Sunday, August 31, 2014

Readers Imbibing Peril reading IX

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It's my favorite time of year again. Fall is just around the corner which means Pumpkin beer chilling in my fridge, leave turning on the trees, and the first cold breeze pushing the back drenching heat of Summer. As I anxiously await my favorite holiday Halloween and the beginning of Winter, I have the distinct pleasure to participate in the R.I.P. challenge. R.I.P. is known as Readers Imbibing Peril, and it is a challenge to read Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural. This challenge is put on by Stainless Steel Droppings, and if you are like me and These genres just happen to be your favorite, then head over to Carl's blog and check it out. This challenge officially runs from September 1st to October 31st and I'm ready to get going.

This is such a cool challenge, and since this is a category I mainly read anyway I am taking the plunge. I am going to pledge to be part of:

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Peril the First means I will be reading four books, any length, that I feel fit into this challenge. I started reading Jeffery Deaver's latest novel "Skin Collector" a few months ago but haven't had the time to read. I am going to make time so I can finish this to be included in this challenge. I am also trying to catch up on the Walking Dead graphic novels so those will play double duty with this challenge and the Graphic Novel Challenge. I also have several other books lined up to be read that are perfect for this challenge, they may be mostly audio but still books.

I am also going to take part in:

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How cool is it that this challenge also includes watching movies and television shows as well? I am a big fan of Horror movies, and the cheesier the better. October is the month of horror for me. All month long I watch as many of the Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween movies I can. My blog is for both books and movies so I really look forward to reviewing some of my favorite horror movies in October, and better yet to include them in this challenge. Last year I did Halloween Week here on my blog. This was where I reviewed remakes of popular classic horror films. I'm not sure how successful it was, but I had a lot of fun so I'm doing it again. This year I will be reviewing the classic versions of those franchises this year. Each one of those reviews will be used for this challenge as well. 

This was the first blogging challenge I took part in when I started this blog and I have been anxiously waiting for this all year. I hope to have some really good reviews for you all this year. I'm going to try to make some time for getting back to the actual hardbacks I have had sitting around and those, I hope, will make there way here. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

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I'm a big fan of Karin Slaughter's. I have loved her Sara Linton and Will Trent series. When the two character series became one I was really excited and those books have just gotten better. As always, when I see a new book of hers coming out I get all excited and look forward to it being released. This time around I found this was on Net Galley. I immediately requested it and was fortunate enough to be granted this. Sadly, things in my life got crazy and I didn't have time to read as much so unless it was on an audio book I wasn't going to be able to read it. I finally got a chance to read this and I was a little underwhelmed. 

I have read some of Karin Slaughter's short stories that haven't been part of her series and I loved them. She is an amazing writer so I had high hopes for this. In the last Will Trent book, Unseen, we got a glimpse into what it was like to be in the police force back in the 1970's. This book is that story. Karin Slaughter tells a tale of racism, sexism, and violence. The writing in this book was nothing less than amazing which is something I would expect from Karin Slaughter. 

My only complaint is that I just care for any of the characters in this book. She has always written characters that I have either connected with on some level or have just really enjoyed and there wasn't one like that in this book for me. It made the story kind of drag on in spots which made me struggle through this book a little. It was kind of eye opening to see what women had to go through in the police force in those days. I'm sure Karin Slaughter did her research because she likes to keep things as accurate in her stories. I may not have cared for the characters, but knowing that this was probably what women in general had to put up with on a daily basis was just sad. 

I liked this but I felt it was one of her weaker books. I think I am kind of teetering on the fence as to how to rate this one. I think I will just stay in the mid range and give this 3 out of 5 stars. I still look forward to her next book when ever that comes out. I do hope the next one is back with Will and Sara but either way I will anxiously await the next one. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Walking Dead Vol 15: We Find Ourselves by Robert Kirkman

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If you read my review of Vol 14 then you might remember me saying that it would be easy for Robert Kirkman to make a purely character driven story. This is that book. It wasn't even a great character story. Again Rick was really big into the monologues. A lot happened in the last book so I understand taking a breather to let our group recoup a bit and take stock after a huge Zombie attack. I just wish there was a better story to this book instead of a lot of complaining. 

