Review: Bend Me, Shape Me by Debra R. Borys

July 31st, 2013 kimbacaffeinate Review 49 Comments

31st Jul

Bend Me, Shape Me
Bend Me, Shape Me
by Debra R. Borys
Series: Street Stories #2
Publisher: New Libri Press
Publication date: March 2013
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Source: Author
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon

Bend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Stories suspense series and tells the story of Snow Ramirez, a bi-polar street kid about to turn 18. She’s convinced that psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim. Once again, reporter Jo Sullivan finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth. Snow Ramirez hasn’t trusted anyone in a very long time, not even herself. Memories of her childhood on Washington’s Yakama Reservation haunt her even on the streets of Chicago. When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts. Blitz may have been diagnosed bi-polar, like Snow herself, but no way would he have offed himself like that if the shrink he’d been seeing hadn’t bent his mind completely out of shape. Normally she wouldn’t care. Who wasn’t crazy in one way or another in this messed up world? After all, she’d gotten out from under the doctor’s thumb weeks ago and it was too late for Blitz now, wasn’t it? Snow’s little brother Alley, though, there might still be time to save him. If only she can get reporter Jo Sullivan to believe her story before Snow loses her own mind.

While the cover did little to impress me, I was curious after reading the synopsis of  Bend Me, Shape Me. I am delighted I agreed to read and review this novel.  Borys offers fascinating characters, a look at inner city homeless children and combines it with a suspenseful mystery that kept me flipping the pages. This is the second book in the Street Stories series but each work as a standalone. Three world review: suspenseful, enlightening and well done.

The tale begins with Blitz and Snow in an abandon building. Blitz is having a bi-polar episode when he begins chanting about warriors and the CIA. He kills himself right in front of eighteen year old Snow Ramierz and she is convinced their doctor had something to do with this. Now she must find a way to prove it and protect her brother Alley..but first she will have to learn to trust others.

Snow is a powerful character who has been apart of too much darkness for a girl of eighteen. She is street wise and has spent her youth protecting her brother Alley and drowning her sorrow in pills.  Snow and Alley are half Native American and left the Washington Yakama Reservation with their mother and father.  Sadly their life went downhill from there. Orphaned they have become wards of the state and both show signs of mental illness. Snow is strong, brave, troubled and incredibly fierce.  Watching her open up and trust was profound. Jo Sullivan is a reporter plagued by the conditions of the homeless children on the streets. When Blitz dies she begins researching and eventually meets Snow. I liked Jo; she cares and takes an active role in bettering her community. She can be fearless and I enjoyed watching her work to find the truth. Ben runs the center and while we didn’t have a lot of interaction with him, I enjoyed those we did. Dr. Mordechai Levinson is someone you will love to hate and I found him to be pompous and manipulative.  We meet other characters who help round out the tale including the Ramirez’s uncle.

Borys spun a fascinating and suspenseful tale all while weaving in the lingo and life of homeless children in the intercity. She cleverly wove in government experiments and repressed memories keeping me on edge. The tale has darker sides with drugs, and implied sex. The novel is well researched and  shows in the characters creating a realistic feel. There were one or two characters and scenes I felt could have been eliminated for a tighter tale. The pace slowly built towards the climatic conclusion keeping me engaged. Borys did an excellent job of bringing all of the threads together.

Bend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Suspense series and my experience with Borys work. Fans of realistic suspense and unique characters will appreciate this tale.

Four cups of coffee out of five
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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49 Responses to “Review: Bend Me, Shape Me by Debra R. Borys”

    • dborys

      I’m happy your interest is piqued. I’d love to hear any feedback you have to offer if you add the book to your reading list.

      Deb Borys
      dborys recently posted…Win a Free CopyMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Ali, you know I love to mix things up and I enjoyed this:)

  1. Tanja

    I haven’t heard of this series but it sounds so good. I haven’t read mystery novel in a while so I might read this one. The characters here sound great and that means the book is really worth reading. Great review! 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday (#54)My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Jenea, this was different and I enjoyed it:)

    • dborys

      Any cover failure is my bad. I took this photo myself and begged my publisher to use it. I thought it was an iconic symbol of the Chicago L train and conveyed the gritty underbelly of street life, but it sounds like I got that wrong.

