#Review Batman Nightwalker by @Marie_Lu 5* Genius @PenguinUKBooks #DCIcons #Batman #BruceWayne

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Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu
Synopsis:
The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: BATMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu.

Returning home from his lavish eighteenth birthday party, Bruce Wayne stops a criminal’s getaway – disobeying the police and crashing his car during the chase.
Sentenced to community service in Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, he encounters some of the the city’s most dangerous and mentally disturbed criminals. Among these, Bruce meets the intriguing Madeleine who has ties to the Nightwalker gang that is terrorizing Gotham City.
She’s a mystery Bruce has to unravel but can he trust her? The Nightwalkers target the rich, and Bruce’s name is next on their list.

My review:

I am the mother to a HUGE Batman fanatic, my son Lil Ste. My son is autistic, and Batman has been an obsession since he was 3yrs old. The obsession led much further than books, comics and movies. He has held a membership to the Bat Conservation Society and knows pretty much, everything there is to know about DC comics, the creators and the characters.
So essentially, I was drawn to this novel so that I may share it with my son. I don’t confess to be a knowledgeable fan of Batman. But due to my son’s love of the Dark Knight, I have seen all the movies multiple times and read several comics.
So here goes…..

‘No one saw what mattered until it was too late. Until their blood stained her fingernails’

The novel opens with a mysterious woman’s arrest at the scene of a violent robbery. We the reader, are unaware at this moment who she is and what part she played in the crime.

Across Gotham, Bruce Wayne is celebrating his 18th birthday in style. With a brand-new Aston Martin, fitted with the latest and greatest WayneTech security. He is heading to a charity event in his mother Martha’s honour. There is atmospheric writing with the details of bat silhouettes in the distance. The author has done a fantastic job of not missing any of the little details, that make Batman so iconic.

At the charity event, Bruce is acquainted with friends Dianne Garcia, Richard Price and Harvey dent. Harvey is struggling with a violent father and the groups ‘coming of age’ struggles are further explored throughout. Despite being orphaned, Bruce struggles with his feelings of loneliness and guilt, due to the lifestyle, his parent’s legacy has afforded him.

‘If he were just Bruce Wayne, the boy next door, would anyone care?’

Upon leaving the charity event, Bruce passes by a crime in progress. With police on the scene, there is no need for Bruce to intervene. However, when one of the criminals flees in a car, Bruce knows the GCPD can’t give chase.
He rev’s the engine and gets his first taste for fighting crime……

Charged with interfering with a crime scene, disobeying a police officer and obstruction of justice. Bruce finds himself on the wrong side of the law. When he is given probation for 5 weeks and community service, he believes he may have had a lucky escape, that is until he finds out the location of his community service…… Arkham Asylum!

Detective Draccon is to supervise Bruce’s community service, often goading Bruce about his wealthy status and lifestyle. Bruce is obsessed with crime rates in Gotham and often listens to the police scanner, so being able to attend the asylum may give him an insight into the criminal mind.

Dr Zoe James is the head warden at Arkham Asylum she walks him through explaining the layout and how female and male patients are held in separate wings. But she gives Bruce work in the basement.
where the intensive treatment inmates are held……..

Bruce is taunted by the inmates, has Draccon watching over him and must make it through five long weeks of community service. Whilst carrying out his service, he begins to learn of the nightwalkers. A criminal gang with a symbol and a code of honour. None of the caught low levels members have spoken, leaving the GCPD desperate for more clues. The nightwalkers are a network of criminals, whose motto is to steal from the rich to give to the poor. There is one inmate at Arkham, who is yet to speak,
Madeleine Wallace….

When Bruce stumbles upon Madeleine’s cell, he is surprised to find a young, good-looking woman held up in an asylum. She makes an effort to befriend Bruce. It is through this ‘friendship’ Bruce learns more of her background and history. But can Bruce trust her? What does Madeleine hope to gain from their conversations? Is she truly being genuine? Is she truly insane?

“You have a heavy heart, for someone with everything” – Madeleine

Madeleine is a clever, master manipulator and she already is aware of Bruce’s history. She uses this to get close to him and in turn reveals clues to him, that may apprehend the nightwalkers. There are moments when they talk, that their conversations are incredibly deep. This is when, you have to remind yourself, that they are just two 18-year olds, who have known substantial emotional pain. Madeleine forces Bruce to understand a different upbringing and choices. A life he has never known.

“Would someone like you ever understand desperation?” – Madeleine

This novel is simply brilliant. It has the emotions of a novel and the action of a graphic novel, combined to make one hell of a read! I didn’t move from my sofa and read the whole novel straight through.
Perfect for fans of Batman and mums of fans of Batman!
5* Genius!