To top off my list of complaints, there wasn't a single Zombie attack. There were one or two to loose their heads but I thought the Walking Dead was about zombies and not my attention span. There are more Zombies on the cover than in the whole book. I struggled to get through this one. I kept finding things I needed to do instead of read. I was let down by this book, there are ways to make a character driven story interesting. Ask Stephen King and Jeffery Deaver. You could ask George R.R. Martin but I think he uses to many characters to keep straight.

When I started to write this review I had every intention of giving this book 3 stars, but as I write and dwell on this book I have to drop it to 2 out of 5 stars. I still love the series and it is getting bigger and better but this one just flopped for me. I will say that the show has done a couple of episodes that have been purely character driven. These were done much better and were a lot more interesting. I think Kirkman has been able to make changes in the show that he might have wished he would have done in the books. It could also be that the cast of actors in the show are amazing and great at becoming these characters. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inferno by Dan Brown

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I'm going to be honest. I was not a fan of the Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons. I'm not a religious man so it wasn't religiously offensive to me I just couldn't get into them. The Robert Langdon series turned around for me when I read Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I'm fascinated by the Masons and their history even if this book gave a fictitious history. I really liked that book and when I saw this was going to be based on Dante's Inferno I was looking forward to this as well. 

This book was really well written. I was hooked very early on and the story never gave up. We start off with a very confused Robert Langdon. He has been shot in the head and now has amnesia. No idea what he has stumbled into and how he ended up in another country. As Robert stumbles onto clues it begins to pan out that he needs to stop a plague. This is a terrifying premise and perfect to read during this time frame. We have stories in the news about those trying to help in Africa being brought home and quarantined because they are infected with Ebola. It is so easy how someone could expose a few to a virus and it would spread worldwide in a few days.

The book is all about one man feeling that the world is over crowded. There are more people than our resources will sustain and eventually we will be the reason for our own extinction. Leaking the virus would quell the population and allow for a new Renaissance. Robert Langdon is now tasked with racing against the clock to stop the virus before it is released but he has no idea where it will be released. Yet another idea that is absolutely terrifying. What if our population is growing to the point where we will eventually surpass our means? I don't agree with the idea of releasing a virus and letting the fittest survive, but this book really made me think about some rather unpleasant topics. I want a world that is rich and safe for my children to grow up in and raise their own kids in.

I love books that really make you think and stimulate my mind. I couldn't put this book down and I really enjoyed it. I would give this 4.5 stars out of 5. I am only going to rate it a 4 for Goodreads, and Amazon because there were a few moments where the plot got a little stale, but they didn't last long. This was a great read and if you are not a fan of the Da Vinci codeand have avoided Dan Brown because of it, I would urge you to give this a try. I didn't like Da Vinci Code but this was really good and just showed how well Dan Brown can write. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Walking Dead Vol14: No Way Out by Robert Kirkman

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It would have been very easy for this book to fall back into a rut with marginally advancing the story. Our heroes are living in a gated community with the zombies safely kept out. Life is slowly returning to normal and finding new relationships. I just described the the first half of this book. I was really excited that the story was finally building up and getting exciting again, then I started this one and started to worry that I would fine the next few books dull and full of feelings. 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the character development and getting to see these characters fleshed out with real emotions and problems. I just felt that Rick's monologues  were a little over the top and kind of long. I kept wondering where this plot is going. Everything seemed o perfect and very well explained. Kirkman could have made this about the struggles people living in a confined space would face as they slowly go crazy. 

When I thought I was going to fall asleep things changed in a way only Walking Dead can do. This was the zombie book I have been waiting for. There have been zombie attacks in the previous books but nothing like this. Just when you think things can't get any worse, they do. It was intense and I loved it. The last half of this book totally redeemed the whole thing.

