husband Peter.  She still can’t be sure she didn’t kill Celia and someone is wanting badly to make her believe that she did- or to make her remember that she did.  Long talks with the lead detective Jack Moss as well as her waitress-cum-shrink Glenda The Good help her to center herself and continue to search for truth.  When nasty notes start showing up and she starts seeing someone in her yard Peter brushes it off.  Tells her to “get help”.  Yes, she realized that she is close to the edge of a breakdown- she’s been here before- but does that mean that everything she saw and felt is false?  Holding off madness for as long as possible, Dana races toward the truth… but will she find it before losing control?

                I loved the writing style for many of the same reasons that I normally hate it in other books.  It was jumpy and disjointed at times, while flowing smoothly in others.  It made me understand the madness better, the confusion, and the manic need that Dana felt.  I loved and felt for Dana, always pulling for her.  This is a really good look, to my mind, of the mania that comes with bipolar disorder.  I also loved Jack, the sweet and caring detective with a white knight complex that is rather toxic in relationships.  The other characters (and descriptions of) were unique and well rounded.  I really loved them all- even the ones I truly hated.  One thing I did not care for, though, this was revolving around Celia’s murder… but there was so little of Celia in it.  Still, it held me riveted and guessing the whole time.  Five stars! Five Stars

                 On the adult content scale… an eight.  Violence, murder, cursing, and some really hard hitting looks at depression that hit hard.mature audience.

Amber

  

What’s New Wednesday? Week 13

Hp cursed childHello and happy Bagpipe appreciation day!

What’s new with me?

I don’t really do anything, save reading and hanging out with my family, life can get pretty boring.  I found another local book store and am getting some graphic novels sent to my library for me from local libraries.  That’s been fun.  Right now I am mostly on a Batman kick.  We have started watching The Flash on Netflix though.

What’s new in news?

  • In Sacramento, California ten year old Leah Nelson spreads a message of love with hand made bracelets.  She has made hundreds of colorful loom bracelets for her project “Becuz I Care” in hopes of battling the prejudice and politics that has everyone so worked up.  The idea behind this is that she gives you a bracelet in kindness, you listen to her message of hope and kindness for 30 seconds; later you will give the bracelet to another and share the message.  I love this idea, and the sweet girl that came up with it!  See full story here.
  • Meanwhile in Concord, New Hampshire, Liquor Commission officials saw $678-million in sales for the fiscal year that ended at the end of June.  This is a 5.6% increase from last year.  It makes me wonder, if we went back to every year that is gearing toward a presidential election would we find similar data?  Just a thought… See Full story here

What’s new in Books?

First, can we discuss how excited I am about the new Harry Potter book?  Today is the 27th and in TWO DAYS we have a new story!  Every day that passes makes this more real to me.  I want to see how everyone grew up, I want to see their kids, I want to see everything!  I preordered the eBook months ago so it will download first thing in the morning.

Also, there is a bonus Bookshot that came out this month.  The Witnesses is a really good suspense novella- and right now it is free!  EBook only, of coarse, but it gives links to read it on line from James Patterson’s web site; or I got my copy from my Kindle app.  My review is up here.  The Witnesses, James Patterson and Brendan DuBois.  Seriously, I loved it!

Well, that’s it for now.  What’s new with you?

Amber

 

The Witnesses, James Patterson and Brendan DuBois

the Witnessesspolier alertTitle: The Witnesses

Author: James Patterson and Brendan DuBois

Pages: 136 pages

Genre: Mystery, suspense

Part of a series?  This is a stand alone novel, but part of the Bookshots.

Published: July 19th, 2016

I was so excited to hear about this book- it wasn’t on the front page of his web site.  I found out about it when Amazon sent me an email offering a free Bookshot.  Of coarse, I went for it!  It is still free until August 16th, so go get yours.  This is only available right now in eBook, and I haven’t heard any chatter about it going paper.  You can get it from Amazon, I know, or there are links on James Patterson’s page now.

We begin with an ex-cop Ronald Temple going through some serious health issues that leave him at home all the time, attatched to oxygen.  My first reaction to him is that he is a bit of a racist.  He watches the new family next door.  Mother, Father, a boy and a girl living with another adult male.  All look middle eastern to him.  tanned with darker hair, the girls that their heads covered the first day he saw them.  He begins watching them constantly, sure something is off.  They never leave.  Not for work or anything.  They don’t socialize, and when they do shop everyone goes together and the family is ushered inside while the man takes groceries in.    He is sure they are terrorists.  All he does is watch them with his binoculars, sitting in his chair with his gun.  This time, he will be ready.

Teresa and Lance  Sanderson are living in hell.  They saw something on Lance’s last dig that they shouldn’t have- no one is sure what- and now they are in hiding with two children and a body guard.  Yes, they can do their writing without internet but it stinks, plus try telling a ten year old boy they can’t get on line!  Everyone is antsy.

One slip up sends a dangerous killer their way.  When the time comes they receive help from an unlikely source.  Lives are lost, but they will make it through wiser and stronger.

I loved this book.  While short, it never felt lacking.  Indeed it did everything I always hope these bookshots will.  It gave a full, fleshed out story with great character development in the size of a novella.  You never knew everything that was going on, yet you were never lost.  I simply took each turn with the narrators, enjoying the flow of the story and intrigued by the plot.  It held my interest well and kept me guessing.  Five Stars

As far as the Adult Content Scale goes, there is a large amount of violence so I have to give it a five.  Parental Guidance

The book is out in eBook- go get it.

