Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is insanely good. The book has a twist that will change you world and open yourself to a new way of thinking. This is one of the best well rounded stories that I have read in some time, everything fits and it does not feel forced. The big twist is explained and all the loose ends are tied up so well. What is cool about the big twist is if you pay attention and open your mind you can figure it out, I was back and forth on what was coming guessing some parts but not all. I’m going to be vague on my plot details because this book is best not knowing too much. This book will be compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl because you get the big twist and still have a lot of book left to explain it. This book is a book that was hyped early for reviewers to read, and I’m glad to say it has earned it’s hype. There are parts of this story that will stick with you for a while. It is being marketed as a Horror but is more of a psychological thriller with elements of horror, it leans to Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs in mixing genres. The story is great you will have a couple character’s where you switch to loathing to loving them because they are so misunderstood. Trigger Warnings: child abuse. I was lucky to get selected to read The Last House on Needless Street early by Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is published on September 28 2021, right before October which is the perfect reading month for this book.

The Plot: In a boarded up house on the end of Needless Street bordering the woods lives a large man Ted who is haunted by a controlling mother, Lauren his teenage daughter that goes away for weeks but no one ever sees leave, and Olivia the bible reading house cat that will not be messed with. live a quiet unobserved life until a new neighbor moves in with and agenda to get into the house and open up the secrets inside.

What I Liked: Olivia the bible reading cat has so much character i liked being in that character’s head. The twist is pretty great I couldn’t put everything together but it was a great twist that was explained really well. I love full circle story telling and this is a great example of how it works and every secret is revealed and all connected. The different perspective story telling we get the views of 6 to seven characters who are all unique and I was never confused as to who’s head I was in. This story is dark but the humor which is mostly provided by Olivia the cat is great and served as a good break on the heavy. The afterword was interesting and unique since it went into detail how Catriona Ward came up with this story and how she made some choices. I was hooked from the start with this book because Ted the main perspective is so guarded. This story is dark but it has a lot of heart to it, there is a great I understand now moment. I liked what was done with the street at the end.

What I Disliked: I did feel that the wait was too long to find out what went on with Ted and “the dates”. I thought the book could have had better cover art, for how awesome this book was.

Recommendations: I haven’t been this surprised by a novel in a long time. Do yourself a favor and check this book out. Stephen King says”The buzz…is real. I’ve read it and was blown away. It’s a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end.” I have a feeling this is going to be a book people will be buzzing about. I haven’t liked a book this much in quite a while. The book is really fast paced and a great read. I rated The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward 5 out of 5 stars, I will definitely be checking out more books from this author.

Wrap Up: July 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, July was a crazy month, I moved into my first house, it is out in the country where only one internet provider reigns supreme, so it took me and my family a month to get internet.  All other services were decently fast so if you missed me and my reviews that’s what I was doing.  I read 6 books this month. I read 2 horror, 2 graphic novels, and 2 new releases thanks to netgalley . I started 1 new series and read 2 from a book series. I read one 5 star book, three 4 star books, and two 3 star book.

Five Star Reviews:

The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah is a tearjerker about two of America’s harshest times The Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.  Really blown away by this book. This Historical novel uses real events and puts here character’s through tragedy and triumph.  This novel can easily get compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but teaks it giving it a new perspective what if Tom Joad  was a single mother with kids.  The perspective changes everything the character of Elsa want to breakdown but is strong for her and her kids.  This is a novel that you will want to thank your mother after for all that she has sacrificed for her children’s happiness.

Four Star Reviews:

Surviving the Night by Riley Sager is a twisty thriller that takes you on a ride with a serial killer.  The twist keep coming and coming, some I could foresee but others will change the way you read this novel, making you go, What! Just happened!?!.  Every character in this book has a major change of how the reader perceives them.  He ending is non-stop the last 150 pages are on the edge of your seat as the twists keep coming.  The climax is very satisfying, I saw the final twist coming for a while but the actions after that were very satisfying.  The flaw of this novel is the beginning was hard to get into, it takes a little time for this book to get into rhythm, but when it does it is really hard to put down.  A big thanks to Netgalley and Dutton publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Surviving the Night.  Surviving the Night is published on 7-29-21.

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian is a period piece in the mid 1600 America. It was you typical divorce stories husband beats on wife, she tries to divorce him and gets called a witch and has to defend against being a witch; so not typical at all.  This novel will have you scream at characters, that I’m sure are accurately portrayed but so one sided and biased.  The novel is set when the husband was king and they referred to the wife as the helpmate, it was not a partnership.  This novel can be seen a feminist, it’s a fight for equal rights and to have a woman with strong ideas is not a bad thing.  The trials are the best part of the book.  The story is at it’s core simple but the way the story is told is what makes it so interesting.

Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 6 by Stan Lee is getting Spiderman in the larger story arcs.  Spiderman has had minor stories arc like turning in his costume then having to use a spare, injuring his shoulder and being in a cast, or poor Aunt May being sick and weak for a couple issues. The villains have lasted only two issues until now. Spidey fights Doc Oct. and Kingpin for 3 – 4 issues.  The main villains are Kingpin, who was just introduced in Amazing Spider-Man issue 50 and is in 5 issues in this volume, Doc Oct, Mysterio, and Allister Smythe and his Spider Slayer.  Peter Parker’s love life takes a turn where he has to choose Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane Watson.  This volume sees a death of a minor but important character, and introduces Gwen’s father Captain Stacey and Robbie Robertson who are all important to Peter Parker / Spiderman’s legacy.

Three Star Reviews:

Falling by T. J. Newman is an okay thriller on an airplane. The novel does feel authentic like you the reader are getting insider information on how the flight crew works. The author was a former flight attendant and Falling is her debut. This book has moments of thrills but it felt pretty formulaic too me. I would say this book is Airframe by Michael Crichton meets a decent James Patterson thriller. I think if you read this novel it should be on a plane, because that will amp the fear, and you couldn’t help wonder what goes on behind the door of the flight deck. You will come out respecting your fight attendants and the job they have to do. I think this book is getting over hyped, it is good but not great. Thanks to Netgalley and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for giving me access to Falling early. Falling by T. J. Newman is published on July 6 2021.

Fight Club 2 By Chuck Palahniuk Is a very meta tale told in graphic novel form. The first book was written as a novel, but the follow up was written as a graphic novel. This follows the film Fight Club over the actual novel. I prefer the film but this novel fall in too much fan service and too meta. Palahniuk brings everyone back, Angel Face, Robert Paulson, and even Chloe. Each character is brought back with a surprising twist. I liked some of the ideas brought on but others fall flat. The ending is way too out there and meta it is a bit of a cop out. The art and how the story uses the visual to tell that story is one of the best but the story just was just okay.

Book Review: Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian is a period piece in the mid 1600 America. It was you typical divorce stories husband beats on wife, she tries to divorce him and gets called a witch and has to defend against being a witch; so not typical at all. This novel will have you scream at characters, that I’m sure are accurately portrayed but so one sided and biased. The novel is set when the husband was king and they referred to the wife as the helpmate, it was not a partnership. This novel can be seen a feminist, it’s a fight for equal rights and to have a woman with strong ideas is not a bad thing. The trials are the best part of the book. The story is at it’s core simple but the way the story is told is what makes it so interesting. My only draw back was the novel repeats its self a lot. We go over the same issues twice during trial. It is an interesting story that could have totally happened and probably did during those times which makes is so believable. The Old English dialogue was fun to read. The ending was surprising and very fulfilling.

The Plot: Mary is married to Thomas a brut of a man who has two sides the good Christian and the abusive terror that only Mary gets to see. Mary is 24 and barren which is rare for the times, not with her lack of trying. Mary has a brain an thinks logically when other wives don’t. Mary believes in tonics and plants to heal instead of blood letting with leeches. She trusts in a woman Constance who heaven for bid choose to live alone and is referred in town as a witch one woman who was hanged already for a witch had dealings with Constance. Her father stirs trouble when he brings the devil’s trident to town, which we now a day refers to as a fork. Mary’s trouble starts when she finds a fork sticking up in the ground next to their door as a curse she accuses Catherine her handmaiden that has a crush on Thomas her husband. She dismisses it and finds one the next night but Catherine thinks she saw her plant it and already blames Mary’s tonics on killing her brother that was dying any way. Mary is accused of which craft her husband drunk and angry of the incontinence drives a fork into her hand. Mary files for divorce the next day as she is also accused of witchcraft. Will Mary get a happy ending or will she hang for being a witch, and will she find out who wants her, Thomas, or Catherine cursed?