I liked this book and wasn't sure I was going to. Had it not been for the turning of the tides at the mid point I would be writing a different review. There was some messed up stuff going on in this book. I have to give it 4 out of 5 stars. The first half is the only thing keeping it from a full 5 star review but this was a good book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Flash Vol 4: Reverse by Francis Manapul


The Flash has had some amazing story lines and even better characters who have wielded the Speed Force. Jay Garrick, Bart Allen, Wally West, and of course Barry Allen. When the New 52 started I had given up my comic book obsession because I have had to manage my money a bit more wisely. As anyone who reads my blog would know I am slowly catching up on all that I missed. The Flash is one of the series I haven't kept up on, partially because I like other super heroes more, but also because I had heard some less than favorable reviews of the series. 

As you know I'm a blogger and I try my hardest to keep up on the people's blogs that I follow. Some of them review comics and I have seen some reviews that have just torn apart this series. When I saw this offered on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to request it, and was granted an ARC of this book. Thank you to DC Comics for giving me this chance. Starting at volume 4 did leave a few questions about what all I had missed, but for the most part this was the beginning of a whole new story line. A new killer is out there targeting those who have touch the speed force. Barry Allen, being new to his powers, is doing his best to figure out what is going on. 

Since the New 52 is a reboot it is still very early in the Flash's story so we get to see his meeting with Kid Flash and the Teen titans for the first time. I like the cross over characters. It is always fun to see who pops up in the different series from time to time. We also get an origin story of the Reverse Flash. The art work in this was pretty good and I wish I would have thought to take some screen shots of it to show you. The writing was also pretty good but I miss Geoff Johns writing the Flash. As much as I enjoyed this I couldn't help but compare this with story lines like Flash Rebirth, Born to Run, and The Secrets of Barry Allen. I guess I was expecting more out of this book to be honest. I really enjoyed this book and it seems better than what I have heard about the first few volumes. 

I do really want to go back and read the first three volumes if only to form my own opinion about them. This book has made me really interested to see where Barry Allen is going to go next. For that reason and the fact that the art work was really good I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. I will happily round up to 4 when it comes to reviewing this on other sites that don't allow half stars. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

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I'm just going to say it. This book was just Meh. I'm a huge fan of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Those are really the only classics I enjoy. Because of my love of the classic detective story I have been interested in reading Agatha Christie. This was a Kindle sale and I got it for free. Looking for a quick read I decided to go for it. I wasn't impressed.

This is labeled as Miss Marple #1 but other than a few scenes with her in it, the Vicar is really the main character of this story. Miss Marple's character isn't anything more than a nosy spinster. Maybe this is intentional but I was definitely more interested in our main character the Vicar. The book follows your classic detective story formula which made it a little predictable. There are quite a few attempts to miss lead but I wasn't swayed. 

There are some really horrible characters in this book that irritated me. Of course the main headache is the victim in the beginning so I didn't have to deal with him for long. The other is the Vicar's own wife. She is absolutely horrible and such a gossip. Even the Vicar doesn't know why he married her. There were also some spots that felt strained. The book could have been shorter had it not had what felt like filler through a good bit of this. 

Not a bad book but I was hoping to enjoy this one more than I did. It doesn't match up with Sherlock Holmes. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. I feel like for me it is a 2.5 star read but I rounded up just to make it whole. I'm not totally off of Agatha Christie's books though. I might not be jumping to read the second book in the Miss Marple series but I do want to give the Poirot series to see if those are more enjoyable for me. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Danse Macabre by Stephen King

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I really had no idea what to think of this book at first. I want to read every book from Stephen king so this was on my list. The reason I read this recently is for the simple reason that out of all the books I wanted to read this was the only one available at the library when I needed a book. I have always wondered what movies King thinks are worth watching in the horror genre and what his favorite novels are so I was anxious to see what he had to say. At the same time I wasn't sure how I would feel about a lecture on the subject. Would it take all the fun out of horror siting there reading about it broken down to its simplest forms?

I liked this book, King is one of those celebrities that I wish I could have dinner with. Just to talk about life, writing, and the subject of horror. Of course there would be no place for baseball in our dinner conversation. I'm a Cardinals fan and he is a Red Sox fan. We don't get along and the rivalry is almost as bad as the Cardinals and the Cubs. King is also someone I would love to take a class with. If I could take a writing course with King I would be in heaven. This book was like a class he is teaching, and a dinner conversation all rolled into one. 