‘The darkness was his ally, not his enemy’

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*Alternative cover. I own the black & gold edition, which my son is currently reading.
Happy reading everyone!

ML
Marie Lu
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#BlogTour #Review The Betrayal by @AnneAllen21 #WW2Fiction #HistoricalFiction #Guernsey @rararesources #KindleOffer #EbookDeal

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The Betrayal Cover LARGE EBOOK (1)
The Betrayal by Anne Allen
The Guernsey novels – Book 6 
Synopsis:

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…

1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.

1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.

2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…

Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?

Who betrayed Leo?

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

My review:

The novel moves between two timelines the present day 2011 and the World War 2 era, with both located at the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey.
I love coastal crime novels and the WW2 era, so this was a combination, I knew I would enjoy.
I live on a Channel Island and although I haven’t visited Guernsey yet! I have visited Jersey and its many tourist sites in relation to the German occupation. So, it was easy to visualise the setting and atmosphere that such a novel generates.
The author has brought Guernsey alive on the page.

The novel opens in June 1940, as Theresa and baby daughter Judith are being evacuated from the Island fearing a German attack. Guernsey and Jersey were de-militarised in the build up to the war. The only channel island, that I know of that wasn’t, was the Isle Of Wight. As the British feared if the Island fell into German hands, they’d effectively be able to launch their own D-Day assault on Britain.
I loved the historical accuracy and at times I could get a real feel for the characters helplessness. They had no idea what their future was, once the Germans invaded.

The novel then jumps to the modern day of 2011. There is a robbery turned fatal attack at a local antiques shop. Which leaves Nigel dead and the motives unknown. What was the assailant attempting to steal? Nigel and his twin sister Fiona moved to the Island after Nigel’s diagnosis of MS. They sought out a calmer, carefree existence. But what they uncovered, had roots reaching far back into the past……

In 1940, Teresa separates herself from husband Leo, as the ship leaves Guernsey. Neither of them knows what the future can hold and if they’ll even ever see each other again. I found this heart-breaking to read and it really brought home the deep emotional pain many withstood in this era of history.

“I shall miss you more than you can ever know, my darling” – Leo

In the modern day, Fiona returns to the antiques shop, only to discover the body of her brother. Nigel is found hanging and with his recent medical diagnosis; the police are quick to assume suicide. But Fiona is steadfast in her belief that he would never abandon her and cause her such pain and grief. She is determined to prove the police wrong and so begins her own investigation. With the help of ex-copper turned PI John Ferguson, Fiona sets out to uncover the truth in the mystery.

I would describe this novel as cosy ww2 crime fiction. Although the plot revolves around a murder. It focuses more upon the impact this murder has on the characters, both past and present. The reflective chapters offer an insight and comparison into the ww2 era and the modern day. Leo’s perspective of the German invasion and his shocking betrayal, is brilliantly written. I wish the novel had covered more scenes from the ww2 timeline and in-particular Leo’s story. But the emphasis is mostly from the 2011 perspective, searching for the truth via the history of the island.

The location of St Peter Port, really adds to the novel. The theme of betrayal works incredibly well. Who can you trust, when everyone turns informer, in order to survive?
I would definitely LOVE to read more in the series and will be downloading the authors work via kindle unlimited asap!

Iphoto for email
Anne Allen
Author Bio –
Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018
Authors links:
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****A Triple Celebration and a Price Reduction!****

For this week only, until 18th February, the price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, ‘Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen’s birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dangerous Waters’ and the recent publication of book 6, ‘The Betrayal’.
#CheckOutTheOffer

Still unsure, check out the other #BlogTour reviews on the following #Blogs
The Betrayal Full Banner
Link to #BlogTour #Giveaway

 

 

#Review Close To Home by @CaraHunterBooks #DIAdamFawley #CrimeFiction #WhereIsDaisy @PenguinUKBooks @PenguinRHUK

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Close To Home by Cara Hunter
DI Adam Fawley #1
Synopsis:

HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2018, CLOSE TO HOME is the new crime thriller series to get addicted to.

My review:

This novel is the first in the DI Adam Fawley series.
It surrounds the disappearance of an 8yr old girl named Daisy Mason.
Daisy disappears from a neighbourhood barbeque on a quiet suburban street. From the outside Daisy has the picture perfect lower middle-class existence.
But once you get closer to home, you realise nothing, is ever as perfect as it seems…..