What I Liked: The language was really fun. I loved the word “prithee” which means pray thee. The story was really interesting, simple but fascinating. I have not put much thought into divorce and it origins in the New World, but it was really interesting, almost as interesting as the witch angle. The trial and many judges, was also interesting. The ending was really stratifying, I didn’t know how it was going to end, but was happy when it ended the way it did. I had read the poetry of Anne Bradstreet a depressed puritan woman whose brother published the poems in England; I liked how they were used in the story. I liked that the character of Judge Adams wasn’t so biased and one sided that he thought of Mary as evil he could have figured it all out; I loved the moment when she realized and acknowledged how close he was to the truth of everything.

What I Disliked: the repetition was too much at times, the characters were not one note but a lot of their words were. That is the only thing I disliked but it was a high level of it.

Recommendations: This book is great, it is a little too repetitive but it still manages to be interesting. The 17th century is not a time period that I have read many books from, but I really enjoyed my time here. This is mainly a trail story, but there is drama and a mystery that fills the time not in the trial. I rated Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian 4 out of 5 stars.

TBR: November 2020

November 2020 TBR list: last month was so successful I read all 7 books  plus 2 more; I decided to do it again and add 8 and knock out some books that have been on my TBR for quite some time. I recently had an appendectomy so I have plenty of time to read and rest as I recover.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus is the sequel to One of Us is Lying which I really enjoyed last month. One of Us is Next is up for a Goodreads choice award for YA fiction. The first one I was blown away by how fun it was and rated it 5 out of 5 stars. I have high hopes for the 2nd one that involves the same characters.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline is the sequel to the blockbuster Ready Player One, a book that was made into a movie by Stephen Spielberg. This is one I don’t want to know too much going into so I have not read a whole lot of what it is about. I have it on pre-order and it is published the day before Thanksgiving.

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a book that I have heard a lot of buzz about. It is a gothic romance with an element of horror added. It is culturally accurate and set in 1950’s Mexico. This is my most anticipated read for this month.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney is a book that is not really on anyone’s radar but those I know who have read it are raving about it. This book has the intriguing tag line: “There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.”

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir is from the author of Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth. Both of which I have read and enjoyed. Those books were very dark and I am looking forward to reading this because it is way different from lesbian necromancy. A special thanks to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for allowing me to read it early. It will be published on November 30, 2020.

Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind is the 2nd book of the Sword of Truth series. This series has been one I have been meaning to return to because of my love for the Legend of the Seeker TV show. Wizards First Rule (book 1) is my most searched for through search engines, which has motivated me to get back into the series.

Black Hammer, Vol. 4: Age of Doom, Part Two by Jeff Lemire is the 4th and last book of the series. I have really enjoyed it so far. The series takes pulp characters from 1940’s and 50’s and makes them fresh and new. I discovered these graphic novels when they were up for Goodreads choice awards.

Suicide Squad, Volume 1: Trial By Fire by John Ostrander and Kim Yale is a graphic novel was written in the 1980’s and was highly influenced by the A Team TV show. I bought this graphic novel at a bargain bin for $3 in anticipation of the Suicide Squad movie coming out soon. The director James Gunn said he combed through the years of Suicide Squad comics looking for some of the quirkiest characters to bring to the screen. I thought the 80’s version would have those characters in it.

TBR: September 2020

September 2020 TBR list: I haven’t made a TBR list in some time, the last time I did it for dual months, now I ‘m confident in my reading and my work schedule.  Here is what I will be reading this month.

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk, this is a novel that I have already finished and placed my review it is released to the public on September 8th 2020.  The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.

Goosebumps Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order.  I have already read this book as well, I t was clever writing but with no real scares. This is my latest review.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The cover drove me to this book, probably one of the most haunting yet beautiful covers.  After the cover awed me I started reading the reviews and book descriptions.  Lesbian Necromancer is how a character in the book was described, which is pretty much all I needed to pick up the book. The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in a action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July.  Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it.  Friends have told me, it is best to know as little as possible going in.

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series.  I have reviews for all three novels and a in-between short story bridging the gap into Capturing the Devil.  The covers are gorgeous for all these books.  The story follows Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell two apprentices in early forensic science in the late 1880’s- 1890’s.  There’s romance, danger, and murder all through out this book series.    I was drawn to the cover and the staff reviews at Barnes and Noble for the second in the series.  This is the final book in the Stalking Jack The Ripper Series.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy.  I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one.  The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect.  Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis.  He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one.  This book is an ARC and comes out on 9-15-20.

InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way.  Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides.  This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series so far and the last Volume before InJustice 2 starts. I have reviewed all ten before it on my site.

Goosebumps Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order.  I  have enjoyed reading these, and have a gotten a great response from my followers that have enjoyed reminiscing with me.  This book I can barely remember the episode from the Goosebumps TV show, so I will be mostly blind going into to this book, which is preferred.   