It was nice to know that I am just as warped as King is. We have the same taste in crappy B horror movies and I got a kick out of that. The foreword was done somewhat recently so he mentions some newer remakes that he enjoyed and I liked those as well. Other wise the rest of the book is all about some of the really old Horror movies that paved the way for what we have now. Not only does he talk about Horror movies, but he discusses some of the classic novels. He breaks down Dracula and Frankenstein and how they affected the movies that spun off from these novels. King also has a small section about Radio Horror programs. That was really interesting because I have heard some of those programs. The old radio dramas are great audio books. 

As cool as this book turned out to be there were times where I drifted off and found myself a little bored. He got a little long winded at parts, but I'm used to that. Some of his books are over the 1000 page count so it wasn't a surprise. I enjoyed this book and I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. This was a fun trip down the halls of horror.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury

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One of my favorite books is Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes. Every Halloween I read or listen to that book. It is a fun story that helps remind me of being a kid with an endless imagination. This book is just like that. As much as I like Ray Bradbury's books I had never heard about this one until my wife's book club chose it for this months meeting. I decided to read this with her and that way we could compare notes. 

This book is told from the perspective of a twelve year old boy. This boy is the self proclaimed master of summer. He wakes up the town and ushers in Summer early in the morning on the first day of Summer break. This particular summer he swears it will be the best summer ever. On the first night of summer a stranger finds his way into town and seems to know an eerie amount about everyone in town. 

The writing in this book is very lyrical like it could be sung instead of read. It at times reads like poetry. I will admit that at times I am not a fan of this type of writing. Poetry was never something that held my attention, but the story Bradbury tells helped me look beyond this pet peeve. The story is a bit predictable and I had most of it figured out early on. The beginning was a little confusing but then it almost felt like Bradbury gave away to much in early foreshadowing. However, with figuring out almost the whole story early on Bradbury found a way to give me goosebumps at the ending. 

This is a very short read, but an enjoyable one. I choose to listen to this and I am so glad I did. The book is read by the Colonial Radio Theater. There is a score and sound effects as well as a cast of characters who did a great job bringing these characters to life. I can easily see this as a book I revisit from time to time. Where Something Wicked This Way Comes seems to be my fall read this could be my summer read. I loved this book and it is an easy decision to give this 5 out of 5 stars. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's My Birthday!!!


Today is my birthday. I have been blogging for over a year now and didn't bother with a Birthday post last year. Why write one now you might ask? The reason is because a lot has happened over this past year and I have changed. I figured I would share more about myself and let you get to know the man behind the posts. 

To start with I'm not afraid or ashamed of my age. Today I turn 31. There were times last year where I felt that I should have accomplished more in my life and then I realized that I have just begun to realize my dreams and goals. I want to be a writer, I want to write the next bestseller and I worried I was getting to old to do it. So Stephen King started writing at 19, he is 66 now and still cranking out some of the best books I have read so I hold hope that I will be able to at least get a book published in the future. Now to get off my butt and start writing. I'm still a young guy even though I find more and more grey showing up at my temples everyday. 

I'm very fortunate to share my birthday with my Dad. I was born on his birthday and he still to this day says I was the best gift he ever got for his birthday. I was sure after my rough teenage years he would have reconsidered that statement. Now I have the absolute joy of spending my birthday with my amazing wife and two beautiful children. I saw my Dad yesterday to celebrate our birthday but today is just for us. Sadly this is the first birthday I will have to work on, but we will be going out to dinner to one of my favorite places

So what has happened this year? Not only have I found my feet with this whole blogging thing, but I have opened up and come out of my shell. I have always been a very closed shy person and that has changed, this blog is a huge reason why. I am much more willing to express myself and get to know people. This year has seen a lot of challenges and troubles but finally something has gone right for me and my family. In November I was hired at a Financial firm for my very first big boy job. it didn't quite work out as I had hoped but I was able to stay on as a part time associate. Because of that I had to stay at my old job part time and work two jobs in order to keep health benefits and a full time income. This was a very tough 8 months, working two jobs I wasn't never home and I never got to spend any time with my family.  Finally, after a few applications and interviews I found a full time position with my firm. I moved from a part time Flex associate to working on the Customer Identification Program as part of our Anti-Money Laundering area. It is an amazing job and I am so happy. My days of retail are over and I have regular hours with nights, weekends, and Holidays off. I have loved spending time with my family.