      Deb Borys
      dborys recently posted…“Borys is quite the master”My Profile

      • kimbacaffeinate

        I get what you were going for, and it a great symbol for the book but a painted image of that pictures with Snow might have attracted more readers. Sadly most readers are cover whores..I am guilty of it and try to look past it to the synopsis but that only works if someone present the book to me. Had I been trolling Amazon for a new read I wouldn’t have looked twice. It sounds harsh but you have an awesome story here it just needs a new cover. <3

        • dborys

          Hopefully we’ll do better with the cover for the next one. Maybe I’ll leave my camera at home and let a professional handle the cover art. 🙂

  2. Debbie

    Kim, thanks for the great review. I’m glad you agreed to read and review this too. I love it when authors take timely issues and weave a great story around them. I’m sharing this good luck to the author.
    deb

    ps-I’m finally getting high speed access at home (rural) finally AT&T has connected out in the boonies so I’ll be joining your Sunday Posts 🙂
    Debbie recently posted…Today I’m welcoming back Stephanie McAfee who’s talking about her brand new Ace Jones adventure Down and Out In Bugtussle–”As it turns out, there could be few more books in the Ace Jones series because I just don’t feel like her story is all told. I do have a few other projects in mind -funny ones, of course- but I’m still pondering what comes next.”My Profile

    • dborys

      Thanks for the good luck! I can always use it. Thank you for your appreciation for what I’m trying to do with the series. My thought is I’d like to pull readers in with a suspenseful, quirky plot and leave them with something to think about after they’ve reached The End.

      Deb Borys
      dborys recently posted…Kids at Risk Win an Emmy!My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      She does a fab job of creating a suspenseful tale while showing the reader the inner workings and harshness of these city streets and the impact on the young. It makes ya think:) thanks Debbie!

  3. dborys

    Thank you for the great review, Kim. I love having this chance to reach new readers. The print version of Bend Me, Shape Me will be available to order in about a week and I will be scheduling signings and readings which I hope will also boost visibility for the series. Having your feedback gives me the incentive to keep cracking on book number three.

    Thank you.

    Deb Borys
    dborys recently posted…“Suspenseful, enlightening and well done”My Profile

  4. Candace

    This book really appeals to me. I’m actually writing (well… sort of) a book about street kids. It has a lot of my own experiences combined with a few very vivid dreams. Anyway… I think this book would be fascinating and I’m assuming it’s well wrote since you rate it so highly. I’m adding it to my WL for the future!

  5. Diamond

    I agree that the the cover is not the greatest but I’m glad you liked it.

    It may be just me Kim but I keep seeing a ” â ” (capital with that accent) before your sentences…just thought you should know. I’m on my iPad viewing your site, if that has to do with it.

    Thnx for stopping by my blog dear and have a good day!!
    Diamond recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #3My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Felicia I enjoyed this and hope you pick it up:)

  6. Bellas Shelf

    I love love love books like this! I have to read this now. I honestly would have had to glance a few times at it because the cover is ho hum, but once I did I know I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
    I love finding this little gems. They looks a certain way then totally surprise you in the end.
    How are you liking WordPress? Best decision I ever made!
    Bellas Shelf recently posted…the geek girl and the scandalous earl by gina lammMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you pick it up Fran:) and yes I am loving WordPress and learning new things everyday:) no regrets.

    • dborys

      Bella, I would love, love love to hear your thoughts on the book when you’re done. 🙂 I so hope you enjoy it.

      Kim, I love that WordPress.org lets me connect to my WordPress.com site. I think this is a new feature and makes perfect sense.

      Deb Borys

  7. Maida

    This sounds amazing! I love it when books deal with a heavy issue but at the same time make it realistic. And I am so happy that wasn’t an issue here. And Snow sounds like one tough chick! I can totally admire characters like hers. Your review totally has me excited to get my hands on this! I can’t wait! I’m glad you enjoyed this! Wonderful review! 😀

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 
    Maida recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (34)My Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad you like the sound of this, I would love to hear your thoughts after you read it:)

    • dborys

      Maida, Snow embodies the drive and intelligence and life struggles of so many of the kids I got to know on the streets when I was volunteering. I’m glad I was able to convey a little of that life force through this book.

      Deb Borys

    • dborys

      I think you’ll enjoy Painted Black. It really portrays what it is about these street kids that so grabs Jo’s attention and drives her to be an advocate for them. Plus the main street kid, Chris (aka CRY) is a talented and sensitive graffiti artist.

      Deb Borys

    • dborys

      So many of the kids I met volunteering on the streets of Chicago and Seattle struck me the same way. Their passion to grab life by the throat even when others are trying to dismiss them and make them feel small is inspiring. Thus, a suspense book series is born. 🙂

      Deb Borys

  8. Kristin

    OMG – this does sound totally awesome!!! I like the setting and backstory, specifically. I’m so glad you read it and shared it with us!!! 4/5 – Wow!!! 😀 I’m adding it…

    • dborys

      I lived in Chicago for four years and loved the gritty, loud life to the city, particularly at street level. In this book, I was able to combine that with my appreciation for the beauty and peace that can be found in beautiful places like Washington state, where I also lived for over ten years. I think the two environments mesh and contrast well together.

      Deb Borys

    • kimbacaffeinate

      this was quite good, it gave a realistic look at street life, wrapped around a mystery with interesting characters.