The police team called in to deal with the aftermath of the disappearance are a mixed bunch of characters. But as we learn over the course of the novel DI Fawley is carrying a deep personal pain. As the coppers try to ascertain the facts, the last known sighting of Daisy and the family’s lifestyle. Everything suddenly becomes so much more complex. The Mason’s are far from the perfect family. But do they have something to hide?

Daisy’s mother Sharon is a bossy, vain woman, more consumed with her own image than her two young children. Her father Barry was close to his daughter, but something recently made her retract from him and resent his presence. Older brother Leo is only 10yrs old. He is quiet, bullied and withdrawn, he presents as a child with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
I got the sense he felt unloved and ignored as the investigation unfolded.
I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything would be alright.
I may have felt that way, but neither his mother or father did.

The timeline in the novel moves around, from the present day to the days leading up to the disappearance. There is so much more to this family, this neighbourhood and this little girl, than meets the eye. The novel also has a series of Tweets and articles scattered throughout. They make the case feel more realistic and you can easily imagine the media pressure piled onto the police at work. The #FindDaisy becomes a national cause and the family are facing trial by Twitter. Where there every move/look is subject to scrutiny. I found this reminiscent of the Madeleine Mccann case, where the mother was made the ultimate villain. Is Sharon the villain of the story or just a selfish woman? Under intense media scrutiny, I think most ordinary people could have their actions taken out of context. This adds an interesting dynamic to the family’s story, you have to separate the fact from the speculation.

The police officer characters are written very accurately. The novel shows how the case of a missing little girl gets under the skin of the detectives. How policing can be more than just a job, it can be a way of life.
I wish we the reader, had gotten to know more about the detective’s personal lives. But I respect the fact that this is a first in a series and the author is laying the ground work for the series to continue. I hope we learn more about DI Fawley in the series in the future.

There are ample twists and turns within the novel, that keep you guessing. The writing style reminded me of Belinda Bauer, who is one of my favourite authors.
It finishes with a jaw-dropping ending and I look forward to the next novel in the DI Adam Fawley series. 4.5*

Cara Hunter:
Cara Hunter is the pen-name of an established novelist starting a new life of crime in a series of Oxford-based books to be published by Viking/Penguin. Though this is not the Oxford of leafy quads and dreaming spires but an altogether edgier, unkinder place. The first novel, Close to Home, will be out in January 2018, with a second slated for later that year. “So many people who’ve read Close to Home compare it to Broadchurch, and in my book, that’s a compliment to kill for…”
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#Review Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by @GailHoneyman #BestSeller @HarperCollinsUK @PamelaDormanBks

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Synopsis:

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

My review:

I was instantly drawn into this quirky novel surrounding the even more quirky Eleanor Oliphant. She leads a lonely existence, chastised weekly by her mother and mocked by her co-workers. She develops a small infatuation with an anonymous singer and decides that is the solution to all her problems.
But Eleanor has so much more to learn about life, love and herself……

I loved the dialogue from Eleanor, her matter of fact and often brutally honest responses to situations, reminded me of my autistic son’s flippant remarks. Both very observant and seem to lack any real filter. But both also truly innocent in their approaches. This is what made me develop a soft spot for the character. I urged her to get to the bottom of her problems and discover a life outside the confines of her flat.
Enter new work colleague Raymond.

Eleanor begins a growing friendship with IT work colleague Raymond. This is when we discover more about her personality and background. The loneliness and emotional pain, the denial of a mother’s love can bring is heart-breaking.
But it also adds to the psychology of why Eleanor is, the way she is.
I quickly came to realise, everyone needs a Raymond. Someone that doesn’t give up on you, not matter how tough life is.
Even more importantly the subtle message that it is ok, to not be ok, and need some help!

There are various themes I could go into but to go into too much detail would spoil how the novel unfolds. I read this novel in a single afternoon and was engrossed in the world of Eleanor and I can easily see why it has been snapped up by Reese Wetherspoon’s production company.
I look forward to watching the movie with my daughter upon release!

GH
Gail Honeyman
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#Review City Without Stars by @TimBakerWrites @FaberBooks #Cartels #DEA #Mexico #CrimeFiction

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City Without Stars by Time Baker
Synopsis:

The only thing more dangerous than the cartels is the truth…

In Ciudad Real, Mexico, a deadly war between rival cartels is erupting, and hundreds of female sweat-shop workers are being murdered. As his police superiors start shutting down his investigation, Fuentes suspects most of his colleagues are on the payroll of narco kingpin, El Santo.

Meanwhile, despairing union activist, Pilar, decides to take social justice into her own hands. But if she wants to stop the killings, she’s going to have to ignore all her instincts and accept the help of Fuentes. When the name of Mexico’s saintly orphan rescuer, Padre Márcio, keeps resurfacing, Pilar and Fuentes begin to realise how deep the cover-up goes.