This year was also when my Daughter turned 1. My blog tuned 1 in July and my Daughter did in May. I can't believe how quickly the time has gone, and even more impressive is that my wife and I have survived our 4 year old and a new baby. There were times it seemed like a very daunting task. I'm so great full for everything that 2014 has brought me after so many years or struggle and frustration. My blog has been great to get my reviews out there to more people, but I think I will start to get a little more personal with this thing. Why shouldn't my readers know more about me? I'm going to give this some thought, but expect some more posts in the future that allow me to share my life with you all. 

Yes, today I am at work. The one nice thing about working in retail is I could always have my Birthday off if I requested the day early enough. I have a job that I love and am very happy professionally so I am ok with working my birthday. Maybe next year since I wont be the new guy I will ask to use a vacation day for my birthday. After work my Wife will be picking me up with our kids and we will be enjoying a birthday dinner as a family. That is really all I want for my birthday. Hope everyone has a great Monday and a good week. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

The walking Dead Vol 13: Too Far Gone by Robert Kirkman

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When last we left our band of zombie slayers they had just stumbled upon a community or people living behind walls to keep the undead out. We've been through this before. For those who have read the series all I have to say is "Woodbury". As much as everyone wants this new community to be the real thing, all of them are skeptical and plotting to get their weapons back just in case. Rick has begun to settle into his old job as Sheriff in the new community but still fears that something is coming and that this place really is too good to be true. 

This book took an interesting turn. As a reader I really want these characters to find someplace safe were they can settle down and work towards getting their lives back. However, that would mean the series is over and I'm definitely not ready for that. They have been through so much in their little fictional world that even I think this is too good to be true. Rick may be settling into his role but with it brings back that stress of being a leader. Violence takes over at some point and causes the citizens of this new community to be frightened of these new comers.

There are some zombie attacks in this book, enough to keep it interesting at least, but this book mainly focuses on what evil humans are capable of. You would think that living in a post apocalyptic world would make everyone happy to see another human.  Instead it has turned some into evil violent creatures who enjoy the pain and suffering of others. I won't get into specifics because I don't want to spoil a panel of this book. 

I enjoyed this book and the story has really picked up again since the last book, Life Among Them. Having this new community helps bring the suspense back to these books and I couldn't put this down. It took hlaf the time I usually take to read one of these. I will get this a solid 4 out of 5 stars. On to the next book and I hope this plot momentum keeps going.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney

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The last book allowed us to follow the Witch assassin Grimalkin as she tried to keep the head of the Fiend from falling into the hands of his followers. We also got to learn more about her past and why she has decided to join Tom as he tries to defeat the Fiend for good. This book brings us back to Tom and the Spook. Finally the war is over and they can begin rebuilding the house that will one day be Tom's when he takes over as the county Spook. 

Tom is running out of time to figure out how to defeat the Fiend for good so he has to work fast and take all the help he can. He will get some of that help in the most unlikely way. I got chills and that's all I am going to say. We get to see a stronger side of Tom in this book. Finally he is getting it into his head that he can be the spook , and that he will do it well. He is going to need that confidence because he has the most powerful vampire god he has ever faced coming after him in this book. Tom has to act fast in order to stop him before he enters this world.

The tides have turned for the better with this series. I had started to fall into this almost bored state with the last few books prior to the last one. Grimalkin witch assassin was a good break from the Tom and Spook story line. It helped refresh the series and Delaney really delivered with this book. I couldn't put this down and it seemed there wasn't a slow point in the story. I can't wait to see what is coming next in this series. There are only three more books left in the series so I know we are getting to the point where things are going to finally come together.

