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Bending the Spine

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 18th 2007 by Razorbill
ISBN13: 9781595141712
url: http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/
literary awards: South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2010), Florida Teens Read (2008), Georgia Peach Honor Book Award (2009), Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice, California Book Award


I’ve had emotional reactions to books before, but nothing quite like I have felt from reading Thirteen Reasons Why.  I become instantly invested in this story.  I needed to know why Clay was one of the Thirteen Reasons as much as he did.
I became empathetically tied to Clay.  I hurt for him, and I was tortured with him.  He is the reason I continued to read this book, the reason I held on as long as I did.  He’s the only character that I felt sorry for.  He grew through the experience, and the goodness that was him permeated every word that Asher wrote about Clay.  He’s the true hero of the story, if there is one at all.  He’s the only character that I didn’t hate on some level.
I didn’t understand Hannah.  Sure, the stuff that happened to her and around her was bad.  She internalized so much of it, let it push her to the edge.  There were several times in her telling her story that she said things like this:
I think I’ve made myself very clear, but no one’s stepping forward to stop me. (page 280).
But I don’t think she did ever make herself clear.  I felt like she was blaming everyone else for her decision to end her life.  And that got on my nerves.  Hard.  I don’t like a “woe is me” pity party.  Man up, grow some balls and deal with it.  Learn from it.  Grow through it.  Hannah is my biggest issue with this story.  It’s possible, though, that I just don’t understand what it’s like to be in that place where suicide feels like your only way out.  I’ve never been there.
Thirteen Reasons Why is written so that we see both Hannah’s story via the tapes she leaves and Clay’s thoughts and memories as he’s listening to them.  It was a little confusing at first, but quickly enough I got with the program and made it through.  I devoured this book.  I don’t think I’ve read a book this fast.  Ever.  I mean it was addictive.
Do yourself a favor and read this book.
5 Trees: You don’t need 13 reasons why to read this book, just one: you will not be the same.

Get to reading,

About the author:

Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended Cuesta College right after graduating from high school. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. At this point in his life, he had decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing.
He has published only one book to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, which was published in October 2007. He is currently working on his second Young Adult novel, and has written several picture books and screenplays. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. It also has received high reviews from fellow authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Chris Crutcher, and Gordon Kormon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Haul: Library Style

So, went to the library with the wife, and got some awesome books!  Also got some fun stuff from NetGalley and from authors.  Check it:

From the Library:

(All The Pretty Girls is an audiobook!)
Thirteen Reasons Why is completed and my review will post on Tuesday 2/28/12!

From NetGalley:


From Authors for Review:


I know that I’m forgetting some stuff, and if I remember it, I’ll do another Book Haul!

Did you get anything awesome?

Get to reading,

*In My Mailbox is a weekly blog hop hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren*

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Hexed by Kevin Hearne



Atticus O'Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn't care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they're badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.
With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor's rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex
MP3 CD, Unabridged
Published June 7th 2011 by Brilliance Audio
ISBN: 1441870075 (ISBN13: 9781441870070)
series: Iron Druid Chronicles #2


I was Tweeting with Kevin Hearne one evening about how much I loved Hounded.  We discussed Hexed and how awesome the narrator was.  I agree that Luke Daniels is amazing.  And, on Hearne’s recommendation, I ordered the Hexed audiobook.
I am in love with the Iron Druid series.  I want to move someplace where multiple spouses and literary-human unions are legal and marry this series.  I think my wife would understand.
I am having an incredibly difficult time figuring out how to write this review.  Hexed is at one time bloody, irreverent, kooky, poignant.  It’s so full of contradictions that this could be the longest review ever written.  I mean EVAH!
About three weeks have passed since we left Atticus in Hounded.  And like any action-packed novel worth it’s weight in gold, Hexed gets Atticus in trouble real fast and real bad.  It doesn’t slow down from there.
Another contradiction in this book is how poetic and beautiful it could be.  The encounter with the Virgin Mary is spectacularly gorgeous.  I like that Hearne intermingles the deities and that he’s respectful in how he deals with them.  In a book so full of humor and sarcasm, it is nice to see that some things are off limits.
The most extreme element of the story was the sex magic.  You know this is a dude’s book and this proves it.  I won’t ruin it, but it’s  disturbing and kinda funny at the same time.
Something unique about the Iron Druid series that I give major props to Hearne for is that there is no “mist” or “fog” or anything that keeps mortals from seeing the immortals.  I like that Atticus has to use whatever is at this disposal, whether a cloaking spell or the mental-wiping-powers of a vampire to try to explain what the mortals have seen.  It’s fun to see what kind of trouble Atticus gets into and how he works his way out of it.
So, to keep this from being the Epically Long Review of Epic, I’ll summarize my feelings here: Hearne blends clever storytelling with irreverent humor, adds in some sword fights, blood, little bit of sexy, and you’ve got the Iron Druid series.  If you haven’t read Hounded or Hexed, move them to the top of your TBR.  Now!
5 Trees: Epically awesome.