Link to book in Amazon

Amber

 

Please Enjoy Your Happiness, Paul Brinkley-Rogers

Please Enjoy.....spolier alert

Title: Please Enjoy Your Happiness

Author: Paul Brinkley-Rogers

Pages:  284

Genre: memoir

Part of a series?  No.

Published:  Goodreads says it came out in January but Netgalley has it down for August 2nd, 2016.

                This is a story of coming of age during as a sailor in the navy. It is about growing up, learning to question, to think and to react accordingly.  It is an unlikely (and very chaste) love story, and a story of pain and loss.  It is music and happiness, pride and pleasure.  And it is all true.

                Many thanks to Netgalley and Touchstone Publishing for the chance to read this book.  I was riveted from the beginning!  This memoir is written like a one sided conversation sprinkled with songs, poetry, letters and memories.  Paul begins this book in Japan on shore leave from his boat The Shangri-La.  Sitting on his own in a sake bar reading, he is surprised when one of the hostesses come to ask what he is reading.  Thus begins the great love affair between nineteen year old Paul and thirty-one year old Yukiko- bar girl, intellectual, avid reader, dreamer, romantic runaway. 

                She is like no  one else he ever met and over the summer the two spend time together talking literature, watching movies, and listening to music.  She opens his mind to a cast of characters through Japan and China that I doubt a sailor would otherwise find; and helps him grow to manhood along the way.  Letter after letter talking about how happy Paul made her, how she loved him, how he set her free… he keeps them all long after the Shangri-La is back in America.  This is a story of a love of the heart and the mind, of the spirit.

                In his seventies now and divorced with grown children, Paul still remembers that certain girl and loves her as wildly as he did then.  God, what must that be like?   How amazingly heartfelt and lyrical his words to his lost love.  Hiding nothing, he leaves himself completely bare as he speaks of that summer and some time after.  He had gone back to Japan, getting re-stationed in hopes of finding her, but by then she was gone.  Searches do nothing, and so Please Enjoy Your Happiness reads like a final effort to find that certain girl and express a love that never ends.  Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough.  I am in tatters… I am hopeful…. I am enjoying my happiness.  Five Stars

                As far as the Adult Content Scale goes, it takes place during a war.  There is violence, cursing and the illusion to intimacy (not the couple you think)-though that is done with great delicacy.

                The book comes out in August…. Lord knows I will be buying several copies for family and friends over time. 

Link to Book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber pro_reader_120

Look Past, Eric Devine

Printspolier alertTitle: Look Past

Author: Eric Devine

Pages: 304

Genre: YA suspense

Part of a Series?  No

Publish Date: October 4th, 2016

 

 

I want to thank Netgalley and Running Press.  I fear I lost the email for this one and don’t know if I am supposed to wait on the review.   If I step on any toes doing it now I am sorry and will be more careful in the future.  I will start by saving the instructions that come with my link!

That said, let’s get started.  Mary, a beloved daughter of the town reverend and friend to all, has been missing for a week.  No one knows anything and it is eating the town alive.  Things like this, they just don’t happen here- especially not to good Christians.  Avery and his girlfriend Beth have joined a search of the woods with his best friend Charlie.  Before we go any further there is something you should know.  Avery is transgender-meaning he was born a girl, but connects with the world as a man- this is how I see Avery and how I will be doing this review.

Now, Avery and Mary have a past. She was the first to be nice to him and accept him.  She loved him, and he loved her back.  Loosing Mary hurts deeply, especially since his family and two friends are now the only ones that understand him and accept him for how he is.

When they find Mary, she is dead and has been mutilated.  Eyes, ears and lips are gone and there is a bible passage in her mouth about sinners repenting.  That same night an unknown number texts Avery, tormenting and threatening him that he will be next.  As evidence keeps being brought to the reverend’s doorstep (literally), Avery is getting more and more threats from this unknown person.  Repent or you are next.  This murderer sees Avery as an abomination and affront to God.  Become as God made “her” and she may be spared.  The demands are ridiculous and sometimes juvenile.  Dress like a girl for school, pray for forgiveness.  As Avery and his uncle Tom (a cop) puts the clues together along with his friends he has to decide how far he can go to bring the killer out, what he can endure.

This book was seriously twisted to me.  I loved the characters- Charlie and Beth especially.  Knowing a transgender individual and knowing what he had to endure in his life, I know it isn’t easy.  There will always be those that do not understand.  Those that cannot accept.  Those that hate.  I did, though, take issue that it seemed in this book to be the entire church community.  It casts the religious people in this book in a very unflattering light that, while true for some, is not the norm.  I felt like they typecast the church goers a bit, and Avery really.  He is strong, opinionated and doesn’t always think his actions through; but he has a large heart.  Sadly there is also a large chip on those shoulders.  Even with these issues, though, I still loved the book and highly recommend it- just be ready for the stereotypes.    Four Stars

As far as the Adult Content Scale goes, there is a lot of language, violence and bigotry that may be hard for a younger reader to handle…. I mean, it was seriously hard for me to handle at times and I am an adult.  I would recommend it for teens, but only if the parent understands the topics and approves.  The hate is hard to stomach.

The book comes out 10-04-2016.  Be ready!

Link to Book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber  pro_reader_120