I loved this book and I feel like there is new intensity like when I first started reading these. My interest is renewed as well as my excitement. I have bounced between a 4 and a 5 star review. It wasn't the most amazing book I have ever read, but the sheer fact that this has renewed the series for me I think it slides into the 5 out of 5 star club. I really liked this book and I am anxious to continue. I hope the last 3 are as good as this one is. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Copper Bracelet by Jeffery Deaver

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This is amazing for the simple reason that this was written by 16 different authors. This is the sequel to The Chopin Manuscript bringing Harold Middleton back for another adventure. The Chopin Manuscript was originally a serial audio book. Every week there was a new chapter written by a different author. My favorite author, Jeffery Deaver, Wrote the first chapter in that one and this book setting the story. After he set every thing up each author wrote the next chapter and steered the story in the direction they wanted. At the very end Jeffery Deaver wrote the last chapter to finish off the book.

This book has a much more intense plot line that takes the story all around the world. In this book there isn't just adventure and action but a massive threat of nuclear war. Some of my favorite characters are back in this book but we also get to meet a few more. The way that each author is able to seamlessly mesh these chapters together and make it seem like one person wrote it is amazing. It really does make me want to check out some of these authors. If they can write this well then I'm sure I would enjoy their individual books. I have read Lee Child before and his stuff is good.

I really liked this book but there were a few things that kept this from a full 5 star review. A lot of reviews I have read as well as interviews with the authors who contributed say this is better than the first book. I disagree. There were a few times that I found my mind wandering away from the story. The Chopin Manuscript held my attention all the way through which is why I think that one was better. The addition of new characters was great, but it came close to Stephen King territory with almost to many to be able to keep straight.

This is a great book and a lot of fun to read/listen too. If audio books aren't your thing, then you can get this book and the Chopin Manuscript in the book called Watchlist. I highly recommend both books to any fans of mystery novels. Especially if you are a fan of any of these authors you will enjoy reading this. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I know the cover is small so here is a list of the authors who wrote this book.

Jeffery Deaver     Linda Barnes
Gayle Lynds        Jenny Siler
Jim Fusilli            P.J. Parrish
John Gilstrap       Brett Battles
Joseph Finder     Lee Child
Lisa Scottoline    Jon Land
David Corbett    James Phelan

Friday, August 1, 2014

Nightwing Vol 1:Traps and Trapezes by Kyle Higgins

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You wouldn't know that Nightwing is my second favorite hero right behind Batman, but how long it took me to get around to this book. I loved Dick Grayson stepping into the Role of Batman when Bruce disappeared. That had some of the best story lines I have read in the Batman comics, but I knew it would be temporary. Bruce Wayne is the only Batman and I was anxious to see Dick Grayson back in the Black and Blue Nightwing suit. I was a little surprised to see the red instead but it makes sense. When he first hung up the Robin suit and became his own man the costume fit the times. The first suit was a blue and yellow with feathered wings across the chest. Then DC Comics redid Nightwing's series. #1 spun out of the Batman Legacy story line. This saw the edgier modern black and blue Nightwing suit. So why wouldn't DC Comics bring Nightwing back with a new look. 


I was so excited to finally get around to reading this. I kind of held off to save the best for last in my attempt to catch up on the New 52. I haven't read any of the Superman stories but that is more because I am not a fan of how he is written in the Justice league comics so I have avoided it. In this book we not only get to see Dick Grayson back in the Nightwing suit, but we get to see his old life in the circus come to Gotham.

Mr Haley has been murdered and he left the circus to Dick. Catching up with old friends and trying to get the circus back on track after this tragic event is not all Dick has to put up with. There is a hired assassin out to kill him.. Little does the assassin know he is dealing with Nightwing. The writing was really good and so was the artwork. Some of the covers for the individual issues were just amazing.
As you can see from this cover there is a guest star who makes an appearance. I love when Batgirl and Nightwing work together. Before I stopped reading comics there was a romance getting stronger between the two of them again and I kind of miss that. Things are different now but they still work really well together. I loved this book and can't wait to get then next volume so I can catch up with Nightwing. Definitely giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.