Get to reading,

*No one was hexed during the writing of this review*

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cover Reveal! Inbetween by Tara Fuller

Inbetween Cover
Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s
life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.

It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn't let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.
Paperback Available for Pre-Order from Amazon
Add to your Goodreads TBR

My thoughts:

The blurb looks really interesting, and the cover is really fun!  Go on now, add it to your TBR!

Get to reading,

About the author:

Tara Fuller writes books for teens. Some about witches. Some about grim reapers. All about kissing. Check out her upcoming YA novels INBETWEEN (Entangled Publishing) August of 2012 and PERIGEE MOON (Crescent Moon Press) January of 2012.
Find Tara:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan



Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no.

Franz is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes, but his bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

This breathtaking second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives some fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophecy of Seven.

An unabridged production on 11 CDs (13 hrs, 28 mins)

Published October 11th 2011 by Listening Library (first published October 1st 2011)
ISBN: 0307916812 (ISBN13: 9780307916815)
series: Heroes of Olympus #2



I have been scared of writing this review since I finished The Son of Neptune.  Not because the book was bad.  Quite the contrary!  This was one awesome adventure!  I mean, come on!  PERCY IS BACK!  I’ve been dreading it because I don’t know that my words will be adequate to express my love for this book.  And well, for this series so far!
So, um, yeah.  this book is totally awesome and if you don’t read it, you’ll miss something special!  The setting is pretty unique: Alaska and Canada, on a glacier, in the middle of nowhere!  The gods and anti-gods (is that even a real thing?)/evil villains are hilarious and fun.
Hazel, is my favorite of all the characters.  She’s got the shadiest history, and seems to have the most to loose.  But she’s just so self-sacrificing, so giving, so kind.  As much as I love PERCY JACKSON (!!), I love Hazel all the more.
If you’ve read any of Riordan’s books, they tend to follow the same kind of pattern.  And that’s completely cool with me.  ‘Cause you know that it’s going to be action packed, with some great friendships, awesome folklore, and fantastic storytelling.
Don’t hold my lack of eloquent, insightful prose against this book.  The words that came seem to capture the emotions of the book, on some level at least.  So, take my honest advice, READ THIS BOOK!
5 Trees: Awesome and amazing!

Get to reading,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Panty Raid @ Zombie High by Rusty Fischer

Toby’s best friend, and unrequited love, Molly Harper has gone missing. Molly’s boyfriend, “Spud,” thinks he knows where she’s been taken: the mysterious Zombie High, where Spud’s father just happens to be in charge of the top-secret medical facility famous for its work rehabilitating teenage zombies.

Armed with blueprints, passwords, keys and codes, Spud and Toby are ready to make an all-out assault on Zombie High and rescue their fair Molly. There’s just one problem: Toby and Spud are the biggest wimps at Cypress Cove High and need some muscle along for the ride in case any of the zombies get loose.

That’s where Boner and Zack come in. Two of the football team’s biggest players, the jocks are easily conned into joining Spud and Toby on their fictional “panty raid” the minute Spud calls them “chicken” for not accepting his challenge to spend the night at Zombie High.

When Zack and Boner show up to accept the challenge, however, they don’t come alone; they bring their two girlfriends, Lilac and Haley, along for the ride. With events spiraling out of control and zombies lurking around every corner, will Toby and Spud even survive their night at Zombie High, let alone rescue Molly?


There are books that you read that infect your brain.  That affect the chemistry of how you think and react and deal with life.  Panty Raid @ Zombie High is one of those books.  Here’s an example:  there’s a scene involving rat brains.  Today at PetsMart, we were looking at the guinea pigs, and there happened to be a fancy rat (yes, they labeled it as “fancy,” though I’d never describe a rat as “fancy”)in the cage next to the pigs, and I couldn’t look at the rat without thinking of it as a source of food.  Panty Raid @ Zombie High infected me that way.

This may be one of the most entertaining of Fischer’s books that I’ve read.  I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read, but I really got addicted to Panty Raid @ Zombie High.  And now I want everyone to read it.  ‘Cause if you don’t, you’ll miss something awesome!

The characters are brilliant, well-written, with depth and emotion.  And this is only a little over 100 pages!  I’ve read books much longer with less character development!  This only confirms what I already knew about Fischer: he’s full of awesome and a complete genius!

One complaint, though.  I know, *GASP*!  So, there’s the prologue,  and then chapter one.  And some major stuff happens between them…And basically I felt a little left out.  Later we figure it all out.  And that’s cool, but the entire time I’m reading, I’m asking myself the same question over and over.  But, it’s totally worth the little bit of confusion for the complete awesomeness of Panty Raid @ Zombie High. 

This is a dude’s YA zombie story.  Full of gore, blood, zombie-butt kicking, guts, gore, etc.  Written from a dude’s perspective, with dudes in mind.  Guys, listen up!  READ THIS BOOK.  And the lovely ladies out there, you can read it, too.  This kind of awesome is for everyone!

Basically, the only thing that would make this book any better, is if you could wrap it in bacon and eat it.

5 Trees: Excellent, fun, & exciting!
Get to reading,

*This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*