Iron House by John Hart

From the moment I picked this book up, I did not want to put it down and that is very rare for me to say.  Hart’s new novel is a hard driving thriller from beginning to end.

Michael has come a long way since the Iron House School for Boys.  He has found the love of his life in Elena but getting out of the organized crime business may be harder than he first thought.  Michael also has to consider his brother Julian’s future which is being threatened by the bullies of the past.  Always Julian’s protector, Michael has to ensure his safely, as well as Elena’s, while constantly looking over his shoulder for the next person that may want to put a bullet in his head.  He has to find a way to keep those he loves safe and find a way to a future he may be denied because of a past that won’t let him forget.

The fast paced and edge of seat action keeps this story rolling.  It is not your formatted guy turns good and leaves mob story.  Hart breathes a depth and feeling into his characters that will have the reader cheering and cringing at the same time.  Graphic violence and torture scenes make this an adult read that pulls no punches for those that like the ‘in your face’ kind of novel.

I loved this book.  It is the first John Hart book I have read and it will not be the last.

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Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

It is one of our fears in in our lives today.  An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky and our world as we know it comes crashing to an end.  Ilsa J. Bick takes us on a journey with young Alex and her personal demons as she fights for survival in this dangerously realistic and frightening new novel.

As for the people that survive, it is a question of who can Alex trust and who is infected. Alex puts her guarded trust in Tom, a soldier and a young orphan, Ellie.  Even of them, she is wary and uncertain.

This novel is terrifying both in its future implications for our own society but for personal issues that arise when trust is no longer an option at any cost.  This is not your ordinary end of the world story.  It gives the reader a look into the minds of the survivors and how living after the devastation affects them.  Bick has created deep and well defined characters.

I am not a zombie lover.  I shy away from the dead walking.  I did however, enjoy this book.  I found it had more to offer than your typical “shoot ‘em in the head and run” (don’t forget to double tap) mentality.  I did enjoy this book.  It is violent, gory in parts and thrills around every corner, my kind of book.

About the Author

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, as well as a film scholar, former Air Force major, and now a full-time author. Her critically acclaimed first YA novel, Draw the Dark, won the 2011 Westchester Fiction Award and was named a Bank Street College 2011 Best Book. Ilsa currently lives with her family and several furry creatures in rural Wisconsin, near a Hebrew cemetery.  One thing she loves about the neighbors: they’re very quiet and only come around for sugar once in a blue moon. You can visit her online at http://www.ilsajbick.com.

The Liberation of Crystal Hill by Kevin Gibson

Written in a child-like voice of eleven year old Adam White, Kevin Gibson takes the reader into the very heart of a of a little boy’s fears.  The liberation of the town is only a backdrop to the interpersonal conflicts in the family life of young Adam. This coming-of-age story is complex and well written.

From a town haunted by a cursed ghost, Mayor Crystal, to the corrupt ion of the current residents, this story will take you on a ride into the supernatural that you will enjoy both for the interesting interweaving storylines and the deep and well-developed characters.

The writing is easy to read and understand and I feel this would be a great book for the young adult crowd.  However, it will stand just as strong as a good adult read too.  I only have one drawback; I feel the cover of the book is not as appealing as it could be.  The back especially needs work.  I think a more professional look would get more attention.  Books are often, regretfully, judged by their cover.