B&D is no more!

I've joined the dark side! [aka my wife's blog]

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Bending the Spine

Monday, June 25, 2012

Announcements & Regrets

Stress is not a word I like.  I get stressed just thinking about the word “stress.”  But it’s where I’ve been.  Where I still am, and for the unforeseeable future, where I imagine I’ll be.

Work is stressful.  I do collections.  I’m responsible for approximately $3.5 million dollars each month.  Did you see that figure?  The stress began in April, where amongst the Southern Book Tour event on my blog, we were closing out our fiscal year at work.  Needless to say, I was stressed with the blog and stressed with the work.  And so began my slow withdrawal from the blogosphere.  Few tweets, no Follow Friday, no Book Hauls, etc.  Life has continued—I have bought books, accepted review requests, and have continued reading.  And, yes, will continue to do these things, but not for Bound & Determined to Find a Good Read.

This will be my last post on B&D.

My biggest regret in all of this is that I allowed something that is so much fun, to become such a huge burden…just another thing on my list of stressors. Reading isn’t fun anymore. Blogging isn’t fun anymore.

Don’t panic!  I will still be reading and reviewing books, these reviews will just post on Bending the Spine.  Most of you know that Rebecca at Bending the Spine is my wife.  She has said for months that we should combine blogs, instead of running companion blogs.  I have come to this conclusion: she’s right.  Mark it down people, this may be the only time you hear a man admit a woman is right!

If I have accepted your review request, my review will post there.  If I am part of your book tour, my stop will be there.  B&D will still be live, and this post will be the most current thing on it, so people who visit here will know to visit there. 

Thank you to all of you for the support, comments, follows, and for reading my babble.  You have all made this an adventure!


Get to reading,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3)
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself
Audio CD, Unabridged, 10 discs
Published July 5th 2011 by Brilliance Audio (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN: 1441870105 (ISBN13: 9781441870100)
series: Iron Druid Chronicles #3


I don’t know how Kevin Hearne does it.  It’s not just that these books are awesome tales of adventure and butt-kicking, but they are clever, witty, intelligent, and believable.  It’s so easy to buy into the world that Kevin has created and be wrapped up and absorbed into it.  I am amazed every time I read [or listen to] one of these books.  I will be sad when I read the last in the series.  I will morn their passing with a funeral pyre befitting of a god.

Kevin Hearne is back with the same energy of the previous Iron Druid Chronicles.  Atticus finds himself bound to keeping his oaths from Hexed.  He has promised Laksha a golden apple and Leif revenge on Thor for their help fighting against a hoard of witches [you MUST read the other two books to fully appreciate Hammered!].

Things go…not according to plan, as if anything Atticus does goes according to plan. Which in and of itself reveals the genius writing talents of Hearne, that even though the book itself is carefully calculated and crafted, as a reader you still get the sensation that Atticus is flying by the seat of his pants.  Nothing AT ALL seems contrived or scripted.  There are things you feel or know must happen, and they often do, but it feels so honest.

As Atticus and crew take their journey, stuff happens, butts get kicked, and people die.  I mean really, I think there is more blood shed in Hammered than the other two books combined.  Awesome, right?  There is more depth, more emotion, too.  And I really empathized with the characters, felt their hurt and pain.  

There is never a dull moment in any of Hearne’s books, so prepare for a nonstop adventure through mystical, magical worlds, and a little bit of our world.

I cannot express how thankful I am that I finally started this series!

5 Trees

Get to reading,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Great News!

Blue Dot Literary has asked me to review Dead End Deal, and it’s in my review queue…

Go ahead and check this deal out in the mean time:

$1.99 on Kindle!

But hurry!  This deal is only good through 6/26/12!

Here’s the cover and blurb:
Dead End Deal
World renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world. His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions. But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same.

Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter turns to his long-time colleague, corporate biotech CEO Richard Stillman, for help. Together, they conspire to conduct a clandestine clinical trial in Seoul, Korea. But the danger is more determined, and more lethal, than Ritter could have imagined.

After successful surgical trials, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario: The trial patients have been murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, now the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin named Fiest

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
Audio CD
Published November 1st 2011 by Penguin Audio
ISBN: 1611760100 (ISBN13: 9781611760101)
series: Matched #2
I find it hard to review books that I feel very neutrally toward.  Crossed is going to be one of those reviews.
I didn’t like Cassia at all.  She was very much one-tracking it throughout the whole book.  Her singular motivation for bucking the system was to find Ky.  [SPOILER] Then, having found him, she switches her motivation to finding the Rising.  I couldn’t relate to her or to her reason for doing all that she did.  She was too empty.
Ky was the hero of Crossed.  We learned so much about him, about his life, about his reasons for doing what he was doing.  I could relate to him, felt for him, and appreciated his vulnerability as a character in the story.  What I don’t understand is why he loves the brainless, vapid, and purposeless Cassia.
There is an amazing supporting cast that I like better than Cassia, too.  Did you hear me: I don’t like Cassia.
Will I read book 3? Not sure.  Will I recommend these books.  Probably not so much.
2 Trees