Book Review: The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is one crazy story that connects a serial killer, a foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. If you have ever read anything by Palahniuk who is most famous for writing the mind bending Fight Club, you know you will experience something totally unique and that is what is delivered here, a story I cannot imagine anyone else producing other than Palahniuk. The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream. I would read something in this this story and ask that question and read a little further to find out if it was real or not. There is some readers who will driven mad by this, I for one enjoyed it because you who always get the answer on what was real. This wasn’t my favorite Palahniuk which is Choke and Lullaby but it is up there for me. Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader Copy. The Invention of Sound is Published on 9-8-20.

The Plot: Gates Foster lost his daughter 17 years ago, when she was only 7, he has spent that lifetime wonder if she is alive or dead. Lately he has been obsessed with child predators and working on tracking them down like a vigilante. On a plane he has a breakdown, swearing he heard his little girl call for him. he then accuses a fellow passenger of being a kidnapper because the girl looks so much like his daughter. A friend of a local support group for kids that have died early bail him out. Mitzi is a foley artist known for creating a realistic scream, she learned the technique from her dad and has since taken over the business. Gates Foster is on the brink of madness when he realizes where he heard the his daughter from a movie, is he paranoid, crazy, or is he on the right track to discovering the truth about his daughter.

What I Liked: the twist, there’s so many, and it keeps changing you perception of people. The history of Sound design I found really interesting, me, having worked on a couple of independent short films doing foley sound, loved the history, and how it was told. The flipping back and forth from Mitzi to Gates works great while they’re stories don’t intertwine. The uniqueness of the story is so refreshing for some one who reads so much, I had no way of knowing where this story was going, and just enjoyed the ride. The wild subplot about the conmen, I don’t know if it is was really necessary to the overall story but man was that plot crazy.

What I Disliked: Flipping back and forth between Gates and Mitzi while they are in the same place, listening to different things was super confusing for no reason. Why wouldn’t you just listen together.

Recommendations: I recommend this crazy, crazy, story. If you enjoy stories that are wild ride that you can’t predict, then this is the story for you. The story is mainly mystery, which too my knowledge is Palahniuk’s first, even though all his stories have an aspect of mystery. I rated The Invention of Sound by Chick Palahniuk 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell is a great book that made me think after I finished about my own outliers. An outlier is described as a scientific term to describe things or a phenomena that lies outside normal experience as described by Gladwell. The book is smart but written so simple, that it is easy to follow. I was blown away how easy Gladwell will break down a person’s history in a couple of paragraphs. The topics are broken down and planned out really well. If and when I read nonfiction, I usually read a biography, so it was a treat for me to be so throughly entertained by this book. I read this book in two days, part one that is a little over half the book I could not put down. The second part about legacy wasn’t as good but still intriguing.

The Plot: The book shows you that outliers exist by using examples of hereditary, when you were born, if you grew up around self made people, if you had the time to find sucess, and the date you were born. Gladwell shows that if you want to be a professional hockey player you should be born from January through March for an added advantage. The advantage is December 31 is the cut off for Allstar league. So everybody born in January – March will be the most physically developed. Which plays into Gladwell showing evidence of people working 10,000 hours in an area to gain success, he shows how this worked for The Beatles, Bill Gates, and other people in their field. You will see that one’s intelligence has a limit for success when you include other factors. You will spend time with the smartest college drop out ever in Chris Langan. Will get answer why Asians have an advantage in math, why Korean airlines used to have the most plane crashes, and why it was an advantage to be Jewish to be a Lawyer in the 1960’s.

What I Liked: This book was so easy to read and flowed so well for most of it. Gladwell breakdown the lives of over a hundred people in this book, it’s all interesting and the histories allowed me to paint such a vivid picture in my mind. I came away thinking about mine and my family’s outliers for success, it had that self help aspect where I can think and plan stuff for my own kid’s future. The 10,000 hours to success is brilliant, and the highlight of the book. That chapter I can see myself reading again in future. I’m from the South and I liked the experiment that was performed on aggression in Southerners compared to Northerners.

What I Disliked: The airport disasters chapter went on for too long, and we kept coming back to one crash in particular that was over analyzed to death, I did think it was interesting but I got the point and was ready to move on 30 pages ago. The second part of the book did not flow as well as the first.

