Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's on the Nightstand? #13 and #14 Before I Fall, Spider Bones

    I'm going to veer off my usual this week and do a second W.O.N.S simply because the books are backin' up on me. Plus all the sunshine and vitamin D I've been soaking up the last couple of days has me in a great mood. Wasn't the weather incredible in the south?? Oh I am loving it!!
    Now to the books.There are little things that strike me about every story I read. Sometimes it's the cover, the elegant verbiage, the humor...or's just such an awesome title I can't pass it up. Both these selections have great titles. Each is telling a part of the story in just a few words but we as the reader can't know what the puzzle is until finishing the story. A truly great title makes you unable to resist. 
    Naming my own book was harder than writing it, crazy but true. The reason is because I know how quickly a crappy title will turn me off of a book. Heck, the only thing harder than naming one is trying to tell someone what your book is about in less than five sentences. Why five? Because most people stop listening to you after that. Didn't know that little fun fact did you? Next time you're talking to someone and they get that glazed look in their eye try to remember how many sentences you've used. It might just surprise you.
Till Then,

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Samantha Kingston, main character, has it all if you're a teenage girl. Super hot boyfriend, popular best girlfriends, ruling spot among the masses at Thomas Jefferson High. This particular Friday, February 12th, should have been nothing but ordinary in her charmed life, instead it turns out to be her last. 
    Then, she gets a second chance. Well, she actually gets seven chances to relive her last day. But will that be enough for her to untangle the mystery surrounding her death and hopefully discover the lesson hidden in the pain? 
undefined    This was a wonderful book. I laughed I cried and everything in between. It was sort of weird that I actually read it on February 12th and didn't realize it until I wrote this blog. If I'd read this story as a teenager I don't know if I could have fully appreciated all the underlying messages. Reading a book like this as a teenager, when all the emotion of similar experiences would've still been so fresh, would have been painful for me but enlightening. But reading it as a thirty-six year old woman, oh yeah, I got them all. Lauren has done an excellent job with this work and it shows. Her voice is dead on for the ages of the characters. I could definitely see these girls and boys as real people. Best of all, I truly couldn't figure out the ending until I read the words. Awesome!
For more information on Lauren's upcoming work visit her website 

About the Author:
undefinedI come from a family of writers and so have always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between "chortling" and "chuckling," is normal. I've always been an avid reader. As a child, after finishing a book, I would continue to write a sequel for its characters, because I did not want to have to give them up. Somehow, this did not get me ridiculed (too badly) at school, and I managed to make real friends as well as imaginary ones.
         I continued writing, eventually making the switch to my own stories and characters (with varying degrees of success). I also took ballet, drew things, painted things, made collages, sang, acted, experimented with cooking (um, burning) gourmet meals, and in general tried to spend my time being as creative and useless as possible. It worked. I made it through high school and college at the University of Chicago, where I continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. I was inadvertently aided and abetted in my mission by my older sister, Lizzie, who pursued a Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science. This eventually led our parents to resign themselves to the fact that their children would never be lawyers, doctors, or even gainfully employed.
         After college, I attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world's worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. My primary career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is my first published novel. I am deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as I have never been particularly good at anything else.
         I live in Brooklyn, the happiest place on earth. I (still) love to cook, am slightly obsessive about my kitchen, drink way too much coffee and eat far too much ketchup, even on things like toast and tomatoes.
         I spend a lot of time on trains, airplanes, subways, and buses, and write constantly—in notebooks, on napkins, using my phone. I have ten tattoos (and counting—sorry, Mom), a wonderful family, and the world's best best friends, many of whom I have known for ten years or longer. One of my favorite quotes is: "I will write this down/and then I will not be alone again." -Dar Williams
(from Lauren Oliver's Bio page)

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs
    When Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a drowning in Hemmingford, Quebec, she knows immediately this will be no ordinary case. With an investigationt that eventually works it's way from Canada, to North Carolina then to Hawaii and the U.S. Military Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Temperance and Detective Andrew Ryan begin the frightening process of putting the correct name on their floating John Doe and trying to untangle a four decade old case of possible mistaken identity all while trying to stay live themselves. 
    Now I usually don't indulge the green-eyed monster but I'll be a grown-up and own it now. I'm SO jealous of this title!! Just saying  Spider Bones gives me tingles up and down my arms! Having just suffered through the task of trying to name my own book it makes me especially jealous. Writing the book was a breeze compared to putting a name to it. On my list of all time favorite titles, this is number two. Kathy Reich has done a masterful job with this story. Her wit is razor sharp, her descriptions are exquisite and the suspense is riveting. If you are into crime stories, mystery or suspense this is one you need to read for sure because it will not disappoint.
    Oh and if you haven't figured it out already, the popular Fox series BONES is inspired by Kathy's books. That's a big congrats to Kathy for uber-crossover success.
For more information on Kathy work visit her website 

    Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her other Temperance Brennan novels include Death du Jour, Deadly Décisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes, Devil Bones, and 206 Bones, Spider Bones (August, 2010). Dr. Reichs is a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.
kathy_reichs_headshotFrom teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as a forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Dr. Reichs is one of only eighty-two forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte, NC and Montreal, Québec.
(from Kathy Reichs Bio page)

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