Get to reading.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: The Haunted by Jessica Verday

The Haunted (The Hollow, #2)
After a summer spent reclaiming her sanity and trying to forget the boy she fell in love with—the boy who must not exist, cannot exist, because she knows that he is dead—Abbey returns to Sleepy Hollow, ready to leave the ghosts of her past behind. She throws herself into her schoolwork, her perfume making, and her friendship with Ben, her cute and funny lab partner, who just might be her ticket to getting over Caspian once and for all.
But Abbey can never get over Caspian, and Caspian has no choice but to return to her side, for Caspian is a Shade and Abbey is his destiny. They are tied not only to each other but also to the town of Sleepy Hollow and to the famous legend that binds their fates—a legend with dark truths that they are only beginning to guess.
MP3 Book
Published August 12th 2010 by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ISBN: 1441759573 (ISBN13: 9781441759573)
series: The Hollow #2


I was hesitant to listen to The Haunted, mostly because I was less than thrilled with The Hollow, book 1 in the series.
There was more intrigue in The Haunted, still very vague, still very immature and unfocused.  The mystery behind why Abbey can see and speak to and hear Caspian is a mystery to them all…and the reader.
The relationship between Abbey and Caspian is creepy and disturbing.  He is obsessed with her, jealous if she spends time with anyone one other than him.  Sounds like the beginnings of an abusive relationship to me.  Aren’t girls warned to avoid guys that act that way? 
Anyway, the story was a continuation of the previous book, basically from where it left off.  A true series.  Which annoys me in a way that I can’t quite describe with words since I won’t be finishing the series out.
There’s too many questions, not enough answers, and it’s very, very disturbing!
1 Tree: Creepy and disturbing, and not in the good way
Get to reading,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: The Hollow by Jessica Verday

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead, and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and who keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again—but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her, one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
MP3 Book
Published August 12th 2010 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published August 21st 2009)
ISBN: 441752013 (ISBN13: 9781441752017)
series The Hollow #1


This sounded creepy, and interesting, and scary.  But all I felt after finishing The Hollow was how deeply disappointed I was that it was what it was.  I knew this was a series going in.  And I hope that Verday didn’t make the decision to write The Hollow as an introduction to the series, that her publishers made that decision, because it’s evil, very very evil of her to do that.  And on top of being evil, it’s just boring. 

There were so many opportunities for something to happen, and nothing ever did.  The most that happened was that Abby dealt with the death of her friend, sort of, fell in love with an impossibly mysterious guy, and met some creepy old people who took care of the cemetery. 

Abby, as the main character, was horrible.  She was so mean to her parents, rude to her classmates, and really, basically, a *insert technical term for female dog here.*  I honestly couldn’t stand her.  Her parents may not have been portrayed as ideal, but they didn’t deserve the attitude she gave them—all. The. Time.  The only time she wasn’t a complete jerk to them was when they went out of their way to do something nice for her.

There are so many questions left unanswered, and so many things left unresolved, that I have to read book two.  Not necessarily because it’s so good or anything, but because I need to find out what happens next.

1 Tree: Left me with a hollow feeling, numb from disappointment.

Get to reading,

About the author

Jessica Verday is the New York Times bestselling author of The Hollow Trilogy, published by Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. She wrote the first draft of THE HOLLOW by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of THE HAUNTED took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. THE HIDDEN took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. Find out more at jessicaverday.com.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties (Uglies, #2)
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.

Audio CD
Published January 1st 2006 (first published November 1st 2005)
ISBN: 1428111239 (ISBN13: 9781428111233)
series: Uglies #2
Asheley at Into the Hall of Books, this review is for you.
I read Uglies and was a little underwhelmed by it.  However, I promised Asheley, that I would try the rest of the series.
I’m glad I did.  All the negative things I said about Uglies weren’t resolved, but as a whole, Pretties was a much better experience than Uglies.
The storyline felt much more developed and mature.  I liked the mystery and intrigue, but also there was a lot of action.  Even though you could kinda guess what was going to happen (it is the second book in a triology), there was enough unknowns to keep me guessing.
The characters were much more developed and even though they were pretty-minded, you could see the growth and changes in them.  It was really neat to see the growth in Tally over the course of the book.  I’m not saying that all teenagers should buck the system, but to see her pursue her cause of fighting back against the city, of giving people a choice of pretty or ugly.
Y’all, this might not be a great book in the big scheme of literature, but it is a really good story!  You need to check out the Uglies series!
3 Trees: Pretty intriguing and interesting
Get to reading,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giveaway: Nickolas & Company Episode 1 by Kevin McGill

Kevin McGill, author of the Nikolas & Company series offered to giveaway a SIGNED COPY of Episode 1!  You can see my review HERE.

Kevin launched a copy of N&C into space!  Check out the video:

Want to win a signed copy of N&C Episode 1? Yes, of course you do!  Leave a comment about the video below to enter!

Giveaway Details:

Entries will be accepted through June 4, 2012.  Winner will be chosen using random.org.  Please leave your email address in the comment using any variation of the following example: email[at]email[dot]com.  Chosen winner will have 48hours to respond to notification email before new winner is chosen.