Recommendations: I recommend you check this book out. It’s great for anecdotes at parties, some great conversational pieces. You can wow your friends with this question and answer that is asked to potential Microsoft employees during an interview; Why are manhole covers round? And so many other great bits. I rated Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell 4 out of 5 stars. I will totally read another piece of nonfiction work by Malcolm Gladwell

Book Review: The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Krause

The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Krause is a great zombie epic! It’s scary as hell, in its graphic descriptions that make you see, smell, hear, and even taste the gore. The first 200 pages don’t read while eating please take my advice. This novel is so much more than just a gore fest, it there is heartbreak, love and betrayal. The Living Dead is a morale tale that ask what is living really? Is it a person going through the motions more glued to their phone than the real world? Or is it a Zombie that longs for a connection. This book is a huge 600 hundred pages, and I was entertained the whole time, the book went in directions I was not expecting, it kills more main character than I was expecting, which is a little fun and adds to the thrill that no one is safe. The first 400 pages are total zombie madness, the book jumps forward in time and deals with the aftermath of survival and attempting to live and be good people in the Zombie Apocalypse. This book is written by the grandaddy of the zombie genre, when he wrote and directed The Night of the Living Dead in 1968. He would continue making zombie movies until his death making such classics as Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. The Living Dead was an unfinished screenplay that got turned into a novel by writer Daniel Krause. Krause is known for working with another writer/director named Guillermo del Toro he wrote the novelization of the Oscar winning film The Shape of Water and he is the co-creator of Trollhunters on Netflix, which I love so much. I was super excited when I received a copy for review thanks to Netgalley and Macmillion Publishing. The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause was published on August 4th 2020.

The Plot: A statistical analyst sees a glitch in the system, which is the start of a full blown Zombie attack. Two forensic pathologists make the horrifying discovery that the dead rise as they are doing an examination, and tweet out head shots are the only way to kill. Crew members on the aircraft carrier Olympia try to survive a zombie out break in the middle of the ocean. We get a first hand experience at a zombie attack at a trailer park, and we get to experience a news team making the tough call of what exactly to report. All face life and limb to survive without being bit and become part of the living dead?

What I Liked: The descriptions and sounds will paint a vivid picture in your mind that you will not be able to soon forget. The characters are plenty about the same amount as Steven Kings The Stand, and they are all so well defined that I knew exactly who they were, and liked almost every one of them. The body count was so high and unexpected deaths kept me on pins and needles. The bad guy, I kept imaging as a clone to Robert Blake’s character in David Lynch’s Lost Highway. The writing is really great and it balances horror to morality really well. I’m really sad this is going to be the last collaboration between Romero and Krause. Hopefully a lost script is found somewhere.

What I Disliked: The ending was a great idea, but after the first three fourths was so awesome, I have to admit I was a little letdown. I wanted it to be bigger, and epic like the start.

Recommendations: I totally recommend this epic tale of zombie horror from the master of undead fiction George A. Romero. This book has every gross gore-tastic description you could ever want in a zombie story. The characters are diverse and all over the spectrum of people. If you are looking for raw zombie horror then you will get it, and if you are looking for a morality tale then you will get that too. This book has my full recommendation. I rated The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause 5 out of 5 stars. It’s one of my top reads of books published this year.

Book Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato is one action packed volume that pits the old Gods of Myth Zeus, Hera, Hermes and more against the new Gods Superman, Wonder Woman, and more in a fight with deadly consequences. Wonder Woman’s mother makes a deal with Athena to revive Wonder Woman and Superman from a magic induced sleep, we learn the terms of that deal in this volume and the consequences that come with it. Batman also makes a deal with Athena (the God of War) who is playing both sides for more war. Superman and Wonder Woman fight, and man is it epic. This graphic novel was high on action, but low dialogue that was not full of cliches. Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato collects Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four issues 1-7.

The Plot:The Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois and his unborn child, when her heart stops a nuclear bomb destroys Metropolis. Superman distraught kills The Joker and declares martial law on the whole world, vowing that no one should die needlessly. Lex Luthor develops a pill that will make ordinary people super to start an army of supermen that Superman controls. Batman steals the super humans pills and gives them to every hero and a few villains to make them equal. Superman’s action have drawn attention to the Green Lantern Corps who’s power is all about will power. Martian Man hunter died as he was fighting Wonder Woman from the inside when Superman used his heat vision, and sent Wonder Woman into a coma. Sinestro is manipulates Superman telling his own story and the way the Green Lantern Corps will attack, he makes an alliance that brings Sinestro and his minions as added protection, both Hal Jordan and Superman put on the yellow rings of fear to win against the Green Lantern Corps. Batman list the help all of his friends with magical abilities in a plan to put Superman asleep forever. The plan worked but Wonder Woman’s mother makes a deal with Athena to wake Superman and Wonder Woman. The sleep was supposed to give Superman clarity but he wakes up madder than ever because of what he missed out on. Batman makes a deal with Athena as well that has the old Gods and Amazon’s joining his side. The Amazon’s are missing Wonder Woman’s mother who is taken prisoner by Hera and made to sit this fight out, as per her deal. Batman ends up tricking Wonder Woman to fight Superman to the death a a champion of the Amazon’s.