My review:

Narcos, DEA agents, drugs, secrets and corruption!
Perfect ingredients in this Mexico based thriller.

The novel has chapters titled with the various central characters. You get a full scope of their backgrounds, and how/why they came to be the people they are today. They are all driven by different motives and that is what makes this novel stand out.
For the drug cartels of Mexico life is far from black and white.

The novel opens in May 2000, with victim #873 Isabel Torres. Throughout the novel we become aware of the magnitude of deaths of young women, who simply vanish from the streets. The brutality and irrelevancy of human life is hard to imagine.

‘Immunity destroys prudence.
And murder becomes mundane’ – Pilar

Pilar is a non-nonsense activist, a feminist of the highest order and respect. She has noticed a trend in the exploitation of women and the regularity of which the bodies are discovered, thrown out like trash. I admired the characters determination for social justice and drive to change the current economical situation for all women. But as you read on, you realise death stalks Pilar, as close as it stalks all women of Mexico. Pilar refuses to back down and stares death in the eye, as she chants “protection for the women! Justice for the victims”.

‘The logic of exploitation is too profitable to resist’

The organised crime of Narcos and cartels is fully explored through the characters of El Santo and El Feo. We learn how they operate and how they took such a hold of Mexico. We also learn how the war on drugs is not as clean cut as the politicians would have the citizens believe.
The cartels are ruthless, they think nothing of carrying out a massacre. Innocent civilians are irrelevant to them and their business operations. There will be no witnesses, when no one dares speak out, for fear of death….

The novels central police officer is Fuentes, his internal dialogue is an example of some fine writing. Whether he is mulling over the Mexican’s relationship with death, religion or organised crime. There are often statements of such accuracy, they leave you thinking, long after you turn the page.

‘The church itself that fed the fear and the superstition; that grew strong and rich on ignorance’

‘The church was supposed to be there to help its faithful, but too often all it did was torment its own believers’

Which leads us to the character that I became the most fascinated with Padre Marcio. The padre’s childhood is explored, and it makes for harrowing reading. I don’t think I will ever forget some of the passages I read. This itself made me wonder how such a childhood would impact the man he would become.
Would this be his prophecy and what kind of legacy would he leave behind him in his wake?

‘Most priests seemed to prefer playing devil to angel’

The novel compares Mexico’s economy and political feeling from the 1960s to the present day. I will admit that I know little of the countries history. After reading this novel, I must make a conscious effort to explore this further with my non-fiction reading. This novel leaves you under no illusion that Mexico’s history, is one that deserves to be heard.
The central theme of the novel however, is the 800+ murdered women. It has a strong crime fiction theme, despite the added depth of a literary novel. The police are baffled by the case. Is it the work of a lone killer? A serial killer with several copy-cats?
Or a team of killers?
The crimes have taken place over ten years and the savagery alone should make them front page news globally. 9/10 murders are premeditated making them solvable and convictable. But when it comes to the murdered women, the police hierarchy have no interest in solving the case. With more and more women going missing. Fuentes is determined to get justice for the dead. For so many dead bodies to pile up, with no questions asked. Fuentes is sure the case has substantial links to police corruption.

‘Every corrupt cop places pressure on the honest ones; puts their lives in jeopardy’

The novel details El Santo – James Santiago aka ‘the saint’ and his uprising to head of the cartel. It also covers how the violence has escalated over into the killings of wives and children of enemies in a grotesque manner. Just when you find yourself asking why anyone would want to be part of an illegal drug cartel. We learn the figures. Cartels are big money business, more money than you can ever imagine and definitely more money than you could ever spend!

‘When revenue is up, revenge is down’

Cartels like any criminal organisation have turf wars and enemies. The Ciudad Real cartel vs the Tijuana cartel is the basis of this novel. But are the murders linked to the cartels, if so how? And which cartel?

The novel covers various themes of betrayal, retribution and justice. There is a death scene within the novel, that is possibly one of the best kill scenes I’ve EVER read! It is so clever, yet twisted and dark that I was left astounded! I also felt alarmingly, that it was completely and utterly justified! But I will let you explore that scene for yourself.

‘Trust is an odd thing. Its like love. A big emotion that grows out of nothing, that you take for granted but which devastates you when it disappears’

This novel is clearly perfect for fans of the TV series Narcos. But it is also perfect for readers who like a full exploration of the themes, setting and politics that allow organised crime to flourish. It is dark, brutal and yet so addictive!

‘That’s the nature of true evil: you simply cannot imagine it… until it happens’

TB
Tim Baker
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