Good luck, y’all!

Get to reading,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Nikolas & Company: The Merman & the Moon Forgotten—Episode 1 by Kevin McGill

Nick lives in a time when one can extend their life indefinitely through cerebral downloads, zip from country to country in hovercars, and have every whim taken care of by the ever faithful nannydrones.

Nick hates it.

Aside from the refugee camps, overpopulation, and unchecked consumerism filling every city across the globe, Nick just doesn’t belong. That is when he hears the voice of a woman:
“The Rones lie about their true intent. They enter the city of Huron at the peril of us all.”

Shortly after, his slightly crazed grandfather reveals to him:
“All you’ve ever heard about the Moon is a lie, my dear Nikolas. He was not always a mere satellite, a ghost wandering the stars. In an age before our own, Moon was our twin, and in him bore the whole of magical life. The cradle of this magical civilization was a fantastic metropolis filled with fire-breathing winged lions, volcano-born nymphs, automaton-legged mermaids, and so much magic you can smell it. We called this city Huron, and you, Nikolas, are her steward.”

Meanwhile on the moon, the senior stagecoach driver Yeri Willrow thought he was performing a simple drive and drop for his mysterious passengers, until they are attacked by foul-breath red-eyed creatures. He soon learns that his passengers are a family of automaton-legged merfolk, and he is their only hope. Yeri suddenly finds himself tasked with saving the merfolk or they will fall to the peril of the creature most foul.

ebook, 130 pages
Published March 31st 2012 by Aero Studios (first published December 15th 2011)
ISBN: B006K3MS1K (ISBN13: 9780983415626)
url: http://nikolasandco.com

I don’t read fantasy books.  At all.  It’s not my thing.  I don’t watch sci-fi/fantasy movies or TV shows.  I just don’t get them.  I can’t follow them.  I don’t even give them a chance.  Then, Kevin McGill contacted me and I read the first few chapters of Nikolas & Company: The Merman & the Moon Forgotten.  And I was instantly hooked.  It’s almost like this book was written as my introduction to the sci-fi/fantasy genre.

McGill has an interesting take on the Earth-Moon relationship, one that seems plausible, yet fantastical at the same time.  We’re dropped into a dystopian-future society where the Geneva virus has wreaked havoc on the populace.  It’s a harsh, and prejudiced, but it is what they know.  Though we are only very briefly introduced to Nikolas & Company, you tell right off that there is a strong friendship between them all, a depth of friendship that sincere and honest.

Though the writing was choppy at times, I was able to follow the story.  Even, all the different names, places, etc. were distinct enough that I was able to keep up with it all.  Which is a near miracle to me, because with most movies of this genre, the names alone would be enough to have me puzzled.  Thank you for not loosing me, Kevin!

At the end we have a cliffhanger, which I’m not usually a fan of.  But it was appropriate, and Episode 2, When Boats Breathe and Cities Speak releases June 16th!

4 Trees: Y’all, check this series out!

Get to reading,

*This eBook was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

Hardcover, 293 pages
Published March 7th 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books
ISBN: 0547482477 (ISBN13: 9780547482477)
series: The Vespertine #1


Ok, y’all, this book is sexy!  Ameilia and Nathaniel make sparks jump off the page!  I don’t know how Saundra managed to make it so super sexy without actual sex, but she did.  There was this element of being risqué, that made the forbidden/frowned upon attraction between them almost too much to handle!
I fell in love with the characters.  I felt very passionate about them (though often confused on who the minor characters were—there were many!) and wanted good things for them, and good things did happen!  Amelia’s visions, though, perforated a happy period piece with flashes of tragedy.  Even if the visions weren’t tragic, they were often bittersweet.
The language is appropriate, but not overly-haughty.  I felt transported back in time, without feeling as if I was an outsider—I connected with the writing and was drawn in.  The major plot elements really develop about half-way through the book.  The story is so enticing, so entertaining that it wasn’t bothersome that that no real action takes place right away.  And the paranormal elements keep things interesting.
Y’all, you need to read this book, even if you aren’t fans of either period or paranormal.  This is just good!
5 Trees: Read this in front of a fan.  It’s HOT, y’all!

Get to reading,

Side Note:

I don’t normally like period novels.  I would have never read this book had it not been for YALL Fest 2011.  Saundra was on a panel and hearing her talk about The Vespertine made me want to read it—BAD!  So, I bought it that day, had her sign it, and the rest is history.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

B&D: A look ahead

Every now and then I get review requests.  And every now and then I accept them.  Which leads to a problem, having too much to read, and not being near organized enough with it! 
So, in order to better balance my TBR/review queue, I’ve made a list.  And on that list are a lot of books…an overwhelming amount of books.  To keep myself accountable for reading what I should be, here’s a list (in order) of reviews that will be coming to B&D soon:
[Not pictured above: The Joy of Deception by Gretchen Johnson]

Do you guys, as readers and reviewers, ever feel overwhelmed when you look at your TBR? 

Get to reading,
*This is my plan, and my plan is to stick to it. Time will tell!