What I Liked: The epic Superman / Wonder Woman fight is epic, lots of great drawings back the fight up. Harley volunteering herself to fight Superman as tribute. Harley’s on going crush on Shazam calling him Shazzy. Shazam and Hercules fight another great fight. Montoya losing it when Huntress is killed. Batwoman’s show of restraint against her enemy.

What I Disliked: The dialogue was really weak. Bearded Batman looks really weird.

Recommendations: The Superman versus Wonder woman is worth the price of this book, it is epic and meaningful fight, that is fought over two issues. I really enjoyed the art work more than I have in the previous volumes. I rated Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato 4 0ut of 5 stars. I only have 4 volumes left in the original Injustices series, and plan to have them read before the end of the year.

Book Review: The Cartel by Don Winslow

The Cartel by Don Winslow is one epic book, the story takes place over 9 years and feels like it. You live the lives of heroes and villains in a drug war gone bad. The book in fiction but is heavily researched with real events added to the story to give it an authentic feel. The Cartel is the second book in the Power of the Dog series. This is the second time I have read this book, the first time I read it out of series order, but this book does a great job of recapping everything that happened in Power of the Dog ( the first book), that I wasn’t lost. Power of the Dog starts in the 70′ and leads up to the 2000’s and The Cartel takes it from the 2000’s and goes up to 2010’s. The main characters  from Power of the Dog Art Kellar and Adan Barrera continue their blood feud going to an amazing climax. This is a great gangster tale, with lots of action. The Godfather the film is mentioned a lot, and you can see parallels but this novel is definitely it’s own thing. For a 616 pages this novel has an amazing pay off that rewards the reader for all the pages.

The Plot: After Art Kellar had Adan Barrera arrested in the US. Art retired and joined silent monks to maintain seek mercy for all that he has done. Adan Barrera cuts a deal to rat on one of his ex-partners in exchange to be extradited to Mexico to serve the rest of prison sentence and attend the funeral of his daughter. Once in Mexico he has all the prison officials bought and lives like a king, he has female prisoners brought in to parties and falls for one Magda. Adan Blames Kellar for his daughter’s death and puts a two million dollar bounty on him, which draws his old agency the DEA to warn him. Kellar fearing retaliation goes on the move and takes down bounty hunters on the way all not wanting to be apart of the DEA, until he reads a report about Adan escaping prison. In Adan’s 3 year absence a new gang the Zeta’s have grown into power. Adan was ruthless with in reason but the Zeta’s just want chaos. Kellar want to take sides down as they target people that are close to him. Kellar may have to work with Adan to take them down.

What I Liked:The characters are interesting and each is given a background, so you know where there choices come from and they feel very real. Crazy Eddie my favorite side character. He is funny and ruthless. I loved Crazy Eddie trying to make a movie of his life. The Climax is action packed and really fulfilling ending. The shoot out at the Don’s house was a great one, where the 70 year old hunter won’t be bossed around and destroy his home. I liked the Mexico prison scenes, which reminded me of the Goodfellas prison scenes. I loved the seamless blending of facts and fiction.

What I Disliked: the only time I found this book challenging is keeping up with what side everyone was on, and sometimes if they were in Mexico or America. The Character of Chuy was so underutilized, his character disappears for almost 300 pages, that I almost forgot about him, when he returns at the end of the book. There were too many scenes with the Juarez news, I liked were the scene ultimately went too but it took way too long to get there.

Recommendations: Pick up The Power of the Dog series, it is so hard hitting. I you want to read a gritting hard hinting novel that does not stop, the this is the book for you. This book is all about gangsters and drugs. I rated The Cartel by Don Winslow 5 out of 5 stars, the novel had a few hiccups but delivered on a lot. I liked The Power of the Dog slightly more. I have just received a copy of The Border by Don Winslow which is the 3rd book in the Power of the Dog series and plan on reading that soon.